Five Days to a Self-Published Book: Day 1


This series of posts should come with a disclaimer. Several of them.

The idea is that between now and Friday, I’ll take you through the process (a fancy word for ‘giant headache of self-loathing, confusion, stress and regret’) of self-publishing a book with a Print On Demand (POD) service – CreateSpace, in this case. At the end of it, you’ll have your very own self-published book, a whole load of new wrinkles and five years less to live.

If you’re lucky.

Our schedule for the coming week looks something like this:

Monday: Write the book.

Tuesday: Edit and format the book.

Wednesday: Design the cover.

Thursday: Upload to CreateSpace.

Friday: Okay your proof copy and ‘Publish.’

As you can see (much like Genesis) here, a day doesn’t really mean a day. ‘Day’ really means ‘spend every waking hour for an entire week removing tabs from a 70,000 word document and wishing you could invent a time machine just so you could travel back to that day several months earlier when you came up with the idea of self-publishing, smack yourself across the face and scream, “Are you f-king crazy?”

So as today is Monday, you need to write your book.

To make things as realistic as possible, you should also submit it to a round of agents, get rejected by all of them, work on it for another bit, switch some stuff around, submit it to a round of publishers, get rejected by all of them too, come within inches of throwing the whole thing in the fire, stay in bed for a week wondering what to do with your life, make a voodoo doll of that cow who used to be on that stupid TV show that got handed a book deal to write a book so bad it was an offense to the poor trees who died just so it could be printed, look down on self-publishing, look down a little less on self-publishing, become intrigued by self-publishing, change your mind about self-publishing, make the decision to self-publish and then act like you had a choice in the matter, i.e. say you did it because you wanted ‘more control’ or some crap like that.

Got all that? Good.

As someone who has just come through this, um, process, let me give you some advice:

  • Try to write a good book. Not only will this help you sell a few copies, but you’ll do yourself a favor: by the time this is over, you’ll have read it approximately nine hundred times.
  • Don’t write about mythical creatures, teenage vampires, characters other people invented, nymphomaniac stablehands or any of those making sexytime, because almost every POD book ever produced is already about one or all of those things. Maybe POD wouldn’t have such a bad rap if less people put their unicorn-vampire-stablehand erotic fan fiction fantasies to paper…
  • Don’t be crazy. Don’t be one of the people I talk about in this post.
  • Make your book a normal length, word-wise. No one’s going to pay €9.99 for 15,000 words of your musings on the afterlife and likewise, no one’s going to pay €76.95 for your 150,000-word opus about a post-apocalyptic Ibiza. No, really. They’re not.
  • Don’t indent your paragraphs with tabs; use a first line indent instead. Trust me on this one. [Looks wistfully at bald patch where hair once grew before the Remove Tabs Incident of March ’10.]

I’ll see you in the morning for Day 2 Part I: Editing/Proofreading/Making Not Crap. Now get to it!

Read the next post in the series, Day 2 A.M.: Editing.

Read all my self-printing posts or read about the book I’m self-printing.

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8 thoughts on “Five Days to a Self-Published Book: Day 1

  1. Rebecca Brown says:

    Well, it sounds like you’ve spent blood, sweat and tears over this, but it will all be worth it when you see YOUR book on Amazon. Can’t wait to read it!

  2. catherineryanhoward says:

    It better be all worth it! 😉 I know in a few weeks I’ll be laughing – I hope I’ll be laughing – at all this and saying it was all worth it in the end, it was fun, blah, blah, but it has been a massive headache. Still, I’m thinking of all the things I’d do differently next time.. if there IS a next time! 🙂

  3. Mike says:

    Of the many web sites about P.O.D. that I have so far checked out this is definitely among the best. Candid, entertaining and very informative.

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