A writer takes a leap
There are many reasons why I decided to go indie and not one of them had anything to do with my original publisher, who was great and very supportive. In fact, if there’s anything I miss more it is the community that came along with them. So many writers came up with me and it was from one another that we learned how to write better books.
I’m on my own now, and with that isolation comes the daunting task of self-teaching through trial, error, tears and YouTube “how to” videos. How to format. How to submit. How to deal with roadblocks. It wasn’t easy.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that publishing platforms accept or reject works based on their own set criteria. For example, what some may see as funny or amusing others could interpret as insensitive or offensive. When that happens, it is up to the writer to decide whether to alter the work or move on to the next platform.
Rejections can occur for simple things, too, like submitting confusing keywords or author names. What if your legal name differs from your nom de plume? Be prepared to explain and explain again until someone actually contacts you from the mothership.
It all takes time and a level head.
Which brings me to my next points: go slow and be patient. Imagine working on a platform’s unique formatting program only to find that it’s an older version and won’t upload the finished book because of it? When this happened the other day, I had to let out a huge yell. Then I downloaded the current program version and started all over again.
Note: I ran into a lot of trouble using open source programs as well as sanctioned proprietary ones. This was because of my laptop’s unique firewall configuration. To download formatting software successfully, it may be necessary to turn off your firewall. I had a pro do that for me for the price of food and beverage. I strongly recommend this.
Because the process is slow and precision driven, I would recommend engaging a professional for some elements of the process. For my first release, I went with a fantastic cover designer who took my vision and turned it around in a matter of days. I would have taken weeks had I dared to try that myself. For my next release, I will employ a line editor. No matter how good a writer thinks they are, there is nothing better than a fresh set of eyes. Grammarly is great and I wouldn’t send anything to the line editor without running it first. But it doesn’t catch everything: pore and pour. The difference is huge when it appears in a paperback glaringly out of context. Cringe is all I’ll say about that.
I’m told by those that know that the first self-published book is always a hair puller. Until the DIY author masters the rules of pagination, kerning, cover trims, and—here’s the big one—different formats for different platforms, it’s going to be a long march to getting everything out there in a way that we like. There will be do-overs a plenty. I left two family members out of the acknowledgements section in the ebook. Luckily for me, they are back where they belong in time for the print version.
Whether the writer is indie or trad, the pure act of creation is what makes all this worthwhile. We are lucky to be living and writing in year 2019. More than ever before, we have outlets where we can offer our creations for sale at prices we choose.
That is the stuff of variety.
Write on everybody and keep learning.
Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant (I wasn’t the other day, believe me),
May 11, 2019
A.B. Funkhauser is a multi-genre author with three titles currently undergoing do-overs and three new unreleased works that may see daylight before the end of the year.
Morticians and Mayhem: Take a walk on the wild side of funeral directing.
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