It was in the year 2004 when I had my first book published. It was not an easy task to publish book, especially when you are a novice in this publishing business.
The beginning of 2000 was the period when we had many families getting introduced to the computer world in India. There were many daughters and sons traveling to the foreign countries.Thanks to the Y2K problems and Consultancy services in the USA.
Yahoo and Hotmail became famous.
Skype was one of the key software used for VOIP due to high cost in regular phone calls.
So, there were many new entrants into the computer world. Me being in the IT domain at that time thought of helping the new kids, I mean the elders, in the block. Decided to do a detailed guide on how to use the computer to do basic operations like login to the machine, checking emails and chatting using the MSN messenger or the Yahoo chat clients etc. In the end, I did felt satisfied that I played a role to bridge those separated hearts – One in India and other in the other corner of the world.
It was hard to satisfy me.
The history of getting lower than expected results from DTP (Desktop Publishing) houses, made me look away from these services. I strongly believed that I will get things done better than these people – Maybe by taking few more days or weeks. Who cares about the timing, all I cared was the end results. Add to that, the satisfying feeling after you complete your dream project is all worth it.
So, even in those days of DTP world, I started typing the entire content on my own laptop using the Windows Word application. Moreover, it was more of a technical book called – know your computer in 7 days. This called for many detailed screenshots of every step in the process. I had to include lots of screenshot for each click & menus in the computer. Hence, I decided to work myself in getting the content typed into the document.
Since I myself was a new kid in the printing domain had no idea on how to set the page layouts, colors, margins, page sizes etc for a successful printing of the book. The only possible help was to dig deep into the Windows Word help document and try to learn each of the settings.
When it was time to get my cover page, I did a quick research on the internet and found that the easiest way to do a cover page was using Paint.NET since it was a free software and had a lot of plugin and instructions in their forum. That is when I became a fan of Paint.NET. I started learning about the gradients, layers, plugins to have enhanced effects etc. In the end, it turned out to be a learning curve for my own benefit.
Search for the Publishers
Once I have completed all the typing, I tried to source for publishers. It was not easy, at least for me, to get someone since I was new. I was literally running from the post to pillars to get hold of a publication house who can accept to publish my maiden book. But I could not succeed.
When I almost lost hope after hitting the wall, I managed to get a link of a person who was working in one of the Tamil daily newspaper through my friend. I was very thankful to this gentleman since it was him who helped me to get a lot of insight into how these things get done. And that is when I came to know that whatever I did was not suitable for printing.
Not just that, he enlightened me saying that for a printing of the book, the optimal book size should be in multiple of 16. And it has its own reason. The printers use to print on a big size paper, and this one paper will be folded & folded to make 16 pages. So, if we do not have multiples of 16, then we may waste the print cost. Experience speaks a LOT!!!
So, now I was back to ZERO!!!
I had my book cover design made using Paint.NET, which is OK. But since I was not aware of the printing process, I just created one design which was by default based on the RGB color scheme. Well, you may ask me whats wrong in that. Everything was wrong. Because the print industry works on CMYK based color scheme. So, I need to literally redo the design after having some more research on the internet to start working on a CMYK based images.
If you are interested to have some insights about these 2 color scheme, here you go. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colors are mainly used with electronic display screens such as cameras, TV’s and computer monitors. But in the world of book printing, its seldom used. The printers in this world use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). And most software tools used to work on designs and images does have the capability to create and save the results as RGB or in CMYK format.
Knowing the practical difficulty in getting a publisher for a new & unknown author like me, the same gentleman encouraged me to do my own printing. Since it involved a lot of investment, I was not just confused, but also too hesitant. Finally, I took the risk. I always believe that Sometimes I win, and other times I learn. So, I took this risk to see if this was a good chance to win or learn. Anyway by following this principle, either way, I WIN.
Knowing all this, I restarted my work. Started working from the scratch. With utmost dedication, I completed all the content work. After multiple reviews, I was finally ready to get the films for the printing. I got a reference from the gentleman and took my project to the place where they were supposed to get me the negative and positive films.
Was behind them every other day to get the films. And the day I had the films ready, I was on cloud 9.
Now, its time to get to the real work.
I went to the printing press and handed over the films for the printing. Still, I use to visit every day there to be with the printers on how they use the dye, load their paper and watching every bit of work. I was eagerly waiting for seeing my thoughts printed on the physical paper in black ink! Before even they bound the first book, I use to keep reading the printed sheets multiple times I excitement.
Finally, the D-day came. And my first book saw the light of the day.
I got all the books to my home and dumped many on my bed. Had the best sleep with my books next to me! A nice sleep after months of hard work. The sight of the fruit of all those hard work, made me have a nice sleep.
Now, it was time for marketing. It was really the hardest portion. You can spend money to get your thoughts printed, but you cannot pay to get a reader.
Since this was a maiden attempt, my family and me too wanted to make this more memorable. So we planned for a small book launch function. Can never forget that memorable day! And I was poured with lots of wishes from my friends and well-wishers.
Meanwhile, I also applied for the acceptance of my book in the State public library. Fortunately, my book selected in the Textbook category. The State purchased around 100 books to place in all the district level libraries. That was my first build sale!
Still, a lot more to go. But the very thought of the fact that this was my baby, made me forget all the pain or loss.
I also had the chance to give my book as a curriculum for the computer class in my neighborhood. This made me so happy that finally, it found a way, and my hard work has reached few eyes and hearts!
I am sure you too would have had your own struggles in your attempt to publish your book. If so, feel free to share your experiences.