5 Things I Learned Through My Second Version of the Self -Publishing Process
I’ve self-published before but doing it a second time, with a different publisher and a few key things stood out this time around. This is also the first time I’ve worked with BookBaby. Read on to see if my pitfalls can assist you toward experiencing a smooth process.
5. Proper timelines go a long way.
Give yourself a target date for publication, if the book is done before then, GREAT but at least six months to a year out, even if you published before, too soon and you find yourself not ready, too much time and your excitement can wane.
4. BookBaby = a GREAT place for those that LIKE to communicate and work through e-mail, (A LOT).
You can take this two ways, will you be calling them at all hours of the day and hoping beyond hope to speak to a friendly voice (the same voice to be with you through the ENTIRE project and know every intimate detail about your specific book)? Uh, nope! But you will work quickly and still make progress by reading all e-mails, responding accordingly and returning your portions in a timely manner. I didn’t realize how much of an electronic correspondence person I am, (okay I did) until I started this project and worked with people paid to get back to me. That’s why no one at work responds to your long e-mails; apparently you didn’t pay them to get back to you favorably. J
In about 8-12 weeks (working full time, it went VERY FAST), I had all my book related information through the process, including cover design (in right formats -ask a designer if you have no idea, or better, cut and paste the format requirements information from the website and send it to them), content/description, tags, two descriptions of the story, two bios (short and long) and category information and I was ready to go when I hooked up with them. Being ready is KEY for a smooth process.
- Organization is KEY.
If you find that your information is just all over the place, then you have too many different files. Put every single thing, file, photo, jpeg, adobe whatever, about that project in ONE folder, sometimes in ONE file if you can and just use headers to break up each piece. You can open one file and you can simply cut and paste into your BookBaby account for uploading. I’m pretty organized in life over all, and in my computer filing methods, I don’t have my desktop cluttered with individual word documents that all look the same, but I try to put not more than about 5-8 folders labeled with the right project name on the desktop. You will work so much more efficiently when you do this.
- Don’t Be a Wimp When It’s Time to Say No.
I was disappointed to say the least that the person I had utilized to design a book cover didn’t seem to have the knowledge that I thought they should. Oh well. What’s important here is that I didn’t quite know how to tell them that and ALMOST utilized their creation because I felt bad. I did like it, but I wasn’t wowed. I also felt some responsibility because I had given the words and ideas and felt that perhaps I didn’t use the right words and ideas to get her juices flowing. It was like firing someone, thank God I don’t work in HR or many a company would go belly up.
It’s okay to reject a creation you’re unhappy with, but think about what you’re rejecting and the long-term impact of accepting something you’re not 100 % happy about. With books they are out there hopefully FOREVER. Then think about, are you saying no, never again with you, or are you saying this isn’t quite the right for this project. Be Creative – it’s why you’re publishing in the first place, because you’re creative, right?
See if you can use it in some other fashion. Instead of saying “No never,” to the designer, I said, “You know, this isn’t right for what I’m going for at this time”. Then, a friend also said something wonderful when I did my unscientific poll, (for each cover I ask about 5 – 8 people what they think), and note what their initial and varied impressions are. Important: Be certain to ask a mix of people whom you really care what they think as well as people who are not necessarily a fan nor voracious readers for that matter. You’d be surprised. This person’s first response: “It looks more like a cover for a devotional.” Beings I had paid for the design, the photo stock images, it was still mine. SO, down the road, I do hope to write something along those lines, even if it’s just a short thing, I already have a cover that I can revisit at that time and perhaps it will work better for me then.
- Take More Opportunities to Debrief Yourself
Take note all successes and failures for future reference. Often we go through the process quickly, we learn as we go and we even feel the scar of a mistake, recalling it so vividly yet we don’t always note or remember the steps that brought us to the mistake to begin with. It’s a brand new year thus it’s important to pay attention to the causes of the error more so than the error itself. When we “carefully review upon completion” we are less prone to repeat performances both good and bad.