Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!
After taking a week off from blogging to get my latest novella out, I have decided to dedicate this week’s journal post to the process of publishing, for a self-published author.
Let’s start with the finished book. It’s been run through spell-check and a grammar checker (Grammarly, in my case,) and has been listened to (Natural Reader) to check for flow and misspelled words. An editor has seen it, and changes have been made—clarification added, sections rearranged, etc. It’s as perfect as my team and I can make it.
The next step is formatting. Lots of writers hire people to do this part. Actually, they hire people to do everything but the writing…and rumor has it that some writers actually hire people to do the writing! Crazy, if you ask me, but no one did.
Anyway…formatting. First step: page size and margins. Once those are set, I go through and add page breaks and make sure my headings and scene breaks are okay. Then, I go through again and make sure every chapter starts on the correct side. This is tricky, because when I look at it in Word, it’s backward. I have a sticky note ripped in half with “R” on one half stuck to the left side of my screen and “L” on the other half, stuck to the right side of my screen, to help me keep it straight.
The next step is “widows and orphans.” I hate this step…it can mess stuff up big time if I’m not vigilant. For non-writers, this step involves taking words that just hang out by themselves and fixing the text so that they have word buddies. My problem comes in when I try to “fix” four- or five-letter words. My solution is to only change it if there are four or fewer characters on the line. For example, a line might have “up.” on it. It’s three characters, unless it’s part of dialog, in which case it would be four. Either way, the paragraph that ends with that word gets expanded or condensed so that “up” is not alone. If the word is something like ‘went.”’ It stays as-is, because it’s six characters…the word “went,” a period, and a quotation mark.
After this comes page numbers. I do the side with chapter headings first and then the other side. Blank pages get no numbers. Sorry, Blank Pages. 😉
The next step gets tricky…this one took me a long time to master. Headers. On even pages at the top, I have the title of the book, in the same font as the content but in a smaller size, and on the odd pages, I have my name, Zoe Burton. Once again, blank pages get no headers, so I have to go through and take them out. First pages of chapters get no headers, either. I’d like them to have page numbers, but Word takes them out automatically when I click “different first page,” and I’m too worried about messing things up to try to add the numbers after this happens. One day, I will learn that, too. 🙂
Finally, I add a table of contents.
I next save a copy as an e-book. I have to make changes to it…change the table of contents and how my contact information is presented, etc. And, I must make sure automatic hyphenation is turned off.
Now that I am all formatted, I am ready to upload. In the past, I have done e-books first, but due to Amazon’s unfortunate tendency to misrepresent the number of pages in a digital copy of a book, I’m striving to get the print copy up first. So, off to Createspace I go, with a PDF copy of my book and its cover.
Oh, the cover! Well, the cover is generally ready to go before the manuscript. I work on it on the days when I have difficulty writing, or if I only have a few minutes to work due to having to run errands and whatnot.
Anyway, I upload all that to Createspace and go through their process, and submit my files for approval. While I wait on them, I begin uploading the e-book. I generally start with my Gumroad store. That way, I can tell readers it’s live somewhere. So far, I have only sold one book per release there, but I hope to grow that as I go along. After I get the book up on Gumroad, I start with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and a place called Draft2Digital, which allows me to publish at Apple and places like Scribd. At this point, I sit back and wait. I can’t really “advertise” much beyond sharing my Gumroad link.
However, once I do have links, then I head to Facebook and share, share, share. I worry about annoying people, but the only way I’m going to increase sales and maybe get new readers is to let them all know I’m here. I have dabbled with both Facebook and Amazon ads, and I’d love to do more…once the money situation is improved.
In case you think that’s the end of it, and wonder why it takes days for me to do all this, I then have to make memes for my book and share those here and there on occasion. There is no rest for the weary, or in this case, the publisher of a book. J
I’m sure there are folks saying to themselves, “Then why does she self-publish? Why not get a publisher?” As I said in my first journal post, where I shared my reasons for self-publishing, a publishing company will not help me publicize my book. They might edit and format for me, but the rest is on me. So, I might as well just keep on doing it myself.
Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3