BECOMING A PUBLISHER: Not So Lightning Fast

I am becoming an indie publisher. Why? I wanted my books available through Lightning Source because they distribute to Ingram, libraries, Barnes & Noble, and so on. The primary feature I was interested in is the ability for a book store to order books from them, and to return them if necessary. CreateSpace does a fine job of printing the books, and as part of Amazon, distributes them to individuals, but not to other bookstores (why would they? They are Amazon.)

So I got a business license in my state, created the publishing company name, decided on what type of corporation it is (sole proprietor in my case), and joined Lightning Source.

When I was ready to upload the first publication, I discovered the first obstacle: they accept only specific types of pdf formats, and those formats need to come from InDesign.

Okay. I joined Adobe CC, downloaded InDesign, and came to a dead stop. I tried using the tutorials, which are great until they ask you to use the exercise files. I couldn’t find them. I went to the forums and found that many many other people couldn’t find them either. Moving on. I went to Powell’s and bought a book on how to use InDesign.

But come on! How hard can it be to import one pdf file and spit it out in the required format?

Answer: Hard. Maybe impossible. I turned to my FB community. One user has responded so far. She says you have to cut and paste the entire book ONE PAGE AT A TIME.

My mind balks. Can this be true? So, I’m turning next to the self-publishing community. I’ll keep you posted as to my journey! Once I’ve learned this job, I intend to ask some other authors whether they’d like me to publish their books. Until I learn what I’m doing though, I’ll be the lone customer. Sigh.

Your comments, suggestions, and answers to life’s questions are not only appreciated, but solicited!

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7 thoughts on “BECOMING A PUBLISHER: Not So Lightning Fast

  1. Sounds like a nightmare! I’m with Amazon and Smashwords and I get what you’re saying about the ability of book stores to order through Lightning Source. Honestly though, how often does that happen? Best of luck with it all.

    • If you do readings at bookstores, then it will happen. I wanted to do readings at local bookstores, and I wanted them to be able to order ahead, return copies that don’t sell. A specific bookstore where I want to read won’t even talk to an author who has amazon only. Never mind that you could provide the books, accept the returns. They want Lightning Source. That’s what started me down this path.

  2. You are an inspiration. I think of Virginia Woolf, who bought a printing press and learned how to use it and self-published. She eventually turned down James Joyce as a potential author to be published by her press.

  3. I’m of no help, but I do extend my sympathy. When I was trying to use Blurb for Alice’s shoe book, I was tearing my hair out half the time. Margins would suddenly slip and whole pages disappear. By the time I got used to the how of it all, the book was done and I have never done another. I’m sorry about whatever local bookstore is denying you so that you have to go through all this, but I’m also sure that when you’re all the way on the other side you will be glad to have your own imprint and we’ll be sending you congratulations. Best of luck with next steps.

    • Believe it or not, Mike, I’m STILL trying every which way to make this work. I’ve had many suggestions from other self-publishers, one with my exact same computer and software. So far, no dice. This is the last day I’m going to keep trying. Then I abandon my quest and go back to CreateSpace and amazon only. sigh.

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