T-minus three days and counting…

First of all, thank you, everyone, for your advice and thoughts on whether I should buy my own ISBN and/or set up my own publishing company. After coming off a major adrenalin rush, reading your comments, and making a call to my local Australian Bowker, I had a plan.

I’ve decided not to bother with a publishing company, because, as someone pointed out, people “in the know” will know right away. Several comments even stated that self-published authors may get more support, or that some readers may even seek fresh, new books by indie publishers. All that, plus I really can’t handle more “unwriting” work right now. My little engine is sputtering as it is.

I did, however, buy a block of 10 ISBNs. One of the reasons was vague concern that I will be stuck with Amazon and Amazon only (to be honest, I’m not at all clear on this yet, information overload). Another one was that it turned out Australian-purchased ISBNs are cheap as chips! This will be probably the one and only product that costs significantly less in Australia (I still can’t get used to the price of shampoo and houses. Or food. Or cars. Oh, America, how I miss your cheap prices…). Anyway, if you go to the American Bowker site, you have to shell out a cool $299 USD for a block of 10 ISBNs. But go to MyIdentifiers AU and you can get the same exact ISBNs for just $84 AUS, which is about fifty American (plus a one-off first-time publisher registration of $55 AUS). I’ve called them up and asked if I can use the numbers to sell in the US and they said yes, the key being “International” SBNs. I’ve already assigned one of the numbers to Shizzle, Inc as a forthcoming novel!

Screenshot of Bowker page

The ISBNs allowed me to register Ana Spoke as the publisher, so I’m all set there and even added the two numbers (ISBN-10 and ISBN-13, whatever they are) to my copyright page.

I’ve also been busy with the very last, definitely final, absolutely, positively final text polish. It’s amazing that after at least a dozen self-edits and three professional edits, I can still find things to tweak and improve. Today I’m about to buy a year’s subscription to Grammarly. At first I was all like “I’m not paying $139 after $3K of professional edits”, but after installing the free version for my browser, I’m sold. Grammarly is checking this post as I’m typing it, and I can’t help but think that it’s doing a better job than sometimes-retarded Word. I may decide to get just a trial month, but then I was thinking of how many documents I have to write for work, including constant job applications. Grammarly very well may make me a better writer.

Speaking of polishing, I’ve also finished (I hope) formatting the text. Here is the “before” shot:

Before makeover

And here is the same one with hair and makeup:

Text after makeover

I’ve done just a few things:

  1. Set up headings and a proper Table of Contents, which is supposed to translate easily to Kindle, with live links to chapters. Time will tell if it’s so.
  2. Changed font to Verdana. It’s on the list of recommended fonts for Kindle and one suggested as the easiest to read on the phone.
  3. Dropped caps, like they’re hot! Very easy to do, go to Insert – Drop cap or read this for a step-by-step guide: How to Create a Drop Cap.
  4. Offset paragraphs. I was reluctant to do that, I prefer the blockier office look, but when I looked at a few fiction books, they all had offset paragraphs. Here are a couple of very thorough guides on all steps you need to take in order to format your book for kindle: Amazon’s own guideFormat Book in Word blog (dedicated to book formatting) and CJ’s easy as pie Kindle tutorials.

Thank you once again for all your help. I will try to stick to my self-imposed deadline of this upcoming weekend. Look out for a buzzing, over-exuberant, tear-stained email in your inbox!

39 Comments

Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

39 responses to “T-minus three days and counting…

  1. Aneta

    Congrats!! This is a huge accomplishment. Im in the process of writing a few novels and actually have one that I finished this year in June. Still fine tuning and editing and I have to get an ISBN. This post was a huge help – thanks!!
    -Aneta x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Aneta! Warms my heart 🙂 Congratulations to you too, how exciting! Hope my other posts can be helpful too, it’s been a journey of about two years and I’ve spent entirely too much time submitting to agents instead of writing or editing more.

      Like

      • Aneta

        Thanks – Good luck on the rest of the journey! what’s your book called and is it up for purchase yet? x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Aneta, thank you 🙂 The book is called Shizzle, Inc, its a comedy, and it should be on Kindle in about three days. I will post an announcement on the blog as soon as that happens 🙂

        Like

      • Aneta

        yay thats awesome! i remember you discussing covers previously 🙂
        Are there specific places you have to look for cover images?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Aneta, I did my own, from 5 images I got on Shutterstock. Cost me $50, but watch out – they sign you up to automatically re-charge once you’ve downloaded the 5. I complained and they’ve refunded my money, so all good 🙂

        Like

      • Aneta

        oh lucky you picked up on it before they re-charged you for it all! I’m currently trying to think of a pen name because my last name is too crazy. I’m about to do a post about it 🙂
        Is Ana Spoke a pen name, or your real name?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a pen name, shhh…My last name is unpronounceable​ and connected to my “serious” career. Would be interesting to see how you choose one, it was a nightmare for me 🙂

        Like

      • Aneta

        nice! yeah it’s becoming a bit of a challenge! Any tips? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • You can post your favorites on your blog and ask people for advice. I can’t remember my process, it’s been three years, but I do remember freaking out over the decision for months, until I “pulled the band-aid off” one day, sorta speak. I don’t think there’s a “perfect” name, but I would suggest one that people would easily remember and one without potential misspellings (I still forget if it’s Stephen or Steven King, and I’ve loved his books for over a decade).

        Like

      • Aneta

        Oh me too..he’s an incredible writer!
        thanks that actually does help though..I might write some ideas I had in the post i’m doing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your formatting looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, your formatting does look great! Good luck. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done! Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay! Congrats!! I did the same recently with my first book (officially released tomorrow through Smashwords, woo!), and doing nearly all of it myself was definitely a learning experience! Wish you the best of luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. olivia barrington

    Your almost there!!!! It looks great. All of your hard work will pay off soon. Think how excited you’ll be when the first copy sells!! I still want to know what your final cover looks like… I’m so excited to see it. And to read it. Just a few more days and you’ll become a famous writer. I am so happy for you! Congrats on everything turning out the way you wanted and the best of luck (like you need it). Hey, have you heard anything from the job interviews? Good luck with that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Olivia 🙂 I’m yet to revise the cover – I am currently trying to draw the title by hand, all available fonts are driving me crazy, nothing is quite “it”. Also, already been told that I didn’t get the first of the jobs on offer. Oh, well, writer it is 🙂 I’m a long way away from “professional”, but I will screen-shoot and frame the first sale on Amazon, that’s​ for sure 🙂

      Like

  7. ISBN costs in Australia seem interesting. Must investigate.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for sharing your publishing experience. I published a short non fiction 3-book on Kindle last month just to see how it is done. I was following the Kindle e-book for instructions but found one important emission. They stated that the Word file needed to be converted to an ASCII file before uploading. I did this but after checking on the reader simulations my formatting was a mess. I tried to fix it in the original file and re upload but it was still a mess. I then checked the help section on uploading from the site and they stated that a Word file as well as many other formats could be uploaded directly. I did this and shabang every thing was perfect! What a learning curve. I am working on my next non fiction project now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Peter and thank you for sharing your experience, too! I will be uploading today, a very simple word file, so fingers crossed 🙂 This is my very first publishing exercise, so I can totally relate in terms of the learning curve 🙂 Good luck with your fiction novel!

      Like

  9. I’m also jealous about the Australian ISBN costs…but too late now since I have mine. I am curious about ‘offset paragraphs’? Tried to look that up and google keeps referring me to ‘indented paragraphs’. Can you tell me if that’s what it is or, something else? I also love drop caps!

    Best wishes for smooth sailing the next few days!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    GO FOR IT !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have found your posts really thought-provoking. I haven’t yet completed any manuscripts but it’s helpful to know what options exist once that time comes. And it’s also nice to know that at least something here in Australia isn’t insanely expensive! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, such great information. If I ever do finish my novel, I will use your website as a great source for self-publishing. Thank you so much for this post. It will save me hours of work, which I can spend sleeping 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am very, very glad to read advice like this, because I intend to spread my efforts further afield and Kindle is one way. I’ve already published through lul.com and managed their formatting wizard (took days of spare time) but that was some years ago and it’s great to get more recent advice from a younger person (ie. someone better at understanding all this stuff). Thanks for visiting my BlogSpot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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