Skills I Don’t Have
by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Thanks to author and blogger, Charles Yallowitz, who was my guest on Episode 9 of *CHANGES* conversations between authors and is in my Guest Bloggers’ Hall of Fame, for inviting me to be a guest on his site today (12/10/15) which occurs during the week of the release of another in my #scifi (science-fiction)/ #romance/ #multiverse/ #utopian/ #paranormal (psi skills) series for adults/Young Adults and New Adults: Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, of The Spanners Series, now available in both ebook and paperback formats.
This is also the season of my expanding both Volume I, This Changes Everything, and Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, into paperback formats on #CreateSpace and #Amazon.
Please check below and on my website for blurbs, covers, links and more information as well as #discount codes!
Skills I Don’t Have
Yes, I do have a lot of skills, talents, experience areas and abilities. BUT, there are many I lack and never so obviously as these last two months, as I attempted and finally succeeded in getting Volume III of my science-fiction ebook series to completion, in time for its 12/8/15 planned release date and all three of The Spanners Series‘ first Volumes into paperback format (after not having been able to work on the half-finished draft for over a year or to think clearly or organize appropriately and while still being very slowed down and impaired as well as fatigued from a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury] in April, 2014).
I had no idea how to approach getting my ebooks (which I had formatted myself [pre-TBI], using Smashwords’ excellent Guides) into print formats for paperback sales. I knew they needed to be reformatted but I had no experience with making that happen.
I also am very limited, even pre-TBI, with layout and desktop publishing: mechanical, physical, graphic art-type skills and software are not my things. I don’t have much experience with Adobe Create Suite and do not own that program. I don’t do newsletters on the newer software and don’t have any art ability whatsoever.
My mottos: keep trying and ask for help.
When it doesn’t work (the first dozen times!), keep trying.
When I can’t figure it out (after days of attempts), ask for help.
Fortunately, I have a great cover artist, WillowRaven, for The Spanners Series’ ebook covers. She and I collaborated on all three of my covers and plan to for the next seven: I provide ideas and some photos; she does the deciding-what-works and the actual art.
I can’t draw.
image from http://designyoutrust.com
Therefore, since I knew from previous conversations that I needed new covers, I started the paperback conversion process by emailing with WillowRaven. She immediately wrote back that I should have told her from the beginning I wanted paperback formats and that it would have been a lot easier/better if she had created those versions first.
Challenge number one. But, that damage was not irreparable, luckily.
From our email conversations and other research I had already done, I realized I needed to incorporate with my own imprint. I next emailed with local writers/ publishing network folks and found out what to do.
It took a few days, but I managed to name, create and start my own imprint, Timult Books, complete with free logo (Thanks, Logo Garden!).
I then learned how to get (from Bowker) and found out about a huge sale on (thanks for my online network!) my first self-owned ISBNs. Registered Timult Books with the state and Bowker, bought 20 ISBNs at a great discount and was then ready to send the extra materials (blurb, review quote—for the new back covers and “spines”) to Willowraven.
WillowRaven also needed accurate page counts so that the covers would fit correctly. I had never put my ebooks into print before and had no clue how many pages each book was (about 130K words), especially given the new sizing (5″ x 8″) and formatting (mirrored margins, with inner at 1.25″ and the rest at 0.5″). I also found MANY inconsistencies and typos that had to be corrected for each Volume as I reformatted, which changed the pagination as I went along.
Plus, paperbacks require and I decided to add some new pages of “front matter.” Then, I added a new page of “back matter” about the series.
It took me several days and many attempts to get the formatting right on CreateSpace (with lots of help from online forum people, Facebook group members and others: THANKS!)
AND, for whatever reasons, every time my computer went to sleep, the formatting reverted from 5″ x 8″ to 5″ x 7.99″ and changed the margins!!!??? I had to check each time I reopened the document, for each section (there are more than a dozen), to make sure they were correct AGAIN before converting each Volume to a PDF for uploading the new versions to CreateSpace for approval.
So, of course, the first page counts I sent WillowRaven were WRONG.
As were the second batch.
Third time, CHARM.
The three new paperback “wrap” covers were ready very quickly. Thanks, Aidana!
image from http://stuffaverylikes.com
I know a lot about MS Word and use Open Office’s version of it, but there are still many formatting details I’m unfamiliar with and don’t understand. I read many online forum posts, instructions online, etc., and STILL don’t understand some of that (TBI problems, I’m sure).
Why do the page numbers keep changing when I move a page break?
What’s with the “CONVERT” and “NEXT CONVERT” Sections thing?
Why do my running headers not always “run”?
Why does my computer’s “sleep” mode tell Open Office to revert its formatting?
I am IRRITATED beyond description and very impatient by the fourth day of these glitches. But, I persevere. Another good thing for this time period: I’m not around a lot of people.
Incompetent and Annoying.
image from http://quotesgram.com
I do finally get everything to work well enough to upload and order my proofs. So excited when they arrive, but then I start reading them aloud.
Despite my own and others’ having proofread each Volume, reading each book aloud allows/forces me to notice a ridiculous number of typos, inconsistencies, mistakes and other things that must be fixed on EACH PAGE! I had to use long-form, lined post-its to list each mistake because I had to mark each page multiple times. Every few pages had a post-it filled with edits to be made.
I ended up with hundreds of fixes needed to input in order to complete the revision of each of the books, all to be accomplished without changing the starting page of any Chapter or section (didn’t want to have to change the Table of Contents AGAIN, which I had done by hand since I couldn’t figure out how to have it happen automatically), and WITHOUT CHANGING THE PAGE NUMBER TOTALS!!! (see above)
The space between my skills level and what I needed to get these tasks done on my timetable was growing daily. Also, the TBI-induced fatigue and slowed-down aspects made everything take many times longer than pre-TBI.
Mind the Gap.
image from http://www.brillianceflooring.com
Once I had the proofs proofed, I could re-submit them and then they were ready to be sold.
Yeah! It’s happening! I have paperbacks!
I have been hearing from family and friends that “if only you had your books in paperback, I would read them.” Now, I do! So excited!
I emailed and messaged everyone the great news! Now, those without ereaders or those who don’t like reading longer books on them CAN read my books. I even sent them discount codes, specially large, just for my friends and family.
I sat back and awaited the sales to come pouring in (I have a large family and dozens of colleagues and friends on that email list).
Two weeks later: I have sold one book.
Nothing can mend a broken heart (except the old BeeGees, of course). And, duct tape.
Duct tape for every repair.
image from http://www.destinationmadness.be
Okay. Perhaps science-fiction novels, especially those that are over 500 pages long, a unique mixture of Ursula K. Le Guin, Tom Robbins, Robert Heinlein, Sherri Tepper and Marge Piercy with a little of Linda Hirschhorn and His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama mixed in, aren’t for everyone.
But, ONE sale from all of those who supposedly love/like and support me? That’s close to two hundred people!
I know I have trouble connecting the dots….These kind of tests, below, confound me, even pre-TBI.
Limited Spatial Intelligence.
image from http://www.sciencedaily.com
But, even I know what one book sale in two weeks means (week ending December 5, 2015, as I write this post).
It’s too soon! Chanukah doesn’t start until December 6 and Christmas is weeks away!
I come from a family and friendship circle of procrastinators! I am one of only a handful who gets things done early or on time. Really! They’ll start buying/gift-giving soon. I’m sure of it.
Still learning (at age 62).
For those who are ready to gift-give and/or add to your own to-be-read lists, here you go:
Three paperback books here.
NOW available in #paperback on #CreateSpace and on Amazon:
This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series by Sally Ember, Ed.D., is only $17.99 in paperback https://www.createspace.com/5837347
and FREE as ebook everywhere ebooks are sold, such as http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8
Go to my website: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners for book trailers, blurbs, discount codes and more!
#scifi #romance #utopian #adults #YA #NA #fiction #createspace #selfpublishing #indiepub #indieauthor #formatting #ebooks #paperbacks #TheSpannersSeries #SallyEmberEddAuthor #CHANGES
Sally Ember, Ed.D., is a sci-fi/romance author of The Spanners Series ebooks, the host of *CHANGES* conversations between authors, a blogger, a published nonfiction author /editor, and a nonprofit manager. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, where she meditates, swims, reads, sings, plays piano and writes.
WordPress Blog and main Website: http://www.sallyember.com
Patreon Crowdfunding Campaign: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember
FB Spanners Series page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember (Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember)
Google+ Spanners Series page: http://goo.gl/tZKQpv
Youtube Channel: Spanners Series books’ trailers, author readings, *CHANGES* shows and more:
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Ember/e/B00HEV2UEW/
CreateSpace paperback pages:
Vol II: https://www.createspace.com/5844431
Vol III: https://www.createspace.com/5844474
Amazon ebooks’ pages:
Vol III: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177Z1KRM
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/sallyember
Authors’ Database: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5338-sally-ember-ed-d
Covers and Logo Art by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/
*CHANGES* conversations between authors: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq