Publishing your novel recap – Number 3

I was on vacation last week. That is my excuse for doing another recap post.

This is obviously my third recap of publishing your novel posts. You can read the first one from June 2013 here or the last one from September 2014 here. I like to think they contain some good information.

So you want to self-publish your novel? There is a lot to learn and it is an ever-changing world. Here are my posts on publishing posted in the past year. Listed are the title of the post and the first few lines and then a link if you want to read the post.

Formatting your self-published novel – DIY or hire someone? – You have written your novel and now are ready to publish it as an e-book. But your file needs to be submitted in the proper format as required by the publisher. So do you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you?(To read more, click here.)

CIMG0524Revisiting the all-important book blurb – The book blurb is one of the most important promotional tools you will write for your novel. This short piece of prose can entice someone to buy your novel – or pass it up. Because it is so important, you should spend a lot of time perfecting your novel’s blurb. (To continue reading, click here.)

Choosing the front matter for your self-published book – You have worked hard on your novel and are now ready to publish it. But the first thing readers will see when they begin reading your e-book won’t be your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter and introduces your book to the reader. (To read more, click here.)

Deciding on back matter for your e-book – Last week, I covered front matter (all the pages BEFORE your story) in your book. Today, I want to talk about back or matter – which as you guessed is all the pages AFTER your story. (To continue reading, click here.)

preorder amazonPre-Orders: Are they worth it? – When I published my first three novels, setting up a pre-order was not available to self-published authors. Since then, both Amazon and Smashwords have begun offering pre-orders. (To read more, click here.)

Do you need to copyright your self-published novel? – This is often a question that new self-published authors ask. And the quick answer is no. As soon the words leave your mind and you put them on paper (or type them into your computer file), it is already protected under U.S. copyright law. (To read more, click here.)

Preparing for an e-book release – So you have written an awesome story, edited it until it shines and formatted it for publication as an e-book. The cover has been designed and the engaging book blurb has been written. You are ready to release your book to the world. So what do you do now? How do you let everyone know about your masterpiece? (To find out, click here.)

If you are self-published, you might be considering using Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select program. To find out my most recent stint with KDP Select, check out these two posts. The first one goes over the program and author concerns with using it. The second is my results from using it from January to April of this year.

Considering KDP Select again

KDP Select free book promo results

If you have any ideas for further posts about self-publishing a novel, please feel free to suggest them.

 

Do you need to copyright your self-published novel?

This is often a question that new self-published authors ask. And the quick answer is no. As soon the words leave your mind and you put them on paper (or type them into your computer file), it is already protected under U.S. copyright law.

Now before I go on, let’s cover what copyrights do NOT cover. They do not cover words, names, symbols (though some symbols can be trademarked) and ideas. That last one is something that often confuses people. If you go around talking about an idea for a novel, it isn’t copyrighted and anyone can take that idea and write a story that is 100% theirs. But as soon as you put those words on the page, those words, your story, is yours and copyright protection is extended to you without having to apply or pay for it.

Now some people will tell you that you need to register your work to get copyright protection, but this isn’t true. As of March 1, 1989, you are automatically protected. You can still register with the U.S. Copyright office for a fee. I found a few websites that said you need to have it officially registered to have your copyright hold up in the court of law. This is FALSE.

So what does registering your copyright provide you?

  • It gives you a public record of when your book was created.
  • Registered works can be eligible for additional statutory damages and/or attorney’s fees if someone violates your copyright, and you take them to court.
  • Registration is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law (which roughly means that is considered a fact without needing further evidence.)

If you are interested in registering your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, here is how to do it.

Note: If you are submitting your work to a traditional publishing house, do not file an official copyright before you submit it. This is something the publishing house will do after they agree to publish your story.

Speaking of copyrights…you should have a copyright page as part of your front matter.

So what goes on your copyright page?

  1. The © symbol, or the word “Copyright”
  2. The year of first publication of the work; and
  3. an identification of the owner of the copyright—by name, abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known.

Together, it should look like this:

© 2015 Susan Leigh Noble

Your copyright page will also have your legal notices and any disclaimers you want to include.

Here is what appears on the copyright page of Summoned.

Note: Since I had submitted my first book, Summoned, to several publishing houses before going the self-publishing route, I listed the copyright date to reflect that.

*******************

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

 

Original Copyright © 1995 by Susan Leigh Noble

First Digital Publication: August 2011

 

Published by Susan Leigh Noble

Cover design by Donna Casey (www.digitaldonna.com)

Photos used to create the cover were obtained from dreamtime.com

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web — without expressed written permission from Susan Leigh Noble.

*******************

So basically it is up to you to decide if you want to officially register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright office. I have not done so with any of my books – and that was with the advice from my husband who is an attorney.

 

Deciding on back matter for your e-book

Last week, I covered front matter (all the pages BEFORE your story) in your book. Today, I want to talk about back or matter – which as you guessed is all the pages AFTER your story.

If you don’t list anything after your story, you are wasting a prime opportunity to connect with the reader. They just read and loved your story. This is a prime spot to point them to your other books or even ask for a review. (Thank you for reading my book. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to leave a review at your favorite retailer.)

Here are some things to consider including in your back matter…

About the author

This section is pretty self-explanatory. My only comment is this needs to be a brief (think of the back inside cover of a paperback) bio. This is not the time to list out every one of your accomplishments.  Try to keep it to about 100 words or less.

Here is what is listed in my first book, Summoned:

About the Author

Susan Leigh Noble has always loved dragons and magic so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. She began writing Summoned, her first complete novel, many years ago. It was released in digital form in 2011. The sequel, Quietus, continues the tale of Lina and her telepathic cat, Tosh. Quietus will be released in late 2011. The Elemental series will conclude with a third book to be released in 2012.

In addition to writing, Susan Noble spends her days taking care of her two young children and husband in Texas.

She loves to hear from readers: susanleighnoble@gmail.com

Check out her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Leigh-Noble/200225396700412

Follow her on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SusanLeighNoble

List of other books

This is where you list other books that you have written. This can be listed in the front OR the back of the book. I personally like it at the back of the book when publishing an e-book.

Here is what could be listed in my next book.

Discover other titles by Susan Leigh Noble

The Search (short story prequel to The Elemental trilogy)

Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental

Quietus: Book 2 of The Elemental

Destiny: Book 3 of The Elemental

 Connect with me

This is where you can let your readers know how to reach you. Feel free to list your blog, Facebook, Twitter or even your email account. You can see an example above under About the Author.

Promote your next book

If they loved your book, point them to the next one. At the end of the first two books in my trilogy, I always let the reader know there was another book coming. Here is the teaser from Quietus.

Here ends Book Two of The Elemental.

Book Three continues the tale of Lina and Val

as they try to repair the damage to the Land

and realize their battle with Selda isn’t over yet.

Now at the end of my short story, The Search, I actually included the prologue and first chapter of book one of my trilogy.

The story of Lina and Tosh continues in Summoned: Book One of The Elemental.

Please enjoy the prologue and first chapter of Book One after the “About the Author” section.

Promote someone else’s book

You might team up with another author and promote each other’s work. You could include an “If you like this book, you might like…” or even include a sample chapter from their book. Be sure to include links.

Afterward

This is similar to the foreword (which could be included in the front matter) in that it explores how the book came to be written.

In a non-fiction book, you also could have a bibliography, index or glossary as part of the back matter.

As for fiction, some authors may include an epilogue as part of the back matter, but as I said with a prologue, I consider this to be part of the story and not part of the back matter as this is more like the final chapter of your story used to wrap up loose ends.

There really is no limit to the amount of information you can put after your story has come to an end. It would be a waste not to include at least one or two of these items as your back matter to help you sell more books and build a fan base.

Choosing the front matter for your self-published book

You have worked hard on your novel and are now ready to publish it. But the first thing readers will see when they begin reading your e-book won’t be your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter and introduces your book to the reader.

It comprises at a minimum the book’s title and copyright information, but can include other things such as a preface, dedication, or table of contents.

What you include is up to you but don’t want to have a lot of front matter as this is just more pages your reader has to flip/scroll through to reach the start of your book. Also, if you put in too much at the front, it will decrease the amount of pages your reader can download or view online as part of a sample of your book.

Title Page (*a must)

This page is pretty obvious. You list the title of your book (and series) and who wrote it. This looks best if you center it.

Quietus

Book Two of The Elemental

 By Susan Leigh Noble

 Copyright Page (*a must)

On the copyright page, you list the copyright notice which will contain the name of the copyright owner and the publication year. This page may also list the permissions and disclaimers. Keep the information to this page to a minimum.

Remember that if you’re publishing through Smashwords you will need to put “Smashwords Edition” or “Published by (your name) at Smashwords.”

Here is the copyright page from Quietus.

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2011 by Susan Leigh Noble

Published by Susan Leigh Noble

Cover design by Donna Casey (www.digitaldonna.com)

Photos used to create the cover were obtained from dreamtime.com.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web — without expressed written permission from Susan Leigh Noble. 

Dedication/Acknowledgement (optional)

If you would like to dedicate your book to someone, it is done in the front of the book. It is located after the copyright page but before any table of contents or start of the actual book. Again, keep this short – one or two people.

My dedication from Summoned:

To my husband,

Without you, this book would not exist.

Acknowledgments are to thank those people who have helped in the creation of your novel – the police officer you interviewed, your editor, your spouse for their support and so on.

List of other books (optional)

This is where you list other books that you have written. This can be listed in the front OR the back of the book. I personally like it at the back of the book when publishing an e-book.

Here is what could be listed in the third book of my trilogy.

Discover other titles by Susan Leigh Noble

The Search (short story prequel to The Elemental trilogy)

Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental

Quietus: Book 2 of The Elemental

 Preface (optional)

This piece written by the author often tells why the book was written, your research methods and perhaps some acknowledgements if they are not listed separately. This is more common in non-fiction.

Forward (optional)

This is a short piece written by someone other than the author and may provide a context for the main work. If this is a work of non-fiction, a forward by an expert can lend authority to your book. The forward is usually signed with its author’s name, place and date.

Table of Contents (optional)

A table of contents is most often added to non-fiction books. Now whether your fiction book needs a TOC is a matter of preference. If you do include a TOC, it should be right before your first chapter or prologue.

Now some people may consider the prologue (a scene written from a character’s point of view to set up your story) as part of the front matter, but I consider this as part of my actual story and not part of the front matter. Every book in my trilogy has a prologue.

No matter what you decide to include in your front matter – remember to keep it to a minimum so readers don’t have pages to flip/scroll through in order to get to the main event – your story.

The all-important book title and covers…

As I work on the second draft of my novel, I have begun thinking about the cover and the title. Even though I have written about both subjects before, I wanted to revisit them since they are so important to the overall impression of the book. They set the tone and create an expectation for the reader.

Titles

I never had any problem with picking a title for the books in my trilogy. box setOnce I decided that The Elemental would be the name of my trilogy instead of the first book, the title Summoned just seemed most appropriate. Quietus and Destiny also were easy picks after I decided to stick with one-word titles.

But my latest book isn’t as easy. The working title has always just been Alexandria. On this blog, I have also referred to the working title as Finding Alexandria.

The other day, my husband suggested Heir of Alexandria. I thought that sounded good. But a quick search on Amazon shows that Mercedes Lackey has a series called Heirs of Alexandria. Darn. I would rather not have my title the same as a series of five books.

Of course Summoned and Destiny are titles that others have used, but I try to stay away from titles used by popular authors. I mean I would never name my book Gone with the Wind or The Hunt for Red October.

So I have considered Alexandria’s Heir or The Search for Alexandria’s heir. I don’t know. Nothing is really clicking with me yet.

Covers                                                   

Covers are very important as this is the first thing the reader sees. You want to select something that intrigues them enough to click on your link and read the book description.

The SearchThis means you want a professional-looking cover. Now I know enough graphic design to design my own (and did so for my short story The Search), but I choose to let someone else with a little more experience do the covers from my trilogy.

Unless you are willing to pay someone to draw you a cover, most designers are using stock photos and graphics. The problem with writing fantasy is that many of the models in those photos are wearing modern clothing. Even the ones in “medieval” garb are not wearing what those in my story wear. It makes selecting artwork hard. And don’t even get me started on finding a decent dragon artwork to use.

So I have been spending some time looking at stock photo sites such as istockphoto and dreamstime. I would love to feature the necklace my character wears but again, there is no artwork that looks like it and I can’t draw. I guess I could look into someone else drawing it for me, but I am wanting to keep my costs low.

I also need to decide if I want to stick with the woman who designed my trilogy covers or go with someone new. She has raised her prices considerably since last time.

Ahh…so much to decide before proceeding. I don’t want to make any hasty decisions on such important topics, so I guess I will keep mulling over what I want to do.