There is no home stretch on a treadmill

It’s crunch time. I am officially 4/5ths (yes, I am going to be that specific) through the third book. That also includes the excerpt for the fourth book. You’d think there’d be a sigh of relief. Alas, that is not the case.

I have five volunteer editors for the third book, and if you actually read my un-proofed blog, you know I need every blessed on of them. That means I have to print and deliver five different manuscripts. After that my editors get 1 month, give or take, to make their recommendations.

In the meantime, I have to get two covers ready for publishing. As with everything else, I am a control freak when it comes to the covers. It helps that I used to be a graphic designer. Anyhow, I need a simple one-sided cover for my ebook and a complicated two-sided cover for my actual printed paperback.

I love the writing for its own challenges. I don’t love the publishing. I find the technical details frustrating. If you haven’t figured it out already, I self publish my books, mostly through Love them or hate them, they are the largest book house in the world, and they provide a useful service to aspiring writers who are looking for a more independent way to reach their audience.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a learning curve. For my ebook, I create an HTML file. I’ve never been a big fan of code, but an ebook should be clean and easy to navigate. That means the source code I give to amazon should be clean too. So I go through all of the trouble of copying my book into my HTML editing software, and I clean…and clean…and clean.

Once the ebook is downloaded, I move on to the printed book. I have a lot more control over the look of the printed book, but that’s almost more of a curse than a blessing. There are just so many choices.

Lets start with just the pages.  There need to be a certain amount of blank pages, front and back, to make sure the book starts and ends in the right place. The number of pages has to be taken into account because the cost of the book is affected by the number of pages. This, in turn, affects the size of the actual type. It also effects the size of the cover. The binding along the back of the book is determined by the number of pages too, so you can’t even start the cover without finishing the page count.

I use all my own artwork on the covers. Now that the design of Dairyland Murders is pretty much branded with the first two books, layout and typeface are givens. Everything else, however, is up for grabs. There’s the color, which photos to use, how to use them, etc.

The funny thing is, it can take almost as long to edit and publish a book as it takes to write it. No wonder so many authors are willing to just hand over a manuscript to some publishing house. Then, all they have to do is write. That must be very liberating. Too bad I’m so stubborn.

Oh, and I also have to write the fourth book, and the fifth, and the sixth…


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