Tuesday, July 26, 2011

eBook Launch Postmortem

Having just completed a full week of having Multiples of Six available online, let me give you some more epublishing tips.

1. Read, read, and re-read your book before you post it. If you've read it X times, read it one more time. One day will no make or break anyone. I know it's an exciting thing, but errors are turn-offs to readers who are used to well-polished traditional books.

2. If you're expecting friends and family to propel your sales, you'd better have a lot of both. Instead, try and find your true audience. That's not to say that friends and family aren't, but you need to seek out readers of your genre. Writers tend to cling to one another like popularity might wear off or trickle down. And, though it's good to have other writers/authors to bounce ideas off of, they also have an agenda of their own (sell their book).

3. If you can handle the monotony of formatting your work for Smashwords, it'll pay off for when you upload to B&N and Amazon. It took a long time to go through and do all of the necessary style changes to get it through Smashwords' Meat Grinder, but the product I was left with made it all the easier to upload to the BIG 2. If you find that you are unable to get it done on your own, there are people out there who will do it for you...for a small fee. Oh, and don't leave this till the last minute. It can be time-consuming no matter how easy you find it and the last thing you want delaying your publication is a formatting error.

4. Make sure your cover looks good at every size, large or small. I've noticed the font on my cover gets a little pixelated at the smaller sizes. But, there are two very important things I can do when it's that small: (1) read the title and (2) read my name. You wouldn't believe how many ebooks I've seen where you can't distinguish either when the cover is 1" x 2". The reason the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover" exists is because that's exactly what we do...even if we shouldn't! Rest assured, there are readers out there doing just that when they see yours.

5. Don't cry when the sales don't start flooding your Amazon stats. Realize this: your book has no expiration date. There is no point at which it will "sell out." You've got time on your side. If you haven't marketed your release, make a plan to do post-launch marketing. It doesn't have to cost you anything. There are plenty of web sites and blogs out there (this one included) that will post your content for free. Now, whether or not it generates sales is another story. Just remember that you get out what you put in. If your work is good quality, it will eventually gain traction on its own merit.

6. The writing doesn't end when you click "upload." If you're writing a series, it's time to get cracking on the next book! A week in and I've already had several people ask when the sequel to Multiples will be out (tentatively titled Divisible by Six). Folks don't like to wait years for their favorite authors to publish their next book. And, as ebook authors, we have the ability to provide a much more rapid response. I'm hoping to have my sequel out in time for Christmas, but a lot has to happen in order for that to happen.

Good luck with your own book. I'll definitely keep you up to date with how Multiples is doing.


  1. This is really solid advice. I recently published my first book as well, and there are some points here I wish I had followed! Especially your first point, although it looks like I've been lucky and had no bloopers because I was too agitated to check properly.

    The second point is the heart of the matter. How to find readers? I'm still trying to figure that one out.

    And the last point is the burning one - must start on my next book!

  2. Thanks for stopping by masha! With regard to #2, I've been trying to subtly get into Goodreads and Shelfari book groups. Nothing sneaky, but that's where the readers are!

  3. 1. Not to say that your work shouldn't be as polished as it can be, I feel there comes a point when it needs to be launched and you move on to the next project. That one extra day can become an extra week, then month then years for some people.

    2. I think also targeting the influential in your audience is something to consider. Getting them to say that your book is good will go a long way.

    3. Hard to say on point 3. I spent about a week researching how it was done, but when I sat down it only took an afternoon to format my e-book and in my opinion it looks and reads nice. I have downloaded samples and other books and they look like a wall of text that I find to be un-readable. I even wrote a small basic formatting guide on my blog a month or more ago.

    4. I agree

    5. Again I agree, its all about your own efforts.

    6. I lost a lot of momentum when I uploaded my first book in a trilogy. I am considering if the momentum builds while writing book two that I will just keep going and finish book three instead of stopping to get book 2 out the door. I can have book 3 finished and shelve it for 4-6 months before releasing it.

    Excellent blog post.

  4. Thanks for the input, SBJ! And thanks for stopping by!