I’m in a great mood.

Yesterday I submitted the files for To the North to CreateSpace. They were approved and I’ve spent all morning ooooing and aaaaing at the gorgeous digital proof:

Seriously, look how pretty.

Seriously, look how pretty.

 

So, because I got excited, I started sending the above screengrab of my digital proof to all of my friends whom I have already talked to about my book. That’s not a lot of people. But I wanted them to see that it’s almost here, and in response they’ve been texting me kindnesses all morning.

I also ordered a few physical proof copies, which should arrive next week, so I can hold them in my hands and do one more redlining session before I submit the digital version to KDP.

For anyone who might not know, CreateSpace is a print-on-demand service owned by Amazon. People will be able to go to my book in the Amazon store and decide whether they want to purchase the paperback or Kindle version. If they choose the paperback, CreateSpace will specially print and ship the order to them immediately. I’ve purchased POD books from Amazon before, and they arrived just as fast as the other books in my order. This is great, because for the reader the experience is the same as if they were buying a book from a big box publisher.

One very minor downside to CreateSpace is that they don’t have an option for pre-order – that means, I can’t list the paperback version of the book on Amazon before I actually want it to go on sale. However, Kindle does allow pre-orders, so as soon as I get the printed proof back and am sure I have the text exactly right, I’ll submit the digital file to KDP.

What are the pros to pre-order? It gives me time to try and build up some momentum for the book before it launches, so that when it actually goes on sale there might already be a couple of people interested. Early sales will go a long way toward boosting To the North‘s visibility.

I’ve also decided that for the first 90 days, To the North will be signed up under the KDP Select plan. That means Amazon will have exclusive rights to the digital distribution – the eBook won’t be available on iBooks or Barnes & Noble. There are good and bad sides to this, obviously, but my hope is that the good will outweigh the bad in the long run.

One of the goods is that KDP Select will let me run promotional prices on the eBook. For any 5 days I choose out of those 90, I can make To the North available for free. I’m planning to take advantage of this for Christmas and the day after. My thinking is this: people will get gift cards and/or new devices for Christmas, and will want to download new books. If To the North is listed as free for a limited time only, and more people download it than they would if they had to pay, it will climb the New Release rankings a bit. That way, when the price is reset, it’s a little higher up the charts and it will be more likely people will see it.

I’m trying something else to boost To the North before it’s released. I’ve just submitted it as a Goodreads Giveaway – meaning I will mail 10 free, autographed copies to 10 people randomly chosen on Goodreads, and they can sign up to get their copy before the book is available for purchase. This is kind of a cool thing. People love getting free shit, and the earlier I can start getting reviews the better. The giveaway starts in a couple of days – I’ll post a link once it’s live. I’m also trying to think of a little prize I can slip in as well – maybe a print of the cover art? Or some stickers? A bookmark? I’ll have until the giveaway ends on December 18 to think about it.

Part of what I’m learning with this is that for the next installment in the series, I want to start this process sooner. I think it will naturally be a little easier to pitch “volume 2”, especially if To the North has a decent star rating. We’ll see.

For now, I’m really excited about the potential. Maybe I’ll crash and burn. Maybe no one will ever read my book except my sister and my mom. But blah blah blah about journeys as opposed to destinations, eh?

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