publishing in print

Hunting the Phoenix: revised cover reveal!

So I’m in the process of putting together the print version of Hunting the Phoenix, the final book of my Herbert West Series. A while ago I mentioned a change to the cover image. Here it is. The change should be obvious if you compare this image with the corresponding one in the set of four above.

 

Hunting the Phoenix 2016 - Ebook Small

 

Another new thing is five small glyphs I created for the five section title pages. They are symbols used in alchemy and early chemistry. I was having a hard time finding uniformly-sized versions, so I drew my own set with Microsoft Paint. They turned out well enough for my purposes. For the title text, I wanted a font with a similar hand-drawn feel, so I used Tempus Sans ITC.

Alchemy 2Next step is proofing. The print version should be available in March.

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Prepping the Phoenix

I’m preparing to publish Hunting the Phoenix, the fourth and final book of the Herbert West Series, in print. Having gone through this three times already, I know it can be a bit of a slog:

  1. Reading the ebook on my ereader and making notes. I’m 2/3 of the way through. About 80% of the changes consist of deleting the word “that.” As in: “I made my way over to him, telling myself that I wasn’t all that tipsy.” See what I mean? So far I have 22 ereader pages of notes.
  2. Making the noted changes in the ebook’s base Word document.
  3. Copying that document and formatting it for print. I’ve blogged about that process already.
  4. Writing a brief plot description for the back cover.
  5. Ordering the print cover image from my cover designer once I know the final page number.
  6. Uploading the interior file and cover image to CreateSpace.
  7. Proofing, both online and by reading a printed proof copy.
  8. Making post-proofing corrections. (It would be great if this step wasn’t needed, but let’s be realistic).
  9. Re-proofing. By this stage the online options should be enough.
  10. Making final corrections, if necessary (better not be!) and re-uploading.
  11. Publishing.
  12. Copying all the changes into the Kindle ebook base document.
  13. Uploading the corrected ebook docs to Smashwords and KDP.

There is a bit of fun stuff this time around:

  1. I’ve used good old Microsoft Paint to draw a number of alchemical symbols, which I’m hoping to use as glyphs on the interior title pages of Hunting the Phoenix. Glyphs are cool.
  2. There will be a small (but significant) adjustment to the cover image. Look for a cover reveal in a few weeks!

By the way, I recently ran across something interesting by another WordPress blogger — a history of Herbert West, from his creation by H.P. Lovecraft to recent adaptations. Can you believe a musical version of the Re-Animator movie? Truth! The post also includes a mention of my novel The Friendship of Mortals, complete with (for me) thrill-inducing comments.

Herbert West lives!

Credit for the image (Herbert and the unnamed narrator) goes to Tealin.

Slim and Trim: the “Compact Edition”

Those who haven’t abandoned their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight may actually have lost a few pounds by now, but I am thrilled to report that I have already achieved my goal, a 30% reduction in weight and… bulk. Well, not my personal weight, but that of the first book of my Herbert West Series, The Friendship of Mortals. It lost 168 pages and close to half a pound.

When I first published this book, in 2014, I set the line spacing too wide, resulting in a 554-page monster. It’s an impressive tome and is supremely readable, but because of that bulk, the price was unappealing. Now it’s a mere 386 pages, similar to Books 2 and 3 of the series.

Line spacing. See the difference? Book 1 is on the left, Book 2 on the right.

Line spacing. See the difference? Book 1 is on the left, Book 2 on the right.

Reformatting the Word document and republishing was surprisingly easy. I did, however, have to pay my cover designer to adjust the spine width.

I don’t as yet have a copy of the “compact edition,” because I finalized it on CreateSpace just this afternoon. Now I’m in the throes of preparing Book 4 (Hunting the Phoenix) for print publication. Once that’s done, and I have all four books completed, I’ll take a picture of them, sort of like a family portrait. Until then, this picture makes it clear why I made this particular resolution. The size difference suggests that The Friendship of Mortals is much longer than the other two, when in reality the word counts aren’t that different.

 

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Being My Own Publisher

Here is my current writing-related to-do list:

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Nothing in there about writing anything, or even revising. It’s all publishing, all the time. I suppose this is the best reason for having someone else do the publishing stuff.

I passed a major milestone on December 10th, when Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey and Islands of the Gulf Volume 2, The Treasure officially became available in print versions, joining The Friendship of Mortals.

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But because I made all kinds of small changes to the texts of those two books before publishing in print, it only makes sense to transmit those changes to the ebook versions as well. Unfortunately, “transmit” means “go through the lists of edits and make them in both the Smashwords and Amazon KDP documents.” Tedious stuff, transmitting.

Then I can get on with the final book of the Herbert West Series — Hunting the Phoenix — correcting errors I have noted in my e-reader, formatting, writing the back cover description, arranging for the full print cover, etc. And finally, uploading the corrected ebook documents. The whole series will then be fully available in both ebook and print versions. Then I can finally get on with something new.

Now I begin to understand why it can take months or even years between signing a contract with a publisher and actually seeing a published book. And as my own publisher, I can’t even blame anyone else for the slowness of the process.