Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pre-Publishing Questions

Maria Zannini of Book Cover Diva has already made a rough mockup of the cover for Young Seasons. It might be ready as soon as this weekend. Of course, a book cover is just one of the many decisions an indie writer has to make when she puts on her publishing hat. Here are some of the decisions I make before I publish a story:

Purpose--The purpose of this collection is to provide some backstory for the heroines of my Season Avatars series--and to promote the rest of the books. Since the prequel for this series is set hundreds of years before the rest of the books, I want to give readers another way to discover the main characters and this series. Hopefully, readers will want to learn more about Gwen, Jenna, Ysabel, and Kay after reading Young Seasons.

EBook, Paper, or Both?--This decision affects my costs, cover design, and formatting. I use the same template for both eBooks and paper books, but there are some tweaks I make for the different editions. I'll make novels available in both formats, but since Young Seasons is only about 70 pages, I'll make this an eBook edition only. At some point, I'll combine these stories with some of my other short stories to create a longer collection. That will be available in both formats.

Editing Process--I'm so particular about my work that I revise and line-edit my drafts before I even think about letting someone else look at it. After all, the fewer issues there are with the story, the less they'll find, right? What that really means is that other people will find problems I can't see. I've used beta readers and freelance editors in the past. I'm still debating which path to choose for the Young Seasons collection. Ultimately, this decision will have the most impact on release date. It'll also affect quality and the number of copies I need to sell to break even.

Pre-Order or Not?--With books, I normally set them up for pre-order because I need to allow time for perfecting the paper copy (which also affects the eBook version). I'm not preparing a paper edition, though I will probably proof the stories on paper before release. I probably won't put this collection up for pre-order, so once I'm satisfied, I can publish it.

KDP Select or Wide Distribution?--All of my other works are currently available on multiple sites, such as Kobo, B&N, and Apple, in addition to the almighty Amazon. I'm considering making this collection exclusive to Amazon for the first three months to see if it'll help me with promotion and reviews. Honestly, though, I didn't see much improvement with sales or reads the few times I've tried Select. For long-term growth, it's best to be wide.

Price--Due to the short length of this collection, I don't plan to price it above $0.99. I might try making this free, either for short periods or as a permafree. This decision will affect my distribution decision.

Back Matter--If I want readers to discover the rest of the Season Avatars series, it would make sense to include a sample chapter from Scattered Seasons at the end of this collection. However, not all readers want bonus material, since they judge the length of the story by the length of the file. If I do this, I'll mention it in the book description.

Promotion--Pricing and distribution decisions will affect my ability to promote my work with paid ads.

As you can see, there's a lot of thought that goes into publishing, and I haven't even mentioned blurbs, keywords, or genres. Some writers would rather have someone else make these decisions so they can focus on writing. I view these decisions as experiments. Each decision is a different variable I can change to figure out what works best for the particular work. All writers have to decide how much hands-on control they want and what they're willing to have others do for them. What works for one author might not for someone else. Don't be afraid to try new things and keep asking questions. Questions force you to find the answers that will make you grow.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a lot of decisions.
I shop mainly from iTunes and from Amazon when I have no other choice, so I appreciate authors who have books on multiple platforms.

Pat Dilloway said...

I've never really sold enough books on other platforms to make it worthwhile.

Sandra Almazan said...

Alex, it's a little easier with full-length books, since I have default decisions for some of these choices. Special projects like a collection require more thought.

Pat, me neither, but I view it as long-term insurance in case Amazon ever decides to really squeeze indie authors.

Maria Zannini said...

re: back matter

I would add something about the collection, even if it's an extended version of the blurb for each story.

I love origin stories, so if I liked the book, I would definitely want to see anything that tells me about the characters' early years.

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