Saturday, October 7, 2017

OMG: or the Adventure of Self-publishing

My foray into self-publishing really began with some little booklets I’d collected years ago and saved. My inspirations were small, cute, and inexpensive. (One used newsprint. Another contained only one short story. A free handout held a novel’s first chapter.) I thought I wanted to emulate them. Easier said than done, as I found out.

I had three wintery-themed stories saved up and self-edited to my satisfaction. (Christmas is always a safe season to start with.) I then found an editor to go over them for a final proofreading; I didn’t want to be embarrassed. (Yes, I paid her for her time. You don’t realize how much work this is until you do it yourself.)

I gave myself two weeks to learn how to format a book for CreateSpace … it took three weeks, maybe more. I got myself into such of a haze of confusion and discouragement that I lost track of the days I sat at my computer going down seemingly dead ends. The hazy mind came from trying to learn too many new things all at once with a deadline staring me in the face. (The deadline was of my own construction. I wanted a book by early November—a gift for Olof Krans’s birthday. Anyway, deadlines can become useful tools to shake out the procrastination cobwebs.)

The “too many new things” to learn pretty much all at once included the likes of: formatting rules, jargon, shortcuts, how to use my 2016 version of Word without bothering with tutorials, and not thinking about the end-product needing a decent, albeit simple, cover.

Will I get my finished book by the deadline? Probably not. Do I have a Plan B? Yes, it used to be Plan A before I decided to utilize CreateSpace.

Why CreateSpace? Because I wanted the full experience of self-publishing a book. (Even if it was a chapbook-sized book.) INDIE AUTHOR DAY is coming up at Davenport’s main library and I’ll be there. Becoming a real indie author seemed like a good idea. I also wanted an ISBN without paying $99. And, as it turns out, I happened into a way to design a cover that suited my purpose without a massive amount of hair-tugging exasperation. (Many thanks to my better half, the guy who can research the net faster than me.)

Here’s what have I learned so far: don’t take shortcuts, follow instructions (computers aren’t all that forgiving), video tutorials are only a beginning (at least for me), Word 2016 provides some good online help (if you look for it), and it isn’t necessary to learn it all for the first book (CreateSpace is pretty friendly for beginners). 

I will get my little book in time for this year's Christmas season. Then I might start thinking about what to do with the other seasonal stories I've got saved up ... maybe.

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