This is a guest post from my pilot blogger friend Sylvia Spruck Wrigley. She writes the excellent Fear of Landing blog and when I read her great new e-book You Fly Like a Woman, I asked her to tell me (and you) about the process of creating it.
Having written the book, edited it, formatted it and had it proofread by trusted readers both for content and formatting, I thought I was ready to go. Not quite.
I had a gorgeous cover but I still needed a shop front – something more to encourage people to buy my book. A good cover is important but I needed a description.
A good blurb is a quick description of the conflict which makes people want to pick it up on the spot. Different websites require different lengths, ranging from 400 to 4,000 characters. I created a couple of blurbs to fit into the different format.
I spent some time thinking about categories – if my mother sent someone to a bookstore to find my book, what bookshelf would she send them to? Mobipocket eBook Creator> includes only a limited number of categories (I chose Action and Adventure which is a bit over the top). Amazon had many more options and allowed me to choose two from their list.
Online bookstores allow us to use searches to find good e-books. Finding keywords and “tags” is trickier than it sounds, because I wanted the most popular keywords that readers were likely to search on but I didn’t want my book to be buried in a pile of other books that used the same one. Non-fiction may get a lot of searches but my book will be buried under thousands of higher rated ones. Aviation is better but I wanted to show up on the front page of search results. I knew students learning to fly were some of the biggest fans of essays on my blog so I chose one very specific one: Cessna — the plane I fly in the story and the most common training aircraft.
I created a website to promote the book including links to the five Amazon shops. That way, all interested parties could see the price in their own currency and go directly to the page in right shop. On the other hand, this means it is multiple clicks to get to the buy button. When dealing with people from a specific region, I link directly to the appropriate Amazon page.
This website should have included quotes from early readers. It makes sense to start sending out review copies first, giving reviewers a head-start on reading your novel. If I had to do it all again, I think I would plan for Advanced Readers Copies to be released before I published the book.
Start signing up for forums where you think you might have an opportunity to discuss your book, so that you have a chance to look around and get to know the community before posting promotions. You can also speak to bloggers about guest posts – like this one! – which gives you a chance to think about the content and hopefully time the posts to come out the same week as the book is launched (as opposed to over a month later like I have done). If you can coordinate multiple promotions to happen in the same week, you will see a lot more impact.
Having created the final book with Mobipocket eBook Creator, I went to the Kindle Direct Publishing website, signed in and started filling in forms. I selected all regions to make sure it was available to everyone.
Once I had my meta-data ready (categories, keywords) it was very straightforward. Amazon.com: Kindle Direct Publishing covers the various Amazon shops around the world. A few hours later, it magically appeared as an English-language book on the local Amazon websites in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.