Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pulsating to the Backbeat

  Done. Man, this book was an uphill battle every step of way. Part of it was my own fault for putting the pressure on, not only setting a deadline, but announcing it to everyone. I over-estimated how much time I would have to work on things, not leaving room for procrastination, time for myself, and other unforeseen circumstances, and I was not nearly as prepared as I was the last time around.
    Having a blog makes you feel like you need to tell people things, like when your book is coming out. The accountability factor can be motivational and helpful, but in reality, there probably wouldn't be an uproar if the book came out two weeks after I originally said it would.
    I also ran into a problem with the Kindle version--Amazon has connected CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing so that CreateSpace will send your files over to KDP after your book files have been approved. You'd think that would make it more convenient, right? Wrong.
    They used to accept only Word documents, maybe HTML, and .mobi files for KDP and the website would convert the files to .mobi if need be. It wasn't perfect, but it did pretty well considering it was done by a machine and not a human. I send those files to myself to view on my Kindle Fire to make sure they look all right for the most part, and if not, I can edit the Word file to fix whatever doesn't look right, and reupload it and have KDP convert it again. KDP only takes about 6-12 hours to approve the files and publish them on the website, so if you have to make changes, you can usually upload the file the night before and it'll be back online in the morning.
    This time, I learned that KDP accepts PDFs to convert, too, and that's what CreateSpace gave me to upload to Kindle. I figured it's THEIR file--it should convert with no problem. Wrong again. When I pulled that document up on my Kindle, I couldn't believe how ridiculous it looked. There were no tab indents on the paragraphs, and perhaps worse, the conversion had broken up some paragraphs so that it looked a little like this:
The quick brown fox jumps
over the lazy
    Why would they allow you to upload a file that can't even keep paragraphs together? Ereader files are basically supposed to read like an HTML file--HTML doesn't break paragraphs up like that unless you specifically tell it to! So, last night, I went through and created my own .doc Word file to upload again. The tab indents were back, the table of contents looked normal, and the lines were all kept together in a paragraph like they're supposed to be.
    There are some nitpicky things I wish I could fix, but I'd have to hire a professional for that, and I'd rather not put any more money into fixing something as small as the size of a tab indent when I'm probably one of the few people out there who is truly bothered by it.
    Anyway, it's been a busy month, to say the least. I finished the files and published them on time as planned, on March 28, though it wasn't until about 2:30 PM. I'm so relieved to have the book finished, but now I get to the promotion part, and I'm not exactly looking forward to the marketing part over the next few weeks and months.
    It's not my strong suit, and I really wish I had more previous success to draw on and apply this time around. That's part of the reason why I'm spending money on professional marketing this time--I figure maybe these people know what they're doing better than I do, or at least I hope they do!--but apparently it takes a while to put together a blog tour so I won't know if it works until a couple months from now.
    Not much else to speak of--I got caught in a blizzard a week ago and scared myself shitless trying to drive home in it. I didn't realize it was going to be that bad or I would have stayed another night where I was. My allergies are doing a lot better now--I've only taken one pill this week and I have a feeling the "symptoms" I was experiencing were due to fatigue from staying up so late to finish my book stuff on time rather than from allergies.
    I'm finally getting back to blogging, so new recaps and I'm hoping a new weekly feature will be coming back to Always Happy to Entertain you soon, and I should be able to post here more regularly as well.
Hey, ho, let's go.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Publishing, Allergies, and a Bit of Bad News

My dad's cat, Willis. Rest in peace, buddy.
    I've been saying how busy I am for weeks, but it's finally coming together: the book will be released March 28th.
    Other than that, I'm trying to catch up on some other stuff I've let slide while working on my book, like blogging. However, once again, life intrudes.
    Last week, my dad's cat died very suddenly. While he didn't like my cat, he was a very sweet kitty and passed too soon. We think he had an aneurysm, and there would have been nothing we could have done for him because of how quickly it happened, but it was very upsetting because he was relatively young for a cat. My cat (aka The Furball) is happy to have the run of the house again, but it's very strange not to have our other cat around.
    Then, this week, I realized just how close spring is: my allergies kicked in! And they didn't just crop up, they returned with a vengeance. I have been miserable, blowing my nose, sneezing in threes and sometimes fours, and wiping away tears from watery eyes. Not only does the end of my nose look like I rubbed sandpaper on it for two hours, the top of my lip went bright red from all the moisture being rubbed off. I've never had allergies this bad, and to boot, my usual medicine isn't cutting it. It dried my nose a little, but it did nothing for the itchy nose/eyes. I started a different medicine on Friday, and it was an improvement, but it still was not providing me with the kind of clear-headedness and sneeze-relief I've come to expect from allergy medication. I switched to Allegra yesterday, and what a difference! I still don't feel 100%, but I'm about 90%, so that's close enough for me. It's 24 hour too, so I don't have to keep remembering to take it during the day, and it really has knocked out most of my symptoms, so that's a huge relief.
    While I'm really excited to be wrapping up editing and publishing my (third!) book, I may be even more excited to get back to writing again! I feel like I've been editing for ages, and the only thing I've written since I started this editing project is blog posts. It's like my creativity is has been accumulating for the past couple months and it's ready to be set loose.
    What this means is that, as soon as the book is finalized and released, I will probably start six different stories in the next few weeks, and I will probably only finish one of them. If that. I'm looking forward to it though. As much as I'm looking forward to getting back to writing--I've got about three stories cooking in my head as it is--I'm also thinking about the two books I wrote last fall, prior to and during Nanowrimo. Both science fiction. One maybe involves more crime/drama than hardcore science fiction, but because the main storyline focuses on a project that is science fiction-y in nature, I'm still calling it sci-fi for now. I really enjoyed those stories, possibly because they're so different from anything I've ever written before, and I'm really looking forward to working on them again.
The new book cover.
Minus my author name ;)
    However, that won't be for a while. I think I want to write, exclusively, for the next few months, and then I will consider getting back into editing around July or August. I'd like to put out another book by the end of the year, but I haven't decided which one yet.
    (I cheated and started writing last night. It feels like cheating because I haven't completely wrapped up my other book yet, but it was awesome. I don't know if I'll get anywhere with it, but just putting together character descriptions, a very rough outline, and writing a page or two before bed felt amazing after so many months of just editing!)
    Anyway, a lot's been happening and a lot is going to happen in the next few weeks (at least I hope so). I'm hoping that I'll have good news to share about my book, but we'll have to wait and see what the initial responses are.
    This is what publishing feels like, whether you submit to a house or try to do it yourself:
We have to continually be jumping off cliffs
and developing our wings on the way down.
-Kurt Vonnegut

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