August 2006 Review

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After my discussion about publishing options last month I have decided to go with BookSurge at for “The Friendly Ambassador: Changes.” They have a number of different packages and costs. At the top end you present your manuscript in MS Word and they edit, format and do the cover for you. This costs a few hundred dollars. If you want a special cover rather than one that fits one of their templates, then it can also cost you quite a bit more. They also have templates for the layout of the text inside the book, for fonts, chapter headings etc. They have templates for fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. However, at the other end of the spectrum, if you can produce a final edited and formatted PDF version of your manuscript, and the final cover, again formatted to the exact size for the front, back and spine for your book, and in PDF, then it can cost you little more than $99.00. This is a reasonable deal for self publishing when you consider that you retain your rights and can sell them to another publisher at any time. So this is the option I have chosen.

As I have had some experience of editing and formatting my manuscripts to the layout that I like, and because I have the ability to create an Adobe PDF file of the final version, this was obviously the way for me to go. In addition, as those of you who have visited before will know (far too few of you, unfortunately), I am also pretty good at doing my own images using DazStudio and Bryce. So again, creating the cover isn't too much of a problem. Although getting the right resolution in dots per inch has proved to be a bit tricky. However, one of my main problems hasn't been down to my abilities.

As this is the third part of “The Friendly Ambassador,” and I have a forth waiting in the wings, I an anxious to keep the same feel and continuity with the first two books. So I contacted Publish America, who published the first two parts of the story, “The Friendly Ambassador: The Beginning of the End” and “The Friendly Ambassador: A Gathering of Angels,” and asked them about the fonts and colours used on the cover. Their response has been both helpful and not at all helpful all at the same time. Although I have a good relationship with the people in the separate departments of PA with whom I have worked with on the previous two books, and who were happy to help when I contacted them, the official stance of PA has been to voice their concern over their rights to the previous two covers, and the fact that they shouldn't be 'copied'.

In all honesty I thought this was a bit silly at first, considering that I did the images and layout for the covers in the first place, and that the third book promotes the first two. But having said that I also accept that PA aren't the publishers of the third book, and so they want to protect their rights, which I signed over to them in the first place, didn't I? So in order to keep everyone happy I have made sure that the third book can in no way be mistaken for either of the first two, while at the same time I have also made sure that the flavour and continuity between the first two books and the third book have been maintained.

As with all the books, the images on the front, spine and back covers have changed, but in addition I have also changed to different fonts and altered the layout slightly. My brief biography has now moved to the first page inside the book. And most drastically of all I have used opposing colours. If you can get this one mixed up with the other two, you need an optician.


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