Frank Moriarty, a New Jersey author who has published over a dozen books to date — many through traditional publishing houses and some via self publishing — has a new, sprawling, big, beautiful bit of self-published work titled Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix. This book takes you on a guided tour of Jimi Hendrix’s recorded output and injects history and context to your listening experience.
Frank chose BookBaby to be his publishing partner, and we had the pleasure of interviewing Frank during the final stages of writing the book and into book production to get a taste of his experiences as a traditionally published author, learn about the journey that led to creating this new book, and to hear his thoughts about publishing and why he chose to self publish this book. This video focuses on the production process and working with BookBaby’s team.
Frank Moriarty: I’m Frank Moriarty. I’m the author of 16 nonfiction books and for the last five years, I’ve been working on a book titled Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix, and for the past few months I’ve been working with BookBaby to make this book a reality.
For the Hendrix book, as I’ve said, I’ve spent five years working on this book, so I really want every aspect of it to be perfect. And I’ve done a lot of analysis with a lot of different self publishing companies and other publishing entities. The good thing is I’ve had experience with self publishing before, I know what to look out for and what things are attractive and what things might be potential pitfalls. BookBaby has resolved any concerns I had and seemed to be the best creative outlet for independent authors that I’ve come across.
Jim Foley, Director of Operations, BookBaby: A lot of work goes into making quality books. We have a whole team here dedicated to quality control — every day we’re refining our processes, making improvements, calibrating machines, and doing all we can to make sure our authors have the best possible version of their book to bring to the marketplace. Because, let’s face it, self-published authors are competing against books from traditional publishers and it’s really important that they have a product they can be proud of and that it really is what the market expects.
Frank Moriarty: When it comes to the professional look of a book, the interior formatting is absolutely critical, and that’s something I’ve appreciated from the beginning. Whether the pages have two columns or one column, the type and size of font that’s used, the spacing… all of that is very important.
For this project, it’s even more pronounced. This is a long book, it’s about 145,000 words, which is a lot of words, and there are over 150 images, so the interior formatting of this book is going to be critical: the placement of the images, the breaks between sections, and the overall layout need to look beautiful while conveying the message of the text. We’ve decided on a two-column format with a smaller font, but, of course, it has to be readable, it can’t be taxing on the reader.
John Burton, Production Support Manager: In a nutshell, pre-press is making sure all the files you’ve given us are ready for production. We’re going to check your images for resolution to make sure they aren’t going to print pixelated, make sure everything is in the right color mode for going to press, we’re going to make sure that your pages have bleed, so if you have full-page bleed images, they’re not going to show a white flash at the end. From a less technical standpoint, we’re going to make sure your pages are the right dimensions for the trim size you’ve ordered, make sure your spine text goes in the right direction, and there are a lot of other little checks we go through to make sure the book you get will look as good as any book coming from a major publisher.
Jim Foley: One of the taglines we use to describe BookBaby is we’re a “people-powered publishing company.” We have a lot of really talented people who work in our print shop who have been here a very long time, they’re all experts at what they do, and they take great pride in making sure that your books are printed and bound correctly before they leave our building.
Frank Moriarty: I think it’s really important that you have a partnership with the person who’s doing the design of the book’s interior and that he or she understands the scope of the book and can determine how to most effectively take all those words that I’ve written and put them into a cohesive and attractive layout that’s a fun book for someone to read.
John Burton: To make sure your finished product is going to meet you expectations, with BookBaby, you’re always going to see a proof. Whether or not you get an eBook or printed book or you’ve ordered formatting or design will determine when you see that proof, but you’ll always get one before we go to production.
Frank Moriarty: You go through your book proofs and production in such detail throughout the publishing process, and having worked with Colleen (who I worked with on the print book) and Lori (who did the eBook) and the design of Gina Stewart, you see each step of it so incrementally as the package and design are coming together — you’ve seen it so much at such a granular level that it’s almost shocking when you actually see the book in its final, printed and bound format.
It’s very rewarding to see that it actually turned out as beautifully as I hoped it would and I think a lot of that comes from the help I had from both Colleen and Lori and Gina’s design is just beautiful — she really has made this book look the way it should to communicate the feel of the content I’ve written. I’m thrilled with it!
See Frank’s first video, “Self Publishing Lets You Take Creative Control.”
Frank Moriarty has been writing professionally for decades, beginning with music reviews and interviews with artists ranging from Grace Slick to Robin Trower in the 1970s. In the years since, he’s expanded his fields of interest to include motorsports, the national space program, and other realms as an author, columnist, and writer. His latest book, Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix is now available at BookBaby’s BookShop.
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