The publishing nitty gritty: all the hoops to self-publish or publish

OK, folks. A lot of people have been asking me for advice in recent years about either how to publish or how to self-publish. In the past year alone I’ve had four conference calls and half a dozen “coffee/tea” dates with people asking the same questions again and again, and I find myself telling the same things over and over again.

I figured I should make a post or two about the subject.

If you’ve asked me for advice about publishing or self-publishing, read this first, so you know what the hell I’m talking about when we actually talk, and we can skip to the things you actually have to ask ME about, and not the things you could have probably just Googled. I know, I know, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, and you want to hear from someone you trust. I’ll try to keep that trust by being smart and coherent here, and not an idiot. One caveat: the world of ebooks and publishing changes very fast and so something that is true and correct here today may be obsolete by Christmas 2012.

The first thing we should get out of the way is covering what steps a publisher takes to go from raw manuscript to finished salable product and how many people it takes to do so, whether the product is an ebook or a printed book.

A lot of people think, oh, it’s all computers now, so the author hands in a Word doc and bam they put some covers on it and it’s a book. Well, that might be true of some of the absolute worst examples of clueless or crap-grinding publishers, but that’s not what any professional publisher does.

(Related to this, my six-part posts on the basics of typesetting and book design. Read ’em here.)

PAPERBACK PRODUCTION PROCESS
Traditional Print Publishing: minimum steps
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor reads it and gives feedback to the author
3. Author rewrites it, makes corrections, sends it back
4. Manuscript is copyedited.
5. Author makes corrections based on copyeditor queries.
6. Manuscript is typeset by designer
7. Typeset proofs are then proofread by both author and a proofreader.
8. Corrections are made to the typeset proofs.
9. Proofed design is manufactured into a book.

You’ll note that the above process requires a minimum of five people: the author, the editor, the copyeditor, the proofreader, and the designer. In reality it may be as few as three or as many as seven depending on time, budget, and expertise. For example, in small press publishing, the editor often functions as editor, copyeditor, and proofreader, which results in errors slipping through that wouldn’t be as likely to if three separate people each brought fresh eyes to the project each time.

In self-publishing, the author might do all five roles. However, you can usually tell. If you want a professional product, pay professionals to do those jobs of editing, copyediting, proofreading, and design.

An abbreviated version of the above might look like this:
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor copyedits it and gives feedback at the same time
3. Author rewrites it, makes corrections, sends it back
4. Corrected, revised manuscript is typeset by desiger
5. Proofs are read by author and third party and corrections made
6. Corrections are made to the typeset proofs.
7. Proofed design is manufactured into a book.
This version takes only four, not five, people.

A REALLY abbreviated version looks like this (not recommended):
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor copyedits it and gives feedback at the same time
3. Author rewrites it, makes corrections, sends it back
4. Corrected, revised manuscript is typeset AND PROOFED/CORRECTED by designer (author does not get to approve final changes)
5. Proofed design is manufactured into a book.
This version takes only three people.

ANOTHER really abbreviated version looks like this (recommended only for material that doesn’t need much work to begin with):
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor copyedits it, proofs it, makes changes directly in manuscript
3. Designer typesets the manuscript into page proofs
4. Author sees changes/corrections for first time in page proofs & approves/disapproves of each one
5. Author changes are incorporated
6. Proofed design is manufactured into a book.
This version takes only three people.

The cover also needs to be designed, by the way, so add an artist or art director to the list, unless the person who designs the interior handles the cover, too.

Many freelance production houses, by the way, handle ALL those functions AND interface with the actual printer for you, too, much of the time. Back when Circlet Press could afford to do so, we used to use Windhaven Productions (Nancy Hanger http://www.windhaven.com) and Swordsmith Productions (Leigh Grossman http://www.swordsmith.com/services.html) as one-stop shopping for all copyediting, proofing, design, and production support. A typical price back in the 1990s for such services for a 200 page paperback book was about $1000. I don’t know what the going rates are now, but they can be based on a per page rate or per book. Both Nancy and Leigh are still in the biz and I recommend you contact them if you have the budget to hire out.

But that was “traditional” paperback publishing we were talking about.

Now let’s compare the ebook production process:

EBOOK EDITORIAL AND PRODUCTION PROCESS
Digital-only production flow from raw manuscript to ebook
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor reads it and gives feedback to the author
3. Author rewrites it, makes corrections, sends it back
4. Manuscript is copyedited.
5. Author makes corrections based on copyeditor queries.
6. Manuscript is proofread one more time after author corrections are input.
7. Corrected, revised manuscript is output into all viable ebook formats.

Why look, that’s already two steps shorter than the full nine steps to traditional paperback. But it still takes five people: author, editor, copyeditor, proofreader, and the person converting the manuscript to ebook formats.

And if we cut corners and consolidate some jobs, it can be a lot less:
1. Raw manuscript
2. Editor copyedits it, proofs it, makes changes directly in manuscript
3. Author approves/disapproves changes
4. Revised manuscript is output into all viable ebook formats.

This version takes only three people, and is how a lot of digital publishers do it. But it’s really really recommended that at least one pure proofreading pass by a qualified third party be done. This “quick and dirty” way is really cutting corners and it will show.

Now, where it gets complicated is, what happens when you want to make an ebook AND a printed book of the same material?

There are a million technical blog posts on this out there, but here’s the simple version. You have to figure out what workflow works best for you, your budget, and your goals.

Ebooks are much easier to make from the manuscript stage (i.e. when it’s still a Microsoft Word document) than from the typeset/designed stage (when the book takes shape in a production program like Quark Xpress or Adobe Indesign). The problem is that effective proofreading nearly always has to take place in the typeset version. So you have two choices:

1. Start with completely edited and corrected manuscript
2. Typeset it, including formatting italics, etc
3. Proof it, fix typos etc, and input the corrections into the typeset version
4. Output PDF for both digital sale & printing from this corrected version
5. Extract text from the typeset version to convert to ebook formats, redo italics if needed
6. Convert to ebooks

OR

1. Start with completely edited and corrected manuscript
2. Typeset it, including formatting italics, etc
3. Proof it, fix typos etc, and input the corrections into the typeset version
4. Output PDF for both digital sale & printing from this corrected version
5. Go back and duplicate all the corrections from the typeset into the manuscript document
6. Convert the corrected manuscript document to ebooks

In one version you have to do the corrections twice, in the other you have to wrestle to get a clean corrected manuscript out of InDesign or Quark that is suitable for conversion.

RIGHT NOW these two things are about equal amounts of pain in the ass. Until Quark or InDesign makes their autoconversion tools a LOT better, the epub they output isn’t of salable quality. (I’m currently using Quark 9.2 and InDesign CS6, which are the latest as of this writing.)

By the way: epub isn’t the only format you need. You must make mobi/prc also, for the Kindle. There’s an easy script that Amazon provides that converts epub to mobi (it’s called “kindlegen” and you can get it free on Amazon). In the past four years of selling ebooks, I can tell you that 99% of all ebooks sold by Circlet Press were epub, mobi, or PDF. The other 1% were .pdb and LIT formats and at least half of our sales in those formats were purchased mistakenly by people who wanted other formats.

(in my humble opinion…) AT THIS TIME THE ONLY THREE FORMATS YOU NEED ARE PDF, EPUB, and MOBI. (Note: .mobi, .prc, and .amz are all identical files, just with different suffixes.) All the other formats: lit, lrf, pdb, etc… are dead. I’m talking 99.99% Circlet’s ebook sales have been in epub, PDF, and mobi/prc/amz. When you combine all the other formats together they make up about .001 of our sales.

This is nitty gritty stuff, but if you’re going to self-publish or publish the work of others, there’s no magic wand to make it fly from the author’s head into the reader’s. These are the steps you have to go through to make a product the reader can purchase.

You don’t have to do all the steps yourself, in fact it’s preferable if you don’t. But someone has to do them and you likely have to manage the process. A recent study of ebook sales showed that books that had received editing and design help (even if it was provided free by a friend or family member) sold better than those where the author tried to do everything. Why? We don’t know: that’s just what the data shows. Presumably some number of readers recognized better quality and felt better about recommending the books to others, rated them higher, and/or purchased other books by the same authors once a quality expectation was set.

If you want to keep up on news like the aforementioned study, get on the Digital Book World daily email list. While you’re at it, you should be subscribing to the free e-newsletter Publishers Lunch. Ebooknewser is another good source online for keeping up with changes in the ebook landscape. No, I’m not giving you links to these things. Just Google them and you will find them. You Googling for them will no doubt help you learn the landscape better than me spoon-feeding you the links.

The final part of the nitty gritty we haven’t talked about, of course, is how to get the salable product ON SALE somewhere.

Self-publishers have a bunch of easy DIY options:
1. Amazon Kindle Store via KDP
2. Barnes & Noble Nookstore via “Pubit”
3. Apple iBookstore via iTunesConnect
4. Smashwords (who distribute to Apple, Kobo, Sony, & more)

Those are the “big four.” Fictionwise used to be up there but after they got bought by Barnes & Noble we’ve seen our sales there almost disappear. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Smashwords is good because they wholesale to a bunch of other places like Kobo, whose direct upload instructions/standards are so insanely difficult to meet it’s not worth the bother. Smashwords is bad because their own file prep standards are pretty ridiculous and I don’t like the quality of the ebooks they create. (Smashwords has you–or your ebook conversion professional–prep a Word doc in some very specific ways and upload to them and they spit it out again in various ebook formats for sale on their site).

The big three above all have similar self-publishing set ups. You open an account as a publisher, enter and verify various bank account info and the like (this can take a day or a week depending), and then for each book you log in to your account and create a new entry for each one, uploading the ebook files and the cover design and filling in all the metadata necessary including the description of the book, price, etc. Each one has a completely different interface, which is a pain to learn, but it’s not rocket science. You basically fill out a big online form for each. I recommend writing up all your metadata on a book in a single document (what would be called a ‘tipsheet” in traditional publishing) that includes all the following:

Title and subtitle of book:
Principal author name:
Other contributor names (i.e. if multiple authors or contributors):
Ebook price:
Ebook ISBN:
Print price:
Print ISBN:
Word count:
Number of pages:
Principal genre:
Secondary genre:
Other tags/categories/genres:
Short, targeted description of the book (100 words or less):
Longer, more detailed description of the books (300 words minimum or MORE):

Optional info for the tipsheet depending on the book:
Author bio:
Author hometown:
Table of Contents:
Related titles: (i.e. other books in same series or by same author)
Comparable titles: (i.e. books that would appeal to the same reader as this one)

You’re going to need to compile that information for your book and use it over and over again, as you list it for sale in places and as you send it out for review to bloggers and review sites. Publicity is a whole different ball of wax I’ll tackle another day. For now, the checklist above is all the hoops you need to go through from raw manuscript to having the ebook on sale to the public.

ctan
Writer, editor, baseball fan, bisexual, eastern healing therapist, etc...

11 Comments

  1. Thanks for this! I am new to erotica and sex blogging and now that I have a decent following and am writing away…I am looking for a way to make some money doing something I love. This helped a lot. Knowing you are ethical, and an expert really helped me to trust your advice. I have an e publisher who wants to help me. Can you tell me the pros and cons of going with an e publisher (and downloading e-prints at a charge from my blogsite) as opposed to letting amazon do it? Can I have a e-print book on my site (to be downloaded at a charge) and on amazon? Or is that a conflict of interest?

    Thanks for your help!

    Lilly Rose

    1. The main advantage of going with a publisher is that they do a ton of the work you’d have to do yourself. If they’re a good ebook publisher they’ll already have:
      1) a customer base already built up for the type of material they specialize in
      2) accounts set up with Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc… all the many places that ebooks are sold & they will do all the uploading work to all the various sites
      3) an editorial process that improves the book through editing, copyediting, and proofreading
      4) a production process that creates good-looking, eye-catching cover designs and clean, useful interiors in various ebook formats
      5) a publicity person who will circulate the book to online reviewers, bloggers, etc. and advise you about online marketing, perhaps taking out ads to support the book or getting the book in ebook promotions on sites, submitting the book to awards, etc.
      6) administrative support to handle things like copyright registration, ISBN, royalty calculations, etc.

      If you self-publish, you have to do all that yourself. For some authors, it’s worth it to do it themselves to make 70% on every Amazon sale, instead of only a portion of those proceeds. For others, it’s totally worth it to let a publisher handle all that so that the author can concentrate on writing books and their own online promotion.

      Generally speaking, whether I sell a book to a publisher or do it myself partly depends on how well I think the publisher will do all those things as well as what percentage they’re offering.

      Three things to watch out for in the contract: 1) option clause — this is a clause that locks you into selling your next book to the same publisher. I often have to change it to say things like “my next book in this series” or “my next book of heterosexual BDSM erotica” since it makes no sense if my next book is actually a baseball nonfiction book, for example, for an erotica publisher to hold the option on it. I’ve also often had publishers just delete the clause.
      2) Royalty rate. Many contracts seem to have settled around 25% of the NET income from the book. I’ve seen it as high as 50%, and some erotica and romance places offer 35% on the net. It’s important to realize that the net is variable, unlike old style print contracts which often gave the royalty percentage based on the cover price of the book, (usually 8-12% of the cover price).
      3) Length of the contract. Some ebook publishers sign for the length of the copyright with out-clauses after 7, 5, or 3 years, while others are just for 2, 3, or 5 years, etc. Whatever you do, don’t sign away your rights forever. Make sure it’s clear when you get your rights back (in the print world it would be when the printed book went “out of print” but in the book world there is no such thing) or what you have to do to get it back (i.e. after 3 years you have to write a letter reverting the rights, if no letter ever comes, the publisher can keep selling it for another year, etc.)

      As for your question about selling something yourself on your site AND selling it to a publisher, you can’t do that unless you have specific permission from the publisher. But likely you won’t get that permission. That’d be like you pirating your own book. Once you sell the rights to the book to the publisher, they have bought the rights to control all the sales and income relating to that book. If you sell some directly yourself, you technically only are entitled to your royalty share of the sale and you’d have to give the publisher the rest!

      A better solution if you’ve sold the rights to a publisher is sign up to be an Amazon affiliate, and have links on your site to where people can buy it off Amazon. Each person who buys through your link, Amazon will give you a small kickback, plus the sale counts toward your royalties at the publisher. For those who don’t want to support Amazon’s near-monopoly, you can set up these same kind of affiliate links with Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore, and Powell’s Books, too. Sometimes the publishers themselves may even have an affiliate program. (I’m trying to set one up for Circlet Press authors now, if I can get the website to work!)

      Hope that gives you something to get started with! The ultimate answer is probably that some projects you’ll sell to publishers while others you’ll end up self-publishing.

  2. Beta-readers are huge anymore in taking a work from a rough draft to a polished manuscript, and for self-publishers without a huge budget, they’re starting to replace editors. I have two reliable beta-readers, and I can honestly say, I think we all put a fair amount of effort into maintaining those relationships. We commiserate, we see the improvements in each other’s works, we know the other person’s favorite typos (I am personally fond of pirate talk). It’s my understanding though that many authors, regardless of how they’ve been published, use beta-readers.

    1. I definitely lean on my beta-readers. The more perfect a book is before I turn in the first draft to my editor at a publishing house, the more likely a decent book will appear. Publishing has a lot of moving parts. Maybe the copyeditor they hire for your book has the flu the week she’s supposed to be working on it and she misses a lot of stuff. Maybe the editor runs out of time to do as thorough a job on critique as she otherwise might. Etc. Etc. I’ve also had houses take manuscripts of mine that I expected them to want rewrites on just publishing them nearly as-is after a light proofread. Giving my beta-readers some time with the manuscript really really improves it before the publisher ever gets to see it.

      And of course if I’m self-publishing, they’re essential! great point!

  3. Amy,

    Thank you for this comprehensive and valuable analysis of the self-publishing industry.

    Here is my own experience with my first book, first drafted in early 2011 as a suggested addition to WRITE AROUND PORTLAND WRITERS RESOURCE GUIDE

    SECTION V. SELF-PUBLISHING

    1) The Traditional Route.

    A year of traditional submission process revealed two facts: 1st) the publishing industry is over-specialized: i.e., “niched-out (“we only accept stories of fly-fishing in Kamchatka”), which narrows down the selections in the Writers’ Market by 100 to 1; 2nd) and foremost, a half-dozen multinational media chains control & call the shots for all traditional publishers, either directly, or financially, which means you’ll either get identical form letters of rejection from different houses, or a polite disclaimer that “we just can’t afford to publish more than X-number of titles this year.”

    The decision to self-publish isn’t taken lightly. The core disposition of a writer involves a pastoral preference to dissociate from the gritty logisitics of industrial imperative. To anyone trotting out the chestnut about Hemingway wallpapering his house with rejection notices, I’ll point out that he had a larger field from which to receive rejection. I INSIST that the hopeful writer spend 1 year panning out the traditional route, at the end of which s/he’ll have enough rejection notices to wallpaper the desktop of his/her computer.

    If, after that time, your topic is time-sensitive, there’s no point in waiting for those folks to get around to rejecting it. It’s time to move on.

    2) Research.

    Amid my cache of accumulated debris pertaining to the industry, an article from the December 1990 issue of Writer, “Before You Sign That Book Contract,” is the crown jewel. I still remember photocopying it on a dreary early winter day in the old Hollywood library. I’d graduated from the UO with a Journalism M.A. that summer, and after a chimney sweeping job did not pan out, I was ready to take the train back to Montana forever.

    Over the decades, the article stuck to my finger every time I tried to throw it out. Its value was that of a spur, inasmuch as my eventual first book involved no contract. This seems to be an anomaly, even in the self-publishing industry. Levine’s (2008) evaluation of the contractual process of dozens of self-publishing companies was enough to scare me away from 99% of them.

    The distinction is the ISBN. To be a self-publisher, you must own some. I started in February 2010 by buying a block of ten from the R. W. Bowker website for $350. I also bought a European Article Number (EAN) for $75. It’s supposed to tie your ISBNs into an international market. Since it’s seven digits, I can use it as a fake telephone number. This outlay forced me into pursuing my goals.

    Almost all of the self-publishers listed by Levine (2008), from best to worst (I recommend reading from the back, to get a perspective on the worst first) own their ISBNs and license them to you, via contract, thus owning rights to your work. The lone exception, as far as I could ascertain, was Self-Publishing, Inc., of New York.

    Johnson (2009) was invaluable for disclosing key terms of the publishing industry: of design: typeface, margins, gutters; of manufacture: bleed, trim, offset. There is also a fascinating history lesson on pp. 32-34 about the cumbersome process of proofing manuscript galleys, prior to modern word processing. I was actually relieved that I wouldn’t have to put up with this.

    Publishing Basics really paid for itself by posting a chart of the hidden ASCII codes on my keyboard, so that now, by simply depressing the blue Fn key and the Num Lock key simultaneously, a plethora of hitherto arcane symbols such as ©, ¿, £, and æ are now available (you can also probably google this information) to jazz up my manuscripts.

    Experiencing a self-imposed apprenticeship, I took a few courses at the IPRC in the Spring of 2010: two Adobe In-Design CS2 software orientations and an evening with the BindFast machine. These courses are $35-45 each. I recommend a membership with these folks at $45 per annum. The full certificate program seems geared for someone who hasn’t written their manuscript yet. I also tracked down an online article from Absurdist Monthly Review, “Publishing with ISSUU,” which led me to order a PDF conversion program for $20.

    The confidence of knowing that you can always crank your manuscript out by hand provided the foundation to pursue the more esoteric options. The Adobe software starts at $1200, which is excessive for my plans. Just being conversant with the In-design language helped me through the conferences with the Self-Publishing designers, who use this program for text lay-out.

    Finally, I found in my notes an old Ink & Paper Group author marketing questionaire, courtesy of their seminar offered through WRAP in February 2009, which I’d completed, partially in jest, to help clarify personal motivations.

    Settling on Self-Publishing, Inc., I wrote a book proposal to them in June 2010, encompassing 1) how I learned about their company, including favorable comments to an online New York Times article, 2) my knowledge of the industry, which included citing quotes from their own online experts, 3) my own writing career, motivations (thanks to Ink & Paper questionaire), and a one-line synopses of my manuscript, and 4) a couple questions about fulfillment (how are the books made available to the public), which in this case is a print-on-demand program offered on a Self-Publishing website.

    I’d hoped they might reply with a hearty handshake and welcome aboard, but there was no response to my book proposal. However, the proposal represented a commitment upon which I was bound to follow through, so by the end of June 2010 I was finally psyched enough to go to their production website and start pushing buttons.

    3) Production.

    All spring I’d been fussing over a cover design on my Paint program. When I uploaded it to the Self-Publishing designer at the end of June 2010, I was really braced for a huge SNAFU. Ironically, the cover proof they sent back was perfect ($275). It looked like a “real” book cover, with the barcode, ISBN, and price (this I had set at $12.95, not profitable, but reasonable). It was the text lay-out ($275) which blew up in my face.

    You get one sample lay-out of your text, e-mailed back to you in PDF format. I was annoyed that my preferred font, Perpetua, was changed to Garamond, but decided to go with it. Why? Because I had not insisted up front on staying with the Perpetua font, and was worried about upsetting the design process.

    Due to self-imposed time pressures, the production process is rife with such compromises. You get one pre-final of your entire text, e-mailed back to you in PDF format. I went over it with a fine-tooth comb, making 92 changes (which were free in this first round of corrections) To their credit, all but three were due to my own oversight (such as having to italicize certain terms). However, the three changes which were on them were due to my insistence on having several portions of the text encased in Copperplate. For some reason, they had a lot of trouble with this. I paid for one more round of corrections until they got it, if not right, at least as close to right as I was prepared to live with.

    Lessons learned: 1) Insist up front on your chosen font, or get a good reason why they can’t use it. 2) AVOID gimmicky fonts within the manuscript.

    By early August, it was time for them to send me the proof. Once the thrill, of seeing an entire book (if non-laminated at this stage) with your words in it, wore off, I noticed that a couple of chapters had been tweaked to close up orphans (these are single lines, or words, that show up on the last page of a chapter). This was fine, but they forgot to make the corresponding pagination changes in the table of contents.

    I faxed back the correct pagination, pointing out that this had been caused by their last minute changes which I had not approved. However, by this time, production had moved to a different department, which was unable, and unwilling, to walk back to the lay-out section and address my concern. For two weeks there was no change to my tab, which led me to believe that had done the right thing and not billed me for their mistake, and that the printed copies were about to arrive in time for my planned release in late August.

    Out of the blue, another $222 shows up on my tab in late August, with a nasty-gram informing me that the job wouldn’t start until I paid my tab. Pointing out that the delay in billing was their fault, not mine, I paid for another proof, incorporating the table of content corrections which also weren’t my fault, and another FedEx overnight (which was excessive, since they had blown my deadline).

    Frankly, if my cover hadn’t turned out as well as it did, I would have ditched the project. Lessons learned: 1) If the quality of the final product is worth it, you stick with them. 2) If time is no longer a concern, insist they ship the proof by good old USPS.

    The total cost to print 100 copies, including neither the proof charges cited above, nor freight, was $815. As a slight consolation, I had a print overrun and received 104 copies, for an outlay of roughly $1800 (not including the ISBNs bought at the outset). In the midst of carrying out my marketing plan, which consisted of getting a mailbox, developing a cover letter and order form, and mailing three dozen “review” copies to various brick-and-mortar bookstores throughout the nation, I ordered Patricia Fry’s The Right Way to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Book. I was amused that I had anticipated her instructions on writing a book proposal. I was irritated by her terminology on the need to develop a “platform.” Too many politicians are already writing books nowadays. She also provided numerous resources on obtaining copyright through the Library of Congress and tapping the library market (though one of the largest library distributors, Quality Books, only handles non-fiction titles).

    As of February 2011, I’ve had two known sales through family and friend. I haven’t checked how my title is doing on the Self-Publishing website. They recommend designing your own website, from which you can sell the books you’ve already had printed, and will help you with this for a nominal fee. There are only two questions upon which I really need to follow up:

    1) is a title ordered from the Self-Publishing print-on-demand website super-imposed with their own logo?
    2) does the Library of Congress ever send any sort of confirmation back to you?

    In summary, it was a positive experience, and I’m working up the nerve to walk my next manuscript through the process starting in April 2011.

    Sources.

    R. B. Johnson, Jr., Publishing Basics, 4th Ed. (NY: Self Publishing, Inc. 2009)

    Mark Levine, The Fine Print of Self Publishing, 3rd Ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Hillcrest, 2008)

    Patricia Fry, The Right Way to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Book, Rev. Ed. (Ojai, CA: Matilija Press, 2007)

    G. Howard, “Before You Sign That Book Contract,” Writer, December 1990

    M.E. Purfield, “Publishing with Issuu,” Absurdist Monthly Review #9 (website)

    PDF conversion site at http//createpdf.neevia.com

    Adobe, “In Design CS2,” courtesy Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC)

    “Specifications,” Bind-Fast 5, courtesy IPRC

    J. Lyon, “Type Setting in Microsoft Word,” at Self-Publishing site

    Mike Petticord is a Write Around Portland almunus.

  4. Cecilia,

    Thank you for the indorsement!

    In retrospective, I now realize that the changes that threw off my TOC were made at the compositor’s terminal at the printer in TN, and not by the designer in NY. Which was why NY was unable to address my issue.

    Talk about pitfalls! There is a disconnect between the design phase & the printing which self-publishing writers need be aware.

    Had I known at the time, I would have badgered the compositor in TN, not that I had any reason to be sanguine about the results.

    On a general topic, the USPS has provided de facto 2-day service throughout the U.S. for as long as I can remember. So I didn’t mean to convey an impression of disparagement in my article.

    Thank you,
    Mike Petticord

  5. Thanks for the helpful post; it’s interesting to see your publishing process.

    “Smashwords is bad because their own file prep standards are pretty ridiculous ”

    You may know this already, but Smashwords has been promising that, by the end of the year, they’ll allow all of their authors and publishers to upload pre-formatted files. (Apparently, they already have this arrangement with some of their bigger publishers.)

    1. Hi Dusk! Yeah, Smashwords has been promising to let us upload out own epubs for about two years, actually, and they still haven’t made it possible. That annoys me greatly since the pubs we create are fully functional and have nice features. What the SW meatgrinder creates is minimally functionally and sometimes it even creates mistakes. Sigh. Such a pain. But we sell enough books through them that I keep it up.

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