OB: Formating and Design. Should I use their in-house services or use an outside professional? Any idea which will be cost effective and better?
JH: Book Baby has a minimum formatting guide and you need to follow it, otherwise when you submit, your manuscript will look wonky. I didn’t know about manuscript formatting when I wrote my first book. I just kept writing it using my own formatting. WRONG. This is not to say that you will be stuck rewriting. Seat-of-pants formatting can be fixed, but it’s time consuming and a colossal pain in the rear. Book Babywill only allow one formatting change before it begins to cost you money, so you want to make sure your manuscript is as near perfect as you can before you upload.
OC: Size. Is 6″ X 9″ trade size okay for my project? Do you have any better suggestion?
JH: Sounds right to me.
OC: Paper. What’s best cost effective and quality paper? Is 60lb natural okay, or need a different on to give a better presentation?
JH: No matter who you choose, whether it’s a local book publisher or someone online, don’t be afraid to ask for samples. I published my second book on CreateSpace, but nearly didn’t because I had purchased a CreateSpace book many years before and the physical appearance was sub-par. When I considered them later, I asked for a sample and they provided one. They really improved – the cover stock, the interior pages, the printing, which is why I went with them. I have no idea what BookBaby’s physical books look like, you might want to ask for a sample.
OC: Interior: The text will be black. I may have some pictures, maps and charts. They are mostly black-n-white. Any suggestion about their design and/or coloring?
JH: Keep in mind that photographs, maps, and charts will cost money. They also interfere with the formatting of text. Should you decide that photos, maps, and charts are necessary, make certain you have legal rights to use them in your book. If you did not take the photos, you may have to hunt down who did, and ask for permission to use them. As always, credit the photos in the front of your book.
OC: Editing. My project has been edited by Editoro! Do I still need their in-house editing?
JH: No. Definitely not, you are not required to use any editor. Remember though, you need to send a pristine manuscript to vendors like BookBaby or CreateSpace – they are assuming it’s perfect and are not going to make corrections on a glaring error. Much as I love Mr. ED (disclaimer: he is also my developmental editor) and he is kick ass, I would still run the manuscript by a proofreader, a critique partner who is good at proofreading, or something similar. Do it a couple of times. A dozen times. Your developmental editor will not pick up on typos (YOU will not pick up on typos), misspellings, or weird grammar. I’m terrible at proofreading my own work, and I see where there are mistakes in my first novel. With the second, I went over that (with others) over a dozen times. Get SmartEdit. I did, and run my work through it religiously. It doesn’t proofread, but it reviews your manuscript and adds up how many times you might use a particular word or phrase (redundancy – the bane of the writer). I try to limit my use of a particular word to less than 100 times in a 100K novel (my own personal goal). Smart Edit will question spellings, punctuation and other word problems. I also use it to tighten up my sentences, therefore eliminating a lot of unnecessary words.
OC: Promo & Marketing. How effective is their promo and marketing campaigns? Do the generate sales?
JH: I’m afraid the only entity that will generate sales is YOU. I do not rely on anyone for promo. I tried it, it just doesn’t work. You should follow Frances Caballo – she is a whiz at social media for authors. I have to say I can barely follow most of her techniques, but you will learn a lot by reading her. Also, before you launch, set up a Goodreads page for yourself (and an Amazon page – I haven’t done that yet, but who has time?).
OC: BookBaby and Smashwords. Which agency you think better? The problems you mentioned, were they with BB or SW?
JH: I haven’t used Smashwords. I attempted to, but it gave me a headache. 🙂 I’ve heard that it’s now easier so I may give them a spin again. I’ve found BookBaby to be extremely responsive to my questions. Actually, so is CreateSpace. You call them, they call you back. Maybe I’ll give the Smashwords manual another go someday, but I don’t have time, and I’m also not very internet/design savvy.
You can follow Obaid Chowdhury HERE.