Saturday, April 26, 2014

Note to Self: Don't Double Space

When I decided that I couldn’t just let my final Wally Morris mystery, Vengeance Acts Up, wallow in dejected, rejected ignominy, I made the decision to self-publish it using CreateSpace.  I read closely all the comments on the former Avaloners loop, looking for info and helpful hints from other authors who had already made the leap.  Unfortunately, I seem to have missed a few essential pieces of advice, surely given in the instructions, but overlooked by my husband, the one who actually did all the computer entries, and me.

We really tried hard.  I copied as much as possible each page of one of my earlier Avalons, to make sure that my headers were done right, and the title pages and dedications were all good.  I forgot (unbelievably, I do work in a library, after all) the copyright page, which was a shame, because it would have been one more place to list our newly formed, unofficial, publishing company, TWELVE PUPPIES PUBLISHING.  We chose that in honor of the twelve Seeing Eye® puppies we’ve raised and put our current one at the time, Nana, in the logo spot on the back of the book.  She was seven-weeks-old in the picture and had just been delivered from The Seeing Eye® breeding center.

After an amazingly short time, the brand-spanking-new proof arrived.  You can imagine our dismay when the book came in at a hefty 450 plus pages.  We’re talking doorstop.  It was huge.

It turned out that we should not have sent the book in double-spaced. There were a few other mistakes I didn’t pick up until I looked at the proof in person (rather than the convenient and free version on the computer screen.)  Also, there was the biggish mistake I won’t name that was in the Kindle version  (does anyone know what to do to get that fixed?) that my daughter caught.  Actually, that was another mistake we made—doing them in that order. And, because I didn’t quite understand the terms, I managed to make the book semi-unavailable, especially to the vendors who sell to libraries.

The next time I use CreateSpace to publish one of my books (I have a huge backlog so I hope it’s soon but we always seem to be too busy) we will try to follow the rules.  Right now we are raising our thirteenth Seeing Eye® puppy, Holliday (no, we don’t name them), but I don’t think it’s really wise or practical to change the name of the publisher. One never knows for sure, so we’ll all just have to wait and see.  We could be at the beginning of a publishing dynasty.

Two proofs after the doorstop, and still missing the verso page, (we are a little boneheaded at times) we had a copy we liked.  I had a book signing at home (really a cake fest with wine, beer, cheese, fruit, ten things my daughter and I baked, and oh, yeah, books for sale), tons of people came, and everyone had a good time.

But we didn’t let anyone see the doorstop.


  1. I started my professional life as a typesetter. Formatting publications is not easy, even when you use WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Good luck with your venture.

  2. Now I know why I never tried the self-publishing, Joani. I thought about it, but never took the time to look into it any further. I'm off to look at your puppy pictures - we once had 4 Labs at the same time and I still miss them.

  3. Good for you, Joani, for venturing into new territory. The first one is the hardest. Don't get discouraged. Keep those books coming.