Createspace hell

I’m over the following:

MS Word, PDF, Adobe InDesign, Createspace, Adobe Acrobat . . . basically anything with the word Adobe in it.

Yes, I’m afraid it’s going to be one of those bitch sessions.

Seriously. What kind of degree do you have to have to upload your manuscript to createspace? A PhD? Do I need to be a rocket scientist?

Because rocket scientist I ain’t and createspace is beating the hell out of me.

You may ask what this createspace is of which I speak?

Createspace is meant to be a realitvely easy route to a POD service, ie. printing up your book on demand for those discerning individuals who don’t own a kindle or iPAD (read my grandmother). And I’m cool with that. I like the idea of seeing my book as a physical product and on my bookshelf. Hell. Given the amount of work I’ve already put in, how bad could it be really?

Well, I’m here to tell you it sucks big oranguatan balls.

I have spent the better part of two days in the rough and tumble of my MS styles sheets getting my layout just right with beautiful headers and subheaders, a perfect ToC, and even getting my page numbers to act like they should (notice there are no page numbers on my title page or dedication ho ho ho!)

Yeah, I’ve spent all this time only to get ball blocked by Createspace with the same bloomin’ error, which is effectively this –

Hey moron! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Over here. Guess what? Your PDF file size doesn’t match my trim size if you get my drift and well, you using that cheap free piece of crap primoPDF isn’t going to help you much either buddy. Oh wait! You don’t have Office 2010 either, well, you are screwed with a Capital S my friend. Good luck getting your fonts embedded, my chere. You’re going to be paying the big bucks now . . .

The upshot is that I have this beautiful layout in MSword (oxymoron I know, right?) gagging to be PDFed, but I can’t without either having 1) a new version of word (cha ching), 2) purchase Acrobat for a gazillion bucks (okay, not a gazillion, but try like $140) or 3) Install open office and hope that everything converts over nicely and I don’t lose all the work that I’ve busted my ass doing this week.

I kid you not, it will make your head explode.

Which brings me to my 3 profound thoughts for this week:

1) indie authoring ain’t cheap – whoever tells you otherwise is lying
2) I have no idea how on earth an indie author would even get through this stuff without some serious know how
3) layout people are worth their weight in nuts/gold/whatever flavor you’re into

I mean I have a pretty groovy and cheap team on my side mainly in the form of one very uber-brainiac software engineer for a husband and many, many frightening talented friends who work in IT, games, music, etc. I’m the lucky bastard with all the connections, I’m afraid.

And it still ain’t enough when you’re choosing the DIY path of indie authorship.

I know it will get better with each new book that I put out as I hone and refine the process, but it doesn’t mean the beating doesn’t hurt right here and right now. It does string rather alot.

So what words of wisdom can I pass onto you my fellow brethren?

1) If you use a word processor, try not to use MSWord. Yes, you know how to use it, but you’ll be unhappy that you used the crutch when you get to the formatting part. Try Open Office or Atlantis Word processor.

2) If you must dance with the devil, go with ADobe InDesign. I can’t believe I just said that, but I can’t help but feel I would’ve been done with this process (at least the print part) if I had sucked up and paid the money for this software (you’ll still need to write your book elsewhere, but use it for layout). It embeds fonts, I can get relatively decent .epub files out of it (I don’t know this for sure since I don’t have it, but I take her word for it)

3) Get a good book/cliff notes for epub/xml/html/oh hell, anything that has to do with self-publishing. You’ll be happy you did. If nothing else, you won’t be trolling around webpages for hours on end trying to find your answer.

4) Make friends with people who have either done it before or know people who’ve done it before. You’ll be calling on them lots. Even staying in touch with another indie author will make you feel better especially when it comes time to vent.

5) Be prepared for the battle. Honestly if you’ve gotten as far as writing and editing your book then you probably are already battle-scarred and that’s good cause you’re gonna need that perserverance.

6) If all else fails, call in the pros. It’ll cost you some bucks, but if you’re happy with what they can provide you then go for it.