Self-publishing First Step 'Gotchas'

When I finally got one of my stories to the point where I was happy enough to upload it to the various stores (read: I was sick of rewriting it and it looked good enough), I read as many guides as a I could on the process. They left a few things out though, so I thought I would add them here in case they prove useful to anyone else.

Payment Details

Both Amazon and Kobo required me to enter my payment details. For electronic payments (advisable, as cheques take a long time to come, and are in dollars, which you get charged for banking), I had to provide both and IBAN (International Banking Account Number) and BIC (Business Identifier Code, also known as a SWIFT code).

If you still receive paper statements these are likely to be printed on them somewhere. If you’ve joined the 21st Century and everything you have is electronic, you’ll probably need to call your bank to get it (I did).

I couldn’t proceed with publishing until I had entered them though (you can’t put it off until after you get your book up). Smashwords didn’t require payment details before I published though.

Beware B&N

Barnes & Noble are the second largest ebook retailer in the US, so I thought it was good idea to get on there. I signed up to Nook Press (new at the time, replacing PubIt) and went through all the rigmarole of filling out my account, only to find that it was for US citizens only. They might have mentioned that at the start.

You can still get your book on B&N as a non-US resident by using services like Smashwords and Direct2Digital.

Look, but Not Inside

Amazon’s Look Inside feature is an easy way to allow customers to get a taste of your book and, hopefully, encourage them to buy. It didn’t appear for me at first and, after some careful reading, I found that it can take up to a week to become available, so don’t panic (it has been faster on subsequent books).

Author Not So Central

Amazon allows authors to put together a central page with details about themselves and links to all their books. I assumed this happened automatically, but it doesn’t, you need to sign up for it separately, in each store (that has it, not all do). Here’s the US one, and here’s the UK, for example.

The good news is that when you claim a book in one, it does seem to do it in the other(s), although presumably only if you use the same account details. And don’t panic if you can’t find your book immediately after loading it, I’ve found it can take some time before the search in Author Central finds newly released items (why I don’t know).

Anyway, there are a few of the pitfalls that caught me out when I put my first book up, and hopefully this will help you avoid the mistakes.