Friday, August 15, 2014

Wakefield Cookbook and the story of its publication

Wakefield Plantation, now owned by my sister, Sylvia, and her husband, Tom, is known in Wilcox County as the anchor of their Furman tour. The beautiful old home has been featured in books and magazines for its history and unique architecture. I thought the history and cookbook might actually be interesting to some of the folks who come to see the house, as well as a remembrance for our own family. Wakefield is a big part of our family history, a little piece of who we all are and have become. I must admit this 1832 Steamboat Gothic home did inspire my Mint Julep Mysteries. I had dreams of a big beautiful coffee table book, but that effort was beyond my ability at the moment. However, there may be big things coming up that Wakefield will play a part in.

For those of you who are writers who visit my blog for more utilitarian reasons, the process of the past couple of days may be interesting to you. I started this blog several days ago with the following paragraph and then got detoured by the actual process of publishing the Wakefield Plantation book.

The Wakefield Plantation: History and Cookbook is on hold. I was not really happy with the picture layout. I did a search and discovered BLURB that I also found was a subsidiary of Amazon. The good thing about that is that you can upload a book to Amazon for purchase quite easily (according to their website). That is a good thing since I hope this effort produces a higher quality than the first one I came up with. For one thing, it will be hardback.

That was my goal, but the road to that object proved more difficult than I had anticipated. I had read that Blurb was easy to use. I have LOTS of pictures in my I PHOTO and it tried to load all of them (90,000). Perhaps I just didn't know how to use Bookwright and Booksmart, but the time it took was more than I was willing to give it. I returned to Createspace and after a day of attempting to address the different problems I encountered, I finally got a product I think I can be happy with.

So, what do I mean about the problems I encountered? Pictures shifting. Sentences moving about that only showed up after the saving process through the online book proofing process. I found some help, however.

1. Formatting the pages: A Step-By-Step Guide to Formatting Your Book's Interior
By Kelly, CreateSpace PrePress
I followed Kelly's directions for putting the margins in. That really helped!

2. Starting off with the correct template for the book you choose to create is helpful also. Before you make that serious first step know where you are going with that book. If you look for Expanded Distribution (making books available to bookstores and libraries) check into the sizes they will accept. I wasted a lot of time with the wrong size before I got to the Distribution area of production and discovered I used the wrong format. I then chose 6 x 9 and had to spend a lot of time reformatting.

3. Get punctuation right the first time. Let me suggest this helpful online booklet:
A. Remember to only put ONE space at the end of a sentence. When you finish your manuscript, use the Find and Replace to double check yourself. I go down the complete alphabet and then also double check every form of punctuation to make sure I only put one space. So, how do I do that?
a  A  type in the letter and then two spaces. That function pulls up every time that letter appears with two spaces beside it.
a A    Use the replace function to close up the space.
Remember every form of punctuation, :, ", ?, (, ..., etc.
I will assure you that the time is well spent taking the time to do this. You will have to go through the whole republishing process when you spot those errors if you don't. You want the very best product you can produce out there.
Or you can pay an editor to do all of this for you!

4. Publishing to Kindle calls for all of this effort again. I discovered that just sending it over to Kindle does not assure that it will look like it did with Createspace. You may have to correct and upload what appears on a Kindle.
a. This is where I discovered the importance of Page Break. I like for Chapters to appear at the top of a page. I also had to use it after the Title page, Copyright page, etc. as well as between Chapters. I also found that using Word doc files came up better than turning it into a PDF file.

5. I have chosen NOT to publish the cookbook on Kindle. All of those pictures do not transfer well and it looks really bad. So, it will ONLY be available through traditional book form.

Will anyone other than family be interested? Perhaps not. And in a way, that really doesn't matter. It began as an effort simply to share with these little ones in our family giving them an appreciation of their past and an introduction to some of those who came before. Maybe that is enough.

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