Thursday, December 10, 2015

Twenty-Four and Counting

How many times have I read this book?  I can only guess.

While I'm writing a new book, I go back to the beginning frequently to make sure I'm not running off the track. There's a drawback to that practice, of course. The early chapters get a much more thorough going-over than the end of the book. But keeping the whole picture in my head is important for continuity. So I'm guessing that I read the whole book at least six times in the writing of it.

Next it goes to my wonderful editor, Gabriella.  I check carefully before I send it off because I don't want her to think I'm an idiot. -- so reading # 7.  She goes over the pages with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, and like lice, she turns up any number of small errors. Then back it comes for me to check and approve/disapprove the corrections. Reading #8. Back it goes for final editing. Reading #9.

Once the manuscript has been edited, the next step is preparing the final document for electronic publishing. The whole text receives a close examination for spelling errors, backwards quotation marks, extra spaces, and miscellaneous characters added when a cat walked across the keyboard.  Now the versions begin to multiply. There's one format for Smashwords and another for Amazon Kindle. The two versions must match, so Reading #10 and #11.

Next stop: Beta Readers! These are people I trust to tell me the truth as they see it. I want to know how my readers are going to react. If there's something "off" that I can fix, this is the time. Now, not all of them do a nit-picky job, but in this go-around, at least two of them gave me detailed critiques. Reading # 12 to incorporate any of those changes.

Ready at last for submission to CreateSpace, the company that will produce the trade paper editions for Amazon, bookstore sales, and my own sales mechanisms.  That's the hardest step, and I compulsively re-read before shipping it off. Reading # 13.

A printed proof comes back.  In this case, it arrived the week before Thanksgiving, and it was that copy that drove me into the ground. There were multiple problems with the layout design, and I was determined to catch every imperfection before I asked for a do-over. I finished that reading on December 1 -- Reading #14.

Yesterday, a new printed proof arrived. When I approve this version, it will trigger the presses to roll, so Reading #15 awaits me.

So go my days!

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