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Working with an e-Publisher – Live at Last, live at last, my book is live at last

Working with an ePublisher – Live at Last

This blog strand focused on experiences and thoughts related to self-publishing and working with a specific publishing service provider. Those who have been following these posts know that until now, the ePublisher is never identified. Five days ago the book went live, which means that it is available for purchase either as an eBook or as a print on demand copy. The publisher can be identified now that the writing and production phase of my self-publishing project is completed. IUniverse provided the services and supports that enabled me to complete the project and bring Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment into being.

Of course, there are a number of companies that provide services to the self-publishing author. Each offers packages with various services included; the more services provided the greater the cost. The question for the would-be author is what level of service he requires to supplement the level of expertise he brings to the table. If the aspiring author is a novice in the writing and publishing field, then the more support one purchases the better. In my case, the package selected was the full meal deal.

I am not shilling for iUniverse in any way. Their services were selected based on the best information available from the iUniverse web site and from self-publishing forums. Some of the forum comments reflected less than satisfactory experiences, but squeaky wheels make the most noise, so I took them for what they said and nothing more. If you have been following this blog strand, the reader will know that my experience has been essentially positive from the beginning of my association with iUniverse in April 2012. I was determined to make the process work for me from the outset, take the advice given and act on it, and put in the sweat equity required to produce a publishable work. When the process began this a newly published author hadn’t a clue what was involved in terms of time and energy, but over time I discovered the magnitude of commitment required.

IUniverse provided contacts to support me from the very beginning of our relationship. In the beginning there were opportunities to discuss some of my ideas with individuals that were likely part of the marketing and sales staff. Their principle role seemed to revolve around informing me about additional services I might be interested in purchasing, but they were also willing to engage in extended conversations. When working with a company offering self-publishing services don’t be offended by these efforts at further monetizing the services on offer, after all that’s part of the business. No one ever twisted my arm to purchase any extra services. Listen carefully to what is on offer, one of those services might just be your cup of tea. The fact is, that in their efforts to interest you in other services you have a chance to discuss your ideas with a complete stranger, which is as useful as having conversations with people you know. Perhaps such conversations are even more useful than one might think, because whoever your target audience is, they are strangers too.

If a complete editing package is purchased, your work will be reviewed by editorial staff three times. My manuscript was reviewed by a developmental editor, a content editor, and a quality editor. The most useful editorial service was the DE (developmental edit). That’s when the author learns just how much work they still need to do. My own manuscript was full of faults, all of which were described in detail in an earlier post in this blog strand. If you are fortunate to have a good developmental editor go over your manuscript, make sure you read all their comments in detail. Those individual comments were essential in determining the scope and range of work required to get the writing process on track. In my case, the first draft required radical surgery, restructuring, and rewriting.

The other edits provided opportunity for further refinements, but by the second draft (66000 words of it), the final product had taken on its essential shape. In addition to editorial support, specialists in marketing, book production, and publicity were also on call to assist me in various stages of the process. If you do the research, and total the cost of all the services included in the most complete package iUniverse offers, an author attempting to locate and purchase a similar set of services on their own will spend at least as much money, if not more.

The other advantage to working with a company like iUniverse, or any of the other companies who offers services like these, is the sense of structure within one must work. Each specific phase of the process allows the author to target their energies, and focus on what needs to be done at any particular stage of the process. I still need to review the printer’s copy for defects in workmen ship, but the files submitted to me for approval suggest that the finished book will exceed my expectations. The same can be said for all the marketing materials, book launch materials, and an author web site that were included in the publishing package purchased.

My next blog post in this strand will reflect my reaction to the Printer’s proof copy and the actual materials included as marketing materials and book launch materials. So far, I can say with confidence, that every dollar spent has been worthwhile. This blog strand will continue as I work through the experience of marketing a book. When my author web site goes live, I’ll provide the link, but that will take about a week.

Until then, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness, Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment which is now available through the iUniverse book store and Amazon.

Nota bene: The book will also be available through other supply channels as they come on stream. Some information still needs to be uploaded to these book stores including a book cover image and brief excerpt. Apparently it takes several days for a listing to take on its complete form. Thanks for understanding.

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

What was your reaction when your book went live? Comment below if you wish…

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The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

The Final Steps – Working with an E-publisher

My last blog post in this series focused on the topic of indexing and cover layout. I had chosen to purchase the services of a professional indexer and cover layout specialist rather than attempt those tasks myself. I’ll address the cover polish first, and then the index.

I had already signed off on the block design for the cover by the time I had written my last post, and I still find it gives the book an attractive and professional feel. The only problem with the cover is found in one sentence of the text. Although I provided most of the text, the cover editor added and subtracted a bit to the text that appears on the flyleaf or the back cover, and that’s where the problem lies. One sentence has four key verbs contained within, the first is in the present tense, which fits with the tense of the whole. The second, third, and fourth verbs are in the past. Ugh! I missed that when I reviewed the text.

I have emailed the appropriate support person in the editorial department to see if the tense can be adjusted. Since I already signed off on the cover design, I’m not sure it can be altered, although it should be a simple matter to address. The tense issue is a very small one in the grand scheme of things for two reasons. First, only a very picky reader is likely to notice, and secondly, this is predominately going to be sold as a print on demand or an eBook. It’s not like I will get much shelf space in Barns and Noble or Indigo/Chapters.

This small issue is just that, a small issue. I just wanted to point out that it exists because the final text was prepared by a cover polish expert. Expert or not, he or she is just as likely to miss a small error like this. The error exists in the hard copy of one paragraph of the cover text because I abrogated my responsibility to a ‘professional’ with sheer abandon. Within lies the error. Hopefully, a change will be made to rectify the issue. We shall see how responsive the editor will be to my request. I’ll let you know.

The index was completed and forwarded to me by PDF file as usual. It looked pretty good and gave the reader a good idea of the range and scope of the content. I assessed the quality of the index in substance and layout by comparing it to the index in a few works of non-fiction, and it compared favourably. I happen to be reading Hawking’s A Brief History of Time at the moment. The index in Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment is not demonstrably different in appearance and usefulness as compared to others, even Hawking’s book. So when it comes to indexing, go pro and spend a few $$.

The next step will be to review and approve the Galley Proof of the printed version of the book. When it arrives, I will post my comments.

Until the next post, as always, I remain your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss (Larry) – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity, and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

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