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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Publishing Year One: Putting in the Hours



One of the biggest parts of the whole publishing process starts just after the writing is complete. This is the time when a hundred little decisions have to come together into a cohesive project. It begins with the editing and revising. In a way I was lucky that I wrote haiku and didn’t try to start out with some 400-page work literary fiction. Haiku is short and many people put the emphasis on the syllable count rather than the content. I did my best to make the haiku both interesting and fall within the constraints of the form—though I do also enjoy reading and writing haiku that breaks the walls from the 5-7-5 pattern. 

The Long To-Do List

Once that was completed, there was so much more to do. Now I had to figure out how to take around 100 tiny poems and turn it into a project worthy of being bought. I decided that to flesh it out make it more interesting, it needed some artwork. I have to thank KR Smith once again for all the help he provided in this part of the project. His illustrations were the right fit for the project. His work was also instrumental in creating the cover, which prevented me from having to use a generic cover that I knew would show my cards as a newbie in the game. 

Now all I had to do was gather together all of those stuffy pages with copyrights and dedications and author’s biographical information that no one ever really reads. I did that, spending way more time than I would have liked making sure that I put everything in its proper place. This is the point where a real publisher would have taken over and an author would never have to think much about the layout or the necessities of what was contained on these pages. 

Frustrations in Formatting

But the journey wasn’t over yet. Before I could put my work out there, I had to learn how to format an ebook for Amazon. The good thing is Amazon has put out a guide to formatting for Kindle, but the bad news is there are tons of writers, formatting professionals and others who also put their two cents into the process. Some said it was easy as pie. Others said that the process is so complicated that it is best left to those you can pay to do it for you. The whole point of publishing this was to earn money, so I wasn’t about to spend a dime on the project at this point. 

I studied Amazon’s guide and found it to be pretty clear. I worked for days on my formatting. The process started to seem too good to be true because it was so easy, even when Microsoft Word can be a bit difficult. However, there was one hiccup. Page numbers are awful to get right, especially if you want pages to not have page numbers, or you want your page 1 to start on the tenth page of the document. I will never understand why Microsoft Word makes page numbers for book projects so difficult, but I did manage to get the project numbered the way I want, even if it wasn’t the most common way to go about it. 

That left me with a finished product. I had created a book of haiku. The only step left was to let the world in on it. I’ll talk about the launch in tomorrow’s post.

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