Once more I'm very grateful to Val Portelli for allowing me to post her - slightly tongue in cheek - missives on writing. Here is the second.
How to self-publish by Val Portelli
Previously published on July 2nd by VOINKS IN BOOKS, PUBLISHING
For those of you who enjoyed my previous post ‘How to become an author’ I thought you might find this follow-up useful:
Now that I have told you everything there is to know about being a writer I thought it was time to improve your knowledge of self- publishing.
• You already have your beautifully prepared manuscript so it’s easy. Right? Wrong.
• First, you have to consider formatting and page layout. How big is an indent? Do you used single space, double space or be contrary and use one and a half. If you start a new paragraph in Word you just press the return key.
• Remember typewriters? If you do, have the number of a laptop repair person handy. Swipe on an IPad and swipe on a typewriter have different meanings. If you try to use the non-existent big sticky-out thing on the right hand side of your computer this will result in it ending up as a shattered mess on the floor.
• Have you any tissues left from my previous instruction training? If not you will either need to order online, or take a break and run up the shops to buy some. I wouldn’t mind a large bar of chocolate while you’re there.
• Now you have your book set out properly you can forget everything you’ve learnt so far. Formatting for Kindle you need to delete spaces and use page breaks, next page or continuous page breaks. If you are lucky enough to be using Windows 10 be aware these are set under different tabs, just to confuse you and ensure you are paying attention.
• I hope you remembered to buy hair restorer and false nails while you were at the shops. If not a bottle of wine would be handy if you’re making a return visit. Thanks.
• You now need to spend at least a week working out how to enter page numbers. This is particularly important as you don’t want numbers to start at one, which is the page just for your book title. Your actual manuscript will begin around page twenty after you have remembered the dedications to all the people who have assisted you so far. A brief mention of my name together with some promotion and links to my books will take up about ten pages. You are welcome to use the remaining space for the contribution by next door’s cat.
• Now you have page numbering under control you can go back and delete them. This is because Kindle allocates its own numbers depending on whether you read in portrait or landscape mode. You also need to take into account whether your readers have a single or double bed, a partner who snores and whether they are reading in a south or north facing direction.
• The joy of inserting a table of contents and appropriate links will be discussed in a future tutorial.
• It’s at this late stage you realise you haven’t thought about a cover, blurb, pricing, territory or genre. You need to leave your manuscript for the time being to take various university degrees in accountancy, and study the tax requirements of different countries, including whether they have reciprocal arrangements with the UK. (If you live in the states give up now and concentrate on corrupting Uncle Sam.)
• Once you have realised 60% less tax, less delivery costs, less the exorbitant cost of print cartridges, less sundry expenses (consult your financial advisor to confirm whether my bottle of wine is a legitimate write-off) and taking into account bank charges and the current exchange rate, you will realise to produce an income of 1p/1cent per book the price will need to be set at approximately £520, and the input screen at Auntie Amazon only goes up to £300 subject to variation on an hourly basis.
• Back to the writing board.
• Now that is all settled you will need to think about making your book available in paperback. First thing to do is forget everything you have learnt so far. Here’s where the ability to stand on your head and read upside down is particularly useful. You are also allowed a quick panic when you realise a physical book also has a back cover and a spine which is not needed for the Kindle version.
• Your degree will come in handy here to work out the spine size bearing in mind the interior and exterior margins, cut offs and bleeds, whether the person (or robot) slicing the book had a good night up the pub or an argument with their partner which might make their hand shaky. You will also need to consider that left is right and vice versa, and the actual size of your book. (Do you prefer tall thin ones, short fat ones or something in between?)
• At this stage I am sensing you thought the actual writing was the difficult bit. How wrong can you be? My next tutorial will be on the subject of marketing and networking. I look forward to seeing you all again, if the men in white coats haven't got to us first.