Multi-format poetry publishing – production steps

Whale Sound Audio Chapbooks just published its sixth title – Fishwife by Jennifer Jean. There’s a music soundtrack and extra illustrations in this one – yay for collaborations!

Wrapping up this project and working on my own latest nanopress project (a chapbook this time), I took the time to write down the various steps for multi-format publishing. It looks like an awfully long list, but all the stages can be worked in parallel, and each is actually not more than 2-3 hours of work. I figured that, if I didn’t have to periodically stop work to get clearances from my project partner, I could publish a chapbook manuscript in all the formats below in one day — a long day, but it would be manageable. The MOST work is in the first three steps: 1) editing the manuscript – which can go a really long time; 2) recording and editing audio; and 3) identifying and getting permission for cover art. Once you have those three elements in hand, the rest of the process is a relative breeze. Thus:

• Agree with editor or poet (‘partner’) on final MS

Cover art
• Agree with partner on cover art
• Obtain permission from artist to use art

• Record audio in MP3 format

• Get bios and any mug-shots or statements from partner & contributing artist(s)
• Compile list of acknowledgments, if any

• Establish private blog, select website theme/design
• Upload & format cover art
• Upload & format poems, bios, mug-shots, acknowledgments & any statements
• Upload & format audio
• Format internal links
• Clear all site content with partner
• Add links to other formats (PDF & MP3 downloads; e-book; print edition & CD)
• Switch site from ‘private’ to ‘public’ on formal publication date

PDF download
• Format MS in A4 size
• Clear A4 MS with partner
• Convert to PDF format
• Upload and link to website

• Format MS per Smashwords style guide
• Design e-book cover
• Clear Smashwords MS & cover with partner
• Upload doc & cover to Smashwords
• Publish e-book on Smashwords (24 hrs before overall publication in case fixes needed)

Print edition
• Format MS as 6X9
• Clear 6X9 MS with partner
• Upload MS & design cover online at Lulu
• Clear cover with partner
• Publish book (keep link private until formal publication date)

• Upload audio at Lulu
• Design CD label & contents insert online at Lulu
• Design CD cover online at Lulu
• Clear CD cover with partner
• Publish CD (keep link private until formal publication date)

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

8 thoughts on “Multi-format poetry publishing – production steps”

  1. I listened to your reading with background music. A beautiful presentation. The illustrations are charming and a wonderful complement to the poems.

  2. Nic, Nice info here. As one who believes in the value of accepting the future of publishing as it will be, I appreciate it. Notebooks and pens are nice, but at least in the US, mulit formats have been the norm since the beginning…
    Carrying the torch…

  3. If I’m being inappropriate please just delete this, but I have gone from very happy, because my daughter’s brilliant boyfriend got sound on the first three mini-episodes on the right side of my webpage, and I can hear the sound on my computer after I record, to sad, because apparently other people are only getting “buffering” or “connecting” endlessly when they click on the audio.

    Any idea what we’re doing wrong? I won’t be able to understand the answer, but will pass it on to the boyfriend!



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