There’s no agent representing my new novel, so does that mean it will be trapped in my computer forever? Will all the hours my First Readers spent combing through those boxes of loose manuscript pages, checking commas and content, have been for naught? Hell, no.
With my last book, Intentional, a novel, I eventually gave up the agent search. I decided to use Amazon’s CreateSpace to print my book. It’s On-Demand printing, which means the books are printed as they are ordered, so you don’t end up with a basement full of boxes of books that you’ll never sell.
I didn’t want Amazon or CreateSpace listed as publisher. So I decided to become my own publisher. I came up with a name and did some research to make sure no one else had it. Next I registered it with the state.
Spring Forward Publishing
A positive and progressive sounding name, don’t you think? Someone else can pick Fall Back Publishing. It’s probably available.
A real publisher’s books have a logo on the back and a bug on the spine. I know, a bug on the spine sounds like a serious affliction. Check your chiropractor.
During most of the decades that I contributed to Social Security, I worked as a graphic designer. The best of those years were spent sharing a room with Nancy Massa at the studio where we used to work. I asked Nancy to design my logo because her work is meticulous and creative. My criteria for the logo was to show Spring in two ways, like a flower, and like an actual spring (think a Bloomin’ Slinky).
Here’s the logo Nancy designed:
Here’s the bug:
Then Nancy and I worked on the cover design together. Internet sources say you should hire a designer for your book, someone that specializes in book cover design. What? Designing brochures and ads for car companies and banks doesn’t count? Seriously, I wasn’t about to have a stranger do it, for budget reasons (and because I’m a control freak.)
Since Intentional, a novel is about how family and friends cope after the suicide of a loved one, I wanted a bullet on the cover. I looked at clip art images of bullets, but none were right (shadows fell the wrong way or resolution wasn’t good enough). I don’t have a gun. I don’t have bullets. (Note: I REALLY hate the NRA, but my brother, Tom, hunts. And he feeds me grilled venison wrapped in bacon, which I approve of.)
I had to go to a store and buy a bullet. Did you know they won’t sell you just one bullet, you have to buy a whole box? I felt both ignorant and repelled as I asked the salesman to show me bullets. He spread them out on the counter and let me compare them at different angles. It had to be colorful. Shiny. Photogenic.
I shot the bullet on a piece of white paper. English is such a fun language. Note, that it’d be a whole different meaning if I said, “I shot the bullet at a piece of white paper.”
Anyway, I took photographs of the bullet, also some post-it notes, and chalk. Then I took my laptop to Nancy’s, and together we moved the parts and pieces around until we were both happy.
You can see the results on the Books page of this website, but actually, you probably own the book, so you know how it looks. If not, Amazon will print you an On-Demand copy. You really need this novel!
How’s that for a sales pitch? Too obvious? Sorry.
To turn Intentional, a novel, into a printed book, involved connecting with Amazon’s CreateSpace, ordering of ISBN numbers from Bowker, formatting the layout of the book, hiring an editor, getting a copyright, buying a license from Rodgers & Hammerstein to reprint the lyrics of “My Favorite Things,” getting the Library of Congress numbers, and submitting the book to Kirkus Reviews, reformatting for Kindle and iBook and Smashwords versions.
So much to do, so little wine. But, I did it for Intentional, and by god, I can do it again. I, myself (with a lot of help from my friends) can turn A Bird in the House into a real book.