I’ve just spent an hour adding dropcaps to my book—I may be a little crazy.
Let me explain.
A goodly time ago, I decreed that I was giving up on the agent game and was going to self-publish. (Yep, I wrote that in September.) My first goal was just wildly unrealistic, and then I got paralyzed by life circumstances, fear, and options.
Nevertheless, I got back on track.
Step one was research where, exactly, to self-publish. From what I’ve read, it seems like a multi-pronged approach is the best tactic. Because I’m familiar with the system, I decided to start with Amazon’s CreateSpace, from whence it’s a natural transition to KDP for the epub, and then on to other epublishers (more research needs to be done).
Because my book uses the choose-your-own-adventure model, I felt it was good to have a print copy and a hyperlinked digital version, to catch the types of readers who prefer to flip through pages versus the newer ones who are brave enough to try the same thing on a digital device–no page flip required. But that format also means a lot of work.
I drafted a battleplan:
- format for print
- format for online
- create cover
- buy ISBN(s)
- upload to CreateSpace
- upload to KDP/ebook pub
- update website
- buy new business cards
You’ll notice that this battleplan is not ALL the steps to self-publishing, but it IS a lot more steps than I originally thought it would be.
But that first bullet there is why I ended up making dropcaps for an hour. It’s also why I’d encourage other people who are looking to self-publish to go hire a layout designer. Yes, it’s money, but it’s also hard, particularly if you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing.
Luckily, I do have some experience in that direction, but it was still both overwhelming and ridiculously tedious. Some things you have to consider:
- What typeface will you use? What message does it send the reader?
- What size will your typeface be? Can readers in your target age group actually read that size print?
- Is it legible?
- Where on the page will you start your chapter?
- What are your margins?
- Where will you put your page numbers? What will they look like?
- Do you need dropcaps?
- Do you know what a dropcap is?
- How will you manage your widows and orphans?
- Will you put a blank page between chapters?
- Are there any weird formatting things you’re going to have to deal with?
- If you find a small typo while working on one version of your book, how will you ensure that error is fixed everywhere it appears?
- Suggestion: Keep a master file and make ALL changes there. Then use the master file to create the second and third and fourth, etc., versions. (I had a client who didn’t do this, and it was terrible.)
If you know all that kind of thing and don’t mind, then you may be perfectly fine DIY-ing it. CreateSpace offered a template to help match the book size you select, which was awesome. But if that list up there sounds overwhelming, or if you’d rather not waste a whole day doing that kind of thing, do yourself a big favor and pay an expert.
I particularly like the freelance author site Writer.ly. (Note: I also sell my editing services there. Look me up sometime!)
Did you hire someone to design the layout of your book? Why or why not?