Where do I start?

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” — Alice in Wonderland

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 or tablet, 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? How will it look on display in a bookstore, or online?

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 a book from scratch. Along the way, you will need:

Book design stuff

  • A completed manuscript.
  • The page count and pagination.
  • Book design and formatting: font, margins, page numbers, header, footer.
  • Copy editing according to a particular style guide choice.
  • Niche targeting. Who is the ideal reader?
  • Chapter openers: design and content.
  • Title and sub-title. The last thing you decide before publishing.
  • Should I use a pen name?
  • Copyright notice, legalese, and marketing copy.
  • An ISBN and perhaps a UPC and Library of Congress number.
  • Dedication. Who do you love?
  • Table of Contents design.
  • Front and Back Matter (wait, what?).
  • Foreword?
  • Preface?
  • Acknowledgments? Who helped?
  • Introduction? What would you like to say to your readers before they start reading?
  • A compelling cover design: front, back, spine. Very important to attract attention.
  • Author bio and photo.

Is that everything? Probably not. But you can do this. Maybe get a little help. That’s what we’re here for at TouchwoodPress.com. But wait, there’s more:

Book marketing stuff

  • 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 with your questions.




%d bloggers like this: