Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Update

The good, the bad and the downright ugly unknown.
So last week the manuscript was due back from Diana Cox (the proof-reader) and the aim was to rest my hand which had just been operated on. I was looking at around 3 to 4 weeks until publication.
What a difference a week makes!
Who was I kidding?
The Good
The minute I got the email from Diana (who incidentally loved the story by the way), I opened it up to see what she had found.
So picture the scene: I am sitting at my desk, dosed up on painkillers and one handed (I won’t go into what I was wearing, that would be too weird and don’t know you all well enough yet). As I began to open the document my wife appeared behind me and said, “Are you nervous you have wasted your money?”
“A little,” I said.
In truth I was petrified. I had been through this manuscript five times. Others had been through it. It was ready. I knew it was ready. I was just being precautious and I would just put the loss of money down to a learning experience. Right?
Wrong, so, so, wrong.
The first page had three changes, the second had five, the third another five. My mouth fell open as I scanned through the pages. By page 20 I had a stupid grin on my face – Diana Cox had been worth every penny. By page 32 I was trying to find a page where I had not made a mistake.
Phrases emerged from my mouth such as:
“How did I miss that?”
“This is getting embarrassing”
“Surely I didn’t write that?”
The last of which, had me digging out my email to Diana, convinced that she had tampered with my manuscript to make her look better. Of course, she hadn’t. She is just that dam good.
Not only did Diana correct spelling, punctuation and consistency in names, she had spotted continuity issues as well. On page 82 I had a character break a minor character’s nose, but on page 272 when they meet again, said character’s arm was in a sling and his nose unscathed.
“I’d say she was worth it wouldn’t you?” my wife said from over my shoulder.
I would like to point out that was a massive understatement if ever I heard one.
The Bad
Needless to say, I spend a whole day going through the changes (I would say I accepted about 98% of them). All that was left was the simple matter of formatting the book and uploading to the Kindle Direct Publishing site.
I had already done extensive research on this and knew exactly what I was doing.
First step - upload the cover – I had no problems, the graphic designer designed it exactly for the Kindle and so I knew it would go through.
Second step – build the front matter into the book (copywrite, dedication and   acknowledgements etc). Again, straightforward.
Third step – Table of contents – a little trickier but follow the instructions and you are safe.
Fourth step – Upload image – Section break inserted, margins expanded, image inserted and rotated, section finished. 30 minute job max.
Manuscript is now completely ready to be uploaded. All that is left is to convert the document to HTML and zip the file. I did all this on the Monday by following the comprehensive instructions within the free book that Kindle supply.
Next is the big one. The book has been uploaded and it is time to preview it online. The hairs stand on the back of the neck and butterflies churn in the stomach.
Title page appears – it is a little off centre but fine. Dedication page looks great as does the table of contents. Next is the map. The donut appears to indicate it is loading and...”WTF? I never told the map to appear half off the page!”
Never mind back to the drawing board, maybe it was because the text on the map threw the image out. Let’s play around with the text wrapping and...”How the hell has that happened?” The text is on one page and the map on another, it has also shrunk.
O.k, let’s look at this again. And again. And again. Every night this week I have been up until 1 am playing around with the formatting. On Thursday I got up at 5 am in the morning too, this morning it was 4. It has been a complete nightmare. I googled the problem, I have contacted everyone that I know with a technical brain, I have even contacted authors that have been there and done it.
Finally I have fixed it. It is not perfect across all devices but it is as good as I want it to be. So...
The ugly unknown 
Okay, so this is not really the ugly but I had a theme to adhere to in this blog people give me a break. At 8:10 this morning I hit the button to declare that I wanted the book to be published. A message came back that the book is being reviewed and will be published in up to 12 hours. 12 HOURS! (Gulp!)
Whether that means it will go up this afternoon, or tomorrow morning or even Monday morning I do not know. I will certainly tell you about it though.