Over the last two weeks, I’ve been writing about my process of self-publishing a book. This is the third and final article in the series.
While I’ve ghostwritten a lot of children’s books, I haven’t follow the process after that.
I have done some illustration reviews, but usually I just hand the polished manuscript to my client with a list of illustrators and formatters and that’s it.
But I realize that figuring out what to do after that can be a bit overwhelming. I wanted to be able to provide more information to my clients to help them with the next step, so decided to revise a book I had published a few years ago.
When I first wrote the book, I paid someone on Fiverr to take my Word doc manuscript, format it, design a cover, and actually upload it to Kindle and CreateSpace. I had no involvement whatsoever aside from writing the manuscript.
What I learned from that experience is that you should really hire someone or a service who knows what they’re doing. While sometimes going the cheap route can work out, sometimes it doesn’t. So, buyer beware.
Okay, back on track.
In the first article of this series, I talked about getting the cover and back cover designed by 100 Covers. They did an amazing job.
Once the cover was ready to go, I sent my fully edited manuscript along with the cover image to the book formatter. I used Book Formatters.
The book I’m publishing is nonfiction, so all I needed to do was send the manuscript in a Word doc along with the cover. They’ll design the interior and create a PDF of the book (a print-ready file) which they’ll send to me for review.
Once I okay the PDF, the formatter will move on to building the ebook which are ePub and MOBI files. They’ll also create print version files if I want, which I do.
You will need to let the formatter know which selling platform or aggregator you’ll upload your book to, like KDP (Retailer) or Smashwords (Aggregator) or Ingram Spark (Aggregator) or other. I’m guessing there are different formats for different publishing platforms.
Most of Book Formatters clients use KDP and IngramSpark. That’s what I’ll be using.
So, right now I’m waiting for the PDF to review.
In case you’re not sure what an aggregator does, this service distributes your book. In other words, they make it available for sale in a number of places, like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and so on.
Not all aggregators have the same distribution network. IngramSpark has an extensive network with over 39,000 retailers including libraries.
An overview of how it works:
After your manuscript is complete and fully edited:
- You hire an illustrator or book cover service to create the front cover, the back cover, and the spine for your book.
- The manuscript and cover go to the book formatter.
- The formatting is done and you get print-ready files to upload to retailers and aggregators (like KDP and IngramSpark)
With 100 Covers, you’re also given a 3D/social image and print cover. I’m not sure if other designers do this also.
What Is The Process For A Picture Book?
I asked Book Formatters what their process is and it’s pretty straight forward:
The steps to get your picture book formatted:
- You submit your finalized cover.
- You submit your fully edited manuscript in MS Word format.
- You submit your images in a separate file. The images must be a minimum of 300 DPI. Your illustrator should know this, but just in case, you can change the DPI of images at https://convert.town/image-dpi
- Provide clear instructions on where the images are to go. Also provide a description or illustration of the image and text layout.
Let’s backtrack just a bit.
You will need a quality and fully edited manuscript no matter what type of book you’re publishing.
If it’s a picture book or chapter book with illustrations, you’ll need to hire a ‘good’ illustrator.
Try to find a children’s illustrator who does the text layout in the illustrations and does book covers. Some of them will provide you with a PDF of the book that you can hand over to the book formatter.
It’s important to work with an illustrator who knows what she’s doing.
Things you might add to your manuscript before getting it formatted:
- The dedication page. You could ask the formatter where to put it or send it to them to add it in for you.
(The book formatter will add the title page and copyright page.)
- The author page. This is a brief ‘about you.’ It lets the reader know who you are. This goes at the end of your story. You can simply include it at the end of the manuscript.
One thing I didn’t mention is the backcover copy.
This copy is an enticing description of the book. It should motivate the reader to actually BUY your book. Just be sure not to give the ending away.
You’ll give the backcover copy to the illustrator who is doing your book cover.
All in all, it’s not a crazy troublesome process.
Once you have a fully edited manuscript and book cover, you give it to a book formatter to turn into the print-ready files you’ll need for an ebook and a print book.
Then you create an account at Amazon, IngramSpark, or any other retailer or aggregator service you want.
Next, take the print-ready files and upload them to the services you chose.
Making Your Book Searchable and Findable
The retailers and aggregators will need information about your book, like a powerful description, keywords, category, price, and so on.
Read the questions and information they ask for carefully and complete everything carefully. It’s this information that will help sell your books. It allows the distribution service to categorize your book and make it available for relevant search queries.
Once you upload your book, it can take 24-72 hours before your ebook and print book will be available for sale.
Like anything else, take it one step at a time. Knowing what to do makes is so much easier!
One Final Note
If you really, really don’t think you can handle this process, there are self-publishing services that will put it together and publish it for you. You do need to be careful though. There are a lot of unscrupulous services out there.
You might look into Lulu.com and BookBaby.com.
Keep in mind that these services will offer you all kinds of services, like editing, illustrations, covers, marketing, and so on.
The last I looked, Lulu was $1200 for this and BookBaby was $1800 just for book formatting, publishing, and distribution.
Please be careful if you are thinking about using their services for editing, illustrations, and marketing. I’ve seen very poor-quality work from some self-publishing services.
I don’t know about Lulu or BookBaby, but do be careful.
I now take care of this process for clients who are interested. If you’d like me to give you a quote, send me an email.
I know this is a lot of information and I’ve tried to make it as clear and understandable as possible. If you have any questions, or I’ve missed the mark, please let me know.
You might find the first two articles in this series helpful also:
Self-Publishing a Book – Formatting (Part 1)
Self-Publishing a Book – The ISBN, the Barcode, and the LCCN (Part 2)
Self-publishing a book may seem overwhelming, but if you get it done in steps, it won’t feel daunting. This article discusses the ISBN, the barcode, and the LCCN. All things you’ll need for your book.
Let me take a look at your notes, outline, or draft. I’m a working children’s ghostwriter and rewriter. I can turn your story into a book that you’ll be proud to be author of.
Shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put
Children’s Ghostwriter in the Subject line). Or, you can give me a call at 834—347—6700
Let’s get your story in publishable shape today!