Hilary Custance Green is the author of Border Line, recently published in both paperback and e-book format.
I was lucky enough to read the opening chapters of the novel last year when Hilary was still working on it. The idea behind the book is intriguing:
‘Grace, racked with guilt, is searching online for ways to die and she finds Daniel. Like a pied piper he leads her and nine other people on a trek across Slovenia. For twenty-one days they share stories and secrets, play games, surprise themselves with laughter… and make their final decision.’
I will definitely be downloading Border Line to my Kindle because I want to know what that final decision is.
Hilary self-published the paperback version of Border Line, doing all the work herself and not using CreateSpace. She’s very kindly put together some pointers to help anyone else thinking of doing the same:
Last December (2013), I found myself at a Christmas party explaining that yes, I had written a third novel and also a non-fiction book on POWs in the Far East, and no, neither had been published yet. The truth is I had been looking for an agent for both the novel and the non-fiction book for several years. I had had nibbles, but no bites. I resolved that no further Christmases would pass without a publication.
There are multiple self-publishing routes, mine was total DIY. This is a possible, but not necessarily a wise thing to do. I took the name Threadgold Press in 2008, for my second novel, and floated, rather liked flotsam, through the self-publishing process. Things have changed since then. Today, unless you are writing about food outlets in a three mile radius, or walking on your local hills, you are going to need both print and eBook. The simplified basics for print are:
• Give yourself a name and apply to Nielsen books to buy ISBNs.
• Allocate one ISBN to your print book and another to your eBook.
• Choose a printer and get estimates. A litho print run (min 300) is expensive up front, but cheaper per copy then Print on Demand (POD).
• Think of a publication date (ideally 9 months plus ahead), subtract the months that are bad for publishing books, add 2 months for things to go wrong (they will), and register with Nielsen book data. You will need blurb, price (when dreaming up the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) don’t forget the cost of postage), BIC code (category of book) etc ready.
• Set the text. I bought a soft version of Adobe InDesign and taught myself.
• Create cover – actually don’t – spend the money on professional design.
• Edit. Once again, professional is best. Failing that, find your most educated friends and bribe them to read with a red pen in their hands. Anything they have to read twice, or makes them gag, yawn or feel uncomfortable, needs your attention – listen and believe.
• Proof read. That means read it yourself and correct, print out a copy, hand it to a friend, make corrections, print again and find a new victim, and so on many times. Again, better still, pay someone.
• Send MS to printers, renegotiate number of pages, correct e-proofs etc
• Join Amazon Advantage – a nightmare and they take 60% discount, so you sell at a loss, but if you don’t join them, Amazon take many weeks to deliver your books.
• Create an Advance Information Sheet (AIS), with all the basic book data.
• Create a Press Release, an up-to-date website, cook up a launch party, find somewhere to sign copies on the publication date.
Finally, you are legally obliged to deposit a copy of any new publication with the British Library within one month of the publication day.
Remember, if you choose this route, writing will stall for some months. Almost every action, depends on information that is not yet ready. You become a designer, proofreader, editor, marketing manager, salesperson, IT consultant, office girl, driver… BUT you end up with a physical copy of your book for minimum outlay.
Hilary – I’m in awe of what you’ve achieved! It sounds like a phenomenal learning curve but what a feeling of achievement when you hold that physical book in your hand and then people start buying it!