Understanding the Indie Publishing Process

Understanding the Indie Publishing Process

Over the past decade, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from every project and client, which enabled me to improve my communication and processes.

One of the most important lessons learned?

Give every client an outline of the indie publishing process that includes clear directives, deadlines, and responsibilities. With indie publishing, the author and the publisher must work in collaboration, each holding up their end of the agreement in order to achieve the desired publication date of a high-quality book.

Six Steps to Indie Publishing

  1. Select a Publishing Package– Whatever your goal, I offer a package that meets your needs.
  2. Choose Your Publication Date – I require approval on the FINAL edits a minimum of two months prior.
  3. Commit to Your Project – My collaborative editing process requires a time commitment from both of us.
  4. Approve Final Edits – After a few rounds of editing, you, the author, must approve the final edits before the manuscript moves into formatting. Please read the post formatting versus editing for more.
  5. Approve Formatting – Once you approve the final edits, your manuscript moves into the formatting stage. What is formatting? It pertains the interior style of the book including fonts, headers, chapter templates, and justification. When your manuscript makes it to the formatting part of the process, you can no longer add or remove paragraphs, rewrite sentences, delete content or add new content. When is the time to do that? At any point within Step 4. By the time you approve final edits, you’ve reviewed your document repeatedly. Take as long as you need before signing off because we will not make any further editing changes after it moves into formatting.
  6. Approve Proof Copy – Before your book goes live online, you must approve either a digital version or a paperback proof. If you’re a new author, I recommend the latter.

As your independent publishing consultant, I am just as vested as you in the outcome. Producing good books with original, compelling covers and stylish, readable formatting is my top priority. Making you look good is my goal. That’s why every package I offer includes professional editing and formatting.

Kindle/eBook Formatting

kindle-381242_1280This is such a vital topic, I’m placing under its own heading. I cannot stress this enough, but different formatting rules apply to Kindle/eBooks. We cannot use the same PDF we uploaded for the paperback version for the Kindle version. It simply does not work.

Therefore, once you approve your edits, your manuscript moves into formatting first for paperback, then for Kindle. We release the paperback first, with the teaser that the Kindle version is coming soon (usually within two weeks). Kindle formatting may take longer, depending upon the number of photos, charts, headers, special fonts, and other characteristics of the paperback.

Congratulations, Your Book Published on Your Desired Date – Now What?

You move into the fun marketing phase. If your particular package includes online interviews, social media set-up and training, and a book signing kit I’ll set those up for you. But no matter which package you select, I encourage you to have fun engaging with your audience in cyberspace and in person.

Publication Date

To reiterate the above, the time to make changes to your book is while it is in the editing phase. When you approve final edits, the manuscript goes into the capable hands of a professional formatter whose job is to focus on the appearance of the content, not the content itself. Once you approve the formatting, we hit the “approve” button on the date that matches your desired publication date.

Why?

The date we click the approve button is the publication date. It cannot be changed. If you want your pub date to be March 14, 2017, we must approve it anytime after midnight on that date. From that point, it will go live on Amazon within 24 hours.

Post-Publication Rules

Once your book is for sale on Amazon (and everywhere books are sold online), it’s time to market and promote. It is not the time to pull the book down to make yet another editorial adjustment.

Can it be done? Yes. Do I advise it? Absolutely not. Refer back to Step 4.

Sure, a year or two after your book is out, you may want to update it. I did that myself with Water Signs — years after it was published, because I wanted to make improvements to the cover design and dialogue.

Ready to tell your story? Contact me for your complimentary 30-minute consultation.

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Formatting Versus Editing

Formatting Versus Editing

Why explain formatting versus editing?

Aside from ghostwriting, I offer all-inclusive publishing packages that include (among other services) professional formatting and editing.

What is the difference between the two?

According to Dictionary.com, book formatting is defined as 1. the shape and size of a book as determined by the number of times the original sheet has been folded to form the leave; and 2.the general physical appearance of a book, magazine, or newspaper, such as typeface, paper, margins, etc.

 

An example of paperback formatting.

Professional formatting pertains to the creation of the interior of a book after it has been edited for content, consistency, punctuation, grammar, spelling and typos. Depending on the publishing package you choose, you can count on me to correct any issues with grammar, punctuation, and spelling. But whether or not your package includes an editorial assessment (focusing on logical flow and progression of content), your manuscript will undergo multiple layers of editing.

From there, I send the manuscript back you with the request to carefully review and inform me of any further editorial changes. This is a critical part of the process and should not be rushed, no matter how excited you, the author, may be to bring your book to the online marketplace. At best, I recommend taking two-to-three days to ensure complete satisfaction with the content. Because I approach editing in a collaborative fashion and involve my author-client every step of the way, typically there are few, if any, changes. However, if the client wishes to alter anything having to do with items including word choices, dialogue, quotes, etc., it must be done before the formatting process begins.

An example of Kindle formatting.

An example of Kindle formatting.

Once in formatting, the only changes to the manuscript should involve things like fonts, justification, consistent chapter title set-up (e.g. does each chapter begin in the middle of a page?), table of content alignment, boldface or regular type, placement of photos and the like.

When a book is in the formatting phase, I can no longer add new content. Yes, if for some reason, a word gets misspelled in the process, I correct it. If a few sentences of a paragraph accidentally get cut out, I’ll re-insert them. But the time to decide you want to write another chapter or paragraph; add more names of people to your dedication or acknowledgements pages; throw in a new quote from another source; or change anything related to the actual content is while that manuscript is still in the editing phase.

Major General Linda L. Singh says she’s learning “to go slow to go fast” in life. With respect to editing, this is sage advice. By tempering your eagerness to publish your book and taking as much time as you need in the editing process, you can expect a smooth, efficient formatting phase, resulting in a professionally produced book you can be proud of.

Need help with indie publishing? Contact me to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

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Thank You John Ricciutti and Radnor Studio 21

Once again, John Ricciutti and Radnor Studio 21 gave me an opportunity to discuss Writestream Publishing, ghostwriting, self-publishing, and some of our books on John Ricciutti Presents. In Part One, we talked about Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal, To Guard My Every Neighbor, and Moments of Choice: My Path to Leadership.

In Part Two, we focused on the indie publishing industry and what to look for when deciding on a company to hire.

I’m thankful to John for his support. Visit his website jrinterviews.com to discover more interviews and features.

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Writestream Publishing Announces New Indie Publishing Packages

WritestreamPublishingTM

After a hugely successful first year, Lisa Tarves and I are thrilled to announce our affiliation with book publicist Michelle Kulp.  Thanks to this partnership,  Writestream Publishing has expanded its menu of services to exceed every client’s expectations, while remaining true to our original vision of making the indie publishing process as simple and affordable as possible.

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For those whose book serves as an enhancement to an existing career or a stepping-stone into a new one, we now offer Super Star and Rock Star Packages that guarantee their book’s status as an Amazon Bestseller. For those for whom the publication of a book represents the realization of a bucket list item or the ability to leave behind a legacy for family and friends, our Aspiring Star, Rising Star, and Shooting Star Packages fulfill those desires.

As always, we offer a no-obligation consultation to discuss your unique project. Contact us here.

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