Tag Archives: Indie Publishing

Working With Formatters

Quite a few of my clients have come to me to have their books formatted, and then found themselves unable to update their already published works with their latest releases because they don’t have the formatted Word manuscripts on file. That’s fine if the formatter who worked on your previous books is available to do the updates. Hopefully the formatter is still in business and findable, or even alive. Things happen. If you have the formatted manuscripts, either your current formatter, or yourself, can do the updates in minutes and have the incarnations required by the various publishing platforms quickly. If you don’t then you either leave them as they are minus any future updates or have whatever manuscripts that you do have on file reformatted, which is a waste of money.

When hiring people to work on your book, here are a few things to take note of before sending your manuscript over and making payment:

Decide what you like and want in the beginning for all versions of your book. Have a look at published eBooks and paperbacks and make notes of what you like and don’t like. If you aren’t sure, discuss first to see what the formatter can offer you.

Make sure that the book is ready to be published as far as editing and proofreading are concerned before sending it for formatting. If you’ve used Word’s Track Changes for editing or proofreading, make sure that these aren’t still visible. Your formatter will know how to do this and should do it for you, but if you’d rather do it yourself it’s simple in Word. Click on the Microsoft icon in the top left hand corner.

Select PREPARE and then INSPECT DOCUMENT

Click on Inspect

Click on REMOVE ALL. Obviously you must be sure that you have totally finished with any changes before doing this, because it really will remove all. You might want to keep one manuscript with revisions still viewable for a while, and save a new document to send to your formatter.

Have all your images ready in high resolution JPG/JPEG files, and send as attachments for the formatter to insert. Nothing less than 300DPI for CreateSpace.

Have your front matter and back matter ready, together with author photo and high resolution already published cover images if you are using them.

Have a list of your links to social networks, as well as instructions on how and where you’d like to see them in your books.

Find out what the formatter supplies. INSIST on the final formatted manuscripts for both print and eBook, as well as the MOBI and PDF files that you will use to upload.

Even if you have no desire to ever have anything at all to do with formatting, make sure that you at least are aware somewhat of the process. Don’t feel that you are being rude or unreasonable by insisting on ALL the relevant files—you’re paying for them, and the final manuscript that gets converted to ePub and so on is much more important to you than the actual ePub. Anything could happen. Something might happen to the formatter, or you might decide that you don’t want to work with that particular person again, but find yourself obligated to return to them again and again because otherwise you have to format backlist books again which is an unnecessary expense.

Finally, take note that you want a formatted Word Manuscript to load up to Smashwords, and not an ePub unless you have a really image heavy or otherwise fancy book. In that case make sure that the ePub is a top quality custom design. Also take note of what Smashwords has to say about formats produced from ePub uploads:

Unless you also upload a .doc file after you upload your .epub file, we are unable to create ebook files in other formats (PDF, MOBI, online HTML, reader, etc). If you only upload an .epub file, your book will not be available in the multiple formats produced by Meatgrinder, and not available for online sampling through HTML or Javascript readers at the Smashwords Store, or available through partial sample file downloads. Our retailers, however, will generate samples. We may add partial sampling or other auto-generated formats at a future date.

Unless you have InDesign and are able to use it, you won’t be able to update those files without it, but having them will save you money in future if you need to hire someone again to tweak or change your book in any way. So, your list of file receipts from your formatter should be (even if you don’t think you will need all of them, get them and keep them):

Formatted eBook as a Word document

MOBI file for upload to Amazon

MOBI file for use as email attachment to reviewers or for gifts and prizes

ePub for use as you choose

Formatted paperback as a Word document

PDF for upload for CreateSpace (print on demand)

Formatted for Smashwords as a Word document

Smashwords ePub if required

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Publisher Shopping

With my first manuscript finished, it’s time for me to start shopping around for ways to get my novel published. Originally, I wanted to go the way of an agent. I thought it’d bImage result for shoppinge so cool to actually have an agent to want to represent me. I still think so. However, I’ve slowly realized, even before published authors told me, that the publishing world changed drastically from ten, or even five, years ago.

The worse part of it all is that it always depend first on who you know, then it depends on whether you’ve published anything already. It’s a disheartening process. I’ve thought many times that I need to figure out a new direction for my life. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the only problem with that is I’m 33 years old, and the only thing I feel I know to do is write. Maybe I have other talents that others see and I don’t. But the fact is, becoming a published author is my dream. I want it so bad, I can almost taste it.

Luckily, I’m not starting completely empty. Even I know that to succeed, it takes time. Stephen King or Nora Roberts had to work on getting names for themselves. Look at J.K. Rowling. She was rejected by agents countless of times until finally, one gave her first manuscript a chance. She didn’t give up, so why should I?

After nearly ten years (it really hasn’t been that long, but close enough to round up), I finally finished. I spent weeks trying to decide if I want to self-publish or find an agent. Whatever I did, I wanted to do it right. I decided that it’s hard to make money as a writer when you’re first starting out, so I’m not completely in It for the money. Although making money would be great! No, I just want the world I created to be published one way or another. I want people to read what I’ve done. I also want to learn how to become a better writer.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the publishing industry. It’s brutal. Agents get thousands of queries each week. New writers get rejection after rejection on their story for many reasons. Maybe the genre is difficult to break into (J.K. Rowling and her fantasy Harry Potter books) or your passion is in a genre where male readers prefer the book to be written by a male (again I will mention Rowling, hence the use of her sons’ initials). As a female mystery writer, I write in a very popular genre. People love a good mystery. The only thing I have against me is that I’m female. BUT I think that we’re moving into the time where people don’t care anymore whether you’re male or female.

Because I haven’t completely found my footing in the publishing industry, I decided that I should find an independent publisher. Right now, I feel it’d be less stress, quicker, and I’d be able to show published work for when (and if) I searched for an agent. I could publish myself and save a little, however, working with an independent publishing company helps save a lot of grunt work.

A writer recently told me that although several publishers wanted him, he chose to remain independent and that he sold about 50,000 of his books within a year.  After reading his debut novel, I can see why. I would love it if one day that’s me. It can be a grueling process, but one I’m eager to put myself through.

A girl from church recently published her book through an indie publisher, and I kept the company in the back of my mind since they appear trustworthy, and she has had success. However, it’s important (if you want a chance to succeed that is) to not settle. Image result for self publishSo I asked other writer friends if they could offer suggestions. I was given a few choices, and I’m thinking that I may have possibly found who I want to go with. I’ve felt comfortable speaking with him via email. It’ll cost me a pretty penny, but I already knew that. The girl from church raised her money, so I’m thinking I can try doing the same thing.

The whole experience is nerve-wracking, kind of scary, but at the same time, exciting. Sometimes the best things in life come when you work for it. I don’t think God brought me this far with my writing talents to let me just set my hard worked manuscript on my desk as a dust collector. I’m a believer in meeting God halfway. If you do the work, He’ll bless you in some way.

Now that the hard work is over with, it’s time to extend my knowledge and move forward…while working on my sequel, that is!