It has been an intense week for me. Since I got my new laptop on 29th July, specifically one with enough RAM to power Kindle Direct Publishing (fyi, 8GB RAM is recommended) I’ve been getting stuck into my self-publishing journey. Last Saturday, I spent half the day learning how to format my manuscript for publication as an Ebook. Thankfully KDP have a handy Ebook template that you can download, which is very user-friendly. I’m not the most technologically adept person in the world, but I was able to manage converting my MS without any major hiccups. I chose to use Draft2Digital as a distributor for my Ebook to all the other major online bookstores aside from Amazon – Kobo, Barnes&Noble, etc – and they also provided a very user-friendly Ebook converter with a variety of different templates and fonts. I’ll be publishing separately on KDP in addition, mainly since I already had an account beforehand, but also so that I can run discount promotions from time to time.

This weekend I’ve been typesetting my manuscript for the paperback version, which will be released on 25th October when the Ebook is live. Typesetting was something that I hadn’t a clue about, or where to start, as recently as a few weeks ago. I had vague notions of using Adobe InDesign, but had heard that it could be quite challenging for a beginner. Thankfully KDP have a template for paperback to use that includes all the margins and layouts already formatted. I chose to select 5×8 as my trim (A5 size) after grabbing a few books off my nearest bookshelf at home and measuring them with a tape measure. Yep, I really was that clueless about the process! I was then able to insert my title page, copyright and acknowledgements followed by the rest of the MS where the template indicated to paste everything. The whole process turned out to be much more straightforward than I had been fearing. In fact, the bulk of my time was checking that there were no blank pages, that all the first lines had been correctly indented and that there weren’t any orphans and widows: I learned that there are settings for widow and orphan control under ‘line spacing’ on MS Word that you can ‘check’ to do this automatically for you. A note regarding publishing – paperback books cannot be set for pre-order on Amazon, so be sure to save your uploaded book as a draft instead of hitting publish, if your Ebook is set for a pre-order date – as your paperback will go live right away otherwise.

Preparing a book cover is another matter. An author friend of mine advised that Canva are a great source of cover artwork for those on a budget – she had used it for her book that she self-published last year. Now, I’m no graphic designer by any means, but I have a background in art and I had an idea in mind about how I wanted my cover to look. I was delighted to find an image to suit what I had visualised and was able to add graphics to it with ease. Changing the background colours and fonts is also much more straightforward than I had been fearing and I was able to tweak my photo exactly as I wanted. Draft2Digital require that the resolution of your cover artwork is 1600×2400, which is easy to do by selecting those requirements on Canva.

If you’re a fellow Indie author looking to self-publish your book, I would highly recommend using Draft2Digital if you’re looking to ‘go wide’ and Canva if you’re wanting to create your own cover artwork on a budget. KDP is also very user-friendly and has a great and easy to navigate cover creator tool as an option if you’re stuck. Whatever you decide on your own self-publishing journey, good luck with it!

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is a novelist and poet. Her debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road was published by Blossom Spring Publishing in October 2019 and her second novel, The Buddha's Bone is forthcoming in October 2021. Leilanie has also published three poetry collections: The Redundancy of Tautology (Cyberwit, 2021); Chemotherapy for the Soul (Fowlpox Press, 2017); A Model Archaeologist (Eyewear Publishing, 2015) and two self-published pamphlets: Toebirds and Woodlice (Meandi Books, 2012); Metamorphosis of Woman (Meandi Books, 2012), satirical novella Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014) and surreal novelette, Til Death do us Boneapart (Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, 2017). Leilanie is also Editor in Chief of Bindweed Magazine, a poetry and fiction online magazine that also publishes a quarterly print anthology. She currently lives in Belfast with her writer and poet husband, Joseph Robert and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of educational books. Literary blog: https://leilaniestewart.com/ Meandi Books: http://meandibooks.bigcartel.com/ Bindweed Magazine: https://bindweedmagazine.wordpress.com/

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