In a Rush to Release Your Book? Review this 20-Point Checklist First

In a Rush to Release Your Book? Review this 20-Point Checklist First

I know the feeling. After months if not years working on your masterpiece, you want that book on Amazon, now! Not so fast I say.

Marketing is one thing. We should all know by now that this begins well before the release date. But there are a number of book production and distribution details to work out, not to mention some business fundamentals.

Every few months I asked to rush a book out so I thought I’d share 20 things you can do to help improve the speed. This list is followed by the six broad topics of the book production process.

The hyperlinks take you to useful articles on

  1. Decide on an imprint name. Necessary for buying ISBNs.
  2. Are you buying an ISBN? (Yes, I hope) Or considering the use of the free CreateSpace ISBN?* (Don’t do it!)
  3. Do you want an LCCN?*
  4. Size of book (dimensions).
  5. Book cover-front design.
  6. Book cover-back design, and content (bio, picture, description, blurbs).
  7. Book cover-spine design. Show the publisher name?
  8. Title
  9. Subtitle
  10. Series name
  11. Book description: short (<350 characters) and longer for Amazon.
  12. Book categories
  13. Book keywords
  14. Price
  15. Copyright page wording
  16. Do you need a legal review?
  17. Editing
  18. Copyediting
  19. Proofing
  20. Where are you going to sell it? Distribution is the first place we start when helping authors plan their books.

*check out Register Your Book for complete details about ISBNs, barcodes, copyright and Library of Congress Control Numbers.

Here’s a little more detail about these 20-points.

1. Are you the decisive type?

The surer you are of what you need, want, and can afford, the faster things will go. Publishing requires lots of little decisions—some you need to make, some made in consultation. Allow more time if you are a consensus builder, or indecisive.

2. Do you need a legal review?

Books that reference trademarks, use extensive excerpts, quote music lyrics, include images, or make certain claims or promises should be reviewed by an attorney with experience in copyright law. We had a project get tied up for 6 months last year due to legal review. Entire sections of the book had to be re-written. (Someone with a successful book, or deep pockets, probably has the most to be concerned about.)

3. How tight is your editing?

How confident are you about the text? Changes during the book layout process can be costly both in terms of time and money. And this isn’t only about proofing. Show the book to trusted readers, ideally those that have strong opinions about your topic, and are not your friends. After making any adjustments, hire a copyeditor. Then a proofer. The book design and layout process will fly after this.

4. Don’t rush the cover.

In our publishing timeline chart, you notice that we put the cover very early in the process. This gives you time to get different opinions and ideally show it to prospective readers. It also takes time to do it right. Don’t rush.

5. Be meticulous about your metadata.

The title might be set, but what about testing the subtitle for keyword strength. Book descriptions and pricing should also not be left to the last minute, and treated as an afterthought. If you want a Library of Congress Control Number, that’s going to take at least a week plus the time to create the data block*. It’s a step that cannot be completed after the book is released.

6. Shipping eats up time.

When we tell someone in a hurry that we can move quick—”your book in less than a month”—we get immediate push back about the timing. It gets calmer once the caller understands that it takes time for CreateSpace or IngramSpark print and mail the book, often half or more of that one-month period.


What is the right timeline for your book?

Contact us to talk about what you can expect for your book. We can review your circumstances, and guide you down the path that makes the most sense for your goals, and budget.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

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