I managed to get my first book Geek Photography published to the Amazon Kindle store on Friday evening. I decided that I would have the weekend as a book promotion with it available for free. The idea behind this is, I gain some downloads on my book as a metric of the Amazon store. The plan is also that as many people as possible will leave a review of the book. Some of the people downloading will leave a review anyway, although I expect that to be a very small number. So I have had to ask people that I know already and are in my contacts database to do a review. Some people have got back to me and have been happy to do a review to help me out. One or two people had excuses and I was able to help them get past their excuses in order to leave me a small review. Obviously there is a group people that I haven’t heard back from at all. It could well be that they didn’t get the email. I don’t know how up-to-date my database of email addresses of my contacts is. What I can say for sure though, is that it has been a little bit stressful with publishing a book.
Putting yourself out there
I expected that I would get some feedback to say that there are mistakes. This is even though I had read through the book lots of times before publishing. I have had this sort of feedback from two or three people so far and it is extremely helpful. One person noticed a spelling mistake, a typo where I had missed the L key and hit the one next to it instead which is the semicolon. When I went in to fix this problem I found another mistake only one sentence away which he hadn’t noticed. He also told me that there were a couple of occasions where there was a comma and there was a space missing after it. I did a search in Scrivener and I went through all of the document and I didn’t find any such problem. I did find one full stop that didn’t have the space behind it. While doing this check through I did find a number of sentences needed some rewriting or deleting. I have done a recompile from Scrivener and I have uploaded version number 3 to the Kindle store. It does take up to 12 hours for this version to take over from the version that is already online.
The next book coming is The Geek Writers Workflow
I had thought this ebook would be ready to upload within the next couple of days. After what I have learned from this first book publication, I think it might take longer. I have already done rewrites of much of the text using the Hemingway app to help me. What I will do next is to do more thorough read throughs, chapter by chapter and limiting myself to 3 or 4 per session. Hopefully this will aid my concentration and I will be able to do a better job of the writing.
Part of the problem with the first book is that it is a re-purpose of writing already used on blogs. I think that while the ideas behind such articles can be used in a book, it does need to be completely rewritten to suit the different format. I am more chatty is style than I want to see in a book.
How did Scrivener perform?
As I get more more into using Scrivener as it is supposed to be used, as in writing books I am even more impressed. It did take me a while to work out exactly how I should lay out the book so that it would look good in Kindle format. It is a little bit complicated to set it up. Once sorted you can save it as a preset and not worry about it. One thing that I had to be careful of was the titles of the headers within the chapters. Each section within the chapter is a text document within Scrivener. Each of these have a title in the binder that becomes the first heading within the chapter. There were a couple of places where I ended up with a duplicate because I had the same words as the heading within the document itself. So now I remember to work this in a different way and it saves me having to catch them when I do the read through.
Getting the book onto Kindle
It was simplicity itself to upload the book and the cover for the book. This is all done on the first page of the upload process. The second page of it deals with the pricing and the territories where you are going to sell the book. All parts of that was easy to fill in and get right. After I had clicked on the button to publish it was just a case of waiting a few hours. There is a message to say that it can take up to 12 hours. I never actually tested how long it did take, but it was much less than that.
Cover design for books
The common wisdom is that it is vital to have a good cover design for your book and that you should pay a professional to do it. I have an art background and I feel confident in being able to create a book cover so there is no way I was going to pass the job on to somebody else. The software I used is called Affinity Designer, which is a new Mac Illustrators application. It is a brilliant piece of software and I much prefer using it than using Illustrator from Adobe. Another advantage is that Affinity Designer is a one-off, very reasonable price. On the Amazon site they give the details of the size you should use for the cover. They recommend that the longer side in a portrait shaped cover should be 2500 pixels and you should use a ratio of 1:1.6. That makes the width to be 1666 pixels.
A really important thing to remember when you are making your own cover is that it should look good when it is shrunk down to thumbnail size. As I was working on the cover I reduced it in size on the screen and I checked to see that it still looked good when it was small.
It was quite exciting to get to the stage where I had created a book and to set it loose onto the world. The part I felt was stressful was asking a lot of people to do reviews of the book for me. It is good that there are some nice people out there who are more than happy to help out. The lesson I have learned for when I am ready to do another promotion is to be more prepared for it. The text used for the request I put in TextExpander, so I was able to do individual emails to people fairly quickly. It would have been more efficient to use the email list service MailChimp, as it makes the whole process much more manageable. A good thing with MailChimp is that I can set some list members as VIPs. My VIPs will be people who have left a review for me. Later I can reward these people by giving them special offers. The people on the list are the fans and the VIPs are the super fans. In a future article I will discuss how things are going for creating and maintaining a list of emails. Every author I have heard talk about the most important thing you need as an author entrepreneur, says that the email list is it.