May 29, 2012

Format Wars

(for Lora and Lexa – a plea for compassion)
I’m in the midst of reformatting my first book.  You learn as you go along in self publishing and in learning you go back and revisit some (not all) things.  I got to thinking (as I was reading someone else’s book on Kindle that was badly formatted) about the two format wars that I have had with my two editors and I wondered why I had them.

Both of these ladies are professionals. As such they wanted my final product to look as if it came from one of the top houses, well formatted (both text and cover) with elegant fonts and proper pagination.  The wars I had were not really over the looks of the books (both looked really good when they got finished with them) but over the software and font availability they offered me.
You see, I’m also a cheap, self published author.  I can’t afford the In Design program or the purchase of a $199 font when other, acceptable alternatives are available.  It isn’t so much the finished product that was the problem, it was the fact that in order to change anything I wanted in the book I would have to go to someone that had those programs on their computer to get things changed. 

This thought makes me shiver.  One of the reasons that I am a self published author is because I like to do things my way, and, where appropriate, I would like the freedom to change things, correct errors that both the editor and I miss and then republish the book on my schedule.  This is one of my primary failures, I revisit things.  But it is the advantage of self publishing that I CAN do that.
So, sorry Lora and Lexa, I will always ask for my document back in word format and I will always ask for a font that doesn’t cost more than a buck fifty.   It’s a prerequisite of working with independent authors.

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