Book Production Checklist

career indie author

career indie author introductionNow that I’m running Peschel Press, I’ve discovered a need to automate as many of my processes as possible. There are tasks that have to be done on a regular basis. There’s the monthly sales report, the half-yearly payment of sales tax revenue, the weekly checklist of tasks that need to be done.

None of this is creative, and it takes a lot of energy and mental space to perform. That’s why I’ve come to develop the wall calendar / checklist system to do the storage, retrieval, and to-do list functions.

evil genius book production checklist

Everyone needs a checklist, even evil geniuses.

Today, we’ll look at my Book Production Checklist. When a book is nearly finished—when it has been edited and is ready to put into production—I print this out and write the book’s name at the top. Then I pin it to the whiteboard behind my desk. As I perform tasks, I check them off, and when I’m done I throw the sheets away.

The beauty of this system is that I can personalize it any way I like. I can add new tasks, modifying existing tasks, and add specific instructions on how to perform a task. This last function is very important because sometimes six months could pass between books (not this year however!). If I know a process that works, writing it down help me recover it when I need it. Knowing that the information can be easily found relaxes my brain; I can trust myself to forget about it, and that helps my mental state.

So here’s my current checklist. I deleted information that is specific to the functioning of Peschel Press, and removed local names and replaced them with [Generic Types of Information] you can fill in yourself.

This isn’t the perfect system. Don’t feel you have to do all these things. Your books probably don’t have footnotes, and you may put your books up on only a few sites. This works for me.

I’ll add some commentary in italic type where needed.

Book Production Checklist

Title: _________________________________________

□ Contact Library of Congress Preassigned Control Number program (no closer than two weeks to publication) to receive number for copyright page. I do this because my nonfiction books have appeared in libraries, so this program makes it easier for them to find and categorize my books. The program is free and costs you a copy of the (trade or hardcover only) book.

□ Proof manuscript file on Kindle before splitting into two formats. I create a Kindle version using KindleGen. It allows me to reread the book in my spare time, away from my computer, and see the text afresh.

Create Trade Paperback

□ Flow text into interior template file.

□ Create EBOOK file. Delete MANUSCRIPT TPB file, so corrections made to the TPB file will only be made to the EBOOK files as well. There will be no more than two source files at the same time.

□ TABLE OF CONTENTS: To copy tab positioning, set it for a line, then click immediately to a new paragraph and press F4 to format that line. Instant tab stops! The 223B Casebook Series has a table of contents, with a long line of periods between the title and the page number. This is the Word-specific instructions I need to perform this task.

□ Format text

□ Format poems, messages (telegrams, notes)

□ Add footnotes

□ Add End Page — Catalog I have a four-page catalog featuring Peschel Press books.

□ Add section breaks. The Casebook series groups stories by years, so I need a section break to add the correct year to the header.

□ Style text and display heads. Make sure you know purpose of each style and delete all that are not needed.

□ Add art: Make sure final version are kept in separate folder, and that all are 300dpi

□ Search Bain News Service at Library of Congress for filler art The Casebook stories appeared between 1888 and 1930. I use public domain art and photos to fill the blank space at the ends of stories.

□ Add header

□ Add page number

□ Run Spellcheck

□ Proof cover, back cover text, spine One time, I submitted to CreateSpace a cover with the wrong year. Fortunately, it caught it.

□ Print PDF pages and proof. This is my version of an ARC.

□ Before making PDF, decompress all artwork (do not save). Word will automatically compress your 300dpi artwork down to 150dpi if you don’t do this. I went into this in detail in a previous post.

□ Print PDF using PDF995 extension

□ Check PDF to make sure chapter titles are at proper place

□ Ensure styles are applied consistently throughout

□ Copy footnotes to master list. Sometimes I make minor corrections to the footnotes in the TPB version. This reminds me to carry them over to the Kindle version. Since I do the TPB version in-house and let BB ebooks do the ebooks, this gives me one last chance to catch errors before they become too costly / time-consuming.

□ Build cover / back cover

□ Add price to back cover

When TPB Is Finished

□ Load onto CreateSpace

□ When book appears at Amazon, claim on Author’s Page Bibliography

□ Update Bookbub Author page

□ Set up Goodreads page; consider giveaway I’ve turned away from giveaways like this. I’ve done it a couple times. Very few people ever left a review.

□ Announce with press release to [Local Newspaper].

□ Copy book cover into “BUSINESS Book Cover” folder. When I need a book cover for a website, I go here first.

□ Create book page on website.

□ Add Kindle Instant Preview from “embed” button of Kindle book page (found with social media buttons below the book cover/price).

□ Visit PRLOG to distribute press release about book. Check out PR Urgent and PRNewswire.

□ File consignment request with [Local Booksellers with Consignment Programs]

When We Receive TPB

□ File copyright notice with Library of Congress, send two copies of books to them. This also costs money, about $55.

□ Send one copy to satisfy the CIP program obligation to Library of Congress; US & Publisher Liaison Division; Cataloging in Publication Program; 101 Independence Ave., S.E.; Washington, D.C. 20540-4283

□ Mail copies to friends / reviewers.

□ Note on Free Book List File This is another list. It contains a master list, plus a list specific to each book. When a new book is created, I copy the master list to a place under the new title, then add anyone who I feel should get that book.

Create Ebook

□ Copy artwork into new folder This artwork needs to be reduced to 79dpi. I’m a great believer in duplicating files for a specific purpose.

□ Compare EBOOK file with TPB template file using the Word function. Word lets you compare two manuscripts. This lets me double-check to ensure that a correction in the TPB version gets carried over to the Ebook version.

□ Add End Page — Banner Ad, author photo, logo, call to action, at end of main text and BEFORE footnotes. This allows users of Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to see the stories first.

□ Ensure publication names are italicized/non-italicized where appropriate. My idiosyncrasy. Most people use quotation marks.

□ Add [back] to footnotes (check spelling). This gives the ebook maker something to link the footnote back to the text.

□ Bold footnote title

□ Underline footnote link

□ Add back copy text to front. I don’t know if readers like this, but I’ve read that some buy books and then get to them months later, and forget why they wanted this book in the first place. Seems like a small price to pay to do this.

□ Add line: Ebook version by [company]. I believe in supporting the companies I hire.

□ Add ** links to artwork I try to make it as easy for the ebook maker as possible. My art consists of a number and a word or two, such as “01-Conan-Doyle.jpg” and “02-Sherlock.jpg.” So in the ebook I’ll add ***insert 01-Conan-Doyle.jpg*** to indicate where it goes.

□ Check artwork to ensure its proper size (79dpi, 600px wide); cover (300dpi, 600px wide). Add book cover at highest definition (300dpi).

□ Modify Table of Contents as needed

□ Proof captions Added this after the last edition where I typed in ‘Frederic Door Steele’ and missed it.

□ Run Spellcheck

□ Ship to ebookmaker

When Ebook Is Produced

□ Proof ebook.
     □ Check footnote links by working back to front, front to back, then move down to next footnote and repeat.
     □ Check for correct placement of artwork and spelling/facts in captions. By this time, I can’t read the book anymore, so I’m looking for technical problems.

□ Load onto Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Lulu (for iTunes), Google Play and Smashwords.

□ Announce via [Your newsletter email site like Mailchimp)

When Ebook Has Appeared on Sites

□ Update Sales spreadsheet with new title

□ Update website book page with links to online bookstores

□ Update Amazon Author Page bibliography

□ Update favorites on Amazon Reviewers Page

□ Update Goodreads

□ Update Shelfari

□ Send press release via PR free website.

□ Send press release to [Regional Magazines to stay on their radar]

□ Set up Google Alert for book’s title

And that’s it. Do you think there’s anything I missed? Tell me about it in the comments.