“How do you feel now that the book is finished? You must be so relieved! Now you can relax!”
Since I announced the release of Blooming into Mindfulness: How the Universe Used a Garden, Cancer, and Carpools to Teach Me that Calm Is the New Happy, several people have conveyed to me some variation of these sentiments.
I wrote a book! And I have the beautiful new copy in my hands! Now I can sit back in my recliner sipping a martini and eating bon bons. It’s DONE!
Not so much.
As a first time self-publisher, I’ve learned a LOT in the past three weeks since uploading the print version of the book onto Amazon. A lot more than eight lessons, in fact, but I’ll stick to just eight today:
- Once “your” part of the work is done (writing the book, editing the book, making cover and interior design choices, proofing the designer’s and typesetter’s work, asking for last-minute revisions to your own work, proofing the whole thing over and over again after each correction before clearing off on the final files—and please note that I have condensed three years of work into one parenthetical phrase), everything from here on out takes longer than you expected.
- Once you upload your book and cover files to CreateSpace (Amazon’s print-on-demand service), it takes another 12-24 hours for CreateSpace to approve the files, and can take an additional 3-5 days before all the product details are on your Amazon page. Unaware of these time lags when I uploaded on January 29, I was lucky that my page was fully loaded by January 31, at which point I experienced the same feeling as when I completed my first half marathon.
- Before formatting the eBook file (for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc.), it’s recommended to have seen an actual printed copy, since it’s easier and less expensive to make revisions at this stage. I was glad I followed this advice, since I did, indeed, find a problem that needed correcting. The issue was minor, and probably nobody but my logo designer Doris and I would have noticed, but knowing my beautiful Damselwings Press logo wasn’t perfect would have bothered me to no end. Needless to say, this led to more delays before the eBook formatting could start.
- That final correction also delayed my ability to order books to send to my publicists, who couldn’t start their work until the eBook was available and they had print copies to send to reviewers. And guess what? Bulk printing and shipping ALSO takes a lot longer than I expected! This was true for both Amazon and IngramSpark, the print-on-demand supplier that will distribute to Barnes and Noble and other non-Amazon suppliers.
- Moving on to IngramSpark, it took several days after uploading the final files to Ingram’s site before printing and distribution could begin (a day to transfer the files from the designer’s account to mine, another day or two for Ingram’s finance department to clear on everything). Distribution was officially approved on February 9. I could then order my bulk shipment, which arrived on February 16. More frustrating was that it took ELEVEN days for Blooming into Mindfulness to show up on barnesandnoble.com. When I called Ingram to check on the status, I was told that it could take as much as four weeks for that migration to happen, so I guess I should consider myself lucky. A series of technical issues—some on Ingram’s side, some on mine—delayed until yesterday my uploading of the eBook file for Nook and iBooks. Given how long it took for the print version to show up on B&N, it’s anybody’s guess as to when the Nook edition will pop up on the page.
- There are efficiencies—economic and otherwise—in releasing the print and electronic versions at the same time. My publicists had recommended this route, but I don’t regret taking my own path and launching the print version first in order to make my January 2016 release date as advertised. That felt important to me (I didn’t want to feel victimized by production delays), but I had to pay an additional $25 dollars to upload the print and eBook files separately onto IngramSpark. I’m sure that Amazon rankings also benefit from having both versions available at the outset, but I chose what felt most comfortable for me. Next time I’ll probably opt for the joint launch.
- Don’t forget to plan for the design and printing of your marketing materials. My first public book signing is in two weeks, and I almost forgot about the need to update my marketing postcards and business cards, and to create a bookmark to hand out at launch events. The time difference with my friend Doris (designer of fun projects like my marthabrettschneider.com website header, business cards, and Damselwings Press logo), worked out in my favor. I sent her a quick Facebook message Friday night (Saturday morning her time), and I woke up to her first draft of the bookmark. I am SO grateful for my amazing friend! I hope to reveal the finished product(s) in next week’s post!
- The best decision I’ve made in these early days of being a published author is having a practice book-signing event. I asked my friend and fitness instructor Joann if she would host a book signing training event for me. It was invitation only, for members of my fitness circles who had supported me during the writing process. Practicing my book signing and public speaking skills in a safe space surrounded by loving, inspirational women boosted my confidence going forward. That event warrants its own blog post, but deserves a spot on my “early lessons” list. Stay tuned!
And if you haven’t done so already, run on over to Amazon and grab your copy of Blooming into Mindfulness! If you HAVE done so already and enjoyed the book, I’d be deeply grateful if you’d consider adding a review to the lovely comments already on the Amazon page. Thank you!!
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