Updated: Dec 26, 2019
The Offworld Author's Book Launch Map is a Step-by-Step Schedule to Publishing your Book.
It’s written by Self-Published Author’s, who tell it like it is.
It assumes you have your manuscript professionally edited and ready to move on to the next stage. If not, it really needs to be before you hit The Map.
If you need an Editor to give it the once over for you, do that here.
If you’ve got a great idea but don’t know how to write it (or haven’t got time) have a professional author ghostwrite your book for you. You can do that here.
Beyond that, lay on Macduff
This Map covers Book Design, Book Production, Book Rights, Book Reviews, Book Publishing, Book Publicity, Book Promotion and Social Media, Literary Agent Pitch, Promo Videos, Audiobooks, Translation, Author Websites, Search Engine Optimisation, Screenplay Adaptation, Film Makers, Film Producers and Original Music
Watch the Movie, Read the Map or use the Self Publishing Author's Toolkit, a Full compliment of Author and Publisher Services and links and shortcuts mentioned in the Map.
Watch the Movie
Read the Map - The Movie Transcript
This Map will take you through the tasks and timelines of taking your Manuscript, Making your Book, Publishing it and Selling it.
Click the map on the right or the progress bars to jump to any of the Five Key Sections or just let the slides roll and take a stroll through the full Timeline.
The fairly sedate pace of the Timeline assumes you have work, maybe some kiddies and a pussycat lurking nearby, fancying a nice warm keyboard.
You’ll see these links from time to time. They’ll take you to where any particular task can be completed for you.
Before we get cracking on the fun stuff, there’s a bit of Admin to do. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time and panic later on.
You’ve worked with your Editor to get your manuscript tight. Day 1 is the day after you complete their suggested edits. They should have gone through most of these final checks but just in case ……..
Hello. I’m Astrid and I’ll be walking through this with you
Make sure your Manuscript is error-free and perfect. Yes, your Editor should have done it for you but, like most other things here, it’s down to you in the end.
Format Paragraphing, Indentations, Make sure you run a Grammar and Spell Check on at least two applications.
Libre Office (Free) is a great tool for this. If you're anything like me and just need to get words on the page without formatting, Libre will take you through it all in double quick time.
If you haven’t already secured this, it’s important to get some positive quotes from your Editor. They know the book really well by now so don’t be shy.
Ask them to underline the things they say with a quote and make sure you add their credentials to it. Needless to say, dropping the fact that someone who does or used to work for a big publisher enhances reader confidence.
These are the barcodes that codify your book.
Amazon will supply them for free for your eBook and Paperback but Amazon don’t do hardbacks. So if you are including a hardback, you will need to buy your own. If you prefer your ISBNs to be concurrent, buy three, one for each version.
You can buy these here.
You need to engage a professional Book Cover Designer, someone who knows how to match graphics and colours to your book’s genre and demographic. A good designer will read you book for starters to get an idea of all this. They will design your front and back covers and your book’s spine and get you quality high res images all ready to help create your book.
This is where some of the admin starts to pay off because your editorial quotes will go on your back cover. Your designer will add all the standard stuff and when people look at your book on shelf or screen, they will be drawn to check it out a little more closely. Your cover will be formatted for Amazon and all other distributors whether yours is an eBook, paperback or hardback.
The design doesn’t stop at the cover. You need to present the same professionalism all the way through your book. Maybe you’d like your chapter title to carry through some of the cover design ideas. Maybe you’d like some closing pages to carry offers or advertising. This will all be handled for you by your designer. Some more of the early admin will pay off here again because your ISBN details will go into the first page.
It will take your Designer about a week to compete this task.
So, you’ve got your beautiful new designs and you’ve got your Editorial Quotes. In this section, you’ll be getting together all the text you’ll be using throughout this process in its various forms. These will be used for flyers, web pages and other publishing and marketing material. Here, we’ll start with the BLURB, your book’s write-up.
A good Blurb should start with a strong hook, mention your book’s keywords in the first paragraph. Present the protagonist(s), present the conflict and the stakes, explain who the book is for (e.g. "If you're a fan of … or … you'll love this fast-paced psychological thriller”). Ask a question, or tease the reader about what happens next. Write it so it excites the reader, they’re intrigued. When you prep your book graphic to create your book, the blurb is normally on the back cover.
Start and End Matter
This is all the stuff that accompanies your book’s text. Before chapter one starts, you’ll be adding your Copyright information, you’ll be adding a section on you, the Author. After your final chapter, you’ll be addressing the reader, thank them for reading it and asking them to review your book on Amazon. You’ll be mentioning forthcoming publications and of course your Blurb will go on the back cover.
Here, you’ll be sending your manuscript to a list of reviewers and beta readers so that by the time it’s up and live on Amazon, they can post reviews and you can start getting stars and solid feedback. The sooner you start this process, the better. Here, we ‘re going to design that pitch material.
First of all, you need to design a flyer. Use your book designer’s graphics to create an image that carries the Blurb and any other details reviewers might find useful such as possible release date (so they can schedule their review).
Next, we’re going to design your email or post. Don’t be spamming these folks randomly. Each email request need to be addressed to the specific reviewer you’re contacting. Look at people who’ve reviewed books in your genre on Amazon, Goodreads, Booksprout or Bookbub and many others.
See which books they’ve reviewed. Introduce who you are and that you’re releasing your title soon. mention that you’re contacting them because of their review of “book title” by “author” and they might enjoy your book as well.
Add your cut-down Blurb to the email body and offer them a free copy of your manuscript in exchange for an honest review. Tell them a little about your previous book releases or any future releases you’re planning and give them a brief Author Bio as well.
Maybe even mention your favourite read right now. List your ISBN Numbers, Publication Date (if known) and the book’s word count. Provide links to your website and any social media profiles you have and remember, you are not engaging a service, you are requesting a free review from folks who simply love to read.
Be nice and send it out to as many as you can at this pre-published stage.
When it comes time to publish your book on Amazon, you’ll need to be ready with the right Keywords and Categories and Amazon Ads Keywords. So let’s get this set in stone right now.
You can send your manuscript or synopsis off to a professional or you can check out what categories similar titles are using. You can list under two categories on Amazon initially but later, we’ll be showing you how to grow that to ten.
For Keywords and Amazon Ad Keywords, there’s a really useful little tool called KDP Rocket. This simple software will enable you to select the best keywords for your book based on popularity and other factors.
If you’re doing what you need to do on Reviews, you’ll be getting emails back from reviewers and sending them your manuscript. Establishing and maintaining your reviewer base will be an ongoing task. Don’t forget to keep a note with any reviews that start rolling in including the reviewer’s name. Add these reviews to your collateral file. They can go into the book when you produce it.
Right. You’ve done a lot of hard work to get to this point. By now, you’ve got everything you need to create your eBook, Paperback and Hardback files.
Amazon KDP can create the eBook and Paperback files based on your manuscript but if you want to take full control of this process and include the hardback files, you’ll need to find your own software for this or even outsource the whole thing.
Personally, I use Vellum. It’s simple and versatile and in not too much time at all, it will generate all the files you need to just upload to various online sites and publish your book.
Your eBook file will be called an .epub file and your paperback and hardback files will be .pdf files. Once you’ve pasted all the chapters and graphics and all the front and end matter into Vellum, just ask it to produce all your files and you are away.
Audiobooks are becoming really popular. We’ll cover this later on but just spare a thought for this. For now, though, you’re ready to publish.
Hold on there. Let’s make sure you’re protected from plagiarism and anyone pretending they wrote it first.
You have all the files you need from the admin an collateral sections. This will cost about $55 and take a couple of hours to complete. They will post you your certification inside a few weeks but you are now protected.
Publish to Amazon
For the first 30 days, you’ll get a preference position on Amazon. After that 30 days, you’re on your own.
So give yourself a fighting chance. List your book on Pre-release for a month or two and have reviews all ready to be added on release date. It’s also a good time to look at price promotions but we’ll tackle that later.
Log into your KDP account. Go to your Bookshelf and create a new publication. Add your blurb and upload your eBook, Print files and Artwork. You’ll be able to preview it, then set your categories, keywords and set your price.
If you chose KDP Select (you get more royalties), remember you can’t sell your book anywhere else.
Save your book and remember to log your book’s page URL. You’ll be using this link many times later.
Amazon usually take about 3 days to confirm everything is OK with your formats and your book will now be on pre-order. Chase your reviewers and get some stars rolling in for the first customers that get in on release date.
Your book has a profile on Amazon just as you do. You will need to complete a few sections: From the Author (your personal notes about the book); From the Back Cover (thank your readers, ask them to review it and mention any upcoming releases).
You’ll be able to add the editorial reviews you got as well and do this for all versions of your book. You can also make sure all versions are linked so readers have all the options.
Then go to Author Central and make sure your own details are up to date.
Earlier on, you made a note of your ideal 10 categories so now contact Amazon and ask them to apply them. Go to “changing book details” and fill out the form.
You’ll need to tell them the Marketplace (US, UK etc) ; the Format, Title and
Amazon’s ASIN number. And of course you will need to list the category strings you want.
This will take another few days but you’ll get a reply confirming it’s done.
As you know, Amazon doesn’t do Hardbacks but you can use someone else like Ingram. When an order comes in to Amazon, Ingram will fulfil it.
Go through their process. It’s much like Amazon, wait a couple of days for your proofs, check and approve them. Ingram charges about $49 for this.
Develop a Press Release and Sell Sheet and find companies that specialise in getting the word out to news agencies.
Consider Amazon Ads to get your book seen by ore people. Also consider using Google Adwords for your site.
Start small and make sure your keywords work.
Start pages on Facebook, Twitter, Intagram, Tumblr, Linkedin and many more. Post to your social media platforms and seek out more reviewer pages (yes, the search for reviews will never stop).
As we discussed, the first 30 days on Amazon is key. During that time, it’s a good time to get a handle on Price promotion sites. Again, a professional can handle it all for you as it’s important you get your book accepted in an over-subscribed market.
But if you prefer to do it yourself, just search for some Book Price Promotion sites, see what they cost and note down your preferences.
You’ll drop your price to perhaps 99c or even free for 7 days or so but your will get exposure.
On KDP, you’ll go to your Bookshelf and click on “Advertise and Promote.” Choose the Kindle Countdown deal
Whether you go with Amazon or other retailers and Distributors, you will need an Author Website. This will be where people can go to find out more about you, comment on your books and chat. They should also be able to subscribe to updates about you and your work.
If you’re a web developer, you know what you’re doing tech wise. Just make sure it’s all about personality. Readers love to hear about what inspired you, which real-world settings you used, any people they might now who you based your characters on.
If you’re not a web developer, it could take a very long time to do all of this so maybe you should get some help. A simple interactive site doesn’t need to be expensive.
Why not add 3d Mockups of all 3 versions and don’t forget to add you book sale links to your book page.
If you have the budget, get some SEO work done on your site as well, make sure it’s getting found.
Beyond the Map
And that’s that really. But there is a little more…
Beyond the Map.
If you wrote your book in English, 20% of the planet will be able to read it. Consider expanding it to more like 50-60% by having it translated into Spanish, Chinese and the like.
It’s always useful to have a promo video made of your book and create your own Youtube channel to host it. Explain the book but take the opportunity to introduce yourself and your marketing channels, perhaps in an interview. a good promo gets popular fast.
Another popular way to entertain and deliver your message. A Podcast can follow a similar line to the promo video.
You’re a published Author. Movie producers love “based on the novel by…” Why not let a few of them know your story or better still, have it adapted to Screenplay format and engage a proper pitch.
Don’t forget to monitor sale rates, promotions and ads. Chop and change, see what works and what doesn’t.
And now, after 40 days of this, maybe you can get started on book 2.
Offworld Author's Toolkit
The definitive insider’s guide to self publishing
Chat with Authors, Editors and a variety of specialists about what you want from your writing journey
Too busy? Don’t like how you write. Get a professional author to write it
A full Developmental Edit and Proofread
A great author-friendly tool for your word processor and grammar and spell-checker
Grammar and spell-checker tool
From both the editor and the readers perspective
Get funded, sponsored or paid to write
Beautiful covers and artwork
For me, as good as Photoshop and FREE
Book creation and integration with major platforms
Turn your cover design into 3d books, PDAs, phones. even trucks and pizza boxes
Always useful for printed book generation
Leading book creation tool
Get protected against plagiarism and other claims
Online Plagiarism Detector Software
$55 will get you protected Worldwide
Get the machine cranked up and keep it going
All the way from your manuscript to global retail
Book (and Hardback) production and distribution
The hub of it all. Where you load and control your books
All about you
Contact Amazon for all sorts of requests and processes about your books
Category and keyword tool
Get your book out to the news media
Get your book seen, read and talked about
Create and distribute your podcast interview
Get your book trending
Get your manuscript out to 100s of Agents with the files and format they expect
From a quick abstract to full interview shorts
Choose your voice
From English to Spanish, Chinese, French and more
Establish your Author Presence
Get your Author Presence ranking
Turn your book into an industry standard movie screenplay
Have your movie made
Pitch your screenplay
Have original music made for presentations, promo videos, radio shows or movies
Take care, big hugs and adios.