Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Create Space Process

I recently made the decision to self-publish the novels I now call Mint Juleps Mysteries.  They have been through numerous edits and in the end I decided that others edited the life out of the novels. So, I went back as close as I could to the original and reread it. I decided I liked it. That's why the self-publishing concept appeals to me.

Soon the first three novels in the Mint Julep Mysteries (Creme de Cassis and MurderMint Juleps and Murder, and MayansMuscadine and Murder, as well as Wakefield Plantation: History and Cookbook of one Southern family) will be available. I know from experience the writing and the preparation for publishing seems soooo hard, but I know once this is completed, the hard part will be marketing. One step at the time.

I researched different self-publishing opportunities and decided upon Create Space. For about the past week, I have been preparing the books for publication. This has turned out to be more complicated than I imagined, mainly because each time I thought I had it prepared and submitted it, I found another error. But the wonderful thing is that you CAN see it and you CAN correct it--over and over again!

I made a mistake in the beginning that has made it harder than it should be. That lay in the very basic decision on what size the book should be. Create Space recommends 6 x 9 for the most distribution opportunities. I chose a different option. I downloaded a formatted template for the other size and spent a lot of time editing in that format and saving it as a pdf. I should have saved a Word format of every PDF so that I could correct whatever errors.

As I progressed through all the stages I decided that I wanted the Expanded Distribution opportunities that Create Space offers and I had to go back and go with the 6 x 9 size. That meant I had to figure out how to convert what I had already done to that size template. Not easy. You cannot just Select All, Copy and then Paste on the different template. I discovered that you can Copy and Paste small increments and then you paste it and can maintain the integrity of the formatted template. I learned to save each step as a Word document since you can't easily access a pdf format.

All of these steps are really not complicated, merely time consuming. These mechanical details may be helpful:
1. Check to make sure you have not double-spaced after a period or a comma. Use the Find and Replace to check that spacing. Just type a period with two spaces and go through the alphabet to replace with a period and one space. Include quotations.
2. Use the Spell and Grammar check. Do not automatically take the suggestion because the suggestions are not always correct. Sometimes the rewording they suggest is quite effective, however, making the sentence active rather than passive and therefore makes the writing more powerful.
3. Make sure you address headers and footers, including adding page numbers.
4. Double check the file borders, spacing, etc. Check with the formatted template to find the paragraph formatting, then if you lose it at any time, you can copy the section that got messed up and reformat it.
5. Use Find to make sure you use the same format for writing all Chapter headings and spacings. Use Page Break at the end of previous chapter to keep chapters separated.
6. Keep notes on spelling names and places. Use Find and Replace to make sure all words are spelled the same. I caught myself sometimes spelling verandah with an h and sometimes without it. I decided it should be without the h and used find and replace to correct that error. That is one very handy function!

All four books are now in the process of Review.

In the meantime, the Pricing issue presented itself. Create Space gives you a minimum price to work with. I'm talking hard copy here. I wanted it to be available, but I do expect that most who choose to read the books will read it through their Kindle. In my experience with my other novels, $20 and under with even number pricing made the books easier to sell. So, I decided on $20 for the Cookbook with all the color pictures and $15 for the other novels. I wish they could be less expensive, but with the price point suggested by Create Space that seems to work best. If possible, I will lower the price. I hope Kindle prices can be MUCH lower.

As soon as they are ready, I plan to order a physical proof and then upload to Kindle, unless I get too eager and just go straight to Kindle. I understand change is always possible and just a click away!

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