And is set to splash its way all across your e-reader? Tedrick!
That’s right, everyone’s favourite octopus detective is due for release tomorrow, 1st of June!
OMG! I’ll be holding my own little celebration, but I can’t celebrate for too long, no sir. There are too many things to do. I’m still getting AMS to play ball, and then there’s the hardcopy to finalise, and distributions. Man, it almost makes me wish I had multiple limbs! Sorry, Ted, I know you’re still smarting about your missing arm.
You can find Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef at the Amazon store here, for the price of a cup of coffee. And once I’ve passed the required number of days, I’ll publish to Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Google Play. Or you can download the mobi or pdf and import that into your reader – I’ve heard that works.
Thanks for sticking with me on this ride. I’ll continue with the hardcopy KDP journey in a day or two, once I’ve shaken off the darkwater hangover.
You get to write what you want to write. The subject matter is up to you. You don’t have a big bad corporation leaning over your shoulder, shaking its head saying, “No, no, no. That won’t do. You need to have more werewolves. Vampires are so 2014. This won’t sell.”
Who cares? It’s your book.
Pfft! Who cares…?
If you want to kill off your main character, go right ahead! If you’re stuck for a plot point, deus ex machina is a viable option. Who cares? It’s your book.
Pricing and distribution is fine, too. With facilities like Smashwords and Lulu, you can push out your book at pretty much any price that suits you to pretty much any distributor. Do you care? After all, it’s your book.
There are no deadlines except for those you impose upon yourself and, hey, if you’re out by a week or a year, who really cares? It’s your book.
Tell you what, it’s easy being an independent author.
No, really, who cares?
Who cares? Who cares? The audience cares. They care a lot.
If you are writing the book for yourself, then go right ahead and do whatever. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation and spelling. Ignore typos and editing. Ignore those tics, those cliches, those repetitions. Chuck everything into one great big sodding sentence, no breaks, and be done with it.
Writing for others means obeying conventions, like grammar and spelling, and it means putting a lot effort into editing, refining, sweeping, checking, double-checking, proofing, making sure the damn thing is what it’s supposed to be.
Sure, it’s your book, but it’s written for someone else and, when they’ve bought it and read it, it’s their book, too. That’s why they care.
Deadlines become real: If you say you’re going to have a book out by December 2016, then that’s what the audience expects. Sure, the audience can’t sue you or fire you if you don’t deliver, but they can get miffed if you keep pushing the date of release back.
Being an Indie means many things, but one of the main things is that the thick layer of abstraction between you and the audience is not there. It means you have to be the big, bad corporation. You have to be the one whipping yourself to get things done. You have to exercise self-discipline, take any issues on the chin, handle complaints and emails.
All marketing falls on your shoulders. You don’t get to have the big, bad corp telling you what’s currently trending, nor do you have banner ads, and YouTube videos, or sponsorship, or endorsements, or reviews, or Oprah.
All you have is you. And even if everyone else in the world doesn’t care, you should care.
Left you hanging on the uploading of the manuscript. My apologies. Had to get foreign character printing fixed on Epson printers. Long story, don’t ask.
This is where your hard work shaping the cover will pay off. You’ve made the front and the back cover, in the correct dimensions, so all that’s left to do is upload those two images.
Here, you’ll find Lulu’s cover creator. It’s fairly intuitive, although a tad clunky. Hey, it does the job. You’ll see that there are a few features, like Background and Themes. Ignore them if you have your title and author in the cover image. They’re good if you haven’t included these, and are just uploading a background image in the cover.
But you have, right? Cool. So, on the right pane, there’s the “Add Images” button in orange? Click it. Find your pictures and upload.
If your network connection is anything like mine, go and have a coffee while you wait. The maximum file size is 10MB, so if you’ve trimmed your pics to the right size, they’ll be good to go. Once they’ve uploaded, click Done and they’ll appear on the sidebar. This is a picture of a rather cool bird in the Melbourne Zoo.
And this is where the prefill gets ugly. If you’ve put your title as part of the image, click on the text box with your title and author and delete the text in the fields.
I don’t think you can delete the fields entirely, unless you go to Themes and pick ‘image only’, but I don’t bother. Clearing the text suffices.
Notice, too, that the barcode of the ISBN is already overlaid (The one in the picture is not a real ISBN). That’s where it’s going to live, so if your back cover ain’t right, fix it and re-upload.
Tidy up and Blurb it up!
Clearing the text in the front page text boxes is fine, but you’ll still have those camera images hanging around. Don’t worry about them. They are there if you’ve picked a theme that has multiple picture areas. Anyway, they won’t show up in the final cut. If they really bug you, click on the Theme tab and choose a front page theme with no picture inserts.
On the back cover (on the left), you’ve got a ready made text box. Use this for your blurb if you haven’t included it in the image, otherwise leave the field blank.
Click on the ‘Preview’ button on the bottom right, and you’ll be taken to the preview screen.
Not bad, not bad. The little dashed lines are the ‘trim‘ lines, so anything outside of them will be lost. Remember that. Note that this still isn’t the finished product. If you’re happy with the overall job, hit “Make Print-Ready Cover”. This will transfer all of the information into one big PDF, and you’ll get to review that in the next step.
Which reminds me: If you’re not satisfied with the manuscript or the cover at any stage, even AFTER you’ve published, you can go back and change it. Just know that Lulu insists that you check your book carefully to make any necessary changes BEFORE you publish.
It’s not so bad when you look at it like that. Enough beating around the bush.
Upload Your Manuscript
If you haven’t made a project, that’s OK, do that now. Log into Lulu and click ‘New Paperback’ from your author page.
Put in your title – be very careful about the spelling – your name and hit Save & Continue. If you want to set it up for private viewing first, get it all sorted and then push it out, hit the Make Available only to Me. Clicking this option will skip the ISBN bit. If you decide to go public, you can add it in later.
If you click on Sell on Lulu, Amazon & Barnes and Noble, you’ll get to the ISBN page.
It’s pretty straightforward. If you’ve got your own, use your own (But you cannot re-use an eBook ISBN, or a different format), or get a free one from Lulu, or don’t bother at all.
Once you’ve sorted that, copy down your ISBN and put it into your manuscript on the copyright page. Then export to PDF. On the next page, you’ll upload:
Hit Browse… choose your PDF or Doc. I prefer PDF, because it’s pretty much WYSIWYG. Don’t forget to click the ‘Upload’ button, or it won’t upload. You can upload as many parts of the book as you need, and these will appear in the bottom panel. If you do revisions, you’ll need to delete the old revision from here and replace it with the new revision.
Anyhow, once that’s done, click next: Lulu will convert your documents into a print ready PDF which you can view on the next screen
Download the converted PDF, check it over, make sure the conversion process hasn’t altered anything drastically. You might find that an adjustment of margins
Then it’s time for your cover. And my lunch break is well and truly over, so I’ll have to put that in the next post.
If you have a table of contents, one of requirements is that the numbers of the chapters must match perfectly. However, there isn’t much point having a table of contents with page numbers if you don’t have page numbers.
Introducing: Page Numbers
This has got to be the fiddliest part of the whole exercise. Why? Because it involves headers and magical fields. There may be many ways to skin a cat, but this is how I do it. If you’ve got a better / easier / alternate way, feel free to let me know. Anything that makes life easier, right?
I put my page numbers in the header, top-left for left-hand pages and top-right for right-hand pages. You can put your page numbers at the bottom, in the footer, with pretty much the same process.
First, show the view as ‘Print Layout’. This will give you a clear idea of what is a left page, and what is a right. You should see, for example, that your first page, your Title page, is a right hand page.
Select “Insert -> Header -> Default”
This will put a magical header at the top of every ‘default’ page. Because the Title page is a ‘First Page’, it doesn’t get this, which is a good thing because your Title Page must only have the title, the subtitle and author (no page numbers).
Numbering should start from your Copyright and ISBN page, and be consistent all the way through.
Get on with it…
Alright! Sheesh, I’m laying down the what and why and stuff. OK, so when you add your header, go to the page settings in ‘Format -> Page…’:
In the dialog. You’ll note that you can also adjust your headers and footer from here. You can also uncheck ‘same header left and right’.
Why? Because you won’t be having the same header left and right, that’s why.
Hit OK, close the dialog and, at the top of every page, you’ll have a grey rectangle. This is your header. If there’s a big, gangly space underneath, you can adjust the header size and spacing from the page formatting dialog. At this point, if you want ONLY your page number, then ignore the next bit about tables and skip down to the next bit.
Click inside the header, and insert a table 3 columns x 1 row. You may need to format the table to remove borders. Right click -> Table Properties -> Border – and set to blank border.
Now, click in the middle cell, and go to the menu “Insert -> Field -> Other”, or hit Ctrl + F2, and select the Chapter Name from the list. This will insert the current chapter for each page. Then click ‘centre align’ to make the chapter label centred. Do this for the right header as well.
Page Numbers, finally
Now click on the left header’s left cell (or just the left header if you aren’t using a table) and make sure it’s left aligned.
Go to “Insert” -> Field and choose the “Page Number” from here.
Boom. All left pages are now numbered!
On the right header, click the right-most cell, and right align it. Insert the page number there and, boom! all right pages are numbered!
It’s as easy as that. Now, because you’ve introduced a header, this can push out the contents of your pages, so the Table of Contents you created previously will no longer match. Right click on it and press ‘Update’ to realign the TOC with the pages.
If you want, you can stick your page numbers up the top, and your chapter title down the bottom, or both at the bottom. (Almost) Anything goes. Just be sure to align left page numbers to the left, and right page numbers to the right.
At this point, check that your Title page has no page numbering, that your TOC is correctly picking up the chapters and their respective pages. If it’s all good, you’re nearly there!