I’ve finished my read-through of Indebted. My grammarian, Gloria, has also checked it for errors and has pronounced it fit to print. I’ve begun the process of publishing it. Here’s what has happened so far (this will probably only be interesting to someone considering publishing a novel):
· I contacted CreateSpace and spoke to my account rep. I have worked with the same account rep. on both Inescapable and Intuition. I purchased the “Total Design Freedom Standard” package for Indebted, which gets me professional interior design formatting, called the “Custom Design Interior,” and the Unique Book Cover. I also purchased the eBook conversion and a LCCN.
· With the Custom Design Interior, CreateSpace converts my document from a docx file to a PDF and makes it look professional. The interior page designers do custom typography, which I feel makes my books look amazing. I want readers to have a quality product when they purchase my novels. I could do it myself for free, but it wouldn’t look as nice.
· CreateSpace has assigned a free ISBN (International Standard Book Number) to Indebted from a bank of them owned by CreateSpace. You are welcome to purchase your own ISBN. I opt to get mine free from CreateSpace, which immediately tells everyone within the industry that I am a self-published author. Here are my thoughts on that: it is what it is. I am a self-published author. I don’t have an agent or a publishing house behind my work. Everything I know I learned from reading books and from other self-published authors, who either wrote about it, or actually reached out to me to try to help me along the way. (Thank you Volatalistic Phil, R.S. Guthrie, Charlotte Abel, Shelly Crane, and Amanda Hocking.)
· The fear in getting a free ISBN for most authors is in the bias associated with self-publishing. There’s a stigma attached to it. You can buy your own ISBN and create your own “publishing house” in an attempt to hide the fact that it is self-pub, but I feel that my writing will speak for me. If my writing is good, I will find an audience regardless of whether my ISBN is associated with CreateSpace or Random House (although, it would be much, much easier with an ISBN associated with Random House). It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” (By the way, he was self-published, too.)
· I also bought the eBook conversion. After the print book is formatted, the PDF will be converted into an eBook (mobi file—eBook format for Amazon/Kindle) that looks almost as good as the print book. (CreateSpace made Intuition look almost exactly like the print version, but they failed to do it for Inescapable. I think it’s because the service was brand new when Inescapable was launched and they were still working out the bugs.) The downside to CreateSpace doing the eBook conversion is that it takes them 3 to 4 weeks to convert the eBook after the print book is published. This upsets people who’ve been waiting for the eBook to come out. I’ve found myself apologizing a lot to readers in those weeks between the book’s launch and the eBook’s launch.
· In general, I have been happy with the interior design services with the first two books, however, there were times during the formatting of Intuition when it would’ve been much easier to speak to them on the phone than through emails. (**Caveat ** This eBook conversion file will only be available on Amazon.com. If I want to put an eBook on Barnes & Noble and iBooks, I have to convert my own file via the “meatgrinder” conversion program on Smashword.com or through other means to make it an ePub format.)
· The Unique Book Cover option is part of the “Total Design Freedom” package. With this package, I answer some standard questions regarding what my book is about and then I’m allowed to tell the designers, in a brief description, what I’d like to see on my cover. I can be specific, but they caution against it because the more specific one is, the longer the design will take. (Don’t worry about the length of time it will take for the cover; be as specific as you want because I guarantee you it will take the interior designers weeks longer to complete the conversion, typically it takes them approx. 2 months. The cover designers will be finished in a couple of weeks. When they have the mock-ups, they will present you with two options, the first will be what you requested and the second will be something they came up with based on their own professional design aesthetic. (This can be a good thing. On Inescapable, I went with the first option, which was my idea of a feather on an “eerie” background in black in white. The designer came up with the background. With Intuition, I thought I wanted two feathers, red and gray, with a storm cloud background. The designer gave me that option, but she also gave me the red feather against the wooded background that reflects a gray feather, which is, of course, Intuition’s cover.) The one thing that I dislike about this is that we generally (and I mean almost always) communicate through email. I request a “consultation” at the beginning of the design process, wherein a designer calls me and we basically go over what I wrote on the questionnaire, but there is no verbal contact after that initial consultation. It seems like there should be. But, I must add that I have been completely satisfied with the result of both covers. (I just want to point out that I have to write the description for the cover of the book. This service does not extend to marketing.)
· I purchased an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number). This is what is holding up my book right now. It takes 3-5 business days to get the number and assign it to Indebted. I believe it’s important to have an LCCN because it’s the unique identifier that libraries use to catalog books.
So that’s it so far. I’m waiting for my LCCN assignment so that I can upload my file to CreateSpace and begin the interior formatting process. In the meantime, I’m reformatting Intuition so that I can put it through the “meatgrinder” on Smashwords.com so that they will put it on Barnes and Noble and iBooks. Yeah, I haven’t finished that, yet. (I know, I suck, but I’m publishing my third novel in less than ten months. My first novel was close to 140K words, the second one was around 168K, and the third is over 140K. I’m also marketing them myself as I attempt to create a brand. I know it’s a bunch of excuses. I’ll get it done ASAP.)