Thursday, March 1, 2012

Small Publisher Organization

I was recently reviewing my 2011 writing output so that I could reformat it to reflect what I’ve learned, and I discovered that I’m an unorganized idiot. I also realize that my fellow small publishers, while not idiots, may also be ridiculously unorganized. Not to mention the aspiring small publishers who, theoretically at least, follow this blog. (There’s a lot of traffic, and I’m pretty sure it’s not all pornography.) So, now that I’ve done the muddle-through, I’ve systemized for your benefit the organization I (under the auspices of H2NH ePub et al) am and have been using in 2012.

Presumably, you’ve already done all the Business of Publishing stuff, so make a folder titled “Example ePub”, then set up all these folders. I hope it’s not too complicated, but here’s a guide:

Banner ads, book trailers and catalogues.
Convenient access to all your prepared ARCs, for immediate e-mailing upon request.
Word and HTML templates, for the busy publisher.
Checklists, macros, and miscellaneous time-savers.
Your sexy publishing logo, in small and large size.

Author Name
Each pen name, or the names of fellow authors you’re assisting. You can do everything yourself, but what with all the labor-saving templates and macros I’ve made, I’d be happy to format your story up for Amazon, Smashwords and B&N (e.g. MOBI, DOC, and EPUB) for a cool fifty bucks, if you provide me with cover art (or don’t mind me using a generic text-heavy cover), and have already made a publisher account. Books and collections extra because I hate Smashwords formatting. Oh, and you’re not allowed to complain too much, as it’s only $50. (See blog footer for other suggested cover art and formatting services.)

000Current Project
This is the only part of the folder that’s allowed to be disorganized. Toss in all the chapter TXT, draft DOC, versions of documents in editing, up-to-current EPUBs you like - even some preliminary cover art/illustrations. Once the book is done, it’ll all go into a neat little folder and you won’t have to hunt for it. If the book doesn’t get finished and you want a new current project, you get to make an official ‘in-progress’ DOC or RTF file and put it in a Book folder for when you get back to it. Don’t let those pile up, though, or you’ll forget the characters.

This is where organization really pays off. You’ll probably write a thousand short stories (5,000,000 words!) in your career, so you’d better get organized, or your estate will curse you forever. You can’t expect filial piety if you didn’t do the basic ground-work.
You should probably subdivide your stories by year written, unless you’re writing more than 999 stories a year, in which case you should be making enough to hire a secretary and a minimal staff to organize all that, and you shouldn’t listen to me because I want to learn from you (I’m sure it’s possible, I just want to observe your technique!)
001, 002, 003, 004, 005…c’mon.
Packs, Bundles and Collections
You should be collecting your stories. That’s just basic. There’s two kinds of short story customers: one sees a great short story blurb and says “Wow, that’s pretty neat!” and buys it. The other sees a great short story blurb and clicks on the author name to buy a collection. Cater to both. I use a simple system of “Packs and Bundles” to do the initial collecting, then I get fancy with Collections.
Five Pack
It doesn’t have to be five stories, but it should be at least 15,000 words.
Ten Bundle
Again, exactly ten stories is optional, but it should be at least two five packs, or 30,000 words.
Get fancy, choose a theme, select the stories for it, and get some great cover art. This is your short story showpiece, and will stand for all time as testament to your greatness. Anywhere from fifteen to thirty stories will do you, but I’d personally shoot for 60,000 words, here.
Price List.txt collects all the word counts and prices of the stories, so you don’t have to check.

Individual books in here, bulking up each folder to The 13 Files. Do not, under any circumstances, add anything else into these. You’ll just get confused, and feel dumb. If the inspiration takes you, clear out Current Project and use that as your brain-dump until you’re ready to organize each book.

Put all the books in the series in here, then put the cover art all in one place for your own convenience. Otherwise, each individual folder is the same as an individual book.

The 13 Files
Every single title folder shall have these (and only these) files, non-negotiable. Of course, if you use Photoshop, replace the GIMP file below with that. I just use GIMP because I'm on a 12" netbook and wouldn't be able to take advantage of Photoshop's many features.
See H2NH ePub Workflow for details.
A FocusWriter
01 “Title.txt” (plain text)
02 “Title.rtf” (edited copy, with italics)
03 “Title.xcf” (raw)
04 “Title(cover).jpg” (final eBook cover)
C Microsoft Word 2007
05 “Title.doc” (Master, with styles)
06 “TitleDOC.doc” (Meatgrinder-ready)
(Smashwords to Kobo, Diesel, Apple, Sony et al)
07 “TitlePDF.doc” (PDF backup)
08 “Title – Author.pdf” (PDF)
(DriveThruFiction; ARC)
09 “TitleHTML.doc” (with )
D jEdit
10 “Title” (for entities)
11 “Title.html” (clean HTML)
E calibre
12 “Title – Author.epub” (checked EPUB)
(B&N et al)
13 “Title –” (checked MOBI)

.zip the folder up, once a week, and store it in four places:
1. In the ‘Example ePub Backup’ folder on your computer’s second hard drive.
2. On an external hard drive.
3. On a thumb drive in a drawer in your house.
4. Somewhere else secure, but that is not your house.

Write more
If all these folders are empty at the end of a year, you’ll feel like a twit.

Good to go, but talk to me later, when I’ve done some Print-on-Demand.
feel free to comment

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