An Independent Author Flashes Her Geek Card

Steph_2 copy (2)This post by Stephanie Stamm.

Releasing a new book is a lot of work!

I’m not complaining, I’m just saying…

After the writing—and rewriting—and then handing your sort-of-but-not-quite-finished baby over to others to read and give you comments, there’s a lot more rewriting, then editing, then polishing. And then, there’s the formatting.

Yes, I said formatting.

I chose to publish independently, and I’ve chosen to do my own formatting—for both the text of the paperbacks and for the eBooks. As a technical writer, I spend a lot of time formatting other Zen_of_eBook_Formattingpeople’s documents, so I figured I might as well put those skills to use formatting my own. And I am grateful to people like Aaron Sheperd and Guido Henkel, who are willing to share their more specialized knowledge with people like me. Sheperd’s Perfect Pages is a valuable resource for using Microsoft Word to set up the content file of a paperback book. Henkel’s Zen of eBook Formatting (an expansion of his 2010 blog series “Take Pride in your eBook formatting”) is an easy-to-follow guide to converting a document file to HTML and from there to various eBook formats. Henkel’s 2010 blog series provides all the basics, but the book offers some updates and some more advanced techniques. I followed the instructions in the blog for my first book, and I used Zen of eBook Formatting for my second.

I flash my geek card proudly.

Geek Card

I love being able to format my own books. Yes, I spent hours setting up the book block for the print edition. Yes, I spent more hours setting up the HTML file. But when it’s all done, I can say, “I did that” and refer to the form of my books as well as their content. I’m proud of the different kinds of work I did to pull the final books together. It makes the publishing process seem more “artisanal,” to use the term Guy Kawasaki has popularized—sort of like I designed a table and then built and sanded and finished it as well.

Of course, I don’t do everything myself. I work with a very talented cover artist (check out Ravven’s website here), I rely on others for critiques and editing help, and I certainly don’t print the paperbacks. A lot of people make the finished book possible. But, as an independent author and publisher, the bulk of the work is mine.

Sometimes I long for the team that comes with a traditional publishing contract, and I may pursue the traditional path someday. But, for now, this independent path I’ve chosen suits me. I like working on all the different pieces-parts that come together to make the finished product. Yeah, there’s that geek card again. 🙂

What about you? Are you traditionally published or independently published? What about that particular path appeals to you?


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I am the geeky independent author of  the New Adult/Young Adult urban fantasy The Light-Bringer Series. Vol. 1, A Gift of Wingsis available now. Vol. 2, A Gift of Shadows, will be released next week–on Dec. 10! 





I have also contributed stories (one fictional and one true) to the following volumes:

Undead of Winter Front Only Into the Storm Cover