Self-Publishing Class – Sample Lectures

I thought you might want to know more about the self-publishing class that I’ll be teaching starting Monday. So here are some samples from some of my class lectures.

From Lecture 1

Welcome to my class on self-publishing your book! I’m glad you’re here. There are a lot of ways to get your book out into the world, and I’m going to present only a few. Then you’ll be able to take what you learn here, continue to research and learn more about your other options, and make changes (if you choose) in the future with more confidence.

The first things you’ll need to decide are:

  • do you want to publish in ebook only, print only, or both?
  • what software will you use?
  • what distributors will you use?

Starting today, if you haven’t already started a notebook or computer file to save all the information you collect on self-publishing, do it now.

I use an ARC notebook from Staples to save everything that is already printed, or that I print out.

http://www.staples.com/M-by-Staples-Arc-Customizable-Durable-Poly-Notebook-System-Black-9-3/product_886237

I prefer these because I like how easy it is to pull a piece of paper from one section and press it into another without having to open and close a 3-ring binder all the time. But whatever you like and will find easy to organize is what you should use.

I save different information – my house style guide, some how-to blogs that I’ve saved, a list of passwords and links to the distributors I use, and much more – in a Scrivener file.

Screen shot - Style guide

From that Scrivener file, I can cut and paste links I need easier than if they were in a printed file, and I can continually update my style guide, add new books or formats (like audiobooks), and organize other information that I don’t feel the need to print.

From Lecture 2

In addition to the big choices – will I publish in ebook, print, or both formats? what software will I use? – you have a lot of detailed choices as well. This lesson will help familiarize you with some of those choices, and provide web sites where you can look up more information and/or sign up for the service.

Business Type

When you sign up for an account to publish your book with a distributor (KDP, Smashwords, etc.), you will need to provide your legal name (if you write with a pen name) and/or your business name. I chose to register a DBA (Doing Business As, also known as a Fictitious Business Name) so I could have a company name without the expense of setting up a corporation or LLC. You will have to do your own research on this, ask your accountant and/or attorney what is best for you because I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice.

If you live in California, here is a link to the state web site explaining the minimum tax if you set up a corporation or LLC. Google “[my state] minimum tax” to find out more about the tax consequences of setting up a corporation/LLC in your state.

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/faq/beMinTax.shtml

CHOICE: How will I set up my distributor accounts, and what do I need to do before I can sign up for those accounts?

Tax Identification Numbers

When you sign up with a distributor, you need to provide banking information and a tax ID number so you can get paid and so your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

If you run your business as a sole proprietor, with or without a DBA, you can use your social security number or you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). While I can’t give you legal or financial advice, here are some articles that may help you decide.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs

http://legal.answers.com/definitions/should-you-use-an-ein-or-your-social-security-number

http://info.legalzoom.com/need-ein-am-dba-23281.html

Depending on your bank and your business type, you may be able to set up a business checking account. (Your bank can tell you if they require an EIN for a sole proprietorship with or without a DBA, or if they will allow you to use your social security number.) Your royalties/earnings can be deposited there instead of your personal account to make accounting and taxes easier. Or your bank may only let you set up a separate personal checking account. Either way, you need to decide where you want your money deposited.

If you use PayPal, you may want to research how you can set up a separate PayPal account connected to your business checking so you can keep your business and personal finances separate.

CHOICE: How will I set up my banking for receiving payments and paying expenses?

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: How will changing from one business type now (sole prop/DBA) to another later (corporation/LLC) affect my business? How will it affect my sales, sales rank, tax reporting, sales reporting, etc. from the vendors and distributors I’ve signed up with?

From Lecture 5

This lecture is not going to be an exhaustive how-to on using InDesign. You’ve either decided to learn it and you plan to use additional resources to do so, or you are already familiar with it to some degree. This will also help you get your book set up in InDesign if you have used Quark Xpress or Pagemaker or another desktop publishing program. There are enough similarities among the programs that knowing how to do this or that in one program gives you an idea of how to do it in another.

I’ll tell you what I do, and you can follow my directions, or just use them as a jumping off point to decide how you want to design your book’s interior. (You can also read along and ask yourself if this seems easy enough to learn. I think you’ll find it is.)

What I Do

Following are directions for creating a new file, making it into a template so you have all your settings saved for future books, and then adding your current manuscript to the template to create a new document.

Open InDesign
Go to File, New, Document
Under Intent on the popup screen, leave it as Print (the default)
Under Pages, make it a few more pages than you think it needs to be

Example: My superhero story is 100,000 words and came in at about 325 pages with the manuscript, the front and back matter, and the short excerpt of the next book at the end; my 8,000-word short story is about 36 pages with front and back matter and short excerpt

Under Page Size, choose Custom, then you’ll create a custom preset for all of your books

Adjust the width and height to the sizes you want for your print book (this won’t affect your EPUB if you create one from InDesign), and type in a name for the Custom Page Size.

Example: You could create one that is 4 1/8” x 6 7/8” and call it “Mass Market,” and create one that is 5” x 8” and call it “Trade Size.” Then you only need to choose which Custom Page Size you want to use this time.

Screen shot InD New Doc 1

Click on the Add button to save the name of the Custom Page Size. If you created more than one, click on the one you want and hit OK.

Screen shot InD New Doc 2

Leave the columns section as is if you are creating a novel template. Adjust your margins according to the CreateSpace guidelines. (You may have to click on the “chain” icon next to the top and bottom margins in order for your changes to save.)

Example: I use 0.75” for the top, bottom, and inside margins, and 0.5” on the outside margin

Sign Up Today!

These are just a few examples of what you’ll learn in my 4-week online class, Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing. You will receive 8 lectures with 92 pages of information, including screen shots, to help you get your book up for sale as an ebook and/or in print by the end of the class. Everyone will be encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions to each other so that everyone can avoid or solve problems, and gain the newest information in an ever-changing industry.

Manuscript not ready? No problem. You can go through the lectures and practice with a dummy manuscript. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand so you can be ready when your manuscript is complete.

Check out my Classes page and sign up for the class. It starts Monday, January 12, 2015.

20 Books on Sale Today For 99c Each!

PreLaunchImage2Hi friends!

I’m participating in a book sale today with 19 other writers. There’s a little something for everyone, and each of the books are only 99c today. Most books will be on sale today only, while some like mine will be 99c for a few days. Check them out! 🙂

Stuck With You by Kristy Tate

Calling All Glass Slippers by Jacqueline Diamond

Jack Fell Down by Michelle Knowlden

Heart’s Desire by Susan R Hughes

Emerald Fortune by Lou Nelson

Claimed by the Enemy by Shauna Roberts

A Deadly Denial by Kathy Bennett

Unexpected Superhero by Kitty Bucholtz 😀

Neighbors by Michael Payne

Ghost of My Dreams by Angie Ray

Love at the Beach (3 books in 1) by Laura Taylor

Judy Uncensored by Debra Salonen

The Ring That Binds by Linda Carroll-Bradd

She Likes It Tough by Geralyn Corcillo

Shadows Till Sunrise by Chris Marie Green

The Bachelor’s Baby Promise by Barbara McMahon

The Single Daddy Club: Derrick by Donna Fasano

You Don’t Know Jack by Adrianne Lee

Big and Bright by Jan Hudson

Demon Lover by Kathleen Creighton

 

One Day Sale – 20 Books for 99 Cents Each

Little Miss Lovesick_NEWSIZE_FINALI was thrilled to be invited to join a group of friends who wanted to do a fun cross-promotion for our books. For one day, today, all of our books – all in various sub-genres of romance – will be available on Amazon for only 99 cents! Yay!

If you like my books, you’ll find several in this list you would enjoy. 🙂 And if you’re reading this after Friday, my book Little Miss Lovesick (and perhaps some of the others) will still be on sale through the weekend. Plus, I’ve made Lovesick 99 cents across all retailers, so you can get it for a buck on Barnes & Noble or iTunes or anywhere you like to buy ebooks!

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook or other places, would you mind passing this information along? I’d love to feel like I helped my friends find new fans. 😀 Thanks a million!

Happy reading!

Kathy Bennett, A Deadly Justice

Kitty Bucholtz, Little Miss Lovesick

Linda Carroll-Bradd, Capturing the Marshal’s Heart

Kathleen Creighton, The Prince and the Patriot

Jacqueline Diamond, The Cowboy and the Heiress

Gillian Doyle, Mystic Memories

Susan R. Hughes, A Baby for Christmas

Michelle Knowlden, Indelible Beats

Heather MacAllister, Counterfeit Cowgirl

Mindy Neff, The Bad Boy Next Door

Louella Nelson, Cora Lee

Lyn O’Farrell, Worth the Risk

Dee Ann Palmer, Where Eagles Cry

Sandra Paul, Last Chance For Marriage

Michael H. Payne, A Curial Quartet

Edie Ramer, Christmas at Angel Lake

Angie Ray, Ghostly Enchantment

Susan Squires, Waiting For Magic

Kristy Tate, Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

Patricia Thayer, Colton Creek Cowboy

Book Signings and Free Books

Adventures in Vegas

Today I’m at the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas. It’s been an exciting adventure so far! But not necessarily all good. To start out, our poor little car died four miles from the hotel. FOUR MILES! See the picture on my Facebook Author Page.

By the time I realized that it didn’t just need to cool down, it needed professional help (no comments on that, please!), the local garages had all closed. I’ve been a AAA member since I got my driver’s license, and for the first time in 27 years, they couldn’t help me. I was shocked and starting to get a little panicky because I came to town alone.

But God, my awesome personal superhero, came to my rescue! A couple of friends helped me figure out a game plan and I got to my hotel with a change of clothes and my laptop, leaving the car and all my belongings where they were. The next morning, my brother called me out of the blue (anyone want to rent a Wyndham timeshare in Vegas for Labor Day weekend? He’s got one available that they can’t use) and suddenly my big brother was at my rescue again. I felt like I was 16! It was wonderful!

Rescued!

Several of my friends were praying hard for everything to turn out okay and it did! One sent money to take care of unexpected expenses. My brother told the auto repair facility that he wanted to pay for the car repairs. (I should get the fixed car back any moment! Woo-hoo!!) The AAA guys were super friendly and unloaded all my stuff into their courtesy shuttle and got me and all my boxes of books to my hotel.

And then when the convention started, I immediately met several people that I’m so glad I found! Another Christian woman who is also trying to entertain her readers while keeping her stories in her own world view; a sweet model with the nicest smile who I hope to work with on my next book cover; a really nice, smart woman who started up her own marketing firm for writers; and a woman who makes covers I adore! Plus I’m finally able to take time to get to know another friend a lot better. I’m so excited!

Saturday is the book signing, so if you’ll be in Vegas, stop by the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street from 11am to 2pm. Then I’ll be at the Author/Reader Meet and Greet from 3 to 5.

Book Signing in Traverse City

I’m excited to announce that I’ve confirmed another book signing! This one will be Saturday, September 7th from 3 to 4pm at Horizon Books in Traverse City, Michigan. This signing will be particularly special because I grew up with my mom taking us to Horizon Books every time we went to town, whether we needed something or not. This is practically a childhood dream come true! (I’d never dared to dream as a child that I could grow up to be an author one day.)

Unexpected Superhero is Free

Remember – and tell all your friends – that Unexpected Superhero will be available for free for five days starting this Saturday, August 10! Woo-hooo!!!

It’s a Kindle exclusive now, so you need a Kindle or a Kindle app. (I found out the new Nook now has a Kindle app on it! And you can download one for your iPad or smart phone as well as your computer.) I hope to have the book loaded up on all the other ebook vendor sites (Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Sony, iTunes, Kobo, etc.) on Labor Day weekend. It may show up a few days (or weeks, for Apple) later, but keep an eye out for it.

Happy Reading!

Little Miss Lovesick Has Arrived!

At long last, I have reached the next stage of my journey – I have a book for sale! Woo-hooo!!

Little Miss Lovesick took a long twisty road to get here. A very long time ago – 1997 or so – it was a proposal for an anthology Tyndale House Publishers was putting together. The editor passed, but asked to see more work from me.

I met a Silhouette editor at a Romance Writers of America conference a couple years later and pitched her the idea. She wanted to see it, but by the time I had the proposal polished and ready to send, she wasn’t with Silhouette anymore.

I decided that pursuing Harlequin/Silhouette was still a good idea and did some more work on the story, trying to figure out what line it most closely matched. I read a bit of it to my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright when we were off on a writing week together. They were polite but not overwhelmed. That said to me that it wasn’t a very interesting story. Maybe I should just forget it.

Then Lauraine asked me if I had heard of chick lit. I hadn’t, so the three of us did some online and bookstore research. I was gobsmacked! This was exactly the kind of voice I’d write in if I didn’t have to write towards the expectations of one publisher or another. The next day I rewrote the first chapter into more or less what you see here in Little Miss Lovesick and read it for Lauraine and Kathleen. They laughed so much! I was thrilled!

Then Lauraine picked up her cell phone and called her agent. “I’d like you to read something,” she said. I didn’t know if I was going to throw up or pass out! But chick lit was reaching its zenith and passing away. Though the agent received two “we almost bought it” replies from editors, all the publishing houses we sent it to passed.

And for the last seven years, the book has languished on my computer.

Then I heard about digital self-publishing. Other authors were giving it a try without a publisher behind them, and they were succeeding in varying degrees. I figured, what’s the worst that can happen? The book isn’t doing me any good on my computer. So when I finished my master’s degree in June of this year, I dusted off the book and did a little more editing based on the comments of the editors who had passed on it years before.

I put my entrepreneurial hat back on and filed a DBA (“doing business as”) to work as Daydreamer Entertainment, the publisher of Little Miss Lovesick. And voila! A lot of hours later, I had a book! Out in the marketplace! Yay! As a co-owner of our little business, John did the cover design. Lovely, isn’t it?

Right now the ebook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. Smashwords will help me get it into the Apple iBookstore, Kobo, and Sony. I’m working on getting it into All Romance eBooks and XinXii this week. Then I’ll start working on the print version, which I hope will be available by December 1.

If you don’t have an ereader, you can download an ereader app to your smart phone, your iPad or your PC or Mac computer. Or you can check back here or at my web site or on my Facebook page to find out when it is available in print.  🙂

So that’s the story. My career has taken a new direction and I’m loving it! I’m exhausted, but I’m happier than I’ve been in years! (Thank you, God!) Whatever you’re doing, and however hard it’s been, don’t give up. Anything could happen at any time to change your life for the better. I’m proof of that.

A New Routine – Schedules and Budgets

Since I’m going to self-publish my novel Little Miss Lovesick next month, I’m doing a lot of reading and research on all the things that need to be done. In Zoe Winters’ book, Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author, she suggests that authors remember they are running a business.

My little business school heart sang when I read that. She’s so right, but often creative people ignore the business side of things. What we all need to remember is that it doesn’t need to be difficult. A little bit of planning and organization is better than none at all.

For instance, the first quick budget only took me about half an hour (after I did the research, maybe two to three hours altogether). Looks like I’ll be able to publish the ebook version of my book for under $600. I’ll create a 2012 budget that will include the costs of contacting an attorney to decide about the form of business I want to use, forming an LLC, buying ISBNS, and the expenses involved in self-publishing two or more additional books.

The production schedule seemed more difficult for me. (Isn’t figuring out how long it will take us to write the next book difficult for lots of writers?) So I broke it down into parts. The first part includes just getting Little Miss Lovesick up for sale. I broke that down into a list of what all needs to get done for the book to be ready to publish. I figured out when I’ll need to decide for certain on the cover art, when I’ll need the completed cover, when I’ll need the final polish and copy edits done, etc. My production schedule will be tweaked as I use it, which will make the schedule for the next book more accurate.

For the second section of the production schedule, I have a rough idea of what needs to be done when for the next book to be completed. I have an idea for the covers in a series of related books, and I’ve planned a photo shoot with some friends to create the photo art for all the books over a weekend. I’ll revise this schedule based on how I do with Little Miss Lovesick, see if I have a good idea of how long things will take.

And of course, since John is almost done with Happy Feet 2, I have to plan the time it takes to pack and move into that schedule. We don’t know yet if John’s next job will be in Australia, New Zealand or back in America, but I know how long it’s taken in the past to make an intercontinental move so I’ll use that for now.

Why a production schedule when I don’t have a contract from an outside company forcing me to complete my work on time? Because it’s part of creating a successful business. And that’s what I want. It’s not necessary for every writer; we all have different goals for our writing. But if you’re serious about turning your writing into your paying day job, it’s something you need.