Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Publishing Author

Our computer crashed about a month ago, just as I was about to launch three books on  While waiting for my husband to order all the components necessary to build our new computer I did a lot of proofreading and editing so that the files would be ready when the new computer was finally up and running.

The new computer had some issues- the power supply wasn't big enough, the new mother board was defective. My frustration mounted as my projects were delayed, then delayed again.

Finally, the day arrived that the new computer was built, and functional!  But, alas, I was hit by a particularly nasty virulent virus that put me out of commission for nearly two weeks.

When I was finally feeling well enough, I jumped back into CreateSpace and worked on not three, but now five books, since during the computer downtime I had prepared another novel and a second story collection.  I was highly motivated and accomplished quite a lot.  I got all five books ready and ordered the proof copies.  They looked good in the online proof review phase, but as they suggest, it's always best to have a hard copy in hand to review before placing your books out there in the marketplace.

The proof copies arrived Thursday evening.  I can't describe how thrilling and amazing it is to actually hold a book you have written, designed and created in your hand.  The joy was five-fold.

However, because a self-publishing author does EVERYTHING from write the book to proofreading it, editing it, designing the interior layout, designing the cover, writing the back cover copy text, the about author page, the online description of the work, and about author suddenly seems like a monumental mountain to climb. I had five books, novels and stories I have read again and again...and now must read one more time, very closely, because I really can't stand it when books have errors in them. I have always read books with a pen in hand making corrections. It drives me crazy to find mistakes, misspelled words, grammar errors, misplaced commas...I am OCD like that, which is what prevented me from getting started in self-publishing in the first place. I was never completely satisfied with anything I wrote.

Anyway- today I have begun tackling the books, one book at a time, one page at a time, scrutinizing the cover, the back cover, the interior pages, the stories page by page- giving it all one last final thorough going over. I am finding mistakes and not liking it, but am happy that I have restrained my impulsive nature and am taking the time to tediously review each page before putting the books up on for sale.  It's just very slow and exacting work.  I am truly appreciative of professional proofreaders and editors (although lately I find a lot of mistakes in mass market books that should have been caught, so I guess no one is perfect and I shouldn't be so OCD about stuff since the professionals are letting things like that slip past their critical, discerning eyes...why aren't the authors catching these mistakes if they're getting proof copies? ) Okay, jumping down off my soapbox...

My goal is to have all five books available by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, I am awaiting the final cover design from my graphic artist for the first in a series of novels featuring the Amberton Paranormal Investigative Society, or Ghost Chasers. I enjoyed meeting Ben Tozloski at Barnes & Noble in Hadley, discussing what I wanted on the cover, then walking through the store looking at book covers, picking elements of design I liked and what I didn't like. I sent him a bunch of pictures I had saved on the computer of Second Empire mansions, but I didn't have a picture of the house in Northampton, MA that was the inspiration for the house in the first novel. I had loved that house since I was a little girl. I was always excited when we drove past it. There is a second house in Hatfield, MA that I also love, however, it was the house in Northampton that had inspired me. Because I was sick, I did a Google Earth search, found the address of the house and forwarded the info to Ben who then went, found the house and got a picture of it. He's been working on that for several weeks now, perfecting it with my input. I can hardly wait to see the finished project! I loved the prototype he sent. I love that house!! Also, it makes me happy that my work is all being kept at the local level- everything western MA- author, graphic artist and house that inspired the story!

Thunder in the distance has reminded me that I am supposed to be working my way through the stories in Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I. This was one of the original three books I had ready before the computer crashed. I changed the cover by adding the red color instead of having it all in black and white, then technology failed me, but that was a good thing, since it forced me to slow down and be more careful about my work, made me realize that I wear every hat in the world of self-publishing so I'd better present the best possible product in the end- so bear with me as I tweak and tinker. I want to give my readers the best possible adventure when they open the cover of one of my books.

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