Writers in the Storm

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August 12, 2011

Publishing Naked- Part 3

Welcome to another installment of Sensational Summer Fridays, here at WITS!

Before we begin with the third in our guest blog series by Denise Domning, we'd like to announce the winner of Michelle Diener's debut novel, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT.  Congratulations to Stacy Green, who read and commented on Michelle's blog Using Real People and Events in Fiction.

Here is another fantastic guest blog from Denise Domning on the Self-Publishing journey.
(Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.)

Five days to book launch and I’m exhausted.  This is the first time I've worn all the hats:  author, editor, copy editor, book designer and typesetter.

Here’s where the book launch preparations are now:
The website is almost functional.  If only we could have started sooner, but we didn’t have our brand until Monica had her brainstorm for The Men Wars.  This is just one of those “it had to be this way” chores.  The most important thing for me is that the links to buy the books be so blazingly clear that even the least tech-savvy user can find it.

I also had to go on exclamation point control.  This is a real sticking point for me, maybe because I got my hand slapped early and often in my writing career over exclamation point usage.  Nowadays, I drive down the road and see one, two, three exclamation points in a row to tell me how special their widget is.  To me, the more exclamation points I see the more I wonder how mediocre the product is.  If it can’t sell itself on its own merits, there must be something wrong.

The manuscript is as clean as I can make it in the time allotted.  I hate finding errors in books, especially my own.  I’d use a copy editor if I knew a really good one.  Thank heavens I’ve had a little experience with publishing.  Having done this eleven times before, I know what to look for, which means I’m checking questionable words, hyphenations and such in my friend Google.  Sigh.  I love Google.

As far as the look and feel of the Createspace book, I originally chose Bookman Old Style (a serif font).  I like a serif font in a book.  However, Amber tells me that serifs are too busy for old eyes.  Since I have old eyes, I relented and went with good old Verdana.

I now hate Word even more than I did when I started this project.  Why does it insist in putting in 10 spaces for an indent instead of 5?  I’m a Word Perfect girl, but the whole rest of the world wants everything in a stupid Word doc.  Manuscript formatting doesn’t always transfer well, so I’m using Word.

Why does Word make it so hard to format a header or footer?  Why can’t you manage them without creating new sections (if only I could figure out how to do that!)  or have every gol-darn page reformat because you made a change?

Note for future books:  do not ask supposedly-Word proficient husband for help.  Ed hates any version of Windows above XP.  He snatched my laptop away after I had a meltdown when Word once again refused to let me do what Word Perfect makes easy.  Then he sat there and stared at the screen for half an hour, trying to figure out the buttons on the tool bar.  I finally asked him how to create a new section for the header and he looked at me with a completely blank expression.  I snatched back my laptop.  ARGH!  I don’t have time for this!

An online “how to create a book for Createspace” blog suggested that I might want to learn Adobe inDesign, at which point I perked up.  I have that program.  Even better, Amber actually uses that program.  I bundled the manuscript up and sent it to her.
Then made a bunch of changes.   Of course.

By the way, when she sent me the draft PDF, the indents were again set at 10 spaces instead of the 5 I want.  When did the world start using that standard?

I’m finally panicking over legal liabilities, such as someone suing us for libel or slander over being mentioned in the book, so I contacted a lawyer.  We’re going to talk on Friday.  This is an issue I wouldn’t have needed to address on my own if we’d sold the book to New York, but at least I thought of it.  I’m waiting with bated breath to hear what she says.  With legal issues in mind, I went back through the manuscript to take out anything that needed a trademark (the little circle with the R) .  No Kleenix, Little Doughboy, Q-tips allowed.

And I sent Amber another manuscript.

The final version (as of last night) is now fully formatted for both Kindle and eBooks.  All that I need now are the pictures Monica wants to include and hasn’t yet gotten to me.  I’m still wondering how I’ll preview the Nook and iBook version.   Hmm, maybe I can use the Nook and iPad we bought for contest prizes?

Which brings me to our contest.  Our big prizes are a Kindle, Nook and iPad.  The iPad will be given out after our Facebook likes reach 25,000.  What do you think?  Too high?  I hope not.  We’re also giving out Monica calendars, signed copies of the book, Amazon/B&N/iStore gift cards and such.

Here’s the big question: is the book good enough to warrant this much money being thrown at it?  I haven’t heard back from our first reviewer, so I don’t know.
Remember, we’ve also hired a national PR agent to get Monica on the radio.  Plus, we’ve got PR packages being assembled to send out to anyone and everyone (to be determined sometime between now and the 15th).  The PR package creation resulted in a demand that I get a new photo taken.  Oh, yuck.  Who cares about me, anyway?  It’s all about Monica right now and that’s just fine.

The Book:

Men-ipulation: Book One of The Men Wars, is dark, dangerous, dramatic and funny as it follows Monica Sarli's lifelong battle with men, sex and heroin addiction. More can happen to Monica in one week than most people experience in a year, from facing down psychopathic drug dealers to the FBI threatening to put her in the Witness Protection Program or the SWAT team appearing to rescue her from a man she's done with, and every story is as true as it is strange. Get ready for an exciting ride that takes you from the depths of drug addiction to the pinnacle of high society only to end up six feet under.

What a crap shoot!   Only five days to launch date and I have no clue if this is actually going to get finished on time. What do you do when you have a project stressing you out? Please send some de-stressing tips this direction!

0 comments on “Publishing Naked- Part 3”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences. So much goes into self-publishing that I didn't even think of. The formatting thing is a big issue for me because I'm tech-stupid and that will be a big headache if I end up going that route. I think you're right to meet with a lawyer just to have all your bases covered.

    The book sounds really interesting. Good luck with everything:)

    And I won? Yay! Do I need to give you guys my email?

    1. Hi Stacy,
      I'm not tech savvy anymore, but the good news is, there are always those around us--in my experience, younger (sigh)--who are. Thanks for your comment, and congratulations on your win of Michelle Diener's IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. Check your e-mail for a message to reply to with your mailing address. And happy reading!

    2. You should have seen me in those last days, making furious notes of things I'd forgotten. I could have had the whole thing formatted in Word Perfect and done in 8 hours.

      As for the lawyer her suggestion was to buy E&O insurance that included libel and defamation coverage. The only catch was the policy had to have been initiated before
      the book was published. You cannot buy business insurance on Sunday. Not from anyone, anywhere. Who knew there were still businesses out there keeping "Bankers" hours! At any rate, it wouldn't have mattered. It turns out that Kindle sets your "published" date as the day you upload your book, not the day they make it go live. It was already published when I talked to the lawyer. However, she confirmed that dead people can sue, and family members of dead people can't be substantially hurt by something said about their dead relative.


  2. My wish was always that Bill Gates would buy WordPerfect and market it but NOT touch the program. Didn't happen, so I use Word now. You have my sympathy. Your experience in getting your book ready was funny. The frustration of wearing all hats is often overwhelming, but it's worth it. The book sounds interesting. Good luck with it.

    1. Hi, Ellis. I had no idea I wasn't alone out here. Years ago I had to "convert" from Word Perfect for my workplace and I was traumatized. As someone who soldered her own IMSAI 8080 in 1977, I couldn't believe someone making that decision. Started stepping back from the love affair with all things techie that day.
      Fae Rowen

      1. Oh Fae, you and I are birds of a feather. Back in 1985 I assembled my first computer, installed the hard drive, formatted it (with the help of my geek brother in law via a phone line), then installed my first word processing program. A day later I typed in 4 chapters of my first novel (yes, Winter's Heat), and crashed said hard drive. I hadn't realized I my files couldn't be more than 256K each. I've built most of my own computers since then. This is why I can't stand Word. It wants to tell me what I want.
        Thanks so much for your comment!

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