Well I am back from my holiday and preparing for the run in to book launch day! I still haven't quite decided on a date; it will be dictated to some extent by how the next stage in the process goes. At the moment, though, I am still aiming for mid/end September.
You will see from the above screen shot that I have taken the big step of submitting my files (interior manuscript and cover) to CreateSpace for review. (For anyone who needs reminding, this is the branch of Amazon which produces the physical books rather than the e-books.) This is hugely exciting. The process takes about 24 hours, I believe, during which time they check for glaring errors in presentation. Then I can review it as a whole on screen (up to now I have only been able to review the interior and the cover separately) and I get to see whether the tricky issue of getting the spine in the right place has been successfully managed. Here's what has been happening recently to get me to this position:
The manuscript came back from my proofreader while I was away. There weren't too many changes, although it seems that I have a problem determining when to use one word, a hyphen, or two words. His eagle eyes also saved me from at least two errors which would have been embarrassing. The lesson here - get your manuscript edited, even if it is only at the very basic proofing level. Another blogger, the very lovely Astrid Arditi, has written an excellent piece on the different levels and types of editing available and I would recommend it to anyone thinking of self-publishing, It can be found here. Even my own proofreader didn't think I needed his services after looking over two of the stories but I insisted and I am glad that I did. The person I used is a long-standing friend and I suspect I was given 'mates rates' but it was still a significant investment for me in the context of publishing a book which I hope, one day, will at least pay for itself. It will take around 130 sales to pay for the edit alone and this will be no mean achievement. I will need around 250 sales to roughly break-even (cost of edit + cost of stock images for cover + sundries). Still, in terms of the edit, my reputation is at stake and it was the right thing to do.
Anyway, making money is not the main reason for doing this at the moment (right?!). The intention is to publish a number of titles which will hopefully then gather some momentum. In the meantime, the experience I am having is exciting and educational and is already beginning to open doors for me.
So - onwards.
I will now have to be patient and wait for CreateSpace to work it's magic and tell me whether my book is ready for review. I will then scrutinize it on-screen and then I have a decision to make. This decision is whether or not to order a physical proof copy of my book before it goes live. Given how much trouble I have gone to to get this far, then the obvious answer is to purchase one. The problem is that CreateSpace only prints them in the US (even though the books will be printed locally once published). There are therefore delays and shipping costs to consider. Fortunately I have given myself plenty of time and it should only cost about £8 (hang on, that's another 12.6 books I'll have to sell!) so my thinking at the moment is that I will do it. (Pricing is interesting. I have just discovered that for each £4.99 book I sell I will get 68p. What do you think of the price? It will be 166 pages long. The Kindle version will probably be priced at £1.99.)
Timing is still an issue, though. I have spoken with a few libraries who have informed me that they need a number of weeks (6-8) to approve a book and I really would love it to be part of the Halloween display at my local branch. Also, a few advance readers would be useful so that I can get some reviews ready to go (although some reviewers seem to accept e-files so that might be less of a problem). As an author I can order up to five proof copies of my book so perhaps I will order one, see if I am happy with it and then order a few more to go to the libraries but it might be that I have to put the book live earlier than I would like just so I can get it reviewed by libraries in time. If anyone out there has any experience with this do let me know. I suppose in most situations it is not a problem - an author would simply publish and then ask the libraries to review after that date. It is only because I am trying to tie everything in with Halloween that it is becoming complicated.
One thing that I should mention is that CreateSpace offers a free service to automatically publish the book to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) once it has been approved. That means, I hope, that it will take minimal work to put the book live on the Kindle Store.
One final point - I have finally entered the world of Facebook. I am finding it difficult but can already see the benefits as I am reaching an audience who just don't participate on Twitter. My page can be found here and I would be extremely grateful for any likes or shares you can send my way - I have a feeling that selling those, er... 262.6 books is going to be tough work!
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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