Self-Printed: The First Proof

Probably the most exciting thing about self-publishing with a POD service is the morning the very first copy of your book arrives at the door.

I actually think that it’s so exciting it interferes with your ability to be a good self-publisher, as you are so taken with the sight of your name on the spine and your words on actual pages and those pages in real, live book that you become blind to the typos, missing words, sucky cover, etc. So my advice is to order a Any Old Thing proof first, just to get all that oohing and aahing out of your system so when your proper proof arrives, you can get down to work.

Yesterday the first ever copies of Self-Printed arrived, and these were proof copies in the truest sense. I uploaded my file, made a cover image myself using MS Word and then inserted that image into CreateSpace’s Cover Creator. In other words, it’s not a proper cover, but a temporary blurry one that’s completely blank on the back. CreateSpace allows you to order up to 5 copies of any one proof, so I got one for me and four for some trusted individuals/victims who I hope will have the courage to say “Don’t do this” if it turns out the book is the printed equivalent of a pile of poo.

I’m pretty shocked at how thick they were – 330 pages! – considering that the text isn’t big, the trim size is 6 x 9 and it was originally supposed to be a pamphlet-esque e-book. Yikes. But I think it’s looking good, although now I have to go typo hunting (I’ve already found “dog-earned” and “coach potato” – lovely) and I’ve already thought of a few things I forgot to put in.

A proper cover is currently being designed by the same designer who did Mousetrapped (in fact, they’re going to match – I’m using the same “white band” style) and then the next step will be to get another round of proof copies and send them to the beta reader volunteers whose names I’ve yet to draw out of a hat.

In other news, I love a good marketing campaign and when this came through the door last week it gave me a genuine laugh. It was a piece of A4 paper and the back looked like this:

It’s supposed to be a beat-up cardboard sign with “Cork” scrawled on it, the city where I live. On the other side was a letter from the AA (not Alcoholics Anonymous, mind you, but a roadside rescue service; I believe you Americans have AAA or “Triple A”), telling my mother that if she didn’t sign up for membership, this letter/hitchhiker sign might be the only way she’ll get home if her car breaks down. For more information you had to text a number with “Hitchhiker” in the message body. Clever, no?

12 thoughts on “Self-Printed: The First Proof

  1. Tahir says:

    Congratulations! Under “things to look out for”: I got burned by “asses” versus “assess” -spell checkers and fatigued authors are blind to this. Had to suspend the book after it was distributed to avoid embarassment. Costly mistake.

      • Tahir says:

        Application of the AA/AAA marketing idea for your book:
        1. A rejection letter from a publisher- other side says “You can get plenty more of these if you don’t buy Catherine’s book.”
        2. The opposite approach: A letter from Catherine (the publisher) to Catherine (the author). Absolutely love the manuscript.. looking forward to a happy and productive relationship working with myself.

  2. Lissa says:

    Yes, I completely agree with the proof copy love. I squealed in delight when my first two proofs arrived, thinking they were perfect and gorgeous and flawless – then I began reading and realised I’d forgotten to change the contents page in one, and decided to completely re-write half of the other. But still, it’s such a complete rush seeing your name on that book.

  3. Talli Roland says:

    Yay! Congrats on your proof, Catherine — I can’t wait to read it; I’ve been so impressed with everything you’ve shared on this blog.

    Happy typo hunting.

  4. Nick Finley says:


    And thanks…I will be ordering the ebook for sure. I have been parked on your blog this morning (among other self pub news reads), and I fear that I may have a stroke over a various array of subjects involved.

    Current word count: 15549 averaging 1200-2000 a day.
    Supply of cigarettes: Dwindling.
    Current concerns: Pen names Vs Real names. Formatting. Darth Vader Diaries stigma.

    Have a great weekend!


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