For the past several years, I and author Tanya Egan Gibson have presented a workshop on writer groups and critique skills at the San Francisco Writers Conference. After last year’s conference, I decided to turn the handouts and information into an actual book. I completed the draft and wanted print copies available for the participants. A good self publishing project I thought. I can do it. So I did. What I found out is self publishing is not as easy as I thought, it is a relatively straight forward process, and there are some pitfalls to look out for. Here’s the top 5 lessons learned: 1. You can never proof too many times. 2. Get help. 3. Controlling price is important. 4. Who owns the ISBN is the publisher. 5. Consider distribution up front, not after printing. And I’ll just say it again – Proof the work before printing.
Right now, I’ve about 600 “uncorrected proof” copies of No Red Pen: Writers, Writing Groups, & Critique. Half have a table of contents that is not accurate because when a last minute addition of pages was made to improve the internal design, neither the designer nor I remembered to check that the TOC file updated. Point one to inexperience – when I think editing and proof reading, I think of content, not front matter. Well, now I know.
And that other half – well, they have about a dozen errors that are typo or consistency of word choice issues. I should have caught them in the final copy editing or when reviewing the final proof before printing. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I had looked at the work so many times, I failed to really LOOK at the work when reviewing the proof.
What will I do with the 600 copies of the book I won’t sell now because of errors? Those will be distributed to attendees the next time I do a workshop on critique, as “uncorrected proof” copies.
Coming up in the next post – Get help.