Making Survival First: Part 22 - Tying Loose Ends
This is Part 22 of the Making Survival First book series. For the previous sections click here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21
It's almost time to publish.
Crossing the finish line into the land-of-the-published requires tying a few loose ends. Most of these are small not-obvious-but-important book-industry-specific steps required to making sure this thing gets published and distributed the right way.
This final push has taken longer than I imagined. But nothing is more expected in a big project like this than unexpected delays.
It's frustrating to push the date I have in my head further and further out. There's marketing to coordinate, launch parties to plan and flights to book. I know I'll get over it once it's published, but the frustration lingers. But at the end of the day what‘s an extra week or two in an almost four year process?
So as I wrap up with the book creation journey it’s time to begin wrapping up this Making Survival First series. Since I’m very likely to butcher the explanations of how some of these steps work, I’ll be using ChatGPT to help with explanations.
Since I’ve never published a book before I was confident I would fuck things up if I tried doing these final steps myself. This is where my publishing team, Kacy Wren and Rose Friel, came in to take over the project.
Kacy and Rose are a perfect 1-2 combo. They’ve worked extensively together and are good friends. Kacy functions as my publishing manager, which is basically a book project manager. Kacy makes sure all of these following steps are done correctly and that we’re keeping things moving forward. Rose is a publishing matchmaker who pairs me with the right people.
Distribution is about making sure the book is easy for everyone to get. The two main buckets are physical and digital distribution.
Luckily, for physical distribution, I don’t have to print-buy-sell books myself. I won’t be stocking my garage with a ton of book boxes so I can sell each one manually. That would be madness.
Instead I’m using the industry standard Print on Demand method. Basically, you order the book online, and then the book gets made on the spot, and delivered to your house.
For physical distribution I’m using Ingram Spark.
Digital Distribution: Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Digital distribution is important since it has the highest margins. There’s no physical book to print, so virtually everything is profit.
I’m using Author’s Republic for audiobook distribution. This will make sure the audiobook available on all possible audiobook platforms. This takes a surprisingly long 4-5 weeks.
It turns out there’s a lot of techy back end stuff to ensure the audiobook file matches the necessary requirements for each individual platform. This is also where I will be tracking audiobook sales metrics and receiving money.
ISBN Registration Number
Books need ID numbers. This where the ISBN comes into play.
Books need to go from a Word document to book formats. There’s a few steps here.
To complement some of the book’s ideas I imagined a bunch of images to put at the beginning of chapters. I thought it would be a fun way to visually each chapter’s specific energy.
This cool-to-have part of the project wound up becoming a huge pain in the ass. We brought in a designer, Krista, (spoiler alert: not her real name). She was highly experienced and came highly recommended.
Krista turned out to be as talented as advertised, but took way too long, and after a few drafts it was clear we weren’t getting close to the intended vision. To save time and move the project forward I scrapped this part of the project.
Rose, my publishing matchmaker, paired me with two professionals for the following steps.
This is the stage where the locked Word document manuscript gets converted into kindle/paperback/hardcover formats.
This is a technically specific and niche task done by a specific and technically niche professional. For this Rose paired me with - Lynne Lennon. She’s working on this stage now.
For the follow design stages, Rose paired me with another designer: John Van Der Woude.
This is the little branding icon for my publishing company. Side tangent: It turns out self publishing a book means having my own little publishing brand. This a fun little bonus.
I'm naming mine the East Austin Publishing Company - a self amusing riff on the comically large and corrupt 17-19th century corporate behemoth - the East India Trading Company.
Books have spines and they need to be designed. This was news to me.
Rather than the big comprehensive graphics I imagined with Krista, John is taking care of a series of small, and hopefully simple icons that are intended to represent different parts of the book.
After all-the-everything is done the final-final-final version-10.8.9-step is the final proofread. This ensures everything-everything-everything is perfect-perfect-perfect. The plan is to bring back my proofreader Tara Taylor from the manuscript editing phase to handle this step.
And after that....we're done. Like, done-done-done. Like, it's time to publish.
We’re not there yet. But I can already feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel.