Book Parts for Indie Pubs - Indie Pub It
Checklists are an invaluable tool for indie authors. I’ve mentioned before that building your own checklists for each stage of writing and publication is great for saving time, while ensuring the quality of your product remains consistent … or improves.
Here’s one of my most used checklists, that I use to build a master publishing file in Word. The file is copied and the copy adjusted for each publishing platform, so I can tailor links specifically for the retail outlet.
The first draft of your book should be a text editing file holding just your story. This pared down file has no front and end matter to distract you. If you adjust the style for the body of the book to double spacing, it’s much easier on the eyes.
Once you’ve edited, etc., and have a final draft, it’s time to build the master file, using the checklist to guide you. This checklist is based on current indie marketing practices.
For the master file, put your cover image on the first page. Later, when you’re formatting a copy of the Master file for a specific outlet, you may or may not remove this (Amazon and Kobo, delete. Smashwords – doesn’t matter, so leave it in place. ARE/Omnilit – leave in place).
About your book
Your back cover blurb – a.k.a. the product description. Only put the blurb and information about the series, if it is one. It’s good to include this page so readers who dig up your book from the depths of their e-reader can recall why they bought the book.
Praise for your book
If you have advanced reviews or reviews for previous editions, add judicious pull quotes from the better ones. Also mention awards and best seller statuses. This page is close to the front, so it is included in the 20% sample for readers.
A list of all the components of your book, including chapter headings. Readers appreciate it plus it gives the book a professional feel. This content page is related to, but different from the indexed navigational contents that ebook readers use to jump around the book. Your conversion software probably builds the navigation index from the same markers that you use to build this front-end content page (most often, the H1 style is used).
The guts of the book
Cut and paste your final draft into your Master file. If you have set up your styles properly, the text will automatically convert to the proper single spacing and jagged right paragraphing that your final book should have. The headings should transfer seamlessly, too, converting to whatever final size and font you’ve decided upon. Hint: Smashwords get upset with headings greater than 18 point font.
Your advertisement page
The reader has just reached the end of your book and is (hopefully!) wildly enthusiastic about your story telling. This is where you hit them with your next book that they should buy, just when they’re actively thinking “I want more!” You should advertise a book that is in the same genre.
Insert the blurb, a couple of review quotes, and a link to where the reader can buy your book. For the Master file, insert an “xxx” for the link. When you copy the Master file for specific platforms, you can insert the link to the buy page.
In traditional print publications, this page is usually at the front. There could be many pages of advertisements. However, indie wisdom says to put as much matter at the back as possible. When the reader is browsing through the 20% sample that most retailers offer, they will access the story text sooner and get to read more of it, which gives you a better chance of converting them to the sale.
Use visual links, not blind links (http://TracyCooperPosey.com, not Tracy’s site). Ereaders handle URLs and live links differently. If your reader can’t click on the link because their software ignores URLs, but you’ve used a visual link, they can still type the URL into their browser bar.
If you have very long URLs, use BitMark (used to be Bitly) or one of the URL shortening services to cut it down to an URL that readers can type into their browser easily.
“Please review” and newsletter sign up page
While the reader’s enthusiasm is still high from the fabulous end of your story, ask them for a review. Insert a link back to the retail page from where they bought it, so all they have to do is click to leave a review. This may require publishing the book, to get the URL, which you then insert and republish. It is worth this fuss – the number of reviews you receive for your books will double or more.
Make sure you thank the reader for their review on this page.
This is also the place to mention your blog feed, newsletter or Facebook page, Twitter address, etc. Don’t overwhelm the reader with all your social network addresses. Pick two of your most effective tools and insert their links. I add a link for my New Book Release Announcement list and for my RSS feed. If they click through to either of these, they’ll get further links to my site, my Facebook page, etc.
Dedication and acknowledgements
Following the same logic as above, this page moves from the front of the book to the back.
Other books by you
A list of books you have previously published. Leave this page blank in your Master file, except for the title. Build template pages of your book titles, one for each retail platform, and keep them updated. When you’re tweaking the copy of the Master file for a specific platform, you can paste in the correct template.
Also pulled from the legacy publishing traditional front to the back. Make it short and interesting. You can add a link to your site, too.
For ISBN’s, edition information, keywords, security warnings if you use them. This is the very last page. Curious readers can still find it even though it’s not the traditional first page.
And that’s your book, put together with pre-built components you already keep up to date. It’s now ready to convert to ereader formats.
Columnist: Tracy Cooper-Posey writes erotic vampire romance series and hot romantic suspense. She has been nominated for five CAPAs including Favourite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award. She published 35 titles via legacy publishers before switching to indie publishing in March 2011. She has published 26 indie titles to date. Her indie books have made her an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author and have been nominated four times for Book Of The Year. Byzantine Heartbreak won the title in 2012. Tracy has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught romance writing at MacEwan University. An Australian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line. Her website can be found at http://TracyCooperPosey.com