Saturday, 26 September 2009

Fun with forms

I realise I haven’t posted much about the mechanics of self-publishing recently. That’s partly because I’m in what you might call the admin phase, which isn’t particularly interesting. Also, I haven’t done it particularly efficiently. So here, for anyone thinking of self-publishing, is how it works.

First, I wanted to get a quote for the job from the printers. When I went to fill in the form, I realised I needed the detailed specs of my book – what size I want it to be, what paper I want it printed on, whether the cover will be matt or glossy, and so on. To get these I had to consult my book designers, who made their recommendations based on my initial meeting with David.

So eventually I filled in the form, and a couple of days later the quote came back. I ran it past the designers, who seemed to think it was fair enough. Now I was ready to place an order with the printers. So I looked at the order form – and found that I needed to enter my ISBN (the universal code used to order books worldwide).

So now I had to fill in the ISBN application form, and discovered – surprise, surprise – that this required yet another item I didn’t possess; a sample title and verso page for the book. This meant going back to the designers once again and a couple of days of toing and froing by email.

Now, finally, I have my ISBN number, which means I can place my order and get a date when my book will be printed. But I’m sure I could have reached this point several weeks earlier if I’d just taken the trouble to read all the forms at the outset.

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