Self-Publishing Madness!

This week on the BEACH, we have Amazon Bestselling Author LORI LEGER, pronounced Laygay, with a soft 'g'. She's such a busy girl these days and we are honored to have her stop long enough to pull up a lounge chair, grab a fruity cocktail and speak with us about publishing.
Not only is Lori a BRA member but she's a successful publisher, as well. Take it away, Lori. . .

Just realized I missed my spot in this week’s blog. My apologies to my fellow bloggers, though you were warned in advance that I’m a horrible blogger. L 

My excuse? (Cue the Vincent Price worthy background music here . . .) Self-Publishing MADNESS! That’s right. If any of you out there have ever shared in this experience, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the tunnel vision that develops in your brain and body when you’re near, at, or even a few days after your publishing date deadline. Let me tell you, there’s a reason they call it a deadline. By the time you’ve hit that SUBMIT button for the final time, you’re near dead from sleep deprivation—that’s after the buzz from the caffeine overload wears off. Honestly, it’s a bit of a rush.

I’ll walk you through a little of the process:

Since this was a collaborative effort for a seasonal anthology, set deadlines for all the writers involved. I usually set it for two weeks prior to the publishing deadline.

The necessary evil: editing! The thing I hate most about writing. One of the author co-authors, Karen Sue Burns, graciously offered to copy edit for us. After she has a go at it, I send it to the authors, they add the edits into their work and get it back to me. Then I read each story start to finish, add edits of my own, determine if the openings, chapter endings, and story endings have enough punch. Here’s where I make a few suggestions, give them an example, or on some occasions, re-write or add an entirely new scene. I usually end it with “Or something like this . . .” (Secretly, I’m hoping they love every line of it and keep the entire thing. ;-)  )

Next step is to get the stories back to them.

While I’m waiting for their return, I either start or tweak the cover. Although I pay a professional for my personal books, I do my own covers for the anthologies. I pay for my royalty free images, using Deposit Photos, and pay a subscription for one month and download five a day for 30 days. It’s well worth the money.  The most time consuming part is settling on one image out of thousands. Other decisions are title font, author font, back blurb font, spine font, placement, order of authors names, etc. Since this was a Christmas anthology, I decided to place the names in order of short to long this time to form a Christmas tree pattern on the title page, so I had to use them in the same order on the cover.  These books are paperback, as well as e-book, so I do the entire layout of front, back, and spine, then clip the front for the e-book cover.

By the time I’ve tweaked the cover to my satisfaction, I have the stories back from my authors. At some point in all of that, I force myself to correct my own sea of red, hound everyone for two or three sentence blurbs, go to Bowker and fill out info to have one ISBN assigned to the book from the block I’ve already purchased. Make sure it’s in the front matter of the book.

Hound the authors for updates to their personal info, pictures, publishing info, dedications, etc. for the section at the end of their stories.

For the anthologies, I always choose illustrations to match each story and Photoshop each one for personalization. The Christmas stories get extra illustrations used as scene breaks.

Slap it all together and send it to them in a pdf so authors have an idea of what it will look like in print. They’ll either accept it as is or get back to me with more changes.

When everyone is satisfied, I go on to Createspace and KDP, download the book info, author info, blurbs, ISBN, download the cover, download the book, save changes, and finally hit the magical SUBMIT button. Phew! I should be finished, right? In my dreams. I’ve done this twenty times over and have yet to hit that button only once. Depending on my level of perfectionism at the time, I usually go through the submission process four or five times per book. It’s not bad for the e-book submission since you see the results right away. It’s more time consuming for the paperback version since each submission takes approximately twenty four hours to get back to you. Grrrr. As a result, the paperback version usually follows the e-book version by five or six days. There’s dozens of things to check besides your basic typos: Line spacing, margins, blank pages, illustrations, gutter spacing, heading info, heading centering, first page placement for each story (odd page on right side), and dozens more issues. It’s a huge relief to finally hit that button to say you Accept the Proof. From that minute on, your paperback is available at the Creatspace store, and within a day of Amazon.

So, it’s done. Time to sit back and relax, right?  Snort! Yeah, right. Everyone knows reviews are vital to books. So, it’s time to submit the book to review websites. Since I’m an Indie Publisher, my top of list reviewer is InD’tale review magazine. Ms. TJ McKay runs a top notch website and it’s well worth it to submit to them. The review is free, but if you want to pay $10 per title, you can submit the cover and it runs on the first page of the website for that month’s top reviews. It’s well worth the extra bucks for the fabulous promo. Plus, any reviews with 4.5 stars or higher are automatically entered in a contest. There are several more review sites I submit to.

Promo is next. Plaster it all over Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads. Blogs, such as this one are also important to get the name out there. Utilize every bit of free promo you can before turning to paid promotion, which can run up a tab pretty quickly.

We don’t expect huge sales from our anthologies, because not everyone gets into short stories, but it’s a way to expand our readership, if nothing else. Anthologies are great practice for small indie publishers such as myself, though. It gives me a chance to participate in every aspect of the publishing from start to finish, and hopefully, perfect my process.  I publish each of my personal books in three formats: e-book, 5x8 (11 or 12 pt. font), and 6x9 for large print (16 pt. font). I don’t publish the anthologies in large print.

The entire process is exhausting, and I’ve done it twice in the past five weeks. Hopefully, our readers will be completely satisfied with all our hard work. What do you think?

I’ve gone through this same process six times in one year and it is exhausting. So much so, that I’m thinking of cutting back on the anthologies to one annually and just at Christmas. I have to say that I adore working with the other authors, though, and my daughter in law, Trish F. Leger, and I have decided to co-write a book together. She’s super at description and I’m good at dialogue, so maybe we’ll be a winning combination. Not too sure where that will fit in—either in her Druid series or one of my two: La Fleur de Love (All Romances with a Cajun flair) or my Halos & Horns series (Romances with a Cajun flair and a side order of Cowboy).


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  2. Here I go again. Last comment had typos and that explains why Lori is so tired--correcting all my typos on Christmas in Whistler.
    Thanks Lori for all you do and I don't mean just fixing my comma placements, and formatting for me when I do Createspace. I also mean giving us these heartfelt stories.

    1. No problem, Kim! Your stories are so worth it! Mwwaa!