Tag Archives: CreateSpace

Self-Publishing Class – Sample Lectures

I thought you might want to know more about the self-publishing class that I’ll be teaching starting Monday. So here are some samples from some of my class lectures.

From Lecture 1

Welcome to my class on self-publishing your book! I’m glad you’re here. There are a lot of ways to get your book out into the world, and I’m going to present only a few. Then you’ll be able to take what you learn here, continue to research and learn more about your other options, and make changes (if you choose) in the future with more confidence.

The first things you’ll need to decide are:

  • do you want to publish in ebook only, print only, or both?
  • what software will you use?
  • what distributors will you use?

Starting today, if you haven’t already started a notebook or computer file to save all the information you collect on self-publishing, do it now.

I use an ARC notebook from Staples to save everything that is already printed, or that I print out.

http://www.staples.com/M-by-Staples-Arc-Customizable-Durable-Poly-Notebook-System-Black-9-3/product_886237

I prefer these because I like how easy it is to pull a piece of paper from one section and press it into another without having to open and close a 3-ring binder all the time. But whatever you like and will find easy to organize is what you should use.

I save different information – my house style guide, some how-to blogs that I’ve saved, a list of passwords and links to the distributors I use, and much more – in a Scrivener file.

Screen shot - Style guide

From that Scrivener file, I can cut and paste links I need easier than if they were in a printed file, and I can continually update my style guide, add new books or formats (like audiobooks), and organize other information that I don’t feel the need to print.

From Lecture 2

In addition to the big choices – will I publish in ebook, print, or both formats? what software will I use? – you have a lot of detailed choices as well. This lesson will help familiarize you with some of those choices, and provide web sites where you can look up more information and/or sign up for the service.

Business Type

When you sign up for an account to publish your book with a distributor (KDP, Smashwords, etc.), you will need to provide your legal name (if you write with a pen name) and/or your business name. I chose to register a DBA (Doing Business As, also known as a Fictitious Business Name) so I could have a company name without the expense of setting up a corporation or LLC. You will have to do your own research on this, ask your accountant and/or attorney what is best for you because I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice.

If you live in California, here is a link to the state web site explaining the minimum tax if you set up a corporation or LLC. Google “[my state] minimum tax” to find out more about the tax consequences of setting up a corporation/LLC in your state.

https://www.ftb.ca.gov/individuals/faq/beMinTax.shtml

CHOICE: How will I set up my distributor accounts, and what do I need to do before I can sign up for those accounts?

Tax Identification Numbers

When you sign up with a distributor, you need to provide banking information and a tax ID number so you can get paid and so your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

If you run your business as a sole proprietor, with or without a DBA, you can use your social security number or you can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). While I can’t give you legal or financial advice, here are some articles that may help you decide.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Employer-ID-Numbers-EINs

http://legal.answers.com/definitions/should-you-use-an-ein-or-your-social-security-number

http://info.legalzoom.com/need-ein-am-dba-23281.html

Depending on your bank and your business type, you may be able to set up a business checking account. (Your bank can tell you if they require an EIN for a sole proprietorship with or without a DBA, or if they will allow you to use your social security number.) Your royalties/earnings can be deposited there instead of your personal account to make accounting and taxes easier. Or your bank may only let you set up a separate personal checking account. Either way, you need to decide where you want your money deposited.

If you use PayPal, you may want to research how you can set up a separate PayPal account connected to your business checking so you can keep your business and personal finances separate.

CHOICE: How will I set up my banking for receiving payments and paying expenses?

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION: How will changing from one business type now (sole prop/DBA) to another later (corporation/LLC) affect my business? How will it affect my sales, sales rank, tax reporting, sales reporting, etc. from the vendors and distributors I’ve signed up with?

From Lecture 5

This lecture is not going to be an exhaustive how-to on using InDesign. You’ve either decided to learn it and you plan to use additional resources to do so, or you are already familiar with it to some degree. This will also help you get your book set up in InDesign if you have used Quark Xpress or Pagemaker or another desktop publishing program. There are enough similarities among the programs that knowing how to do this or that in one program gives you an idea of how to do it in another.

I’ll tell you what I do, and you can follow my directions, or just use them as a jumping off point to decide how you want to design your book’s interior. (You can also read along and ask yourself if this seems easy enough to learn. I think you’ll find it is.)

What I Do

Following are directions for creating a new file, making it into a template so you have all your settings saved for future books, and then adding your current manuscript to the template to create a new document.

Open InDesign
Go to File, New, Document
Under Intent on the popup screen, leave it as Print (the default)
Under Pages, make it a few more pages than you think it needs to be

Example: My superhero story is 100,000 words and came in at about 325 pages with the manuscript, the front and back matter, and the short excerpt of the next book at the end; my 8,000-word short story is about 36 pages with front and back matter and short excerpt

Under Page Size, choose Custom, then you’ll create a custom preset for all of your books

Adjust the width and height to the sizes you want for your print book (this won’t affect your EPUB if you create one from InDesign), and type in a name for the Custom Page Size.

Example: You could create one that is 4 1/8” x 6 7/8” and call it “Mass Market,” and create one that is 5” x 8” and call it “Trade Size.” Then you only need to choose which Custom Page Size you want to use this time.

Screen shot InD New Doc 1

Click on the Add button to save the name of the Custom Page Size. If you created more than one, click on the one you want and hit OK.

Screen shot InD New Doc 2

Leave the columns section as is if you are creating a novel template. Adjust your margins according to the CreateSpace guidelines. (You may have to click on the “chain” icon next to the top and bottom margins in order for your changes to save.)

Example: I use 0.75” for the top, bottom, and inside margins, and 0.5” on the outside margin

Sign Up Today!

These are just a few examples of what you’ll learn in my 4-week online class, Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing. You will receive 8 lectures with 92 pages of information, including screen shots, to help you get your book up for sale as an ebook and/or in print by the end of the class. Everyone will be encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions to each other so that everyone can avoid or solve problems, and gain the newest information in an ever-changing industry.

Manuscript not ready? No problem. You can go through the lectures and practice with a dummy manuscript. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions about anything you don’t understand so you can be ready when your manuscript is complete.

Check out my Classes page and sign up for the class. It starts Monday, January 12, 2015.

Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I have been looking forward to this day for years! And now it’s arrived! You can buy a print copy of Little Miss Lovesick now by going to my CreateSpace store page on Amazon. It will take a few weeks for it to filter through to other web sites, but it’s available now in my store. Yay!!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some silly trivia with you about the book. 🙂

  • I came up with the idea in 1998 when I was chatting with an editor from Tyndale House Publishers about some upcoming anthologies they were getting ready. I sent them the first few chapters, and they liked my writing but chose someone else’s story.
  • I tweaked the idea when I went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) regional conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1999 or 2000, and pitched it to an editor at Silhouette Books. By the time I had the proposal ready for her, she’d moved on to another publishing house.
  • I tried working on it again when I was at a writing retreat with my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright. They responded neutrally, which was the kiss of “boring” to me. Then Lauraine asked me if I’d heard of “chick lit,” which was still rather new. We went out to a bookstore and I nearly screeched, “This is what I would write if they didn’t tell me to write ‘their’ way!” I was so excited! That was the beginning of me relaxing and writing the way I want to write. I think that was a turning point for both me and Kathleen. 🙂
  • On that same writing retreat, I rewrote the first chapter and read it to Lauraine and Kathleen again. This time they were cracking up. Score! Lauraine called her agent that day and asked her to read it. A few months later, I’d signed with her and felt like my career was finally getting some traction.
  • I took a research trip up to Ontario, Canada, where I planned to set much of the book. My mom came with me and we had a great time, saw so many interesting things. More than I could’ve ever put in one book. 😉 I’ll have to use some of that later. In fact, I had to move the heroine Sydney’s fly fishing vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan instead of a few hours north in Canada. There were several “logic” issues that weren’t working for the story if Matt was in Ontario.
  • I wrote the rest of the book at night, on the weekends, and at lunch time in the NBC cafeteria in Burbank where I worked. I sent it to my agent in the summer of 2004, and she sent it to several editors at the big name publishing houses in New York. Best. Day. Ever.
  • But just as I was figuring out what my “voice” was, the publishing industry began to feel chick lit was on the way out and they didn’t want to buy any more. The same summer that it seemed everything was beginning for me, everything seemed to end.
  • The next few years I tried to figure out what to do with my newly discovered writing voice now that people were telling me that that style of writing was no longer popular. This was not a good time for me. I almost quit several times, and once I did quit. But within a few months, I couldn’t help myself, and I started writing again. 🙂
  • Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, for John to work on Happy Feet. I put this book on the shelf and wrote the first draft of Unexpected Superhero. (Look for it in 2013!) I loved it, but my agent didn’t think it fit in the current market.
  • We moved back to California. I started and stopped a couple different projects, but I couldn’t find something that interested me that also interested my agent. Eventually, we parted company as friends. I mentally wiped down all the white boards in my mind and started again with a blank slate. What was I going to write? And what would I do if no one wanted to read it?
  • We moved back to Sydney again for Happy Feet 2. (Note: a lot of moving and packing and waiting months for your things to arrive is not an easy way to have a home-based business.) I applied to graduate school and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to go to grad school – since I was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania and met a grad student who worked with microwave technology. I know, weird. LOL!
  • I wanted to go to UTS over other writing graduate programs because it sounded very hands on, very creative, and the program seemed to be aimed at taking you to the next level in a writing career, not just studying Shakespeare. I was disappointed that on the one hand, it was just another academic program. We didn’t delve deeply into the nuances of writing that really make your work stand out from others. And it seemed that I knew more about how to get published in a global market than most people. (Thanks to the Romance Writers of America! They are all about teaching their members how to have a career in writing.) On the other hand, I’m still glad I went. I have a better credential now for teaching, which I love to do. 🙂
  • The morning after my last grad school class, I flew from Sydney to New York to attend the annual RWA conference. I told myself that if no one was interested in my romantic comedies, I was going back home to Sydney and publishing them myself. No one was interested. I went back home and published Little Miss Lovesick as an ebook! Yay!
  • Then we moved back to California. Then we moved again. Then my mom died. This has not been a good year for getting work done.
  • Finally – I don’t know what happened – everything in my world lined up so that I suddenly started getting a lot of work done! (Thank you, God!!) I finished Unexpected Superhero and sent it to Harper Voyager. I wrote a book proposal for a romantic suspense book. And John and I got to work on the time-consuming process of turning Lovesick into a print book.
  • John did the cover design, and created the template I used for the interior. He did a great job! I received the hard copy “proof” on Friday (I about exploded from excitement when I held my first book in my hands!) and went through it looking for errors. None! So I hit “approve” on the CreateSpace site and voila! A book was born!

There it is, the whole story. If you have any friends who like funny love stories, or friends who live in Michigan who would enjoy a book set in Traverse City, you might be able to check a few more people off your Christmas shopping list now. 🙂 Maybe you want a copy for yourself, too! I hope it makes you laugh. Then I’ll know I did a good job. 🙂

Thanks for sharing my adventure! More adventures ahead!