Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12 Indie Publishing Blunders to Avoid!

Misty Dawn Pulsipher

My good friend, Lisa Rector is self-publishing her first novel as we speak. I have done this two times, but for some reason we forget all the little details in between books when it comes to formatting and such. So it occurred to me that this might be helpful information for Indie Authors everywhere.

First of all, I used to think 'Indie' was one of two things: a nationality or a car race. Apparently, it's actually the term used for self-publishing. So here is what I've learned about Indie publishing over the last few weeks:

 1. When you think you have a final draft on your hands, you will make approximately 800 changes to your 'proof copy' once it arrives and you're done celebrating.

 2. You will go through about 3 packs of sticky notes, because you don't want to write in your proof copy.

 3. By the time you're done with the proof copy, you'll want to burn it.

4. Do yourself a favor and don't bother manually indenting your paragraphs with tabs. You will end up deleting every one of them when you convert your file to HTML for the Kindle Edition. Instead, highlight all your text (minus chapter headings), go to LINE SPACING, LINE SPACING OPTIONS, SPECIAL (select FIRST LINE), then LEFT INDENT and make the indent that you want. It will apply the indent to the first line of every paragraph throughout your document.

5. Instead of putting a few spaces between chapters, insert a page break (CONTROL+ENTER).

6. SECTION BREAKS are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Use with extreme caution and only when absolutely necessary.

7. When it comes right down to it - prevent unpleasantness such as ulcers and nervous breakdowns by paying someone else to format your book. Create Space does it starting at $249. You'll pay more than that in acid reflux medication and counseling alone - so it will totally be worth it.

8. Watch out for backward quote marks - they will be your undoing ... just ask Melissa Lemon.

9. Order a paperback proof copy and read through it - seeing your book in that format helps you think like a reader and not like a writer - and helps to identify plot/character issues and inconsistencies.

10. If you are a perfectionist like me, take it down a notch and be willing to let insignificant things go. Like each chapter starting on the right page instead of the left. You will drive yourself and everyone around you crazy otherwise.

11. To convert your document to HTML for the Kindle Edition, click SAVE AS then select WEB PAGE FILTERED.

12. Think of the whole thing as a process rather than an event. And One More Thing . . . While you're so absorbed with things like margins, page breaks, chapter headers, and indents . . . don't forget to check the spelling of your OWN NAME on the COVER. For some reason I never noticed the H missing from my last name, even though I'd gazed lovingly at my cover for hours on end and held the proof copy in my hands.

On launch day, after I had finally approved all the proofs and clicked the little "publish" button with glee, a friend noticed the spelling error. It was another day before it was fixed and re-uploaded. In the immortal words of Mad-Eye Moody, "Constant Vigilance!"

Get Lisa's debut novel here:

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