It’s really tempting once you’ve gone through the editing and formatting process to release your new book as fast as possible. However, by doing so, you may be unwittingly overlooking some of the more strategic approaches you can take towards publishing.
The following are designed to act as a checklist for you. It may mean delaying publication by another 2-4 weeks but, trust me, it’s worth it in the long term. Let’s take a look at what you need to do before hitting that “publish” button:
1 Have you assigned ISBNs to your book format(s)?
Yes, you can use the free ISBNs some eBook aggregators offer, but my advice is to buy your own. That way, you’re in control.
You’ll need an ISBN for each format of your book (e.g. eBook, paperback, audio, etc) but as you’re in this for the long-haul (you are, right?), you do have the option to buy ISBNs in bulk and thereby save money.Buying your own ISBN means you can use the same one for each of your eBook distributors, worldwide.
However, if you are planning on just using one aggregator, and only publishing an eBook, then of course save your money and use their free option.
2 Have you checked the formatting of your eBook?
I’m always amazed how different a book looks between seeing it in a Scrivener or MS Word document, and what it looks like on my Kindle, not to mention the errors that leap off the screen.
Before you hit that ‘publish’ button, make sure you’ve downloaded an eBook copy to your reading device of choice and read it like a reader, not the writer. Trust me, you’ll spot things you never thought existed.
3 Have you proofread a copy of the paperback?
This is the same as (2) above, and just because you’ve checked your eBook formatting, don’t for a moment think that you can assume the paperback will be fine.
Yes, it means you’ll have to wait the extra 7-10 days to leaf through the paperback before your readers do, but better that you find the errors than they do. I now have a two-step process with this: first, I flick through and check formatting, and once I’m happy with that, I’ll read the book cover to cover and use sticky tags to mark any typos.
4 Have you sent out ARC copies to reviewers?
My advice is to get eBook advance reading copies (“ARCs”) out to bloggers, beta readers and reviewers at least 4-6 weeks before you plan to release your book. This way, you get some reviews up and running before your actual release date.
These early reviews will pick up on any errors you’ve missed (it happens – and your team of beta readers will be a lot kinder about it!), as well as providing reviews to give new customers a level of comfort before they part with their hard-earned cash.
5 Have you optimised your distribution strategy?
Amazon KDP Select is still very popular among independent authors, but my view is that if you want a global audience, you’re not going to get it with Amazon alone. You have to be in Asia, South America and across Europe to make sure you’ve got visibility with as many readers as possible – and Amazon just won’t get you there.
Your books need to be available on iTunes, Google Play, Barnes & Noble/Nook and, of course, Kobo. That’s just for starters – wait until you start doing your research and find out how many eBook retailers there are in South America, Europe and Asia…
By utilising the above strategy before you hit that “publish” button, you’ll be giving your new book a great head start. Some of the other articles on this blog you might find useful to build on this include: