Createspace? Lightning Source? Where to self-publish?

I weighed in on this independent publishers discussion with the following comment:

This is good advice and matches what I learned with my first book, Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff.

Buy your own ISBN from Bowker (or, realistically, a group of 10 if you're also doing ebooks so you also have ISBNs for the EPUB and Kindle editions).

Sign up for Createspace and use them for their excellent prices on proof copies (also handy for creating review and Goodreads giveaway copies). Get your book looking great and prepare to build buzz. Do not use Createspace's Extended Distribution.

Sign up for Lightning Source (LSI) with the final version of your book now that you've done some proofing passes with cheaper copies from Createspace. Use LSI for reaching libraries and booksellers. Resign yourself to not making much money per copy through LSI and set the discount low enough that a bookseller will consider ordering from you. Bear in mind that LSI and Ingram or Baker & Taylor are both taking a cut out of that discount and that the bookseller also needs to cover their costs and make their profit in that slice. Once you add it up it's easy to see why booksellers aren't likely to even do special orders for something that's only got a 25% discount, especially if it's non-returnable.

Offer the Kindle version through Amazon's KDP program.

Offer EPUB versions through Apple's iTunes Connect and either (or both) Barnes & Noble's Nook Press and Google's Google Play. (Note: I have not yet published through the latter, but it is an alternative to the (in my experience) very low-selling Nook/BN.com world. If you want to reach a broader audience, it's important to have a non-Kindle, non-iTunes way for people to buy your EPUB edition, particularly if part of your audience prefers DRM-free books.

My second book, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, is full of great photography and, while the color print-on-demand (POD) quality from both Createspace and LSI was very much better than I expected, it's not yet "coffee-table book quality" and my partner and I have decided to use offset press printing. We still used Createspace for proof and review copies.

Troubleshooting InDesign to EPUB Table of Contents export

If you are, like I was, getting the error message "TOC entry has incorrect nesting level" when you try to export from InDesign to EPUB, try this.

This seems to be an error in the hierarchy of TOC style levels and probably means you've got a lower level item listed before the higher level of which it is a sub-part. For example, I seemed to have a style I called "section headline" coming up before any of my "Part"s or "Chapter"s. So how to find it?

First, you need to know which style is causing the issue. I created a new TOC style called "EPUB TOC troubleshoot" and one-by-one added in the TOC styles I wanted to include from the highest level down, exporting to EPUB after each one until I got the error message.

Once you know which style is nested incorrectly, now you need to hunt down where it's out of the hierarchy. In InDesign CS6, go to Edit > Find/Change (or hit command or control F). Use the little icon beside the 'Find What' box to set it to look for Wildcards > Any Character. Us the little icon beside the 'Find Format' box to set it to look for Style Options > Paragraph Styles > [whatever your offending style seems to be].

You know what mine was? The section headline on the print version's table of contents page. Ha! I created a new style from that named "section headline TOC" so that it would be separated from the rest of the section headlines in the book which I wanted to use for my EPUB TOC and then, hooray! I exported without an error. Phew.

announcing The Art of the Shim on Facebook

The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level is a celebration of being able to fit more drinks into an evening without getting stupid, sad, or sick. Smart drinking doesn’t require giving up cocktails or alcohol entirely, nor must we resign ourselves to a monotonous diet of simplistic, syrupy concoctions. Fans of sophisticated beverages can switch into a lower gear without giving up everything they love about cocktails. In brief, this book advocates more drink, less drunk.

Stay tuned for more information about the book and when it will be available.

 

FAQ:

Who is creating the recipes? The book will include a mix of recipes old and new, by some of the best bartenders in the world.

Will it be illustrated? Yes! With gorgeous photographs of each of the featured drinks.

What format will it be in? Trade paperback and a variety of ebook formats, including a version suited for tablets.

 

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