Category Archives: self-publishing

One of my Books is in a Library!

I phoned my oldest and best friend, Joyce, in Kaslo (British Columbia, Canada) the other day and part way through our conversation she said excitedly ‘Hey, your book, A Red Waterproof Jacket, is in the Kaslo library!’ I was amazed and asked her how it got in there but she wasn’t sure. I had no idea how books are chosen for libraries, so I’ve just checked on Google and found an interesting post. Although written in 2010 I’m hoping the same information will be true today. This is on an American blog but I’m thinking maybe Canada has a similar process for choosing books. If you’re a writer you may find it interesting to know how your book may be chosen.

http://www.sfwa.org/2010/04/guest-blog-post-how-libraries-choose-books-to-purchase/

Quite a chunk of A Red Waterproof Jacket took place in Kaslo where I lived for ten years, so I suspect someone who knew me back then may have read my blog or heard about the book somehow and enquired about it. I may have to give the library a call because my curiosity is killing me! Either way it gave me a real little feeling of pride to know it’s there, and I do hope people enjoy it.

Kaslo, B.C Canada

Creating A Cover For Your Book

Once you’ve written your book, edited it to perfection and decided that you can do no more, it’s time to think about the cover. You only have to Google ‘book covers’ to see the many companies offering their services. A lot of authors prefer to have a professional create their cover to be assured their book will look its best. But you can create your own if you have the tools and maybe a little experience of photo editing with Photoshop or GIMP.

I thought some may find it interesting to see the process I used for A Red Waterproof Jacket. I chose this book because the book has a wide spine and my other two paperbacks don’t. Books with very narrow spines don’t have enough space for any writing.

I published with CreateSpace who provide templates of different sizes. There are plenty of trim sizes to choose from. For this book I chose 5.25 x 8 inches. Here is the template I downloaded for my cover:

Above you can see how the entire cover, back, front and spine need to fit on the template. Note the width of the spine has already been worked out by CreateSpace, based on the number of pages in the book and the type of paper (cream). You can also see where they will put the book’s bar code, so you need to make sure that there’s nothing in that space that you don’t want covered up.

I looked at lots of paperbacks to see how the well-known authors have had their covers set up, and noticed a lot are done as a ‘wrap-around’. Basically they’re using a picture that covers the whole template, as opposed to separate pictures for the back, front, and spine. Your picture needs to be good quality – 300 dpi is required for printing. My photograph was 3563 x 2475 pixels.

This is the original picture I chose for the cover. I took it in Blois on a visit there a few years ago.

I loved the picture but the trouble was I wanted the steps on the front of the book, so I needed to horizontally flip the image.

Then there were the two people on the steps who needed to be removed. The photo also needed some improvement – a white balance, some sharpening, and a bit of extra light to give a stronger impact.

Next I wanted the figure in the red waterproof jacket on that top step. I wanted to try and add a touch of mystery – a figure waiting. I had a good photo taken some winters back.

He needed cutting out of this photo, shrinking, turning around, and placing on the top step.

Now the back cover was going to be exceedingly dark which I didn’t want. So leaving the area for the spine dark I lightened the back cover. This meant I could use black font for the back cover blurb. I notice I’ve still got a couple of small red markers, top and bottom, to show me where the spine finishes and the front cover starts.

Next I needed to decide on fonts for the author name and title. It wasn’t easy and I hummed and hawed and pondered and changed my mind many times. In the end after I’d eventually reduced my choice down to two I sent my choices to a friend for a second opinion and she agreed with me. (A Google search will throw up all sorts of sites with free fonts available to download). I put in the title and author for the spine first. And also my logo.

Next the title – but I needed to put the red word in separately .

Then the ‘Red’ and the author name.

Lastly the back cover blurb – to tell a prospective reader what the book is about. Notice the space left for the bar code with the ISBN.

I hope this post might be a help to anyone thinking about creating their own cover. I’m not an expert but if you have any questions that I may be able to help with then please feel free to get in touch.

‘A Red Waterproof Jacket’ has arrived!

I am just so thrilled! The proof for A Red Waterproof Jacket arrived yesterday! I published it as an e-book a few years ago but this year decided to go for paperback with CreateSpace for all my books. The proof looks so good. I love the way the cover has come out. I obviously got my design pretty much spot on. It really does look professional. I was sitting here staring at it and thinking ‘It looks like a real book!’ Then I thought ‘Stupid! It is a real book!’

In a nutshell I wrote this book to inspire anyone who feels stuck, who keeps telling them self ‘better the devil you know’, and to urge them to believe there can be another life. Maybe the best way to tell you a bit more about the book is to simply post the back cover blurb …

What if you were a woman of fifty-six, emotionally unable to disentangle yourself from a long-term bitter-sweet relationship with no future? Too often you find yourself staring out of the window across the fens dreaming of new horizons. Depression shadows you. What do you have? A dull, routine job and a motorbike.

Change was easy when you were young, when you set off to Canada aged twenty-two, heart full of hope, romance, and optimism. But now middle age and loss of confidence has withered hope. Relationships have never worked out; always an imbalance. You decided some time ago that better the devil you know was the safest route. Besides, the very thought of a new relationship is tiring.

But what if out of the blue a man walked into your life? A man with a motorbike. A man ten years younger than you, who couldn’t possibly find you attractive. Could he? He wants to meet for coffee. You’re scared to death. He’s attractive. He wants you to go to Spain with him. Would you dare? Could you dump your job, sell your house, and risk running off into the sunset once more, with man you’ve known for a little over a week?

A Red Waterproof Jacket is now on sale on Amazon, as either an ebook or a paperback.

 

My First Month of Book Promotion: What I’ve Learned (Re-blogged from Niels Saunders).

A really informative post from Niels Saunders, for anyone who is about to start, or who has already started to try and promote their book. A host of different options!

Niels Saunders

First Month of Self Promotion I’ve been a busy bee

Just over a month ago, I self-published my novel Mervyn vs. Dennis on Amazon. A lot’s happened since then and I’ve been much busier than I expected. Here’s a fairly self-congratulatory list of the things I’ve managed to do in 5 weeks:

  • Design my cover
  • Buy a pineapple
  • Buy a larger pineapple from a different supermarket because the first one looked a bit pathetic and not bristly enough
  • Take a load of profile pictures
  • Eat both pineapples
  • Format my manuscript for Kindle and other devices
  • Write a new blurb (this actually took hours)
  • Completely redo my cover because I’d done the whole thing in the wrong size
  • Write a bio
  • Create an author site for Amazon
  • Buy a domain name and create my own website
  • Revamp my personal Twitter account into a more authory one
  • Write my first 4 blogs
  • Feed the cat

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The Stowaways – Live!

My Stowaways proof has arrived from CreateSpace! The second book I can be thrilled to put on my bookshelf with a sense of pride. There was one error in the book – a new chapter that I had somehow not started on a new page, and a picture that needed to be lightened. The edit took a few minutes to update and I re-submitted the file. Twenty-four hours later it was done and approved. I’m now happy to say The Stowaways is live on Amazon.

It’s been a long, and fun journey with the two books about Mouse Formidable, which started out as a blog where I posted a chapter a week. It was a great way to write because it started as pure fun and there was no pressure. After I published both books as e-Books on Amazon Kindle I discovered early this year that I could publish in paperback with CreateSpace with no up-front costs to myself. It seemed like a great idea and so I set off on another journey with rather a large learning curve attached. It’s certainly been worth it.

If anyone is thinking of publishing with CreateSpace and has any questions I’d be glad to help if I can.

Going Live!

I can’t quite believe it’s happened. But it has. On Friday I received my proof copy of The Mouse and the Microlight from CreateSpace. It arrived earlier than expected, my hubby brought it up from the post box and put it on the kitchen table. My heart gave a little start when I saw it and realised what it was. ‘Aren’t you going to open it?’ says he. ‘Yes,’ says me staring at the package nervously, ‘But I have to make a cup of tea first.’ Of course it was a delaying tactic. I was so nervous at what the book would look like. Would I like it? Would it be good enough? I almost dreaded opening it. Anyway, I did make the tea and then forced myself to do it. I opened the package.

It felt so strange holding my book, all my hours of work and this was it at last in paper form. The cover looked great, excellent colours. I carefully turned pages. The paper felt good, good quality and the pictures stood out well. My only criticism was that one or two of the pictures set in dark situations were a little too dark, but my hubby didn’t think so. I started to feel quite thrilled and very pleased with the result, and so I completed the final part of the process with CreateSpace and pressed the Approve button.

It takes three to five working days to appear on Amazon, but now today I see it’s already there!

I took a few pictures …

On Amazon here

It’s hard to believe it’s actually happened, and I’m so pleased with the result.  I’m waiting for the proof of The Stowaways now, due to arrive mid May. Onward and upward!

One Down Three to Go!

I’m excited. After many weeks of labouring and puzzling over document set-up for printing in book form – all new word-processing stuff for me – I was ready to send (electronically) my manuscript and book cover for The Mouse and the Microlight to Createspace. They check it and make sure all requirements are correct and let you know within twenty-four hours. I heaved a huge sigh when mine was accepted.

I had a choice as to whether to proof read it online, or order a proof copy, or both. I did both. Proof reading online with Createspace’s reader really only showed me what it will look like as a book, you turn the pages as with a book, and because there were at least three illustrations per chapter I was keen to see how the layout looked. But I also wanted a hard-copy proof to see what the book actually feels like. And of course to put on my bookshelf!

The downside is that the proof comes from the U.S and takes a month to get here! It would seem everything gets faster in life except the mail service! An image immediately formed in my mind of an overworked, corpulent carrier pigeon with no GPS.

When the proof arrives, and if I’m happy with it, then I press the big red button and tell Createspace it can go live. This should happen about May 2nd. It will then be available on Amazon. In the meantime I’ve started the same process for The Stowaways, the sequel to The Mouse and the Microlight. I must say it’s a darned sight easier the second time around – although I still had a problem with page-numbering in LibreOffice! Next in line will be A Red Waterproof Jacket, my own story about following a dream, and lastly The Sleighriders.

If you have the time and the patience self-publishing your own book is a hugely rewarding journey!