editing, indie authors, writing

My Indie Author Blunders

Deciding to go the self-publishing route with my first book has been a learning curve, to say the least, especially during the first phase of Covid. But as they say, mistakes help us learn.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is pretty straight forward when it comes to all the steps required to publish your book on Amazon. I’ve enjoyed the process. Of course, you need to do all the hard work beforehand, such as editing, formatting, cover art, tagline and back cover blurb.

A fellow writer friend helped me with my first cover for ebook and print format. She had all the unique software to do that, so I was very grateful. I finished formatting my manuscript and used 12 point font Times New Roman. After I inputted each piece into KDP, I hit save. The next step was to order a proof copy. Now, this step is essential, and I don’t advise skipping it as I did. But I didn’t skip it on purpose… because of Covid, some items weren’t shipped across the border into Canada. My only option at this point was to order some author copies… but I had to make my book go live to do this.

So, my book was available in print for people to order while I was awaiting this order. When it arrived at my local Canada Post office, I was so excited! My first book in print! Yahoo!

Well, that excitement was short-lived. I opened the box, grabbed the top copy and frowned. My new expertise with formatting and cover design was not something to brag about. I didn’t centre the title, and both characters wore black coats and the colour blended to form one big blob of black, which was a saturated mess. Next, I turned to chapter one, and the print was so small I needed a magnifying glass to read it. I knew right there and then that I did not want this available for people to see.

Well, a few of my family members had already ordered it before I could stop them, and that’s okay. They still love me. But, I had to take action quickly. I stopped the print version right away and went back to the drawing board. I figured out how to centre the title and increased the font size. I also tweaked the black blob on the front cover the best I could. I waited for the proof to arrive and did see some improvement. The title looked good, but the black was still a saturated blob, and the font size was too big!

At my wit’s end, I realized I couldn’t do this by myself any longer. I took my proof to my two amazing sons, Nick and Clark, who run a marketing and web design company, SAXBY. After some deliberation, we decided on new cover art, tagline and font size that is more appealing to readers. I’m still awaiting this new proof, which should be arriving mid-January, and if all goes well, it will be available in print on Amazon shortly after that.

So what did I learn? Self-publishing is a never-ending process, and if you’re serious about publishing this way, it’s important to invest in all the proper software, take classes and don’t be afraid to ask for help. For me, I’m learning new skills, my book is out in the world, and if I decide to go this route again, I’ll be ready. 🙂

PS: You can take a peek at my new cover on my Home Page.

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