top of page

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 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.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Me
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page