A Checklist for Publishing Your Book

Guys! I’m am SO stoked about today’s post. You all may not know that I’m kind of an organizational freak. Just tell me about a spreadsheet, container system, or software that helps keeps things organized, and I am ALL OVER IT. Well! April Brown has put together a publishing checklist to take the pain and panic out of remembering everything you need to do to publish your book. This post is longer than our typical one, but it’s worthwhile since it’s got so much necessary information in one spot. I hope you find it helpful.

Organizing and writing your novel is obviously the first step in the publication process. There are already many useful resources available that can help you plan and prepare that novel. But what about after the book is written? Do you know the publishing and marketing steps you’ll need to follow to get your work out into the world?

It sounds daunting because there are so many things to remember. This is why I created my own publishing and marketing checklists, so I always know what needs to be done, and in what order. It’s helped me so much that I wanted to share it with you.

My advice is to print off the following checklists and begin by crossing off the line items that don’t apply; every author uses a variety of distributors and marketing methods, so if you don’t use Draft2Digital or HootSuite, just delete those. Your sheets may also include more outlets, such as Ingram Spark, Google Play, iBooks, or ACX. And you may choose not to include the portions of the process that you’re outsourcing, such as writing the marketing copy.

In general, most of these steps will be completed in the week prior to pushing the publish button—with the exception of Createspace, which can take more time. But keep in mind that some of the line items are reliant on other sites doing their jobs before you can take the next step, such as Amazon building your book page before you can add your title to your Author Central page. In this way, it may take some fiddling to figure out the perfect timeline, but this list should get you started.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Step 1: Publishing Checklist


  • Upload: 15 minutes
  • Process time: 1 to 3 days
  • ISBN: You can include one of your own, or an ASIN will be assigned once the book is processed
    • Categories (2)
    • Keywords (7)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) height/width ratio of 1.6 (minimum 1000 x 1600)
    • Description
    • Ebook Format: See the Kindle Direct Publishing FAQ for allowable formats

Bookshare (Books for the blind and print disabled)

  • Upload: Email only
  • Process time: 1 to 2 days
    • Categories
    • Description
    • Ebook format (.doc .rtf or epub)
    • Links and ISBNS for at least one publisher such as Amazon


  • Upload: 1 hour for both regular and large print
  • Process time: 1 to 2 days
  • Proof Review
    • Online: Varies. If no changes are needed, it only takes long enough to review the proof. If changes are needed, this step will take longer.
    • Ordered copy: one week delivery + time to read it. Again, if changes need to be made, your file will need to be edited and uploaded, and a new print copy will need to be sent out. So the time for this step could be doubled if a second print copy is necessary.
  • ISBN 10: Either upload your own or CS will make one available immediately
  • ISBN 13: Either upload your own or CS will make one available immediately
  • Categories (1). Note: you can add two more browse categories after the Amazon page has been created. You just have to call CS and ask for the specific browse paths that you want. This will give you a total of 3 categories.
  • Keywords (5)
  • Cover front and back .pdf
  • Description
  • Large print .pdf
  • Regular print .pdf
  • Look Inside Feature. This feature becomes available 2-3 weeks after the print book is available for sale. The default percentage of the print book that will appear in the Look Inside feature is 20%. If you want something different, you’ll need to call CreateSpace after the page is created at Amazon and request the change be made.


  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available immediately, to retailers in 1 to 3 days.
  • ISBN 10: Available immediately from D2D or you can include one of your own
    • Categories (5)
    • Keywords (10)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) (Minimum 1600 x 2400 pixels)
    • Description
    • Ebook (.doc)

Draft2Digital has some unique options. One of these is to automatically update the back matter in all of your ebooks on all platforms at any time. Be sure and do this when you upload a new book.

Other Draft2Digital Options – You can choose to allow them to generate the following, or you can choose to create your own:

  • Introductory Pages
    • Title Page
    • Copyright Page
    • Dedication Page
  • Promotional Pages
    • Also By (other books by you)
    • New Release Email Notification Sign Up
    • Teaser for another book (Any book you choose, easily changed and updated anytime.)
  • Biographical Pages
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher

Books2Read – Use this site to create one link to all the places you sell your book. Generally available as soon as your book is available in online stores. It has the same user name and password as your Draft2Digital account.


  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available at Goodreads immediately; available at other retailers in 1 to 7 days.
  • ISBN 10: After the book is processed, go back to the dashboard to add a Smashwords-assigned ISBN. This takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Categories (2)
    • Keywords (10)
    • Cover picture (.jpg) (Minimum – 1,600 width x 2,400 height – pixels)
    • Description
    • Ebook (.doc)

Step 2: Publishing Checklist

With Amazon, Create Space, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords, there are many options for where your books can be sold, and you’ll have to choose the distribution channels for each platform. For instance, if you want your book to be sold at iBooks, you can make this happen through either Smashwords or Draft2Digital but not both (since doing so will create multiple copies of your book being sold at a given store). The caveat: CreateSpace automatically sends a print copy link to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other locations. Ebook and print in both locations is fine.

To keep track of everything, it’s a good idea to keep an ISBN sheet for each of your books that includes all the channels that have been enabled through the various stores. (Joel Friedlander has a good one that you can download, or you can create your own.) If, for instance, you tell Smashwords to send Book 1 to Apple iBooks, you cannot send the same book to Apple iBooks through Draft2Digital. This becomes important especially when sending to Amazon. Also, to avoid copyright issues, you might want to make note of your cover creation information, including the date and location for the photo if it was personally taken.

Amazon options:

  • Amazon.com (US)
  • Amazon.co.uk (Britain)
  • Amazon.de (Germany)
  • Amazon.fr (France)
  • Amazon.es (Spain)
  • Amazon.it (Italy)
  • Amazon.ie (Ireland)
  • Amazon.nl (Netherlands)
  • Amazon.co.jp (Japan)
  • Amazon.in (India)
  • Amazon.cn (China)
  • Amazon.ca (Canada)
  • Amazon.com.br (Brazil)
  • Amazon.com.mx (Mexico)
  • Amazon.com.au (Australia)

CreateSpace options:

  • Amazon
  • Amazon Europe
  • CreateSpace E-store
  • Bookstores and Online Retailers
  • Libraries and Academic Institutions
  • CreateSpace Direct

Draft2Digital options:

  • 24 Symbols
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Kobo
  • Page Foundry
  • Scribd
  • Tolino

Smashwords Options:

  • Apple
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Baker Taylor Axis
  • Baker-Taylor Blio
  • Gardners Extended Retail
  • Gardners Library
  • Inktera
  • Kobo
  • Library Direct
  • Odilo
  • OverDrive
  • Scribd
  • Tolino
  • txtr
  • Yuzu

Ongoing: Marketing Checklist

Pinterest (Begin as you write)

  • Create a folder
  • Pin pictures
  • Pin linked cover

Website (As soon as possible)

  • Author’s Note
  • Cover Picture
  • Meet the Characters
  • Description
  • Links
  • Page (Create a page containing information on your book or add it to an existing Bookstore page)
  • Snippets

Publishing Notes Sheets

  • Author’s Notes to go in the book
  • Categories
  • Characters (Names and possibly brief descriptions)
  • Cover Photo Information (designer, links to the designer’s site if applicable, cost, date the design was created or photo was taken)
  • Descriptions
  • Blurbs
  • Back copy (for a print book)
  • ISBN or ASIN
  • Length
  • Links
  • Resources (for fact-checking purposes)
  • Setting
  • Snippets

Amazon Author Page and Bibliography: It generally takes three days after uploading the book for you to be able to find your page online.

  • Add Books
  • Go to the book page and fill in available information for each copy (ebook, large print, and regular print):
    • Reviews (from outside sources)
    • Product Description
    • From the Author
    • From the Inside Flap
    • From the Back Cover
    • About the Author

A note about the Amazon Central pages: copying and pasting the above information from other programs usually works well, but within the Amazon Central page, line breaks won’t work. When editing your information on this page, there’s an HTML box that you can paste directly into, and the formatting comes out clean.

Blog Posts about/promoting your new book

  • Blogger
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Links
  • WordPress
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Links

GoodreadsOnce you have a link and an ISBN, create a book page. Link to available editions (kindle, paperback, ebook, etc.)

  • Upload: 30 minutes
  • Process time: Available immediately
    • Categories
    • Cover picture (.jpg)
    • Description
    • Length
    • Links to editions
    • ISBN and/or ASIN
    • Characters – can be added after the page has been created
    • Setting – can be added after the page has been created

Header (the image/text that will go at the top of your various social media pages)

  • Description
  • Photos
    • Facebook – 1200 x 445 pixels
    • Google Plus – 1080 by 608 pixels
    • Twitter – 1500 x 500 pixels
  • Tag Lines
  • Hootsuite (Schedule posts for Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook Page)
  • Links
  • Marketing materials
  • Photos

Signature: You’ll want to update your signatures in various places to automatically include info on your new releases.

  • Email
  • Text
  • Other signature options


  • Links to print copies at various locations (the Amazon link is available once CreateSpace versions are accepted: about 3 days after the print copies are uploaded)
  • Create Coupons


  • Smashwords coupons
  • Cover photo
  • Descriptions
  • Links

And once you get to this point, your book should be published and available for purchase! The beauty of this checklist is that it’s customizable to meet your needs, which will likely change a bit with each release. Want to run a giveaway? Add that to the Goodreads and/or Amazon sections. Need to send out review ARCs? Slip that into the appropriate spot and jot down the necessary details so you’ll remember next time.

Also, the industry is always evolving, and distributors are constantly changing their processes in various ways. For instance, Smashwords recently added a new email subscription feature that you may or may not want to take advantage of. If you’re maintaining a publishing checklist, you’ve got a handy place to make note of changes like these that you’d like to remember for the future.

And that, as they say, is that. Whether you decide to tweak this list or start your own from scratch, I hope the information comes in handy. Best of luck with your publishing and marketing efforts!


April Brown (@UncoveredMyths) writes dramatic adventure novels that uncover the myths we hide behind.  Uncover your own personal myths with a gluten free cookbook, life lists, or by learning to use the Brailliant Braille Display with VoiceOver on the Mac. Future updates, as well as information on her books, can be found at her website.




Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Publishing and Self Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to A Checklist for Publishing Your Book

  1. Great resource! Thanks! You can also do a Goodreads give away which is a great promotional tool.

    When I first started self-publishing, I wish I would have spent more time early on in the marketing list. It is not fun (for me, anyway) but it’s so important if you want to sell books!

    Thanks for the lists!!

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  4. Drina says:

    Thanks for this, Becca! I have one small question: How does one use pinterest during the writing process? I’m not sure I understand it…

  5. Pat Garcia says:

    Thank you so much.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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  8. loved the post If you don’t mind I saved the link to the files section of https://www.facebook.com/groups/FirstResponderAuthors/

  9. Wow, this is FANTASTIC! Thank you SO MUCH, Becca! 🙂

  10. Dawn says:

    Thanks for this checklist!!!!!

  11. Marian Allen says:

    This is great! Thanks!

  12. Terrific list you’ve put together here, April–thank you so much! 🙂

  13. BJ Wishinsky says:

    Thank you for including Bookshare, our accessible online library, in your publishing checklist! You’ll find instructions for authors who want to make their work available to people with print disabilities at https://www.bookshare.org/cms/partners/authors.

    • April Brown says:

      Thank you for providing a direct link!

      And than you for all you do to keep blind and print disabled reading!

  14. Sherry Kesling says:

    I want to thank you too for this list. It’s daunting but I’m on my first draft of a memoir so I have time to work through it.

  15. Holly Kerr says:

    This is awesome!! Thanks!!

  16. carol baldwin says:

    Thanks for this list. Will hold onto it and share with others!

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