What a nightmare but the final formatting for my memoir for the print book is done. Doing the headers and footers sounds straight forward but it's not intuitive on the program. Different headers for left and right. Headers and page numbers to start after front matter, with page 1 that is not literally the first printed page.
With every book I have self-published, this stage of formatting been the most confusing and frustrating part to get right.
Of course, you can pay for someone big bucks to do this but there is a certain satisfaction in doing challenging things yourself. I have done this process a total of 4 times now (forget each time how).
Page numbers and headers sorted
In the screenshot of a preview from four pages of my manuscript, the right pages in the print book show on the left and vice versa (which adds to confusion). Page 1 now starts for the 'Introduction', after the table of contents. The headers are different for odd and even pages.
final polishing is tedious
Note that in the screenshot, left is right and right is left in print (which makes things even more confusing when checking the front matter and margins are in the correct place). Just showing that I finally got the headers and footers doing what I want. Nothing fancy, just minimum requirements for self-publishing.
Did the justification (making both and left sides of body of texts even, to improve readability and to look more polished. Formatting is tedious. Just like proof-reading, it's technical, not creative.
Want to include a black-and-white image at the end showing my handwriting. Then, I will convert to a pdf and sent to be printed for final checks again. If I have typos etc after all my efforts, then it's not like I haven't tried my very best. Of course, you can pay big bucks for any part of the process - editing, proof-reading, cover art, cover design etc. If you are on a low income like I am, you must be lucky to have a trustworthy friend to help out with proof-reading. No one else can do my editing though, as they won't know what I want culled or changed.
At the end of the day, the story is more important but of course, we all want to improve our skills and do the best job we can as indie authors. Completing a book on a shoe-string budget is a project of passion. More hard work than swanning around. Most authors won't even earn much after all the hard work (some barely do much after doing a first draft, as they have a team of editors, proof-readers, graphic designers etc).
Still need to add my ISBN numbers to the inside (I won't apply for a week or so, as need to use them quickly. In New Zealand, ISBNs are free and it's best to have your own, if you don't want to be tied to one platform).
Then, I will be onto another nightmare of trying to remember how to format an EPUB file for ebooks (has different requirements to pdf and there was a headache doing the linked table of contents, every time I've done it).
I still have the cover design to do, now I know how thick my book will be (it's 236 pages with a regular trim size). Cover design is the fun part (I enjoy visual arts). An idea is in my head.
I did loads of culling as I wanted the book to be thinner than my novel, Pet Purpose: Your Unspoken Voice. Yet, I decided today to add an unedited raw chapter, which contrasts dramatically from the manuscript that I spent nearly two years on (despite already knowing the story).
I started writing another book a few years ago, about how to navigate this nightmare, as an indie author and publisher, but it got sidelined. Plus some writing tips for telling your story. If people are keen enough, I'll revisit it. I would try to write it as a guide of what order to do things with some tips. I've done the formatting process four times, with three books.
I think it's best to do some basic formatting like indented paragraphs before get really into the manuscript but to leave the fluffy stuff like grammar and spelling until the end (as it really does disrupt flow). My blog posts are minimally edited, so it's much easier for me.
My memoir is called Bipolar Courage: Are You Sure You're Not Autistic?
I am aiming to publish both print and ebook in September 2023. All going well. I've had a few setbacks with being unwell with the flu (still recovering).
I have a surgery booked for end of next week (skin cancer, that is hardly visible, yet is still cancer). That will probably be quite uncomfortable to recover from (slightly graphic - they need to take a wedge like a slice of pizza out of my lip, through all layers, inside of mouth and out. Paying for spending my childhood in the sunshine).
I intend to email the manuscript to my psychologist tomorrow to skim-read. She's protective of me and she might say, 'Xanthe, do you really want to put that in there?' (It's not too late to edit anything out).
Not sure how long reading the print verson will take me. I'm a skim-reader, so I will probably read out loud to slow myself down.
Spent a few hours working on some final details before I exported a PDF to order a print draft (just spiral bound) for final checks again.
This was after I converted an image to greyscale, increased the contrast, added it to the end of the manuscript. It's a snippet from my journal, showing my handwriting (a mess).
I checked with spelling and grammar apps again, especially as few chapters I'd recently edited. It comes to a point, like with a painting, that enough is enough.
I will read the print version, update anything I notice, otherwise, I've done my best.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.