It was never really important to me to see my books in print. Getting the words on the page and out into the world was more prevalent. Having a great cover, plot, dialogue, characters and edited work were primary goals in my creative process. Then came distribution. Amazon was easy peasy, right out of Scrivener came a beautifully formatted mobi file. The Smashwords conversion to get into iTunes drove me batty. But before I totally threw in the towel, I found a diamond resource that helped me to convert my manuscript into a Smashwords-friendly document with none of the cursed autovetter errors. It was nirvana when it converted with zero errors for the premium catalog. That means my book will be on iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc. all very soon. I figured out a marketing plan; because let’s face it, I’ve been slapping up books on Amazon and expecting folks to just ‘discover’ me in a sea of millions of books. I know that’s delusional and slightly self-sabotaging so there needed to be some sort of marketing plan with my novel release. When I began blogging, I studied and learned what I needed to do to gain traction with a blog; that took about 8 months. So I needed to study the tools authors use to gain readership of their books. This is a continual life study due to the constant in self-publishing–change.
I took a GoodReads Course on Udemy. In the course I learned a ton about how to use GoodReads as an author and one of the gems that came out of that was–you have to have print copies of your books. There are more than a few reasons why they give this advice:
- Marketing and promotion purposes – Hand selling an e-book has to be really difficult, lol. But seriously, to send signed copies out to fans to pass along to other readers who may not have discovered you yet is a great opportunity. You can create giveaways and gift your book to your biggest fans.
- Print copies cause a mind shift in the consumer – No longer are you “just” a self-published author but you also have a physical book. When comparing your e-book price to your print book price, it can motivate the consumer to purchase either or according to their preference. It gives your book more perceived value. (Imagine what it’ll do when you add an audio version!)
- Legitimacy to family and friends – I am not a big fan of creating things so others can see you in their idea of success but the print copy does create legitimacy with your family and friends. You can tell some folks that you’re an author until you’re blue in the face. It will amount to nothing unless they actually see the print version of your book. I didn’t get that until my brother said, “You’re a real author now,” after I shared the video and snapshot of The Kid holding it.
What I did to get it into print:
- Layout – It wasn’t hard, I layout print catalogs and magazines, ads, etc. (you know that whole graphic design thing) for a living. I laid out the interior of the book using Adobe Indesign.
- Created some master pages with a left header on one side (Author name) and on the right header, name of the book. Then at the bottom of the pages, I put the page numbers. Once you set up the master pages, along with a set of blank master pages with numbered footers (you don’t want to have the headers on EVERY page) I was done with that part.
- I exported a Word file from Scrivener and used that file to place into Indesign to layout the contents.
- I printed a hard copy to review the interior for formatting issues (excessive hyphens at the ends of lines, awkward line breaks, etc.), made those changes
- I already have a block of ISBNs but I bought a barcode from Bowker for $25 with the hopes of one day selling enough copies to have a retailer pick me up to sell my books. When they do, my trusty ISBN is embedded in the barcode.
- When I designed my covers (which I usually do around the time I have an idea for a book) I create them for print and then change them for online sizing and format. I also do them all at once so I maintain unity in the design of my branding for the series and my author branding. But at that time, I didn’t have a back cover design so I took some time to create that. It will be pretty uniform throughout the series now that I have a layout for that.
- Once all of that was done, I sent it to CreateSpace and looked over my proof copy. CreateSpace will send you a physical proof copy (which I recommend) but since I know what I’m doing, I didn’t get one. I just wanted my book printed and sent on over. It arrived and I feel really good about it. The layout had one minor hiccup but it can easily be overlooked as its not a big deal. As the author of the work, you can purchase your print novel wholesale from CreateSpace. It’s wonderful.