The Third Time Around

learningHello, friends!  As I indicated in the last blog post, I did indeed learn many valuable lessons while publishing my latest book, Believing It.  So many valuable lessons, in fact, that I wanted to write about them before I forgot what they were (I’m dottery and middle-aged, you know). You may consider this post to be kind of a memo to my future self.  And let us hope it’s not boring for the rest of you.  Because if it is, I should probably have just written a, well, memo.

Every time I go through the writing / publishing process, I learn more about what I’m doing.  For Hold Me, my first book, I learned a LOT about finishing a book, having it edited, having it published by a traditional publisher (even though it was published as an ebook, which was a little unusual back in 2011).  I learned about the reality of publishing–what a publisher will  do for you, what they won’t, and how to start building an author platform.

For my second book, Handling It, I learned a lot about starting out as an indie author. Yes, I learned about finishing another book when nobody really cared about it (the second book is almost always more difficult than the first, I think), but most of the unfamiliar territory I ran into was related to getting that book to market.  In other words, finding an editor, coming up with a cover and sales blurb, formatting, getting set up on all of the various sites, starting the actual business, setting up a print book, and so on.

This time, the third time around, I learned a lot about the publication process itself and how important it is to plan and prepare. In other words, the lessons were about treating writing as a business and, hopefully starting to view myself as a professional.

That’s because the issues I had in this case weren’t necessarily anything to do with the manuscript. The actual book hasn’t changed from the time I finished edits and considered it complete.  All of the problems I ran into with this project were related to my approach to the publishing process.

For example, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that, if I use formatting software, I have to CHECK to make sure the formatting has worked correctly BEFORE publishing the book. I can’t just assume that it is okay, I can’t be lazy—I have to go through the file and check FIRST.  Trust me–I won’t forget that one again!

But there are other things, little tidbits of advice I want to pass on to my future self to help when I go through this process again.  Such as–

  • Don’t believe Amazon when they say you can upload an ePub file. If you want your book to display properly on Amazon devices, you have to load the Amazon formatted file.
  • All of the platforms display differently, so don’t assume you know how the book is going to display on someplace like iBooks based on the Amazon platform.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. All eReaders are different, and people can personalize them in ways you can’t anticipate. Set up the book properly, load it in the correct format, and trust that it will display properly when the customer views it.
  • Don’t go all crazy trying to upload your file again and again and again to tweak little things here or there.
  • Don’t rush!  Make sure you’re comfortable BEFORE pushing the “publish” button.
  • Don’t depend on the previewers available on the different sites for quality control. They are helpful when uploading to make sure everything transferred correctly, but they also don’t give a 100% accurate view of the book. Quality control should be done on your own system. Be confident your book is formatted, then confirm the site feels the same way.
  • If you have to upload your book more than once, make sure the publishing process is complete before you try to upload it again. Read the fine print – Amazon says your book is live, but there’s a note that it takes 24 hours for changes to take effect. Publishing again before the publication process is complete in the first place only confuses the site.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable with the cover before you go live. If you don’t like the cover, change it, but ideally not when you’re in the middle of the publishing process.
  • Have a publishing schedule that builds in time for the actual act of publishing. It will get easier, but it’s not magic pixie dust.  It will always take time.

Among other things.  Did I mention, “Don’t Rush?”  I think I’m going to have a sign made for that one.

So, all in all, a good learning experience and a final product I’m proud of.  But that leaves us with the million dollar question…

Will I listen to my own advice?

Only time will tell!

 

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