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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The "Arghs" of Self-Publishing: How-To

At around 4:06 PM, Wednesday, February 15, 2012-ish... I may have successfully finished submission of my paperback novel files for The Pathos of Rowan Jun. I have illustrated, re-illustrated, tweaked and poked and prodded and screamed and kicked and stared stupidly at a screen for weeks. I have watched slow progress bars and eaten junk food and ignored family and friends. Did I mention I screamed? Yeah, I did that. I'm not saying that the following survival tips will keep you from doing the same. But awareness is key!

By comparison, the un-illustrated Kindle version was easy. (When I figure out how to accurately illustrate a Kindle book, I'll let you know! SEE BELOW!) I may have begun a pattern of un-illustrated Kindle version for a low price and illustrated paperback for a regular price.Which is fine by me at this point! Plus, later on, I'll expand distribution to B&N and Smashwords, etc., so that'll be a fun learning curve, too!

The super-top-secret secret of making images show up in your Kindle book? Save your file as an HTML, Filtered Document, and THEN ZIP TOGETHER THE IMAGES FOLDER AND THE HTML FILE!!! Then upload the zipped folder. I felt so digitally dumb, since it's the obvious thing to do. But that happens...

Here are the general steps of self-publishing I have undertaken so far...


1. Write book.
2. Edit/Revise/Polish manuscript.
3. Follow formatting instructions for manuscript using Kindle and Createspace walkthroughs and templates.
4. Simultaneously create book cover art using templates, new art, and some fly by the seat of your pants Photoshop learnin'.
5. Co-Simultaneously create art for website, merchandising, and logo/branding THEN order said materials. I have a huge, awesome banner, full-color postcards, and T-shirts featuring the book cover. ( = easy and cheap)
6. Purchase ISBNs for your book. Otherwise, Amazon will control your distribution options. (Official gov't contractor for ISBNs: Buy 10 or more. It's cheaper that way.
7. Upload files to Kindle's direct publishing website, follow steps, fill out forms and publish. (
8. Upload files to Createspace, fill out forms, approve files, and submit for review. (
9. HAVEN'T DONE THIS YET: Order paperback proof, approve final product and submit for distribution.
10. HAVEN'T DONE THIS YET: Promote and reap the benefits of your hard work! (Eventually, if it reaches your target audience, and if people actually like it...)


1. You will notice glaring, silly proofreading mistakes almost as soon as your Kindle book goes live.
2. You will anxiously fix the file, upload again, and wait hours for it to publish and go live again. The version with the errors will remain available for purchase during this time (I'm pretty sure).
3. You may have to repeat!
4. Each time you have to re-upload your Kindle eBook, your ranking will drop dramatically. I think. Maybe. I'm #132,944 Paid in the Kindle Store as of now! (Hey! Give me some time, all right?)
5. As you make corrections, rename (with version number, or something) and backup the different document or art file names. There WILL be different versions... Keeps file confusion at bay.
6. I think Createspace servers update between 3 and 4 am. The upload would constantly stop, restart and then time out. No red-eyed jubilation and sound sleep for me! But when I gave up, slept, then uploaded later in the morning or afternoon, the upload went smoothly, if a little slowly. (My .doc file was over 26MB, though...)
7. I also tried to upload from my jump drive, and that seemed to cause a time-out. Probably something related to the file's location or compression or whatever, I assume. (Though I'm no tech, I did some customer service related to file uploads.) I saved the file to my desktop backup folder and uploaded from there. No timeouts related to location.
8. You will stare stupidly at the progress bar, drawing shapes around it with your in-process-cursor until the huge interior-content file uploads. This will not speed up the progress bar! :D
9. You will have to upload several times at this slow rate of speed to make file corrections.
10. The Interior Reviewer on Createspace is your friend. Y'know... the friend who loves you enough to tell you that shirt makes you look fat. For me, things cropped up like low-image resolution (oops!), formatting (*cringe*) and margin issues (*double cringe*), and active Table of Contents issues. The conversion from Word to PDF that happens in Createspace bumped some of my chapter titles to another page, so the TOC page number and actual page number were wrong. A manual fix and yet another upload later, and the FINAL final file is in review.

There you go! An evaluation that is by no means comprehensive, but represents my personal experience with the process. Let me know if you have any questions, or if you have anything to add to these lists. I'd love to hear from you!

Here is the finished Kindle book as it appears on Amazon:

Love and Cuddles,


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