Posted on May 27, 2012 - by MG
In scientific papers this part is written in dense type, and you don’t worry about making it easy to follow. Why? Well, even though the rules of science say that your work has to be replicable, you may not like giving away your lab secrets.
Usually with business processes, you don’t give information away to potential competitors. Yet in these early days of the self-publishing revolution, there’s a tremendous spirit of cooperation. Without the dozen of blog posts and a 99c Kindle book I’ve read about the process, I couldn’t have reached this stage.
So here, in approximate order, are all the steps we at DARKWATER BOOKS went through to bring forth our first title: our Materials&Methods. (please note the Disclaimer at the bottom of the post).
- Start a limited liability company, if you want to have books printed via Lightning Source.
- Find a designer and an editor and agree a contract. An email laying out the task and what you agree to pay is valid as a contract, but you may want to be more specific. Remember to ask a designer to be clear about what IP permissions he/she assigns to you for the jacket design. Ask for global permission to use the images anywhere to promote your book.
- Think hard about picking a book trim size which can use crème-coloured paper and be printed to paperback, hardback and the Espresso Book Machine – it will save you extra tweakage costs and the need to upload separate exterior and interior files to LSI. (How I wish we’d done this. It’s a rookie error and I hate to see it.)
- Schedule all tasks so that all interior and exterior content are finalised at least six weeks before publication. If planning to sell books in the USA (Createspace via Amazon, say) but the company you’ve created (i.e. you) has no presence there, get a tax exemption number so that 30% of your royalties don’t go to the IRS. Make an account on Createspace, Kindle Direct Publishing and Lightning Source (LSI). LSI will need administration time to process each stage of applications and paperwork.
- Apply to Neilsen/Bowker for ISBN numbers – you need to print out the form and mail it to them, with the payment. Turnaround is about 10 days.
- Start setting up an account on LSI as soon as you have your limited company and the ISBN of your first title. The paperwork seems more complicated but their email support is friendly, fast and efficient.
- Read contracts with LSI – you’ll need to sign a separate contract for each location you want to have books printed/sold – US/Canada, UK/Europe, Australia and Espresso Book Machine.
- When you have the ISBNs use an online ISBN barcode generator to make the barcode images that your designer will need if you are also having a print edition.
- Once you’re registered with Neilsen you’ll be offered access to PubWeb, which also takes a few days to come through. PubWeb is the database of book data. It replicates across most retail data systems. It can take 3-4 weeks for PubWeb to input the ISBN information that you supplied. Schedule accordingly!
- Make sure that Neilsen/PubWeb have the correct distributor details for your titles. Once your data is in their system, the PubWeb feed is picked up by retailers. At this point you may begin to see your title listed by online retailers as available for pre-order.
- However don’t forget that you can directly input your book data to Amazon and that this, esp for self-publishers, is an important marketing opportunity. Write your jacket copy and Amazon copy etc.
- If you’re not going for the KDP Select Program, you don’t need to worry about giving your ebook 90 days exclusive access in Amazon. Create an account on Smashwords or BookBaby and prepare to have epub editions created/uploaded.
- The easiest way to get a file ready for Kindle is to pay Createspace to do it. Simply uploading filtered HTM pages correctly formatted from Word .doc or .docx files to KDP comes close to a good online conversion of .docx and .HTM files but the converter program still has some glitches. These may disappear soon – the online converter is pretty new. You could also try software – Calibre or Kindle Writer
- Upload your ebook files to Kindle/BookBaby/Smashwords as appropriate, and interior and exterior book files to Createspace and/or Lightning Source. Pay for a print proof to be sent (strongly advised).
- Check your proof carefully before you finally sign it off. Createspace have cool online digital proofing tools which are a must! Lightning Source also provide e-proofs.
- BEFORE YOU GO TO PROOFING: Check that the ISBN matches across all the key fields:
- On your book’s cover
- On the copyright page
- In your spreadsheet from Nielsen (or whatever Bowker provide)
- On your PubWeb data entry
- In the book details for Createspace and Lightning Source.
This step is detail work. MAKE YOURSELF MATCH THEM ALL BEFORE YOU APPROVE A PROOF!
- Order some author copies and line up some people to read them.
- Did you think about marketing and publicity? Whoops. You should have. That’s a whole other post. It’s not boring Materials and Methods, though, so I’ll even make it pretty.
Disclaimer: This is NOT actually a scientific paper, it isn’t even a business paper, this is just a list of the processes we went through at the neophyte publishing imprint, DARKWATER BOOKS, to bring forth our first publication, from the first M.G. Harris manuscript. No guarantees that I haven’t accidentally missed out a step, that this is a comprehensive list of everything you should or could do, or that the suppliers mentioned are the best ones or even reliable. It’s just a list of what Mr Harris and I actually have done to date. Only to be used as an informal guideline, and read every contract you sign carefully!
Next: #7 Publicity and marketing