Writing Hacks: Publishing Resources

Part 2 of the Writing Resources series. Find Part 1: Writing here.

As discussed in the previous post, the internet is awash with helpful writing advice and resources. This post will give a brief overview of the publishing resources that have been most helpful on my own writing journey, though there are countless more.

1. Formatting

I’ve been using Vellum for the past few years, and I love everything about it. I struggled for so long with formatting my Word documents into readable files only to have them rejected again and again. For a while, I hired professional formatters, which is also wonderful, but that can get costly with a dozen or more books. Some authors use Scrivener to format (which is what I currently use to write), but I found it was worthwhile for me to purchase the Vellum software and a cheap Mac to use it (the program is not currently available for Windows). Cost-wise, this route was money-saving for me, but you should evaluate your own situation/needs/ability to use various programs.

Vellum interior example

Vellum is somewhat customizable, allowing you to use chapter header images and adjust title and numbering settings.

Other options include Adobe, Calibre, Scrivener, and the new tools available through ebook distributors like KDP and Apple books. Check out the free Smashwords Style Guide for a wealth of information on formatting styles, front/back matter and all the details in between.

2. Cover Design

While programs like Vellum can make your interior look professional with just the click of a button, the exterior work is far more complicated. Book covers have to not only look professional, but they need to properly convey to the reader what’s inside. A professional designer will know how to clue readers in to genre, style, age group, and all the other factors that separate stories into their nooks. You don’t want the wrong readers, so you need to build the right cover. There are an endless supply of designers online, but many authors have worked with the following to much success:

3. Distribution

  • Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing distributes directly to Amazon, with the choice of going KDP Select or standard. Please note if you chose Select you cannot publish your work at any other site, as it is an exclusive agreement. KDP now offers Print on Demand as well (previously CreateSpace).
  • Apple Books lets you publish direct to the Apple Bookstore.
  • Nook Press lets you publish direct to Barnes & Noble for Nook.
  • Google Play Partners publishes to the Google Play Store.
  • Smashwords distributes to your choice of retailers, including options for Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and various smaller outlets and libraries, saving you the time of uploading to each site.
  • Draft to Digital is another distribution tool, and most authors choose between this and Smashwords. I have never personally worked with Draft to Digital, as I went with Smashwords early on.
  • IngramSpark is a print on demand service, though most authors choose CreateSpace (now KDP) starting out, as IngramSpark does have fees for title setup.
  • Lulu is print on demand that also offers hardcover editions.
  • ACX lets you create audiobooks for Audible, iTunes, and more.
  • Findaway Voices lets you create audiobooks for distribution to Audible, iTunes, libraries, and CD.

Now you’re ready to publish! Don’t forget to check out Query Shark for tips on writing a great synopsis, and watch for future We Write Fantasy posts on marketing and book promotion.

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