Independent Author Checklist

Once that you have a complete manuscript, and any illustrations, art, or photographs that are to be included in the finished book, the following is what you will need to do, or that we can assist you in doing in order to publish your book

  1. Obtain an ISBN for your book, from BowkerLink. An ISBN is like a social security number; a unique identifier for your book. Specifics such as page count, what form (hardbound, paperback or ‘perfect’, saddle-stitch), category, topic, publishing date, and price will need to be entered in the BowkerLink database. There is a fee charged for ISBNs, depending on the quantity purchased.
  1. Editing: If you have not already had your manuscript professionally edited, Watercress Press will perform a line edit – that is, correcting spelling, punctuation, and ensuring consistency in abbreviations, etc. Our rates for editing are based on the length of the manuscript and our estimation of how much work will need to be done to ensure a high-quality product
  1. Formatting: This refers to the layout of the text for a print version – the design of the book itself. Font and line spacing, margins, pagination, running heads, any ornamentation of the text, and the inclusion of illustrations and photos are part of formatting your manuscript. A table of contents may also be generated as part of this process, along with title pages, acknowledgement, dedication and any other ‘forematter’. Formatting is one of those things which is not noticeable when well done, but is hideously noticeable when badly done. If your MS is non-fiction, an index is also generated at this time. Watercress Press charges 2.50 per page for formatting, and $600-900 for indexing, depending on length of book and the level of detail involved in the index. When formatting is complete, and the file converted to a print-ready PDF, you will have an accurate page count for your book, Formatting for an e-book version incorporates some of these elements, but there are no page numbers or running heads. What would be blank pages in a print edition are closed up, and instead of a table of contents, a series of hyperlinks. Watercress Press charges a flat $100 for ebook formatting.
  1. Cover: once the final page count is known, a cover template can be ordered from Ingram Spark. The cover must be for the exact number of pages in the final formatted version. Watercress Press budgets $50-250 for a cover; this will include the front and back cover, plus the spine if applicable. Cover materials may draw on original art or photographs supplied by the author (materials for which he or she owns the rights) or images supplied by the cover artist for which the rights are available, or original art supplied by the cover artist. It should be noted that this last option may be an expensive one, well over the suggested budget. In any case, the various options will be discussed, and the author will have final approval. For the eBook version, the cropped front cover will be used. The author should be prepared to provide an author photograph for the back cover, and 300-400 words, split between a short biography and a blurb about the book itself.
  1. Once the cover and interior text are approved, the files will be uploaded to the print provider; either Createspace or Ingram Spark. Ingram Spark charges a fee of $35 each for the two files, and $30 for a print proof – a printed and bound single copy of your book, for you to review and approve. I strongly suggest that authors order that print proof. As careful as one may be in reviewing the final text and cover before uploading them, there are things that one just does not see until that print proof is in your hands. Corrected files may be uploaded – but the upload fee is charged again. Upon final approval, the book is released for distribution, and will appear on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in the Ingram distributor catalog. (Ingram charges $12 yearly for this inclusion.) As part of setting up your book, I will set the wholesale discount at %55 off the set price, so that Ingram will offer the standard %40 discount, with returnability/destroy option. We will calculate the suggested retail price for your book to allow for a small profit, after printing costs and the wholesale discount.
  1. Once the print version is approved, the final eBook text and cover file may be loaded to Amazon Kindle and to Draft2Digital. We will walk you through setting up an account for yourself at these services. They will require you to provide bank information and your social security number. Watercress Press has no need to know, or even desire to know this information. Amazon Kindle and Draft2Digital do not charge for eBook publication. The book will be available for Amazon Kindle, and Draft2Digital will publish it to other eBook platforms.
  1. As an independent publisher, you will be paid directly from these providers for eBook and print sales. Kindle and D2D pay for sales 60 days after the end of the month in which the sales occurred. CreateSpace and Ingram Spark pay four months after the sales month ends. This is a peculiarity of the retail book trade, for which I have no other explanation other than this is the way they have always done it. However, if you are doing direct sales, you will be able to charge the full sales price, and make a larger profit.
  1. Set up your author page on Amazon. They change the exact procedures for doing this fairly often, but it is well worth taking the trouble to do. They will link the two versions of your book on one page, and list all of your books together. They also allow you to post a biography, post your upcoming events and a feed of your blog or website.
  1. You must charge a sales tax for direct sales. Most markets require you to post or provide your Texas State Sales Permit, through the State Comptroller’s office. There is a small fee ($10) for this permit. Application, and payments may be made on line.
  1. I encourage you to join the Texas Association of Authors. This is $100 a year, but the benefits include being able to participate in a wide variety of book events and festivals. The director of the TAA does an enormous amount of work, publicizing Texas authors, and providing opportunities to authors to network, coordinate and improve.

First Quality Books – for 35 Years