Monday, June 10, 2019

How to Self-Publish the RIGHT way!

The traditional route to getting your book published is painstaking, time-consuming, and full of rejection. The only difference between that and self-publishing is the rejection.

While I go through the process of self-publishing Windy Hollow, I'm taking you along for the ride! (ps - Here's a form if you're interested in helping me with my Campaign or Windy Hollow's release)

Steps to Self-publishing:
  1. Write a phenomenal book - I have lots of posts on that...
  2. Edit - Hire a professional - the more eyes & critiques, the better, plus a technical/grammatical final look.
  3. the Cover - I've already given my two cents on covers, here. A definite must to get professional help, especially if you want/need artwork.
And today, I'm talking in general about Formatting.

Once you have polished the contents of your book, you have to go back through and delete stray formatting extras, like extra tabs or spaces. All paragraphs should be uniformly formatted with automatic indentations and spacing. You will have to forget about "Select All" if you need to make changes to margins, line spacing, paragraphs, etc. once you start getting it ready for publication.

There is so much involved in Formatting for publication! Just look at the first 4-5 pages of any book. Title page, copyright/publisher page, dedication page, and the dreaded Table of Contents... which I guess could be optional, but is preferred for some genres like fantasy and sci-fi and middle grade. These pages conform to no formatting used in the rest of the book and are usually not numbered.

You also have to consider that the top of each page alternates between the title of the book and the author's name. Even/Odd page headers are easy enough to deal with, but when you throw in each new chapter page, it throws everything off! New chapter pages do NOT have a header. It's best to start chapters as a new "section" which can be designated with "different first page header" and conveniently linked back to the Table of Contents. I haven't tried linking to the TOC yet, I didn't have the patience, so I did it manually.

If you have any cool/fancy images for new chapters and/or breaks within the chapter or illustrations, those also need special attention. Each one should be checked and re-checked to make sure they all look the same.

At the end of your book are the Acknowledgments and Author Page, plus any other info you want to include. As with the first few pages, these pages each get their own format, usually without a header.

Not too bad, right? Ha! I almost went cross-eyed checking all the formatting. Little things kept popping up and I'd have to re-check the whole thing again to see if the flaws were anywhere else in the book. And there's a whole other set of rules for print pub vs e-pub!

I like to write this stuff down for myself as it's usually a long while between publications and I tend to forget what-all is involved. Hope it helps!

I also want to make a special announcement! My wonderful and brilliant romance writer friend, Elizabeth Seckman recently published her latest novel! Perfect for Father's Day!

by Elizabeth Seckman

Sarah Andrews can hold her own in a courtroom, but when it comes to love, she’s 0-3 and Rich Cooper was her biggest loss to date. 

Now available!

Elizabeth is a mom, a wife, and the caretaker of far too many pets, all of whom her children swore they'd take care of. But they went off to college leaving fur babies in their place. She is a multi-published author of women's fiction and romance. 


Heather R. Holden said...

Formatting is a lot of work, for sure. I weirdly enjoy the process, but because I do comics instead of novels, I don't run into the same headaches as you. Sorry it left you feeling so cross-eyed! Wishing you the best of luck as Windy Hollow ventures into the self-pub world...

And congrats to Elizabeth! Hoosier Dad sounds like a fun read...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Big congratulations to Elizabeth!
Formatting sounds like a lot of work.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Smart tips. Always have that paragraph button on so you can see all the formatting. Plus watch for extra spaces before paragraphs and at the end of sentences.

Once you get the hang of hyperlinking chapters, it's easy.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Great tips! Formatting is tough.
It is really awesome when you have the results!

Juneta key said...

I really, really need to learn to format. Great post.

Patricia Lynne said...

I never noticed new chapters didn't have a header in books, which is why I never worried about it when formatting my books. ^^;;

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Hey, that's me! Thank you chick!!!

I'm all signed up to help out. You know I'm game for whatever.

Self publishing is more work than I ever realized. I tried it once and I wasn't very good at it. You'll knock it out of the park, I'm sure!!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Yep, I'll need to learn formatting in the next couple of weeks because I hope to self publish later this year. Eeek!!!! It's a new adventure for me. ;)

Congrats to Elizabeth

Chrys Fey said...

That's why I don't think I could ever format a novel, but I am going to try to learn enough to format short stories.

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