Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: D.I.Y?

  1. #1
    Member D.Hawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    The southwest
    Posts
    24

    D.I.Y?

    My answers might be on the forum somewhere already, but have any of you published a book D.I.Y? I can't afford a fancy cover design or edit. Wondering if any of you have had success with a do-it-yourself project and if you had any tips or resources to share?

  2. #2
    Self publishing in the full context of do-it-yourself is relatively simple assuming you have a rather specific skill set and some background in publishing.

    In addition to the usual matters of book editing and proofreading (the bane of the self-pubbing world), you would find basic publication design skills and an understanding of typography helpful in producing a book interior. It becomes more complex if images and graphics are involved, but novels are fairly simple; prepare design specifications, develop a typographical style sheet, lay it out, make formatting adjustments as necessary. Cover design is an art unto itself - not only from the standpoint of basic graphic design and image management, but also from awareness and understanding of trends in commercial book design. A skilled designer can find workable materials from many stock art suppliers, and then bring them together with text to form a cover in relatively short order - probably at least a day or two, but possibly more if it gets complicated.

    Another facet of design these days is how a cover looks in, say 90 pixels -- the size of a thumb on a webpage.

    Rule Number One in publishing, by the way, is that you never proofread your own copy. You always find someone who is very good at such work and you are always willing to pay for it.

    The interior and cover are inevitably in press-ready pdf formats (process color for the cover) and generally delivered to printing vendors in that format. The trickiest part of the cover relates to bleeds and sufficient space for the spine, as well as the usual placement of space for barcoding.

    Standard software for art/design is typically Illustrator and Photoshop; standard software for interiors is typically InDesign or Quark. Each one of those apps carries a learning curve and can be uncomfortable for beginners.

    Printed books also require an ISBN -- usually two, in fact -- for American and international markets. So a stop along the way will include picking one up from RR Bowker. They cost about ten bucks, and each edition (hardcover, trade paper, etc.) must have its own.

    From the cover design and a properly formated MS Word document, you can also create an e-book, which will be slightly different for Kindle, Nook and Ipad formats.

    Trade paper is relatively common for self-pubbers, typically in a 6x9 format. Mass market paperbacks (on newsprint) are generally immense runs on web presses, hence the common sizes. Hardcover is also in substantial runs, and vendors often have special setup charges just for that. A trade paperback, however, can be in a single copy or thousands.

    If you're not familiar with these skills, you begin to understand why the author gets only 15 percent royalty from traditional publishers -- because traditionals pay for all the pre-press, all the design, and all of the press-ready services. Yes, you can hire out editing, proofreading, layout, design, etc. and become a publisher yourself -- but, of course, you get what you pay for.

    The final caveat with DIY is marketing. Self pub enthusiasts are quick to point out that most midlist and nearly all debut authors get very little, if any, marketing support from the publisher - so as they venture out on their own, they are at least pulling more of the share of cover price. But the reality is that self-pubbing is a very lonely road and getting onto bookshop shelves is much more difficult (in the trade, books are pretty much a consignment business arrangement, and remainder return is expected; in POD, however, there are no returns, hence a hesitation for a shop to stock your opus).

    So unless you are charmed with the adventure of hustling your title by yourself, you're inevitably looking at services such as publicists, promoters, reps. And for that, of course, you pay.

    The upside of self-pubbing is getting paid. No fighting for royalties, no having a stern agent (taking 15 percent of your 15 percent) prying loose reports from traditionals. You get your money like clockwork, every month, and the nice thing about the Amazons of the world is that they do all the fulfillment and billing for you. What they don't do is market your book. Nobody does. A lot of outfits will take your money because they say they'll promote it, but be careful. This is not a place for the myopic.

    Do-it-yourself publishing is a lot like do-it-yourself home construction. If you have the skills, the tools, the time, you can build a house all by yourself. The question is self evident: should you?
    Recently released: Stray Cats, an espionage thriller, in bookstores or from Amazon: trade paper or e-book
    website: www.geoffmehl.com

  3. #3
    Member D.Hawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    The southwest
    Posts
    24
    Gmehl- thanks for the very honest and informative response. I am only looking to self pub in the kindle format. I'm not looking to switch careers or make loads of cash. I'd just like to beef up my daughter's college savings. There is a lot to think about. I'm at a point where I would have to pick and choose which services I'd want to pay for. Definitely food for thought.....

  4. #4
    Cover design and proofreading will be the biggest single issues, then. If the budget is really tight, then ...

    a) proofread while reading your book aloud -- errors tend to jump out more effectively -- or find the services of someone who's got a good eye for typos. When Kindle sets up your book they will run a casual spell check on it, but it's better to get this done before hand with someone you trust.

    b) try to follow the general concepts of books in your genre for cover design. Amazon offers these services for fee (freelancers), but you can probably find decent art on Shutterstock (about $15 per image, high res) and build your own with a little trial and error. Use Calibre (freeware) to build your ebook off to the side and experiment with ideas. Kindle will only need a word document, which should be in the font and typographic style you prefer. But they will also need a front cover, typically in jpg.

    c) be prepared to market-market-market via social media as much as you can; your book is only one of hundreds of thousands on Amazon. Advertising on book club sites generally does not work.
    Recently released: Stray Cats, an espionage thriller, in bookstores or from Amazon: trade paper or e-book
    website: www.geoffmehl.com

  5. #5
    May I ask - have you considered trade publishing? That requires no money at all.
    Has left the building.

  6. #6
    Member D.Hawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    The southwest
    Posts
    24
    gmehl- thanks again. Super valuable tips. Never thought about using Shutterstock. I'm a little lucky because I have a lit major that owes me and will often edit or proof for me, but that can't last forever.

  7. #7
    Member D.Hawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    The southwest
    Posts
    24
    Shadowwalker-No, but now I'm intrigued. It seems like publishing is so vast, and I'd feel a little lost about where to start. I wish I would have learned what I need to know 20 years ago.
    Last edited by D.Hawkins; August 27th, 2013 at 04:00 PM. Reason: added to post

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by D.Hawkins View Post
    Shadowwalker-No, but now I'm intrigued. It seems like publishing is so vast, and I'd feel a little lost about where to start. I wish I would have learned what I need to know 20 years ago.
    Then take your time, learn about publishing (both trade and self) - ask questions, seek out reliable sources (avoid anyone who rants against one or the other or who makes it sound too good to be true), and eventually you'll understand enough to make a reasoned decision as to which route to take. Your book deserves the time it will take, doesn't it?
    Has left the building.

  9. #9
    Member D.Hawkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    The southwest
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    Then take your time, learn about publishing (both trade and self) - ask questions, seek out reliable sources (avoid anyone who rants against one or the other or who makes it sound too good to be true), and eventually you'll understand enough to make a reasoned decision as to which route to take. Your book deserves the time it will take, doesn't it?
    You have a great point, and although I was set up to do an epub, maybe I need to take a step back and think a few things over. It just seems like such a long-shot. I need to stop thinking like that.

  10. #10
    Breaking into traditional publishing is something of a long shot, but the rewards can be substantial and career potential enhanced in a major way. Querying is something of a mystical science but costs nothing to learn (visit your local library, load up on how-to books; there are plenty to boggle your mind). The one thing to remember is never, ever pay an upfront fee to an agent or publisher - the sure sign of a scam. But you're just as qualified as any other debut novelist with a good idea, and reputable agents all have websites with submission information. All they ask is that you follow their guidelines. The absolute worst thing that can happen is they all say no, in which case you can fall back on self-pubbing. The absolute best thing that can happen is that your child goes to college in a brand new BMW and you probably have to sign autographs.
    Recently released: Stray Cats, an espionage thriller, in bookstores or from Amazon: trade paper or e-book
    website: www.geoffmehl.com

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •