My book is a hot mess!
My book Confessions is going to be used as an example during this series of posts. It was one of the first books I wrote, and I admit it was a hot mess. If it could be done wrong, I did it.
First off, the subject matter is not what most readers are looking for. The book is about my educational experience here in Eastern Kentucky. It touches on how I feel about the area I grew up in turning into a ghost town. This might interest some locals and a minority of people who are interested in small-town life. It is not selling well for many reasons, but reason number one is the subject matter.
Fix it up and remarket it.
You can always fix the issue of poor writing style or spelling and grammar. We can clean up those areas with the help of software that runs checks on our manuscript. What is harder to fix is the issue of the book’s subject matter.
What will I do to make my book more desirable to readers? That is the question I am faced with today. I plan to address the first changes I made to the book in this post and give you a link to a good resource to use to help you with your new formatting.
What is the standard for self-published manuscripts?
Let us first address the new e-book formatting. You no longer indent your paragraphs for e-books. That is something I just learned after agonizing over using my manuscript to do both a traditional paperback edition and an e-book version. This means we now need two very different formats for our manuscripts. There are also different file types each use.
For your paperback, you will want to use standard indention practices. You also need to space your sentences accordingly creating a proper indentation in the margins. I will not lie and say I can do this flawless. There are some good YouTube videos which address these issues. I will not post them here, but here is what you can search for: How to set up proper indentation using Microsoft Word; How to use Scrivener to set up page indentations; How to format your manuscript to publication standards.
We can find answers to many of our questions thanks to social media today too. I spent some time doing research on how to best set up my manuscripts and have built my list of helpful resources up over time. I suggest you do this too. The publishing industry has changed over the years, and today we do things differently.
This brings me to e-book manuscript set up. You still need to use proper indentation for page layout but here are some things you might not know about e-books.
- You do not indent your paragraphs.
- You do not set up page numbers on the pages.
- The file for an e-book needs to be epub or PDF. Some places will take Doc or Docx files too, but it transfers better if you have the correct file for the process upfront.
- You will need a jpg file of your cover. Just because your book is not being printed doesn’t negate the need for a cover. You will find that CreateSpace creates the cover you need for your e-book for you. Save that photo and be ready to insert it into your e-book manuscript.
- You do not use the same ISBN for an e-book as you do a print version. Every version of your book has a unique ISBN assigned to it.
- Photo resolution needs to be 300 dpi even for e-books. Anything less will look blurry or pixelated.
The fixing of Confessions.
I am going to tell you what I have fixed so far. First, the title was not the best one for my book. I have elected to change my title to Inside of a Memory. That title best reflects the subject matter of my book. I then decided my cover left much to be desired. For now, I have created a cover using CreateSpace stock images to help me get an idea of what I might want the final product to look like.
Now to address the inside disaster and how I plan to resolve it. First off, I will be creating two different files. One formatted for the print edition and the other formatted for e-book publication.
I found a handy checklist to use for books. http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ibpa-online.org/resource/resmgr/docs/IBPA-checklist-FINAL.pdf
If you struggle with setting your book up in a format that is accepted, then I highly recommend you view the link above.
Recap and close of the post.
I am sick with the spring is trying to send me to Jesus crud today, so I think we shall wrap this post up. We focused on inside fixes, and now you have a link to show you what you should focus on. I gave you a rundown of my title change too. We can revisit these ideas again when I feel human once more. Till then try not to be too hard on yourself. Just because you have a book out there that is a hot mess doesn’t mean you can’t redeem yourself!
Your Favorite (Achoo) Small Town Writer,