The rocky road to publication - Part 1

‘… This is a big mistake…’


Did I mention that I have three children, a job as a lawyer, and two other writing projects that I’m working on? In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself about the self-publishing project that ‘I don’t have to do this.’ Except, I put the preorder up on KDP, so now I do have to do this. That little clock is ticking.


Starting about two weeks before publication, I was spending about seven hours a day on the book. I’d already had the book professionally edited, but I discovered some things that needed changing, and I needed to do the final proofreading. I hate errors in books, and I was determined to have my self-published book be as professional as possible. I would have loved another pair of eyes on it, but with the schedule pushed forward, I didn’t have time.


I was driving about 60 miles a day taking my daughter to a special gymnastics camp, and looming on the horizon was a family holiday to Yorkshire the week before publication. I was seriously stressing about getting everything done just on the manuscript, let alone anything else.


One of the biggest stresses was knowing that I had to format the book. I had never done this before, but I knew from some of the Facebook forums I was on that I wanted to use a platform called Vellum.


Vellum


Vellum is a book formatting software for Mac OS. It allows a nicely-formatted ebook and paperback. About two weeks before publication, I uploaded the manuscript just to see what it was going to look like. In the past, I’d had some nightmares getting my publishers to make small last-minute changes, as in the old-days they used an HTML-based tool that made every little edit a big palaver. So I was quite worried as I was still making a lot of changes. Could I get it done in time?


I was very glad to discover that I could make changes directly in Vellum – almost like a Word Document. I did have some problems with the Table of Content format, and at one point I switched to Kindle Creator thinking it might be easier. But I didn’t like the look of the fonts in Kindle Creator, so I went back to Vellum. It was an investment in time (and it cost about £275 for a lifetime license) but overall, I was very happy with the look of the ebook.

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t do your book formatting last minute!

2. Vellum for Mac OS is a program worth looking at if you are going to format yourself. There is currently no windows version. It took me about 2-3 hours of playing around to get competent at using it.

3. If you want to format for free Kindle Creator on the KDP site works fine.

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