Monday, October 13, 2014

Some Thoughts on Pre-Orders and Templates

My next book, Seasons' Beginnings, will be published as an e-book next week on 10/21. (Hopefully I can approve the print version this week.) Every time I put a new book out, I like to try something different to see what works for this book. Plus, the field of self-publishing is constantly changing, so there's always something new to try. This time around, there were two new developments I didn't have when Twinned Universes came out: Amazon pre-orders and two-way templates.

When Amazon annouced indies could do pre-orders this summer, it was the perfect timing for Seasons' Beginnings. I had just finished my own revisions and was ready for my beta readers. So I estimated how long I would need to get feedback from my beta readers, make revisions, update the front and back matter, proofread, and do everything else I needed to do before publishing the book. I gave myself over two months, and I needed the full time. Amazon started sending me warning e-mails about a week before the deadline (ten days before publication date), and I didn't get the final version ready until last Thursday, the day before it was due. (I even found a few things to change after that, but apparently you can upload new final versions of the book during the ten-day waiting period without any problems.) It was a bit stressful, but having the due date forced me to focus on this job instead of another project. The Amazon page for the book went live as soon as I scheduled the pre-order, so that gave me a couple of extra months to link to and promote the book. And now that all the hard work is done, I can focus on marketing and planning a book tour. I didn't expect a lot of pre-orders for a new book in a new series by an obscure authors, but I have received a few. It's a very gratifying and humbling feeling; I hope the readers find my book worth it.

Something that helped me stay on schedule was using a two-way template for the eBook and the paper book. I bought it from Book Designer Templates; this is the specific template I chose. You can buy either a single-use license or a multiple-book license; I bought a multiple-book license so the entire series will have a consistent look. It was fairly easy to use; all I had to do was copy-and-paste my book into the template and insert section breaks as appropriate. I did have a few issues with the section breaks, but I think that was because I chose the wrong type of break. Front matter comes pre-formatted; I had to add my own back matter. The template takes care of hyphenation. I normally don't use chapter titles, but I did with this template since they were built-in. (They were handy later on for the Table of Contents.) While I still had some issues with formatting the print book (which is always the hardest, most time-consuming part of publishing for me), the problems were restricted to things such as section breaks and the Table of Contents. I didn't have to worry about the headers, which were always a pain for me. I would definitely recommend these templates for any author who wants to publish from Word.

Do you have any questions about pre-orders or templates? Please let me know in the comment section.


  1. Anything that helps format ebooks is helpful; that's the part I hate, too. I always end up loading them and then downloading the preview and seeing what went wrong.

    I don't do print books anymore, but if you do I can see where that'd be helpful.

  2. Before using this template, I followed the Smashwords style guide. Basic formatting, but it works.

  3. So is the pre-order only for eBooks, or are they doing it with print books (Createspace) as well?

  4. Kao, as far as I know, it's only for eBooks.