So, you finished up your NaNoWriMo novel. Congratulations, but what are you going to do with it?
Thinking of self-publishing it? If you follow the misinformation you can find all over the web, you’ll take the manuscript, slap on a cheap cover, and upload it to a packager. Ta-da! You’ve published a book! Unfortunately, the book is a piece of junk that no one will want to buy or read, no matter how great the content is.
The thing about self-publishing is that you, the author, have to perform all the tasks a publisher would have done if they had bought your book. That’s why it’s called self-publishing.
All of these tasks have to be completed after you finish the manuscript and before you upload the book. This assumes you want to produce a quality book package to hold your quality content. And why wouldn’t you want to make a quality book package? After all, your name is on the book’s cover.
These publishing tasks include commissioning a unique cover, getting the manuscript professionally edited, designing the book layout, formatting the content, and other tasks.
If you wrote the book in a typical word processor, you probably have a big formatting problem. You see, the default options in word processors assume you want to print the text. eBook formatting is dramatically different from print book formatting.
Speaking of formatting, the definitive guide on eBook formatting is Mark Corker’s Smashwords Style Guide. It’s a free download.
At the request of a local library, I recently put together a lecture about converting a NaNoWriMo manuscript to an ebook. You can click through an interactive version of this lecture. The lecture is based on information on my Self-publishing Guides.
To conclude, the simple truth is this: self-publishing an ebook is a complicated, time-consuming process. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.