Guys! I’m am SO stoked about today’s post. You all may not know that I’m kind of an organizational freak. Just tell me about a spreadsheet, container system, or software that helps keeps things organized, and I am ALL OVER IT. Well! April Brown has put together a publishing checklist to take the pain and panic out of remembering everything you need to do to publish your book. This post is longer than our typical one, but it’s worthwhile since it’s got so much necessary information in one spot. I hope you find it helpful.
Organizing and writing your novel is obviously the first step in the publication process. There are already many useful resources available that can help you plan and prepare that novel. But what about after the book is written? Do you know the publishing and marketing steps you’ll need to follow to get your work out into the world?
It sounds daunting because there are so many things to remember. This is why I created my own publishing and marketing checklists, so I always know what needs to be done, and in what order. It’s helped me so much that I wanted to share it with you.
My advice is to print off the following checklists and begin by crossing off the line items that don’t apply; every author uses a variety of distributors and marketing methods, so if you don’t use Draft2Digital or HootSuite, just delete those. Your sheets may also include more outlets, such as Ingram Spark, Google Play, iBooks, or ACX. And you may choose not to include the portions of the process that you’re outsourcing, such as writing the marketing copy.
In general, most of these steps will be completed in the week prior to pushing the publish button—with the exception of Createspace, which can take more time. But keep in mind that some of the line items are reliant on other sites doing their jobs before you can take the next step, such as Amazon building your book page before you can add your title to your Author Central page. In this way, it may take some fiddling to figure out the perfect timeline, but this list should get you started.
Step 1: Publishing Checklist
Bookshare (Books for the blind and print disabled)
Draft2Digital has some unique options. One of these is to automatically update the back matter in all of your ebooks on all platforms at any time. Be sure and do this when you upload a new book.
Other Draft2Digital Options – You can choose to allow them to generate the following, or you can choose to create your own:
Books2Read – Use this site to create one link to all the places you sell your book. Generally available as soon as your book is available in online stores. It has the same user name and password as your Draft2Digital account.
Step 2: Publishing Checklist
With Amazon, Create Space, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, there are many options for where your books can be sold, and you’ll have to choose the distribution channels for each platform. For instance, if you want your book to be sold at iBooks, you can make this happen through either Smashwords or Draft2Digital but not both (since doing so will create multiple copies of your book being sold at a given store). The caveat: CreateSpace automatically sends a print copy link to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other locations. Ebook and print in both locations is fine.
To keep track of everything, it’s a good idea to keep an ISBN sheet for each of your books that includes all the channels that have been enabled through the various stores. (Joel Friedlander has a good one that you can download, or you can create your own.) If, for instance, you tell Smashwords to send Book 1 to Apple iBooks, you cannot send the same book to Apple iBooks through Draft2Digital. This becomes important especially when sending to Amazon. Also, to avoid copyright issues, you might want to make note of your cover creation information, including the date and location for the photo if it was personally taken.
Ongoing: Marketing Checklist
Pinterest (Begin as you write)
Website (As soon as possible)
Publishing Notes Sheets
Amazon Author Page and Bibliography: It generally takes three days after uploading the book for you to be able to find your page online.
A note about the Amazon Central pages: copying and pasting the above information from other programs usually works well, but within the Amazon Central page, line breaks won’t work. When editing your information on this page, there’s an HTML box that you can paste directly into, and the formatting comes out clean.
Blog Posts about/promoting your new book
Goodreads: Once you have a link and an ISBN, create a book page. Link to available editions (kindle, paperback, ebook, etc.)
Header (the image/text that will go at the top of your various social media pages)
Signature: You’ll want to update your signatures in various places to automatically include info on your new releases.
And once you get to this point, your book should be published and available for purchase! The beauty of this checklist is that it’s customizable to meet your needs, which will likely change a bit with each release. Want to run a giveaway? Add that to the Goodreads and/or Amazon sections. Need to send out review ARCs? Slip that into the appropriate spot and jot down the necessary details so you’ll remember next time.
Also, the industry is always evolving, and distributors are constantly changing their processes in various ways. For instance, Smashwords recently added a new email subscription feature that you may or may not want to take advantage of. If you’re maintaining a publishing checklist, you’ve got a handy place to make note of changes like these that you’d like to remember for the future.
And that, as they say, is that. Whether you decide to tweak this list or start your own from scratch, I hope the information comes in handy. Best of luck with your publishing and marketing efforts!
April Brown writes dramatic adventure novels that uncover the myths we hide behind. Uncover your own personal myths with a gluten free cookbook, life lists, or by learning to use the Brailliant Braille Display with VoiceOver on the Mac. Future updates, as well as information on her books, can be found at her website.
The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.