Self-Publishing

Filed under: Books, Cover Art, The Road to Publication

Jun 29 2011

It’s been an interesting experience self-publishing my e-novella, Tempting the Knight, and my e-novel, Dark Deceiver. The operative word in that sentence is definitely ‘self’. All the things my NY publisher used to do for me are now my responsibility. What things, you ask?

1. The Cover.
Many people who self-publish whip off a cover themselves, but my design skills aren’t up to the task and, frankly, I got spoiled having my previous covers designed in NY. So, I went to a design shop–one that has an excellent portfolio of romance covers–and hired someone to design my covers. Both of my covers were designed by Kim Killion at Hot Damn Designs.

2. The Editing.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts about the publishing process, you’ll know how grateful I am that there are copy editors. I have a bad habit of reading a sentence and seeing the words I intended to write, not the words I actually wrote. After revising my manuscript umpteen dozen times, I’ve been known to drop words like ‘a’ or ‘it’ or ‘the’ in spots. I’m also clueless about the rules for hyphenation and I’m a comma ho. My copy editor in NY used to catch all those boo-boos, and also caught poor sentence structure, timeline problems, and continuity errors (descriptions that change over the course of the book, i.e. blue eyes in the beginning, green later on).

I truly value the role of the copy editor. For Dark Deceiver, a full-length novel, I knew I needed a second pair of eyes. I had writer friends read the manuscript and point out problems, but I wanted a thorough scrubbing. So, I hired a copy editor. Laura Paquet from Cornerstone Word, who previously did copy edits for Harlequin, helped me out tremendously. Now, there still may be a few boo-boos in the book, but I take full responsibility for them–I made some small revisions after Laura had been through the manuscript.

3. The E-Book Formatting.
There are numerous e-reader devices on the market and although it would blissful if they all read the same file format, they don’t. The Kindle reads .MOBI files, the Nook and the Sony read .EPUB files, the Palm devices read .PRB files, etc. Plus, it’s important to make the e-books available for folks who don’t have an e-reader, so you’ll want to produce .HTML and .PDF files, as well. If you publish through Smashwords, they have a piece of software called the Meatgrinder that takes your Word files and spits out all the various formats. I used it for Tempting the Knight. Unfortunately, the output isn’t perfect.

So, I learned how to create my own e-book files. To give credit where credit is due, I found Guido Henkel’s blog series Take pride in your eBook formatting extremely helpful.

If you want to be a self-published author, be prepared to do a lot of the extra work yourself–or hire someone to help. Yes, it’ll cost you time and effort beyond the actual writing, if you want a truly professional result, it’ll cost you dollars, as well. But, in my humble opinion, the ability to publish stories that would otherwise remain untold and to reach new and existing readers is worth it.

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