My Lifesavers: Rik Hall and Jian Chan


Formatting the paperback book with Createspace was a massive mistake. Every step takes them 5-10 business days. For five minutes of work. For an hour of work. For 6 hours of work. Doesn’t matter. It’s always 5-10 business days.

We are closing in on my release date. It’s now less than 5 weeks away. As of last week, they cannot guarantee I will have the paperback by my signings. But it may happen. That a serious five alarm fire problem that dropped into my lap on last Wednesday. After I hit the panic button, I dug into problem solving.

I found two other sources of book printing. Espresso Book Machine and Book Baby. But they need .pdf files formatted to their specifications for the interior and cover.

Luckily, my ebook formatter, the amazing Rik Hall, was ready, willing, and able to format the paperback interiors on zero notice.

He’s not just a formatting magician, but an actual magician.


Jian Chanย  jumped in to reformat the cover two more times to fit these book printers’ requirements.


Jian isn’t just my cover designer and web designer. He’s a musician. A multi-dimensional artist.

Rik turned out a terrific interior in 4 days.

I am so grateful to have Rik and Jian on my team. Otherwise my entire book launch could have been derailed.

Lessons learned: 1) Never rely on one source for the paperback book and 2)ย ย Hire Rik to format all ebooks and paperbacks. His turn around time is phenomenal. His customer service is top notch. His kindness is soothing to nerves more frayed than they should ever be.

And Jian. He’s a bastion of calm. He always gets things done before deadline. And he makes sure I’m in love with his work.

I think I’d be in a corner rocking and crying right now if it weren’t for these two amazing individuals.

How do you thank people for saving your butt over and over again? I can’t begin to figure it out. But I owe these dedicated, hard working wonderful guys so much! 1 million thankyous wouldn’t cover it! But I’d like to begin there. ๐Ÿ™‚

This entry was posted in Self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to My Lifesavers: Rik Hall and Jian Chan

  1. Gwen says:

    Wow – what a process. I guess nobody can do it alone. Storing all these little tidbits away in my memory. What’s the release date?

    • It’s a massive undertaking. I had no idea how many iterations the formatting would take with Createspace. If I did I’d have hired Rik from the get-go. Createspace is amazing for distribution, but they have too many projects to turn tweaks around quickly and that can derail the best of timelines. ๐Ÿ™

  2. Marc Schuster says:

    Always great to have a strong team on your side!

  3. klynwurth says:

    It sounds like you have an awesome team and a good ability to function in a crisis!

    • These two guys are phenomenal. I wouldn’t have a book to sign without them. Tirelessly making changes and rolling with every unexpected email from me. I can manage a lot but I wouldn’t have gotten through this without them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Kourtney,
    I am so glad that you recognized and anticipated a problem, and took care of it. It sounds like you and your team are on top of it.

    • Thanks Naomi. That was my job for many years. Anticipating what could go wrong. Assessing the risk and mitigating it. I haven’t felt this useful since I was laid off. My entire mind is engaged in this project. It feels awesome. And I’ve never worked with a better team of people before. Complete faith in them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Oh, yeah, tough to do a book signing without the book. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you had help figuring something else out.

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Glad you have these two to help you through this! Sharing your experiences like this will really help others who will take the same route. I suspect even the big presses run into problems and delays that stress out the authors involved. I’m glad you found other outlets for the paper version!

    • Delays are always part of the process. Unfortunately I couldn’t get time estimates from Createspace so I was really guesstimating. I padded my guesstimate but clearly not enough. ๐Ÿ™ Thank goodness for Rik and Jian!

  7. Thanks for sharing this. It’s always good to see what people’s real world experiences are with the various publishing processes and entities we’re always hearing about.

    • Glad to share. Also wanted to thank the heroes of my publishing adventure– Rik and Jian have been there every step of the process and always provided quick turn around and a responsiveness I rely on in the ever changing world of publishing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. winsomebella says:

    Another hurdle vanquished :-)! Have a great weekend, Kourtney.

    • LOL. Thanks. It seemed like every time I checked email the past two weeks, it was a major fire I had to stop everything to put out. But it’s been an exciting thrill ride. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you have a great weekend too!

  9. I”m glad you found people to help you out last minute like that! Must have been stressful wondering if your books would even be ready for the signing. You’re so close you can taste it!

    • Yeah, I was lucky I had worked with them so much they were willing and able to squeeze more last minute work in. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wasn’t wondering if, just how. LOL. I knew I had to get those books one way or another. Even if I had to buy my own printing press and run them off in the basement. ๐Ÿ˜›

  10. These guys sound awesome. I’m rooting for you!

    • If I could have hand picked all the qualities I needed in a formatter and cover designer, I couldn’t have done better. Time conscious, responsive, patient, problem solving gurus. I <3 Rik and Jian!

  11. Pete Denton says:

    It must be very reassuring to have such a great team around you. It’s a shame the tweaks take so long with Createspace, but always good to have other options. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’d give either of them the shirt off my back for all they did. They went above and beyond and gave such personalized service. Both knew how stressed I was and they dove right into the fire to help. I am so grateful they were here by my side. Yeah, it’s rough because had I know how long each iteration would take, I would have set a further out release date. I love how Createspace laid out the book, but the turn around time was unknown and impossible to manage on my end. Luckily BookBaby was available. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. EllaDee says:

    At the end of all this you will also have a good story of how it all came together with a cliffhanger of how it almost did not. It’s been quite a process and sharing it I’m sure has helped other authors contemplating the ocean of publishing options ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Seriously, who knew I would live out the book publishing version of Dallas? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Even the best planners can get waylaid with a new unknown process. My dad keeps saying how my project management work really helped prepare me and even then I’ve had things go completely awry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?