When I was a little girl, I had a friend called Biggles.
Well that wasn’t her real name, but it was the name her dad gave her, and it kind of stuck.
One day, in one particular school holidays, I went to Biggles house, and we played a game. Now I can’t rememeber all the ins and outs of this particular game, but I do remember that it was good enough to warrant remembering. I know we dressed up (and I informed her that she had a wide back), and that we had weird names and there was some kind of rope swing that swung us from one time dimension to another?
Anyway we played the game for a bit, and then decided that it would be an awesome book, and so went inside to write down our award wining story.
That was the day, that both Biggles and I announced that one day we would be writers.
She was quite insistent that she would write actual novels, and I would write children’s book, a suggestion that I wasn’t entirely impressed with, but considering that I has just told her she had a wide back, I let it slide.
It’s been probably 19 years since that day and that game (give or take), and I have no idea where Biggles is, and if she ever wrote her book, but I have written mine.
Well three actually, but that’s a story for another time. 🙂
Last year I decided that my carefully constructed words, were doing no one any good, sitting on my computer, and so I decided that I was going to self publish myself a book. I did consider the idea of trying to go down the traditional publishing route, and then decided that I don’t know that my skin is thick enough for that kind of rejection.
Plus this way, I have a lot more control.
Anyway today I thought I would share with you, some of the things I’ve learnt over the last few months.
- Self publishing is not just a matter of writing down words and sending a copy to the printer; there is a lot more to it than that. Same with ebooks. Most people think you can just upload an ebook to ibooks and hey presto, you’re a published author. Not quite. Most self published ebooks are actually PDF documents, and not actual ‘books.’ To sell a ‘book’ via Amazon and iBooks, it needs to be done properly.
- It’s a great idea to hire a book designer. Stuart from Book Design is looking after all the technical layout stuff for me, and making sure that what I have to send off to the printers is done properly, and looks professional. It isn’t necessarily cheap, but I made the decision that if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it properly.
- It’s not just a matter of sending off a manuscript, and letting the book designer lay it out. Because a manuscript is a reflection of the author, the book designer needs to make sure that every part of the presentation not only reflects the writer, but also the content and feel of the book. Which means that I have to decide on every detail.
And I mean every detail.
Stuart has been sending me pages and pages of templates to compare fonts, size of fonts, spacing, page numbers, running heads, bullet points and so on.
And that’s just the inside.
- Working on a cover is a whole new board game. The saying ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover,’ is not true. A cover needs to reflect the content, and also stand out in a book store. It’s a delicate act getting that cover just right.
- It’s important to have a good team and great communication. Because I have a different illustrator as well as the designer, it’s important to make sure we all have the same vision, and are on the same page. Or cover as the case may be 😉
This is the place where I should provide an example of said illustrations, except I’m paranoid someone will steal them, so you’ll just have to wait. 🙂
- Printing is only part of what the printer does. Decisions need to be made about packaging and wrapping as well as storage.
- Only the author can apply for an ISBN, (International Standard Book Number) which is necessary for a book. You can’t sell one without it.
- A bar code needs to be factored into cover design.
- Publishing can be done under your own name, or another, kind of like a pen name. My book will be published by Essentially Jess 🙂
- You need to supply a copy of every published book or ebook to the national library upon publication.
- Blurb’s are hard to write. As are acknowledgement pages.
- It’s good to have someone say something nice about you to put on the cover, but not necessary 🙂
And there’s probably more I’m yet to cover.
Despite all the work, I’m loving the whole process that is publishing. Plus the fact that it means, come the 8th, I’ll be even more awesome 😉
Have you ever considered self publishing?
Do you think that you will?
Linking with Saturday Morning Ogre Mum to share the things I know