I went to the TusCon 46 conference last weekend. Check out the website. https://tusconscificon.com/  What a blast it is. Eric Schumacher (https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Schumacher-54210757834/) and his company were filming a movie there. I got to be in it, but you'll have to look really hard to spot me.  The movie is the sequel to Revenge of Zoe. Fun people running around for that. Hi, Paula. Think you'd make a good Kiki? Costumes galore and really good sessions. In addition to the instruction writing session, NASA had reps there along with the Kitt Peak Observatory and Univ of AZ Astronomy group and the planetary studies group. They want to see sci-fi writers get the science right. Sign up for next year. It's really a bargain.

Here's my second installment on self-pub stuff.

Self PUB

Chapter 2


Formatting Text

As I use Microsoft Word 10, most of these instructions are geared toward that. Look at published books to get an idea of what to do.

Font and text:

Once you have the edited manuscript, it’s time to get it formatted for the publisher/ printer. There are people who will format for you for a price, and it may be worth it. I like to do things myself.

See what font to use. I use Microsoft Word and make use of the Styles feature, This is the block in the middle of the tool bar under the Home tab. By right clicking on Normal the conditions can be modified–you can define what Normal is. I use Times New Roman as my font, 12 as the font size, Justified as the setup, and double spacing for my working manuscript. My heading for chapters is New Times Roman font, 14 point as the size, Bold, and center for my text location. That way I only have to click on the Styles block to set up the text. After the editing is complete, I only have to modify the definition of Normal to change the whole document. For submission, those changes would be to 1 or 1.15 spacing.

One advantage to using the Styles is that style changes (e.g. From Normal to Headings) are shown in the Navigation window like an index. This allows you to move rapidly around your document. The Navigation Pane is activated in the View tab.

The chapter heading is not at the top of the page. Publishers vary on what they want. I use 5 spaces (Normal style) before the chapter heading. I use one space (Normal) after.

Size & Margins:

For the working manuscript I use 8-1/2 x 11 paper and wide margins. This leaves room for comments. I also assign Section 1 to the first pages for title, copyright, acknowledgements and other information. If there’s a prologue, that goes before the section for the body of the text. This is so that headings and page numbers apply to the text body. When the editing is complete, change the page size to whatever the book size is to be. Make sure you click on Whole Document box. Once page size is applied to document, set the margins and gutter. Typical margins are 0.5 to left and right and top and bottom. Gutter is the space needed when binding so that the text is visible. Typically, gutter and margin on the inside of the page is about 0.8 inches total. The margins can vary as you decide.

Headers & Footers:

Headers and footers can be installed using the insert tab in the 1st Section. Make sure the “Same as Previous” is off. The first pages with book information don’t normally have headers, footers or page numbers. You can decide to have different headers on odd and even pages, like title on the right hand page and author name on the left hand. Page numbers can be on top or bottom of pages and centered or on left or right. Start page 1 on Chapter 1 which will be the first right hand page of the text body after a blank left hand page. Title page will be on the right hand side with the back blank.

Submission format:

It is usually required to imbed your fonts into the file. I didn’t know that fonts are not part of the file unless they are imbedded, silly ignorant me. To imbed fonts in Word files, click on the File tab. At the bottom of the menu, click on the “Options” tab then on the Save” selection. Under the “Preserve fidelity when sharing this document” heading, click on the “imbed fonts” and check the “Fonts in this document” option. If you imbed all fonts, the file will become HUGE.

It is typical to submit a book as a PDF file rather than a word processing file. Word allows the conversion from a DOC or DOCX file to PDF. IngramSpark (the printer/distributor I use) suggests that the PDF conversion be done under the Print selection under the File tab.


Formatting Cover

Different publishers want different cover files (JPEG etc.). It also varies whether e-book or print. A template will help determine the size of the cover (page size plus bleed) and the width of the spine (page count and paper type.) My graphic artist, Steve Linebaugh does covers for me which includes the color style. Thank you Steve!

Your cover is the first thing a buyer’s eye catches, so make it eye-catching. Don’t scrimp on cover design. It is one place to put dollars that is needed along with editing. Usually text files and cover files are separately submitted.

I find the submission process the most frustrating part. Don’t be afraid to call and seek help. With IngramSpark, you are the publisher. They are the printer distributor. They are not really helpful, but Steve and I have managed to struggle through the process.


I thought I'd start a podcast, but have decided to try out instructional blogs to see how it goes, so here's the first installment. Gimme feedback.


Self PUB

Chapter 1

This article assumes you’ve completed your manuscript. If not, WRITE! After self-publishing nine books, I thought I’d offer a series of comments about my experiences that might be helpful to others. I originally was going to do a PODcast, but thought I’d see what the response to blogs was first, so here goes. (This means you should respond. My skin is thick enough that I can take criticism.)


            When I finished writing my first book, Sea Species, I tried to go with traditional publishing. The manuscript was BAD, so that went nowhere. Luckily, one agent kindly told me to rewrite. I did and submitted. A few agents and pub houses did send rejection notes, others never got back to me. Sea Species was a time sensitive novel with reality quickly catching up to the science fiction, so I decided to try self-publishing. I checked with a publishing house that charged to publish, known as vanity publishing. For a mere few thousand dollars they’d be happy to publish. I didn’t have a spare thousand dollars hanging about.

Amazon had a self-publishing division called Create Space. For no cost, they’d publish my book. Though the publishing was free, the submission of text and cover had to be complete and correct unless one wanted to pay for editing and cover artwork. Checking graphic artists showed me how expensive they could be. One GA took pity on me and gave me contact info for Steve Linebaugh. What a godsend he turned out to be.

After toing and froing several times, we clicked and came up with the first cover. I had several friends help me out with the editing, and I was ready. Or so I thought. Create Space was helpful in getting the formatting correct, and two weeks later the book was in my hands. I ordered a bunch. Create Space took a heavy percentage of pricing, but they have to make money somehow. Create Space has now become Kindle Publishing.


Get the work professionally edited. Whether you are submitting to an agent/publishing house, or self-publishing, it must be correct. I was embarrassed by the number of errors. You name it and it was in there­–spelling, word usage, words omitted, POV changes, way too much rambling, all of it. Shop around, submit samples to see how good this editor is. I actually left some errors in to see if she would catch them. The most expensive are not necessarily the best.

Self-Edit First. After going through the work several times, including back to front reading (That keeps you from reading the story and skipping over errors), I use the Word editing tools. After hat I use Pro Writing Aid as my second line of self-editing. It’s not expensive and a full report means you are going through the work a dozen more times for each topic without reading it. I found myself changing my writing after using Pro Writing Aid.

I want to give my editor the best I can do so she isn’t focused on spelling and punctuation and helps on characters, POV, and story development. Remember, the editor is your friend and makes suggestions. You are the author but you want a great product.

Consider an editing group. I belong to and editing group. We meet weekly, read up to 10 pages after handing out copies to each of the members and each member notes comments and corrections and talks about them. It is critical that the members of your editing group are all helping each other. No room for egos. Carping or snide remarks will hurt your efforts. That means you have to take criticism as attempts to help. If that’s not the attitude, Get out. We haven’t done online editing, but there’s no reason it won’t work. I think it may be better in some ways, the members have more time to go over the submission and note comments and corrections. I did this as part of a writing class for ThrillerFest.

One important thing is that the members must have a commitment. We meet every week. There are times that some can’t make it. That’s understandable we do have lives outside of editing and writing, but chronic absences show a lack of commitment. Oust them.

Sending the MS to my editor is the last step in text preparation; I can accept or reject her recommendations,


Here is a review that Amazon wouldn't post on Penelope, so I decided to do it. Thanks you, Kim.

Creating Peace in our outdoor environment with our cooperation!
The format of the book was incredibly knowledge based. The message was directed at first about the spider, then the child learning that spiders are welcomed into our world. I liked the mixture of the diseases that mosquitoes carry however; the knowledge was much more powerful about learning about the incredible design of Nature & how we as humans should be paying attention and live in the moment!

Risen from the Dead is out! Got my first copy Monday and have ordered a stock for myself. I checked, and Amazon, Kobo and Barnes and Noble are carrying it. I'm also working with Eric Shumacher of 

seeliestudios-com to put together an audio book of Penelope the Pooting Spider. We'll see how it goes.

Risen from the Dead e-book is out. Don't know who has it on line yet. Print book  will be out in a week or so. Whew! Submitting is always an ordeal because I don't do it all the time.Already working on the next one. Maybe Paradise is Dead.

I'm putting final touches on Risen from the Dead and anticipate it will be available early in August. I will announce it!

I've started on the next Kiki adventure. My plan is to tie this even closer to the Evolution River series. Working on opening and plot now.

Got some rewrites on Risen from the Dead to do as first run at editing from DeeAnna are are in my hands. Steve and I are close on the cover. Here it is. Comments are welcome. Steve & I are thinking of doing a PODcast. Comments about topics and length are welcome.

First 1/2 of Risen from the Dead is at DeeAnna the editor's. I may actually make a schedule of Aug 1. We'll see.

My editing group has me doing a number of rewrites on Risen from the Dead. Thank goodness for them. They make my stories better. Lots of work, though. I'm going through it again also, then off to the editor. August still looks good for a drop date.

My excursion to Pinetop for the White Mountain Nature Center was good, though I really need to work on the talk regarding Penelope the Pooting Spider. It's hard to talk for 20 minutes in a 33 page book. As to the talks at the RV parks titled Write and Publish that Book, interest was flagging, so no talks. Too bad. I was looking forward to that. I'll keep trying. 

RSS feed

Join our newsletter

Get updates on book signings and upcoming books

Connect with us

Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/RLClayton-492878487412902/ Twitter -- https://twitter.com/rlclaytonwriter

Dead & Dead For Real