Friday, 22 May 2015

Self publishing? The questions you need to ask yourself.

Hello, it's  been a while. I have been busy getting to grips with Srivener to format Under the Coconut Tree for publication. With the help of Ed Ditto's book and Scrivener I'm pretty much there! I have even set up a Createspace account. Although I have self pubbed before (it was in 2011) things have changed and this time round I seem to be stressing over every minor detail. Perhaps I did last time as well, but conveniently blanked it from my mind.

Anyway I have deen debating a couple of things recently (all to do with paperbacks) and thought I would share this with you. So the first question was:

Do I want a printed book or not? - Yes. Why? Well because I think having a printed book (even if you don't sell anything) backs up your creditability. You are not just a e-book author. I also want a bit of vanity publishing here. Under the Coconut Tree is the book I am most proud of. I want a physical copy of it and why not? Say it like it is.  I also want to test the market with sales for this book. If I sell quite a few paperbacks and I cover the cost of the book cover designer (we'll get on to that in a mo) then I will consider having future books as paperbacks. If I don't sell any, I may not consider doing any paperbacks again.

Once that was decided I though- ooooh do I need my own ISBN or to use Createspace's free ISBN? I did some research and basically you need an ISBN for all formats or publishers. So You can buy a batch of ten from Neilsen and attach them to you kindle book, epub book, createspace book. The ISBN helps people find books and specifies the format at publisher. You don't need one for an  e-book (although ibook requires one if you want to sell it through this format) but you do for print. I chose not to buy any because I think e-book readers don't use them to search for books. they use the title or the author name.

I also decided to use Create Space's ISBN which is free.  If you have a Createspace ISBN bookstores may be reluctant to stock a book published in this way and the ISBN tells them that. But as I implied above my main aim is not to sell mountains of paperbacks (although this would be a nice bonus) so the Createspace ISBN was perfect for me.

What font, font size and size of book? That was the next series of questions. Well I like a decent font, my last published book had an 11pt font, which I asked the publisher to change to 12. They wouldn't. So this time round I wanted a size 12 font. I think it makes for a nicer reading experience. And what font? GT is New Times Roman (shouldn't have been apparently a writer buddy told me this is for newspapers!) Bittersweet is Bembo or something like that. Everyone said try Minion Pro but my computer doesn't have this. Book Antiqua made the spacing go funny and so I settled with good old fashioned Garamond. It has kept the spacing how I want it and so it was a win win situation. I can see how people can lose sleep over fonts and sizes and I was panicked for a few days, but once I made my decision I was happy.  So then there was the size of book. Most people go 6x9. I had this for GT and wasn't too impressed. For the lightheartedness of Under the Coconut Tree I wanted something smaller. My ideal is 5X8. Now this causes problems.

Primarily, the 5x8 is a smaller book, therefore more pages, therefore increased printing costs and apparently shipping costs and do you really want a lighthearted detective book at 375 pages? I spent many days thinking about this but ultimately I have decided to give it a go. To me a 5x8 book has a nicer feel than a 6x9 book. The handy price reckoner on Createspace tells you this is double in cost than printing a 6x9 book. However, I am sticking to my guns. This is my book, my way. You should probably do the same - unless you are super business savvy then I have to admit a 6x9 book makes more sense.

then it was open to the front cover. I had a stab myself and honestly I think if you are just e-book publishing you should give it a go. I personally don't think that front covers on e-book make a huge difference. So my ebook cover was basic but did the job, but I couldn't get away with it on a paperback. I decided to employ a company to do it. The downside is they cant look at it till the end of June - but I have put my impatience to one side and have decided this is the best way for me. This is at an extra cost (I'll provide details once the cover is finalised), but I think for this book, my pride and joy, it's worth it. I did consider publishing the ebook now with a different cover, but a writing buddy, as well as my friends and H (who never came through with my front cover in the end! - that almost ended in divorce) said two covers could confuse the reader.

Finally, I picked cream paper. I used white for GT and that just looks like a textbook. Although some people have commented that they really like it. 

I'll stop here for today, but there are lots of questions out there that I still have to answer. Some I have tackled - like should I use Smashwords or not - I have chosen to use it, but publish separately on Kindle, nook and Kobo.

My journey is far from over and I'll keep you updated on how I t's going. As I wait for my front cover I am working on the next book in the series and slowly setting up accounts on the various publishing platforms as well!