it’s my week again. We’re all just rivitingly excited for this, aren’t we?
Kate talked a little last week about the effort we’ve been putting in, trying to get our first couple of projects off the ground. And later this week I’ll come up with some kind of kick-butt inspirational post for all those people out there doing nano or whatever other writerly challenge you might be working on.
Today we’re going to do a top five list of lessons learned about file-formating and the early, pre-finish side of working with distribution channels.
Lesson #1: You aren’t paranoid, I thought it too.
There’s a point, about halfway through the process when whoever has kicked your properly formatted file (you think) back six times. And I can nearly promise when that happens, and it offers, again, in cheery little letters to do it for you for only the piddling price of your first-born child or possibly both of you kidneys, where you’re going to think it’s just kicking it back so you’ll pay to have it formatted.
I make no claims as to whether or not this is true, I say only that I am obstinate and cheap. I’ll spend seven hours recreating a file from the ground up before I pay you to do it for me.
Lesson #2: Worship the templates.
I know when you look at these they feel a little like the ‘let us do it for you’ option too. My best advice is to suck up that plucky, pioneer spirit and use it somewhere else. Learn to love the templates. Createspace particularly has some nice ones.
Lesson #3: KISS
If you know an engineer in literally any context you’ve probably heard this. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I, like you, would love to have things wing their way from my code-happy fingertips (I lie, code and I hate each other) and look like perfectly formated books done by big New York Publishers. And then I remember that even perfectly formated books by big New York Publishers often don’t look like that any more, and I realize how difficult that pretty font is to get to embed properly in the pdf, and my child and my animals would like to be fed. Reality is a cruel, cruel mistress.
Lesson #4: The rising cost of health care suggests you take a break.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is no-ones boo. If you, like me, get sucked into hours and hours of making that stupid picture embed centered, set a timer and take a break once in a while. An ER doc somewhere will appreciate having one less stress-induced breakdown to deal with. And likely your wrists will thank you later too.
Lesson #5: Beware the dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketsup.
I know, at some point in this process, it’s going to occur to you to go to that lovely writing group on facebook, or XYZ message board, and ask for advice. I get it, I do. I felt it too. But that road is madness. It is a sad state of fact that most of the people who inhabit the online writing community don’t know any more or any better than you do. Much better to find an author or publisher who you trust to speak sense, and ask their advice.
And the one thing to grow on, that should probably finish out any list designed for creative type people? Don’t give up. You are the little blue train chugging up the hill. Visualise the train. Be the train.
I’ll see you at the top.