Behind the scenes of the publishing process

The HoneymoonYesterday we launched Harper Bliss’ The Honeymoon (it’s only $0.99 until next Thursday!) and today we’d like to take you through the various steps from completed manuscript to publication. Because this blog post is about publishing (and not writing), our starting point is a beta-read, edited and proofread manuscript.

We’d just like to give you a look behind the scenes of producing and publishing an ebook Ladylit-style.

1. Design a cover
We design all our covers in-house and while some only take a few hours to put together, others take Illustrator sessions spread over several days. Most time consuming by far is finding the right stock photo to base the design on. That being said, we love Deposit Photos (and making covers for naughty stories).

2. Format the ebook
At Ladylit we don’t just want our books to look good, we need them to. When we upload to Amazon we upload a mobi, not a Word-document that can get all mangled up in conversion. We pride ourselves in delivering books with no unnecessary line breaks and faulty characters (otherwise we wouldn’t sleep at night). When we upload to Smashwords we make sure we don’t get any dreaded AutoVetter messages so our books get accepted into the Premium Catalogue as quickly as possible. We also make a PDF-version of the book that we sell directly from the LadyLit web shop. In summary, at this stage we create a mobi-file for Amazon, a clean doc-file for Smashwords and a PDF for our own shop.

3. Upload to various platforms and check
This is fairly straightforward. The KDP (Amazon) and Smashwords platforms are easy to use. We use Sellfy to sell direct, which is even more user-friendly. (Side note: it is handy to have a blurb ready at this stage!)

4. Update website
We update the Books section of the Ladylit website and add the new book to our shop. We create a downloadable PDF preview and add the cover image to the sidebar. We also blog about the new title and try to tie it in with some useful information.

5. Adjust description on Amazon Author Central
When we upload to KDP the description field doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity, but this can easily be changed from the Author Central. We add some titles in bold and (in Harper Bliss’ case) some heat warnings in italics. In other words, we make our Amazon product page look more attractive.

6. Update social media
We add the new book to our Facebook and GoodReads page for starters. Maybe tweet about it a few times (but not too many).

7. Contact reviewers
We contact some people of whom we think they’ll enjoy the book and leave a review, and we keep our eyes peeled for new reviewers (every book brings a new opportunity).

8. Promote
We make announcements in GoodReads groups, to Yahoo mailing lists, send out our own newsletter… the list is never-ending and this step usually takes most time (because it never really stops.)

I’d say the entire process takes about two days (not including designing the cover, which is usually ready a few weeks before publication) considering that it takes 24 hours before a book goes live on Amazon.

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