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Self-Publishing a book

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by 1stMN, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    Hey all, not sure where I should put this post...please feel free to move this as needed :smile:

    I've mentioned before that I'm working on my first book. Looking for some direction as far as the self-publishing route...anyone have any experience with this or going the ebook route on Amazon? The book is no where near done but I'm trying to get a plan put together for the future.

    Thanks for the input!
     

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  3. Harvey Johnson

    Harvey Johnson Sergeant

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    Amazon has good tools.

    It's best to first learn how to format their Kindle e-books before moving on the their CreateSpace physical books.

    Physical books are more difficult, partly because the thickness of the spine impacts the margins for pages in an alternate manner. In thick-spined book the left hand margin needs to be wider on one page and then the right hand margin needs to be wider on the next page. The margin-requirement width also increases in direct proportion to the spine thickness. Pick up a thick-spined book, examine the margins for yourself and you'll understand.

    The most successful self-published author in the forum is probably Joe Rose
     
  4. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    Thanks Harvey!
     
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  5. AlexPensFan86

    AlexPensFan86 Private

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    I've used Createspace for the 3 I have published this far. Granted I've hardly sold any but it is very user friendly and I would recommend it.
     
  6. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    I've also heard that CreateSpace is pretty good to use. Thank you!
     
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  7. Sscul2

    Sscul2 Private

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    What are the names of your books? Go Pens from a fellow Pittsburgh fan!
     
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  8. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    Thank you @1stMN for starting this thread!!! I too am thinking of going this route with a book I have been working on since about 1995. I shall be watching this thread closely. Good luck!!! :smile:
     
  9. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Please feel free to let us know who has written what book? Love to know!

    For all the downsides we know of this whole internet thing, the ' ups ' really shoulder those to one side, sometimes. It's encouraged this wild, crazy, amazing and bottomless tsunami of creativity, making it possible to fulfill dreams where, pre-internet, doors remained closed to so many, many talents.

    Watching the thread, too, through sheer nosiness- love seeing what people are doing.
     
  10. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    Be sure to spend the money to have it professionally edited if you decide to go this route. There's not a writer alive--including me--who doesn't need the services of a good editor. A good editor can make a mediocre book good and a good book great. And if you think you don't need an editor, you are deluding yourself and setting yourself up to have your work shredded by critics as a result--and it would be entirely appropriate if it was under those circumstances.
     
  11. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    Absolutely planned on that :smile:
     
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  12. Eric Wittenberg

    Eric Wittenberg Sergeant Major Forum Host

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    Glad to hear it. Too many people delude themselves into thinking that they don't need an editor. And be sure to check your ego at the door. You can't get all bent out of shape over what the editor says--it's his or her job, and he or she is getting paid to make your product better. If you fail to check your ego at the door, your work will suffer.

    Personally, I'm grateful for all constructive editorial comment--it makes my work better. Anybody who doesn't feel that way is a fool.
     
  13. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    Agreed. My grammar and writing is solid however that doesn't mean that it is going to come out correctly every time. Anything I write I have looked over by someone else as I just don't always see my own mistakes. It is a good general practice anyway, even when I'm writing up my real estate contracts!
     
  14. James Brenner

    James Brenner Private

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    If you're truly serious about publishing a book, either by yourself or through a commercial press, I strongly recommend that you buy a copy of Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato's book, Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction - and Get It Published. (New York: Norton, 2003). It will not only help you focus your argument but will also help you organize the book. Other useful references are The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition) and The Copyeditor's Handbook.

    Good luck
     
  15. 1stMN

    1stMN Sergeant

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    Excellent advice, thank you @James Brenner !
     
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  16. NavyHistorian

    NavyHistorian Cadet

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    I've found that Lulu.com is very easy to use, as they provide templates in Word for any style and every size book; simply download and type or copy/paste into the target box, and this automatically lays out the book's margins and gutter. I've used them for all four of my books as well as a four-volume compendium of period newspapers, and can say that their quality is top-notch. (ref. chuckveitbooks.com)

    Someone suggested you should start with a Kindle version, but I found the opposite to be true: it was more difficult for me to create an electronic format than print. Another person mentioned using a professional editor; couldn't agree more! Also, if you are not handy with creating maps and illustrations or working with old period maps, hire someone who has those skills: if the cover and illustrations are bad, people won't even make it to your words. Just be careful to check thoroughly into pricing. Some folks charge by the page, which is ridiculous. If you want to see how an entire example book with a variety of illustrations breaks down, see 31by5.com/bottom_line.htm. If you are being quoted more, keep looking!
     
  17. JohnW.

    JohnW. First Sergeant

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    Great advice!!! Thanks @Eric Wittenberg
     
  18. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

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    I've just released a book printed by a local printer who has been in business since 1868 -- same family the whole way. I had seen a dozen or so titles that they had done over the past 8 years and was pleased with their work. Their price was below what I was expecting and the finished product looks fantastic.

    Part of this company's service was to take my Word document and convert it to their printing software. In the process, they set the margins, placed the photos (I gave them a preferred location), and converted maps and computer renderings. From the time I turned in the initial files until I had the finished work was just under three months (including Christmas and New Years).

    A major problem I am dealing with is getting the word out that the book exists. No publisher was even willing to look at the manuscript -- one saying the subject was too niche for him to make enough money to handle it, though it sounded interesting. I've announced the book on three interest group sites (including CWT) and am using Amazon Advantage. I've also sent almost 100 e-mails to libraries that might be interested in the book and to the NPS bookstore system. I've got a couple of speaking engagements lined up.

    Honestly, I do not ever expect to break even -- but I was pretty sure that would be true before I ever started writing. My web site, this book and the next two I intend to write are my hobby and my expenses are my hobby costs.
     
  19. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Private

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    Where can we find them here? And, btw, don't forget some of the most famous authors suffered multiple rejections by Publishers before their works ever went into print. Apparently, you've just got to keep putting yourself out there, and it's never too late :wink: The self-publishing world has created options for writers that never existed before, and I do believe that by self-publishing you do not cut yourself out of the market for potential traditional publishing either. It's a real smorgasbord of opportunity for writers and I am glad to find it being discussed here today. It means people can read what they want to read, and decide for themselves the merit of a book/story. Criticism is possible either way...
     
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  20. DaveBrt

    DaveBrt First Sergeant

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    What "them" are you referring to?
     
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  21. Cavalry Charger

    Cavalry Charger Private

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    Sorry...I meant the names/details of the books you have published. You said you had announced them here on CWT.
     
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