For Writers: Snapshot of Publication Day

All of us go about things differently, but I thought it might be useful for a writer just branching out into ebook publishing to know just what I do as a self-published author on a publication day. Honestly, it’s been long enough since I published a new book that I needed a refresher myself. Here’s what I came up with.

Publication Day
You can do a lot of what I’m going to list here ahead of “publication day.” I did so for my first publication, but the final parts ended up being so quick and easy that now I like to do this all on the same day, because it adds to the suspense for me. 🙂
Final check of manuscript formatting.
Final edit of description, if I haven’t already.
In one folder, have all documents for book (cover files, author bio, book description, excerpt).
In the same folder, create versions of manuscript.
In Word, save different copies for:
  • Kindle Edition: Change title page; add Kindle links to samples of your other books that appear as “back matter”
  • Smashwords Edition: Change title page; don’t link samples, because Smashwords distributes to many venues for you, and you don’t know where your readers are going to want to buy your other books
  • Nook Edition: Change title page; add Nook links to samples of your other books that appear as “back matter”
  • Save as PDF and HTML: Remove references to a specific edition, these will be multi-purpose documents, for uploading to some sites, and sharing with friends/reviewers who don’t have ereaders

Through Calibre (free software you can get online) create MOBI and EPUB books. Here’s how I do this:
  • Import .htm file (It’s important when you create your .htm to choose option to “save only display information to htm”; otherwise it turns out crappy, in my experience.)
  • Rename and provide author name
  • Click “convert books,” select “convert individually”
  • Fill out all fields available about your book (title, author, series, series volume)
  • Add your cover
  • Choose the output format (you want at least a MOBI and EPUB file)
  • Click “OK” and watch ‘er spin
  • Rinse and repeat for subsequent versions
  • Send to iPad or Kindle by email to check formatting and fix any issues (You can also just open the documents in Calibre after you create them, but I feel safer using my own ereaders to check formatting.)

Publish ebook! This step is actually really easy. Each venue has its own required fields and a different way of getting the information about your book, but all of the forms I’ve encountered are straightforward.
  • Smashwords (close-to-instant gratification, and wide distribution)
  • Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon also has CreateSpace if you want to publish a print version)
  • PubIt! for Nook
  • Kobo
  • All Romance Ebooks (if applicable)

As soon as your book appears on sites, here are some of the internet mechanics to work out:
  • Add a post to your blog and all of your social media outlets
  • Add the new book to the relevant page of your blog, with buy links
  • Add the new book to your Amazon Author Central page when it goes live on Amazon
  • Add the new book to Goodreads
  • Celebrate! 🙂


This is only the publication step of the author biz. Marketing and promotion of your book baby are a whole different ball-game. I’m considering a post on that, but I’m no expert. lol

I hope this helps a writer or two realize this self-publishing gig isn’t brain surgery. There are tools to make it pretty easy. What it takes is a great product, perseverance, attention to detail, and a willingness to ask questions when you’re stuck. 

If you’re interested in hearing more about any of these steps, let me know. And authors, chime in with anything I missed here. 

About J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, the Foulweather Twins fantasy series, and the Water Rites fantasy series. You can connect with J.R. online at her website. Visit jrpearsenelson.com.

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