So you’ve got your manuscript, you’ve edited the hell out of it, got a cover, hit spellcheck thousands of times, and had other people check it out for you – not necessarily friends, but proofreaders, beta readers, people who can lend an eye.
Wonderful stuff. Well done, you.
So, I know there are guides on how to format. I’ve read a few of them, and I’m sure I wrote something about it a few weeks back.
Here’s the easiest thing to do:
Sign up and log in. It won’t cost you a thing and it’ll save a huge amount of time.
Okay? All signed in? Fab.
It’s pretty simple to navigate but we’ll work through it now because why not?
First things first – we’re going to Add New Book.
If you have the cover art, feel free to click the thing and browse for your cover. If not, no worries, you can still save your work in draft form.
Book Title: Enter the title as it will appear on the cover. When entered, the final page of this set-up will give you the option to download the pdf. In the pdf, you’ll see that your title is printed on one page, your author name is printed on the reverse. It’s pretty nifty.
Okay, moving on,
Series: if it’s part of a series, pop the series name in here.
Publisher: obviously, I’ve taken shots from my account, so it says my name. Put yours, though, eh? (You are, of course, welcome to dedicate the book to me.)
Same deal with Prioritized Author Names. It ain’t me, babe. Pop in your own name.
Language: There are a huge number of options here. Make your choice carefully.
Volume Number: number of this book in series.
Search Terms: it pretty well insists that you put something in this box. Unless you’re publishing through Draft2Digital, which is entirely up to you, you can just put random search terms. I tend to go with black comedy, lesbian, countryside, humour, psychological. That sort of thing – it’s who I am.
Filter BISACS: okay, so you can just tap in a subject and let the machine find it for you. Or,
Subject list: scroll through it and find two subjects that fit with your project.
And – Start ebook. This is when it all starts feeling a bit real. Take a breath, you’re doing fine.
Now, I should probably remind us all: In order to go through these screens effectively, I’m uploading a work of my own. Do feel free to ignore everything about it. This is just to give you an idea of what’s expected on each step of the journey.
So, we’ve made it to Step One: Details.
You’ll note: I haven’t put any cover art in yet. This is because I don’t have any. However, in order to progress through the steps, you will need your cover. I managed to cheat my way around it in order to cover the rest of the steps. I’ll assume applause and thank you.
You’ll need to upload your book file – the polished, preened and edited manuscript that’s taken months, perhaps years, to write. Once uploaded, you can pick your release date. It can be today or at a later date. Obviously, you’ll want a later date if you’re putting your book up on pre-order.
Then, you get to write your blurb. This is painful for every writer. I put it down to spending so long with the work. Having written thousands and thousands of words to make the story, it can feel like an impossible effort to cut it down to a few scant sentences, however, it is necessary. As I’ve said before, it’s worth trying to imagine explaining the story to a well-read drunk. They’re already enthusiastic (readers like to read things), they don’t need to be told what a book is, but you don’t need to explain its cultural significance in atom-splitting detail because – that’s just exhausting to listen to.
Okey-cokey, blurb written in the ebook description, you can add any non-author contributors (editor, cover designer) should you wish, and click on your ISBN option. If you have your own ISBN, pop it in. If not, don’t worry, click on the ‘Give me a free Draft2Digital ISBN’ option.
Save and continue, and we’ll move on to the next page.
The title page is just the name of the book, with your name as author and the date of publication. It’s worth having. It doesn’t take up much room, and it’s pretty standard for a book to start with this information.
The copyright page is vital – just a copyright symbol, your name and the date lets people know that this is protected material. It’s yours, so you might as well look after it.
Dedication: if you have someone you want to dedicate the book to, this is the spot.
You’ll note on the right hand side the Chapter Layout. Again, this is mine, but whether you’ve named your chapters or just given them numbers, these should show up in the Chapter Layout section. Luckily, there is a ‘HELP! THESE AREN’T MY CHAPTERS!’ button so, if something’s gone wrong, it should be infinitely fixable from here.
Promotional pages are useful if you have a back-catalogue that you want to proffer to potential readers. If you do the whole newsletter thing, then you’ve got the New Release Email Notifications Signup option available.
In terms of biographical pages, you’ve got About The Author and About The Publisher. If you’re both, you can just fill in one. Again, it can be tricky writing about yourself in third person, but people are always interested in people so, take a deep breath and try not to be too self-conscious. Or if you are, make it funny.
Step three – oh, but we’re making progress.
Here, you can choose between various styles – I’ll show you a few while we’re here – it’s entirely up to you whether you want some sort of picture header or just plain text. Play around with it for a bit, and see what suits you.
One note: drop caps can be tricky on some devices, so it may be best to save your drop caps for the paperback.
You’ll note, on the right hand side of the screen, there are options for download.
Once you’ve picked the style you like best, go ahead and download ePub or Mobi files for ebooks, and pdf for paperback. You’ll note, on opening these, that the ePub/mobi files look like ebooks, and the pdf looks like more like a paperback. Also, the pages are numbered. Oh, the excitement. This is now practically a book.
As with everything, you’ll need to save and continue before you can make any progress, but the next stage is distribution. If you’re wanting to sell your book via Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Tolino, Vivlio and a whole load of subscription based and library style outlets, this is your best bet.
Personally, I’ll be going straight to Amazon but no one is saying I’m doing this right.
Next time – We’ll move on to what to do when you get to Amazon…