Tuesday, October 8, 2013

INDIE ISN'T JUST INDIANA JONES' NICKNAME


Today I want to talk about the steps I took to be a published indie. Believe me I stumbled around trying to find a publisher and almost fell for one of those ‘you pay us deals’ before a good friend across the sea helped out a floundering author in the ‘colonies’. I want to thank author JD Stockholm (Dear Teddy Series) for the guidance he gave me.  JD you really started something by unleashing this unfettered author on an unsuspecting world! Thank you most kindly for your mentorship.

First I want to talk about the why. Why I decided to go indie instead of mainstream:

Reason number one THE VORTEX: The amount of time one might have to wait to get their book out. Some as long as three years! I’m 65 years old! I want to see my book in print before I croak! 

Reason number two (insert drastic music here) THE DREADED CONTRACT: I love to write. Part of that love is being able to do it at my own speed. I know people who have contracts with publishing houses. The last thing I want to hear is that I HAVE TO write. That’s an imagination killer to me. I needed the freedom to choose when I wanted to write. Once ‘have to’ enters the mix, I balk.

Reason number three, PEOPLE TELLING ME WHAT TO WRITE:  Editors. Now I’m not saying I can’t be edited. No. Not at all. I want editing. No one can go unedited. No one! But don’t tell me my book needs more sex, or more explosions or more anything because that’s what’s in.  I don’t write sex novels. I don’t write romance novels. There are many people out there who are far better at that than I could ever be. It’s not my forte.

I believe in telling a story. If it happens to have sex in it fine. But I’m not going to put it in there just for the sake of putting it in there or, presumably, to sell a book. That’s just not my style.

So, with all that explained, I was lost as to how to get my stories out there. Enter my friend and mentor, author JD Stockholm.  He introduced me to Indie publishing and sent me to a place that has been a ‘dream come true’. Create Space. That’s www.createspace.com . 

Now, I have to tell your right here and now that getting my book published through Create Space did not cost me a single penny. BUT, that’s because I have a background in layout and, being an artist, I was able to set up my own cover. Create Space offers those services at a price. I did pay for two stock photos to create my first cover (a whopping total of $8.00). I use Photoshop 10. My first layer was the man; my second was the Chicago skyline.  This was the result.  



Create Space offers free templates for the creation of your cover. They have some with stock photos or you can upload your own. There’s a blank template for folks like me a DIY person. You spine width is decided by your page count. They make it so easy!

I admit it; I’m a control freak. I wear that crown proudly when it comes to my books. I not only want them to be a good read, I want them to be visually gorgeous!  Create Space offers several different sizes for your book. They offer 15 standard sizes from 5”x8” to 8.5” x 11” or you can actually make a custom size.

I chose the 5.5”x8.5” for my Magarelli Series. They offer free tutorials about layout and copious suggestions regarding the production of your book. I found the majority of these extremely helpful. They also provide a template for your text as well.  When you use them the first time choose the step by step option for layout. Once you’ve done one, you’ll find it gets easier and easie

For my werewolf novels (the Moon Trilogy), I’m going a bit smaller, 5”x8”, as these novels will not be as long as those in the Magarelli Series. So far my Magarelli Series novels are within 90,000 to 120,000 words in length.
 

Of course it’s hard to tell until a novel all written, edited and presented in final form. I just let my stories tell themselves. I don’t really plan to stay within a given word count. But word and page count are always a deciding factors in choosing the dimensions of my books. Because they come in sets, though, whatever I choose for the first book will then carry through the rest in the series no matter what the page count. I like a set to look like a set with uniform outer dimensions save for the thickness of the book which is decided by page count. If book one in a series is 5.5”x8.5”, they’re all 5.5”x8.5”. But that’s just me.

Create Space offers you two types of paper – a white standard and a slightly heavier cream tone. I find the cream tone to be easier on the eyes of the reader and sturdy enough to stand up to rereads and wear.  Their covers are glossy and clean.  The finished product from this company is outstanding in quality.

Books created through Create Space are automatically sold on Amazon.com. You receive an ISBN number at no charge. You can choose your markets including international. You can set your price. AND – and this is a BIG ‘and’ – you can also format your book for e-readers and sell it through the Kindle store. That, to this writer anyway, is very exciting.

Well I’ve talked your eyes out at this point, so I’ll stop for now. Because I was guided by someone, I intend to pay it forward. I’m here to answer questions if you have them. Go over and explore the possibilities. There’s nowhere to go but forward. I did it. You can do it.