Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#2
This is a huge question. Most writers have NO IDEA what to look out for when they publish their own work. Self publishing a novel on Amazon is long process - and I'm not even talking about pressing the publish button. I'm talking about all the prep work that comes before that. All of what I'm about to talk about is all my own personal experience. I've prepared another novel for a friend and I've gone through the process with two of my own novels, but have only published one. 

Prepare yourself, dearies. We're in for a ride.

Obviously, editing is a given by this point. Proofreading as well. Simple line editing services can cost thousands of dollars. A 139,000 word book would cost around $5,000 to edit. I got around this for my own self published book. I edit a TON. I probably edited the entire book around 10 times. Then, I had a program called TextAloud read my book back to me, making corrections as it went. I did this twice. Even with all this, I still have a few errors that I plan on fixing. 

Formatting is a must. I've seen tons of poorly formatted kindle books. Please never ever use the tab key to indent your paragraphs. This is a huge waste of your time. Use the paragraph tool in your program. Your indents shouldn't be a mile long, either. You have to hyphenate. You can't have hyphens connecting words on a page that you have to turn.

I've formatted a number of books now in Word and it can be a nightmare. But it can be done, thankfully. You'll probably want headers at the top of every page, telling the reader what chapter they're on at all times. This is nice, but it's not required. If you don't know what I'm talking about, pick up a Harry Potter book and you'll see what I mean.

Page Numbers. May they burn for all eternity. (It takes me three hours to format a book with both headers and page numbers. Lots of weird stuff happens.)

Margins. On the inner side of the book, you need a wider margin there than you would on the outer side. Otherwise, the reader can't see in the middle there. They'll have to bend your book too much.

Cover. Cover. Cover. Professional cover. This can cost from $150 to $700. This was something I did purchase for my novel.

By this point, you probably will hate the ruddy thing.

I published my novel two years ago, before Amazon reabsorbed CreateSpace, so my experience is a bit outdated. 

You have options here. Size of the book, page types, cover types. I would suggest cream colored pages every time. The white is blinding. Size of the book depends on how big a book you're publishing. You'd have to experiment with that. Matte darkens the color of your cover, so you'll have to adjust for that, but it feels nice to the touch. Gloss is beautiful and bright, but the light reflects a lot and the cover gets scratched quickly.  

Beyond the Alluring Sky, my novel, is 520 pages at 139,000 words. I went with a 6x9 sizing, matte cover, and cream pages.

Once you pick all your options, you submit two PDFs, your book and the full cover. (front, spine, and back) You have to fit the cover on a special printing page of theirs. It's about a 24hr to 48hr wait for their review process. After which, you get a preview of your book. The preview will be exactly how it prints out - barring print on demand mishaps. I've purchased about 20 copies so far and they're a little different from one another. If you find any mistakes, you'll have to go through the 24hr to 48hr review process again.

Once you approve of it, you can order proofs. They'll have that printed on the back page, too. If everything checks out, then you hit publish.

And there's nothing better than holding that sucker in your hands.

But dang, it's a lot of work.


For those writers wanting to publish their serials, my first advice is to edit. A lot. More than likely, if a writer is publishing three times a week or more, little to no editing is being done. My second piece of advice is break up the serial into smaller chunks, about 50k to 100k words. I wouldn't publish huge novels on Amazon, mainly because it costs money per page to print. This isn't surprising, but Amazon has a minimum limit on what you may charge for your paperback. My 520 page novel can't be charged for less than $17.99. (But as the author, I can purchase copies for $7.50) Personally, I would go smaller for my next novel series.

Woo, that was a long post. Feel free to ask questions, because I've probably forgotten something. Haha

Anthy

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#3
It depends how you do it. I assume you mean self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing, right? I don't have a comprehensive guide handy (you can find a lot of info by googling for Kindle Direct Publishing), but I can describe the steps I use:

1. First, everything I write is written for (self-)publication. Even my web serials are divided into books of appropriate sizes. The Eighth Warden Book 1 will end up with approximately 115k-120k words, which is about right for a fantasy novel, though I'll likely trim another 5k during the revision process. If you're writing something other than fantasy or sci-fi, then 80k is more typical, at least for a first book. It's not as important to follow those limits when you're self-publishing, but if your self-publishing is practice for maybe being published for real some day, you might want to give it a shot.

2. Revise, revise, revise. Make sure you understand English grammar, syntax, and structure. I'm not sure if Amazon vets that stuff, but the readers certainly do. In addition to grammatical edits, your revised drafts should clean up the content, too. The chapters that I post here and on my Patreon are third or fourth drafts, but I do five or six drafts before publishing to Amazon, and I find things that can be made better every time. (I doubt real authors need six drafts to reach a final version, but I'm working on improving.)

3. I use Scrivener 3 to do all my writing and to create .mobi ebook files for Amazon. If you have your story set up correctly, it'll do the basic format for you. Unlike other ebook stores, Amazon doesn't want the cover embedded in the actual .mobi file, so you'll keep that separate.

4. A professionally designed cover is best, but I'm still learning this part of things. My existing covers are clip art with title and author added, and they don't look professional. For some genres, you can find cheap pre-made covers that'll match your story, but I don't think that really works for fantasy or sci-fi...I'm still looking for the best options. Amazon prefers 1600x2560 for the dimensions.

5. Kindle Direct Publishing is easy to use. You upload the .mobi file and the cover file, and provide them with some information (including genre and story tags for searches), then it takes about one to three days to show up in Amazon's regional stores. You make either 35% or 70% royalty payments on each book you sell, depending on the options you select. Amazon waits about two months to actually pay you, though. I think direct deposit is the easiest payment method...anything else has more requirements or fees.

6. I haven't started publishing through other sellers yet...there are a lot of them, so it seems like most people use Draft2Digital or SmashWords to distribute outside of Amazon, rather than managing all of the individual ebook sellers individually. I'm going to be experimenting with one of those methods soon.

7. Keep offsite backups of everything you do, especially your writing! I have Scrivener set to automatically save a backup file of each project each time I close it. It saves those backups to my iCloud account, so if my hard drive dies or if there's a fire, I've still got all my work.

8. There's still a lot more I need to learn--getting good covers like I mentioned above, formatting epub files for the other book sellers, going beyond the basic ebook formatting that Scrivener provides, marketing. There are ton of hits on google when you search for any of these things, but a lot of the info is outdated, so it's hard to tell which sites to pay attention to. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) does include help files of their own, to help you through their self-publication process.

EDIT: I was typing at the same time as Anthezar. It looks like we mentioned some of the same things, particularly editing, but my post focused on ebooks. Anthezar had to do a lot more work to do a print version. I don't have any experience with that yet. KDP offers an option to turn an ebook into a print book, and I'm going to give that a try in the near future. I have no idea how that will turn out, compared to doing the formatting yourself.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#4
IvyVeritas, in my opinion, all 'real' authors need to edit 6 times. At least. LOL. Because, honestly, you can tell they haven't. Just because something has been published by a major publishing company, it doesn't mean a work has been edited enough. It probably doesn't have any errors, but that doesn't stop the entire book from being an error. Hahaha.

Publishing companies aren't the perfect standard. They publish what sells. Of course, most authors want their work to be monetized. But that doesn't always mean the best quality of a book.

Oh, to add about formatting an ebook, you need the table of contents to link to each chapter. I can't even remember how I did that, if I even did it at all. xD

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#5
Anthezar Wrote: Oh, to add about formatting an ebook, you need the table of contents to link to each chapter. I can't even remember how I did that, if I even did it at all. xD


I'm not sure how to do it in Word, but Scrivener does that automatically. Maybe I should take a minute to plug Scrivener here--it's a really nice piece of software for writing. It makes it very easy to organize chapters and scenes, search through them, move them around, or find the particular part you're looking for. I'm not sure any agents or publishers would accept a Scrivener file, but you can easily export to Word or other formats. I regularly export to .mobi, .html, .pdf, and if you copy and paste a chapter to Royal Road, it will retain italics (it'll lose scene breaks, though, so I have to go back and add those back in).

When I first started writing, I used Word for a couple of weeks, but after testing Scrivener for about five minutes, I never went back.

(I'm not getting paid for this endorsement...)

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#6
Anthezar Wrote: Formatting is a must. I've seen tons of poorly formatted kindle books. Please never ever use the tab key to indent your paragraphs. This is a huge waste of your time. Use the paragraph tool in your program. Your indents shouldn't be a mile long, either. You have to hyphenate. You can't have hyphens connecting words on a page that you have to turn.

I've formatted a number of books now in Word and it can be a nightmare. But it can be done, thankfully. You'll probably want headers at the top of every page, telling the reader what chapter they're on at all times. This is nice, but it's not required. If you don't know what I'm talking about, pick up a Harry Potter book and you'll see what I mean.

Page Numbers. May they burn for all eternity. (It takes me three hours to format a book with both headers and page numbers. Lots of weird stuff happens.)

Margins. On the inner side of the book, you need a wider margin there than you would on the outer side. Otherwise, the reader can't see in the middle there. They'll have to bend your book too much.

All of this is easier if you have Office or anything better around. Pick a book template from the Kindle Direct Publishing site, and then paste your content in. This will make it easier for ebooks, which are almost always your best first choice for publishing (ebooks have overtaken paper books in terms of units sold).

Then you go over each paragraph and click the type of paragraph it is from the template, which will fix immediately your indent, font and spacing issues. You'll have to experiment with it a bit until you figure out which is which. An example, on the template I use, all paragraphs are the first selector, except the first paragraph of a chapter which is the second one.

Don't muck with the templates or try to use your own unless you're real experienced. Chapters, for instance, must be the right type, or the ebook rendering will not make you a table of content.

Then, you can turn your .docx into an ebook. If you are using publishing software rather than Office, this is almost always included. If not, use Calibre which is an ebook manager. It can accept your docx format and turn it into an epub / mobi.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#7
Hi, 

You got great replies on how to publish your novel. Self-publishing can cost you little or no money, or it can cost as much as you want to sink into the project.
I published my book on Amazon at the end of 2018 after the merger with CreateSpace. Since I had enough chapters under my belt, I said why not!

It was one of the easiest things to do, as long as you have the time, a little patience, and some amount of tech-savviness.

That said, I will repeat it once more, 'How much are you willing to spend?'

First of all, I cannot help repeating the comment of those above. Edit like your life depends on it.
The first thik thats trowj a readers of are BAD Grammar and sentence construction. RRL is a great place to find readers who provide feedback. Find yourself some beta testers and then an editor if you're serious.  Read and edit until the day you're ready to upload.

Get yourself a professional cover artist. This was one of my biggest mistakes in attracting new readers.

Amazon offers Kindle Create which is a downloadable program that will help you format your eBook to their specifications. Learn how to use it. 
Once you sign up for your Amazon account, it's easy to upload your manuscript from a saved file of KindleCreate. The book cover program works fairly easy once you follow their guidelines. It's all there to be used. A little help in windows paint to chip off some edges and resize is all good. Most of the time your artist will save you this trouble.

Follow their guidelines in publishing your book. You don't want your book pulled or refused for submitting adult material in the 'suitable for children' section.

Once you complete this, you are all set for publishing. That simple.

So where does the money come in?

Editing, illustrations, formatting, promotions, advertisements, etc. Most of which has to be done long before you click the button to publish. Amazon offers you the choice of publishing an ebook and a paperback separately. eBooks are much easier to publish since KindleCreate does the formatting for you. It handles the numbers, TOC, and provides you the options to choose your fonts and upload your images.

The best place I have found for resources on self-publishing comes from reddit. the sun r/selfpublish host individuals just like you and others who hold experience. Browse their wiki before asking questions. In it, you will find up to date, step by step help and instructions to turn your chapters into a book.

Good Luck!



Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#8
Thank you for the advices. I use google docs to write my drafts, and I am pretty much poor. I don't have a job and I am still living with my parents. I thought about serializing my drafts online till I can afford to publish them into books on Amazon. They are going to be novellas because novellas are short and they can be finish faster. Around 20K-30K. I also use prowriting and grammarly to edit my work. But editing is a drag if you don't know your own style yet. 😔

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#9
In that case, I would say just to keep writing. Even after writing 1.6mil words by this point in my life (and half of that in fanfiction), my style keeps changing and evolving. A saying I've heard: As a writer, you discover your style after 5 books at 50k each or 250k words total. I would say this has been something I personally experienced.

Editing doesn't have to be a drag. It's a vital part of writing; it's the other side of the coin. You can discover your style because editing is part of your style. No one writes perfection immediately. Experienced writers are only experienced because of their editing. It's only after molding those words do they take the shape of your writing style.

Editing doesn't mean looking for typos. It means exploring, expanding, cutting, tightening, and transforming.

So, write a lot. Edit a lot. Read a lot. You'll get there. Just like any skill, you simply have to put in the hours. <3

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#11
Great replies so far in this thread! I'd also recommend looking up the Facebook group 20BooksTo50K. They've got a Google doc that covers the business aspect of self-publishing (primarily KDP). It goes beyond just formatting, cover art, editing, ads, marketing, etc, and also discusses taxes and book-keeping. I've found it useful, encouraging, and realistic. It's helped me to temper my expectations, but also to create a roadmap for eventually hitting that publish button. First I've got to turn my various rough drafts into polished pieces, but it's fantastic to encounter good advice that facilitates that process.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#13
Hello,

New user here, and wow is this thread timely!

I'm setting up to indie-publish the first three books of a series here at RR and then at Amazon Kindle Unlimited (KU). Each book is about 80,000 words with an average chapter length of 2500, so about 32 chapters per book. What I'd like to do is set up the pre-order pages at Amazon for 90 days, then release chapters here at RR so that the last chapter of the last book is posted about two weeks before the Amazon pre-order date.

Since I'll be going into KU, I'll have to take down all but 10% of the chapters of each book when they go live at Amazon. How do I set this up so the RR readers are fairly warned that the books will eventually be cut back here at RR? 

I see some writers who put all their books in one 'Fiction' so all the chapters of all the books accrue to that single entry. Is that so it will score better on an ongoing basis here? I'd rather post three separate entries, but that means they will be actively updated for only about 30 days each. Does that mean they can't make the Trending list since it looks at the previous month?

Thanks!

ETA: I read Lone's guide on succeeding at RR, and watched Skully's video: https://www.royalroad.com/forums/thread/103055

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#14
Welcome. 

I thought about writing a few novella series that go up to 25,000K in each book. The series will have five volumes and will go up depending on how well they will sell. The chapters will be posted here between 500K and 1,000K. Basically each story arc will have fifty chapters and more. I like short stories because I can complete them quickly. Novels are fine, but they take time. 

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#15
Great comments here, and I'll second the 20booksto50k resource. Check out some of the other author boards out there, too, for a wealth of info. Kboards is one of the old ones that's been around for years, and there are some other good ones.

For formatting, the best product in the world bar none is a program called Vellum. Buy once, then get free updates for life, and it's the best thing since sliced bread. 

As for Amazon and KU, remember that Kindle Unlimited is Amazon's subscription service. This means that those paying the fee can read books for "free." Unfortunately, Amazon requires exclusivity for books to be in KU, and they sign you up for 90 days at a time. 

KU offers some benefits to authors, namely paying a little less than half a cent per page (they define page length). So, if you have a long and compelling book that lots of people like to read, you can make some coin.

When you go to apply for your book to be enrolled in KU, the system will do an online search for your book. It can't be on RR or anywhere else, and if the system flags you, your book won't go on KU.

So, if you start out on RR, you have to take it off and then maybe wait a while to be safe before applying for that title to be admitted into KU. 

Hope that helps and best wishes on your endeavors.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#17
jaxonreed Wrote: When you go to apply for your book to be enrolled in KU, the system will do an online search for your book. It can't be on RR or anywhere else, and if the system flags you, your book won't go on KU.

So, if you start out on RR, you have to take it off and then maybe wait a while to be safe before applying for that title to be admitted into KU.

Just to be exact, you can have up to 10% of your ebook available through any source other than Amazon (that's the maximum size of the free sample on amazon). There's a number of authors that post on RR and then go KU. They remove the 90% last bits of their book and usually keep the early part as a teaser. You need to do that up to the day your book goes online.

The KU deal is for 90 days, renewable as long as you wish.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#18
Travis Bagwell did this exact thing, including posting to Amazon Kindle Unlimited (KU) with his series Awaken Online after posting chapters here:

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/6597/awaken-online

He left a few chapters of the first two, then stopped posting chapters here. Notice that he's attracted quite a few half-star comments for leaving the thread up and not providing new material. I -think- there might be a way to use Bookfunnel to hand out free copies after the ebook is up on KU and not violate the exclusivity TOS, but I'm still checking.

ETA: Nope, Bookfunnel said their distribution of the ebook would also violate the KU TOS, even to an invitation-only group.

Re: How to turn your webnovel into a published novel.

#20
Wrote:
jaxonreed Wrote: When you go to apply for your book to be enrolled in KU, the system will do an online search for your book. It can't be on RR or anywhere else, and if the system flags you, your book won't go on KU.

So, if you start out on RR, you have to take it off and then maybe wait a while to be safe before applying for that title to be admitted into KU.

Just to be exact, you can have up to 10% of your ebook available through any source other than Amazon (that's the maximum size of the free sample on amazon). There's a number of authors that post on RR and then go KU. They remove the 90% last bits of their book and usually keep the early part as a teaser. You need to do that up to the day your book goes online.

The KU deal is for 90 days, renewable as long as you wish.


Having dealt with the KU bot a couple times, I would not want to risk angering it. I would remove everything beforehand, but that is my personal opinion. Yes, technically you can have 10% out there, but it will raise some flags and maybe added scrutiny. In my opinion, it's safer to delete the title then apply for KU. 

On the other hand, as others have said you can always go wide and ignore KU. Then people can download the book from Apple, Google, Kobo, etc. In such instances, no worries about exclusivity with KU for 90 days. No worries about it being on RR and Amazon at the same time, either. 

There are aggregator sites that will post your book on multiple platforms for a small cut. I like Draft2Digital, myself.