I format books for indie-authors and have been publishing my own books since 2011. Ask me anything about either or both formatting and self-publishing.

Meredith Bond
Mar 16, 2018

I love formatting. I think it's a really great way to be creative in design without having to be a great artists. Even if you aren't that comfortable with computers and don't know HTML, you can still create beautiful books. Ask me about formatting and I'll be happy to share my expertise. 

Self-publishing is anything but "self". It's not done alone. It takes a team. I'll be more than happy to share all that I've learned over the past six years publishing my own books and helping others publish theirs.

Me and my books.JPG

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What was the last book you read that kept you engaged for many days?
Mar 23, 7:16AM EDT0
How do you find a balance between being a writer, and formatting expert?
Mar 23, 6:43AM EDT0
Do you believe that the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan stated?
Mar 23, 6:31AM EDT0
Could you talk a little about your path toward formatting books?
Mar 23, 1:23AM EDT0

Sure! I'm afraid that I just jumped in with both feet! 

I started formatting in 2011 and had no idea what I was doing. I taught myself HTML and studied how professionally published books looked and then tried to recreate that. My formatting skills since then have increased and evolved and I no longer format directly in HTML since there are great programs (Jutoh) that have come out to make it so much easier!

Mar 23, 5:23AM EDT0
Has being an editor changed the way you look at sending out submissions at all?
Mar 23, 12:07AM EDT0

Hi Syeide! I don't send out submissions. I'm self-published. But it certainly makes me think sometimes when I'm reading a book that isn't particularly good. My fingers just itch to edit it and send notes to the author! I resist though...

Mar 23, 5:20AM EDT0
What's the most favorite and least favorite of all the books you have worked on?
Mar 22, 11:10PM EDT0

That's a fun question, Miquel! The most fun book I've worked on was a historical fantasy, Magic in the Storm. I was creating a whole new world populated by people who could do magic, so it was great fun figuring out what they could do, couldn't do and what it cost them to do magic (because magic always comes at a cost!). 

   The least favorite book was one that I wrote last year and it was only my least favorite because the characters just weren't cooperating with what I wanted them to do. It was a fight the whole way through the book!

Mar 23, 5:20AM EDT0
Do you work from home or in other locations and why do you feel this location suits you?
Mar 22, 10:41PM EDT0

Hi Hasan!

   I usually work from home because I really like to work in quiet. Sometimes I'll go out to a local café--I live in Europe so there's one on just about every block! :-) But even there, I can't work well if there are people speaking English near me--my ear just picks up what they're saying, which means I'm not getting any work done. 

   Some people work really well with white noise or music, I'm afraid I pretty much need quiet.

Mar 23, 5:16AM EDT0
What is the extent of computer experience needed to self-publish?
Mar 22, 8:08PM EDT0

Relatively little. You need to know Microsoft Word and then learn how to use one of a couple of simple programs. I always recommend Jutoh, for which I teach a class online. A lot of Mac users really like Vellum, but it is only for Mac (Jutoh is available for both PC and Mac). 

    Thanks!

Mar 23, 5:14AM EDT0

I have ALWAYS wanted to self-publish a children's book series. I have a background in education and child development. How do I find editors/proof readers who work specifically with picture books? And second question, are you familiar with any Canadian self publishing outlets?  Thanks!

Mar 22, 1:57PM EDT0

Hi Raina!

   Are you a member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators)? That might be a good place to start. I'm sure that there are Yahoo groups and Facebook groups for children's book authors, you just need to search for them. Once you find other authors, you can find editors and proofreaders. :-)

   As for Canadian publishers, I'm afraid I don't know any that publish children's books. Usually for a publisher, you'll need an agent first since most traditional publishers don't accept submissions directly from authors. 

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

Mar 23, 5:11AM EDT0
What advice do you have for writers/authors who are considering going the indie route?
Mar 22, 2:55AM EDT0

I would highly recommend getting a great editor who understands your genre and then build your team: editor, proofreaders, cover designer and formatter. 

    If you want more help, I coach people on self-publishing and formatting. You can find out more on my website.

Mar 22, 5:14AM EDT0
What kind of books have you self-published?
Mar 21, 3:10PM EDT0

Hi Jann!

   I publish historical romance. I write both Regency and Regency-set fantasy novels. You can check them out here.

   I've also published three nonfiction books (two are in my picture above).

Mar 22, 5:12AM EDT0

What does formatting a book entails?

Mar 21, 5:56AM EDT0

Hi Jane!

   There's a lot that goes into formatting a book. It depends on whether I'm formatting an ebook or for print-on-demand. But I always start by cleaning the document of any hidden codes (Microsoft Word puts in a lot!), and then I rebuild the formatting from the ground up. 

   For an ebook I use a program called Jutoh, for print on demand I use Microsoft Word and then convert it into a PDF. You can learn how to do this on my online class.

Mar 21, 6:40AM EDT0
What’s next on the horizon for you both as a formatting expert and self-published author?
Mar 21, 4:37AM EDT0

Hi Muia!

    Right now I'm looking forward to teaching Word for Writers at Savvy Authors next week. And I'm in the plotting stage of a brand new Regency romance series called the Lady's Wagering Whist Society. It's going to be loads of fun!

    Thanks for asking!

Mar 21, 6:38AM EDT0
What big mistakes do you see authors make when using social media to promote their books?
Mar 21, 1:10AM EDT0

That's a great quesiton! The biggest mistake an author can make on social media is only posting "buy my book" postings. If that's all that you talk about readers are going to turn off really fast. However, if you post about you or what's interesting to you, you'll find people who are interested in those same things and then when you post a "buy my book" posting, they'll be a lot more likely to click and buy your book.

Mar 21, 6:36AM EDT0
What qualifications does the team you work with have?
Mar 19, 10:35AM EDT0

Hi Beth!

   I'm not sure what you mean. Are you referring to the team of people who help me publish my own books? 

I use an editor who is accredited by American Copy Editors, I use a cover designer who does work that I like and I format my own books (and have formatted hundreds of books for many, many authors--haven't counted recently, the number is always going up). :-)

   Thanks!

Mar 21, 6:34AM EDT0

As a self-publishing author who relly on words of mouth, how do you encourage your readers to leave reviews?

Mar 19, 1:53AM EDT0

I simply ask them to. I've got a call to action at the end of my books and I put something in my monthly newsletter every so often. 

Mar 19, 5:38AM EDT0
How do you find marketing yourself and your books in a digital world?
Mar 19, 1:51AM EDT0

In one word, Stella, HARD! :-) 

   Honestly, I'm lousy at marketing. I'm active on social media, send out a monthly newsletter, and every so often I run a sale on a book or two. I publish as much as I can--as frequently as I can--in order to keep my name out in front of readers, but still it's a struggle. My only consolation is that every writer feels this way. 

   Thanks for the question!

Mar 19, 5:36AM EDT1
What medium do you find works best for publishing books, traditional print or ebook?
Mar 18, 6:23PM EDT0
Do you think self-publication can someday take over the traditional publication industry?
Mar 18, 12:53AM EDT0

When it comes to illustrations and photos done specifically for a book, who owns the rights to the art?

Mar 17, 7:00PM EDT0

Oh, that's an excellent question, Toni! Usually it is the artist who created the work (illustrations and photos), unless you specifically have a contract that states that the author of the book paid for and now owns the copyright to that work. Creators own their own work no matter where it's published unless they specifically give up those rights. 

   Have fun with your AMA!

Mar 18, 3:17AM EDT1
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