Ruthy here! With so many of us branching out as either hybrid authors (traditional publishing + independent self-publishing = hybrid) or independently published authors (either self- or small press-pubbed) we decided it was time to ask some of the best and brightest of the e-pub/independent-pubbed industry to stop by and talk us through some stuff... Marie Force's bio is below, and it's wonderfully impressive, but on top of her publishing kudos, Marie and her "fairies" have blazed a trail for folks to deliver a great product to the marketplace time and again. And that's clutch when you're courting readers!
Time and again, authors ask the E-book Formatting Fairies for assistance because they don't have the time, skills or necessary technology for e-book publishing. Writers want to write, not wrestle with technology. With more than 25 published books, 17 of them self-published, I've learned a lot on this journey. I started the E-book Formatting Fairies in early 2012 to help authors create e-book and print-on-demand files ready for sale on all the major retailers.
But let's back up for a second and talk about self-publishing in more general terms. Why is this the best time ever to be an author? Never before has it been so easy for authors to take control of their careers and get their books directly to readers. With the advent of digital devices and e-books came platforms such as Kindle Direct Publishing at Amazon, NookPress at Barnes & Noble, iTunes Producer for Apple and Smashwords to distribute e-books to readers. By distributing directly to these retailers, authors can earn royalty rates of 70 percent, a dramatic increase over the royalties authors have come to expect from traditionally published titles. Add to that the opportunity for full control of content, covers, release schedules and promotion, and authors can get their work to readers and potentially make a lot of money.
Now back to e-books. You've finished your manuscript. What’s next? Start thinking about your cover, editing and formatting. I was a professional copy editor for more than twenty years. I have a degree in Journalism and have had courses in copy-editing. I’ve worked on newspapers and served as editor-in-chief of a national trade magazine for 16 years. All of this experience has helped me in my writing career, but I wouldn't dream of publishing a book without a professional copy edit. Copy editors know things most people don’t know—such as which four states are commonwealths and when to use lay, lie or laid. Readers catch typos and often report them in reviews or on social media. Avoid this by having your book reviewed by a copy editor. You won’t regret it.
A book cover is often the first, and sometimes the only, thing a reader will see when considering whether or not to purchase your book, so it should be memorable. Getting there isn't as easy as you might think. Do you have the skills to design high-quality (and high-resolution) images that reflect your story, characters and setting? Can you develop an impactful title treatment that will stand out in all the various sizes used on retail sites? You might be tempted to tackle the cover design yourself, but a homemade cover looks, well… homemade. There’s no substitute for a professionally designed and executed cover. Think of it as the “face” of your book and put forth your very best effort.
E-book formatting is what the Fairies do most often for our clients. We are contacted every day by authors who need their books formatted for distribution to the major retailers. Incorrect or inconsistent formatting can keep the reader from enjoying, and in some cases understanding, your book. Front matter, including a copyright statement, is important in identifying your book and in some cases required by the retailer. Back matter should be used to let the reader know more about you and your other titles. If you have more than one book available for sale and are not listing it in the back of your book with live purchase links, you’re missing out on potential sales. I have links to all my titles in the back of my books, as well as excerpts for the next book available in the series. I also customize my e-book files for each retailer so when a reader finishes book 1 in my series and reads the excerpt from book 2, they can immediately purchase it. I include links to my website, mailing list and social media as well. Don't miss out on this opportunity for readers to connect with you AND your other books!
Did you think print was not an option for self-published authors? Think again. There are ways for authors to get their book in print through services like CreateSpace, an Amazon company. We can format your book and your cover for print on demand, and CreateSpace will make it available for sale on Amazon and available to other retailers and bookstores through distribution channels. I have found that many readers still enjoy holding a paper book in their hand and make sure all my self-published titles are available in print. Just because you don't have a print contract with a publisher doesn't mean you can’t have books in print!
I’ve only talked about a few aspects of self-publishing and e-book formatting. I encourage you to read through the blog posts on the E-book Formatting Fairies site and learn more about self-publishing, the services we offer to help authors successfully self-publish and the Independent Author Symposium taking place in Warwick, RI this Nov. 1-2. If you want to learn the ins and outs of self-publishing, consider joining us! Find out more about the Symposium here: http://e-bookformattingfairies.blogspot.com/p/independent-author-symposium.html.
Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than 25 contemporary romances, including Maid for Love, book 1 in the bestselling McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, which is a free e-book. Her other series include the Fatal Series, the Treading Water Series and numerous stand-alone books. All You Need is Love, book 1 in her new Green Mountain Series from Berkley Publishing, is out on Feb. 4, 2014.