Many self-published authors will share their expertise with you–for a fee. I don’t claim to be an expert. In fact, I acknowledge being a total novice. But I’m sure other writers will appreciate hearing about my self-publishing experiences and learning along with me.
My self-publishing journey is in the packing stage. I’m working on getting the manuscript ready to be uploaded. My friend, Yvonne Anderson (who blogs over at the creatively-named Y’s Words and who wrote the ingenious Gateway to Gannah series), gave me a great little gem of advice: do a practice run. So I took another manuscript (which I have no intention of publishing at this point) out for a little test drive. She was right. Uploading a practice document gave me a feel for how to get my MS ready.
Not that I think it will be easy. She also shared a comment of a frustrated self-publisher who finally overcame a formatting glitch saying that the “eighteenth time” was the charm. I’m prepared for frustrations along the way.
The first thing I’ve done is to get the manuscript written exactly as I want it. I ran it through my critique group and spent a LOT of time revising. Here’s a tip: don’t do too many revisions at this stage.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m all about revision, revision, and more revision. But here’s the deal. Your MS will look totally different once you decide on book size and font. If you’re a little obsessive-compulsive (who me?) you might be kinda picky about things like widows and orphans (one line or one word hanging out by itself) or even about paragraph and line spacing. Why write (even if sub-consciously) to make it look good when it’s not in its final form? So my advice is to decide on your page size and font prior to doing final revisions. (I wish someone had mentioned this to me.)
I did a lot of online research before deciding on my page size and font. You should too. I don’t know what look you want or what best reflects the nature of your work. But since I’m in a generous mood, I’ll give you a few places to start looking:
Joel Friedlander offers lots of great self-publishing advice, especially about picking fonts.
Holly Brady lists some good serif and sans serif fonts here. Like many other experts, she advises against Comic Sans and Papyrus, two fonts for which I admit a fondness, but both apparently anathema in self-publishing.
And Fiction Etal has a great post on choosing a font.
When it comes to self-publishing advice, you can’t find a more qualified expert than Guy Kawasaki. If you’ve never seen or heard him, look up some of his videos on You-Tube. Inspiring guy. And wise. Here’s a great place to begin benefiting from his advice on How to Avoid the Self-Published Look.
What was your first step in your self-publishing experience? What sites or advice have you found helpful?