Thursday, December 08, 2011

Things I had to Learn

There were a whole host of skills I had to learn when I started writing my first novel in 2004.  Sure, I had been writing my whole life, but knowing how to write isn't the same as knowing how to complete a novel.  I set out to learn what I needed to know and figured out POV, how to construct a scene, how to lay out the major arc of a story. 

But this isn't about those writing skills.  It's about all the other skills I needed to understand and master in order to publish my work.

So here is a rundown of what I've learned in the past 6 months:

  • what the difference is between epub and mobi and which formats work with which devices
  • how to create styles in a document to avoid ugliness in later conversion to ebooks
  • why tabs are evil
  • why the spacebar is evil
  • that typography matters, even in the digital age
  • why one set of typefont/leading/kearning setting are better than others (also, what leading and kerning *are*)
  • how to use calibre to convert a file to ebook format and how to check those files on the appropriate devices
  • what an ISBN is and why I needed one (actually two)
  • how to sign up with Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords as a publisher (but not Apple, since I don't own a mac)
  • how to format for a print edition and move through the process with createspace
  • how to think like a publisher
  • why an editor is a writer's best friend
  • what *discovery* is and why it's crucial in the ebook world
  • what a *long tail* is and ditto
  • how to work with a cover artist and why cover art is so important
  • how to find book bloggers and query them to request reviews
  • how to get the word out about a release without sounding like an infomercial
  • how to take a deep breath
January 13th is coming!


  1. A great list to keep on hand for those like me that will hopefully venture down that publishing path. I'm PDF'ing it as soon as I finish this comment. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks, Anne. I'll probably be doing breakout posts for most of these bullet points over the next few weeks.

  3. My head is spinning! It will all be worth it. Can't wait to read the book!