The self-publishing journey




I’m a do-it-yourself sort of person. Living on rural property has taught me to enjoy tackling unfamiliar projects. I was a quick study when it came to learning drip irrigation, running fences, gardening, and animal management. So, when the ‘paperback’ version of Baskets for Butterflies became ready to format for publication, it never occurred to me not to design the cover and arrange the internal pieces myself.

What fun is a task if I let other people do it for me?

Of course, I hired Ken Johnson of to compose the Kindle e-format version. I’m no fool. I know when something is out of my league. (He did an awesome job, by the way.)

For the paperback, though…I have a graphics background, having earned my living doing desktop publishing for a while. But that was a long time ago, and things have changed.

Can I still do this?

I pull my hair into a pony tail to get it out of my way and plop down at the computer with a cup of coffee. Then I smile.

What a wonderful task before me! This is almost as fun as gardening!

Formatting the book progresses well, actually. I must read (and then re-read) the ‘help’ section describing how to insert footers. (I hate those.) Then I drop in a table of contents, a reference section in the back, and that beautiful pencil drawing of a fairy weaving that my daughter, Tiffany, drew.

When all is complete, I upload to the vendor’s website. I can’t lie. This takes a few tries.

Now how do I ‘embed fonts’?

The cover is next. The front cover, back, and spine must be combined into one single graphic. Unfortunately, there’s no visual tool online that lets me see how things fit on the physical book.

Does the photo of my magical mesquite tree completely bleed to the edges of the front cover? Does the vertically-placed title and author’s name wrap around the spine correctly? Is the back cover with my picture and biography sized correctly? Is the resolution OK?

There’s no way to be sure. I take a deep hopeful sigh, and then push the button that says, ‘order a proof copy.’

Alright, it’s in the mail now. Nothing to do now but wait—and pace the floor.

Hmm, just how many ‘proof’ copies will I have to order before I get this right!

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