Well, actually the proofing has been going on all summer but today the first author's proof of Spiderstalk has been ordered from Createspace. The files have all been uploaded, and in three or four days I should get to see how the manuscript and artwork translate into a physical book. I have already discovered a couple of tweaks that will most likely need to be made, but so far things are looking good.
This is probably the funnest and yet most frustrating stage of the writing/publishing process. The fun part being getting that package and tearing it open to see what I have made....and the frustrating part being all the niggling little tweaks to formatting and image adjustment. As I learned last year, never trust what the website says your book will look like. The only thing to trust is that physical copy you hold in your hand. THAT is what the finished product will look like , and what the reader will be holding in his hand as well.
You are not ready to publish until that physical copy meets your satisfaction.
Still, it's pretty amazing how all the tools to make it possible to publish your own books are now readily available. Whether it's photo editing programs you can design your covers with, word processing programs you can write your manuscript with, or online publishing companies like Createspace or Amazon KDP you can bring your book to market with,...a writer now has the tools to bring his work to life from start to finish. And all from the comfort of his laptop.
Oh well, we'll see how this first proof turns out in a few days.