Sunday, March 3, 2013

Self-Publishing Update

In my last update I talked about selecting the cover for my novel, The Lion and the Sun, and selecting a font for the interior of the book. As I wrote, I’m working with CreateSpace. The proof is in the pudding, of course, but so far the process leaves something to be desired.

Most of the CreateSpace process is conducted on-line. But there are times when one requires the less proceduralized process of real-time conversation. My primary complaint is that when I want to talk with a real person, I’m connected with whomever is available at the time. I’d like to talk with the same person each time, but in order to do that I’d have to leave a message and wait for them to call me. So far I’ve talked to: Daniel, Martin, Kelsey, Tora, Norma, Chelsey, and Liz.

All of the CreateSpace “creative consultants” have access to my file, which includes the proofs I’ve approved and the comments I’ve made, but the reason for calls is to clarify things included in the comments. When I talk with different people all the time, I find I have to go back over the same ground, and this is frustrating.

My latest challenge has been to get a fix on the interior font for the book. I asked to look at three fonts: Garamond 3, New Baskerville, and Palatino. I was sent a single proof with different sample sections of the book in each of the three fonts. This makes it more difficult to cross compare the fonts. I wanted one section, the Preface, in the three different fonts. In addition, I wasn’t told what the font specs were, with font size and leading (pronounced "ledding") being my primary consideration.

I called CreateSpace on February 22nd and talked with one of their consultants, who said she’d send me an email with the font specs. She did this the same day -- great turnaround. Unfortunately, it was obvious from a comparison of the fonts with previous proofs, that the specs in the email were incorrect. It was the next day before I was able to talk with yet another consultant, who sent another email with the correct specs.

Based on the proofs and the specs in the corrected email, I went on line and using the Comments section wrote that I wanted Garamond 3, 12 pt, 15.4 leading for the book’s interior. This font and leading will increase the page length, but I feel the added readability is worth it.

On February 25th, I received an email from CreateSpace indicating that I still needed to  “accept the third mock up” so that I wasn’t charged for additional work. This was a problem, since the third mock up was in three different fonts.

I called CreateSpace on the 26th and talked with “Tora” and told her the situation. She said to go ahead and accept the third mock up and she’d note that I wanted the Garamond 3/15.4. She said if I wanted to submit an edited manuscript, I should do it along with accepting the mock. Tora said it would take about 15 days for the design team to format the book, and estimated that I’d receive a physical copy for review and approval sometime around the third week of March.

While I was on the CreateSpace web site, I set up a “Preview” of my book. A preview can be for a book in process or a published work, and allows one to share their work with friends, colleagues, or the public.

To create a Preview, simply upload an excerpt of your book, ask specific questions, and circulate your project to friends, family, and colleagues. My questions were:

  • How do you rate the overall preview?
  • How do you rate the writing in the introductory section?
  • What interested you in the synopsis?
  • How likely are you to read this book?
My preview is here.

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