Friday, October 17, 2014

How to Publish a Dozen Books in an Afternoon.

An afternoon's work can get your next dozen books available to millions within 3 days.

This came home to me today as I (finally) started publishing another batch of books I'd been polishing. Of course, it didn't go smoothly - as I had to stop and get yet another tool out over and again.

So I wrote it up for you.

Here's the simple book-publishing steps and tools you'll need and in what in order: 

0. Work your books up in advance. This is your "batch." As it's as simple to publish 10 or 20 books as it is to publish one. My current project is publishing Private License Rights (PLR) and Public Domain (PD) books for a certain niche. You wind up with a cover, an epubchecked epub, and a PDF for every book. All your meta data is stored in Calibre - or shortly will be.

1. Open Calibre and create a virtual library of only the books you want to publish. While you have already written your description and tags/keywords, you are going to use this to collect the ISBN's and printed page count.

2. A spreadsheet with the BISAC (BISG) codes. (See that link - your free copy.) All distributors have some version of these. Google, Apple, and Nook use the exact ones. Everyone else - not so much.

3. The blog where you are creating the landing page for that book. This is opened up to the edit page - you'll create a new page for each book as you go.

4. In the same (or even a different browser) open all the distributor windows (except iTunes - which requires a MAC with their "iTunes Producer" to upload files.) In that case, use a MAC for all these, or shunt/copy your file over to the MAC and access Calibre over your home network so you don't have missing meta-data and can still cut/paste. (See note about iTunes use in batches below.)

5. Have Gimp open, but minimized, as you may need to resize or fix a cover here and there. Same for LibreOffice.

6. Have a plain-text editor ready for accepting data.

At this point, the best approach is to shut everything else down so you can just concentrate on publishing.

The one exception (as this gets a bit repetitive) is to have a playlist of video's running so you can get through some of those video courses you've downloaded. One person uses the same tune running over and over on a loop, just as white noise.

The simple book-publishing sequence:

a. Work one file at a time - open the book up in Calibre so you have the meta data available. Do all the distributors for this book before you move to the next.

b. Look up the BISAC data and copy five strings of data to it. This has the number itself, and all the categories and subcategories in it. Google uses just the number, while Nook and iTunes use the categories. Lulu, Amazon, and Kobo use their own versions - but this will give you an idea where to set them. Google and iTunes will allow unlimited BISAC codes, Nook 5, Kobo 3, Amazon 2, and Lulu just one (and it has to be a main category.)

c. Publish your ebook on Lulu. This is to get the ISBN. Note that ISBN in Calibre. If Lulu hangs and you can't get it sorted out quickly (images and internal links will throw it off) then skip it. (Personally, I get almost no ebook sales on Lulu itself, but a few now and then still pays for being there.)

d. Publish your hardcopy book on Lulu with the PDF. Note that ISBN in Calibre as well as the page count. (Nook wants a page count. iTunes and Google want the ISBN.)

e. Now use the metadata and cover to create your landing page. Simple. You can set up icons and links which can be copy/pasted into the page for each distributor - then come back and generate the links by ISBN to replace what's there. I set up a spreadsheet to generate the links based on ISBN (Amazon uses ASIN for ebook - but sends it to you, and you can use ISBN-10 via a Powell search to generate the hardcopy link. See this post for a better description.)

f. Port to the distributors in this order: Google Play, iTunes, Nook, Amazon, Kobo. That's in order of complexity and meta data they require.

Once you're done with one book then take the next, until you're done with the list. By test, this is the easiest way to get a batch of books published.

Why it can take 3 days to reach millions of potential customers

You have that amount of delay in the 6 main distributors approving your work. Amazon and Kobo can be the worst, but it's better on all of them than it ever has been. Mostly, you'll see them approved in 24 hours if not just a few.

Do recall that by getting on iTunes and GooglePlay, you are now on 98-99% of all the smartphones and mobile devices out there. Amazon is the big gun with several million viewers of it's own, but Kobo is in more countries than anyone else. And yes, people will buy your hardcopy book through GooglePlay if you give them the right link (remember that landing page?)

If your batch is set up as a series, they tend to feed each other. And you can come back to do a bundle of several (or all) of them together.

Notes and Additionals

Note1: You may want to have boilerplate "About the author" ready - GooglePlay and iTunes like this.

Note2: The most efficient way to do your batch-publishing is with a MAC (and dual monitors.) If you do all the distributors on Windows or Linux except iTunes, then iTunes is probably best done by itself, after you do the rest. Reason being that you need to get the ISBN from Lulu for both ebook and print versions and enter these into Calibre. (The use of ISBN's is to enable search engines to list your book more effectively, as well as making your site links - as noted above.)

PS. What do you do after you publish your batch? Go get a beverage of choice, and relax. Then get started on creating your next batch of books for your next niche - or set up a book launch for that batch as a series. Your list interaction during that launch will tell you what the next batch of books should be about.

Have fun with this. 

PPS. And subscribe above right so you don't miss the next issue. Be sure to leave a comment below about what you're thinking now. Did it help you? Motivate you? Discourage you? Tell me. Let me know.

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