Self-Publishing – Next Steps

So Pete, what have you discovered about writing and publishing a novel?

Well, it’s bloody hard work!

But anyways, let’s start at the beginning.

First step – write a book.

To be honest, you can write a short story, use the steps I spell out below to get it published/ printed and you’re away. But I wrote a book. At the moment it’s 103,000 words or so – about 340 pages.

Let me be very clear, I would not have been able to do any self-publishing without the masses of excellent free things you can download and use on the net; otherwise I would have had to pay the thousands of dollars that some self-publishing companies charge. Actually, I think I would not have bothered… but I digress.

One of the first bits of advice I received was to get a blog. Here it is, you’re reading it now… Thanks to word press…!

My tools…

The cover of the book was done by a friend, John Simpson of Hobart Design. We met years ago through a mutual friend and I recently rang him out of the blue… he was only too happy to help! If he’d not done it for me, I would have tried to do a cover in Power Point, or a free version of Photoshop that I downloaded. Let’s just say that would have had to figure out who to use Photoshop first…! And the cover would not be as good as John’s. The base image is from iStock.

Outsider is primarily a fantasy novel – which means a new world that is not earth needed to be created. I used a very crappy drawing I did on a white board for ages – but then I found an awesome map here. I know it says ‘free to use’ but I asked permission from the artist first, just to make sure…!

Print on demand seems like such an awesome idea…! I mentioned I’m looking at CreateSpace or Lightning Source to publish. For me, Lightning Source are a more attractive option, mainly because they operate out of Australia. To do things their way, I need to do everything myself – which is cool. I’ve learned a lot. For example I had to get my own ISBN’s, which I did (in Australia) though Thorpe-Bowker.

I write in MS Word – I’ve used it at work since the very early 90’s, and still use it today. I’m comfortable with it. You have to create a .pdf of your manuscript to submit it, and have to make sure that you embed all of your fonts – this can be tricky if there’s an invisible font hidden in a header or footer that does not embed easily in a .pdf, like Arial or Times New Roman.

To edit I found a great program at Pro Writing Aid. It tells me loads about adverbs, verbs, past-participles and stuff. There is a free version & a paid version.

I have also had to learn how to create and edit an e-pub file. Not having done this before, I found two excellent programs. To create the e-pub I used Calibre and to edit it I’ve used Sigil. I also downloaded a heap of e-book readers to use on my iPad so I can see what the finished file will look like…!

Hopefully my next blog will be something along the lines of… ‘It’s finshed!

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