Wednesday, 7 January 2015
So You’ve Written a Book (Part 2)
My Adventures in Publishing (Continued)
I am continuing my account of publishing my first book, The Ego and the Bible: Stories of Divinely Intended Ego. I left the account at the point where I had decided it was not worthwhile trying to find a traditional publisher that would accept my book.
The next step I took was to decide to see about hiring an editor. My wife Lorna who worked as an editor wisely declined to undertake the task for the sake of marital harmony. However she was very helpful throughout the process on advising on points of grammar and particularly on the final appearance and format of the cover. I looked around on line and found a suitable candidate to do the editing. After contact the candidate and doing due diligence with references and a contract I hired the individual. Initially it was working out well but unfortunately for me and fortunately of her the person landed a full time job (with I presume benefits and a regular pay cheque) and she felt she was unable to continue with editing my manuscript. I have no problem with this and she gave me a full refund of my initial deposit despite the initial work she had done. However, I was in a quandary concerning how to proceed.
I decided to try the self-publishing route and found a Canadian firm which had a long experience of this type of work. I was in negotiation with them for a while and they seemed to be a good possibility but found price they quoted to be on the high side; in the range of three to four thousand dollars. I was hesitant to proceed as I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend this amount on the project.
About this time I received two pieces of good advice from colleagues who had experience with publishing books. One, Bob Haden, who self-published his book, Unopened Letters from God, is the president of the Haden institute where I completed programs in dream groups and Spiritual Direction. He advised that trying to go through traditional publishers was a rather a lost cause and would take years if you ever found one that would agree to publish you book. This was an individual who was very successful with many contacts that would be interested in his book. He also gave me good advice about the title. I originally wanted to use the title ‘Divinely Intended Ego” which was a reference to a phase of Friedrick von Hugel that had resonated with me for many years; ‘divinely intended tension’. He recommended that I find a more accessible title that would better describe the book—which I did using my original title as a subtitle. The other person, who had an experience which I could more closely relate to, had a book published through the publishing arm of Amazon, CreativeSpace. He highly recommended them and found the process and results to be very satisfactory.
I investigated the possibility of using CreativeSpace primarily based on my colleague’s recommendation. CreativeSpace is an U.S. based firm as part of Amazon, as is my colleague which gave me some hesitation as a Canadian. However, after some discussion and consideration I decided to go with CreativeSpace. The cost for similar services to the Canadian firm was substantially less at about $2,600—about $2,800 Canadian at the exchange at the rate that that time (note to Canadian, the exchange rate has fallen through the floor since then). So I launched into the world of what used to be called derisively, vanity press but is becoming a creditable way of publishing in the modern age.
I found the process of working with CreativeSpace overall to be very positive. I worked with two editors who were professional and did a good job. I had signed up for a package deal which included two rounds of editing with proofs provided as well a customs design for the cover. It also included writing of an introductory blurb for marketing and making the book available through Amazon. Not everything was perfect of course. I had some difficulty getting used to the editing system where I would have to accept or reject every change proposed by the editors down to every jot and tittle and comma and Em Dash. This was a long labourious process for someone who is not detailed oriented but is of course necessary to have a good end product. One assumption one of the editors made was to put commentary on the biblical passages in the past tense without checking with me. I had put some in present and some in past in my initial manuscript. After some consideration I decided to go with present tense and had to manually change the manuscript to reflect that. This was a rather extensive process, however, I am glad I made that decision.
CreativeSpace was very responsive to my questions and issues that I raised by email. There overall system is quite processional and comprehensive. However, I discovered that my assumption that the book would automatically be available on Amazon.ca was not correct. This is a drawback for a Canadian as it makes it more difficult for Canadians to order copies with exchange and duties and shipping. I don’t believe Amazon.com offers free shipping to Canada whereas Amazon.ca does. However, I have recently discovered that my book is available through Amazon.ca. However, it is not ‘in stock’ and will probably take longer to obtain through that route.
Finally I have successfully made the book available in Kindle format which was more difficult than I had anticipated. Kindle is an Amazon company. However, it doesn’t happen automatically through CreativeSpace. I had difficulty getting the files into a format that Kindle would accept which was surprisingly not provided by CreativeSpace. However, the people at CreativeSpace and Kindle were helpful and I was eventually successful without becoming too frustrated which is an accomplishment for a non-computer nerd such as I.
In conclusion, the process was worth it whether or not I make a profit in the process (perhaps there is a bit of vanity or ego in it). However, it was a real thrill when my copies of the book arrived and I open the box two days before Christmas.
Readers of my sermon might enjoy my book The Ego and The Bible. It is available on Amazon.com:
It is also available on Amazon.ca: