The moment UPS knocked on the door was an amazing moment. I knew that the package the delivery guy was holding contained my book and I could have quite happily snatched it off him and slammed the door in his face, rather than waste time signing for it! It was even more amazing actually seeing my book ‘in the flesh’, incredible!
Although you may be tempted to kiss it and stroke it forever, what you actually need to do now is examine it carefully and proofread it. Here’s a checklist:-
- Drink copious amounts of bubbly to celebrate being an author.
- Get a photo taken of you holding your book and bombard friends and family with it. Also keep it to put on your blog/website.
- Front cover – Is it how you wanted it? Is the wording correct? Does it all line up? Does it look fabulous?
- Spine – Does it have your title and last name? Is it readable? Is it correct?
- Back cover – Check the blurb for errors. Does it say what you want it to say? Does it sell your book? Is it honest? Is it enough of a teaser? Does it look good?
- Size – Is the size right for the amount of pages? A shorter book may be too ‘floppy’ in a larger trim size
- Inside – This is the hard bit. You need to read every page carefully and highlight any typos, grammar/punctuation/spelling mistakes, any formatting issues etc. For example, I noticed errors like a space before a comma, pages which were meant to be blank between chapters but which had chapter headings/page numbers at the top etc. Be harsh, you want your book to be perfect.
- Make changes to your file, saving it as “revised” so you know which one to upload on to Createspace.
- Upload the revised version and order another proof. If you’ve been thorough enough then this will be the last proof you will have to order.
- Wait patiently for it to come.
- Repeat above steps with second prove and approve it if you’re happy with it.
- Wait for Createspace to release your book!
Of course, if you’re going to be selling any copies of your book, you won’t be twiddling your thumbs while waiting for the proof to arrive, will you? I’ll be talking about this in another post.
As I said in my previous post, Print on Demand, I decided to use Amazon’s POD service Createspace for my book “The Anne Boleyn Collection”. Here is a brief overview of the steps that Tim and I followed for the paperback version:-
- Wrote the book using Word (or OpenOffice, which is free) – It’s essential to do this using built-in styles for formatting. Don’t be tempted to do any formatting, such as using fancy fonts etc. at this stage.
- Read, and then re-read the book – Do this until you are completely happy with the words you have written.
- Proofread and edited the book – For this book, I didn’t pay to get it copy-edited as this was a collection of articles. I will definitely be using a copyeditor for future book projects as required. It’s so hard to spot your own mistakes, isn’t it?
- Spent some time looking at books that I liked the look of, taking into account the color of the paper, the size and thickness of the book etc.
- Went to Createspace and chose an industry standard trim size for the book (in this case 5.5″ by 8.5″) and downloaded their template – This template tells you about the page size and margins etc.
Boxes of unsold books - not what you want!
I’m definitely not the world expert on publishing and this post is based on my own personal experience and the decisions I made with regards to my self-publishing book project, The Anne Boleyn Collection.
I knew that I had to go for POD (print on demand) rather than vanity publishing because I knew people who had gone down the vanity publishing route and lost out big time. They paid to have their books printed and bound and had to order a stack of them upfront, which, of course, cost them a lot of money. They then had to store the boxes of books in their garage or attic and then find buyers for them. Financial stress, emotional stress and marriage problems caused by one’s spouse tripping over and then cursing the boxes of books preventing them from getting to the freezer. I think that the people I knew managed to get rid of the books in the end but it cost them financially and put them off self-publishing for life.
But publishing your book doesn’t have to be like that. Obviously, you can go down the traditional route and put together a book proposal, try and get a literary agent and then a publisher. I’m actually going down this route at the moment for family saga of the Boleyns. I have an agent who is interested and I have put together a book proposal for him to give me feedback on. But, sometimes a project just isn’t suitable for traditional mainstream publishing and that’s where POD comes in.
The main POD options are Lulu and Amazon’s Createspace. Both will allow you to print on demand, i.e. print a book when a customer orders one. No large upfront costs, no boxes of books filling your garage and no financial ruin. They also guide you through every step of the process – phew! I chose Createspace because I’ve always had good experiences with Amazon and because I knew people who had used them and I knew what the finished product was like, and I was impressed with the results. Obviously do your own research into the pros and cons of each service and choose what works best for you and your book.
I’m still in the process of self-publishing – I only finished the finished manuscript at the weekend – so I can only tell you my experience so far, but in my next post I’ll share the steps that Tim and I went through to get The Anne Boleyn Collection on to Createspace.