Guest post by Samantha Memi
I met Samantha over the internet and we kept in touch. she was ahead of me on the self publishing curve, having already published an ebook. She has just brought out another beauty – I just love the mesmerizing cover – full of her quirky, humorous stories and I asked her to share her self publishing story.
Check out her book here.
My Self Publishing Journey
My experience of self-publishing is probably different from most other writers because I decided to publish a print book rather than an ebook. But the process of putting the text together is pretty much the same.
The first difficulty for me was choosing the stories I wanted to include in the collection. I suppose we all tend to think that the stories we like best must be our best stories, but this ain’t necessarily so. That’s why the stories we like often receive the most rejections from magazines, and the stories we don’t like get picked up pretty quick.
Readers often have a different view of your stories than you do, and readers have to be taken into account. After all, what’s the point of writing stories if you don’t have readers. So it’s useful to get some help from friends. It’s important to have a varied collection, to have some stories which are more immediate, and others which have greater depth and take more time to grow on the reader. Having friends select stories can help in this.
The idea of including stories I didn’t like felt weird to me, but if I’d only included the stories I like I wouldn’t have had enough for a collection.
The next problem is editing. Do you make any changes in stories that have already been published? Elizabeth Berridge said a story belonged to its time and should be left as it was originally published. I agree with that, however, my natural inclination to edit everything to death meant that most of my stories got changed in some way.
The next big problem is proofreading. Proof readers, like editors, are expensive and not always very good. And the author is not the best proof reader. You can read the same text over and over again and still miss a glaring typo someone else will notice on a first reading so, once again, it’s important to ask friends to help.
Then it’s formatting time. The part that everyone dreads. Although my story collection was designed to be printed, I would be giving away a Mobi or epub file with the printed book, so I had to go through all the tedious formatting on Word to prepare the text for conversion. I didn’t find this too bad or too difficult, but it is so boring your mind drifts away so you make mistakes and have to keep checking you have done it right. I used ‘Building your book for Mobi PDF’ as a guide for how to format, but there are lots on Kindle and other places.
The worst part for me was page numbering, particularly section breaks. Always leave the numbering of pages till the very last. If you don’t and you want to create a section break all the page numbers could go out of sequence.
Once the Word formatting is done, you can put it through a conversion program, and put it on Kindle or Smashwords. I used http://ebook.online-convert.com/convert-to-mobi which seemed to do the job okay.
So that’s about it really. If you have any questions you can email me, and I’ll do my best to work out what you’re talking about. I don’t know anything about marketing. And that’s the next step that’s very important. Good luck!