Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking the Mystery Out of Formatting

When I began entertaining the idea of self-publishing my novel Finding My Escape, the one aspect out of the whole process that daunted me the most was the idea of formatting for the various e-reading devices.  Writing I could do.  It's my passion.  I wasn't overly concerned about editing or proofreading.  My mother was a high school English teacher with a strong understanding of the elements of style.  I wasn't even overly worried about marketing the book.  But formatting?  Major dread.

So there my book sat, completed, edited, re-edited, proofread, re-proofread.  I even paid an artist, to do an awesome cover.  (Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.)

I'd run out of excuses.  There was nothing left to do (unless I wanted to try to publish traditionally, but that's an entirely different topic).  So I set myself a deadline.  August 15.  My late father's birthday.  *sigh*  That was two weeks ago.  In that two weeks, I talked about formatting, I posted about formatting, I complained about formatting, but did absolutely nothing toward getting the book ready to e-publish.

Friday the 12th rolls around, and I drag out every paper and e-book I have that has anything on the subject of self-publishing.  I picked up Zoe Winter's Becoming An Indie Author (on my Nook, of course), and zipped to the section on Smashwords and read it.  Twice.

Okay, I thought, you can do this.  I went to the Smashwords site, and followed every single instruction about unformatting and reformatting my book (which BTW are very detailed and written in easy-for-a-non-techy-to-understand English).  I read with trepidation, the list of formatting problems that could cause your book to be rejected.  After about three hours of cleaning up bad tabs, straight quotation marks, and page breaks, the manuscript was ready.  I took a deep breath and pressed send.  About ten minutes later the results came back.  Rejected.

What?  Rejected?  After I scraped myself from the ceiling, I scrolled down the list of possible problems and found:  Font size exceeds 18.  The only font that could have possibly exceeded the suggested 18 point was the title.  I changed that to 18 and pushed send again.  Accepted!

So here's the point.  I'd spent weeks months postponing publishing my book because I was terrified by the thought of formatting it.  When I actually sat down to do it, it turned out to be no big deal.

So what's holding you back from completing your goal?  Is it fear?  Why not dig in, face the situation, and take the mystery out of it.  You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Attempt at Procrastination

Well, folks, I know that I've been MIA for the entire summer, but what can I say...things have been a bit crazy around here.  Summer is always a busy time for me, but I honestly can't tell you where the past two months have gone!  I can tell you what I've done, though.  Let's see, I went to my class reunion (never mind which year), picked up extra work from a client, added a new client, saw about 10 drive-in movies with my daughter and her friends (I really need to blog about that), and hired a cover artist.

That's right folks, I did it.  I hired a cover artist for my YA novel, Finding My Escape.  You can check out the cover here (once I remember how to add the graphic).  The book has actually been finished for several months, the editing (except for final proof-reading) done, but for some reason, I haven't been able to bring myself to take the final steps to get the book published.  So I hired a cover artist, hoping that the act of forking over some cash would push me to get in there and do the final polishing necessary to get the book ready for Kindle, Nook, and all the other e-readers out there.

I've had the cover for several weeks now, but for some crazy reason, I've been dragging my feet about the final steps.  The truth is, I like to write, and I'd like to leave the rest of this stuff, the technical stuff, the marketing, and the publishing to someone else.  I mean, I don't even know HTML really.  (Funny because as I write this, I'm looking at a little tab that says "Edit HTML", and I'm thinking maybe HTML should edit itself.)  *sigh*

In fact, writing this blog today is yet another one of my procrastination attempts.  There, I said it.  I'm procrastinating.  But I really can't do that any longer.  I told myself I wanted to get the book out before my late father's birthday, which is August 15.  So I guess I'd better get off here and get to work.