Wondering how to Self Publish? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Image courtesy of Waferboard / Flickr

Image courtesy of Waferboard / Flickr

I had been editing my novel, preparing it for the day I was finally happy and ready to publish, but I didn’t have any idea how I was actually going to do it. So I researched publishing through the traditional method – a publishing house. My investigations informed me about query letters, agents, rejection letters, probability, etc… they also told me to prepare for failure. It was all quite disheartening.

I persevered with my search and stumbled onto several articles that talked about self-publishing and print on demand (POD). Some of these articles were written by published authors that have already experienced the age old method of being contracted through a publishing house. They talked about expectations and disappointments, success and failure, lack of help or direction from the publisher, marketing, contracts that take away your rights, and lots more.

Being a writer is obviously a personal journey. Each of us make our own choices based on what we want to achieve. Some of us grab random opportunities that arise in the hope that they will propel us forward on that journey, others let them pass by, waiting for the right one to come along. The more I read about how to get published, the more convinced I am that self publishing is the way for me to move forward on my journey. And I don’t have to wait for the right opportunity, I can do it when I am ready.

Bearing this in mind, I spoke to a friend – Kenneth Mugi. Kenneth is a self published author with his own printing company and I hoped that he would teach me the secrets of how to self publish. I am very thankful for Kenneth’s experience and his willingness to share his knowledge with me. In my coming blogs, I hope to impart some of that knowledge onto you as a writer, so that you too can see just how easy it is to achieve your goals when you know how.

All you really need are 2 programs – Word and Calibre. Most of you will already have word, but if you don’t, I don’t see why another word processor won’t work just as well.

Calibre is a free program available online and can be found at http://calibre-ebook.com/

TIP 1: When using Word, set up your styles before you start to write something new (I’m sure other word processors will have a similar feature).  I set up ‘Heading 1 style’ for my Chapter headings using a large font aligned to the left with a spacing above and below. ‘Heading 2 style’ I use for my paragraph formatting with around a 1/2 cm indent and a single spacing between lines. Please note that it is important not to use more than 3 heading styles as Calibre will only support 3. If you are not sure how to set up your styles, I’m sure the ‘help’ function in word can guide you through it.

Once you have set them up, you need to select the appropriate style when you start writing, ie. click on heading style 1 and type your chapter heading, hit enter, click on heading style 2 and start typing your paragraph. This will make it easy to change all your headings or paragraph formatting’s in one go should the need arise. If you don’t like the heading font, just change it in the heading style and it will amend all your headings in one hit. It will save you having to go through the whole document to amend them individually if you decide to change them later. And while you may like the font or formatting you have chosen, it may not work when you load it onto a reader, and it will be a lot easier to change if you have set up your heading styles.

To be continued…

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