Making Hiding Haelo in the Reedsy Book Editor
Tara Holladay is the author of Hiding Haelo. We're thrilled to share with you that she used the Reedsy Book Editor to print her book with Amazon's KDP Print. Since we felt that being able to export a print ready file straight from your browser will empower many authors who want to self-publish, it was a proud moment for us when we actually saw this beautiful book for the first time. Read on to know how Tara went from manuscript to printed book.
My fellow Reedsy-ites, I am a perfectionist. When it came to Hiding Haelo, the first book in my YA series, I wanted every step of the way done right. Years of writing, editing, marketing prep, and an incredible amount of industry research brought me to a point of exhilarated exhaustion. (Just go with me on that. It totally makes sense in my head.) Each step both thrilled me with progress and hammered me with work.
I'm also a voracious reader, at one point plowing through five or six novels a week. (Pregnant. Six months of bed-rest.) A significant portion of those novels were cheap, self-published Kindles. At six a week, they had to be cheap. I saw every self-pub mistake in the book. Literally. Both on the voice/plot/content end of things, and the proofreading/formatting end of things. It drove me crazy.
The Reedsy Book Editor
When it came time to format my own novel, my research discouraged me. I'd already spent the majority of my modest budget on professional editing and cover design, not to mention the necessary little things. Spending more money on formatting — when I knew future marketing expenses lay ahead — left me hesitating.
I'd seen too many bad examples of self-formatting. I wanted a clean, beautiful book, and I was determined to figure out how to do it within my budget.
I joined Reedsy months before out of curiosity, though because I’d already hired a professional editor and cover artist, I wasn’t sure if I would ever use the site. With the announcement of Reedsy's new Editor web-based software, my hopes flared. Easy export! Beautiful output! PDF for print and .epub! And free?!
As a side-note, had I known how easy it would be to collaborate with a professional (human) editor through the (software) Editor (without all of the clumsy editing constraints of emailing a Microsoft Word doc back and forth), I might have hired an editor through the marketplace. Or at the very least convinced my editor to join Reedsy. I’ve since found a fantastic marketer (Michael Doane) through the Reedsy marketplace and the process proved easy and empowering. High five on the marketplace!
Taking the Plunge
After a bit of info-gathering, I debated using the Reedsy Editor as my formatter for a grand total of twenty seconds. I had nothing to lose except a little time. I pasted* my novel into the Editor, did a thorough read-through check**, and crossed my fingers.
*I hear an update for Reedsy’s import function — which will no longer require authors to past chapter by chapter — is just around the corner.
**Microsoft Word carries with it hidden formatting quirks that might manifest when pasted. Check for missing spaces. Check your paragraph indents. This is the same reason self-formatting within your ebook distributor’s site (KDP, for instance) is so risky. Word is not your formatting friend. PDF to ebook is not a friendly option, either.
After a little trial and error experimentation with inserting a small image file as a "scene break," the epub export worked flawlessly. No weird formatting quirks. Hyperlinks work great. Uploading to KDP wasn’t an issue at all.
The export to PDF came with a few challenges, which the Reedsy team handled quickly. Hiding Haelo is over 350 pages, which presented a gutter margin issue for my primary POD printer, Createspace (now KDP Print). This isn't a problem with IngramSpark paperbacks. Another future update will eliminate the extra step this issue created.
One very cool thing about the export to PDF function is that it spits out two files. One “Print Ready” file for POD printers, and one complete file with your cover design included as the first page. I used this file to extract up to the second chapter as a “sneak peek” on my website, which you can see here.
You might decide to publish exclusively digital and never export as a PDF. Take a moment to consider POD paperbacks. KDP Print is free, and IngramSpark frequently runs specials discounting their fee. No distribution is required on your part. There really is no downside. Also, when gathering reviewers for your book, most bloggers will only look at self-published books if a physical copy is offered. And as for me, paperbacks have outsold my ebook three to one. I think this is because most of the book’s social media word of mouth has been readers posting a picture of the paperback.
Is the Editor Right For You?
Ladies and gentlemen, unless you have custom artistic requirements that require the services of a human professional, the Reedsy Editor is an ideal formatting tool. I have quite the list of indie publishing Must-Haves, and the Editor is one of my favorites. The final product is something to be tremendously proud of. Even for a perfectionist.
Other future updates in the works: the ability to divide books into Parts (Part I, Part II …), as well as improvements in the dedication page feature, find & replace, scene breaks, etc.
As thrilled as I am with the final printed novel, I greedily look forward to the updates. The Editor is really good, and it's only getting better.
I still get butterflies when I think back to day my first printed “proof” copy arrived at my doorstep. What an incredible time to be an author! There is an unprecedented amount of resources at our fingertips. With more resources, comes higher quality. And higher quality allows indie author-publishers a bigger stake in influencing the publishing industry. The reputation with self-published books is changing for the better.
Props, Reedsy. You’ve given us authors the ability to format a clean, beautiful book. And I now have a bigger budget for marketing than I would have otherwise. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the future.
You can find Hiding Haelo on Amazon here!
Have you tried using the Reedsy Book Editor yet? If so, what's your experience been? We're working on making it better every day, so please leave us your thoughts in the comments!