As an author, you may write using a computer, a tablet, a pen or even a pencil—part of your manuscript may have originated on a cocktail napkin—but eventually your manuscript and all the supporting files necessary to publish it are all digital. Those number tracking files you created in Part 1? They’re all digital as well. These digital assets need a dedicated home on a computer where they’re easy to find and access.
Organizing Business Files
Whether you have a computer all to yourself or share one with others, you can ensure your files are organized and easily accessible by creating the following series of folders.
In your Documents folder, create a folder named BookStuff (or a name that will unique to you and your author business). Inside that folder, create the following folders:
- Book Title (your first novel)
- Book Title 2 (your second novel)
- Book Title x (your last novel)
If you haven’t yet considered putting your books into audio, you’ll want to eventually. This folder is where you’ll keep audio samples, auditions, checklists, and contracts for audiobook production.
You know those head shots you had taken at the last book convention you attended? Or the selfies you took so you would have a photo to use on book retailer sites? This is where they get stored along with your author bio in all its various lengths.
This folder ends up as Grand Central Station for all the digital files used in the creation and distribution of your book. More about this and all your other “Book” folders in a few minutes.
Remember that expense report you created in Part 1? This is where it resides along with any digital versions of expenses you might have to retrieve in the future (make a folder just for those inside this one to help keep things tidy).
Remember the royalties spreadsheet you created in Part 1? This is where it resides. This is also the folder in which you’ll want to create individual folders for each retailer so you’ll have a place to keep their monthly or quarterly reports. The structure looks something like this (yours will vary according to which retailers carry your books):
- Audible (or whatever company distributes your audiobook)
- Google Play
This is the folder in which you want to keep the files having to do with your brand (your individual books each get their own promotion folder). Store art files and any supporting files used to make bookmarks, swag, advertisements, book signing displays, vertical displays, signage, banners, website information (but not the actual web files), etc. As you accumulate these, you can figure out the best folder names to use to help keep everything easy to find. If you find you’re ordering products from the same retailers, you’ll want them to have their own folders. Keeping past order information makes it easier to reorder and helps with price comparisons for future ordering.
Here’s where you’ll keep all the files in support of your website. The structure will be something like this:
Even if you’re not the webmaster of your own site, you should have a copy of all the files necessary to rebuild your site should something catastrophic happen to your webmaster’s files. Better safe than sorry!
Organizing Book Files
Every book you write and publish results in dozens of supporting files. Besides your manuscript, you end up with cover files, various e-books formats, a character bible, images you might have used for inspiration, and your synopsis. Here’s how to organize them for easy retrieval.
Remember that “Book Title” folder you created earlier? The one for your very first book? Inside that folder, create the following folders:
- ACX (or whatever company you use to produce the audio version of your book)
- A folder for every retailer (Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc.)
- Media Kit
Here’s how to use these folders.
This is where you store the audio files for each chapter of your book once production is complete. Also include the retail sample and any other supporting files, such as the audition script and final book PDF you had your narrator use.
This is where you want to keep the manuscript as well as any source files you use to create the book. These can include files in Word, Scrivener, InDesign or whatever you used to author your book.
Your book’s characters need a home, and this is it. Store the images you used as inspiration as well as your character bible here.
You’ll need a variety of sizes and formats of your book cover for retailers and advertisers. The actual sizes may vary by a few pixels depending on the trim size of your book.
- Full size with front, spine and back in press quality PDF for the paperback as well as the dust jacket (if you have a hard cover version of your book)
- Front only, full size at 300 dpi
- Back only, full size at 300 dpi
- Front only, 600 x 900 dpi
- Front only, 480 x 600 dpi
- Front only, 250 x 400 dpi
- Front only, 200 x 300 dpi
- Front only, 120 x 180 dpi
No matter how you create and distribute the e-book versions of your book, you’ll want to keep the latest version of whatever is published. Since the backmatter should be unique to each retailer, you’ll have different ePubs for Kobo, iBooks and Nook, for example. Use your retailer folders to keep that final file as well as any support files.
When you arrange for promotion of your book, you’ll soon discover you’re having to put together a bunch of files to send to bloggers and other media outlets. Here’s what you want to include in this ‘one-stop media shop’ folder.
- Author photo
- Author bio
- Author links (a document that includes the URLs for your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook author page, Amazon author page, Goodreads author page, Google + page, LinkedIn page, and any other online site featuring you)
- Book’s buy links for each retailer
- Blurb from the back cover of the book
- Cover image
- Excerpts (include excerpts in a variety of lengths, including 150, 300 and 500 words)
- ISBNs for print and e-book formats
When you need to send the media kit to a blogger or media company, simply zip the folder, give it a logical name, and email it as an attachment.
In the course of promoting your book, you’ll create a variety of files including advertisements. Keep book-specific promotional files here.
Even if your book is contemporary, chances are you had to do some research while writing it. In the process, you end up with images and articles to support what you’ve written. Store them here.
Editorial reviews carry more weight on retail sites than do customer reviews. When your book is reviewed by a respected source, copy the entire review and keep it here. Excerpts from the review can then be posted on those sites as well as on your book’s website page.
Your book can be summed up in a variety of ways. Do it! You’ll need various word-count descriptions depending on where you promote your book. Here are some of the versions you may need:
- Nine-to-fifteen-word description (hook)
- Twenty-five word description (sometimes referred to as the elevator pitch)
- 400-word description (e-mail promoters like The Fussy Librarian require this length)
- 900-word description
- Back cover blurb
That’s it for Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3, where we’ll discuss some tactics to gain reviews as well as cover branding and marketing.