Tag Archive: How To Self Publish step by step


Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love "When No One Else Would Fly" and "Just A Couple Of Chickens" but they wonder about the LCCN.

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love “When No One Else Would Fly” and “Just A Couple Of Chickens” but they wonder about the LCCN.

The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is not legally required for a self published book, but it is a mark of professionalism and it does have meta data (and other) advantages.

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) is the process through which you apply to get your LCCN, and all of this has to be done before you publish your book.

It can take several weeks to receive the LCCN for your book title, and so it should be part of your self publishing calendar as you plan.

The application process, and the assignment, is free. It is only available to self publishers who have created a business and the PCN office will determine if you are eligible for a LCCN.

Having a LCCN is one of the actions you take as a self publisher that makes you really more of an independent publisher or small press.

The entire point of having a LCCN is so that libraries can find, and therefore order, your book for their library collection.

On the one hand, there are @ 9,000 libraries in the USA and if they all ordered my book, I would be very pleased. On the other hand, if my book is in the library, then I am not selling more copies even though I am gaining more readers.

So why do I want the LCCN?  Because I absolutely love libraries and I want my book in the library because it’s part of my vision of being a writer. A vision of a print book on a library bookshelf – like all those thousands of books from the library shelves throughout my life, since the day I could read.

But besides visions and dreams, having my book in the Library of Congress database is part of the magic of SEO and keyword searchability that is an ongoing, slow process similar to the formation of a coral reef. One coral reeflet is lost in the wide ocean, but over time, the reef can grow until it gains the attention of everyone who passes. These small registry actions I take will accrete over time and make my name more findable, and my books more available.

Once you have your LCCN, it goes on the copyright page of your book. The formatting is described in the email or letter you get from the PCN office. There is a follow-up step required once you publish your book, and that is to send a copy of the book (a nice copy, not a proof or flawed one) to the Library of Congress. At the time of this writing, 2013, that address is below. Sending the copy for the LCCN is not the same as sending two copies for your copyright obligation.

          Library of Congress
          US & Publisher Liaison Division
          Cataloging in Publication Program
          101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
          Washington, DC 20540-4283

 

 

 

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

Any discussion regarding how to self publish a book has to encompass the world of ebooks. And King of the World of ebooks is the Amazon Kindle.

Kindle has it’s own format, so as I turn my books into ebooks, I have to include Kindle in my plan.

As with all of the business aspects of self publishing a book, there’s a Terms of Service agreement somewhere in the mix – and a button called “I Agree” to press.

I read these terms of service every time… perhaps accounting for some of my red wine consumption by the end of the day. I was planning to discuss the more interesting bits of one of these agreements until I saw the clause expressly preventing me from making any public disclosures of any bits of the agreement.
Well, that’s a bummer!

Because many of the questions I had regarding how my eBook would work with Amazon’s Kindle Program are answered in there. So instead of publicly disclosing things regarding the agreement, I will ask questions and make free association comments, like poetry, that are random. And I’ll offer a common sense piece of self publishing advice: read the contracts carefully as you use any service to self publish a book.

Apropros of Nothing, I Say:

  • Why are the eBooks I buy through the Amazon Kindle Program, especially the nonfiction how to eBooks, not packed chockfull of advertisements and promotions?  I really appreciate the fact that they are not, but I’m somewhat surprised that they are ad-free.
  • Who controls all that marketing and promotional stuff that happens on the Amazon site? Am I going to have to manage that? Because I can barely manage finding my car keys every day, and all that stuff looks complicated.
  • The Kindle Lending Program is a super great deal for me as a customer, because I have enrolled in Amazon Prime. Mostly to watch all the videos and TV, like with NetFlix, but also to get the free two day shipping and access to the once a month lending library. But whassup with that Lending Library where it concerns MY eBook?
  • If I could have three wishes from a genie, I would immediately wish for unlimited wishes… and then I would wish for access to the customer data and raw sales data for my book sales on Amazon.
  • I wonder if it takes a couple of months for sales data to post to an Amazon Kindle Account?
  • If it turns out that someone does not have the copyright to something they sell as an eBook, there are all kinds of dire things that can happen. Just sayin’.

Having read lots of terms of service agreements, I might say – if I were saying anything – which I am not… that one of them I recently read was pretty clearly written, and worth reading. And I appreciate that, because some of them, like anything related to Bank of America, for instance, are truly awful.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

just a couple of chickens on kindle

Just A Couple Of Chickens is now available on Amazon Kindle… high five for Do It Your Self Publishing!

When I enter the phrase “self publish a book” into Google, I get pages of hits that are actually vanity presses: companies that I can pay to do the publishing for me.

I suppose that is one interpretation of self publishing, but it isn’t what I mean.

I mean “do it your SELF publishing”.

Of the growing number of authors who are self publishing, there are a smaller (but growing) number who are coming up to an intersection called Print Book or eBook. They are discovering that the same materials required for the print book will not automatically translate straight to an ebook.

Yes, a file has to be saved as a PDF for upload to a print-on-demand service for the print book, but very rarely is that same PDF file going to work as-is for an ebook. I’d say never, but I’m supposed to never say never.

I set out, three weeks ago, to produce a Kindle version of “Just A Couple Of Chickens”, which has been for sale on Amazon.com since December 2010.

At first, I was delighted to see that Createspace had a button on my book dashboard saying “Publish On Kindle,” along with a download button for two files: the cover and the interior of my book – for Kindle!

I hopped merrily along to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), with my files, and while the cover file worked well – the interior did not. Not not not. At. All.
And that was the file that Amazon offered me to use on Amazon – for my cooliorageous new ebook.

I learned that it is very easy to publish a messy looking ebook with no navigation, but it is not easy to publish a good looking ebook with standard navigation.

sigh.

For those of you who know something about ebooks, which I did not three weeks ago, you will understand my journey when I admit that my first question was “What is an NCX file?”

And for those of you who don’t know… get ready to climb that learning curve. Pack a lunch.

BUT!  I did it. Myself.

These bullet points were earned in metaphysical sweat and tears, and they are a beautiful thing for anyone interested in “do it your self publishing of a kindle ebook”:

  • You will make a separate file for your kindle ebook. It will not be the same file for the same book in the different ereader formats. 
  • KDP is publisher for Kindle, and many people use Smashwords as the publisher for everything else.
  • The technology behind this process, and therefore all of the how-to directions, are changing so fast that you will probably discover something new and buggy during your process. You must use The Force.
  • eBooks have no page numbers. You do not control the font. You are at risk of not controlling the page breaks. Navigation is important and you are better-off setting that up in MS Word, using styles, headings, and bookmarks.
  • I don’t know if the InDesign kindle plugin works or not because it only works on CS5 or later and I have an earlier version of Adobe Creative Suite.
  • The Word document must be super clean and simple – see the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. Most Word documents are not super clean and simple.
  • KDP will let you upload a word docx but it will look crappy. Use  a Word doc – but unless you did something htmlantizing, you won’t have a nice looking Go To,
  • For that, I used Calibre because I’m on a Mac. 
  • If you are on a PC, good luck using mobipocket – I couldn’t resolve Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8. And I really tried.
  • If you really can find someone who really will Kindle your book for less than $100, pay the money. Make super sure that the offer includes Go To navigation with the chapters listed. Tell them up front if you have images in your book and read the fine print on the offer to be sure your price is still going to be less than $100 after they get started.

To all of the tech-heads who posted how-tos on forums, chats, article sites, blogs, comments, and free ebooks… thank you.

Oh, and I almost forgot… “Just A Couple Of Chickens” is now available on Kindle!!!  WahOOOOOOOOOO!

 

 

The Westchester Press and How To Self Publish A Book

This was my favorite view from our property in New Mexico while I was writing Just A Couple Of Chickens. It looks west, to Oregon, where we now live.

Since my celebration of Christmas and New Year’s is a reflection on the past year and setting goals for a new year, I thought I’d apply it to how to self publish a book, and spin out some self publishing advice to myself – and everyone!

If I could ghost back to each year’s Christmas Eve in the past, what would I tell myself about self publishing a book?

First of all, I’d make more of an effort not to scare the wiggles out of myself by popping up unannounced than ghosts of Christmas past usually do.

Then I’d congratulate my poor wigged-out self on having a book out there in the world, rather than unfinished in a drawer.

I would tell myself that

  • self publishing a book will not make me rich in cash (yet!) but that more self published authors are getting rich every year
  • the skills that I will learn along the way are valued in the working world and will give me options
  • the amazing coolness of having a person email me to say that they enjoyed my book is amazingly cool – and might be worth it all right there
  • I will spend more time working on the self publishing business and marketing than I will in writing, hmm.. eh?
  • self publishing a book feels better than submitting a book for traditional publishing, but I should continue to do both to make all things possible
  • I must keep writing, even if I am writing about self publishing
  • I’m still learning by doing and learning things the hard way, and all of our future selves have agreed to just accept that as our personal motto

And then I would break all time-travel and ghost-past laws by sneaking myself a copy of my soon to be ready series on How To Self Publish A Book, which includes things like How To Set Up A Small Business and How To Design A Book and How To Market A Book, and more… because by having that book in hand, which I’ve written based on all the things I’ve had to do to learn how to self publish, then I will rocket forward in life.

Actually, if I’m going to break the time travel rules, I might go big and give myself a list of stocks to buy, flight dates to avoid, and a headsup on not choosing the IMAX 3D theater option for any of the Avenger movies.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

 

Self Publishing Butterflies Buy Their Own ISBNs

The butterfly (representing a free ISBN from a self publishing company) is not the focus of the effort… it is the leaf supporting the butterfly (which represents your own self publishing company). Own your own ISBN, so it doesn’t matter where your butter flies.

The ISBN, the International Standard Book Number, is of particular concern to a publisher… and is generally confusing for an author.

But it is THE definition of a Do It Your Self publisher.

Owning the ISBN is the difference between being a self publisher who is a publisher and being an author who has engaged self publishing services. My self publishing advice is that you should own your ISBN and get a business license for your self publishing company. It’s worth the effort, which isn’t a huge effort, and worth the cost, which is a large-ish up front cost for the pack of 10 numbers, but comes out to about $30 per book.

The ISBN is a 13 digit number used to identify both the book and the publisher. Many self publishing service providers offer to assign one for free to your book project, and that will mean that their publishing company will come up under the listing for your book title until you re-publish with another number or another company. With all the marketing effort I put into my books, I prefer to own my own ISBN and therefore have the number follow my title no matter where or how I print it and offer it for sale.

The ISBN is not the same as the barcode. You can buy the barcode when you buy the ISBN, but you don’t have to. There are ways to make the barcode later, and if you don’t ever produce a short print run outside of the print-on-demand service, you won’t ever need it. When I publish through CreateSpace, I provide my own ISBN, and they use it to generate my barcode automatically.

ISBNs used to be 10 digit numbers, but then the earth’s population exploded with book-reading mammals and ISBNs needed to expand to 13 digits. There’s a converter for the 10 digit numbers to get them to conform to modern standards… you don’t just assign zeros to one end.

ISBNs are unique to a particular edition of a book. You can correct typos without using a new ISBN, but you can’t change content. An ebook, even if it is identical to the print book, will have a different ISBN.

By using my own ISBN number, I can do a print run outside of CreateSpace and keep the same ISBN number (and I also have to keep the same trim size and page count). If I accept the free number from CreateSpace… or any of the other companies that offer it, then I am not supposed to use that number as I produce the book in any other way. I retain all my options by using my own number.

The ISBNs are available online from only one company. While I can buy one, I prefer to buy the pack of 10 because I know I will use them, and they will be mine… all mine…. Bwahahahaha!

 

 

Sometime after writers stopped using quills as ink pens, our copyright laws came into being. The law assigns copyright when a work is created – you don’t have to register. But it’s a good idea, especially since today’s quill is a computer and the paper is online.

Copyright on a creative work exists as soon as the work is put to paper. The author doesn’t have to formally register the work with the US Copyright office, but it’s a good idea to do it before self publishing a book, or submitting for traditional publication.

An author does have to register the copyright before claiming a case of copyright infringement, and having registered the work long before there is any question of infringement can help your case.

I see it as a professional approach to my creative work, a finishing touch.

The creative work does not have to be published before registration, and in fact, due to recent changes by the US Copyright Office, if the work is unpublished, it can be uploaded electronically for the registration process – which is a change from having to mail a hard copy. (Mailing a hard copy is part of the Library of Congress Control Number process, which happens after the work is published – including self published…)

I recently went through the copyright process with the finished draft of my grandfather’s aviation history biography, and I have some tips.

  • Prepare an electronic copy of the manuscript that is smaller than 11.3 MB, because that is the single file upload limit and a full length manuscript is almost certainly bigger than that. Make a compressed PDF or split the document into several files… the upload process does allow one project in multiple files (up to six). So getting that ready in advance will help.
  • Choose a time when you can do the whole process in one session, so that you don’t risk stopping part way. It will take about an hour, depending on the copyright office’s online response time.
  • It will cost $35, (as of 2012) payable online at the time of registration, so having a credit or debit card ready is a good idea.
  • At www.copyright.gov, you first establish a profile and choose a user name and password. You’ll use this same profile for every work you register for copyright.
  • The first step isn’t very obvious, despite the care given to try and make the process more streamlined. It’s called Register A New Claim… and from there, you go step by step.

You will have to click a confirmation button at the very end of the process, and it isn’t complete until you do, so don’t leave the process until you’ve clicked that button. It’s not a very obvious button… the Staples Easy Button is a better design, but you’ll find it.

It’s not required to register – copyright is yours once you create a work – but it’s a good idea to do it when you’ve finished your book, before you self publish, or before you submit your book for publication. Add a copy of your work to our Library of Congress!

 

How do I get paid as a self publisher

I reveal the payment mysteries of self publishing in this rockin’ post.

How do I get paid for my self published book? How does the money actually arrive in my bank account?

Well, it depends on how you are selling your book. I’ll focus on the online and credit card sales, because if you are selling your book at a table or out of the trunk of your car, it’s more obvious how you get paid… the online sales are the mystery to most of us.

If you are selling through a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace, then every time a book sells through Amazon.com, you get a royalty. The amount of that royalty is determined by the size and cover price of your book. You would know in advance how much that will be as you go through the set up process. There are at least three different royalty amounts, based on how what sales channel the buyer purchased your book.

The following CreateSpace details were current as of September, 2012, and since things change rapidly… take them with a grain of salt:

  • You get the highest royalty if the buyer buys from your CreateSpace author page, which is a page nobody will find unless you email them the direct link.
  • The “normal” royalty comes through sales directly from Amazon.com, and you have to rely on Amazon.com to report how many of those sales took place. There can be a lag between the buying and the reporting.
  • The least amount of royalty comes through Amazon.com expanded distribution, which is a channel you have to pay to sign up for, but enables your book to be available on request (not on the shelf) in every bookstore in the world.

You never have to handle the book or the shipping, and you don’t get the direct information about the buyer. Your royalties add up and when you’ve met the required minimum balance ($25 most recently), then CreateSpace will direct deposit the money to the bank account you’ve listed. They can send you a check instead, but it’ll cost you.

If you are selling your book through PayPal, directly from your own website, then PayPal will hold the full amount you charged for the book, less their fee, until you tell them to deposit it to your bank account (free), or request a check (which will cost you). You will package up the book, which you’ve already had printed somehow, and ship it to the seller. This way you get the buyer information, but you also have to handle the book and have an inventory to ship from, which you have already paid for.

If you set up your website to accept credit cards by getting a merchant account or gateway account, then the money you process from the sales of your books gets deposited to your bank account, less the fees for the merchant account. Depending on how you have it set up, you may instead have a lump sum fee withdrawal come out of your account once a month.

All of these methods require you to allow these companies  access to your bank account, to make the deposits, and so it is very wise to set up a totally separate account for these business activities. And make sure your bank offers good fraud protection. I don’t find it entirely comfortable either, but it’s the reality of true self publishing… you are a publisher, you are a business, and these are the conditions for normal modern business.

I promise you that it all feels much better than this post makes it sound when the money from book sales is flowing in…

 

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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