The Buck Stops With You!

The thing about ePublishing, if you are an independent author/publisher, is that every little detail is your responsibility.

No matter who may assist you (paid or otherwise) in the process – that means through all of the editing, formatting, proof reading, art work and the specific, pre-upload, formatting requirements of each of the ePublishing distributors you decide to utilise, and of course the actual, physical uploading of the manuscript itself – the responsibility, to make sure everything is perfect, is yours. THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

Quite apart from having a professional job done on all of the various editing processes, you need to have someone check it before you consider uploading. Many indies these days use beta readers who, as well as spotting mistakes and inconsistencies, will give opinions about how the book works; or perhaps why it doesn’t work. If you also have someone who knows, or at least has an idea, what it is that you are trying to say or do with your book; then so much the better.

Now, you may have done all of the above, in regard to preparing your manuscript before the ePublication process begins and, as I did, you may even have organised different folders for each of your designated, ePublishing distributors and deposited a copy of your finely crafted manuscript into each folder. The next step in the process is to go online to your chosen distributors, one at a time, and carefully follow the pre-ePublishing steps before uploading your masterpiece.

There may well be a last, little glitch or two to sort out; issues which must be attended to before the ePublishing converter will accept your manuscript (95% of would-be ePublishers experience this), but finally the automated message tells you that you have been successful, and congratulates you on having published through… Amazon KDP, Smashwords, iBook, Kobo, Lulu or whomever! You open, or download, your masterpiece to give it a quick scan: just to make sure the converter hasn’t mangled too much of your formatting; you may have to do some minor changes to your word document at the pre-ePublication stage before having to, once more upload your masterpiece. Another quick scan and your ePublished book looks good; you feel a thrill, not quite the feeling you have from a printed, hardcopy of your book, but pretty damn good.

Now the hard work really begins, as you learn how to work all the social media platforms and avenues that your over taxed brain can absorb, and then apply those to help drive your book (the book that has cost you blood, sweat and tears, long hours and immeasurable portions of your very soul) forward, in a saturated marketplace.

At some stage – weeks, months, in some cases (case in question) eighteen months down the line – you discover that, back at the ‘organising your different folders for the different distributors’ stage of the game, you put the wrong manuscript file in – the one that could pass a quick inspection but hadn’t gone through the final edit!…

Take it from one who has experienced this: check, check again, and double check again!! And when the ePublishing distributor of your choice tells you ‘Congratulations… You are now published!’ take the time – don’t just do a perfunctory check – to go through with a fine tooth comb. Even if you have uploaded that correct, perfect masterpiece, there may be something which needs attention, for instance the converter may have changed something that you are using from the insert symbol menu (like an em dash) and turned it into a box with a cross in it; it happened to me with one of the ePublishing converters, true story, and I didn’t pick it up until much later, when someone asked me what the strange symbol meant. Quite literally, check each page, line by line and make sure you have the best possible representation of your work out there in that very saturated marketplace.

I’m quite sure I’m not the only one with an ePublishing nightmare story. What was your ePublishing horror story experience?

Author: T.D. McKinnon

Scottish author T.D.McKinnon ‘Survived the Battleground of Childhood’ in the coal mining communities of Scotland and England before joining the British Parachute Regiment at fifteen where he remained for five years. He has trained in the martial arts for most of his life and had five Karate schools in Scotland before immigrating to Australia. He writes across several genres and has completed five books that are all available as eBooks. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife. Learn more about T.D.McKinnon at his website and Amazon author page.

22 thoughts on “The Buck Stops With You!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more, T.D. I don’t think I’ve ever checked anything as much as I have checked my books. No wonder my eyes are giving up on me. However, it’s imperative to get it right so thank you for this reminder and sound advice.

    1. That’s right Carol, so many more and varied skills we need to have these days, as Indies; writers are in fact a different breed than they used to be. Perhaps we’ll evolve (or morph) into creatures with stronger eyesight, et cetera?

    2. Patience is in fact a prerequisite for the committed Indie author, DV. I was going to say that I’ve never been accused of being patient; however, on second thoughts, if patience wasn’t inherent I would probably have buried many more in the woods.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, DV.

  2. Yep. Been there, just did that. You’d think by now I’d know to check every page, every sentence, but no. Yesterday I uploaded a revised version of Yucatan Dead to all platforms. The mistakes weren’t soul-sucking, but embarrassing enough for me to want to go in and change them. Impatience is not a good character trait in a self-published writer 😡 Great post, TD!

    1. The above was supposed to go in here of course!

      Patience is in fact a prerequisite for the committed Indie author, DV. I was going to say that I’ve never been accused of being patient; however, on second thoughts, if patience wasn’t inherent I would probably have buried many more in the woods.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, DV.

  3. This is the big stumbling block for me – using the platforms – I am a total washout when it comes to using software. That’s why I pass the buck – and pay someone even though I’m broke.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Yvonne; one of the many reasons I count my blessings for having Zoë. Regardless though, it still comes down to you (as it does me) to check out every ‘teensy, weensy’ detail.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, Yvonne.

  4. How right you are with this posting! Even though I diligently went through all the editing steps, I recently re-read my printed book and found a couple of errors no one had picked up! How did that happen? Still, though the finished product is great, and I’m not complaining, I am absolutely aware that the eye often glosses over mistakes and appears to “mentally” correct and forgive them.
    This is a night and day job! Writing was the easy part. Still—how would we have become a part of such a great group as the Indie Authors?

    1. Oh yes, I hear you, Ester – such is the required commitment of an Indie – and you are sooo right: what a great community we belong to!

      Thank you so much for dropping by, Ester.

  5. I have struggled with how to do it all. A good friend counseled me that he read an interview with a top executive who, when asked if he could accomplish everything he wanted to said, “Of course not. I have a plan and I try not to be distracted by the short term over the long term goals. I try to stay on my path rather than let other people’s goals distract me.”
    First and foremost the product must be beautifully written, proofed, polished and covered. Finding the niche for a book is tricky. Marketing is often experimental, and it is not always clear what the solution is. But, it is important to have a plan, include social media in it, and limit the distractions.
    I always enjoy your posts, TD. Great stuff.

    1. I like that response too, Lois; it kind of says it all in relatively few words.

      Always nice to see you here, Lois, and thank you again for dropping by today.

  6. Great post TD. I just recently uploaded a re-edited version of my first book. No truly horrible errors, but in the previous final edit I’d obviously deleted two words that should not have been deleted. -sigh- I hope like crazy I haven’t added any new errors during this latest edit. It’s almost as if there’s a typo gremlin sitting in the wings, watching me work and rubbing his hands with glee. 🙁

    1. Those typo gremlins get around, Meeks; you’re not Robinson Crusoe there. You have to have the patience of a saint (and that’s something NO ONE has ever accused me of being) to check, check again, and (when you are very sure everything is sweet) check again: every line on every page. It’s fun being an Indie isn’t it?

      Thank you so much for dropping by, Meeks.

  7. That’s right Carol, so many more and varied skills we need to have these days, as Indies; writers are in fact a different breed than they used to be. Perhaps we’ll evolve (or morph) into creatures with stronger eyesight et cetera?

  8. Thank you all for taking the time to visit and comment today. My computer has been playing tricks on me today; I thought, in the beginning, that I had made the slips, in regard to putting the replies in the wrong places (tired, pushed for time and hurrying) but, slowing down and being very careful, I watched my computer place the last one (all on its own) in the incorrect place… Gremlins!

    Thanks again, you guys rock!

  9. The “right post in wrong place” thing happens to me, too, T.D. I blame WordPress. 😀

    Great post, btw. 🙂 I realized while formatting one of my books this spring, and copying over the front matter from the previous, already-published book in the series, that I’d left the Smashwords links in the version of the book that I’d already uploaded to Amazon. Whoops! Apparently Amazon never checked the links…

    1. I was afraid of doing that very thing (uploading a file with another distributor’s name on it) and that’s one of the reasons I have separate folders for each of the ePublishing distributors I use, with their own, separate version of each manuscript. But I still manage to gum it up somehow, somewhere along the line.

      Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to drop in, Lynne.

  10. Every writer’s nightmare! I still have a sneaking hunch that what few typos manage to hide all through the editing process, once the book is uploaded, start partying all night long, have illicit relations and propagate more typos than there were before! (Actually, I think it’s the same process whereby someone keeps sneaking new scenes into my DVDs that I’ve watched 10 times over.) I guess the only good news is that we’ve all been there. Great post, TD.

    1. I like the partying and illicit relations analogy, Melissa, and it certainly seems to be the only explanation sometimes. And I know what you mean about the DVDs, but it does make the re-watching interesting.

      Thank you so much for dropping by, Melissa.

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