You know, I actually can’t believe I forgot how long this whole “publishing a book” bit takes. I’m very looking forward to getting to the point where I’m doing it often enough that I never have to remember how it all works.
A few weeks ago, I sent Createspace my book interior and cover, and then ordered my proof copy. Two things happened as a result:
First, the book showed up in the mail a few days later, and it became obvious that I had some more work to do on the cover.
I should pause here to mention how fantastic Createspace and it’s contemporaries really are. Printing entire books, one copy at a time, is something I never thought I’d see, and I’m always a bit amazed when something I put together on a computer while sitting on a train underneath London ends up in a book-shaped package in my hands, without the need for pallets and pallets of inventory.
Now, I understand that there’s a lot about printing—in particular, colors—that I don’t know enough about, and the result is that there are a couple of bits of the cover that show up on my computer screen, but which never make it to the printed paperback. The last time I did this, I had absolutely no idea what to do about it, so I just signed off on the proof and published (It wasn’t like I was actually going to sell any of these anyway, right?). This time, of course, I understand things a bit better, and now I’ve made a couple of changes to my encoding and brightness settings which should solve my problem. I’m quite hopeful about the whole thing.
Oh, and there was simply no way the cover was going to look any good once shrunk down to a thumbnail-sized image. Needed a few changes there, too. I should probalby make a post about that, actually.
Thing two? Well, in the time that it took for the book to get to my house in England, I had some time to look over the copy again, and I started finding things I wanted to change.
There were a few actual mistakes (punctuation, missing or duplicated words, etc.) and a few handfuls of sentences and paragraphs which just needed to be better. Thing is, by the time I was finished with “Knight of the Flame”, I’d made eight separate drafts of the thing. New drafts find issues and add polish and shine. It’s what makes a bit of prose into a genuinely interesting story. In the case of “Winds of a Growing Storm,” I decided I was going to try to get away with five drafts. I knew that was a risk at the time, but the fact was the drafts cost time, and I’ve been working on this sequel for two years now. Turns out, five drafts, for me, just isn’t enough. Six, it seems, might be the magic number.
Then, I made my BIG mistake.
Oh dear, again.
A bit of advice for anybody doing this self-publishing thing: don’t edit your formatted copy. Well, I suppose, don’t do it if you’ve got more than one version of the formatted copy. You’ll drive yourself insane making the same changes in multiple files, and in just trying to keep it all straight. Seeing as I’d already made my separate Createspace, Kindle, and Smashwords files, you see, I figured I’d save a lot of time by just editing all three directly. The other option was to just edit one, and then re-create the other two formats from the first, all over again. I suppose I’ll never really know which way is faster without trying both, but having spent two full weeks making about a hundred small changes, I feel confident in saying that the way I did it is something you only do if you really like to edit…and I mean, like it more than sleeping or eating…or writing, I suppose.
Anyhow, said changes are now done, and the new files are uploading to Amazon as I write this (how would I have found the time for a blog post, otherwise, right?) Assuming the new proof copy looks good, then I should be publishing within a week.
Now, I get to start thinking rather seriously about book 3. One question keeps running around and around in my head: If my first book took roughly seventeen years to finish, and the second one took roughly two years, then how long should it take me to get the third one out?
I can’t wait to find out.