Part #8 Find a formatter to set your book up properly so that your work looks professional. Again, shop around.
I know I've been full of stories about my own experiences with Indie publishing, and, here I go again. I did find a woman to format my first self-published work, My Cheeky Angel. She was lovely and so very helpful. Unfortunately, she only formatted the book in order for me to be able to get a paperback edition on Create Space. She sent me the ahh!!! stuff… and I was supposed to actually set it up on the Create Space site. Uh huh! I had absolutely no idea what she did or what I was supposed to do to follow up.
Needless to say, when months later, I finally got through the obstacle course and hit the right button so that Create Space sent me the first draft, I hated it. The color of the pages, the way my name was situated, everything. But… since I had gone through this whole procedure for one person only – so my mother could have an actual book to hold… sigh!!! Yeah – I know… I decided not to get my panties in a knot. (btw - I finally managed talk her into using a Kindle and nipped that problem then and there – no more paperbacks J)
So now, all I had to worry about was formatting each book to publish on Amazon… We won't even get into Smashwords. Talk about a nightmare!!!
I had help from local authors; bless them all, and a lot of advice from girls on the Indie loops. (Got through the mess still married and with most of my hair, kicked the drinking problem in no timeJ) But, I did tend to overlook places where things weren't exactly perfect. I mean after all, a lot of those first self-published books were no different than mine. Therefore I didn't let it bother me.
If some of the indents were messed, or I didn't have a Table of Contents—so what?? As long as a person could make out the words, I let it go. DUHH!! Can't believe now how naïve I was acting.
Then I began to work with a promoter and she quickly changed my mind about what mattered and what didn't. It was unacceptable to put out work that was substandard…period! She gave us the name of a wonderful professional who has slowly worked through most of my books to clean them up and soon he will have done them all. He sent me different formats such as a word doc, mobi for Amazon and an epub.
Part of his task was to set up proper front matter, with pictures of covers, etc. And the back matter put in such a way for the reader to be able to move around the book more easily. Also with links to find my other books and to contact me on Facebook, Twitter and even follow my blog. It's wonderful. Now when I download one of my newer books on my Kindle, I feel pride in the work.
Hiring a professional formatter can be costly, I know. But for me, it's been worth every penny. Again, like so many other expenses that you'll run up against as a self-published author, you need to get the best bang for your buck. Make sure you know exactly what that person will do for the money you're paying. Check out other e-books and see what's been done, and if you're lucky and smart enough that you can do it all yourself... great!