Wednesday, January 23, 2013

STP&S Pushed Back Into February: A Long Learning Curve For Self-Publishing

Publishing is hard. And takes a long time. So the ebook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff will be coming out in February and not at the end of this month, as originally planned.

We (my computer guy and I) are publishing STP&S the hard way. In part, this is because when we started this project, we weren't aware there was an easy way. Now that we know more about this process, we probably would have had to go the hard way, anyway. STP&S is full of font changes because of instant messages, e-mails, post cards, and quotes from magazines and newspapers. (Book Links included it in an article called The Text Generation: Fiction That Incorporates Digital Communication.) That would have raised the cost of hiring someone to do this for us (the easy way), though we don't know by how much. I am happy to have paid for the beautiful new cover. However, because I don't know if I'll make back my investment on this project, I do have to give consideration to how great that investment will be.

An additional problem is the material we had to start with. Many "how-to" explanations for publishing ebooks say to begin with your Word document. Because we were republishing a published book that had been professionally edited and copy edited, I didn't have a Word document that was exactly what was in the published book. We made editing changes directly onto the last manuscript I sent my editor. We made changes on the publisher's created copy. We made minute copy changes. In order to truly republish STP&S, I couldn't use anything I had on my computer.

So we sent one of the books off to be scanned and received back the copy in three different files, from which CG chose one to work with. The scanning process made a lot of typographical changes that needed to be corrected. HTML was involved. We had to determine how the copyright page would look. We had to determine...this and that and a dozen other things.

In short, we're not quite done. And once our finished work is uploaded to Kindle and Nook, we could find ourselves with more problems. The book is still coming, just not yet.

I have been spending large quantities of time on things like writing the product description for Amazon and Barnes & Noble, seeking out blogs that might be interested in featuring the book, planning the trailer (which was completed months ago, though not uploaded--I'll explain why another time), and copy editing the text three times. Dealing with the hardcore technical stuff has fallen on Computer Guy. Early last year when we first discussed doing this, he said he thought it would be fun. It hasn't looked as if he's been having fun to me. However, a few weeks ago, he said, "You've got the rights back to My Life Among the Aliens, don't you? We can go right to work on getting that ready to publish." My response was, "Noooo. I need to do some writing this year." "But I can get started on my part," he insisted.

Clearly computer guys have an unusual definition of fun.


tanita✿davis said...

I bow to your work ethic.

It's a good way to get your back list refreshed and out there to new readers, but YEAH, it's a lot of work; I've been looking into doing a freelance project with a retiree, helping him get his memoirs into print, and -- oy.

And yes, your computer guy and mine thinks WEIRD things are fun. I would want to collapse after all of this.

Hey - I'd be happy to chat about this on the blog and run your trailer. You know you can just ask, Sarah & I aren't strictly MG folks, but we'd be glad to have you.

Gail Gauthier said...

Oh, my goodness. Thank you. Actually, I'm marketing STP&S as YA this time around. There are many interesting things to talk/think about with the actual publishing and marketing process of this thing, unrelated to the book, itself.