After all the hard work my baby is finally out there to fend for itself. Even now as I write this and look at the screen shot above I find it hard to believe it’s really happened, that the book I’ve been working on since 2010 is an actual real thing that people can read.
On Thursday 27th, around 6pm, I sat in front of my computer and took a deep breath. My deadline was looming and I’d run out of excuses not to do this. After logging in to Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing) I was faced with the very real and very scary prospect of inputting my novel details.
Up to that moment The Range was still just a personal writing project. It was in my head and on my screen. It was safe. But aside from the “writing is its own reward” there was no reason to keep it to myself any more. I’d enjoyed the highs and lows of writing it, now it was time to unleash my creation and let readers take a shot at something new.
I had an idea it would be both scary and exciting.
But I never expected to be nervous, worried, frightened, elated and overjoyed, not to mention plenty of other emotions that hung around for the party. I’d read “how to guides” and watched YouTube videos on the uploading process. I thought I was equipped for the launch.
To coin a phrase from Illidan Stormrage: “You are not prepared!”
The other stuff…
I wasn’t ready to fill in quite so many forms, especially those relating to US Tax stuff. And when faced with the question: “What is your IBAN and BIC number?” in relation to getting paid royalties, I thought I’d done something wrong. I’d clicked a button and gone to the wrong place.
I began to question if I was on the right site – should I be at amazon.co.uk or amazon.com?
What if I screw it up and what I’d dreamed of as a fantastic book launch would turn out to be a huge embarrassing mistake? So I checked with my bank, and the friendly guy on the phone told me to take a deep breath, everything was okay, I was on the right track and he knew exactly what I needed.
Some of the processes were straight forward – royalties, which had been something of a nightmare to get my head around were oddly simple to work through. After I’d jumped through all the hoops I watched the little message say my book would be reviewed and go live in 12 hours if there were no problems.
Pint on Demand.
That was done. I had to be patient. In the meantime I set up my CreateSpace account so readers could order the print version of The Range. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this or not. Print on Demand books tend to be more costly due to the nature of the costs involved printing out one book at a time.
I thought: “What the hell? I want a physical copy of my book, so others might too.”
The CreateSpace process was much more enjoyable, yet also infuriating at the same time.
The Range was written in MS Word for editing and beta reader prints. The html file was created for KDP, for kindle ebook readers. That’s all easy stuff.
Print books, or rather the option I chose of 6″ by 9″ size book, meant I had to create a book cover as I didn’t want to use a standard template. I wasn’t prepared for that at all and felt kinda stupid for not thinking ahead and preparing the text for the interior and the cover graphics layout accordingly.
This was a case of:
- Upload Word doc.
- Wait for upload and error check.
- Test layout in the Digital Proofer.
- Realise my margins were too narrow, and text fell outside the print area.
- Close proofer.
- Edit my Word Doc.
- Upload again.
- Rinse and repeat a dozen times.
Remember I said I started on Thursday, 6pm?
The process on CreateSpace is relatively easy to work through, and around 2am it began to feel like there was no end in sight.
Then came the book cover. I’d done one for the ebook version. But since I’d been so focussed on that aspect alone I never considered having to create a book cover layout.
I downloaded a template and set to work arranging the cover image, text and blurb.
That was when my rather ageing computer began to stall and have a fit.
My graphic editor insisted there wasn’t enough memory to save or export the massive file sizes. I adjusted DPI, pixel sizes, measurement sizes, export quality percentages, the lot. In the end I had to change my layout options and choose a different template that let me upload front cover and back cover separately.
That seemed to work.
Hold my breath moment!
I arrived at the final proof check at 4am. Here I was worried, more worried than I care to remember.
I’d had beta readers edit, check, edit again. I’d edited the book to death, checked, edited, changed, adjusted, scanned every line for silly mistakes and was so sure I’d found all of them. But in the back of my mind, as the digital pages swiped across the screen, I was certain something was wrong.
There would be a missing speech mark, or a capital letter in the wrong place, or some tiny detail that someone was bound to point out.
I could either click “Go for it” or call it all off and spend X weeks/months checking and checking?
When my cover appeared in the digital proof checker…damn, that’s a wonderful moment. I stared at the screen, hardly able to believe this was happening. I took a screen shot:
And then the pages:
Describing the feeling of seeing that is tricky. To go from years of seeing my novel in Word, to an actual book layout is a freaky feeling. Someone else was going to read this. The thoughts in my head went a little like this:
- How will I be judged on the quality or my writing?
- Will people like the story?
- Will they pick faults in it?
- How will I cope with negative feedback?
- Does it look okay?
- Will it look good when I hold it in my hands?
- Will a reader enjoy the physical book as much as they do any other book?
- How can I make it look more professional?
- When did I last eat?
- I need the toilet.
- There have to be mistakes, right? I mean I spot them all the time even from word renowned authors.
- My eyes hurt.
- Do I have the balls to accept the proof?
- When will readers be able to order a copy?
- My butt hurts.
- How long have I been sat here? 10 hours? That’s a joke, right?
- Why is
rumPepsi always gone?
I clicked “Accept proof and continue” and held my breath, again.
It takes 24 hours for CreateSpace to check and approve a POD book.
Back to KDP.
My listing had gone live, pending changes!
With shaking hands I went to Amazon, searched for The Range.
It was there. On a page of its own. Like a real book. My book. OMFG!
Punch the air time!
Grin until my face wants to fall off.
That was a perfect moment. I believe you don’t get many of those in a lifetime. One that your noggin places on the Top 10 Life Time Memories.
Then things went to shit.
My mouth hung open, my shoulders dropped and my eyes refused to believe what they were seeing.
The book description was all wrong. There were html tags in it. <br> for line breaks between paragraphs. WTF? I hadn’t inserted any html when I wrote the book description several hours ago. I’d done something wrong. I must have. And now it looks stupid, like some amateur moron has cranked out garbage to make quick and easy cash.
Back to the KDP dashboard I edited the book description and clicked “Accept and save” in the hope it would work out.
I waited 2 hours before it said it was “live pending changes” so I checked the book listing. The damn tags were still there. I panicked, thinking people are going to see this in a few hours, and they’re going think I’m an idiot.
I contacted Amazon, and to my surprise received a prompt personal email assuring me they were aware of the issue it was their fault not mine and everything would be resolved. They even said: “Have a beautiful day!” which I quite liked.
Happy but annoyed.
I wanted things to go smoothly and I couldn’t help think it had been all for nothing. All that energy and stress getting it right had been ruined by a messy book description. After the book cover it’s the description I look at next. And that sucked on my book.
When the CreateSpace message said my POD version had been approved I was over the moon! I checked my listing on their site:
And found the book description was laid out correctly.
Maybe it’s naivety that I expected both POD and digital copies to be linked together instantly, like I’ve seen with other ebooks. Turns out it can take 3-5 business days for the POD version to be linked with the digital version and visible on Amazon as a purchase option.
Oh well. It’s in motion now so I am indeed happy.
I even ordered a copy of the print version for myself. Well why not? That sort of thing doesn’t happen every day so why not indulge and have my own book sat on my bookshelf? Though I’ll have to wait 2 weeks for it to be delivered as it comes from the US. But hell, I can wait.
I’ve you’ve clicked the screen shot above you’ll see I gave thanks to some special people in my life. Go take a look if you haven’t already, or better still, buy the book!
Here I’d like to give thanks to two people who have been a very big help to me.
Sarah Potter – SarahPotterWrites
You deserve a huge thank you for your input in this process. Thank you for helping with the book blurb, you really made it come alive. Thank you for being so supportive, in your blog posts about The Range, and the emails. I sincerely appreciate everything you’ve done. And if I can ever repay the favour just say the word.
Christina Deubel – InTheDepths
A big thank you for letting me use your wonderful painting, Dauntless, for the cover. I know I mention you in my acknowledgements but I wanted to say thanks here too because the artwork really is stunning and matches the vision I had in my head of Samantha staring at the ocean at The Range.
Dear blog readers,
Thank you for all your comments, words of support, reblogging and so on. I’m grateful for your input on helping me decide which cover design to go with.
RR Haywood, author of the amazing The Undead series, recently wrote this on his blog:
Ebooks are not normal mainstream books and one of the best things I love about ebook publishing is the relationship between the writer and the reader.
And I couldn’t agree more. With everything I write, blog posts, short fiction and indeed stuff about The Range, I’ve valued the input of you, dear blog reader, because for me it’s not about the mass production of books that are placed on shelves in the hope (or even assumption) someone buys them.
It’s about having the ability to connect with people and have that instant relationship where people can speak their minds.
So what’s next?
In the next few days I’ll have a new page on my blog dedicated to The Range, with some extra bits and pieces. I’ll have links to Amazon somewhere, probably in the side bar bit. If I have time today I’ll amend my Goodreads profile to include The Range.
After that, well, it’s back to work on The Holt. I plan to have that finished by May 2015. Hopefully earlier. Then it’s editing, beta reader feedback and so on. The Range took 4 years to complete, whereas The Holt will be 1 year.
The Retreat, the third and final book (at least it seems that way now) will come some time in 2016.
Right now I’m off for some rest.
The last 24 hours has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions that I never expected.
I am indeed a happy author.
Big smiley face.