Paperbacks galore!

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Voa Paperbacks

The first complete copies of A Vengeance of Angels have arrived in the UK, courtesy of Amazon CreateSpace, drawing a neat line under the story and declaring it to be completed.

My first book suffered from a case of couldn’t-leave-it-alone-itis. However, with some thanks to the timetable set by my editor, the second book will not suffer this fate.

With ‘Vengeance’ in print, I am content to leave it alone – barring the surfacing of any undiscovered typos, of course.

So now, I am determined to crack on with the third book in the trilogy and:

acern270ginger write on

USA: Buy A Vengeance of Angels

UK: Buy A Vengeance of Angels

 

 

Second paperback completed!

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tarnya paperback banner

Ordering the CreateSpace proof copy was a good move. Definitely. The 1.5 line spacing I’d used to prevent the book being as thin as an advertising flyer made the whole story look as if it was a child’s book.

I changed the spacing to 1.0, which immediately shrank the page count to the point where the cover would have wrapped twice around the book. Oops.

So some re-jigging was called for. After several infuriating days watching words, sentences, and images sliding around of their own free will (anyone who has worked with Word will know what I mean), I’ve finally arrived at a point where the MS is where I need it to be.

Six copies have now been ordered from the US, along with another six copies of CoA for my ‘impulse buy’ stocks.

I can now declare book 2 to be over and done with, done and dusted, completed and in the bag. *shifts focus to book 3.*

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to:

acern270ginger write on

Second paperback almost completed

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jpeg Voa

Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while may remember the troubles I had with my Createspace version of ‘A Construct of Angels.’ Many hours of format tweaking and two proof copies shipped to England from the US finally produced a paperback I was happy to sell.

With my second novel, I have applied the lessons learned and the formatting was completed within a week. A proof copy has been ordered and I hope to hold it in my hands within ten days – less than three weeks after my eBook was released. What a difference a year makes!

I’m also trying something new with this cover – endorsements. Two other indie writers, Candace Knoebel and Sonya Loveday have agreed to let me reproduce their glowing beta reader comments on the back cover. I’m hoping this will do two things. The first is to encourage people to buy my book (always a motivating force), and the second is to provide a little exposure for the ladies as a thank-you. They have both been hugely encouraging over the past three years, helping to propel me towards completing my debut, then my second novel. I’ve enjoyed reading books published by both writers and I’d recommend them without hesitation to other fans of YA fantasy.

Ladies. thank you, and:

acern270ginger write on

 

Createspace – it’s finally happened!

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coa-post-its

Anyone who’s been following my attempts to create a paperback from my eBook will know that I’ve been so very close for such a long, long time. 

But last night, I got confirmation that my first paperback had been despatched by Amazon.

All right, I was the one who’d purchased it, but it was for a friend and voluntary beta-reader in Canada. Thanks Michelle!

Perhaps I ought to call her an omega-reader, because this (he says) is going to be the very last set of changes I will apply to the MS. Discussions with my editor (hello Tara!) place the industry-acceptable rate of errors at 0.015%. Mine is currently averaging 0.005% but typos still get under my skin and I hate them and zey vill.not.be.tolerated!!

Not that I’m obsessive or CDO or anything… >.<

(For those that haven’t seen CDO before, it’s like OCD, but the letters are.in.the.correct.order. As they ought to be. 😀 )

Aaaaanyway, my first paperback has taken flight and ought to arrive within the week. I wait with baited breath for Michelle’s appraisal before I fix the dratted MS for one final time and close the chapter on the first book. Any remaining errors will have to be flagged up by particularly CDO-inclined readers of the future. I will simply smile quietly and say ‘I left that one in there especially for you, you clever thing.’

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acern270ginger write on

Oh, PS… I clicked ‘order’ on Tuesday evening (GMT), received a shipping notification the following evening and by Thursday afternoon, the book had arrived in Ontario! This was well inside Createspace’s ‘within 7 days’ estimate. Impressive!

 

 

 

CreateSpace – Part V of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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CoA post its

Well, my second proof copy has arrived from the USA and despite my best hopes, I’m still finding errors in the text. 😦

I asked my significant other if she’d read through it for me… a fresh pair of eyes, and all that.  However, after five weeks of gathering dust (the book, not me!), I realised I’d have to undertake the task myself. *sigh*

After hundreds of read-throughs, I’m having real trouble concentrating on the text and find myself drifting along with the narrative instead.

Why, I keep wondering, do these text errors continue to plague my MS? I like to think I’m meticulous with my grammer and, speeling. I can only imagine the errors are typos I’ve somehow missed.

True, my typing isn’t perfect. As It gets faster, mistakes begin to appear, so I temper my speed to keep the typos down. However, impatience can sometimes bite and my fingers will get carried away, often typing faster than my brain (that only takes eight words a minute, usually!).

So this week finds me ploughing (yes, that’s how it feels after 500+ reads) through the paperback, hoping to upload and receive a corrected version before the end of July.

I have to – a couple of Floridian friends are keen to see a paperback copy in early August.

Anyway, back to reading…

In the meantime:

acern270ginger write on

Apologies – been busy *tries to get breath back*

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exhausted

Image courtesy of YelloShine at StockXchng

Hello everyone. I have finally emerged from my writing cave after an obsessive recheck of my MS for ‘A Construct of Angels.’

Following the re-launch on February 28th, I spotted a typo in the first chapter whilst posting a sample of the story onto Wattpad (yes, I’ve managed to stretch myself even thinner!).  Anxious as to why I’d missed something so basic, I felt compelled to re-read the whole story (again) – and I’m very glad I did. Scores of silly mistakes scuttled around in the daylight once that particular rock had been lifted, mistakes that should never have happened. I can only blame the way I used Word (in ‘show all changes’ mode) to enter the edit suggestions from Tara, my editor and ‘Words with Friends’ buddy.

I will be applying the lessons from this latest faux-pas to my next MS and sequel to CoA, ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

So, I finally completed the read-through and Sonya Loveday has kindly offered to read it through for me, because if I have to read that story one. more. time. I might go a wee bit crazy. *sigh* Does everyone get to this love-hate stage with their MS, where they cannot bear to plough through it yet again?

If Sonya gives it the all-clear, I will finally be able to revisit the CreateSpace site and upload the finished MS, before I order a second proof copy. It’s been a long time coming…

In the meantime, Write On!

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One year on from my first post – and look what’s changed!

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100th post

A few days ago, WordPress sent me a reminder that I’d just published my 100th post – and I was taken aback.

I suddenly realised that it has been almost exactly one year since I first created my first ever post; The best rejection letter ever?

And what a lot has happened in those twelve months – just look at the stats;

Last July                                      This July

1 post                                            100+ posts

2 WP followers                             235+ WP followers (update?)

20 Facebook followers                 900+ Facebook followers

no Twitter account                        475+ Twitter followers

No eBook published                      eBook self-published

No paperback                                 Paperback very close to completion

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This is all part of spreading the word, of building an author platform – and it’s looking quite good, IMHO.

Along the way, I have met some very talented people. Some of them are constantly beating a path for the rest of us to follow, whilst others are still following their aspirations to publish. Many are very, very close to that first eBook or printed book.

Then there are the non-writer bloggers who post recipes, amazing photographs or offer philosophical insights that leave me thinking ‘wow…’

I have learned a great deal since last July. Back then I had just exhausted my 102-strong list of UK-based Literary Agencies and whilst I’d received some encouragement along the way (notably The best rejection letter ever?), I was no closer to being published.

At that time I was on a knife-edge, wondering if I ought to begin querying US-based agencies – but electronically. I could never have afforded the postage costs. I was already several hundreds of pounds down (I still am) and further investment would have crippled me financially.

And then I began hearing, via Facebook and WordPress, about self-publishing. I was (at first) curious – and then intrigued. I wanted to know more.

The seed was sown. As the rejection letters continued to trickle in, I decided to learn all I could about creating and publishing an eBook, just in case none of the agencies picked up my book. They didn’t – so I launched myself into the world of ePublishing. The rest, as they say, is history. Very recent history – and something I could not have done without help from fellow bloggers.

Capture

Sharing – it’s the best part of blogging! It makes the lonely business of writing feel a lot less…well, lonely. We all get to read about other people’s experiences on a daily basis, both the good and the bad. Most notable is Ryan Casey’s runaway success with his short stories and novels and Michelle Proulx’s difficult journey with the publisher iUniverse. Both authors have flourished, but their experiences contrast greatly. But even bad experiences can teach us all something. Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

What’s most encouraging is the great feedback that I’ve received. Every comment makes me want to post again…and again. I love seeing that little orange star at the top of my dashboard. It’s encouraging to know that someone had read and ‘liked’ my words. But even more heart-warming is that little orange speech bubble. Whatever I was about to do, whatever words I had in mind…they get sidelined as I click on the bubble to see the message that has been left.

A blogger once remarked that comments are addictive. They were right. I love them! They have delivered support and encouragement in so many different ways. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave me feedback.

I wonder if my second year of blogging will be as fascinating and thrilling a ride as the first?

See you all in July 2014!

Keep blogging (especially Shay Starcaller)!

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Post Script;

What I hadn’t expected – and this came right out of the blue as I was preparing to post, was this;

Capture

I really had NO IDEA that I’d been with WordPress for so long.  It’s true that I’ve chronicled my writing endeavours as far back as 1999 (see The Homeworld Saga), but that was all retro-written just to document where my modern writing began to coalesce properly.

But four years?

Wow…

Time does fly when you’re having fun doing what you love the most!

CreateSpace – Part IV of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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CoA post its

Isn’t this is the BEST justification EVER for ordering a Proof copy of your Print on Demand novel?

I used nearly three packs of Post-it strips marking out typos (not too many), weird spacing issues (loads) and missing or shifted text (scores – mostly at the bottoms of pages where text had been moved to fill the silly gaps).

I also took the opportunity to have one last crack at polishing the prose as I went. Who says a writer is never done editing?

Anyway, Big Lesson learned here; Never assume that because it looks fine on the screen, it’ll be fine in print. WRONG!

And don’t order TWO copies in the naive hope that the print will be fiiiine *casually dismisses problem with a wave of his hand* and you would be able to send one of them to…for instance…your mother.

So glad I didn’t…

Unless you are planning to use an editing buddy, someone who will be reading the second copy, don’t waste your money. Order ONE, fix it, THEN order another proof – just to be certain.

Sure, it all takes time…an interminable period during which you are champing away, desperate for the process to be completed. But as I’ve posted before, patience is most definitely required in this self-editing game.

So, now that I have completed my read-through, I only need to update my electronic version and re-submit the document to CreateSpace…and order another proof copy, which must come all the way from the US… by snail mail..and then read through THAT…and identify any remaining errors.

*drums fingers in agitation*

How long is the average human lifespan?

Muse; Patience, Mister Toynbee, patience.

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CreateSpace – Part III of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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Construct paperback

It’s heeee-re! It’s really here!

I’m as proud as George McFly when HE opened his box in 1985;

A Match made in space

(George McFly is a fictional character and wannabe author who was featured in ‘Back to The Future’ in case you don’t remember the 1980’s)

I can report several parallels with George’s story…we’d both been writing since we were at school, we’d both suffered similar abuse from our peers and we’ve both been accosted by time-travelling versions of our own sons. Except that mine hasn’t happened yet…but I’m sure it will. 🙂 It’s bound to. That’s how time-travel works, right?

Ahem.

Anyway, back to the main event – the paperbacks. Actually, they were so large, I thought CreateSapce had accidentally sent me hardbacks. At 500 pages long, ‘Construct’ is no lightweight – but it would have weighed in at 700 pages if I hadn’t made the decision to lose the last three chapters from the original draft and recycle that ending into the (proposed) third book.

I can report that the print quality is top-notch. The cover is of good quality, printed on at least 200gsm card – possibly thicker.

(You’ll guess from the above that I’m not an expert in this field!)

However, it feels as good as any ‘real’ paperback and doesn’t feel as if it’s going to disassemble itself the first time it’s opened. Quite how they put such a small number of books together so well, I’m uncertain. I imagine that there is a large workshop beneath one of Amazon’s warehouse, complete with chutes and steam-driven conveyor belts manned by elves who sing jolly tunes as they lovingly construct the books.

Perhaps I’m wrong – but can anybody prove it?  🙂

When I was populating the CreateSpace template with my MS, I went for a 6×9 layout, black text of cream paper and a size 11 font – Book Antiqua – which was the default font of the template. This resulted in a pleasant and easily readable text.

Even the image file that CreateSpace  flagged up as too low-resolution (less than 300 dpi) turned out to be fine. Since it was only an image of a character’s shaky handwriting, it didn’t concern me. I’d have shows it to you, but it’s a major spoiler. I imagine that a photograph of a similar resolution might have turned out poorly, but as someone commented recently on a previous post, ‘if it looks fine on the screen, it’ll probably be fine in the book.’

A quick flick through the book revealed that all was well, although one of those irritating spaces had managed to make an appearance at the bottom of one of the pages. *Fumes quietly to self at having missed it.*  I also felt that having chapters begin on the left-hand rather than the right-hand  page looked wrong. Unfortunately, this was the way that the text fell, so I will have to make some changes in that department.

My bio, now that I see it in print, reveals more about me than I’m comfortable with, so I’ll be trimming it slightly. Once I’ve had a chance to read the rest of the book, I may find other aspects that I’d prefer to adjust, but that’s something for another day.

So, a few minor tweaks required, but not a disaster by any means, but this all goes to prove that it was a wise move to follow CreateSpace’s advice and order proof copies and not just trust that I had everything right first time.

If you’re thinking of using CreateSpace, I’d be happy to report that it’s been a straightforward, happy experience – aside from my shenanigans with the formatting, although that is an issue with Word and may possibly have been a left-over from using Word to assemble my story in the first place. Those wise writers who utilise Scrivener may not have this problem.

So…off I go to a dark corner where I can read my 500 pages without interruption.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen! 😀

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In the meantime, whether you prefer pixels or pages,

Write On!

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CreateSpace – Part II of my anticlockwise journey towards a paperback

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books and pages

Following on from my previous post, I have moved a little further along the road towards creating my first-ever paperback *shivers as a life-long dream seems possible*.

Firstly, I set up a CreateSpace account alongside my Amazon author’s account, then proceeded to navigate CS’s user-friendly set-up menu. I was offered a plethora of differing sizes for my physical book, and after having discussed this with other bloggers, I finally settled on the 6×9″ format.

I then downloaded the novel template (6×9″), after which ‘A Construct of Angels’ (already formatted in Word) was pasted into the template so I could make any adjustments to the layout.

Here’s where the gnashing of teeth began…

When I scrolled through the virtual book (complete with flipping pages feature…it’s looking more like a real book already), I found a problem. Not Major by any means, but nether was it minor.

For some reason, my the formatting contained within my original layout caused the whole MS to leave random (it seemed) spaces at the bottom of every page, giving it a chewed-off appearance . I had to spend three nights inside the Word document copying and pasting text from the top of the previous page into the end of the text from the one above. Sometimes there was only one blank line; other times there were five.

Weird. This was the point where I wondered if I should finally make the move to Scrivener…

Patience required, definitely. Still, I wanted it to be right, so I put in the time to set it all up properly.

Save, copy, paste and check the format on CS once again – more flicking through virtual pages with a beady eye on the spacing.

Then the next problem reared its head. I use two images within my text. CreateSpace’s automated formatting checker decided that the resolution of these images was too low to print properly. Now, this is an image of some handwriting – some very poor handwriting, as it happens…if you think ‘spider that scuttled through a puddle of ink’ then you won’t be far off. Yes, it’s ncessary to the plot.

Guys, it doesn’t NEED to be hi-res.

I DID try to change the resolution using Paint and then PhotoImpact, but to no avail. I can live with it. The question is, will CreateSpace let it pass?

The next stage is the cover.

I sent the details of the size, page colour and page count to Ravven who has tweaked the original artwork to match.  Thanks, Ravven!

Now that the final piece is in place, and CreateSpace is happy with the format (low-res image notwithstanding), I have ordered the proof copy from the US printers (the proof has to come from the US, but subsequent purchased copies are created in the UK for UK buyers) and wait for its arrival with teeth gound and breath held.

The tension mounts…

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