I probably should have expected this, but as I get further along the self-publishing path I’m finding that some of the tasks I thought would be troublesome have proved to be easy while those I thought would be simple have required a bit more effort. Take the dedication for instance, choose the person and write a few words, what’s difficult about that? And perhaps it isn’t too big a deal -- unless, like me, you start dwelling on the implications. Will the people you don’t choose be upset? Will they feel slighted? Will they even care? Or is mulling over this matter just another excuse to procrastinate? Fear that the latter might be true, together with the knowledge that it was the only one I had any real control over, brought a swift decision to stay with my original choice.
Even the acknowledgements posed a question. Are you supposed to check whether the people concerned mind before you declare in print that they contributed in some way to the finished product? I’m sure if I was a best-selling novelist the answer would be obvious, but in a first attempt, maybe they’d rather stay invisible. Getting their approval seemed like the decent thing to do and was certainly no huge task given that I have neither an agent or a publisher and apart from family I could only think of two people who had contributed – until I discovered one of them had retired and I no longer had a direct way to contact him. Do I leave his name in the acknowledgements and hope he doesn’t mind, or should I remove it on the basis that he might not want his name used? I’ve tried to contact him via his old work place, was told they would pass my message on together with my number so he could contact me, but so far I’ve had no call back.
On the positive side, the scary sounding process of turning my Word document into HTML turned out to be so simple! Apparently I had already done the tough part - cleaning up the formatting on my original manuscript. Once that was done to my satisfaction, I merely had to save it again, but this time under the Web Filtered option in the ‘save as type’ box. The result is a little weird to look at as you lose all your margins and page breaks – white spaces separate text and chapter headings – but I’m assured by the instructions that on the next upload into the e-book creator, the formatting will return. The only puzzle is why my title page, copyright and dedication have all been converted to capitals when I used exactly the same type as the rest of the manuscript. I can only hope this too will revert to the original format in the next stage.
Having added the required front and back pages, if I view my original manuscript two pages at a time, it now looks very much like a proper book, albeit on screen. It’s an exciting feeling although it makes me think that when you publish the traditional way, it must be a real high when you hold the finished product in your hand for the first time. Maybe, one day…..