Week 4 – Publishing Your Book
Once your eBook is written and edited, it’s time to start the publishing phase.
During this final stage, you’ll focus on the formatting and the process of uploading your book to the various publishing platforms or making it available on your website.
Create the Back Cover Copy
The first thing you should focus on is writing the back cover copy (known as the BCC or the book blurb) and you must do this with just a few words due to space constraints.
The standard amount of words is around 200 or less. This means you have to make sure you use clear and persuasive copy so potential readers want to buy your book.
Don’t get too wordy on the back of your book. When readers are considering what to buy, they look at the description.
If that’s too long, they’ll skim your words and could miss some of the important details.
The back of your book should offer a peek at what’s inside, but the main purpose of the BCC is to work as your advertisement.
While writing this short description of your book might seem easy, it’s often one of the most difficult parts of finishing up.
That’s because you have to condense the main points, purpose, and theme of your book in just a paragraph or two.
How you format the BCC is up to you.
But do keep in mind that it should be written in a way that allows for easy reading and draws the attention down the length of the cover.
You can begin the blurb using several different styles. One of these is by starting with the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) hook.
This is where you write the copy by stating first what the problem is that your target audience is facing.
Then you tell the reader exactly how buying your book is going to help them improve their professional or personal life.
Using this style, you can end the copy with a promotional statement from someone who is recommending your book.
However, you want this quote to be from someone who has authority in your field.
Getting a quote from your neighbor, friend or relative who isn’t a leader in your niche won’t carry any weight with readers.
When you get a quote, choose someone that your target audience would recognize when they see the name.
Though some people do it, you don’t want the back of your book to consist of only praise or accolades. This doesn’t tell the reader what your eBook is about.
It only tells them what other people say the book is about.
Another style for a back cover copy and one of the most popular is to use the bullet point method.
With this method, you can write the back cover in several different ways.
You can start out by listing promotional comments or praise from your colleagues in the niche, from leaders or from influencers.
From there, you give a short, enticing statement addressing what the reader is looking for and how you’re qualified to help.
Then you use bullet points to share what readers will get from picking up your book.
For example, Stan’s eBook was written on the topic of becoming an internet marketer. He used these as his bullet points:
- Learn SEO tactics to skyrocket your site to the top of Google
- Build an engaged audience that always opens your emails
- Create content that drives traffic and grows your platform
A third way to write a back cover copy is to begin with a problem hook such as “Why you’re not gaining traction in your niche…”
Then give a brief one or two sentence look at the answer. From there, go into bullet points to what the reader will further learn by buying the book.
Use several bullet points, then end with a closing hook which is usually written in the form of a guarantee.
For example, Stan created this closing hook: “This book will help you to create an online business by giving you a step-by-step blueprint to follow.”
You could also open your back cover copy with a brief look at how you arrived where you are in your business journey.
You might mention who you are and what you used to do before you decided to create the life or business that you have now.
Next, talk about how you did it and give a brief, short list of bullet points that cover some of the things you did to reach your success.
You want to be careful here that you don’t come across as a braggart. If you write in an arrogant tone, it’s going to turn away readers.
You’ll want to end this blurb by stating some of your accomplishments, as well as what you love about your life or business.
These should be things, which specifically relate to your niche and clearly show why you’re the authority to write this book.
A few things to remember is not to overwhelm the back of the book with bullet points.
There’s not rule for how many you should use but commonly, the amount is between three and ten.
If you use more than five, you would want to use a table formatting on the cover so the bullet points are side-by-side rather than descending.
When using bullet points, don’t start the back cover copy with those. They should come after some copy, in between copy or at the end of the blurb.
The purpose of bullet points is to whet the reader’s appetite and give the consumer a little more information about what they can find inside the book.
You can start a book blurb by asking a series of questions and then use bullet points to provide how the book is going to answer those.
Keep in mind that if you don’t use your blurb to create a need in the consumer for your book, then they won’t feel the urge to buy it.
Write Your Amazon Description
Create the description for your Kindle eBook is usually easier than writing the back cover copy.
The reason for this is because you can pull what you wrote on the back blurb and use portions of that directly in the description.
Here, you just won’t go as much in depth as you would on the back cover of your book.
You want to begin writing your description by creating a headline that will grab the attention of your readers.
This hook is used for the purpose of capturing attention so that they’ll read the rest of the description.
You need this headline to be as intriguing or as eye-catching as possible because Amazon doesn’t give the entire description at once.
All you get a chance to wow the audience with is whatever you’ve written above their fold then readers must click the “read more” link.
This means you must reach your audience first with a short phrase or one sentence headline.
The next few sentences that you write after that have to speak to the reader in a way that tells them what your book can do for them.
Depending on the way Amazon formats the “read more” area of your book, you will only have between two and five sentences to tell the audience why they should buy your book.
You want to give enough away here to summarize the book but not so much that the reader feels you’ve shared everything.
There’s something to be said for being unique when you write up a description on Amazon.
However, you don’t want to be so unique when writing this that your book description sounds hyped up or comes across as a sales pitch.
One way that you can check to make sure your book description looks good is to do a market check.
Pull up books within your niche that touch on a topic like the one you’ve written about.
Study how those descriptions were written and that will help give you a hint as to whether you’re within the range of what’s useful as a description on Amazon.
Keep in mind that you only want to study books that are ranking well on the site.
What you’re going to do when you write your description is to make sure that you optimize it. Use your keywords because there’s SEO potential in the description.
A reader might know the topic they’re looking for but not know about your book.
So when they search, you want to have that SEO in there to pull it up and make your book one that Amazon suggests.
There is a limit to how much you can say within your book description.
Amazon will cut off the words even mid-sentence if you go over the space parameters of what they allow. That means you get roughly between 400-500 words.
It can be easy to go over that limit if you try to include your biography within your description. Don’t do that.
Save the “about you” information for lower on the page under your author section.
Sometimes writers try to cram everything in the description because they think the audience won’t scroll below the line to find out more information, but that’s not true.
Your audience will almost always scroll down the page to see what others are saying about the book which is a good reason why you want to have reviews lined up before your book goes live on the site.
Build Your “About the Author” Page
Every publishing platform has an “About the Author” page.
This page typically features a picture of the author, the writer’s biography, and links to the creator’s website and social media profiles.
There’s a lot you can do with your author page that can tell the audience about you but it can also be used to help you promote and sell your book.
Don’t miss the opportunities that are available for you in this section of online real estate that Amazon and other publishers give you.
Start by making sure that you have a good author image ready to upload.
This can be a professional photo, but it doesn’t have to be since the purpose is to connect a face with the book.
A photo builds audience trust, so you can use a high-resolution selfie that looks nice as long as the photo is good quality.
In your biography section, show yourself as the authority or leader in the subject matter of the book you’ve written.
The content style you’re going for is persuasive, so your biography should “prove” why you’re the right person to write the material.
The purpose of writing the biography this way is because it establishes trust just like your image does.
You want the audience to see your bio and immediately think that you know what you’re talking about, that they can trust you to steer them in the right direction or give them the knowledge that they’re seeking.
Some authors try and write clever or cute bios where they talk about their pets or hobbies.
These are a waste of space and are irrelevant to the book unless that’s what your book is about.
As you’re crafting your bio, keep asking yourself if what you’re saying is relevant. If it isn’t, then leave it out.
Bios should always be written in the third person. It’s the standard format but there’s a good reason to write it in the third person.
It sounds more professional and less like you’re bragging on yourself or boasting about the success you’ve had.
One question that inevitably comes up on concerning the about the author page is how long your bio should be.
The answer is that it should be easily digestible by the reader. No more than about a paragraph and you want to keep the tone personal or conversational in nature.
It can be helpful to use this format when writing your bio:
- Open with a sentence that’s memorable or stirs an emotion with the reader.
- Mention who you are and why you’re a leader or influencer.
- Showcase your ability or talents but be humble about it.
Something many writers forget is tht the end of their bio is another chance to create a promotional opportunity.
Never end your bio with a sentence that wraps everything up. You always want to have an open ending, that “wait, there’s more” ending.
That means you should finish off your bio with an incentive.
Urge your reader to look at other books in your series or supporting material such as your podcasts or video.
If you don’t have any of that, then encourage readers to follow you on social media.
You always want to leave the reader with the ability to learn more about you or from you in order to build a relationship that can turn into a conversion.
The Amazon author page is also, where you can add early reviews of your books.
To do this, you would sign in to your page, locate your book from the list if you have more than one and click on the book.
Once you do that, you’ll have the option to add the reviews to the different formats. Select the format.
You’ll then be presented with a box that gives you several options. Choose “Review” and when you do that, a box will open for you to paste the reviews in.
You want to bold certain words or phrases within the reviews that highlight your book.
These would be things like “well-written” or “best SEO book” or “map for success” any words that can boost interest or promotion for your book is what you want to bold.
Once you have the reviews you want to include on your author page, then click preview to make sure the bold remained and all the punctuation stayed the same.
If it didn’t just go back and fix it, then preview again. Don’t worry.
Amazon’s uploader is a little tricky so you may have to work with the formatting several times before it saves correctly.
Design Your Book Cover
When you’re ready for your book’s cover, you can make it yourself, use an online cover creator tool, or hire someone else to create it for you.
If you use Amazon, they have something called “Cover Creator” that will walk you through each step to create your own cover.
The software will show you some sample covers so you can see if you like that style before you make the decision on if you’ll use it.
Kindle Publishing uses stock images, which is standard, even among cover designers.
You can choose to use a stock image that you’ve purchased or have a license to use.
If you choose to do it yourself, be aware that Amazon has qualifications before a cover is accepted. Your cover will be rejected if the display image isn’t correct.
This usually happens when you’re not familiar with settings and margins that need to be followed in order to correctly create or upload the image.
It can cause the image to be distorted. Any images that are blurry or controversial won’t be accepted as covers.
If you use any kind of promotional material on the cover such as images featuring brands, logos or you have the word free, Amazon will reject the cover.
After you’ve selected your design, you’ll pick the colors and fonts. Then you’ll have the chance to look over the cover before you publish.
Watch out for titles or author names that aren’t easily readable, or characters that look like they were cut and pasted into the picture.
If you can see the edges of the images, they’re not blended seamlessly like they should be.
This can sometimes happen when you use an image that you didn’t crop correctly.
Once you preview your book cover and everything looks good, then you’re ready to upload it.
If you don’t want to use Amazon’s tool, there are free and paid ebook cover resources that you can choose from.
Some of the sites will require you to create an account or sign in using Facebook or a Google account.
You do want to make sure you stick to industry standard book sizes because it makes it easier when formatting the book.
Once you create your design, you can download it.
Another tool for creating your cover is to use Canva. They have nonfiction and fiction book templates and offer free or paid images for use.
There are some limitations on print runs if you plan to print your novel. But you can get started designing your eBook cover here.
A paid cover design service that might interest you is My eCover Maker.
They offer a free trial or a subscription design service giving you more features for a little over $20 a month.
They do offer a money back guarantee if you decide the service isn’t what you’re looking for.
You can also use Adobe Spark to create your design for free. However, the free edition keeps their logo on anything you design.
To be able to remove it, you need to upgrade to the paid option.
You can get free stock images to have your book cover designed or you can work with a designer who will find the image for you.
If you choose to outsource getting the graphics done, then you would look at sites where cover artists are available.
Many of the designers have different options with the eBook design. What you want to check for is that you’ll get commercial use rights and the source file.
If you get the source file, you’re free to edit or change the design as well as have another designer work on it.
You also want to pay attention to revision limits. Look for designers that offer unlimited revisions or at least more than one or two.
You also want to check out the designers ratings and how many orders they have in their queue. If they have hundreds of orders waiting, then yours will take a while.
Another option is to find a designer on UpWork. In their search bar, type in book cover or book cover design and you’ll get a list of options.
The designers will be listed by area of expertise as well the amount of work they’ve done and their charges for a project.
The cool thing about UpWork is that you can speak to various designers until you find one that you’re comfortable with.
Try to pick a designer who has made covers for books in your niche. This will ensure you choose someone who understands your vision and the vibe you’re going for.
Format Your Book for Kindle
If you don’t understand how to format your book for Kindle, then you need to outsource this task.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with orphan words or long, unbroken paragraphs and sentences that are split in weird places.
You could even end up with your Table of Contents combining with your first chapter.
In addition, if you have things like tables, graphs, or images, incorrect formatting can distort everything.
Half of the content might appear on one page and the rest of it on another. It’s a nightmare to sort it and better to leave to a professional.
If you plan to use Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon has a guide that will walk you through the process step-by-step.
You want to make sure that your manuscript is stripped of any formatting that will cause issues when you upload it.
That means if you bolded, indented chapters or highlighted something, you’ll need to revert the manuscript back to the normal appearance.
Highlight your text and click on Normal to get your manuscript cleaned up from any previous formatting.
If your manuscript was saved as a DOCX, you’ll have to resave it as a DOC since the platform doesn’t convert DOCX.
Kindle automatically uses page numbers so don’t add those. Make sure that your indentions and spaces are in Kindle format style.
The first line must be at 0.2” and make sure that your line spacing is set to single.
All chapter titles should be on “center” using “Heading 1.” Wherever you end one of your pages, you need insert “page break”.
If you don’t, your chapters will run together.
If you do have images that need to be added, the best way to put those in your upload is by selecting Kindle Create, otherwise, the sizing could be messy.
You’ll also use Kindle Create to make your Table of Contents.
Review and Make Any Corrections
After your book is written and ready to be uploaded, you need to check to make sure that you’ve covered all the information concerning your book.
Go over this carefully because you want your book in the right area where it’ll have the chance to get to the correct audience.
First, check the genre that your book is listed under to make sure that it’s correct. Then look at the categories.
The reason that you want to be sure the categories are correct is because putting your book in the right category can make the difference between selling a few books and selling a lot of books.
It’s easy to figure that the more books you sell, the better odds you have of hitting an Amazon list.
However, putting your book in a category means it’s competing against all the other books in that category.
You can help your book sell well by choosing categories based on the niche. The more you narrow down your book categories, the higher your ranking will be.
So if you have a book on yoga, you would choose categories Health, Fitness & Dieting, then you would also select Exercise & Fitness.
From there, you would break those categories down further by categorizing the book as Fitness.
Many authors stop there and don’t continue to break the book down into more categories, which is a mistake. What you want to do is keep looking.
Find categories where the #1 Amazon best sellers are ranking with higher numbers of books sold in that category.
For example, when you click on yoga, it brings up a list of possible related words in more specific categories like: ab workouts, aerobics, for children, for the aging, hip & thigh workouts and more.
You would want to check each of those categories to see what the rankings were for the books that were #1 best sellers.
Choose the category related to your book where the best sellers had to be something like 10,000 or more. That means you have to sell less books per day to hit a list.
It could mean the difference between selling 10 books in a day versus needing to sell over 700 in a day.
You want to choose a category this way because it means more exposure for your book. The books that hit Amazon’s list are heavily featured and promoted.
Amazon tags are small boxes that feature phrases or words that are pulled from your reviews.
For a yoga book, this might be something like “yoga poses: or “yoga practice.”
However, tagging can also pull praise tags such as “beautifully written” or “wonderful book.”
Finally, when all the work is done, you’ve checked the book for mistakes and placed it in the correct categories, it’s time to hit the publish button.
It may take a few hours or days before your book goes live. So when you’re preparing your launch date, keep that in mind.
You don’t have any control over when Amazon will upload the book to the platform.
Once the book is live, you can check the formatting and see if there are any mistakes. If so, you can re-upload the book after the issue is corrected.
When you’re sure that everything is good, congratulate yourself. You’ve written and published a book and that’s quite an amazing feat. You deserve the applause!
Marketing Your eBook Checklist
Publishing your eBook is only half the battle. Now you need to get the word out about it so readers can find and buy it. Here’s what to do:
Promote Your Book Through Your Website
- Put an excerpt on your website. Have the first chapter up for your audience to read. At the end of the excerpt, feature a call-to-action button or buy links.
- Have a dedicated page for your book. Put up the cover, the testimonials and all the buy links. If you don’t have any testimonials, then use sentences from your book but make them tweetable.
- Blog on relevant topics. Write blog posts about the same subject but not as in-depth. Then tell readers that for more help, they can get the book.
- Create a media page with all of your book information. Make it easy for podcast hosts and journalists to interview you or feature your book.
Get Social With It
- Put the book on your LinkedIn profile. List it under your job experience as “author of (your book’s title)”. You can also mention the book in your LinkedIn groups if a relevant discussion comes up.
- Promote your book on Twitter by doing a giveaway. Use hashtags like #giveaway #contest #(authorname)win.
- Create a branded hashtag for your book. Include this hashtag whenever you’re posting about your book and encourage your reviewers to do the same.
- Be sure to add the book to your author page. In addition to adding it to the information section, create a banner with your book cover on it.
- Create a Facebook launch event. Invite your social media followers to attend and encourage them to post about it on their profile.
- Make a book trailer for your book. This doesn’t have to be long—think 30-60 seconds. Just long enough to tease your readers and make them curious enough to click.
Harness the Power of Email Marketing to Sell Your Book
- Tease your subscribers. Let your list know a project you’ve been working on is about to be released but don’t tell them what it is.
- Send a sneak peek. This should be a glance at the cover or a short excerpt that’s shared only with your list.
- Do a final reveal. Proudly show off your new book to your subscribers. Let them know where they can pick up a copy.
- Offer a freebie. Give your list related promotional material such as an exclusive video or podcast or a pdf if they buy your book. Keep this special item only for your subscribers.
Use Advertising to Promote Your Book
- Use paid sites like BookBub. Set up an account and list your book under your author profile. Apply to have your book featured in a BookBub Daily Deal. You’ll have to discount your book for one day but the site has a large audience.
- Get a Kirkus Review. You can find their submission guidelines here.
- Use Amazon Advertising. You can create a campaign that’s budget friendly by using either Sponsored or Lockscreen Ads.
How to Use Live and Online Networking Events to Boost Sales
- Host an author Q&A online to promote your book. Do a blog or social media takeover for someone’s site who’s in the same niche you’re in.
- Partner with others. Find authors releasing a book within the same time period and partner with them for a multi-author event such as a giveaway.
Give a speech. Offer to host a speech at your Chamber of Commerce, your local library, or a small organization interested in your topic. If your book is about gardening, seek out gardening clubs in your area.