Accidentally Publisher

About a year ago, I first accidented my way into becoming a publisher.
“How does that even happen?” I hear you ask.
Well, for me it started when a colleague who was organizing an anthology became overwhelmed by life and decided to drop the anthology. Many authors had already committed to the project, including me, and since I believed in the cause–in memory of Terry Pratchett, with proceeds going to fight Alzheimer’s Disease–I volunteered to take it over.
I had no clue what that entailed.
Overnight I was transformed into editor, chief pest, and publisher. I wore all the hats, and none of them fit. I bankrolled the project, tried my best to keep a dozen authors happy, and somehow managed to hit the deadline for getting the eBook version of the book out. A few months later I decided to get my act together and formatted the book for print.
I failed UTTERLY in promotion. Some of the authors tried their best, but no one was an expert. We have to date raised a little over $150 for the Alzheimer’s Association. To date, if I had just donated the money I dropped into the book, the A.A. would have come out ahead.

But that is TO DATE. And most of that is my fault.
What I got wrong: I took too much on before I knew anything about anything. I didn’t do ANY promotion–not even the free stuff beyond posting about it on Facebook.

In contrast is my experience with “Stardust, Always“. This is an anthology created in response to the unexpected deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both lost to cancer. The first difference is that this was a MUCH larger project. Fourty-odd authors and various people who signed on just to help with the project everything from beta readers to promotion experts. We had FOUR editors, and that was after each story went through betas. And even more important, we had a project manager, Andrew Barber, who had firm deadlines and communicated well to keep everything on track.
It was a real education.
I undertook a variety of roles–beta reader, editor, book formatter, publisher. But that was much, MUCH better than taking on everything myself.
Writers Colony Press, my little publication house, is currently accepting submissions for the next volume of “The Longest Night Watch”. I have taken notes. Writers Colony Press now has a website and a Facebook page to help coordinate calls for submissions for upcoming anthologies and credits for previous books. I am still going to have to work within my own limitations, both in terms of time and as a person,  but I have been shown that it CAN work now.

Here’s hoping it works well.

A Brief Explanation of Economics

OK – I am far from an expert in all things money. I seem to be especially bad at making it from my books. But I can have opinions as a consumer of books, dang it!

This isn’t an effort to educate indies, most of whom seem to be doing things more or less correctly, even if they undervalue their books. This is going to be a disbelieving rant, aimed at a specific title and a specific “Big 5” publishing house that I can’t believe *bleep*ed up this badly.

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Book Formatting: Setting Print Size

Last time we set up the text of the book exactly how we wanted it. The last step of formatting for print books is to set the size you want it.

Createspace offers templates for creating certain size books. These templates are more trouble than they’re worth, making you start again from scratch. If you’ve followed my tutorial, you should already have the book basically looking the way you want it. OR you’re frustrated to the point where you’re willing to just throw money at it. I’m on Paypal. Just saying.

I’m REALLY hoping it’s the former, though.

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Book Formatting: Inserting Pictures

Oooh, this is a record! Another reader request! (Actually, I don’t know if she’s a reader, or just someone who saw me blabbing on Facebook. But I’m still going to pretend I have more than one reader. LOVE YOU, ERIN!!)

Question (a little edited, cuz spoilers): “Hi Lacey. I want to but a page in the back (e-book, Amazon exclusive for now) that says: If you liked Dream Stalker, the author recommends [Pic of other book], [blurb]. Get it now on Amazon [link]. I’ve never formatted images or centered text like that though. Is it hard, or something you could make for me?”

Answer: It IS something I could make for you, and maybe possibly pretend I actually have a business… you know, as a Publisher. But since it’s NOT hard, I’m just going to show you 🙂

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Book Formatting: LEARN TO LOVE STYLES

Last time I asked the vital question – with Microsoft Office Word, “Are you using Styles?” And the answer is probably, “What???”

I took a lot of classes in high school and college on using Microsoft products. NOT ONE mentioned Styles. Now that might just be because I’m ancient, or it might be because my teachers were. But anyone who uses Word sees that nice box up top to choose the text you want to use, the size you want it to be, and thinks that’s enough. When you start typing in a new doc, there it defaults to something, and you might bitch about Word and how you need to “fix” it every time before you start to work. Then you transfer it to a new file, or publish it as an eBook or import it as your paper book and everything is ALL SCREWED UP.

Well, I’m going to show you how to not only fix that before you even get started, but how to make writing a doc the first time MUCH easier to convert to eBooks and paper books later on.

We’re going to create a fiction novel template.

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Book Formatting + Problem Shooting = Fun!

Yesterday, a friend who had already self-published a book in print got a comment back from a reader that some of the bottom margins of his book were a little… off. Here is one of the more extreme examples:

Bottom Margin

I volunteered to help, thinking it had to do with his edition of Word (2000). It didn’t autofix itself in 2010. Of course not. *sighs*

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