Monday, February 27, 2012

It Had to be Done

So I got my second proof of Shades in last week and started editing it. It seemed like a big improvement over the last one, and I couldn't find much in the way of errors. But as I read it, I had a queasy feeling I was missing something. I was doing my very best to see it through fresh eyes and catch anything out of place, but I just couldn't help feeling I was missing something.

So my loving wife, Karla, agreed to sit down and read and edit one of the stories in the anthology...just to see if I was missing anything. I knew this was a sacrifice on her part, because she hates ghost and horror stories, and I was careful to pick out the one I felt she would find the least objectionable. I just really needed a fresh set of eyes to see the book before I declared it ready.

So, she sat down and started reading.

Almost immediately, the yellow highlighter was whipped out and she started marking. As I watched in dismay, more and more marks were made on the story as she read through it. It was torture. At last she was done, and I took the book back and surveyed the damage.

While a couple of the marks really amounted to stylistic difference of opinions, the most of them were entirely justified. Some were even painfully obvious, and I still can't believe I missed them (three times!). And while the number of errors wasn't truly horrific, it was enough that she felt compelled to offer to edit the other stories of the book in order to make sure it was ready before I hit publish. Looking at all the yellow marks in the story, I had no choice but to agree...although we also agreed she didn't have to read two stories that I know she would have found the most upsetting.

So she went back to work.

The marker flew. Observations about certain tendencies I had in punctuation were made. Other observations about my usage of certain words were made. I was also dryly informed that one of my characters was "too stupid to live," which I took in good graces since I knew she hated reading this genre. Anyways, the deed was done and now I need to go back through the two manuscripts (ebook and softcover) and incorporate her corrections. It will be a lot of work, but it's well worth it.

I want to get this right.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Noggin Work

Well, proof number two arrived and so far it is a big improvement. At least this time the errors don't just leap off the page at me.

But, alas, there are still errors.

So I'm starting the process of reading the book again. I'm going to go even slower, and try to find everything this time. I'm almost there. I'm really hoping this will be the last read through. I know there are some people out there wondering when this thing is ever coming out, and I just want you guys to know I hear you.. Nobody wants this done more than me.

But it needs to be right.

I'm close. But there is still editing to be done.

Soon, folks.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Here We Go Again

Here is something a lot of people may not know about being a writer. 

When you write a book, you are going to read it over and over and over again. You are going to read it so many times you're going to end up hating the author. Then there will come that wonderful day you get the thing done, and then you format it, and get it a cover, and then you get it approved by the printer, and then they send you a proof...

...and then you find more mistakes. 

So you sit down with the book in one hand, yellow marker in the other, and read the damned thing yet again. And you wonder what you had been smoking when you wrote the thing in the first place and somehow made such stupid mistakes that escaped attention till now.


But I've done it. The book was read through...line by line...and yellow marks were made. Then the manuscripts...both for the paperback and for the ebook...were corrected one page at a time. And now the manuscript has been uploaded to Createspace for review again, to make sure it meets their guidelines. I should hear back from them in a day or two and if it clears...which it should...then I order another proof. Then it will be another week of waiting for that proof to arrive in the mail. Then, if it passes muster... which it should... I tell Createspace to publish.

Then I'll be entering uncharted territory again and will have to learn what happens next. While that's going on, I'll get the ebook ready so I can upload it once the paperback is out. Then, assuming I haven't completely broken the internet beyond repair by this time, I should be done.

I hope so, anyways. I think it's a really good book... but I really don't want to read it again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So Close, Yet So Far...

So my author's proof for Shades arrived in the mail from Createspace yesterday afternoon.

It felt like Christmas in February when I saw that package on my front porch. All other things on my daily to do list got pushed back as I hustled the box into the house and tore it open. And there it book. 

The cover had come out even better than I expected (thank you Justyn Perry), and the formatting had worked as intended. To say I was delighted would be a woeful understatement. I was ecstatic.

But then trouble loomed in Paradise.

I sat down to read through my book, and started spotting errors. It seems that a couple of stories weren't edited as thoroughly as others, which I guess can be a hazard in an anthology.Don't get me wrong, there wasn't a whole lot of them. But what was interesting was how much those errors stood out once the manuscript was in book form as opposed to being on screen or printer paper. So...

It's back to work.

That's what proofs are for, after all. My job today is to break out the yellow marker and read through the entire book. Then once I find all the errors, I will fix the manuscript and upload it again. This book is going to have my name on it, and it isn't going to reach the market until I'm comfortable with the level of quality inside. It's almost there, but it's just not quite done yet.

Oh well, it's all part of the process. Soon, folks....


Monday, February 13, 2012

LOL! at me....

Sometimes I'm just too linear of a thinker.

I should go ahead an get that ebook file ready, but because I planned on doing that after approving the print book, I'm just not mentally at that place yet. It would take about thirty minutes, and common sense says to go ahead and get it done, but nooooooo....

Same thing with starting a new project or getting to work on Dead Stop. There really is no reason I can't...but I'm still in the Shades mindset because it isn't "done" yet. Oh well, it's just a few more days, and I can change gears.

I hope.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Woohoo! Approved! Time to Hurry Up and Wait...

So, here is the final full cover for the Shades anthology.

I'm almost done.

This morning I received an email informing me that Createspace approved my manuscript and cover! Woohoo!

Now I have finally reached the stage where I order a proof for review. I have already done so, and hopefully I will be holding the first copy of my book in my hands in about ten days. If that copy meets my approval, then I think all that is left to do is to let them know they can put it up for sale, and then for me to get to work on uploading the ebook.

So now I sit in sort of a limbo. I suppose I can go ahead and incorporate the very last edits from the book manuscript into the ebook manuscript, but that will take about thirty minutes. After that, it's "hurry up and wait". Ten days of not being able to do much of anything.

I suppose I could start thinking about picking up the Dead Stop manuscript and figuring out how to go forward with it, but I'm still really focused on Shades and I probably will be until it's published. Argh! This is going to be a long ten days!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cover Art Candidate #2

Well folks, here is the second cover candidate for the Shades anthology.

This time I used a template to make sure the graphics were positioned correctly. Now the words intended to appear on the spine should actually appear on the spine. Now nothing should get chopped off in the trimming process. And now the back box is shorter to allow room for the barcode box to fit in it's place. So as far as positioning goes, this should be it..

The blurb has been rewritten as well. Hopefully it's an improvement over the last one. Everybody out there be sure and let me know what you think.

I'm getting there. I'm closing in on that magic, but gut wrenching, moment where I upload everything to be published. I just want to make sure it's right.

UPDATE: Change the last line of the first paragraph to read "These are the ghosts that haunt our niightmares." or "These are the ghosts that nightmares are made of."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cover Art Candidate

Picture above is the current candidate for the cover of the upcoming Shades anthology. Click the picture for a larger view. Please everybody, let me know what you think. I'm still at the stage I can change things, if I need to.

I think the first sentence of the blurb may be problematic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Notes to Self

Once manuscripts are completed, they should immediately be copied and the files labeled "for print publishing" and "for ebook publishing". Preparing your manuscript for one, then tearing out all the formatting you did for that and preparing it for the other is a huge hassle.

Grass seed that has been stored in the garage for a year is probably not going to sprout. It didn't this time.

The laundry still hasn't done itself. It probably won't. Might try having the kids do it. Not optimistic on that one.

Cats barf. They just do. It's their hobby or something. Remember to buy more baby wipes. They are the handiest item invented in the past half century.

Back to work.