Self-Publishing Case Study Part 2 – Preparation
Self-Publishing case study Part 2: Here we explore the seven major activities required to prepare a book for the subsequent publish and promote frameworks.
In this article, I’ll be lifting the lid on how the Intertype Publish and Print team goes about publishing a book using my current book project as a real-life example.
Self-publishing is full of complexity and confusion is something I hear nearly every day. I’m sorry to have to tell you this but it’s true. Publishing has been in existence for over 2000 years and in that time the industry has purposefully created complexity in order to justify it’s existence, to create barriers to new competitors, and to justify excessive charges. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over 3,000 book projects have allowed the Intertype team to create a process that smashes the complexity and confusion suffered by most authors. In this training, I’ll be “lifting the lid” on our process which will give you an insight as to what your manuscript goes through before it hits the shelves.
Over 2500 tasks
To take a raw manuscript and turn it into a professionally published book that is ready to buy involves over 2500 tasks. That may seem a lot however the 2500 tasks are after we streamlined the traditional processes. On top of this self-published authors must also contend with the “2 min gurus” who profess to know it all after watching a YouTube video and reading one of Karen’s Facebook Posts. It’s no wonder authors only see complexity and confusion.
But it doesn’t end there. These 2500 tasks don’t include the tasks required to write a book nor do they include the tasks required to build an author platform and market your work… it never seems to end.
Australia is Unique
Australia’s geographical location has some severe implications for your readers’ experience. Most online bookstores, including Amazon, are set up to service the huge population centers in the northern hemisphere. A hard copy book purchased from these online stores will result in a 3-5 week delivery timeframe and to rub salt into the wounds, a $25 book will end up costing over $50 when you factor in taxes, delivery charges and exchange rates.
A professional self-publishing book in Australia also needs to cater for this situation.
Intertype’s Three Frameworks to Self-Publishing Success
If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly is a saying that holds true for book publishing. The Intertype process has been designed to deliver a self-published result that looks and feels like it has been published by a high-end publishing house but it has to do it without costing the earth. To achieve this Intertype has broken the process down into three main frameworks or areas of activity:
- Prepare: Getting the fundamentals in place right from the start
- Publish: Having your book globally available in printed and electronic formats
- Promote: Making it easy for people to buy your book in Australia and internationally
In this training episode, I’ll be focusing on the preparation framework however you need to be cognizant of the interconnections that occur across all three frameworks.
There are seven major activities required to prepare a book for the subsequent publish and promote frameworks.
- Support Material: Most of the support material is generated in the foundation framework of the author pyramid. This was covered in some detail in Episodes 3, 4 and 5 of Saturday Secrets. The main elements we need are :
- Your goals for your book
- Your target market
- Your persona
- A set of author bios (short, medium and long)
- Your headshot, professionally taken is best however a high-resolution photo that represents who you truly are will suffice. Avoid “selfies”.
- Editing: There are two types of editing that need to be considered. Deep editing is performed by a highly skilled professional editor. Most of our non-fiction authors do their own editing however I highly recommended using the services of a professional editor for fiction books. Shallow editing is highly recommended for all books that aren’t edited professionally. At Intertype we perform shallow editing using a mix of artificial intelligence (or AI) based technology backed up by skilled shallow editors. This approach focuses on spelling, punctuation and grammar while deep editing does these activities as well as looking at such things as sentence structure and story flow.
- ISBN Registration: An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique product identifier used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers, and other supply chain participants for ordering, listing, sales records and stock control purposes. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition and format. It’s highly recommended that every book that is to be sold has an ISBN and associated barcode. There are many cost and logistical advantages for having Intertype look after this on your behalf.
- Cover Design: When we design book covers there are two aspects to cover design that are considered. First, the front cover must catch the eye of your target audience across a crowded bookstore…easier said than done. This is also when we apply sound marketing principles to your book title and sub-heading. The back cover, on the other hand, is designed to sell your book. It gives your target reader compelling reasons to buy your book. The other main issue to be mindful of is that the cover artwork has to work in the printing process which is the main reason why Intertype has developed our own internal team of highly skilled graphic designers.
- Additional Pages: Your manuscript will constitute the bulk of your book however there are some additional pages that should be included to present your book as being professionally published. The main additional pages that are often developed include the copyright page, disclaimers, acknowledgments, dedications, forward, contents table, author bio, testimonials and calls to actions. The latter being very important for those who are looking to build an author platform and generate an income from their publishing efforts.
- File Preparation: Up until now your manuscript is usually a roughly formatted MSWord, Google Doc or Apple Pages document. Along with the cover design, professionally formatted pages will give potential readers an instant visual indication that they are purchasing a professionally published book hence the importance of getting this right. Certain image-heavy books such as textbooks and cookbooks are formatted using Adobe’s Indesign software. Text-based books are formatted in MSWord using a suite of purpose-built templates that conform to global publishing standards. When formatting and preparing files we need to ensure the book will be consistent across various types of media:
- Printed books: Page size is an important issue. Book page sizes are now dictated by the US imperial standards with many not translating to efficient printing sizes for metric countries such as Australia, Asia and Europe. This limits the range of sizes that are suitable for a global market so we need to select carefully. Additionally, the formatting needs to be set up correctly to work in the printing process and must consider color spaces, bleed, trims and international printing standards.
- eBooks: Formatting a book for the Kindle platform may require separate files from print. This is especially true for image-heavy books which generally work best using the epub format.
- Audio Books: Formatting for audio is very easy. Audiobooks don’t work for image-heavy books so modifying the MSWord files is a simple process. It’s important to present the book text so that the narrator can easily read while they “perform” your content. When I “perform” my own audiobooks I use a teleprompter that requires the text in Google Doc format. Alternatively, your book can be read from a computer screen in MSWord format where I suggest using a larger font such 14 points and 1.5 line spacing
- Multi-purposing for marketing: Much of the content of your book along with your cover can be multi-purposed into marketing materials for when it comes time to generate book sales. Some of the key elements I multi-purpose include: author bios, author headshots, 3D scripts of the book cover, the back cover blurb and testimonials. Professionally designed cover and formatted text pages makes multi-purposing super easy and helps present a coordinated look and feel across all your marketing efforts.
Over the coming episodes of Saturday Secrets, I’ll be applying Intertype’s unique approach to self-publishing to show how we go about publishing my new book in printed as well as ebook form and having it available for sale on the World stage.
I’ll also multipurpose this episode and future episodes into a mini training series, articles etc.
In the next episode, I’ll be using the “Publishing” framework to make my book available globally while servicing the unique requirements of the Australian market place.
Key Takeaways from part 2 of this case study are:
- Australia has unique publishing requirements due to it’s geographical location,
- Cover design is important for grabbing a potential readers attention and making the sale,
- Your target market and persona, are important elements in the preparation framework,
- Designing covers and formatting to suit printing and ebooks are specialist skills
I know, self-publishing can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. In coming episodes, I’ll be exploring the simple, no BS and fast approach to completing a successful publishing project.
Finally, I want to leave you with one piece of advice:
While the content of your book is vital to getting positive reviews, testimonials and referrals it’s the appearance that drives initial sales. Professional cover design and formatting are essential elements of all successful publishing projects and it’s worth your while investing in getting these elements right as they also form a vital component of your “author brand”.