Going it alone … part 2

IMG_20151010_170026Phew … it’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’m finally there (and rather excited about it, as you can see). The Woman Who Never Did is now available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (click here).

So, how was it for me?

I knew from courses I’d attended, blogs I’d read and learned experts I’d listened to that all the self-publishing tools and services I needed were available online. Yes, I was nervous, but I girded my loins with the knowledge that I have a career background in IT – albeit in another life (more than a decade ago and pre-children).

I chose to use CreateSpace for print on demand paperbacks and Kindle Direct Publishing for e-books as I’d heard these were the simplest routes to reach the maximum people online at the smallest upfront cost.

CreateSpace

I figured it would be more difficult to get the formatting right for a printed book, so I started with CreateSpace. To begin with I found some of the terminology confusing, but, overall, it was much easier than I’d feared. The technology was straightforward and everything was set out in logical steps.

comp with houses compressedThe trickiest part was getting the formatting right in MS-Word. I had to do a lot of fiddling about with page sizes and sections and headers and footers and page numbering … and all sorts of other things I’ve never had to bother about before. Every time I changed something it seemed to have an adverse effect on the formatting I’d already done – it’s lucky my children were out of the house at the time, because I used quite a few words I wouldn’t want them to hear.

Once I’d got the formatting right, it was surprisingly easy to upload the file and check it in CreateSpace.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

CreateSpace had a facility to send the file straight through to Kindle Direct Publishing, but I found some of the formatting I’d set up got in the way, so I went back to my word-processor to strip out section breaks and other extra formatting. Then it was simple to upload the new MS-word file directly into KDP.

Cover Story

The Woman Who Never Did - finalI would have preferred a professionally designed cover, but the decision came down to economics. I chose to spend my very limited budget on editing rather than art work.

Actually, I had great fun. The fire theme was inspired by the first and last stories in my collection using a photograph I took one Halloween on our annual visit to the magical Godremamog Mill (see my earlier blog here). The author photograph on the back was taken by my friend Mike Long, the photographic talent behind Hi-Pix Photography (click here). Mike usually takes pictures of buildings rather than people, but he’s managed to make me look how I’d like to look on my best day.

To create the cover, I used Canva recommended on Debbie Young’s blog (here). After a bit of a learning curve, I found it could do everything I needed and I’ve managed to produce, on a shoestring, a format I can use for future books.

The most difficult bit was thinking up the blurb to put on the back. I wanted to give a flavour of the stories without giving the game away and I wanted to make them sound enticing without being cheesy. I’m definitely not sure I’ve got this right yet.

Then what?

After uploading the manuscript and the cover design, then came the reviewing. I ordered a proof copy and checked it for formatting errors. … and other errors … and then reviewed it again … and again. And again.

Actually, this was one of the main pitfalls of self-publishing for me. In a traditional publishing scenario, the book would now be out of the author’s hands. But when you’re self-publishing, you still have control of your book and with your fingers still on the key-board, the temptation is to do more than proofread. The temptation is to tinker. And to tweak. And to make just one more tiny little change because that word on page 158 isn’t exactly the word you really meant to use and wouldn’t it be better if this bit was taken out of quotation marks and put into italics instead … Those tiny little changes better be worth it, because the knock-on effect can be a whole load of re-formatting. Believe me.

And now what?

Now I need to let people know about my book. The Woman Who Never Did. Did I mention it’s finished? And you can find it on Amazon by clicking here?

coffee and cakeI’m off to work on my marketing plan, now that I have something to market at last. I’m still dreading that bit, but what’s the point of publishing my book if I don’t let people know about it and encourage them to read it?

In the meantime, I’ve been away for a lovely weekend by the sea with my mum and my sister. We’ve paddled and consumed our own body weight in coffee and cake. And, speaking of cake (this is the fun part), I’m organising a little launch party to celebrate and to thank the many talented and generous spirited friends who have helped me so far. More about them next time!

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2 thoughts on “Going it alone … part 2

  1. How happy you look, Jenny – and deservedly so! I’m so thrilled for you and to see you holding your new baby is awe inspiring. Can’t wait to hold a copy in my hands too. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point and no doubt have a lot of work left to do. Many congratulations!

  2. Thank you, Sophie – I’m still skipping around! Re your copy, I’ve ordered some in and should have one for you later this week. Re lots to do, I know I need to get the book ‘out there’, but suddenly I want to get writing instead. So I’m planning to just enjoy this feeling for a few days and then work on my marketing plan later in the week.

    In the meantime, I’m going get back to something I started last year that keeps tapping at my shoulder…

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