Thursday, 28 March 2013

Self-publishing in a world of technology

I work as an IT professional, but I will admit that there are more times than not when I wish we could just take a step back from all the technology that surrounds us. I was away from home when the huge power outage occurred in the summer of 2003, affecting the northeast U.S. and much of eastern Canada.  I often wonder what the quiet was like during that time.  No humming of air conditioners, no radio, no artificial lights… no computers, no Internet, and no cellphones!  I think it’s this wish for a simpler way of life (circa the late 1980’s or early 1990’s and not, say, the 1890’s) that was my motivation for self-publishing my book.  I don’t own a Kindle or a Kobo. I love to visit the library and flip through real books.  I hope my son learns to appreciate these simple luxuries as well, and that they are around for him when he is older.

All wishful thinking and reminiscing aside, technology is still a great tool for collaboration and communication in this day and age.  During the past 15 months, Darren and I only met in person less than a handful of times.  We regularly exchanged emails, sending files back and forth when we needed to run things by each other.  Rarely did we pick up the phone.  As the book started to take shape in a more finalized format, Darren introduced me to Google’s Hangout.  He was able to work on the layout in the comfort of his own home office while I watched remotely from my PC at home.  Now that the book is completed and a final softcopy will need to be submitted to a publisher, I’ll be learning more about DropBox which allows for filesharing and downloading.  Of course, I haven’t even mentioned how awesome it was to see how Darren draws and colours his illustrations right on his computer.

From a marketing perspective, I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve used Blogspot to start this blog, Facebook to create a page for the book, and 50Megs to set up a website for my publishing company, Tytanima Press.  I’ve set up a PayPal account, and I’ve connected with other authors on LinkedIn.  And there may still be other tools that I learn to use to help spread the word about The Littlest Knight.

 So, as much as I like to take a step back from technology as often as I can, it does certainly have its benefits and can help facilitate something like the self-publishing endeavour.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Revenge of the comma!

This past month, I contemplated trying to get the title of our book printed on the spine for the sake of shelving, for example, in libraries. I've seen some very nicely bound 32-page picture paperbacks with this, but what I've discovered is that this can't be necessarily easily achieved by small printers.  At least, not with the level of reliability that a big book publisher can achieve. If the alignment of the spine isn't perfect, it would reflect badly on the printer and look bad on the book, so I can understand a printer's reluctance to even talk about spines unless the book is of a significant size.

After working on finding a definitive answer to the spine question, I still didn't feel quite ready to submit our work for printing. I realized that I just wanted one more set of eyes to take a look at the final copy, but a set of eyes that was qualified. As luck would have it (and it took awhile for me to realize this), my friend, Allyson, with whom I had been part of a Christmas vocal quartet many years ago, had studied English Literature at university, and she had also written and edited a local food magazine (FoodMode Magazine)! She was more than happy to take a look at the book, and I'm grateful for her feedback. Of course, this is where my current disklike of commas comes in.  You can never take for granted that you are properly placing commas even if you are fairly confident that your grasp of English writing is at a sufficient level.

Now, the work is back in Darren's capable hands for some minor edits, and then we'll be ready to print!