Category Archives: print on demand

Yet another extremely brief update

I have completed re-editing Princess of Secrets for both Kindle and CreateSpace, and the respective files have been submitted. It will take at least 24 hours for the updated Kindle file to be available, and the CS file will need to go through one more proof approval before it can go live, but the hard work is done. I am tired.

More importantly, I now have a proof PDF for Princess of Shadows, which means in the next day or two I can start the same final edit process for Shadows. I am going to budget two weeks for the read-through of the proof file, during which I will create a punch-list of errata; but I hope that the read-through will also give me some clues about what I might be able to cut from Shadows.

I think I am now in the home stretch of what’s been a very, very long race. Just don’t want to trip this close to the finish line.


Self-publishing– the naked truth

I continue to work on preparing Princess of Secrets for CreateSpace– doing a line-by-line reading takes time. I hope to have Secrets ready for CS in the next couple of days; the edits I put in will also be added to the Kindle edition. Then I will turn my attention to Princess of Shadows, with the intention of having it ready for publication by December 1st.

I’ve had some ups-and-downs getting these novels re-edited, including a truly spectacular frak-up with find-and-replace on Wonders that I had to repair in a big, fat hurry. Editing my own work is the quickest path I know to humility. Or maybe it’s humiliation. For me there’s not much distance between the two.

No one should construe, from my previous ardent defenses of self-publishing, that I think I’ve achieved perfection with my own work. Hardly. As in, what a laugh. Every time I revisit my work, I see new items to fix, or to improve.

Let me be honest here– when I first self-published, two and half years ago, an objective observer would have probably classed me as one of those “not ready for prime time” self-publishers. I started out publishing some of my novellas and novelettes, and I spent months wrestling with issues. When I went to publish my novels, I thought I had cleanly edited copies. But my readers let me know that there were still issues, and I’ve had to revisit both Wonders and Secrets on several occasions (see my previous posts as evidence).

What this proves is that there is an “on the other hand” truth about self-publishing. A downside, a fly in the soup, a cloud obscuring the bright sun of our gloriously published state.

Ready for it? Here it is– self-publishing is hard.

Let me amend that– self-publishing is back-breakingly hard. Heart-breakingly hard. “Will this bastard ever be done?” hard.

At least, if you’re trying to do it right. If you’re not– or worse, you’re sure you’ve achieved perfection already– then forget what I just said. Sit back in the warm glow of your own self-sufficiency and the certain knowledge that it is only the stupidity of the rest of the world that prevents them from recognizing your genius. I have nothing useful to say to you.

For us mere mortals, though, the simple fact is that, when you self-publish, you take the whole weight of getting a book written and ready for market (two separate, if conjoined, tasks) on your own back. You may be helped by beta readers, you may hire a freelance editor, you may purchase a professional cover from an artist (God, I hope you do– there are some amazingly stupid self-published covers out there), but by-and-large this effort is all on you. You’re it. If the book succeeds, you get the glory. If it fails, or if it is an unreadable mess of misspellings, bad grammar and screwed-up formatting, you got no one to blame but yourself.

I can’t speak for other self-publishers, but for me, the whole experience of self-publishing has been one of learning, sometimes the hard way, sometimes by “oh my God, I can’t believe I did that!” Learning to edit, learning to format, learning how to promote (my personal downfall at the moment). And that learning process is still going on. It didn’t happen all at once, and I am beginning to suspect that it will actually never end.

So be warned– if you want to self-publish, and do it right, then you have to be prepared to commit to long hours of picking through prose, finding mistakes and sweating over whether this phrasing is better than that phrasing, to learn how to upload an html file and what it means to link your TOC correctly– and then to take the one and two star reviews, think about what they mean, and apply them to your text. You will need a thick skin, including on your behind where you’ve sat for hours editing a passage for the fourth or fifth time. You’ll need to be willing, after you’ve uploaded a novel, to turn right around and re-edit it and upload it again to fix one misspelled word on page 231.

There is, however, a positive to all this labor and pain– my work is better now than it was when I started. Perhaps much better. And I’ve learned how to make the next novel better to start with. For me, that makes the whole business worthwhile.

Not to mention, it’s better than doing yard work. That’s really unpleasant.


(PS– I have now edited this post twice to fix issues. QED.).

Trying to find the silver lining…a brief update on my lack of progress

I’ve never been someone who is naturally cheerful. Somebody says, “Good morning!” with a bright and happy smile on their face, and my tendency is to say, “Let’s not jump to conclusions” even if it’s 11:55 AM and the planet hasn’t yet been invaded by right-wing mutant zombies from outer space (the homegrown varieties are quite enough, thank you). This has been, at times, a problem in my church circles; some Christians seem to think you’re supposed to paint a joyful grin on your puss no matter how miserable you actually feel. Not me– somebody asks me how I’m doing and they’re liable to get a response similar to, “Well, I’m not dead yet, but give it time.”

And at the moment, life’s not exactly handing me sunshine, either.

Chiefly, I remain unemployed; I haven’t heard back from either of the companies I interviewed with two or more weeks ago, so it is not looking hopeful. Both interviews seemed to be fairly positive, but my natural pessimism (here shading over into paranoia) assumes that the people who interviewed me showed me to the door with smiles, and then burst out laughing when I was gone. Pretty soon I am going to have to start looking for temporary gigs, which I hate.

In addition, there is this thing and the other thing, most of which are trivial annoyances that altogether come to a lot of time on my hands, doing chores I don’t like, and probably snacking more than I should. There are stresses and strains and tensions because of the uncertainty of my immediate future. There’s personal stuff that would be embarrassing for me to talk about and which probably needs a therapist’s touch (or sledgehammer).

The holidays are coming, too. I have complex feelings about the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, which I will not try to unpack here and now. Suffice to say that I usually feel out of step with the whole commercial business of false cheer and merriment. Somebody says, “Merry Christmas!” to me, they’re liable to get the finger.

And then there’s my lack of progress on Princess of Shadows.

It’s beginning to look as if two out of my three beta readers are not going to be finish their reading-throughs in time for my drop-dead goal of having Shadows published before Christmas. I have almost decided to just do another read-through on my own, make final changes, and publish. I’m not happy about that, but I think it’s something I need to do. This book has been hanging around my neck for far too long.

Now, in view of all the preceding, it would not be unreasonable to assume that I am completely in a pit of despair and hopelessness. Or even more than I usually am. Strangely, though, not so much.

Uncharacteristically, I think I’ve found a silver lining or two in this whole situation. The extra time on my hands has allowed me to complete initial research for Princess of Fire. My enforced idleness on Shadows means I’ve had to put it aside for a month and focus on other things, which I have heard often recommended as a way to see your own work with fresh eyes when you do take it up again.

Lastly, I’ve used the extra time to publish Princess of Wonders to CreateSpace, Amazon’s print-on-demand service. It’s now available on Amazon and in the CreateSpace e-store. I’m in the process of doing the same for Princess of Secrets, and when I publish Shadows, I’ll be doing it simultaneously for Kindle and CreateSpace. This is a new venture for me, and, as good as Kindle has been for me, the idea that my work will be available in print still makes me smile.

It’s an odd feeling– I don’t think my face is used to it….


Another brief dispatch.

I have resumed writing Princess of Fire. I think I’m at a good spot in my initial research to restart work on the first draft. Just from the research I’ve done so far I’ve modified some of my ideas for the story. Research will be ongoing, though– I’m tackling some stuff in this novel about which that I am not very knowledgeable.

Still waiting for my last two beta readers to get back to me on Princess of Shadows. One of them, though, pinged me back to let me know she is making progress, and is, in fact, having a great time ripping apart my grammar. Ugh. Well, I asked for it….

On another front, I have decided to finally dip my toes into CreateSpace, Amazon’s print-on-demand services, for my novels (up to this point I have only published for Kindle). I should have trade paperback format versions of my two novels available sometime in the next few days, once I iron out the remaining kinks in my submissions. Word to the wise– don’t simply upload your Kindle formatted doc files to CreateSpace– it’ll only end in tears. ‘Nuff said.

Gotta go to bed, my head is drooping.