OMG, you guys. You would not believe how much work goes into publishing a friggin’ book. A couple of days ago I said it’s like building a house, and I think that’s a good analogy. When you go into someone’s home, you don’t look at their freakin’ light fixtures and faucets and door knobs and all the other blah, blah, blah decisions that somebody had to make. Well, I don’t notice that stuff, but I guess if you built a house yourself, you’d be more aware of all that.
Now I can’t pick up a book without scrutinizing it. There are a million blah, blah, blah decisions to make when you’re self-publishing a book: the size of the thing — 6 x 9? 5 ½ x 8 ½? 5 x 8? What kind of font? What do you want on the header? On the footer? What kind of font for the header and footer? Do you want the page numbers in the middle of the footer or flush left on the left-facing page and flush right on the right-facing page? Do you want a footer at all, or do you want the page numbers included in the header?
And don’t get me started about the cover. That’s a whole other set of decisions.
I admit, I bit off a little more than I might have needed to. I did hire someone to do the cover and the interior design, but I soon realized that I wanted to learn more about the process and decided to take on more myself. That meant there was software to acquire and learn, and God bless my boyfriend, Mike, because without him I would have taken a hammer to my friggin’ laptop. I’m not the most patient person in the world (in case you haven’t figured that out).
But still, I’m glad I took more into my own hands. This is my creation—every word in that book came from my own brain—and I really want the presentation to be a reflection of my decisions as well. And in order to make good decisions, I had to learn a lot.
I believe that even when you hire someone to do something, it’s a good idea to educate yourself as much as possible; otherwise, how do you know if they’re really doing a good job? For example, I know some writers who have no interest in learning grammar, punctuation, and principles of style and the actual craft of writing; they figure they’ll just hire an editor and their editor will take care of all that. But my question is, “If you don’t know the rules, how do you know you whether your editor is any good?”
Now, when it comes to my car, I admit, I’m at the mercy of the mechanic; I have no idea what the hell is going on under the hood. But I’m not trying to pass myself off as an automotive expert—and that’s my point. If you want to call yourself a writer, you should know how to write, and that means learning all the boring rules and tedious nuances. And I’m not only a writer, I now have my own publishing company, so I feel I sure as hell better learn the ropes.
It’s just that the process is making me mental. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed; I feel like I’m on mile 24 of a 26.2-mile marathon and all I want to do is throw up, cry, and quit. But Mike keeps me going. So does my mother, and my sister and my friends in the writing community here in Las Vegas.
And you, the readers of my blog.
You keep me going. The encouragement in your comments and in the private emails you send—you have no idea how much that motivates me to press on. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Now I’m like, geez, that damn book had better be good.