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The Yellow Brick Road to
Self-Publishing

We know this checklist is overwhelming. Just think of it as a map to guide you on your journey. It is easy to take wrong turns in this business, and wrong turns waste precious time and money.

As you write, develop a platform.

Become an expert in the field or genre you write about.
Set up an author website that has a blog. We suggest you use your author name for the domain name [e.g. www.YourName.com].
1) include a page about you
2) eventually include a page about your forthcoming book.
3) start blogging about your subject matter

Become a joiner
1) Join Facebook, Linked in, Twitter, and other social media to attract followers for your blog and upcoming book
2) Join clubs having to do with your book.
Make a list of places where you might speak about your book.
3) Create e-mail and snail-mail lists of people who might be interested in your book.
4) Get to know the people at the bookstores that might carry your book.
5) Get to know the people at the bookstores that might carry your book.

Write your book
Write your manuscript using Microsoft Word software. This is an industry standard, accepted by professional editors and graphic designers.
Keep formatting, such as tabs and extra spaces, to a minimum. Extra formatting causes trouble later. You will have to pay more for the designer to delete your formatting.

Have your manuscript edited.
Join critique groups.
Get feedback.

Write Your Back Cover Book Description
Keep it under 150 words.
You will need this description when you register your book with Bowker and the printing sites.
Remember: more people will read this description than read your book, so have it professionally edited, too.

Reviewers
Plan to send your manuscript for reviews three months before your book launch. Send the final manuscript to at least 5 people to read even if they don't review it.

Choose a graphic designer
Check our his/her portfolio.
Do you like the style of their previous work?
Do they have a reputation for being on time, for communicating effectively, for understanding marketing.
Do not base your choice on how much they charge by the hour. A clever, experienced designer will take less time to come up with a successful solution than one who is not so clever or experienced.

You will need three files to publish your book. All of them can be exported from one InDesign file.

1) a pdf file for print books
2) a mobi file for Kindle books
3) an epub file for iBooks and Nook

Meet your designer prepared
Even if you do not chose Mitchell Design, fill out our worksheet. It will save you a lot of time and money.
Within three to five hours with your designer, you should be able to:
1) Establish your branding assets (type, color, etc) and marketing plan
2) Develop a concept for your book cover
3) Develop a template for your interior pages that can easily adjust for e-book and print.
If it took you longer than that, someone did not know what they were doing, or someone else did not do their homework.

Set up your publishing identity
Assuming you do not want a book by Sally Smith published by Sally Smith, obtain a DBA (doing business as) fictitious name from your local county under the name you want to be published. You can check with websites like GoDaddy.com to see if the domain name for that DBA is available.
You will need this for:
1) Setting up your Bowker's account
2) Setting up your web-site shopping cart, or PayPal if you want to sell your books online
3) Setting up your accounts with Kindle Direct Publishing, Lightning Source, or other book printers and online sources.
Hint: iTunes Connect takes a week or so to confirm your account. CreateSpace takes an hour.

Technically, you will use your name as your publishing entity since it matches your SS#.

Eventually you may need:
1) A checking account under your DBA Publishing Name
2) A resale license from the California State Board of Equalization (or whatever state you live in) for selling books under your DBA. [Don't worry about this until you are selling hundreds of books a month.]

Purchase your ISBN numbers under your DBA Printing Name at www.myidentifiers.com.
We suggest you buy the block of ten.
Do not, and we repeat, DO NOT, use the ISBN numbers offered by Amazon or Univers, or any of the self-publishing sites or you will lose your publishing rights to that book forever.

Prepare for your book launch. Branding, branding, branding.
Set up an account with MailChimp, Constant Contact or other mass e-mail site in preparation for announcing your book launch.
1) You will need a jpeg of your book cover design from your graphic designer
2) Stick to the typefaces and color scheme your developed with your designer when designing for MailChimp or Constant Contact. We suggest you have your designer make you a banner heading.
3) Set up book signings at your local bookstores.

Handouts
1) Order bookmarks, post cards and/or business cards to hand out to everyone you know and meet.
2) Include your ISBN number on your promotion material. Bookstores will often hand out your bookmarks as long as that ISBN number is on it.
3) Prepare a printed flyer for sending via snail-mail. Only 50-75% of your friends and relations will open your e-blast. Prepare an announcement such as a letter in which you can include a bookmark and a notice of local book signings.

Launch your book.
When your first box of books arrives, or your e-book is published on line, break out the champagne!
Send the e-blast you prepared.
Send out the post cards.
Send a free copy of the book to your local library.
Send free copies of the book to important people who might advertise it for you somehow.
If you are on Amazon, fill out the Author Profile.
Announce your book at your writers' club, book club, every club you belong to.
Sell, sell, sell and the best of luck to you!