Saturday, 23 February 2013

E-Publish And Go Bust?

Hi everyone. I thought it was about time I checked in. I'm pleased to say that the one-day-a-week system is still working well and I'm making good progress (sounds like my old school reports!) on the two children's novels I'm currently editing, my life story The Emptiness at the Edge of the World and my second collection of poems for younger children. It's a bit weird not having anything to send out (and I miss my reward stickers!) but I guess that's writing books for you, as opposed to magazine work.

Which brings me to the other book project I'm currently working on, namely my collection of poems for young adults/teens called I Wandered Lonely As A Snog. As I mentioned in my last post, I'm hoping to publish it as an e-book on Amazon Kindle.

And what's the first thing I've discovered about e-publishing? It costs money. OK, so it's free to download your book but before that, there are a couple of things that all the "experts" say you need to get right and these are not necessarily free at all.

The first potential expense is the cover design. I think I was hoping that because it's "only" an e-book, the cover wasn't really all that important. Not so! Apparently, you need to pay (with the emphasis on the word "pay") great attention to getting the cover design right, just as you would a "proper" book. Not only that but unlike an actual book, the design has to be one that works well in a thumbnail image. Tricky!

The advice that comes across again and again is not to do the cover design yourself but to get a professional artist or graphic designer to do it for you. All very well but after researching prices on the internet, the average cost of a decent cover design seems to be in the region of £200. I did find a company offering to do it for seven pounds (slight difference!) but I lost the link and couldn't find it again, which may well have been a good thing.

The other item you are not supposed to skimp on with an e-book is the proof reading or copy-editing and again, you are advised to use a professional proof-reader or copy-editor. I can see the logic of this as it is notoriously difficult to produce your own error-free copy, however many times you prroof (see!) read it. I've not looked at prices yet but I'm guessing it won't come cheap.

So, my first hurdle to overcome with e-publishing seems to be a financial one. At the moment, I'm leaning towards paying someone to proof-read my manuscript (that's a professional "someone" obviously, not just someone waiting at the bus stop) and having a go at doing the cover design myself using the burgeoning skills I've developed from computer crafting.

I'll let you know how I get on. Meanwhile, here is a little taster of I Wandered Lonely As A Snog, a poem called Deep Sea Kissing.


Deep sea kissing
is a bit like deep sea fishing.
You never know what you might catch.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2012




  1. Glad to hear you are making progress on your various projects. Thanks also for alerting me to the perils of cover design and editing. I hadn't thought of the former and assumed I would be able to do the latter, having once had a publishing job doing just that. However, as you rightly point out, you miss things in your own work because you are too close to it. If I ever go down the self-publishing route - which is probably the only one realistically open to me - I will have to grasp these nettles, as you are doing. Good luck, anyway, and look forward to hearing how you get on.

  2. Hi Vanessa. Thanks for your comment. There should be some news on the cover design very shortly! Thanks also for your good luck wishes and all the very best with your own self-publishing foray if you decide to go down that route too.