Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Having My Book Published by Lightning Source

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children features 12 fully-illustrated stories that present subtle messages to build self-esteem, increase environmental awareness, teach children to care for their bodies, make good decisions, be honest, and help others. I’m looking forward to sharing these stories with my newest grandsons as soon as they get old enough not to drool on the pages! The audience for these stories is children ages 2 to 5 years (http://TheSidSeries.com).

Publishing the book was a little more difficult than I first imagined. I did a lot of research and decided to skip the middle person (the publisher) and go straight to Lightning Source (LS) since this is the printer most all publishers use anyway. Why pay a publisher when you can be one, right? I already had a batch of ISBNs from a previous book I self-published, so I figured how hard can it be to slap one of those barcodes on the back cover and send my files to LS and have them print my book. That was in August. It took me until October 28 to get it right.

I ended up having to hire someone to lay out the book for me because LS’s specs were so complicated that I didn’t have the knowledge or the software program to create files they would accept. However, I had an incredible opportunity to work with some very nice and talented people in the process. Hayley John is a 15-year-old high school student who provided illustration for four books and the art for the cover.

I also worked with James Ville to illustrate two of the books. Rick Chappell did a fabulous job of creating the interior design and the cover. I just sent him a mock up in a Word document so he could see how I hoped to have the book look. I sent a separate file with the jpgs, and he did the rest. Even though he followed the specs from LS to the tee, we were both surprised when the proof copy of The Sid Series came back with line turns out of place, words hyphenated where they should not have been, and photos on the wrong page! I’m not sure how we missed that during our proofreading. It took another few days to get the errors fixed and the book re-uploaded (LS charged an additional $40 fee).

I thought we had crossed the finish line and I would be able to start sending people to Amazon.com to purchase the book. My rep at LS was extremely helpful and courteous, but I was disappointed when she told me it would take another 4 to 6 weeks to get the title listed in the catalogs. I could have cried. I had already begun to organize my book tour and didn’t even know if the book would be ready for purchase by November 20. My word to those who want to self-publish or use a publish-on-demand company’s service is to start earlier than you think you should and plan to have the book available about two months after you send the final files in. Hopefully, my sharing this will help someone avoid an inconvenience or missed marketing opportunity.


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