Fourteen weeks after the second day of the new year
Author had another post in mind for this week, but certain occurrences have led her to return instead to her post six weeks after the second day of the new year about the importance of details, to share more of Author and Sister’s experience with the writers among you who choose to self-publish. And to you, Author and Sister’s readers, this post will provide another glimpse to what it takes for them to publish their books for you.
When you self-publish, you do it all yourself, from thought to publication. Not entirely alone—you hire an editor to look at your manuscript, you find a designer to design covers for your ebook and print book, and, of course, in this remarkable era in which you are able to talk to anyone, anywhere, online, you can find other self-published writers who are more experienced than you and can give you a tip or two. But no matter who you consult, ultimately you are the one responsible for what is published, for what the readers hold in their hands or view on their screen.
This past week, Author and Sister were once again reminded how important it is to keep an eye on every little detail, even in the very last stages before the publication of their current book for you. In fact, the reason the publication was delayed has to do with those small details. You see, while the ebook cover has been ready for quite a while now, Sister, who as you know has taken charge of the covers, ran into unexpected issues with the print book cover that showed her that she needs to watch every detail herself. Mind you, Sister took care to hire a professional book design company—a cover is, after all, the first impression of the book by its readers. But letting someone else prepare your book cover doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility for the end product.
In the cover creation process, Sister let the designer assigned to her know what Author and Sister would like for both formats of the book, and then selected from the designer’s possible ideas—in fact, Sister has seen and discussed with the designer numerous cover designs, good ones. Once Sister decided on a design, the ebook cover preparation went smoothly, but with the print book cover, even after Sister had the designer add to it all its elements—from a back-cover blurb and a bio to the book’s ISBN and barcode, which you yourself are responsible for obtaining for your book—there was still an unexpectedly long way to go until the final cover was ready, and that long way was, in part, the result of the omission of details. Again and again Sister checked the cover she received, again and again she requested changes, from ensuring the width of the spine is correct to positioning and spacing text and objects, and again and again the cover returned to her with the type of errors that made Sister realize that someone on the other end wasn’t checking the amended cover before it was sent back to her.
Sister has learned, in the process, that she must make sure herself that what should be done, is, and that every detail is as she had asked it would be. It’s enough for someone to be inattentive or misunderstand her requests, for the end result to be incorrect. Yes, the cover designed for Author and Sister’s current book for you is one the design company can be proud of, but along the way its details had to be checked and rechecked again and again, and Author can tell you that Sister has spent countless hours of scrutiny, emails, phone calls, and then more scrutiny before finally, this week, after one last glitch, she could approve the print book cover.
Details do matter. For the cover, they ensure correctness and appearance. For the text, they ensure correctness and readability. A lot comes with experience, and you can expect to make mistakes in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best. Your best, not just the best of those who help with editing, cover, or anything else you decide to outsource.
And a tip from Author and Sister, something they certainly take care to do themselves: be the last eye on your book before it’s published.