Taking on the task of self-publishing your book can seem daunting; especially when you consider all the work involved: you must first be a writer, then a proof reader (if you’ve hired an editor); art director (if you’ve hired a cover designer or illustrator) and project manager to ensure it all gets done correctly and on time for whatever print deadline you’ve set. You must also be an administrative assistant to yourself — after all who else is going to purchase your ISBN numbers and bar code (once you have determined a fair price), upload your manuscript to the copyright office, find a distributor to press and print the on-demand version, and the list goes on?
Today I am going to add one more task to the plate that you should seriously consider. The aforementioned list is not only time-consuming, it’s costly. My first book cost me $2,000 all told, and that was due to the fact that I had to learn all these things on my own and made some mistakes. Nowadays, it still costs me about $800 to put out a complete product, but I am getting smarter and the advent of ebooks is making it even cheaper for us do-it-yourselfers. The task I am referring to is what used to be called layout. Some call it blocking, but whatever you call it, it is the action of putting your book in a readable format for a paperback. Yes, even if you are creating ebooks, you have to consider that you will need a paperback at some point, such as when you hold a book signing. Are you going to hand out thumb drives with your book on them? — hmm, now that I think of it that sounds like a good option — anyway I digress. What I want to tell you is that you can lay out your own book rather than hire someone to do it for you. I am learning to use Adobe InDesign so I can do just that. The software is expensive but you can rent it by the month from Adobe for under 30 bucks. But you still have to learn how to use it. That can be solved either by buying a book (I like the Visual Quick Start series; it’s the easiest) or you can get a monthly subscription to lynda.com (about 25 bucks) and watch a ton of videos on how to do it. I have chosen the latter this time and am really enjoying what I learn. Now, I may not create all my books myself, but I at least want to know how to do it in case I am so financially strapped that I have no other choice.
So the the moral of the story is don’t be a lazy self-publisher, get out there and learn something!