The thing about self-publishing a book is you don’t just stop once you’re done writing. I assume (because I’ve never gone through it) that when going through the traditional publishing process, once you’re done with your manuscript you send it to your editor and back and forth you go until it’s polished, then you send it back once more to be transformed from a digital document with a bunch of words into a book someone can buy in a store.
Once you’re done writing, that’s pretty much it for your duties (aside from marketing, probably). Again, I’ve never gone through traditional publishing so I’m guessing here.
With self-publishing, you can’t just stop at completing the written content of the book. Now, there is plenty of advice telling self-publishers (independent authors) not to DIY their entire book. HOWEVER! I can’t help myself. There are several things that can (and should) be outsourced so the pressure isn’t all on me, but when the budget is tight, some things have to be done without hiring help. Also, I just like testing my skills and doing things on my own.
So, KDP provides a great guide for formatting your paperback manuscript in Word. They have other guides, but Word and Windows are what I use, so that’s the only guide I noticed. I can do almost anything so long as I have instructions, and I’ve been enjoying seeing my pages start looking more like the pages of a book. I have my fingers crossed that it turns out the way it’s supposed to once uploaded to KDP.
eBook formatting, on the other hand… I’m going to try it, but I’m not so confident in that process so I may outsource.
After formatting, there’s still cover design, purchasing ISBNs, pricing the book, marketing, writing out the metadata, copyright, photos, setting up the KDP account and inputting all the files and information, ordering preview copies, and making sure everything looks the way it should. At that point, hopefully no changes are needed because then I’ll have to go back to whichever stage the mistake occurred, figure out how to make changes, then go back in and get a new preview copy to make sure it’s all corrected. Once it’s perfect (or nearly so) I have to order a stack of copies to have on hand so I can provide gift copies to a couple of the people who’ve been super helpful and supportive in this process and also be able to sell signed copies. [deep breath]
It’s a lot, yall.
Don’t get me wrong, I like creating things from scratch. I like taking pieces and parts and turning them into wholes. It’s just costly and time consuming. But just you wait until it’s all done! I’m going to be shouting from the (imaginary) rooftops, telling everyone who will listen that I wrote a book.
This is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on. With all my projects, I get really excited in the beginning because I can see what I want to create, but once I get to the middle and it’s not quite looking like the final product I start to get worried and doubt creeps in. Ultimately, though, once it’s finished I usually find that it’s just what I imagined. Sometimes it’s better than what I imagined. I’m hoping this one turns out better than I imagined.
My next two book projects include finishing the novel I started in 2016 and a collection of essays about life, religion, and relationships. I want to pursue traditional publishing for the novel, just to see what happens. What’s the process like? Does it get picked up? Is it better? I want to experience that. If I don’t like it, I’ll stick to indie publishing for myself. But those are projects for 2022 and forward.
Anyway, that’s it. That’s the update. Once I hire a cover designer, I’ll probably give you all a sneak peek.