I have some book updates:
I received the next iteration of the cover art from artist Hans Binder Knott, and it’s really starting to come together. At this point the basic composition is complete, and Hans is filling in the finer details. Hans continues to be great to work with—responsive, efficient, and incredibly talented. With every iteration he sends, I get more excited about the final product.
Also, this past weekend I decided it was time to actually tackle ebook formatting and production. I’ve been putting it off for a long time, primarily because I was intimidated by the whole process because I didn’t know what to do or where to really start. I had no idea how to properly format a manuscript to turn it into something that could be read on a Kindle, Nook or whatever a person’s e-reader of choice might be. Fortunately, I have the internet!
Writer David Gaughran has made the original edition of his ebook on indie publishing—Let’s Get Digital—free to download. This edition of the book is six years old (he has a more recent edition for sale), but I found it to be an incredible resource that’s full of practical advice, “how-to” information, and links to valuable online resources. In the chapter on formatting a manuscript for ebook production, Gaughran directs readers to a step-by-step guide by Guido Henkel called “Take pride in your eBook formatting.” I have no idea if Henkel’s guide is still used by writers today, but I found it easy to follow, informative, and thorough (he explained the why as much as the how). Most importantly it worked: I produced a final a mock-up of book one of the Calypto Cycle in multiple ebook formats—complete with a mock cover, title page material, professional looking typesetting, hyperlinks to web resources, etc.—and it took me about six hours spaced over two days. Considering my starting point was complete ignorance about the process, I don’t think six hours is all that bad, and I’m confident that with the “style” guide I assembled as I went along that I could repeat the process on a new novel-length manuscript in 30-60 minutes. It really wasn’t hard after the steps got demystified for me. If I can do it; anyone can.
So at this point, the copy editing on my manuscript is done, and I’ve learned how to do the proper ebook formatting (I’ve even created a step-by-step “style” guide). The cover art is getting close. I’ve developed the title page information (copyright information, disclaimers, design credits, etc.), and I’ve started thinking about what I want in the back of the book besides an author bio. Many things remain, however, before my book can be made available to the world. I need to figure out how to format the manuscript for a paperback version (most likely CreateSpace) and how to format for submission to Smashwords (to hit the “non-Amazon” half of the ebook markets). I need to find a graphic designer to do the cover. Back cover blurb? Arrange for reviews and promotion? Yup, need to do those too. That’s still a long list, but I’m steadily tackling the tasks.
Oi!—I almost forgot the most important thing: I need to keep writing stories.