Going Indie—What I’ve Learned (So Far)—Part 6

Wailing Loon (F. P. Dorchak, Lon Kirschner)

Wailing Loon (F. P. Dorchak, Lon Kirschner)

In my latest indie publishing endeavor, I’d created a trade paperback book in addition to my ERO e-book. I haven’t yet done this for The Uninvited, but plan to in the future. ERO is my “Big Book,” so that’s why I made the extra effort and spent the extra money; I even already have the ISBNs for UninvitedSo, in keeping with documenting my indie publishing adventures, here is my latest installment about learning the ropes, on the ropes:

  1. It’s really fun! That is, if you have most of your ducks in a row and you work with a great team! My team included Pam Headrick and Lon Kirschner, both of whom I’ve written about before, and truly are a great couple of people! It wasn’t like when I create Sleepwalkers, through [then-now-gone] 1st Books, back in 2001. Though it had been fun on my part, I kept finding errors in the gallies that they added, either through fat-fingering or whatever. It was most frustrating.
  2. Create a checklist of what you need to do. I’m in the process of doing this, and had one in progress as I was doing the paperback, but it will save you embarrassment in the future, like forgetting to include someone in your Acknowledgments/Author Notes pages. Now, granted, as an indie author you DO HAVE THE POWER! (Power Ring thrust up into raging storm and lightning) to go back in and make those corrections, but it will cost ya (whatever the minimum $$$/hour rate your formatter/cover artist will charge to do the work…but then you’ll have more than one version of your work out there…so think long and hard before submitting material).
  3. As Pam had forewarned me, there is a lot more interaction between you and your team. A lot. Do you want an extra graphic in the Front Matter (the pages before the actual story, in the front of the book)? I did. Gotta get a graphics person to do it, then submit it to your formatter. Are you done? No, how large do you want it? What placement? And none of this even considers your interaction with your graphics person. At one point there was so much going back-and-forth, that I had to hand Pam and Lon off to each other, so they could just go and “speak their ‘speak'” without me getting in the way and adding yet more time to the whole process.
  4. Consider a faux Imprint. Wailing Loon is my faux imprint. It just adds a nice touch, tells a little about “who you are” and rounds out the professional looking quality of your book. Is it “cheating” by not using the “CreateSpace” logo…maybe, a little, but it gives your work yet more of you own identity, and isn’t that a large part of what Indie publishing is all about?
  5. Title page. Pam had the idea of using a black & white version of the cover. So, sure! We did up a B&W version, and inserted it. See #3, above.
  6. For the Back Matter (if “front matter” is…), I tried to tidy up the rear information, and not give all those “hyperlinks” that e-books live off of. Just basic info about me, and my website.
  7. Pictures and stuff: I don’t really care about having a picture on my books, but in this instance, since I had one of me while in the Air Force during the 80s, and it fit right in with the story of ERO, I thought, what the heck. Adds to the whole “package.”  I also had a faux organizational patch a friend of mine had created for me, so we also used that on the back cover. Consider those kinds of touches for your book.
  8. Post Office box. This I haven’t done yet, but I’m planning on looking into it. It might seem a bit weird to do, but what if you have people asking about sending you a copy of their book for your autograph? Yeah, hadn’t thought of that one, have you? Well, some of us are old school and prefer not to give out that kind of information—especially over any kind of social media, and that a very good thing to not do—so the thing to do is get a Post Office box. More on that, if necessary, as I look into it.
  9. Currently, CreateSpace (CS) has a weird rule: they do not allow all capitals for titles in creating a CS account. So, for ERO, I had to add periods in the title for the CS account, for “E.R.O.” They assured me it would have no affect on the actual title. But they are quite wrong. What it affects…are retailing your “title.” Go do a search for “ERO” in Amazon.com. What did you find? Sure, the Kindle version is there, but the paperback version is not displayed…at least not at the top of the page. If you scroll down, you’ll find related searches (which is a good thing Amazon does, searching on other parts of the main search for additional info), and there “E.R.O.” displays. Additionally, if you have your ebook at Nook (B&N), Nook says it synchs up “any other versions” of the book out there, but they have to be “word-for-word, space-for-space” the same names and titles. And who knows where else and what else this will impact! But, it certainly impacts people looking for your book! A friend of mine did a search for “ERO” and told me she couldn’t find it. The above is the reason why. So, see how easy it is TO LOSE A SALE?! You bet. So, I’ve been in contact with CS and Nook, and while I was nearly brushed off by initially trite and not-reading-all-of-the-e-mail responses, I pushed it, and, last I’ve seen, CS has sent the issue to their tech peeps. I’d asked they reconsider their protocol or rework my title. We’ll see how this goes. I’ve also asked why they do it, but I suspect it might have something to do with “flaming” over social media, or something. I just cannot image what other reason why a company would do something like that.

Okay, I think that about covers it for now. Go, have fun creating your own books!

About fpdorchak

Speculative and paranormal fiction author. Please check out my website: https://www.fpdorchak.com/. Thank you for stopping by!
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37 Responses to Going Indie—What I’ve Learned (So Far)—Part 6

  1. Thanks for all the info, Frank. I’m looking at indie publishing my book in the near future. I have a wonderful cover design from my former graphics teacher. At this point I am researching every avenue and want to be educated before I take the leap. Keep the blogs coming. Thanks.

  2. fpdorchak says:

    Two things: 1) I did receive a response from CreateSpace on issue #9, above. The CS Team did go to their IT and rework some settings to help the search engine better pull up the books together. They told me it would take 1 – 2 days, so I haven’t seen the outcome yet. 2) I received the trade paperback versions in the mail, yesterday, and I’m EXTREMELY pleased with them! Wow! Entire book looks INCREDIBLE! Thanks, Pam, Lon, and CreateSpace!

  3. jpon says:

    Excellent advice, Frank. This is the idea behind our local writers’ effort to create a network of providers to serve writers who wish to create their own books (and not get scammed by some company they found on the internet).

    Interesting that CS actually looked into your problem and tried to help. I’ve had good experience with them as well. But the biggest issue I have with them is that you don’t know exactly how your cover will come out until you get a physical proof. And if it’s not quite right, you have to go back and forth several times, which could take weeks or even months (unless you want to pay $25 for overnight shipping each time). The cover of my collection is a 100-year-old photo that is very difficult to color correct, so I’m still in that loop of waiting and adjusting.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Thanks, Joe. About CS, I did have to contact them several times, however, before they replied with the fix. But the end result is that they appear to have taken steps to correct my issue (haven’t seen it yet, the “1-2 days” thing…). It came down to sales, though, in my case, any sale I miss, THEY also miss. I still have not received an answer as to WHY they don’t accept all caps in titles….

      Hope your endeavor is chugging along happily! Have fun with it! :-]

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  5. Karen Lin says:

    These posts are great. I’m learning a lot…and since my agent hasn’t been able to sell my cookbook so far – and 4 agents have signed on in the past and tried, I may end up having to sell it myself – with the added hassle of having to figure out the whole inserted pictures thing. Janet’s been through it so I know I could get help if I needed it. Thanks for all the info. Very generous of you to share your journey with all of us.

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