As promised, this week we'll continue our discussion of Independent Publishing.
Files You'll Need
Each e-publisher available to Independent Authors requires a specific type of file from writers who want to use their services to distribute their books. However, most publishers want authors to begin in Microsoft Word, not the later "docx" version but the older "doc" version.
If you're using the latest version of "Word" or you're using a different word processor, you'll still likely be able to save your file as a "doc" file. Most word processing software offers a variety of file types for saving documents.
Once you have your book saved in "Word" according to your publisher's specifications, you will be able to follow the instructions on how to proceed from there in the publisher's "How to" FAQs.
Read and follow instructions very carefully. If you don't complete your file exactly as instructed, you'll only delay the availability of your book to readers.
Publishers use both mechanical and human reviewers to vet books. If manuscripts vary by even as small an error as using all caps when it's not allowed, adding an extra space between the words in chapter titles, or any small infractions like these, your book may not convert into the format needed to successfully distribute your book to major vendors.
If your book has illustrations, photos, a table of contents, footnotes, or any of a number of other additions besides straight forward text, formatting will be a bit more complicated and will vary from publisher to publisher. Here again, be diligent in following guidelines in order to successfully publish your book.
Hard Copy Publishing
If you're distributing your book in paperback or hardcover you'll need to choose a book size. Places like Lulu and Create Space offer a nice selection of book sizes.
You'll find paperback/hardcover publishers usually want a pdf file for their books. They may make the pdf for you from whatever word processor you use, or they may require a pdf file right from the start.
Hard copy publishers also dictate page counts for the various book sizes. Be sure to heed these requirements, or your book file will not be accepted.
Final Copy Reviews
Whether you're publishing your book in hard copy or e-formats, it is important that you review a copy of the book in all formats. If your publishing with a distributor like Smashwords, and you choose to make your book available in several of the formats they distribute (mobi, pdf, e-pub, etc) look at your book in every format to be sure it's clear and easy to read.
Be sure the layout of your hard copy books looks professional. Covers should be clear and attractive.
Ah, yes, covers. It looks like we'll have to put off a more in depth discussion on those until next week. However, I can give you a bit of info on e-book covers because they are less complicated than covers for paperbacks/hardcovers.
If you've got good photo editing software, that's really all you'll need in order to make a cover for your e-book. Most publishers require only a jpeg file of a specific size and resolution. Details of what they need are in their FAQs.
I look forward to continuing our discussion next week when we'll discuss covers and a few odds and ends. The following week we'll talk about marketing your books.
Hopefully, you'll have a pleasant few days until we meet again.
Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author