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  • jimclougherty

Gold Fever Log #2 - Self-Editing

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

After finishing nearly 250,000 words worth of a rough draft, I had no idea what to do next. Turns out there's a lot more to writing than just... writing. This blog post is going to be dedicated to all that I've learned so far on the path to self-publishing.

1. Self-Publishing is more accessible than ever

This might seem obvious to some of you, but Amazon makes getting a book out there easier than it's ever been with ebooks. That means you don't necessarily have to worry about things like ordering physical books to sell. Now this much I wasn't surprised to find out, but then I came across sites like createspace and ingramspark. They take care of the creation and distribution of physical books for the author, and the cost is mostly them taking a cut of the profit. I can tell you right now, it's certainly not that way for video games.

Of course, you still have to put out a good book and do some marketing so people will buy those books, but I still thought it was cool. A pleasant surprise, because before finding out about sites such as these I planned to do an ebook only.

2. Pages on Microsoft Word don't translate to book pages

This is a small one, but I thought it was funny. For some time, I was under the assumption that one page on word was the same as one page in a book, or roughly the same anyway. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The only reason I even found out was because I would constantly see authors talking about their fantasy books being anywhere from 70,000-150,000 words and it was odd to me that my count was so much higher. I started putting my word count into page calculators and rather than 470, I was getting amounts between 550-650! It depended on the size of the book and spacing of course.

At any rate, this helped me realize that I need to do more self-editing. I figured an editor could do that for me, but on the other hand, editing a lower word count would probably cost less money, right? Thought I'd trim the fat on my own instead of having to be told I need to.

3. The book needs to be formatted

What does formatting mean, you may ask? It's those small things you may not have noticed in a book. Like how the first letter of a new chapter is sometimes a lot bigger than the other characters. Or how the words fit on the pages. In general, you probably don't want a word to be cut off going into the next page. It would make for a very unenjoyable read. It's possible to format yourself, but I've noticed it takes a lot of effort and a command of Word that I frankly don't have though, so it's something I'm going to have to hire someone for it.

4. ISBN Numbers

Talk about things I had no idea about. You know how there's a barcode with numbers on the back of that book you're reading? Those numbers are called ISBN. Apparently you need them if you want to sell your books to a library or bookstore. They won't take it otherwise. And these simple little barcodes? They're expensive! They apparently cost $125 or so. I guess the business of selling barcodes is pretty cutthroat, eh?

I have heard that there are sites that sell them at discounted prices, so I'm looking into that. I've been told there are some weird drawbacks to the cheaper ones, though.

I'm sure that I have many more things to learn, like marketing techniques, but it's an ongoing process. I'm still in the editing process, so I'm sure I'll have more to share soon!

- Jim

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