In keeping with the suggestion I made for myself in my post, “In The Numbers”, I am going to go over the 4 excuses that Dean Wesley Smith listed in his own article that inspired the aforementioned post.
In this post, I’ll go over the 3rd excuse:
“Excuse #3… What about all the publishing that goes along with that? Oh, no, every month or so you might have to spend a few extra hours to publish your novel so you can make money.”
Where to begin here. Given that I am not even trying to publish my work lately, I can’t use this as an excuse.
For others, it’s the tedious nature of the work there. Like writing itself isn’t so. Word is a pain though. It’s like trying to heard cats that are high on catnip. Then there’s the cover, whether you design your own (like I try to do), or you are fortunate enough to afford paying for one. Covers take a good deal of time on their own.
There are a lot of programs out there that help make it easier. Word is generally the default to make the publication files, but I’ve heard a lot about programs like Vellum. I’ve already ditched Word as a word processing program in favor of Scrivener, so to me it is a good option that I will eventually explore, even though I am proficient at Word. Yes, I am fairly proficient at Word, as fickle a program as it is.
The problem is the above: it takes time. However, Dean is absolutely correct. It is reasonable to expect to spend only a little bit of extra time to get the publishing stuff taken care of. If you put in the time early to experiment and fuck around with Word, it is possible to learn it to a point that you can then build a template and then a polished file for the publishing. The trick here is to do the work up front and be anal about what you produce. This is a reasonable form of perfectionism. It is worth the time to make sure things are fluid and consistent in a file and that it won’t budge when saved into a PDF (which I would advise to do when moving it to print. Ebooks should be fine in a .docx or .doc format as it won’t screw it up if you are thorough on the formatting. It can be done and look pretty good, even with images.
The whole point is to spend the time to learn the programs that are used. Use time up front to make it easier later on. There’s even programs that can be learned to make good covers. I use GIMP (a freeware version of Photoshop) as my primary tool. It takes time though, and I keep having to remind myself that this is the excuse that people have to deal with.
Time is the enemy of a lot of things. Like the article says in the first place, using the numbers, it is easy to see where we have a lot of time to do these things. And like is said up top, so you have to spend a couple of extra hours to work on all the peripheral things that go into publishing? Skip out on a few shows or skip reading (actually don’t skip reading). The point is to sacrifice something less important to get some extra time to finish that. It’s not hard. And like I already stated, spend extra time to really learn the programs being used. It’ll save you time later as you do more.