Helpful CreateSpace Tips

As you know, I published Tilted Tales to Amazon.com via CreateSpace. It was not overly difficult to do, and they give you plenty of instructions/advice. Even so, I had a little help with the formatting from my previously published friend, and I leaned so much from her during the process. But, as with any first time project, I learned some things not to do the hard way. I’m happy to share it now.

1. If you are working under a deadline, give yourself at least a month to edit and proof your copies, so you are certain the final project is everything it can be. I was pushing for a Christmas deadline, and I feel like a mistake or two I made might have been caught sooner, or avoided, had I not felt so rushed.

2. Don’t trust the color balance on the digital proof- ordering a physical proof is an absolute must. I ordered bookmarks from Gotprint.com, and the color balance on my cover image was perfect. I (wrongly) assumed that meant the digital image was perfect, and I submitted Tilted Tales without getting a hard copy- after all, it was already printing out correctly, right? Wrong. Different printers have different color balances. I have discovered that Amazon.com’s printers are about two shades darker than the ones at gotprint.com. I ended up having to resubmit and order new proofs of a lightened image. Don’t make my mistake.

3. PDF files do not convert well to Kindle format. You will note that the Kindle edition of my book is not up yet- that is because I am still working on getting the correct format. When submitting your manuscript, you will need to save one file as a PDF, and one in HTML. Now, if your version of Microsoft Word is older than 2010, you will not have this option in the drop down menu in the save as window. There is an alternative option. Google docs has the option to save your document this way, however you will have to fiddle with the formatting a bit. Also, the file name of your manuscript does show across the top of every page, so I recommend naming the file by the title of your book so it reads like a header. I also recommend buying a newer edition of Word. I certainly will.

If you take only one piece of advice from me, then let it be this: Take your time, check everything twice. Your book is your baby- you worked very hard to complete your manuscript. Don’t cut corners at the moment when you need to shine.

Advertisements

My Children’s Book

 

So I have just completed a children’s story that I intend to self-publish. It began as a rather long, fun poem, but with encouragement from my writers group it evolved into a full story. I’m nearly done with the editing (as much as a writer ever can be anyway) and my next step it the artwork to go along with my story.

But the writing is only half of a children’s book. Kids love pictures that tell the story, so I needed to figure out what kind of illustration I wanted.  Upon some further research I found that you can hire an artist and pay them per illustration- the going rate seems to be about $100 to $200 per drawing online, or you can team up with an artist and split credit (and profit) from the book down the middle. I do know a few artists that would be amazing at it, but since graphic art is something I like to do (and have done professionally before), I decided I am going to do the artwork myself. I plan to make little figurines out of Sculpey and Fimo clay and pose them in scenes to take pictures, then turn them into something that looks illustrated in Photoshop. I will be sure to share more with you as my illustration adventure develops.

My father-in-law has a friend who has published a children’s story, so when I told him I wanted to publish he helped me get in touch with his writer friend. His friend told me that publishers want you to have everything done and mapped out before you even contact them, so I will be finishing my artwork before I take any efforts to publish further. The advice that he gave as far as marketing and publishing boiled down to this: Do as much of it yourself as possible. The publishers will be happy to do it for you, but their help requires lots of money. He also said they are impatient; any edits and adjustments are expected the same day they ask for them, and they get irritated if you delay. They also don’t really proof anything-if your work isn’t perfect when you hand it to them, then that is what will go into print.

With all this in mind, I am very nervous about my first independent self-published work. Even so, I am not deterred.