Self-Publishing Q&A: More of Your Questions Answered

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

It’s been a little while since we turned to our Weekend Edition readers for questions about self-publishing. Thanks to everyone who responded to our call! We’ve selected a handful to post here to help keep all our readers informed and energized as you embark on your mission to self-publish a book.

1. Do you print books about birds?

Absolutely! We are a full-service self-publishing resource, and we print and produce books in every genre about every conceivable subject. For specialty books like cookbooks, yearbooks, children’s books, and anything likely to include big, beautiful images — like books about birds — we are the best option in the industry.

Where some folks in the biz will outsource their print-on-demand needs to the lowest bidder, we print everything right here in our US facility in New Jersey and I could geek out about our two Xeikon full-color presses and the Gen8 Hunkeler finishing line and our G7® certification … but I’ll just say, we’re expert printers and we staff an incredible team of printing specialists and prepress professionals, so your book about birds will look stunning.

2. How can I see my sales report?

As a BookBaby author, your account portal gives you access to view sales reports, manage your orders, and much more. Plus, once you’re a BookBaby author, you can create a page on Bookshop — our online fair trade indie bookstore — and create coupons, post a bio, and promote your work while earning the highest royalties in the industry.

3. I had a discount publisher almost ruin my book launch. They were terrible at proofreading and doing minor edits to the book. Presently, it’s for sale on Amazon and other sites in a flawed state. I have resigned myself to accepting this situation but would like to have it delisted, corrected, and republished. Do you have any suggestions about what I can do?

First, I’m sorry to hear your story and even sorrier to note that you are not alone. Not everyone in the publishing industry is an honorable player, and it’s always heartbreaking to hear stories of book publishes gone wrong. But all is not lost. If you want to start anew, you can do just that. Delist your title, bring your manuscript to BookBaby, and re-start the publishing process through us.

You can select the level of professional editing you need from our suite of editing services, determine if you want to retitle or redesign your cover, and essentially republish the book as new with a different ISBN. Having done this already, you’ve got a leg up on the process, so hopefully you can put some of the lessons learned toward your new publish.

4. I had a tremendous book signing event at the National Steinbeck Center. I’ve had wonderful feedback from friends, relatives, colleagues, and even strangers. From here, I see my book sales flatlining and I’m at a loss with how to keep the momentum going. I’m happy and grateful for everything the BookBaby team has done for me. I don’t want to continue throwing money at it.

Crafting a multi-year, multi-pronged promotional strategy is a massive topic, and there are so many angles to approaching it. The BookBaby Blog is a great resource to help you find ideas and executable promotional plans — I’d start with the “How to Promote” category and sort through the posts that resonate with you.

And yes, throwing money at the problem isn’t always the answer, but there’s a reason why publishing companies — and any company on Earth — have to establish a marketing budget for a product launch. More often than not, you do need to spend some money to get attention. The good news is, we have an excellent Ads for Authors program that’s a really affordable way to get online ads brewing for your title. That, in conjunction with some actionable ideas from the blog may help you get some traction — and book sales.

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5. Do I have to use a word processor with a commercial license to be published?

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by a “commercial license,” but BookBaby requires that you submit your manuscript as a single Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) document. We take it from there and will turn that document into a formatted book. Then we’ll make it available for sale through our massive global distribution network of over 60 retailers.

6. BookBaby just began printing my book two weeks ago. I found one mistake in punctuation that was my error. Is it possible to edit that one mistake before more books are printed? If so, do I call the printing team directly? I have spoken with them before.

Yes, we can certainly fix that mistake for future print runs. Minor edits, like fixing one punctuation mistake, can be done without issuing a new edition (with a different ISBN), but there is a limit to how many changes you can make before you need to reissue a title. Our team is here to help with that. Contact them at support@bookbaby.com or 877-961-6878.

7. When writing, the book outline approach works for me. I make a timeline from start to finish. If the line is ten inches long, every quarter inch, something happens, story-wise. 3×5″ cards work too, just head a card with an idea — you can even shuffle them for a more interesting story.

I love it! There are as many approaches to how to write a book as there are writers, and it’s always fascinating to hear from someone who has found a method and is willing to share. I suspect your contribution was prompted by our “pantsing or plotting” series of blog posts — check them out if you haven’t already. It sounds like you’re employing some kind of hybrid, and I think your willingness to shuffle your ideas is brilliant. If nothing else, it demands you keep an open mind and a fresh approach to telling your stories. Thanks!

8. I’ve written five books; the first four have been published by KDP. The fifth one, an eBook, went right through their publishing process with no problem. When I uploaded the paperback version, they never sent me confirmation of it having been published. I’ve written them four times and always get the same lame answer — something like their “quality team is researching it.” I asked them what the problem was so I could help clear it up. No response. No answer as to when this would be settled. Do you print books like this in paperback if you haven’t been involved in the process up until the printing phase? What does it cost?

While there seems to be more to the story than I can glean from what you’ve provided here, I can say this: Yes, you can print your books with BookBaby, in hardcover or softcover, using the same incredible machines I referenced in the first question. Our books are printed in the USA and can be ready in as few as three days. And, also from an earlier answer of mine, we have an incredible staff here and whatever issues you’ve faced elsewhere, I can speak for BookBaby and let you know if you have questions, we’ll answer you. You can count on that.

Now, if you’re looking to have the print version of your book available on Amazon along with your eBook, we can help with that too! It’s best to speak with one of our Publishing Specialists by calling 877-961-6878, or you can schedule an appointment.

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Self-Publishing Q&A: Your Questions Answered

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