It is time: You have bought an concept burning in your head and wish to write a non-fiction ebook. However do you have to go the agent route or self-publish it by yourself? I’ve had success with the latter, and wish to share how I did it. Whereas others have written guides like this, those I’ve discovered are likely to give attention to fiction, which is a unique animal than non-fiction like my very own challenge.
For this information, I am going to share what I discovered whereas writing and publishing my first ebook, Breakout: How Atari 8-Bit Computers Defined a Generation. A few of this recommendation is distilled from Man Kawasaki’s glorious APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, with an emphasis on non-fiction and the state of self-publishing right this moment–which has superior significantly within the 5 years since that ebook was written. If you need extra element, I like to recommend ordering a duplicate of Kawasaki’s ebook in addition to studying this information.
Getting into, I am assuming you have bought a deal with on the writing of the ebook itself, and that you simply’re debating proceed as a self-publisher. For my ebook, I used Scrivener, Microsoft Phrase, Amazon’s CreateSpace service (for print), and Kindle Direct Publishing (for the Kindle model). This is what I did; I discovered most of the beneath ideas the arduous method.
Write a Proposal and Define
Even should you’ve already determined you wish to self-publish, it should assist tremendously to put together a proposal as should you have been pitching it to an agent or writer. Which means you may take a look at the aggressive panorama, summarize your ebook, work out its key factors, what is going to make folks wish to learn your ebook specifically, and the potential goal value, format(s), and viewers dimension. It can additionally enable you to start to hash out a tough define for the ebook.
Examine Out Comparability Books
With any sort of inventive work, it helps to pit your individual in opposition to “competing” works. Not that this can be a zero sum sport, as folks fascinated with a topic will typically purchase and skim a number of books, however testing the competitors lets see how others are designed, laid out, researched, and so forth. This course of offers you useful clues as to arrange your individual ebook and the alternatives you wish to make—which could be fairly totally different than related books, however at the least you are making knowledgeable choices.
Select Your Instruments
I initially wrote the ebook utilizing Scrivener, after which transferred it to a double-spaced Microsoft Phrase doc (which made monitoring modifications a lot simpler when passing forwards and backwards to my editor). I in all probability used three % of Scrivener’s options, since I wasn’t plotting out characters; I merely used it as a result of it let me create a lot of items of textual content and rearrange them into chapters as I noticed match.
I in all probability tried out a dozen totally different layouts and narrative arcs earlier than settling right into a ultimate checklist of chapters and topics that labored properly for the presentation, after discussing it with my editor quite a few instances. I could not have lived with out Scrivener’s Binder function or its word-count-per-day tracker. (Be aware: You may obtain a Scrivener Binder-like design in Phrase, though it takes some footwork and nonetheless packs every part into the identical file, which may get unwieldy as your ebook grows).
Print Your Manuscript A number of Occasions
I discovered it immensely useful to print copies of my manuscript at numerous levels alongside the way in which, and particularly after every spherical of edits from my editor. I marked these up in pen and went again to the pc for extra modifications that for one purpose or one other did not bounce out at me on display.
Collect Photographs and Write Captions
Relying on what your matter is, you could have some inline images in every chapter, full with determine numbers, captions, and photograph credit. I extremely suggest skilled pictures wherever attainable, and no matter what you are utilizing, it’s a must to be triple-sure to have permission to breed the images and to credit score the photographer beneath each single one.
As your manuscript nears completion, you may wish to collect up precisely what images to make use of, separate them out by chapter, and put together a credit score and caption sheet; you do not essentially must embed all this in Phrase as you’re employed (it should balloon the scale of the file and make it even slower), however you need to be all able to put them in close to the top. Your editor must see the captions as properly; not simply on a caption sheet, however within the ebook (to ensure the appropriate captions are on the appropriate images).
Select Your Self-Writer
For my ebook, I used Amazon’s CreateSpace. I ran the numbers on CreateSpace, BookBaby, and Lulu, and located CreateSpace to supply the largest bang for the buck for what I needed to do. CreateSpace does not do hardcovers, however does supply a high-quality product together with professional editing, cover design, and layout services should you want these (and also you do, should you do not have already got them lined up). CreateSpace additionally permits you to order as few or as many books as you need, with out penalizing you on the worth per ebook, which is a incredible function.
To get began, you may must create an account and challenge, at which level you may enter title data and a number of the fundamentals. For my 292-page ebook, I went with a reasonably conventional 6-by-9-inch paperback dimension, cream paper, and a shiny cowl; matte covers are typically extra standard with fiction, however there aren’t any arduous and quick guidelines.
Get Your ISBN Quantity (or Numbers)
CreateSpace permits you to use a free quantity, however then the printed ebook will at all times say the writer identify is CreateSpace in Amazon. Kindle books do not want ISBN numbers. CreateSpace sells particular person ISBNs for $99 every, or you may head to a website like Bowker and purchase a package deal of 10 for $295—which is smart if you wish to add your ebook to Google Play, Apple iBooks, and different providers, or write extra books down the street.
Design Your Cowl (or Rent a Designer)
CreateSpace affords cowl design as a service, and corporations like Canva offer a free tool. CreateSpace additionally supplies a cover template builder based mostly on the scale and specs of your ebook. One thing I observed and went forwards and backwards with CreateSpace on is whether or not the backbone portion of the duvet design template is precisely on the backbone, or if it is barely off (in different phrases, bleeding a tiny bit onto the entrance or again cowl). In emails with CreateSpace, the corporate confirmed they permit as much as 1/eighth inch variance, and mine have been exhibiting roughly 1/16th inch—although many copies I’ve ordered in bulk since have all been just about on the right track.
Mainly, don’t fret an excessive amount of about it; it is seemingly some books in your shelf have already got a tiny little bit of bleed from slight variances in manufacturing, and it is solely even seen in case your backbone coloration could be very totally different than the back and front cowl (like with my ebook).
Seize CreateSpace’s Inside Structure Template
To economize, I ended up doing the inside format myself. You may wish to use CreateSpace’s layout templates as a reference, because the aspect margins change on even and odd pages within the ebook. CreateSpace additionally affords templates to point out fonts and inner format design; I ended up cribbing from certainly one of these and utilizing free fonts that appeared rather a lot just like the costly business fonts I noticed in CreateSpace’s instance layouts. Another choice is to rent somebody to do the format; CreateSpace additionally affords this service. However since I did it myself, I am going to proceed with some tips about that entrance.
Use Headers and Part Breaks
On a primary stage, you should utilize Microsoft Phrase so as to add footnotes, web page numbers, the title of your ebook (on the high of even pages), and your writer identify (on the high of wierd pages), which works high quality in fiction. You might also wish to go away the headers of the primary web page of a chapter clean, and with non-fiction books, have every odd web page header comprise the chapter identify.
In Microsoft Phrase, the way in which you get there may be with part breaks; they’re extraordinarily essential for getting headers and web page numbers proper. It is easy, too; simply insert a brand new part break earlier than every chapter, and one other one once more after the primary web page of the subsequent chapter. Then you may modify the header inside that chapter after the primary web page. You may additionally wish to add an additional clean even-numbered web page in case your chapter finishes on an odd web page; part breaks make this straightforward as properly.
Set Up an Automated Desk of Contents
I arrange a primary scratch desk of contents as I wrote the ebook. However when you’re getting close to the top, for Kindle publishing, you may want a desk of contents that is hyperlinked to every chapter, which Microsoft Phrase can help with. Since a printed ebook wants one too, you would possibly as properly set it up the appropriate method first. I ended up having two cut up variations to continuously replace—one for print, which I had laid out good, after which one for Kindle with the hyperlinks added. I used to be so nervous at this level, since I had labored so arduous on the print format, that I did not wish to muck up a recognized good file. Not solely that, however I used to be continuously altering the numbers within the desk of contents manually for the paperback model as the scale of chapters modified throughout finalizing and enhancing. In different phrases, I may have saved a ton of time. Do not be me, and do it the appropriate method from the start.
Take a look at Out Hyphenation
Hyphenation makes totally justified textual content look extra skilled, although not everybody loves it. Merely flip it on in Phrase; you may high quality tune it simply to your liking, in order that it triggers solely when phrases shall be spaced a sure distance aside (the default setting is an efficient center floor), or so you do not find yourself with 5 hyphenated traces in a row.
Create the Index
For non-fiction, you may additionally want an index. I’ve bought a couple of non-fiction books with out one and it does not look as skilled. Phrase has a reasonably thorough indexing software you should utilize that can routinely undergo the ebook and file cases of every phrase. That mentioned, you may additionally wish to edit the index manually—and punctiliously—so as to add generally looked-up phrases and themes to your ebook, in addition to prune odd-looking entries and be a part of up teams of web page numbers (like 33-37, as a substitute of claiming 33, 34, 35, 36, and 37). Skilled indexers cost upwards of $1,00zero or extra, and there is a purpose. You will get a lot of the method there by yourself.
Undergo CreateSpace Utilizing PDFs
By this level, enhancing, cowl design, and the inside format ought to all be full. Now it is time to put together your ultimate manuscript for publishing. After a lot experimenting, I’d now keep away from CreateSpace’s supply to just accept and convert .doc and .docx recordsdata; for me, .doc recordsdata have been understanding high quality till I noticed CreateSpace could not deal with changing hyphenation over. So at that time, I switched to making ready PDFs on my aspect, and that is how I am going to do it the subsequent time from the start. In brief: Use a strong, free PDF creator just like the one constructed into Home windows 10 or macOS, make a PDF that you could preview in your aspect first (sized appropriately, reminiscent of 6×9), after which add that to CreateSpace.
Take a look at Your Printed and Kindle Copies
Be sure to take a look at and retest each on display, on a (digital) coloration pill, and on a (digital) black-and-white Kindle utilizing CreateSpace’s format preview software. As soon as you have bought every part so as—you can also make modifications dozens of instances, though it is time consuming to re-upload every time—you are able to order your first printed proof.
This is the place the rubber meets the street; you may get in your first proof copy within the mail, and will probably be extraordinarily thrilling. You may additionally get to see how your decisions for paper dimension, cowl end, and so forth look in particular person. Then you definately’ll in all probability wish to return and make any modifications and order a second or third proof as wanted. I ended up re-reading my entire ebook not only a loopy variety of instances whereas writing it, and never simply on the end double-spaced manuscripts I gave to my editor, however another time as soon as it was as a printed copy—and nonetheless discovered extra issues to regulate and repair. Typically it looks like it should by no means finish…
Pull the Set off and Get to Selling
…however then it does, and also you’re lastly completed and might publish your ebook. Congratulations! Staging promotions and establishing a ebook tour are past the topic of this text—simply bear in mind you may’t do pre-orders with print books when utilizing CreateSpace and Amazon. Which means you may’t ship out a “pre-order” hyperlink.
What I did is launch paper and Kindle variations without delay with out asserting the ebook. I test-purchased one print and one Kindle copy to see how they labored. I obtained each and checked by them, then I made my bulletins in all places, as soon as I used to be certain the ordering course of labored. (I had seen folks publish about their new ebook not being obtainable or out of inventory for some purpose or different, and that is precisely what I needed to keep away from once I was making the preliminary self-promotion push.)
Amazingly—answering one other query I had—Amazon says the ebook is In Inventory and even prepared for same-day supply. That is severe print-on-demand pace, particularly contemplating the standard is indistinguishable from main writer paperbacks on my bookshelf.
Monitor Your Gross sales
You may monitor your gross sales in CreateSpace and KDP, however it’s slightly annoying; they’re on totally different programs, though they’re each coming from Amazon. CreateSpace and KDP will make your ebook obtainable in different international locations, and can parse out the royalties appropriately. You receives a commission for a specific month on the finish of the next month, and you’ll export statements from each programs.
A number of minor quirks with order monitoring: CreateSpace has some lag time (as much as a day or two) on print gross sales, whereas KDP studies instantly, CreateSpace retains a operating complete of what number of books you offered every month, however KDP does not; you may must manually rely every day’s gross sales on the road graph. That mentioned, you do get a every day line graph, which you do not get with CreateSpace. It is all slightly bizarre, however not a giant deal in the long run, as you may export full studies after a month closes.