So, I have a sort of summary of my own publishing timeline and project flow here which covers a ton. – https://www.mylifemytao.com/business-post-publishing-timeline-project-flow/
I recommend you look at it. It’s obviously not going to work for everyone, but it should give you a list of things to do as an indie author.
However, let’s talk about some general pain points too.
I almost always get covers done earlier and would recommend you look into it now if you are in cover right now. Good cover artists are often booked months ahead and having the cover ready early won’t stop a release. Not having a cover will put your release completely on hold.
When looking for cover artists, you’ll want to see who else in the genre is using them and what the general ‘type’ of cover there is. Yes, there’s a cover art post too.
Editing & Alpha & Beta Readers
First, here’s a general workflow:
First draft -> Alpha Readers (if you do them) -> Second draft -> Dev Editors (if you use them) -> (X more drafts depending on author) -> Copy Edit -> Beta (if you do it) -> Proofreading (I would recommend this step by far since it’s relatively cheap and will catch last minute errors) -> Formatting -> Upload to release (see post for all the upload things).
Dev Editors can be useful, but are expensive and are the most experience heavy editors. A good dev editor needs to be experienced, which means that they are generally more expensive. Admittedly, a good dev editor who has low experience might still point out some major flaws that others might not catch for newbie authors, but that depends on where you lie on the spectrum of writing.
Highly experienced authors often find dev editors less useful on a regular basis and use them only occasionally (on the indie side at least).
Alpha and Beta Readers can be useful IF they can give you good feedback. Look up feedback forms to get good comments. Realise many won’t give good comments and should be dropped. Further realise that these readers slow down the writing / publishing process.
Lastly, proofreaders – don’t skip them. They’re cheap and can catch major mistakes (like unfinished sentences!).
Formatting frankly can be done internally after proofing. Atticus, Vellum, etc all work. But really, the VAST majority of readers don’t notice if you just use Word and follow basic formatting guides (check out Smashwords Guideline for how to format stuff. VERY useful).
Print and ebook formatting is different. Wide formatting (i.e. not for KU) is different too, but only in minor ways. You can mostly use the same format for both.
When You’re Uploading
Upload ebooks direct to Amazon. If you are going wide (and not using KU); try to upload to as many sites direct as possible. Kobo in particular has a promotions tab that is not accessible if you go through other 3rd parties. Ask for it to be added to your dashboard.
Draft2Digital is much better at getting stuff through Apple for promos, but even then, Apple can be huge and you can get on their list by asking too.
Google Play can make a decent amount of money for you, so try to get on it if possible. Android is like 70% of the market, so it’s worth getting onto their site. There are 3rd parties that can get you onto Google Publish if you can’t do it directly. You might have to depending if they are open to new publishers.
DON’T use Ingram for ebooks. They cost money and will charge you for updates even for typos. It’s a LOT easier to just do it direct on Amazon and you save 15%.
For Paperbacks & Hardcovers
Ingram for Paperbacks is fine, but only if you can get your books set-up for free (coupon codes are given out to a variety of organisations like ALLI & NINC). Occasional upload coupons appear in the wild too (generally for nanowrimo).
Upload also direct to KDP (Amazon) for paperback copies. The reason is to let Amazon show that your work is in-stock rather than ‘available in 2 weeks’. You’ll want that for paperbacks.
Hardcovers are not as important. Large Print is generally only for the library market, so upload large print via Ingram.
If you can’t upload for free, Draft2Digital has a new publishing platform too that I’ve heard good things about.
Getting Your Money
Make sure to get a Wise account. It’ll allow you to take funds direct in the currency of origin (Euros, Pounds, Australian Dollars, US Dollars, Canadian Dollars) and thus save you hugely on exchange fees that your bank will charge. That will save you a bunch over the year especially if you are intending to keep publishing. It also makes it easy to pay people in the US via ACH.
Are highly controversial. Look at what new debut authors in your genre are doing. Consider how much marketing leverage you have in getting new sales. If you have a chance to rank on any of the category new release list, it might be worthwhile.
If not, pre-orders might get you more sales than not having them.
Pre-orders for the next book are similar ideas, especially if you are doing rapid release strategies.
When It Releases
Write the next book! 🙂 Indie publishing really kicks in when you have a ton of books out and can leverage advertising / marketing for your series and have a decent backlist kicking money back in every month.
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