After a Skype visit with patrons of the St. George Library System, I thought an update on my self-publishing post was in order. The last time I posted was in 2011, and there have been a lot of changes in the industry since then. The biggest change is the ease of publishing. With that in mind, I am reducing my essentials list.
CreateSpace Account (free; provides the ebook cover at no cost)
Kindle Direct Publishing Account (requires a credit card)
MS Word (or you can purchase a writing program like Scrivener)
NOOK Press Account (requires a credit card; not necessary if you’re using Smashwords)
Smashwords Account (free, iTunes, Kobo, Nook, etc.)
How I Sold 1 Million eBooks by John Locke
How to Publish an ebook on a Budget by Stephanie Zia
Suggested Marketing Tools:
Amazon Author Page
Blog or Web Site
Facebook Fan Page
Goodreads Author Page
JacketFlap Author Page
NewLDSFiction (or similar blog according to your audience)
Formatting Your Manuscript:
Times New Roman, 12 pt, is easiest to translate to ebook
Cambria, 16 pt, is a good basic font for headings
Base document can be doc or docx (Kindle can translate either now but Smashwords still requires a doc)
Use the PARAGRAPH function for any extra spaces; multiple returns do not translate into ebooks
Use the PARAGRAPH function for indents; tabs do not translate into ebooks
Use the PARAGRAPH function to format the body text. It should be justified (except for any text you want centered). Indentions should be 0. However, you need to use SPECIAL for first line (0.25 or 0.3). Spacing before and after should be 0, unless you have a need for extra spacing. Then you would add however many points you want before or after a particular paragraph (I use the extra spaces on the first page for the title and for the title page and before or after dividing marks for time differentiation in the novel).
Before every chapter break, use the PAGE LAYOUT function. Go to BREAKS then NEXT PAGE (for CreateSpace paperback copies, you can insert a BREAK then NEXT ODD PAGE if you'd like the chapters to all start on an odd page).
After you have highlighted all Chapter Titles as HEADINGS, go to the place in your manuscript you want your Table of Contents. Go to REFERENCES. Click on TABLE OF CONTENTS. INSERT TABLE OF CONTENTS. (For ease of creation, I create the chapter titles as a heading while I’m typing the manuscript; after setting your headings – adding spaces before and after as you want – right click over heading 1 and click on update heading 1 to match selection; that switches all heading 1 text to match the formatting.)
This creates the Table of Contents (TOC) that will translate into ebook format. This TOC only works in Kindle. For a TOC that works in Smashwords, see the link to adding navigation above.
As a quick primer for Smashwords, remove the internal TOC. Manually type the table of contents. Highlight over the entire chapter heading of each chapter, click on INSERT tab and then BOOKMARK (about the top middle of the page on the insert tab). Bookmark names cannot contain spaces. I label my bookmarks starting with Chapter01, etc. Since this is an internal reference only, you don’t need anything more than something to let you know what bookmark to attach to. When you use the hyperlink, the words you highlight will be the ones showing in the navigation bar, so include everything in the hyperlink you want to show. This process is easiest in split screen if you’re using word. You get to the split screen on the top right. It’s the small horizontal rectangle above the scroll bar. I keep the TOC open and scroll down to the chapter headings. As soon as I bookmark the chapter, I go back to my TOC, highlight the name of the chapter, right click, scroll down to HYPERLINK (which you can also find on the INSERT TAB and then to the left of the BOOKMARK tab), and then select a spot inside the document and choose the bookmark you want it to link to. In order to have the Smashwords TOC work right, you have to delete all the hidden bookmarks. Click on bookmarks, click on hidden bookmarks. Anything that starts with an underscore is a hidden bookmark. Delete all of those. Save the document. You might want to re-check after saving. I’ve seen some ghost bookmarks show up after a save.
After you are finished, go to the start of your book. INSERT a BOOKMARK at the title. Call it “Start.” Next, scroll down to the beginning of your Table of Contents. INSERT a BOOKMARK. Call it “TOC.” As mentioned above, the marking is essential for the Kindle Table of Contents to work.
CreateSpace creates your Kindle book cover for you. Go under publish to Kindle and download the cover. To make it the right size for ebook, I use this free software: http://resizeimage.net/
After uploading my image, the only thing I change is the W for width to match Smashword’s specification. The program does the rest. After saving it to my computer, I upload the image to Smashwords. For the audio version, you’ll need a square image, so you’ll have to work on creating a slightly different cover.
The audio version (I use ACX https://www.acx.com/) is relatively easy to create. I have done a royalty split with my narrators, which requires no financial output.
If you want CreateSpace to create your ebook, you pay their fee and they create it for you. Since the process for switching a paperback manuscript to an ebook manuscript isn’t difficult if you format the paperback correctly, I do that step myself. The difference between the two is I keep all fonts at 18 or under (that translates to a variety of platforms), remove all drop caps, remove all headers and footers, and switch the margins to normal (1”) and the size to 8.5x11. If you use images, you’ll need to compress them under the picture tool. Because Kindle lets me use the docx, that’s all the steps for moving it to an ebook. Smashwords requires the doc format, so I save the docx manuscript as a doc, and it’s ready for Smashwords except for the Smashwords disclaimer on the publishing page.
Smashwords won’t publish without this disclaimer:
Smashword Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
For Nook, you should be able to use the Smashwords version with their disclaimer removed. If you don’t want to bother working directly with Nook, Smashwords sells to Nook as well.
I highly recommend you buy your own book and load it into your Kindle for PC (if you don’t own a Kindle) to make sure the finished product looks how you want it to. The on-line reader might not catch any glitches, and you’ll want to make sure it’s working in a live environment.
For your printed book (NOT your ebook; headers and footers don’t translate), you will want page numbers, your name, and the title of your book in the book’s body. Look at different books and decide how you want them to read. Centered bottom, top, justified – it’s your choice, just make sure it’s consistent throughout your book. There are some great suggestions on the CreateSpace home page to format your book so it looks professional.
All pages before the main body should have no page numbers. Any numbers showing are considered unprofessional. In order to achieve this, start all pages at the beginning as a section break, next page. When you create your header or footer, be sure to mark them as first page, different. If the author name and title are on different pages, you’ll want to mark odd and even pages as different also. The first page of every section should have no markings.
Normally, the author name is on the even page and the title of the book is on the odd page. The body of the book should start as an odd page on the right.
Digital proofing is available. If you want to see the finished project before releasing it, you can order a paper proof. Since the proof copies are relatively inexpensive, they can be a great editing tool. They generally cost less than printing on your home printer, and you can hand copies to your beta readers and editor(s).
Once you open a CreateSpace account, you start a project. It walks you step-by-step through the process. You need to know the book size you want before you start. Whichever size you choose, create the Word document in the same size. I like the 5.5x8.5 size, so I create my document in that size. Creating a different size also opens up a dialogue box in Word which asks for a gutter. This is the space in the middle of a book that allows for binding. I choose 0.5 and a left gutter. I like how the cream paper looks and feels, so that’s what I choose for my projects. Make sure you’re using narrow margins.
CreateSpace has a cover creator you can use for free. Many authors use cover pictures from on-line stores. If you use a picture from a source other than your own camera, be sure to site the source. I like BigStock for images. There are several sources for pictures. Some are royalty free.
If your book is fictional, you must have a statement similar to the one below (note also credit to CreateSpace):
Cover Design by Create Space
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
If anyone is quoted or referred to in your book, you must receive permission. Most authors, speakers, etc. can be found on-line. Also, LDS scripture is copyright protected, so make sure you get permission or at least acknowledge the copyright holder. According to information I've read, it's best NOT to include lyrics of songs you like. The fines involved can be thousands of dollars. If you like a particular song, you can refer to the title and artist. The readers can find the lyrics themselves, and you won't be financially liable.
If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact me at 435.830.2420 or message me through facebook at Roseanne Wilkins.