Monday, May 19, 2014

#Pressbook - a way to professionally #format one’s own books!

After an RWA chapter meeting and over a glass of wine, networking with other authors  has to be one of my favorite pastimes. This happened to me recently and I can’t tell you how much it helped me at the time.

I’ll explain.

You see—for the last few years, I’ve been working with a professional formatter who has taken all my books, formatted them and made them look real pretty. We worked well together, and I’ve always appreciated his professional way of doing business.

I’d finish a book, send it to him and he’d return the mobi file so I could publish it on Amazon. I’d slap the book into their Select Program and “Bob’s yer Uncle”. The book would be finished and I’d move on to the next one.

Well, I recently decided to take all my 24 books out of the Select option and distribute them in as many places as I can (more about that on one of my next posts). So, just as I make up my mind this needs to be done, my formatter has some kind of a personal crisis and he’s no longer available for almost a month……no, no, nooooo!

While I’m hyperventilating from being overwhelmed with all these books that need to be reformatted into epubs and pdf’s, the networking happens. Drinking wine with another author who casually mentions a site she uses called Pressbook ( ) Her words went something like: “It’s a template. I just slap my chapters into their slots, add in the front and back matter, and bingo – pay the ten bucks and export the sweetest mobi, pdf and epub files you can imagine. Easy-shmeasy!” (okay – mostly my words!!) No matter – what does matter is that this could be the answer to my dilemma. And boy did I need help.

Turns out she was right. That night I went home and checked out the Pressbook site. I started to upload a book and found it simple to do. But like everything new, it took some practise. In my follow-up blog, I’ll tell you about some of the problems I ran into. It might help you solve similar mistakes if you find yourself in the same situation.

What I can tell you is that using this tool has given me back control. You see, once my book was sent to the old formatter, I had to rely on him so I could publish to Amazon. Truthfully, once I decided on this new option of sharing the work everywhere, I had automatically taken it for granted that he would do all the epubs and…  supply me with Smashwords files also. Dream on!

Turns out, you can’t rely on others to be there for you when:

1.      They have a lot of other customers who demand their time and energy

2.      They dislike working on files for Smashwords

3.      They have their own lives that can kick in and take them away.

Now, with Pressbook, I  have the ability and the tools to do it myself. I’ve learned a huge lesson here. Never let the control be taken from you. You can hire others of course, but always have a backup.
So with the help of an assistant, my books will eventually be formatted and distributed. I just pray that after all this work – it pays off!!!

The yellow Rose is for friendship!!
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