Last month I had the great opportunity to listen to Nathan Everett, at the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writers Association) monthly meeting, talk about self-publishing.
Nathan Everett’s talk:
"Writing was the easy part: The Mechanics of Self-publishing.”
Synchronicity was at work. I attended Nathan’s seminar and learned a couple things that I had never thought of about self-publishing—font, and margins. And go figure, I can’t find my notes to tell you the exact secrets. But I can give you a hint… Do not use Times New Roman. Don’t skimp on inside margin space.
Nathan said that Times New Roman looks “chunky.” He also said that many publishers charge significantly more if you go over a certain number of pages because they make you increase the space on the inner margin, thus requiring more pages. Then he said, “you want it to look like a real book.” I had never thought that it wouldn't. Was this good advice?
Now synchronicity slips in.
When I returned home, a book was waiting from a friend who self-published. The moment I opened his book I realized what Nathan was talking about. The font was thick and black. "Chunky." Not the font of any book I’ve ever read... bad enough to irritate the reader. I then specifically looked at the margin space and realized it was very hard to read the words close to the inner margin—the book was too thick. The author/publisher also did not heed the advice of the inner margin spacing. There is a reason for this added space, beyond charging us for more pages.
In addition, my friend's memoir is an incredible story of an aviator’s life that could have been a best seller, but the author wouldn’t listen to the professional’s who wanted to help him tell his story. The sad news is, this book will get lost on the shelf, and perhaps the reason why self-publishing has received a bad name in the past.
Advice to all those who are contemplating this route and want their book to fly off the shelf:
- Find a company that does more than just print. Unless you know what you’re doing—which I certainly don’t—the price you’ll pay for an expert is worth their weight in gold. Cliché? Of course; but true.
- Hire an editor, or have people you trust to read and find holes. You want them to point out everything they see— you only get one first chance to do it right.
- Read your novel, as many times as necessary, until you don’t find anything to change.
Before you make your decision:
- Read what Melissa Ohnoutka and Kristie Cook have to say about their self-publishing experiences.
- Visit Krissi Dallas, our hero, who self-published first, then was picked up by a traditional publisher.
- If you decide to publish, and want to keep the cost low buy using a publisher where you format and upload, contact Nathan. He's brilliant and will help.
Click on the names below to visit your Self-Publishing Resources:
Tell us what you think about self-publishing, and share your resources. More than that, what are the pros and cons of self-publishing? Is there a downside if your book is perfect?
Enjoy the Journey!