15 December 2014

Work in progress

At the end of December last year, I wrote a post about my solitary New Year's resolution, which was to self-publish my novel. So, why, nearly a year on, is it still no more than a Word document? - albeit a much reworked one.

In fairness, I lost quite a lot of time to various domestic and personal crises, which also sapped my mental and physical resources. However, the biggest obstacle to progress has been my inability to decide on the best self-publication route to take.

I always knew this would be a challenge. Being indecisive seems to go hand in hand with being a perfectionist, and I often find myself incapable of reaching a decision on the most trivial of questions. My novel is, of course, anything but a trivial matter, which made it even harder to choose a self-publishing provider.

Image courtesy of artur84/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I actually began the process in 2013, when I requested an information pack from the one I thought I was most likely to use (I'll call them Company A): they were expensive, but had a good reputation. However, the literature I received from them contained so many typographical errors that I immediately lost faith in their ability to deliver a book I'd be proud of.

Once again at something of a loss, I then found what appeared to be salvation, in the shape of a comparison site for self-publishing companies. A few minutes of my time inputting some key information and, bingo! I'd be presented with the perfect provider for my needs - or so I thought. 

The questionnaire was very detailed and I had to guess wildly at some answers: not being a printing expert, choosing a binding style was beyond me. Frankly, one of the options, 'paperback backcomb', sounded more like a hairstyle. 

I figured I could finalise all of that later; this was just to get me started. I clicked through to the end and waited a moment...only to be told 'We have found 133 providers who match some or all of your criteria'. Brilliant. It didn't help that Number 2 on the list was 
Company A.

Next, I found an e-book review of some of the best known providers. This was more useful, as it identified a number to steer clear of, but the top rated company was, you've guessed it, Company A.

Like a never-ending game of snakes and ladders, I seemed to be taking one step backwards for every one forwards.

Then, all of sudden, I came to a decision.

At the end of last month, I attended a self-publishing conference. One of the speakers was from Company A and I didn't much take to him, which only confirmed my instinct not to go with them. Then a fellow delegate recommended Company B, whose name had also appeared high in the rankings both on the comparison site and in the e-book. She rated them so highly that she was placing her second book with them.

And that was it, in an instant I'd made my decision. All it then took to confirm this was a careful review of their website, to verify that their services matched my requirements. They did - and I found only one typo across dozens of pages.

Unfortunately, the next decision-related stumbling block materialised almost immediately: my research of their site revealed that I would have to include an acknowledgements' page with the manuscript I submitted for a quotation. Now, who to thank...???


Lindsay said...

Well done - a step nearer, a BIG step.

Helen Barbour said...

Thanks, Lindsay - and you win this year's prize for fastest comment post-publication!