Technical Obstacles, OR the Road to Launch is not Paved.

20130625034227545Spent the past week mastering the various templates and software programs needed to create an eBook file to upload at Ingram Spark, the POD service I am using for distribution. I learned more about WORD’s tricks for formatting than I ever knew before! And I also learned about Calibre, the software (freeware) that allows you to convert .docx files into EPUB, the format Ingram Spark requires for eBooks. Despite having a very useful template for the creation of eBook formatting—thanks to Joel Friedlander’s Book Designing services--I still needed to make adjustments to get the eBook into the correct shape for it to convert properly into EPUB, the format that is now the digital publishing standard and one required on Ingram’s platform.

For example, you don’t want a Table of Contents to display page numbers for an eBook, so that requires changing it to an anchored list, with hyperlinks to a specific location in the document.

If this is more technical information than you understand or want to know, welcome to the challenges of independent publishing!

There are easier services than Ingram to use, but if you want your book to have wide distribution, you’ll choose to go the Ingram route. For instance, if you want a Shelf Awareness review of your book, they will accept independently published books but only if they are distributed by Ingram. And, they expect you to send them two proof copies of your book about two months in advance of publication—a deadline I am unlikely to make, depending on how quickly Ingram turns around my manuscript for proofing.

Still, it’s time for me to think forward to the launch of Diving for Pearls: A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt. So, I have been reviewing web sites for advice on how to get the book into the hands of reviewers. Not an easy task either, since IMG_0810many venues won’t touch independently published books. But Poets and Writers recently published a list of review sites, noting which will accept self-published material, which is a handy guide and starting place for consideration. Beyond this, many author blogs and author-related web sites provide information on blogging venues for reviews. Some of these will be useful for me, like Blog Critics, for which I have written reviews in the past. Others will be too general to be the audience I am trying to reach.

I am also reaching out to you, dear readers, in the hopes you have connections to local, independent bookstores or community centers or schools willing to order my book and perhaps schedule me for a reading. I am already booked for Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina in March, thanks to my colleague Jennifer Disney, who invited me for Women’s History Month and related campus events. I’ll give a lecture based on the book and lead a writing workshop in her feminist theory class.

Any other suggestions you have, please send them along.

I am still hoping to launch in November, but it depends on production schedules.