Long before the final copy-edit I had concluded that my first and unusual hybrid non-fiction book containing elements of genealogy, heir-hunting, and social and family history would not attract a main stream publisher. In any event I couldn’t face writing query letters, hustling publishing houses and receiving endless rejection letters. I decided to self-publish and retain control.
But, it is often said that writing is the easy bit and that the route to publication is the hardest. Certainly there are numerous elements and I have expertise in none: typsetting, cover design, proof-reading, indexing, book marketing, print-on-demand, conversion to e-book formats etc.
All the advice one reads about self-publishing is the absolute need to create a professional product: good cover, well typeset and free of punctuation and grammatical errors. Basically, it shouldn’t be sloppy.
I had to decide what I could try to learn on the hoof and what I could never master to the level required to produce a professional product. I started with the book cover and mastered the art of layering and fading within Paint.net. I was even able to use one of my own photos which I had taken in Argentina in March. I was pleased with the result (see below) until I discovered that my image quality was not sufficient for a full size book cover.
My saviour was the discovery of Chandler Book Design. Not only could they bring my cover design to life but they also offered a typesetting service and a conversion to ebook, two more areas which I knew I would not be able to master.