I have been working over the last week to finalize my formatting for the paperback version of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. Once I had the Kindle version squared away and uploaded, I needed to reformat the whole book for print.
I can see now why some can be overwhelmed by the self-publishing experience. I am lucky because I know how to do most of the work needed to get your book ready for Kindle and for print.
COVER DESIGN. This is a big one. For my 'day job' I use the Adobe Creative Suite. I am not a graphic designer nor expert user of Illustrator or Photoshop, but I can get by with the basics. It might take me 3 or 4 times as long to figure things out, but with some Googling, I usually can find the answers I am looking for if I run into a problem.
Designing a cover for the Kindle version is 'easier' because you only have to produce that front part of the cover. I am kind of a beast about ensuring my covers look professional and not homemade. Nothing is worse than a cover that screams 'self-pubbed' when you see it mixed in with industry-quality covers.
I spent DAYS (yes, literally days) going through different ideas for photographs on several royalty-free image sites. Ultimately, I found a retouched original photo with a graphic quality at Shutterstock.com that fit what I was looking for. Then, I reviewed different best selling books in my genre (women's fiction) to get the right 'feel.'
Then, once I had the Kindle version, eventually I knew I'd have to craft a paperback version, which involves a totally different process for getting the right dimensions on front, back and spine. Somehow, I figured it out. Most people probably would pay someone any amount of money to do this for them. But that can be pricey, so I was glad that I had enough skills to do this myself.
FORMATTING. Kindle formatting is pretty straightforward. If you know how to work with Word at a more advanced level, the formatting is simple. Since I'd formatted a Kindle book in the past (BLOOD MOON), I had a document already formatted correctly that I could re-use with my new book.
Formatting for print is a different process. Thank goodness CreateSpace gives you templates to download for the size book you are going to produce. However, you do need to understand the more advanced formatting stuff in Word to correct any problems with cutting and pasting into the template. And, if you don't like the font styles they set it up with, you need to hunt around for just the right font combos (if fonts are your jam) and know how to change styles.
REVIEW PROCESS. This is the part I am working through right now. Even after reviewing the file for my Kindle book multiple times and reading through it while editing, I noticed multiple missed issues when I was reviewing the print version. How did I not see those problems the first time? Ugh.
I am now in my 3rd version of the print file of my book. Every time I think this will be the last mistake I find, I find more. To most, they may be minor. For example, I found one sentence in 11 point font instead of 12 point font. To many, this would not be an issue and they would just roll ahead. But to me, it stuck out like a sore thumb and gave an air of amateurishness (we writers can be sticklers sometimes for this stuff). I also found a double period at the end of a sentence and underlined words that should've just been italicized.
So, yeah, in order to elevate your book above the rest of the self-published stuff out there, these little things are important.
I am sure once the book is out there for sale, I will have missed something. No one can be perfect. I also don't have a copy editor on staff nor the money to hire one, so I am relying on myself, spellcheck and my technical writing skills to ensure the problems are minor. I know many out there would be screaming at me for NOT hiring someone to review my book for mistakes. Maybe someday, if my books actually make some money (LOL), I will do that.
I am on the verge of finalizing the print version and will be ordering a proof copy soon. With a release date of September 22nd, I'm on track to meet my self-imposed deadlines. Looking forward to seeing my book in print!