On Self-Publishing . . . with students

This morning I finally got my Writer’s Craft student anthology completed for printing. The Amazon page should be up by the middle of next week, and I can give the link to my students to order their own copies. 

Remember when I said I didn’t have a list going? Yeah, I totally lied. It’s on my iPhone. And this item is on the verge of getting ticked off . . . as soon as the book is live and I’ve communicated the link, it’s one less thing I have to worry about. 

I had hoped, this time, that the publishing of the anthology wouldn’t take as long as the first time I’d done it for my class. After all, I had more experience with the process this round, knew what to expect, and the CreateSpace program is pretty easy to use. 

However . . .

I’d underestimated how many typos had been caught and fixed in the first and second rounds of edits. I found more in the 3rd. And unexpectedly added some in the 4th. Plus some of the pictures added to files by student writers were moving around, and then I found out that I had to anchor the damned things or they wouldn’t upload at all. 

And I discovered after approving the print (paperback) copy that the file I currently have won’t upload to Kindle Direct as-is, so I’m going to have to do some tweaking again to make it e-book effective. 

I was kind of hoping that my students would be witness to some of this process during our class time, but it didn’t work out that way. I’ll just have to let them know when I post the link, just to reinforce that most important part of the self-publishing process: 

Have patience. Lots and lots of patience.

If you are putting your own work out there, you can’t rush it. Skipping steps or avoiding one last readthrough is a sure-fire way for your work to end up with flaws that might prove embarrassing to you or off-putting to readers simply because they could have been super-easy to fix. 

And having patience also means ignoring or working around distractions. If you are fortunate enough to be working from a writing cave or a den or a she-shed or whatever you have, awesome! Lock the door. Spend 20 minutes at a time and then do something fun so you don’t fry your brain reading over the text again and again. If you’re like me and there’s little to no privacy to be had in your abode except when the smaller fry are suitably distracted, you have to work on it when you can. Patiently. 

That being said, I’m still plugging away at the proofing of my novel, Crystal and Wand, which will be published by Melange Books — I haven’t yet taken the plunge into self-pubbing my own work just yet. Might do that this summer with the snowmobiling novel (it now has a title! Rip Gone Wrong), or the children’s book I wrote about my daughter’s lost toe-nail . . . Or keep polishing and take my chances with submitting the manuscripts to publishers.  Because I suspect that I may have more patience in editing and proofing other peoples’ work after it’s been completed than in doing my own from start (concept and drafting) to finish. 

Self-publishing. It’s a journey. Keep lots of your favourite coffee or tea on hand, trust me. You’ll need it.

Update . . . 

Aaand true to form, when I thought I would sit down for five minutes to look over the Kindle file requirements for the anthology, lo and behold I discovered, unbelievably, that I’d left out the word “by” in some of the Table of Contents. Infuriating. So here I am, multiple deep breaths and three-quarters of an hour later, submitting the updated file again. Patience indeed.

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