My publishing journey: Part 2 - The evolution of a book and it's cover

I know that my husband thought I was crazy for leaving my agent. I know this because he said things like:

“You realize you were praying for someone to represent you, like, not that long ago.”

“Remember the time you cried when you got your 15th agent rejection email? You sure you want to do this?

Yes, I remembered all of it, but once I set my mind on anything self-publishing, there’s no talking me out of it. So, it’s now August of 2011, and I’m free of my agent, and a free agent! Without boring you on how I picked my self-publishing partner, I will just say that I chose Createspace (CS) because a few other authors recommended them, they are a subsidiary of Amazon (always a good thing), and they have actual human beings that answer my calls.

If you are thinking of self-publishing, you will hear this more often than you want to, but never often enough: edit, edit, edit, hire an editor, edit some more, and even when you think you’ve caught every last weed typo and grammatical error…four more will appear. Createspace offers editing services, and so do many other companies for a fee. I hired a local editor, who did not find nearly the number of mistakes she should have, and I also asked a few friends who I trust (and who are avid readers) to act as beta readers on both my manuscripts. Even when I thought the manuscripts were close to perfect, I’d have one more person read it and they’d find inconsistencies with dates and so on. One other tip, if it’s available to you (and genre appropriate), try reaching out to a local high-school. I have a girlfriend, who teaches English to HS seniors, and she had 10 of her students read a late-stage manuscript of Kat Fight for me, and then I went and chatted with all of them afterwards and got their feedback on the story, characters, etc. It was such a great experience for all of us.

In early September 2011, I sent my manuscript to CS and began the process of publishing my book. I chose to have it formatted for print (paperback) as well as ebook, b/c it was important to me, and I believe that having a paperback option available to readers gives you a little more respect as an author. I don’t sell NEARLY as many paperbacks as I do ebooks…and it’s not entirely necessary to offer one, but it was the right move for me. While CS began formatting my WORD doc into a nice pretty book, I worked with a designer at CS on my cover art. I had initially designed one myself (see below):

and then sent my design to the designer as a starting point, instructing her to design something similar to mine as one option, and also something completely different. My only directives were that I wanted the cover to be very clean and contemporary, with san serif fonts. Here are the two options that were initially presented to me:

 If you don’t already know, I chose a version of #2. My first thought was that a white cover was not going to show up online very well on Amazon or anywhere else, especially when it shrinks down to the size of a postage stamp. Also, I simply loved what the designer had done when given the freedom, and I fell in love with the hot pink color immediately. I had her make a few tweaks, and here is the final creation, which recently won the 2012 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award for outstanding cover art. How cool is that?

I fear today’s post is getting long, and I may be losing you, so I will wrap it up by saying that the entire process with CS took about 6-8 weeks. Once they sent me the first digital PDF proof of the book, I had to read it again (gag me), have them make some new edits (takes a week each time), and then review a 2nd digital proof. Once I approved the 2nd PDF proof, they printed a physical copy of the book, sent it to me, and asked me to proof that as well. I have to admit, receiving that first physical book via UPS was really exciting.

Once read and approved the physical proof (which is done online), the paperback goes live for sale on the Createspace website in an instant…and live on Amazon a few hours later. Amazing. CS takes another 2 weeks to format the Kindle file, but once it’s complete, it goes live the same day you upload it through KDP.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I’ll chat about launching the book and praying waiting for sales ;)

1 comment:

  1. Dina, I loved your OPL cover so much that I stole - er, was inspired by the design for my new novel, Picture Perfect. I love the clean lines, the bold color and the simplicity of the yarn heart. No wonder it won an award. Good stuff!