Indie Epublished Author Lois Lavrisa on “My Journey to Print”

Even though I released my debut novel (eBook) LIQUID LIES in March 2012, the print version just became available this month. Why the delay? Admittedly it was because my formatter (my dear hubby Tom) and I are on a huge learning curve with this whole publishing business. This being our first try at all things indie.

Amazon Ebook

Amazon Print Copy

Also, to be honest, I wasn’t in that big of a hurry to have a print version simply because eBooks are more popular. Yet, I knew that I didn’t want to exclude those who still prefer to read a print book, including my mother. Also just to get the eBook up and running took countless hours for us. So we knew we’d have to squeeze in the print project between our time with four kids, jobs etc.

Plus, it wasn’t that easy (at least for Tom and I) to get LIQUID LIES ready for print. A few things needed to be changed or added from the eBook version to the print version. For example, I needed a new cover. The original eBook cover for LIQUID LIES initially worked great. The thumbnail was bright, bold and easy to read both the title and my name. However, it did not translate well to a print version. Therefore, we hired a graphic artist to design a new cover.

Getting the book ready for print created some new challenges as well (trust me we had a lot with the eBook version too.) As we went over every page we still found a handful of pesky errors (yes, even after a dozen beta readers and two paid editors- we are all human and still miss things.) In addition, we had to make a back cover as well. We also wanted to add additional pages inside including reviews and an author photo page with a short biography. Don’t even get me started on learning how to format for print -ugh.

When we thought we were done, we ordered a proof. And guess what? A handful of new challenges cropped up (spacing for example, and weird symbols showing up). So again, we thoroughly examined and edited every page in the proof, uploaded all the corrections, then ordered another proof. We did this process over 6 times until it was right. Whew! So now, several months after the eBook release, LIQUID LIES is available in print.

If you have a print version, what was your experience? Did you release your eBook and print version at the same time?

The Best of The WG2E Indie Epublishing Wishes — Lois Lavrisa

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  1. Sheri says:

    Hi Lois,

    I LOVE your cover! I just went through the CreateSpace P.O.D. formatting process myself. I hear your pain – all the formatting changes to the text required for CS are a lot of work, then somehow the CS system through off the text size in random paragraphs (usually dialogue) which only showed up on the printed proof. It took a couple tries for me with Finding Round and my P.O.D. version is will finally be ready next week. My mother was tearing her hair out that it was taking so long, ha. Bless her heart, she said to me more than once, “why in the world is it taking you so long?” She just wanted my aunt to be able to order the book. :)

  2. Lois Lavrisa says:

    Sheri- Thank you, I love my new cover as well. But yes, using createspace brought up many challenges to us as well. Whew, now that the print version is finally up- maybe the next print book will go smoother (fingers crossed)

  3. Greg Carrico says:

    I’ve haven’t taken the time to format Apocalypstick yet, but I know I’ll need to soon. I’m nearly done with the sequel! Can’t wait! ;-)

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Greg, First off huge congratulations on finishing Apocalypstick and the sequel.Yahoo!! As far as formatting, a friend of mine has done all her books with ease, I on the other hand had a, well, not so easy time. So it may be a breeze for you- let us know what happens- best wishes:)

  4. Tamara Ward says:

    I’m there with you on whole new problems cropping up with the print version! Weird page breaks and spacing, odd jumps to the following lines… and even after I looked at my paperback proof, my trusty second set of eyes (my mom) still found more errors! Ah, the joys of formatting!

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Tamara- right huh? We also had huge problems on the print version that popped up that were not in the e book version. UGH. Frustration to the highest degree- but a good learning experience in the end:)

  5. I went through CreateSpace, too. I used them template with content, which made things easier, but problems did occur. I ended up saving the file in PDF and uploading that. It made the images ‘stick’ to where they were supposed to be and fonts stayed in place.

    The cover is a different matter. After calculating and calculating again, I thought I nailed it. I did with the first book, but the proof for my second novel that arrived yesterday has a horrible cover. It’s back to the calculator.

    My first paperback came out four months after the ebook version. The second, I hope to have out in about three weeks, which would mean two months after the ebook.

    Would I do it again? Yes. I have several people looking for print copies, and very few in my large family have ereaders. And the nice thing about print copies is that in twenty years, the ‘software’ won’t be out of date and the book can be shared with grandkids, great-grandkids…

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It is a challenge.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Diane, you are so right, creating the print version was a huge challenge mostly with the cover for us too (trying to get the cover and lettering within the “frame”- ugh) – but to be able to give a reader who wants a print version is worth it. Thanks for sharing:)

  6. Dale Amidei says:

    I agree that holding the release of the electronic version until the dead tree edition is proofed is a worthwhile additional quality step. Even with multiple editing stages and beta pool reading, I have always found something in the text that can be improved by going through the title in paperback. Readers deserve the best effort possible.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Dale- I could not say it better than you just did “Even with multiple editing stages and beta pool reading, I have always found something in the text that can be improved by going through the title in paperback. Readers deserve the best effort possible.” Thanks:)

  7. Hi, Lois! I’ve been putting off this step, but I had two readers ask for print versions they would like to give as gifts. So learning the ins and outs of a print version is one more thing on my already jammed full To Do list.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Alicia, yes I out off getting the print version ready to go for over seven months for many of the same reasons you had as well. But you are right, we still need to have both versions available, there are still those who love paper books, and that is fine with me:) It is all about the reader, and if they still want print, we should have it available for them. Thanks!

  8. R.A. Lee says:

    Would love more information on ISBN. I have made copies for myself on lulu. Waiting to understand isbn before proceeding.

  9. I read in a book once that if a person was embarking on becoming a published author, turn back now! There are many challenges in getting a book printed, as we’ve both experienced. I first published with CreateSpace, had them do the Kindle versions, redid the paperbacks several times, redid the Kindles several times until I decided it was better to focus on one book at a time – in between publishing the next one. Whew! I figured with six books so far multiplied by e-versions and two Amazon sites (UK and US), there were 24 places I needed to monitor for quality control, not to mention keeping up with 3 blogs, 2 facebook pages, twitter, and my author page. A person could go nuts! But taking one book at a time and doing my best keeps me sane.

    ~Nancy Jill Thames
    Author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Nancy Jill- yes one can go nuts with all there is to keep up with! Congratulations on all of your books and keeping up with your blogs, face book, twitter and author page. How do you do it all? You may need to send in a guest post and share with us:) Thanks!!

  10. D. D. Scott says:

    I have not ventured into print versions yet, because I just don’t see them as economically viable at this point. And what I mean by that is exactly what sooo many of you are saying here, I don’t have the time to mess with formatting and covers and basically doing each book twice – once in Ebook format and once in print. My time is better spent connecting with readers and writing the next book and the one after that and after that and so on, not fiddling with one that’s already done.

    That said, because my ultimate goal is to reach as many readers as I can across all platforms, I may look into print versions in the future. BUT…I will definitely, like I’m doing now for my Ebooks, use a professional format guru and cover designer for the print versions. I’m fortunate that my Go-To Ebook Format Gurus at 52 Novels, now do print versions too. So, it will definitely be worth the money to me. I spend around $180 per Ebook for them to format for all Ebook platforms, and I’m not sure what they charge for Createspace, but it will be worth it!!! :-) My covers are around $100 each for E-versions so I’ll have to check out the difference for print there too.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      DD- you are soo smart (of course!) when you said “I don’t have the time to mess with formatting and covers and basically doing each book twice – once in Ebook format and once in print. My time is better spent connecting with readers and writing the next book and the one after that and after that and so on, not fiddling with one that’s already done.” And that if you do print you will hire someone (I think this is a great idea!)

  11. I’ve been weighing the print options, as well and still have time to make a good decision as I don’t release book 1 until January. I would like to have the option available but the process from reading this blog post sounds dreadful. Does it make sense economically to hire that process done? And does anyone know the approximate cost for doing so?

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Michelle- look at the comment (below) by Dana Delamar she said “I’ve shepherded four books through the process at CreateSpace now, and I’ve written up a detailed document about how to do it. If you’re interested, email me at dana @ I am emailing her for her “how to” document- I think it will save my hubby Tom and I a lot of headaches:)

  12. Jill James says:

    I did my print copy about a month after the ebook was available. Most of that was getting a print cover from my cover artist. The formatting was easy, for me, after learning ebook formatting. I can’t wait to have more print books out in the world.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Jill- you seem to have a knack for formatting (I wonder if my brain is not wired that way- I wish it was!) It is exciting to have a print version to hold in your hands, just like it was to see the ebook up online:)

  13. Dana Delamar says:

    I released my print and ebook versions at the same time. As Dale Amidei says, it’s a good idea to do your final edits with the print version–you see so much more clearly in print, and you will undoubtedly have to trim some lines or make other adjustments to make the print version look good. I’ve shepherded four books through the process at CreateSpace now, and I’ve written up a detailed document about how to do it. If you’re interested, email me at dana @ Print makes up about 10% of my sales, so I think it’s well worth it.

  14. Talli Roland says:

    LOVE the cover, Lois!

    Like you, I wasn’t in a hurry to do my print copy, mainly because I’ve never sold loads in print and the bulk of my sales have always been ebooks. I found the whole process fairly tedious, I must admit!

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Talli- I do love the cover as well. Thank you! Like you, I was in no big hurry to get the print version done, well except some readers wanted my book in print and would not read the ebook version. S0 I still knew I wanted to do print, and even with all the hassles, I am glad I have both option available to readers. Thanks for your comments:)

  15. Pamela DuMond says:

    I hear you. Took hours of butt in chair and hair pulling. I am now waiting for my proof copy and praying.

  16. PJ Sharon says:

    Kudos to you and DH and your perseverance, and congratulations on the book! I did the print release and e-book simultaneously on all four of my releases, but it was no easy task. I actually like going through a couple of proofs with the print copies before uploading to e-book because I always find a miriad of errors that get missed on the digital version. I think It’s just the way our brains process information. I’ve learned to order no more than 20-30 copies of the print version at a time, because invariably someone finds another error we missed and I hate trying to get did of 200 copies of a book that has mistakes. I end up using them for giveaways and to send to reviewers. My sister just asked me last night if I meant to leave page numbers out of the print book I gave her. Ooops! Umm…no.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      PJ- I am with you- we try not to order too many copies once we think they are right- because guess what? We still find “stuff” that needs to be fixed:) Thanks for your comments:)

  17. LM Preston says:

    Well I cheat a bit, we prep for print first and send to printer, then we do the ebook release. We also use a distributor ( / Atlas Books) for our print titles. Makes it easy to get into stores if you want to go that road. Also, we have the option to do POD in addition since we own the ISBN.

  18. Love the cover, Lois! I’ve done print with CS for all my books and it’s nice to have the paper format to show the value of the ebook lower price. I muddled through and had the process down to about 1day for a print version, but since then have gone to contracting out the print formatting to save time. My time is worth more than the $ it costs me to pay a formatter. :)

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Stacey- great point too that I never thought of “I’ve done print with CS for all my books and it’s nice to have the paper format to show the value of the ebook lower price.” Thanks for sharing!

  19. It took me three tries to get my book uploaded…then I get an error message that the title inside doesn’t match the title outside. The Devil Has Dimples read The Dimple Has Dimples on the inside. LOL I guess that third time my brain was dead!

    I’ve been hanging outside by the mailbox waiting for my copy to come in.

    It is a challenge, because it’s new. But I can’t wait to hold that book in my hands. I did my own formatting, however I had my cover designer do the cover, which cost me a few dollars, and I mean few…totally worth it for me. That is not my area of expertise.

    I’ve read where Bob Mayer, I believe, does his POD books first, then the ebooks. So, while he’s waiting for his copy to come in, he’s prepping the ebooks and puts them live at the same time. Which sounds like a good plan.

    Indie publishing has been a challenge, but I find myself happier than I’ve been in a long time.

    • Lois Lavrisa says:

      Pepper- it is too funny when the names and words get mixed up- like what happened to your book:) Yes there are challenges with self publishing, but the rewards are wroth it, Thanks for sharing.

  20. Gail Kushner says:

    I took my manuscript to someone in town who did the formatting for my printed book for. It was fairly expensive. After he finished, he sent it to Lightning Source to be printed. I am still trying to recoup those costs through sales. There are just some things I don’t know how to do so I rely on people with experience.

    For an additional fee, he could have formatted by book as an e-book, but my husband and I decided to save that money and do it ourselves. Consequently, the e-book isn’t out yet.

    As we always say, “There is no one right way to go.” We are learning as we are doing.