Welcome back! In this volume of My Writers Toolbox, I will show you the various tools (programs and people) I use to get a book from my computer to my readers.
I use WordPress (as you can see), Twitter, and sometimes Facebook to share my content, post about how much I love or hate it, and interact with other writers. I don’t use Facebook as often, because it’s how I keep in touch with people I actually know/once knew. My content is frowned upon by a large percentage of that population.
I use my beloved editor (beloved as an editor), Michael Keenan, after my first round of revisions/rewrites. I went without him for Two Guns, and I’m regretting it. Alas, we must do as our budget allows. For the next book, I’ll save specifically for that.
I also have a small army of beta-readers, and I’m often seeking more. I’d like to add more diversity, as the majority of them are white women. I involve some of them in every step of the process, which I guess makes them alpha-readers.
I have a cover artist, Brian Bullard, who also happens to be my brother. Not only does he do some incredible original work, but he can also emulate other styles pretty well. Recently he emulated Audubon for L. M. Bryski’s Book of Birds and Heather Stillufsen for my SweetNOTHING. Contracting an artist is the best way to get an original and fitting cover, but also expensive. Cover designs can be purchased cheaply (I mean, like $30 USD), but you also run the risk of someone with similar content or in the same genre purchasing that design as well.
I also have a cover designer, who shall remain nameless (but who is also related to me), who does my cover formatting and interior design for paperback. My interior design is very simple and clean. If you’re looking for more professional or complex interior design, I recommend Sean Hoade.
For eBook formatting, I downloaded a program called Calibre e-Book Management, which is FREE online. Although it looks daunting, it is very easy to use:
Just upload your .doc, covert into .mobi, and you’re good to go. You can preview it for formatting errors on their eReader simulator. These can also be emailed directly to someone’s Kindle, as long as your email address has first been placed on their safelist on Amazon.
Now Amazon requires user to use their software to convert files. This means you can either format your Word document to upload directly (which I’m not familiar with), or you can convert your .doc into an .epub using Calibre, then use Kindle Previewer to convert it into a .mobi.
Once my books have everyone’s seal of approval, I use Amazon KDP to post my eBooks and CreateSpace to publish my paperbacks. CreateSpace is much cheaper than LuLu, they have a matte feature, and I’ve never received a mis-printed book (although I have with LuLu). Both Amazon and CreateSpace are free to set up; All costs are deducted from the product price.
For marketing, I’m afraid you’re going to have to look elsewhere. Although I’ve nailed down the writing and publishing process, selling still eludes me.
I hope I have been able to show you something new and interesting, or give you a bit of food for thought. If you have success with other people or programs, please give them a shout-out in the comments!