It’s Wednesday again, so of course, I’ve been doing some nosing around in the business of self-publishing. Making the decision was the easy part for me. Wading into all that goes with it is where the challenge begins.
I continued my research over the past week and I picked up some new treasures, along with old sites and resources I keep going back to. Here’s the stuff I’ve got so far on text formatting and making book covers.
I gotta tell you I
almost had a nervous breakdown felt daunted when I decided to read the Smashwords Style Guide (which is free, by the way). The book has 71 pages and I almost defeated myself with negative thoughts before I got going. I asked myself questions along the lines of how on earth can I read through all this and understand what it means? Do I have enough brainpower to handle this stuff?
I decided to print it out, but today, I had an epiphany. I’m going to climb the Smashwords mountain, one step at a time. It’s the only way, right? So, I’m going to read that 71-page
monster manual - one subject at a time on a need-to-know basis. I'll cover all bases eventually.
So what did I need to know today?
How do I format my book for Smashwords? I’ve identified the relevant pages in the Style Guide where the writer has outlined all the steps.
How do I format my book for Kindle? According to Smashwords, their formatting genie aka the ‘Meatgrinder’ converts uploaded text to a variety of formats, which works with several devices eg, Kindle/Nook. The Meatgrinder alerts users when text is not properly formatted. Francine Howarth, my pal from the Romantic Friday Writers Group posted an article on formatting for Kindle. Here’s another about formatting for Kindle in eight steps.
How do I get an ISBN number? Oh yes, I won’t get very far without this one. Every piece of published writing needs this bit of identifying code. I can buy a number in Jamaica from the National Library, which will take two weeks, or I can do this online almost instantly at the Bowker ISBN Agency. Anybody want to guess which option I’ll be taking when I’m ready?
Some scouting on the local National Library site revealed that there’s a one time registration fee of $US20, plus a fee of $US20 for a single ISBN number. I can get a block of ten numbers for $US50. If I’ll be distributing the book free, I can apply for a waiver on the payment of the ISBN number. Knowing how things work on my lovely island home, I’ll be doddering around with a cane before I get that waiver. So, moving right along…
How do I make my own cover? I found some great articles, including one posted by a friend of mine, Tirzah. She explains how to create a cover without Photoshop. I found a Bare Bones Guide: How to Create a great ebook cover and on the kindle author site, I found this one - How to create a cover for your Kindle ebook. There’s also a basic post on this site. For those who have no creative ability, there’s the wise option of paying someone to create a stunning cover. Your sanity will also be left intact longer if you opt to pay someone to format your e-book. Smashwords has a list of providers.
I made a stop yesterday that I wanted to mention. RachnaChhabria did a lovely interview with a guest author, who talked about professionalism in writing, editing, and publishing one’s work. It’s worth a visit.
A lot to learn in a week, huh? And I really haven't scratched the surface yet.
Before you go, are there any pearls of wisdom, or good links you want to share?