I knew it! A few days ago the leaves and I met for our first real confrontation. I felt more than ready. It was a picture-perfect early autumn day. The kind of day you find on the SEPTEMBER page of a calendar. Or maybe in a “Pure Michigan” ad. There was no wind, lots of sun, and only small puffs of fluffy white clouds floating in the blue, blue sky. And, I remembered to put the jug of cider in the refrigerator to chill. I was covered, right? For the first part of the day, yes. But by late afternoon and finally early evening, I was feeling over-confident. Never a good thing. I should have thought of that when I decided, after a quick dinner, to go back out in the yard and get some of the leaves under the towering English walnut tree. Darkness was threating, but if I hurried…yes, if I hurried, I could end up exactly the way I did. Flat on the ground with one leg in the plastic container half full of leaves, and a sprained right wrist that will keep me out of commision for awhile. I’m typing this by using the good old hunt and peck system, and my left arm is beginning to complain at being pressed into service. By the way, have you ever tried brushing your teeth using your left arm? Fun! Leaves, I’m not going to forget this!
It is with deep regret and much sadness I write these words. I hoped they would not be necessary for a very long time to come. But my wonderful, marvelous, whiskery, furry little companion, better known here as my Office Manager, will no longer wake me each morning at six, or check out my keyboard to make sure it’s still working properly, or curl up in the chair next to mine to sleep while I write. She has left us, hopefully for better things. Perhaps she’s found a place that serves Chicken Piccata and Tuna Pate around the clock. After many time outs to wipe away tears, her worldly goods have been gathered together and are already being put to good use at a nearby haven for homeless cats and dogs. There will be no attempt to replace her. That would never be possible.
My book, with the word, PROOF, stamped in large, bold, black letters on an inside blank back page, arrived right on schedule one week ago. I was thrilled. It looked perfect. At last, I could relax. My job was finally over. Right? Not quite. I sternly reminded myself I still had to go over it, page by page, line by line, word by word. Was that really necessary? After all, I’d already done that with my manuscript more times than I could count. I would have certainly caught any mistakes by now, wouldn’t I? N0. Sit. Read. List on paper any changes to be made. To my surprise I found two missing words, one case of missing quotes, another quote that should be deleted, an “if” instead of an “it,” a comma that wasn’t needed.
You get the idea. Nit-picking? I don’t think so. When a reader picks up one of my books I feel I owe him or her nothing but the best I can do. And that means going the extra mile. There still might be things I’ve missed, but at least I know I tried. Will I self-publish again? It’s meant a great deal of extra work, but I think the answer, for me, is going to be a firm “yes.”
(The last entry on this topic, unless there are questions.)
Yes, I’m still hanging in there. And, yes, I’m excited. Very excited. The manuscript for my book is now out of my hands. It’s in Charleston, South Carolina, being printed and bound. It’s hard for me to believe the book’s actually come this far. I’ve already forgotten the work and worry of writing it. Agonizing over every word, every phrase, the countless times I edited it. All the choices I had to make. It’s hard to remember the days when I had mock-up’s of the front cover taped all over the house. Within the week I should be holding the very first copy of “Cursed By A Cupid” in my hands. And as I check it over to make sure it’s the way I wanted it, I expect to feel more connected with this book than any of my others. After all, this is the reason I wanted to self-publish in the first place. I can say now that I’ve done it. But will I actualy want to do it again? (To be continued)
I’m afraid it’s true. Gradually I’ve accepted the hard fact I’ll be starting from the beginning once again. My first hurdle was to decide the exact size my book would be. Easy. 5.25″x 8″, just like the rest of my already published soft covered books. This way my books will all line up neatly on my shelves. Suddenly I found myself thinking, “This self publishing thing might not be so bad after all!” I sailed through my next task also, choosing white paper instead of cream. No problem. Then–WHAM! Suddenly I was faced with the question of deciding if I wanted the free ISBN (International Standard Book Number) CreateSpace was offering, or if I wanted to buy my own. ISBN’s danced before my sleepless eyes. Which would I choose? I read everything I could find on the subject. In the end I closed my eyes and rightly or wrongly pointed to the H. H. Bowker Agency, the country-wide distributor of ISBNs. I settled on Bowker’s discount offer, so now I am the proud owner of ten ISBN’s and an EAN barcode I’d never heard of until recently. Should I add a UPC also, I wondered? I was becoming so immersed in this alphabet-soup of codes that the other night my daughter asked me if I was planning to put a frosting barcode on the chocolate birthday cake I’d be making her later this week. Maybe I should. (To be continued)