Monday, 25 February 2013

Self Publishing - The Marketing Timeline

Image from by Photostock
With only 11 days to go until launch day the butterflies in my stomach are getting agitated and the anxiety is rising for many reasons:

  • Will anyone buy my book?
  • If so, will they love it or hate it or (even worse) be unmoved? 
  • OMG! How am I going to get everything done in time?

When I made the decision in late December to self-publish, March seemed a long way away. The upside was that I had already done huge amounts of research on self-publishing and chosen the path I would take and had a basic book marketing plan already hammered out from my last book, @Home in Dubai.

As I look back over the last couple of months I see a lot has been accomplished - final proofreading and edits done, ISBN and bar code secured, testimonials gathered, cover design created, interior page layout done, Kindle template prepared, upload to both Kindle and Create Space successfully performed, electronic and print proofs checked... and that's before even thinking about the marketing piece!

So, even though I had a skeleton marketing plan, there are always changes and adaptations that must be made specific to the book itself. The most time-consuming part of the plan is actually outlining and writing all the elements and doing the research and outreach.

The elements:
  • Website and/or blog
  • Facebook page
  • Author bio/photo
  • Book blurb/synopsis
  • Press release(s)
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Email announcements
  • Testimonial request
  • Endorsement pitch
  • Virtual Book tour pitch letter   
  • Virtual Book tour announcement
  • Guest posts (at least have some ideas in advance to adapt to requests as they come in)
Research and Outreach:
  • Developing the media list for press release distribution and/or identifying online distribution channels
  • Targeting and contacting bloggers and book reviewers. There are plenty of lists out there like the Indie Book Review, which is pretty extensive, but you'll have to visit each blog to determine whether or not it's appropriate for your book and follow each reviewer's submission guidelines, which means... no canned pitches blasted to hundreds of bloggers.
  • Targeting and contacting potential endorsers (I didn't start this early enough but I'm crossing my fingers that at some point I'll have a high profile expert willing to sing my book's praises.  And, since I have control, I can update the cover and other elements at any time with a new endorsement if it's really amazing).
  • Creating email database and choosing distribution method (Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are popular. I'm using Email Express through Go Daddy as that's where I have my website hosted).
  • Developing list of ebook distributors and online listings
  • Researching and submitting to contests and awards programs
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure there's enough time to implement! The planning and preparation should take the bulk of your time but when creating the timeline for the plan, there needs to be lead time for others to do their part such as reviewers to read and review the book (many are months ahead in scheduling reviews and interviews). Or, if you're sending the press release to print magazines, their lead time is several months. I missed this window but hope there will be some interested in doing something post launch.

That's all for now.  I hope this is helpful. I'm off to write my blog tour announcement as I've had some amazing responses and several bloggers are already on board (having been sent advance review copies far enough ahead of time). For anyone who is interested, I'll be posting the schedule on my Mental Pause blog later today and will update as new bloggers join in!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Self-Publishing… Oh, the Moving Parts!

Image courtesy of Photostock on
As I hurtle headlong towards my self-imposed launch day of March 8th, the To Do list is waffling between a satisfying series of checks and the inevitable daunting additions that hadn’t even occurred to me!

Am I enjoying the process? Absolutely! Is it riddled with moments of elation as well as bursts of sheer panic? Oh yes! And, the unexpected, that every good planner knows should be factored into the timeline (especially when attempting something you’ve never done before).  I always appreciated my publisher of @Home in Dubai (Jo Parfitt at Summertime Publishing) but I’m starting to have a whole new appreciation.

Here’s one item that I thought would take just a few minutes…

The Kindle Template

I really thought I had this one locked down. I had taken a few online webinars and bought a video series and template and even tested it on a short e-book. I was ready to roll. Not! There’s a little thing that is required for the upload to Kindle DirectPublishing – the hyperlinked ‘table of contents’ (TOC). My template had one conveniently included so I began to happily input all my content to the template, until I ran out of chapters in the TOC. My test ebook had the same amount of chapters as the template (10) so it didn’t occur to me that I might run into problems with Mental Pause’s 19 chapters.

So, back to the video I went to seek out the section on how to add additional chapters. I knew that the presenter worked on a PC but so far I had been able to adapt to the Mac. With a sinking heart, it started to become obvious that there was no ‘quick fix’ for the Mac and the steps outlined to add chapters on a PC didn’t exist on the Mac.

After an entire day of research, a lot of struggling and messing up of formatting in my ebook layout, I finally came out victorious. I had to combine the advice from several different blogs and spend some time scratching my head but I figured it out. Thanks to author and blogger William Hertling for providing the closest solution, enabling me to fill in the final blanks!

Here are the steps:
  • Scroll through your document, and for each chapter title, select the text, and then click Insert - Bookmark. Type in the name of your chapter (or you can just call it Chapter 1). Do that for each chapter.
  • Insert a new page near the front of the book. Call it "Table of Contents". Then type the chapter names, one on each line.
  • There are two Amazon book marks that are required, the Table of Contents and the first page of your book, so make sure you create those while establishing your bookmarks: Highlight the text ‘Table of Contents’, and click Insert - Bookmark, and name it ‘TOC’. All uppercase. Go to the first page of your book – where the text begins and put your cursor at the first letter of the text. Again click Insert - Bookmark, and name it ‘Start’.
  • Once all your bookmarks have been created go back into your table of contents and highlight the name of chapter 1 and then click on 'insert-hyperlink'. Inside the pop-up window, click the 'locate' button and there are the bookmarks you've created! Choose the relevant bookmark. Follow the same steps for each chapter listed on the Table of Contents.
Voila! That's it. Easy when you know how, right?

The good news is that I have successfully uploaded to Kindle and it looks great. Next I’ll be going through the print layout for final proofing and then uploading to CreateSpace for POD. Wish me luck! 

On a different note... if you want to get notified when Mental Pause launches just fill out the handy form on my website. You can even get a sneak peek and read some chapter excerpts on the blog, Mental Pause - The Novel!

Next time: Converting to other ebook formats! Another day-long adventure.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Book Launch from Spunk on a Stick

How timely is this? As I'm approaching the self-publishing date for my first novel, one of my favorite bloggers launches her book today. I'm happy to post here all the details and am definitely going to get my copy ASAP!

Here's the skinny straight from the horse's mouth:

By L. Diane Wolfe
Publishing and promoting made simple!

Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:

·         Traditional publishing
·         Self-publishing
·         Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
·         Finding your target audience
·         Generating reviews and media interest
·         Networking and developing an online presence
·         Promotional materials and appearances

Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!

Available February 5, 2012 through:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle

“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.”
- Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers

“A must-read for writers planning on self-publishing or any writer who wants the ultimate how-to on promoting. Tons of links, advice, and how-to, whether you're going for print or e-publication.”
- Helen Ginger, author of Angel Sometimes

My sites-
Blog - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips -
Website - Spunk On A Stick -
Twitter -
Facebook -

Short Bio-
Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association and a motivational speaker. She’s conducted seminars on book publishing and promoting for five years and assisted writers through several author services. Her other titles include “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK!” which ties her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together, and a YA series, “The Circle of Friends.” Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.