DIY or die

I received a proof this week of “Ultra” with its beautiful blue cover.  It took me several days to realise what was wrong with it:  no page numbers, 1.5 line spacing instead of single line spacing, paragraph gaps too small, first chapter starting on the left instead of the right hand side with no blank page on the left.

Aaaaaaargh!  These are not things you think about when publishing as an e-book because they aren’t an issue!  I’ve searched for a CreateSpace guide but all I can find is something about page margins which is no longer necessary as they work that out for you.  So I’m having to learn everything by trial and error.  The $15 dollar proof is only about £9 (including the cruel £1 bank charge for an overseas transaction) so I don’t mind having to fork out for another proof.  At first I felt rather gloomy about how long this is all taking, about how much work I have to do, how little time I have to write, whether I’ll actually ever write again, but today, with the sun shining and a heating pad wrapped tightly around my sore shoulder, things look a little clearer and surer:

  •  It might take time to get the paperback version of “Ultra” ready but it has to be time that’s well spent.  After all, I want my real book to look fantastic.  I want to open it with pride.  I want it feel like a real book, not a cheapie second-rate self-published option.
  • I worked out a schedule in order to force myself back into writing.  I had a go at writing just before Christmas but got bored!  A difficult one to push through.  Only solution is to be as professional as possible.  Two hours a day, three days a week:  it’s not much but I’ve begun a total rewrite of the abandoned short story and have totted up 2700 words so far.  I’m not usually a word-counter but it seems to help as I’m not feeling at all confident.
  • All the other ten thousand things I have to do have to be squeezed into the time leftover after real-world work, the gym and daily chores.  No work allowed on Friday afternoons or the weekend!
  • The trip to the American embassy has been penned in for the 26th with purple ink.  I MUST get this over with!


I couldn’t tell you whether it’s worth publishing through CreateSpace:  I’ve got nothing to compare it to.  So far all errors have been mine.  If it doesn’t work out, there are always other self-publishers (Lulu, for example).


As for getting page numbers which are centred and started on page 5 or 6 of your Word document with a  Page One, then check out this hugely useful link:


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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One Response to DIY or die

  1. Pete Denton says:

    So many things to think about. Good to share the pitfalls and things to remember with others 🙂

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