If you’re just getting started, self-publishing can be a confusing mess. There’s so much to learn that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. If you’re trying to get your book up on Story Cartel, you may not even know where to begin.
We’ve compiled this list of resources to help you easily create everything you need to publish your book online and launch it on Story Cartel. In this guide, we’ll talk about how to:
- Create a Beautiful Book Cover
- Create a Professionally Looking PDF
- Quickly Format Your Book for Amazon Kindle
- Write an Effective Book Description
Before you can sell your book online, and promote it using Story Cartel, you’ll need to assemble the following items:
- eBook in major formats (PDF, Kindle, ePub)
- Book cover
- An Amazon book page
- Book description (1-2 paragraphs)
- Author biography (1 paragraph)
- Links to your website and social media profiles (blog/author website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon author page)
You can hire someone to create most of this for you, and if that’s something you’d like to do, email me and I will recommend someone.
But publishing your book online is actually quite easy, and you can do almost everything yourself if you have a moderate skill with a computer.
Let’s get started.
How to Create a Beautiful Book Cover
While you can do nearly everything else yourself, I recommend hiring a professional designer to create your book cover for you. To walk us through the process, I asked designer Zak Erving to join us from Costa Rica, where he’s currently travelling. You can listen to the interview below.
(to download, right click and select “Save Link As…)
Zak works with CreateSpace, the largest print-on-demand publisher, and has designed dozens of book covers for authors, including mine. He’s also the creator of Spark Punk, a travel and design website, where he shows off his incredible skills.
In this interview, Zak and I talk about:
- How to find a designer you are compatible with
- What to look for in a good cover (including Zak’s favorite covers 1, 2, and 3)
- How to work effectively with your designer (without making them hate you)
- How to get the best cover you possibly can
If you’re looking for a designer, Zak has agreed to give Story Cartel members 25% off anything except for his Tesla Package. You can check his prices here.
How to Create A Professional PDF
Creating a PDF of your book or short story is easy. In fact, to create a PDF, all you need to do is open your book in Word, click File > Save As… Then, change the Format drop down to PDF.
However, when I create eBooks, I like to make my PDF look a bit more professional by adding the following:
- Insert Your Book Cover. Add your book cover to the first page by clicking Insert > Photo > Photo from browser.
- Insert Page Numbers. You don’t want your readers to get lost. Insert page numbers into the footer of your Word document before converting to PDF.
- Use a Professional Font. No one wants to read an entire book with Times New Roman or Arial. Some fonts that you might consider using are Garamond, Minion Pro, or Palatino.
- Justify Margins and Add Hyphenation. This can be a bit tricky, but justifying your text, making the right margin appear straight, can add a level of professionalism to your book. If you decide to justify your text, you may also want to add hyphenation, which can be done easily in Word. You can use this guide to learn how for your version of Word.
- Add Front Matter. Front matter includes the title pages, copyright information, dedication page, and the table of contents. Use one of your favorite books as a cheat sheet to create your own front matter. (Helpful tip: to make the © Copyright sign, press ALT + CTRL + C for PC or Option + G for Mac).
How to Quickly Format Your Book for Kindle
You can spend a lot of money converting your book to Kindle formatting. However, this process is actually very simple, and depending on your experience with Word, you could have your book formatted and uploaded to Amazon in less than an hour.
In the video below, I walk you through the process of formatting your book for Kindle and uploading to Amazon. This tutorial uses a short story as an example, but you can follow the same basic steps for a longer book.
How to Write an Effective Book Description
Second only to the cover, your book description sells your book. It helps people quickly get a sense of what your book is about and whether it would interest them. That’s why it’s so important to write a clear, engaging, and short book description.
To learn to write a great description, read the back covers of at least five of favorite books. How does the description reveal the main characters and plot? How much of the story does it give away? What tone does it use?
Here are three things to focus on when you write your book description.
1. Use 3rd Person Present Tense
Even if the novel is written in 1st person past tense, write your book description in 3rd person past tense. This gives the description more energy and drama.
2. Keep it Under 150 Words
You’ve already written a book. Don’t write one for your book description. Potential readers scanning through Amazon will be scared off by a long book description, so keep it short. Ask, “What makes my story unique? What do readers most want to know about my book?
3. Don’t Include Subplots
Effective book descriptions rarely summarize the whole plot, but instead just give the reader enough to get them interested. You’ll want to mention the protagonist, villain, setting, and time period of the story, but that’s about all. Anything else will only overwhelm your reader.
Join the Class
This is a free preview lesson from the Story Cartel Course, an eight-week online course to help you build an author platform, publish your book, and learn how to be a writer in the 21st century. To learn more and join the class, click here.