Book Update 2/22/2010

OK the latest update of the book:

  • I had to reset the layout – again – because I found some issues with PDF conversion.
  • The cover was tweaked slightly.
  • I have ordered a test copy.  I already found some layout/paging errors before it even shipped, so live and learn.

What I've learned:

  • Go over proofs very, very carefully.
  • Pay attention to any alerts from your word processor.
  • Pixelmator for Mac is a good, cheap Photoshop substitute.
  • Doing cover and layout work at the end was a lousy idea.  This is probably best done during a book's writing/production to both help you plan ahead and act as a break.  Put together they are frustrating.

The book still looks like it'll be out late March/early April, on Lulu, and the available through other outlets 4-8 weeks after that.

– Steven Savage

Book Update 2/15/2010

And now the latest updates of the Fan-To-Pro Book:

Status:

  • I am now done with the cover.  After having many approaches and suggestions and offers, I've finally settled on a simper, abstract, slightly retro design that has a 50's/60's feel.
  • I have done the back cover except for selecting an author photo, which I haven't done as I kinda need to take one . . .

What I've learned:

  • Covers are an incredible pain.  Seriously.  I actually am going with the final design I have because it's "good enough" and is less trouble than many other options.
  • Take a look at other covers to figure out how to make your own.
  • Typesetting was honestly easier than the cover work.
  • The back cover of a book takes some serious thought to make it sound good.  Also, make sure you have a good picture of yourself to go on one.
  • Lulu.com's cover designing system is decent, but unless you invest time in making good covers from scratch, or manipulate their cover system to best fuse templates and your own work, your work will look very basic.  On the plus side Lulu's basic setups are pretty nice and easy to use, there's just not a lot of variability without your own work.
  • You better have some decent graphic program and the skills to get even the simpler covers together – or have someone to call on.
  • What looks cool in a bookstore can look awful online.
  • The learning curve for self-publishing, even with a useful site and tools, is incredibly high.  Honestly, the books I read were invaluable.  Do NOT try self-publishing without at least reading up on the issues of formatting, ISBNs, cover design, etc.  I reviewed some books here that should equip you properly, and when done should probably do a summary again.

So things move on.  This is an incredibly educational experience for me.

When the book comes out I hope it is educational for you as well.

– Steven Savage

Book Update 2/8/2010

And now an update on the Fan To Pro book.  I spent a lot of the weekend working on it, so here's the latest:

Status:

  • The book is actually formatted and uploaded at Lulu.com.  This actually took awhile due to PDF conversion issues.
  • I am now working on the cover, which seems to work well as a simple cover for now – though people are still dropping ideas on me left and right.  I think next time I may "fansource" cover design more and hands-off it.
  • I hope to get the cover finished in a week or so and approve the final version in March.
  • Release to Lulu will be earlier than release to Amazon and other stores as it takes a few weeks for a new book to go through the system.  I'm still aiming for March.

What I learned:

  • Typesetting and laying out a book is a very unappreciated skill that you will NOT appreciate until you actually do it knowing a book you set up will be available to the public.
  • PDF conversion is also a massive crapshoot.  Lulu.com's PDF conversion beat the one I had on my Mac Word.  I ended up using Mac Word to get my book PDF, but had to cope with some annoying margin issues.
  • The first time you do set up a book for publishing, take a whole day to do it.  Trust me on this.
  • Examine other books to get ideas for layouts, numbering, and more.  That helped a lot.
  • Don't forget title, copyright, dedication, and other pages.

So the book is all but ready to go.  It needs a cover, a print check, and some tweaking.  But late March is looking awfully good . . .

 . . . and yes when it's done I'll write up my experience with Lulu.com!

– Steven Savage