Publishing An Independent Middle Grade Book in 22 Easy Steps Part 2 by Julie Anne Grasso
Here is part 2 of Julie Anne Grasso's article - Publishing An Independent Middle Grade Book in 22 Easy Steps.
Step Eight: Cover conjuring and interior decorating:
Produce a cover brief to give the artist an idea of what you would like, the themes used, the colours and style. Keep it simple, because your book will be reduced to thumbnail size on most digital bookstores. If you have too much going on, it will become even more obscure and not stand out.
For middle grade, the suggestion is that you try to put your main character on the cover in some form of action. Children love to identify with the protagonist, so give them a visual to help them do it.
You will need to part with between $200-$1000, depending on what you have conjured.
Exact Cover dimensions can be found on the operating system you will be uploading to ( ie. Createspace for paperback etc. Note Lightning Source, or Ingram Spark have different cover specifications to Createspace and require the use of your ISBN in order to generate your PDF)
For children I use 5'x8' (12.7cm x 20.32) with interior cream paper. I also use 14pt Garamond font, or Times New Roman, both are quite easy for children to read.
Be sure to ask for a cropped low and high resolution version of your cover for ebook from your artist and factor it into your price.
Some artists will produce the entire cover for you with Book Titles, others will only provide you with the image and you will then need to engage a book designer to produce the titles, and front and back cover.
You will also need to produce a blurb or book description to go onto the back cover.
ISBN's are not necessary for most ebook sellers, but essential for print books.It will cost you around $150 to register with Thorpe Bowker, then I personally buy a book of 8 ISBN's for around $80.All prices are subject to change so be sure to check their website when determining your budget.
I personally don't bother buying barcodes as I use www.createspace.com and they print the barcode for you. They require a small white blank box, included in your back cover. Check their site for the dimensions and specific details.
Step Nine: Illustration Conjuring:
As I write middle grade mystery, I decided I wanted between 8-10 illustrations as there are a lot of different and quirky characters in my books.
Illustrations should not be just a static scene. Kids find this boring. They should have some kind of action or energy or hidden clue happening.
Something I will note now is that once your artist begins to send along illustrations, it is incredibly important to proof them for consistency.If your protagonist is wearing a backpack, he needs to be wearing it in each shot.
Also, hand placement and perspective are very important.Having a character in the foreground with an arm raised or pointing to something and a minor character standing behind can often result with your main character picking someone else's nose or worse landing on unmentionable parts of anatomy.
It makes for a great laugh in proofing, but trust me, you do not want to give the kids something to laugh about if it's unintentional.
Image placement within the text is also very important. A full page illustration is much easier to place than a half page.You must also carefully read the text to make sure that the image is not revealing anything too soon.
I often have illustrations moved a page forward or backward, after I have a printed proof. It's very difficult to get a visual on how an illustration falls within the story until it is placed amongst the page turns.
Step Ten: Printed Proof:
Uploading to Createspace is fairly intuitive and they also offer for you to go on to produce an Ebook version. It is also free to upload, where as some other systems will require an initial outlay, before you even consider printing with them.
You will need your book Interior in PDF as well as your Cover as two separate files then the Createspace system will merge the two.
They also have expanded distribution as standard now, which will allow your book to be sold through places like Book Depository and Booktopia.
Be aware that these sites offer free shipping, but for a Print On Demand book, which is what your book will be called, they will increase the price of your book regardless of the price you set, in order to cover the cost of shipping.
Often the Ebook version the Createspace system will generate will not be sufficient for a smooth ebook.I personally skip that step and upload the ebook version I receive from my formatter, directly to www.kindledirectpublishing.com
Once you upload, the system will take about 24 hours to let you know that the files meet print standard. You can then go ahead and do a digital online proof, but I always order a paperback proof as well.
This is very important and will be costly, depending on the speed of shipping.My proofs tend to cost about $30 with shipping, as I usually want them within a week.
Step Eleven: Changes to your print copy:
It's pretty important to get your print copy error free first, and then go on to have your ebook formatted.Sometimes I have ordered 2-3 proofs, depending on what I have found during my proofing stage. Each time you resubmit a file, it will take 24 hours to be approved, then more time to receive the proof.Factor this in when you are planning for book launching.
You may want to order a second copy for another impartial person to proof for you, as you will find that even on print version, reading your book aloud, there will be a couple of niggling errors you do not pick up.
Be sure to proof, from cover to cover, not just the interior file, as this will be how your book will be in its final form. For Createspace, they do not charge you for changes to your files after proofing, but be aware that Ingram Spark will.
Step Twelve: Ebook Formatting:
I personally send along the print file to my ebook formatter, and then she strips all the formatting and makes it into an ebook.
Proofing is required once you upload so be prepared that you may have to send your ebook formatter some corrections.Most formatters will only allow you a certain number of corrections before they will begin to charge you for changes.I stress this is why I try to get the best possible print file available to the formatter, so that I will have hopefully minimal changes at the ebook end.
For illustrations further ahead, you will need to provide separate files for each illustration in the dimensions and resolution necessary for print and ebook.
Step Thirteen: Uploading to vendors:
I personally use a combination of www.createspace.com and http://www.ingramspark.com/ for Print version.These two systems are vastly different in their specifications, so you may decide to choose one not both.
Createspace is quite intuitive to upload to and you will need your book interior in high res PDF as well as your cover.Be aware, that the cost of your book will be in US dollars and shipping from the US will also be pricey.
Also be aware, that you will need your cover and interior formatted specifically for Ingram Spark.As I started the process with Createspace, I had to have my covers and interiors reformatted, which was costly as I also needed to use a new ISBN.The benefit of Ingram Spark however is that they ship from Melbourne and I can gain my copies within a few days instead of weeks from Createspace. The shipping charges are local, making it more cost effective.
If you are wondering why I bothered to go with Ingram Spark as well then, it was because I gained a US distributor, which required me to be on both systems.It has also been beneficial in the long run, for ordering books in a timely and cost effective fashion.
For digital on Amazon, you can upload your file directly and I suggest that you do and not use the carrier sites like Draft2Digital, or Smashwords. That way, you can completely control the process of your book and your price.
There are many other vendors like Apple that require you to go through a carrier, like Draft2Digital.I use https://www.draft2digital.com/ for their speed of upload, and they also allow you to create your ebook file into several formats. This is useful for providing to reviewers, as not everyone will want a kindle version, they might prefer straight PDF or another version.By uploading your file to Draft2Digital, you can select the formats you want to have it saved in.I then use those files for my reviewers.
I try not to provide print version to reviewers if possible, as I find that it is not an incentive to get them to review the book and it ends up being very costly for you.
For payment of royalties, I use www.Payoneer.com This saves me waiting for cheque's which take months to clear and cost to deposit and can be lost in the post. There are a couple of charges involved with Payoneer also, but I get a debit credit card that I can use for anything in US dollars and Uk dollars.www.julieannegrassobooks.com
Next week we look at Part 3 of this three part series - An Independent Middle Grade Book in 22 Easy Steps by Julie Anne Grasso.
Thank you, Julie for all your helpful insights. I'm just starting my self-publishing journey and I am sure that I will referring to this article regularly.