As members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, New Writers’ Scheme, we love to hear how other members are getting on with their writing and quest for publication, be this through the traditional route of agent and publisher or under the Indie banner of self-publishing.
Today, we have NWS member Lauren Milner-Howells with us, or fluffypen as she is known on Twitter, to talk about how she came to publish her novel Permanently Temping.
Hi Lauren, thanks so much for coming on the blog, it’s great to have another member of the NWS here with us. Can you start by telling us how being a member has impacted on your writing?
That’s really great advice and you’ve kindly supplied a checklist for anyone thinking of self-publishing – thank you.
Self publishing checklist:
1) Set Microsoft Word paragraph formatting correctly (see below for more info in interview). This can be done at the end if you have already started but it’s definitely easier to get this sorted before you start.
2) Write the book
3) Edit the book
4) Edit the book again
5) and again
6) and again (you get the idea)
7) Make sure your book is ready to go and there are no more alterations (I would recommend printing it and reading through it at least once as you will spot more errors this way! Another tip is to change the page margins and make your book look totally different on screen- you will be surprised what a difference this makes when spotting errors)
8) Think about your cover design, colours etc. (hopefully you already have a title – if not, think of one now)
9) Write your blurb (see amazon books of similar genre for word count etc.)
10) If you have no/little experience in cover design I would definitely recommend getting a professional to do it
11) You are now ready to go! You can upload a Word doc to Amazon via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) but there are sometimes strange quirks in this so you may want to pay someone to do this part. There is free software which converts word docs to epubs etc. called Calibre and you can view your epub on free software called Adobe – Digital Editions. You don’t need an ISBN to sell on Amazon – Amazon will give you their own version, an ASIN.
12) Upload your book to Smashwords to cover all other e-readers – make sure to follow the Smashwords guidelines (avaliable to download for free) or you may not be put on the premium listing that means your book can go out to retailers such as Kobo. Also, your book needs an ISBN to be sold via Kobo and ibooks – Smashwords will give you a free one if you let them list themselves as publisher. Smashwords say this does not effect any of your rights. NB I don’t believe you can sell via Kindle through Smashwords yet – but why would you want to when you can do through KDP (see point 11) and not pay a comission to Smashwords? However, don’t use the ISBN Smashwords gave you for free on Amazon (again, see point 11). There are lots of complicated tax rules involved in selling through Smashwords, which would be a whole post in itself! So try to read through and make sense of them or you could end up paying more tax than you need to.
13) Phew. After all that you’ll probably be exhausted – I certainly was! Now you need to market, market, market. My top tip is to try and get book review bloggers of your genre to review your book – to make yourself stand out and look professional make sure to send them a document with your cover, blurb, previous reviews etc.
14) Keep marketing – forever. Don’t just think it’s for the first few weeks/months. You need to keep at this for a long while to make your book successful.
15) Have a large glass of wine and/or a box of chocolates.
16) Start all over again at step 1….!
You can follow Laurent on Twitter and at her blog Fluffypen
Permanently Temping is available on Amazon Kindle
10 thoughts on “NWS Member Talks About Publishing Her Book”
Fantastic post! So much useful advice. I plan to self-publish, Gunshot Glitter, and you’ve given me so much food for thought Lauren : ) I know what you mean about the amount of stuff you spot in the workplace that beggars belief. I have a decade of contracts under my belt in Marcomms so know what it’s like! Well done for putting in all that hard work and turning your idea into reality. Your husband deserves kudos for encouraging you, I’m going to head over to the Kindle store to have a mooch now..xx
Some really useful information there, thank you Lauren.
Good luck with the book, it sounds great and looks very professional – what a great sister and clever husband you have or should that be the other way around?
Yasmin – I’m really glad you found the post useful! Let me know if you have any questions, happy to help! And good luck with Gunshot Glitter, be sure to let me know when it’s published!
Sue – Glad you found it useful! Yes, maybe it should be the other way round 🙂
Nicky – yes, that certainly is great extra advice. I have a Kindle app on my computer for this very purpose, as I find it easier to do everything in one place. Keep in touch, I hope you enjoy Permanently Temping 🙂
Jan – thank you for your kind words, make sure you keep in touch 🙂
Great post, and I relate to every last step of it. It’s really nice to meet you and wonderful that you share so much advice. I’d only like to add one thing, if I may, that I only found out months after I’d originally self-published my novel via Kindle.
Don’t overlook the Kindle as a proofing tool. When you think you’re ready, convert your Word document into a Kindle file (I use MobiPocket Creator to make the .prc files) and then upload it to your Kindle. This will enable you to proof, but also to check the formatting is correct: that paragraphs are where they meant to be, indents are fine, italics come through correctly, etc. Occasionally Word inserts extra invisible formatting that scuppers the Kindle conversion, and it’s helfpul catching that and fixing it before you go live. Just a thought!
X Good luck, and I’ll be adding Permanently Temping to my wishlist. 🙂
Lauren, what a fabulous treasure trove of advice! Thank you. Love the sound of your novel. Very best of luck with it, and here’s to many more fab reviews. Lovely to meet you here 🙂
Good luck with the book. I LOVE that cover!
Great post and thank you Lauren for all the tips and for sharing your journey with us so openly. Good luck with Permanently Temping – I’ll nip over to Kindle Storefront soon and pick up a copy.
Brilliant article, and so encouraging.
Hi Laure, very belated add-on to say will do : ) Thanks for that xx
Lauren lol, this is what you get for typing on your lap in bed ; ) x