As I hope you’ve heard by now, I’ve got my first self-published book coming out on May 31st. (Yeah, the one just a week and a day from now. Eep, eep, eep!) What you may not know are the “functional and technical aspects [behind this] activity”. So in the interests of letting everyone in on what all has being going into the production of “The Swan Prince”, today I’ll be sharing some details from behind the curtain.
– First, I wrote the “Wilderhark Tales” series. Actually, I did that years ago. But it was an important step, not to be glossed over.
– That done, I searched for an illustrator to create my cover art. It took a few tries, but I found a great one, and the artist and I have been collaborating on Wilderhark art ever since.
– Meanwhile, I browsed my self-publishing options. There are plenty of companies out there who advertise themselves as happy to help independent authors get their books out. I went with CreateSpace, in no small part because I’d used them to get a free proof copy of a book before, and it had been a relatively painless experience. (For someone whose dealings with all things technological tend to devolve into mini-nightmares, familiarity counts for a lot.)
Apart from that, I looked over their site and didn’t get knocked over with any red flags. They’re print-on-demand, meaning I don’t have to pour a bunch of money into books that, worst case scenario, won’t ever be bought. Their proof review system lets me get a physical copy of the paperback in my hands to scrutinize for anything I want to change, and I can do that as many times as I like until I’m satisfied, for no more than the cost of printing the book and shipping it to me. They even gave me the option to use my own ISBN.
– On ISBNs (abbreviation for International Standard Book Number). It’s a legit book thing. Probably a lot of self-publishing companies will be up for providing an ISBN or its equivalent for you, even for free; CreateSpace certainly offered that alternative. And there’s nothing wrong with using that freely-provided identification number, if you don’t mind having the self-publishing company listed as your publisher. I was okay with that for the e-versions of my books, but for the paperbacks, I preferred to be listed as my own publisher; no major reason, it’s just the way I felt.
So I had to purchase my own ISBNs, and that meant a shop stop at Bowker.com, sole seller of this little commodity. You can purchase them in ones, tens, hundreds, or more, if I rightly recollect. I went with ten, which will cover all six of my “Wilderhark Tales”, my subsequent “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” trilogy, plus one extra, which I’ve got ideas for. For those of you wondering about the bottom line, the set of ten costs $250 – a better deal than buying them one at a time. (The bigger packages were even better deals, but I don’t have anywhere near one hundred books to sell, just now, so…)
– With the ISBNs for my paperbacks acquired, I had to figure out a way to format my e-book files. I know nothing about e-readers, and my late laptop couldn’t even deal with PDFs, half the time. An appeal to the internet for guidance introduced me to PressBooks.com. The free site is designed to work a lot like WordPress (a big selling point for me. Familiarity, remember?), only with a feature that exports your content into PDF, EPUB, and MOBI files. I was able to review the PDF on one of my home’s newer computers, a couple of friends were good enough to look over the other files on their devices (big thanks, Emerald and Nikki!), and of this post’s drafting, it looks like everything’s a go! The next stop on this front will be over on Amazon Kindle Direct and NOOK Press (formerly PubIt!).
– In the meantime, I went over to the U.S. Copyright Office to (appropriately enough) officially register my book’s copyright. To quote CreateSpace, “Every artist’s situation is different, and copyright laws and registrations can be complex. As a self-published artist, it’s up to you to ensure you are protected as you desire. For that reason, CreateSpace will not register or submit your work for copyright protection under any circumstances.” So I had to be a grownup and do it myself. Bless the copyright site for providing a tutorial I could follow every step of the way; I’d have been stressing out even more, otherwise. (I have this phobia about filling out forms. Especially important ones. Especially online.) The copyright registration cost $35, but it’ll more than pay for itself if I win an infringement lawsuit. (Pirates, ye be warned.)
– I’m also in the ongoing process of compiling a list of book blogs which may, upon invitation, be interested in reviewing “The Swan Prince” and/or interviewing me about it. If any of you readers are bloggers with such an interest, give me a holler via my contact page.
Phew! Anybody else feel exhausted, just reading along? All that and readying my novel “Inspired” for publication next March (not to mention gearing up for the “One More Day” anthology in Decemeber)! But I’m not complaining. This is making The Dream happen the best way I know how, and my cartwheeling heart already knows it to be worth it.
T-minus 8 days ‘til launch, guys!