I already had e-books up on Amazon and Smashwords distribution, so I took those files and threw them into InDesign, Adobe’s desktop publishing software. That’s an expensive piece of software, but you can do it in word or Scrivener, but I really like the true WYSIWYG part about InDesign. With MS Word, it’s liable to do all kinds of strange things with the formatting.
My next decision involved graphic design. What font did I want to use? Sword of Spells and The Power Bearer are both period fantasies, so I decided on an older style font. I chose one that had a native italics font. In MS Word, the program will adjust the type for italics, but there might not be a specific italics font. I did it that way so the italics would persist through the various conversions.
I used CreateSpace. Since I wanted control over the output, I would upload a PDF version of my book. That would insure that I could be reasonably confident of the end appearance. InDesign allows you to output the book file to PDF, so that part was a snap.
The next decision is to determine what size book you are going to print up. I chose 6×9 because that is such a standard and the finished product looks more like a hardback than a paperback, giving some justification to the price.
Then you set your margins and copy and paste the basic text into the program. With InDesign, there are more steps in setting up Master Pages and figuring out how to work the page numbers. I haven’t used InDesign for a few years, so I had to teach myself how to do all of that. It was worth it.
After the text was placed on the pages (they are set up as facing pages in the program), I then put in the title page, copyright page, etc. etc.
I converted all of the type to the font that I wanted and went through an edit of the entire book again. Both of the books had been gone through numerous times, but there is always more to find.
Once I completed the edit, I created consistent chapter breaks. For Sword of Spells, the chapters were episodes and I just started them on the next page. I always started my Power Bearer chapters on the right hand page, even if I had a blank page facing on the left. You have to do the edit and the consistent chapter breaks so you can go back through and adjust pages.
With InDesign, I went through the entire book and made sure that I didn’t have a line hanging on the next page (orphan, is the term). You can adjust the space between the lines to do that on a previous page to pull the orphan back. I would go up a point or down a point on paragraphs in the previous page to get the lines to work correctly. I always put a tilde (~) between every paragraph space and didn’t want one occurring as the last line on a page. You can make up your own formatting rules, as long as they are consistent.
Now that I had the manuscript looking just the way I wanted, I uploaded it to Createspace and looked at it on their proofer. I found that it didn’t work very well for me, so I ordered a PROOF book. With S&H it cost less than $8.00. I will tell you that there is nothing like holding your own book and I was excited when both of them arrived.
In my writing, things always look different in print. So, I took a red pen and went through the Proof. I supposed it’s similar to going through galleys for a traditional publisher. There were still a few typos, but what I primarily found myself doing was a final polish. I took out a bunch of ‘was’s and replaced them with more active verbs. I rearranged lines and rewrote sentences to make them flow better. When you write 100,000 words, there will always be places that you can re-word.
When I finished my proofing, I went back into InDesign and put in the changes and, since lines were added and taken out, I went through and adjusted again for orphans and submitted it again. I also needed to tweak my cover… the titles were too close to the margins.
I created the covers myself and used Adobe Illustrator (I have Adobe CS4 Design with Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign). I used Photoshop for the artwork and Illustrator for the actual cover design. CreateSpace gives you the dimensions for the size book and the number of pages, so you can get the spine sized right. Getting a Proof book also gives you the best way to see how your cover really comes out. For both books, I had to tweak the covers. Those are saved as PDFs in Illustrator and uploaded in that format to CreateSpace.
Two of my books are available in print and I’ll have four more in both e-book form and five more in print, hopefully by the end of the year.
A word about CreateSpace. It’s really easy to use. If you restrict yourself to Amazon, the royalties are very good, however if you elect their expanded distribution, the royalties plummet because distributors want their discounts. However, you can sell to a lot more outlets that way including libraries. I’ll experiment with that after the first of the year. Right now I’ll be concentrating on getting my current WIP published.
So I suppose that I’m now a writer and a publisher! Now I have to become a marketer.