Sunday, May 4, 2014

Proofing Your Book, Tedious? Yes, But So Worth It....

Hi again everyone.  Yes I know it's been a few weeks since the last entry but I've been busy.  Started hearing back from my Beta-Readers and began making corrections to the manuscript.  Long process some days, but very necessary.  There were issues that got past me and my main editor, which is why I wanted more pairs of eyes looking the book over.

This was something I did not do enough of on my first book "The Bridge".  Luckily, people were so enamored by the story that it still earned a lot of 5 star ratings.  However, it could have gotten more if I'd taken the time like I have been with "The Ship".  

Anyway, I ran across a new issue as I finished making the adjustments to the manuscript.  These came in the form of 'formatting' issues.  When you submit your MS Word document to Createspace, Kindle, or Smashwords they all have slightly different formats they want you to follow.  Luckily, you can do Kindle through Createspace when you set up the print copies of your book.  Createspace will automatically ask if you'd like them to format your book into Kindle form and send it on to them, saving you an extra download.  Smashwords however has it's own format that they want you to use, so you'll probably wind up with at least 2-3 copies of your manuscript that you need to address.

Once you've got them ready and submitted, all three companies will inspect your files to make sure it meets their individual guidelines.  However, the fun does not stop there.  They are only making sure you have the right format submitted and will tell you when you've got it right.  And you're done, right?  WRONG!

All three will insist you 'preview' how your book will look when they put it up for sale.  My advice to you is this... "LOOK OVER EVERY SINGLE PAGE IN ALL THREE CASES!!!"  Sorry to shout like that, but this is a big issue and can really make or break the reputation you are building for yourself as an author.  Sometimes, issues will appear that you will have no idea are there until it's too late.  

When I released "The Bridge" the formatting went to hell and a hand basket.  I did not take the proper time to see how things looked and wound up losing stars in the reviews.  Don't let this happen to you.  Look over every page of your book to make sure the indentations are lining up just right.  Scan to make sure no paragraphs have suddenly been fused together.  Watch for unusual symbols or keystrokes that appear out of nowhere.  

And if you find any in one version of your book, immediately check the other files you are submitting to the other e-book and print book publishers you are using.  I did that this time and found little errors being repeated because all three files came from the same original manuscript file.  

Yes, this takes time and can be a pain in the ass I'll be the first to admit it.  However, our goal as Indie Authors is to make our books look great.  People are paying money to read what we create and we owe it to our fans to put out the best product we can.  We don't have big publishers and agents behind us to check things over and make corrections.  It's all on us in the end.  And remember, you want to build a good reputation for yourself as an author.  Your book's appearance reflects on you.  

Take the time to make your work the best it can be.  Make it shine like a star so when the readers get their hands on it they don't have any annoying distractions that might take them away from your words.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.