Where do I start?

‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’

Lewis Carroll

“Start with the end in mind” is the second habit of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Take time to imagine your finished book—in your hands, handing “thanks for your support” copies to relatives and friends, on the book shelf of someone you’ve just met, in your favorite book store and library, on an e-reader like a Kindle, as an audio book. How does that feel?

Is the cover a photo, an illustration, or just contain the title and your name, there in lights. Is the title large enough? What does the title and cover design convey to a potential reader?

There are many decisions for you to make as you build your book. Knowing where you’re headed will save you time later on.

Things like self-publishing start out simple, then they get complicated. But you have to start somewhere. Here’s a checklist for building an e-Book from scratch. Along the way, you will need:

  • A completed manuscript
  • The page count and pagination
  • Book design: font, margins, page numbers, header, footer
  • Copy editing per a particular style guide choice
  • Developmental editing, niche targeting
  • Chapter opener design and content
  • Title and sub-title
  • Decision on whether to use a pen name
  • Copyright notice, legalese, and marketing copy
  • An ISBN and perhaps a UPC and Library of Congress number
  • Dedication
  • Table of Contents design: parts?, chapters by name or number?, front and back matter.
  • Foreword?
  • Preface?
  • Acknowledgments?
  • Introduction?
  • Chapter openers: design and content
  • Cover design: front, back, spine
  • Author bio and photo
  • Cover pitch, marketing content
  • Advertising strategy: organic, paid, affiliate
  • BISAC categories
  • Key words, tags
  • Pricing strategies, prices, promotions
  • Channels: narrow or wide?
  • Reviews
  • Press relations
  • Author appearances, book tour?
  • Working Amazon marketing
  • Project planning and management
  • E-book format specifics
  • Paperback trim size, paper choice, and binding
  • Hardcover? Dust jacket?
  • Audio book specifics?
  • Someone to keep you on track as you work through this list.

Publishing a living, breathing book is a surmountable object. This is something you can do. But the sooner you get started, the better. Let us know if you’d like a little help. Or a lot. Email us.

Author: Mike McCandless

WordPress user since 2005. Building several blogs and e-commerce sites to pursue personal ideas.

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