Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Formatting Is A Bitch

For me anyways, there has been no bigger bitch than formatting. Not just the interior but the exterior of my book as well. I used templates provided by CreateSpace and it still took me over two weeks to get it right.

Now granted I did have anyone right here telling me what to do either, I asked Alexandra when I'd run into major problems (and that girl loves formatting! For her it is enjoyable, for me it is nothing but a giant headache). She offered that if I couldn't get it then she could do it for me, but I figured that this was one aspect that I needed to figure out myself. Unfortunately it was a massive pain in the ass, but eventually it all got settled.

So what went wrong, even when using templates? Quite honestly, I still have no idea on some of the errors. But here's the breakdown:

I used the formatted Template for 6x9 paperback on CreateSpace. All you really have to do in this template is copy and paste chapter by chapter, type in your title, author name, dedications, acknowledgement. The margins (gutter margins, headers, etc) are already in place for you as is the spacing for the start of the chapters. It's set up pretty easy, or at least should have been easy.

Now some of my two weeks was spent just being extremely cautious, because I'd never done this before, I was uber careful and went back over everything I copied and pasted to make sure everything laid out perfectly.

Anyways, the problems I ran into is I wanted to use the cool looking font I used on my cover on my title page. Shouldn't be a big deal, but oh boy was it! First off if you are using a True Type font, congratz! Ding! You've leveled up and can go about your merry way. Most of the time those fonts automatically embed in your document (this is assuming you use the template for MSWord). If they don't embed then it's still pretty easy; you simply go to:

Tools> Options> Save> and from there you just check the little box next to "Embed True Type Fonts". 

Done. If however, you (like me) find yourself using OTF (Open Type Fonts) well buddy…. Be prepared for your formatted file to be rejected. MS Word can't embed OTF's and if you have your heart set on it then your gonna have to switch your game plan.

I was set on it, and determined to figure it out. You have a couple options for submitting your files to CreateSpace, one is MSWord, the other is PDF. So smarty-pants me thought, well I'll do it as a PDF and see if I can outsmart the system. Nope. Didn't work. Back to the drawing board. I looked all through the top bar menu on Adobe and couldn't for the life of me find a way to embed fonts on PDF. I gave up for a day, took a breather and OD'd on chocolate. When I came back I got on Google and did a search "How to embed OTF's in a PDF". I got a hit! Huzzah! It was a video tutorial on how to embed fonts in a PDF. Here's the break down.

Have your file open in adobe (obviously)
Go to: Tools (on the right hand side of your screen)
Then go to: Print Production (if it isn't in the immediate window go to tiny little drop down menu in the far right corner for show/hide panels and click on Print Production there. It will add it to your tools menu)
Next go to: Preflight
A box will open up and load your file and bring up a new menu
From there simple click "embed fonts" 

Then click "Analyze and Fix"
The program will thing for a moment and (if all goes well) it will give you a green check mark and you are good to go.
Save and close.

The second problem I had was the numbering on my extra pages at the beginning. The formatted template numbers everything past the copyright page in i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, and so on. But it also has a blank page between dedication, acknowledgements, table of contents. And the formatting leave any page that is blank without a number, so my sequence was blank page, ii, blank page, iv, blank page, vi, and then the start of the actual book. The system rejected it due to the numbering sequence. After taking another breather before I murdered my computer I went in and deleted all of the page numbering before the start of the book. In my mind those pages don't really need numbers. No one has ever said to me "Oh turn to page iii, this acknowledgement is totally gripping, it's a must read!"

So after three submissions my PDF with embedded fonts and deleted numbering was finally accepted… Party time! Right? Nope. Next came the cover issues.

This one blew my mind because I've made covers for other authors using the exactly same templates from CreateSpace and they have never had a cover rejected, but I go to submit mine and it is rejected due to the font going into the bleed space… But it really wasn't. I mean, hello, I know how to define a bleed space, I would never put text there… Well as it turns out, my version of "that looks perfectly acceptable" and CreateSpace's version of it are two totally different things. My font that I used on my cover and title page I also used on the spine of the book, but said font is very "frilly" it has little off shoot filigree that comes off the text, little doo-dads, etc. that did in fact go into the bleed space. My thinking was it's no biggie if they get cut off because they are just inconsequential little flares, CreateSpace however saw them as important parts of the word and there for bumped it back to me.

In the end they won that battle, I changed the font on the spine to something a bit more mainstream and called it battle lost, I'd won the battle of embedding fonts and the number sequencing scrimmage. So in the end we called it Mia: 2 CreateSpace: 1, signed the peace treaty that saved my laptop and sanity from dying a slow painful death and the proof's of Waking Up In Bedlam were order!

So I have 5 proofs/ARC's. They arrived this week and I am very excited <3

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The home stretch and the end of your rope.

I'm writing this for Mia, because she's in the home stretch *cheers*. She's ordered her ARCs from Createspace for the paper backs so she and a few others can go through and look for last grammar changes and typos. While all of you are cheering her on, this is what I want to explain to you. This process isn't easy. Trying to balance it with life, isn't easy, none of this shit is easy. There are hours of stress involved, working with Betas, working with covers, an editor and getting ready to release your baby into the world. Those who say that they have no anxiety over releasing a book or a short story are lying to you. In their head they are wondering about bad reviews, missed typos, and haters. There is sleep loss at night and long days of preparing.

So what does an author do when they get to the end of their rope? The home stretch is right there within their reach and it just seems that the world is piling more and more on top of them? The same thing anyone else does. They vent, they breath, they step back, once things ebb a little bit, they get back to it. By things I mean stress. There are deadlines to meet, even in the self-publishing world. Deadlines get things done, stress is a part of that. There are other stresses that aren't writing related, family, jobs (not all writers get to stay at home), health and so on. I can't tell you what Mia does, but I can tell you what I do.

I make a list, things get priorities, does it have to be done by that date? Okay, it gets moved to the top of the list, anything with a due date before that is moved above it. That helps me get a realistic look at what is going on. When it comes to family, obviously they take priority, but I know my situation isn't the same as everyone. I have great friends who help me when it comes to crunch time, they help watch my child for a day while I get work done.  When it comes to health...well to be honest I don't take the best care of myself, but I do know when it's time to say I have to nap with the baby instead of work. The newest thing I do when life tries to drag me down, I run. My thoughts go like this when I approach the treadmill. "This is going to be 30 minutes I could use for something else." I get on, throw on some angry music and go for it. I always feel better after and I always sleep better those nights. It's a win win....

Here's the thing, you have to find what works for you. This is a stressful career, you need to find a way to help curb that stress a little. Meditation, walking, just sitting for a little bit. You won't get anything done if you're too stressed out to think. All work and no play makes Jake a dull boy. Remember that. You don't want to go crazy or you'll burn yourself out. Take time for you, even if that just means switching to a project without a deadline for a little bit.

Let us all wish Mia good luck with Waking up in Bedlam! We all want to see it on the shelf and will be cheering her on as she runs that home stretch! <3

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Ahhh titles, I think that's the second thing I hate most (writing synopsis being the first). You have to come up with something catching, relatable to the book, and something that's not so common 20,000 other books come up with the title. It's a pain in the butt. Some recent advice I was given about titles was to keep them short 2-3 words show up best on thumb nails and you want to make sure you can see titles. The one thing I recommend is to check Google, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and even Smashwords for books with similar titles, hell give Goodreads a try!

These are the results that I get for In Black and White:

This is Amazon, there is no romance or erotica that matches the title exactly, which is good. However, I do see that black and white is used often in erotica. Good to know, that wasn't something I was aware of until I saw Amazon.

This is what I get on Google. A few articles on interracial sex, a christian novel and a Goodreads link. That's without quotes and specifying novel, if I put quotes around it, I get a ton of photography references.

My results on BN are a bit more varied, but still nothing with an exact title match. So we're still going strong, it's a unique title that is relevant to the book, and I think it's catchy.

 This is what I found on Smashwords, I have to say I was a bit surprised because Smaswords normally has a tone of smut under the strangest of names. However, only having six results (and they all belong to that same series...) I'm a happy camper.

I have to say with all of these results, I'm confident that my title will stick out. Yes there are similar titles, but nothing the exact same, as well as little-if not none- of them deal with BDSM.

So remember when you are picking a title, make it catchy, make it unique, and relevant to the story.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

So Close

My SPE is a little late today and short because I've been trying to wrap my head around formatting. It's headache inducing, let me just say that right now.

The good thing about it is that it is one step, one giant step closer to getting Waking Up In Bedlam self-published and in print. I am in a mix of excited, scared, and still not quite sure if it is ready yet. Maybe I will never feel 100% ready. I mean, who is ever completely ready to pour your heart and soul onto paper and then distribute it to the masses not knowing if they are going to love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in between.

Regardless it's time to put it out there. I was hoping for another round of editing before ordering my proofs but time is running out on a couple of fronts, so after I hear back from one of my beta readers, make whatever changes need to be made, I will be ordering some proof copies to go over myself, and to send out as ARC's for whomever I can find to review.

When I finish sorting out the how-to's of formatting I will share what (if anything) I've learned, but so far all I've learned is that my hurts after hours of pouring over formatting guidelines for Createspace. And sadly, I haven't even touched the formatting guides for all the other formats out there.

But with that said:

I am one more step closer to my goal. One more step closer to touching the stars.