In each of the last two years, I've submitted an entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Writer's contest (LEVERAGE, last year and INCENTIVIZE, this year). While neither of them progressed to the finals, it was a good experience just making sure the manuscripts were in what I considered good enough shape to be reviewed as a part of the contest.
Just before I left on my trip to Ethiopia, I received a note from CreateSpace, an Amazon company that is rapidly growing in stature in the self-publishing world. As a reward for simply entering the contest, CreateSpace would provide me a free proof copy of any of my manuscripts.
At first I didn't know what to do with the offer -- after all, I'm represented by an agent, and still hope my path to publication will be the traditional route through one of the big publishers. But one morning this week, in a fit of insomnia, I decided to prep LEVERAGE and get my free proof.
I almost stopped, once I realized I'd need to re-format my Word file, but a latched onto a template available on the CreateSpace site, and used it put the novel into the correct condition. I learned a bit about how margins in a bound book are prepared, spent some time on the artwork (I used a stock photo and a general purpose cover design) and created the author bio and back cover copy.
I received the free proof yesterday, and it is awesome. Not that it couldn't be better, but there is nothing quite like seeing an actual printed and bound version of one's work. And despite the hurried selection of cover art and design, it doesn't look half bad. This one was free, but I could have ordered copies for about $10 apiece.
So, from now on, as I feel I'm finishing up a project, I'll invest $10 in a proof copy from CreateSpace, rather than investing $25 at post and package to print a copy!