- Definitely release in both e-book and paperback. Print on Demand (POD) through companies like Createspace and Lightning Source allow you a cost effective alternative that does not require a large print run. Before committing to a print run order a printed proof and go over it with a fine tooth comb and get someone else to as well. You will be amazed at the number of small errors that have slipped through despite the hours you have spent editing.
- Plan for your e-book when writing with Word - don't put in page numbers, headers or footers and absolutely no tab stops (use first line indent instead). It's much easier to put page numbers, headers/footers in later for the paperback than painstakingly remove them for the e-book. Removing tab stops makes stabbing your eyes with a pin sound like fun!
- Familiarise yourself with correct layout and use it right from the first draft. Just get a traditionally published book and follow the paragraph style. Deciding to "just type" now and fix it later is beyond painful. Note too that fiction and non-fiction have different styles.
- Despite what you may have learned in high school typing classes you don't need two spaces after a full stop.
- The Australian standard for quotation marks is single ( ' ) for normal dialogue and double ( " ) for all other uses. Despite your personal views on this it is better to go with what the industry does. Also it is much easier to insert the single as you don't have to hit shift each time. It also looks much less cluttered on the page.
- Don't think you have to get your first sentence or even chapter perfect before you write the rest of your book, you can always come back later and fix it. Spending hours editing the same paragraph won't get the rest of your book written.
- In the same vein, do edit as you go where possible. If you're having a slow writing day, go back over previous pages and tidy up what you can. Of course you will go back and do a more thorough edit after you've finished the manuscript, but it will be nowhere near as painful if you've made a start.
- Don't worry if you haven't got your title sorted, it will come to you along the way.
- A professional editor is not an optional extra, it's a necessity. If you can't afford it come up with a way to raise the funds - run a lemonade stand, mow lawns, cut out that morning coffee, hit up your family for a loan or max out your credit card - its money you have to spend. Don't look at it as an expense, think of it as an investment in your book's success.
Writing a book is not an easy undertaking, in fact it took me ten years to complete my first novel. Like anything though there were many lessons learned along the way which saved me a lot of time, sweat and aggravation when writing my second. So if you are an Indie author still struggling to get that first one done, persevere and the next one will not hurt nearly so much, I promise! For those still writing your first maybe some of these things can save your sanity and get your book done sooner.
Helen McKenna's books on Goodreads
ratings: 80 (avg rating 3.98)
The Beach House
ratings: 77 (avg rating 3.86)
The Perfect Proposal
ratings: 12 (avg rating 3.75)
How Do I Write My Life Story?
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.11)
The Perfect Proposal And Other Stories
ratings: 9 (avg rating 4.22)