The Indie Publishing Process: Work in Progress Report

I don’t just share writing tips and write clever blog posts about my name. I also write novels. My next full-length work, Near-Life Experience is scheduled for publication in July 2020. (note from the future: things did not go as planned, but the book still got out!) Here’s an update on where I am in the indie publishing process. 

I wanted to have a final proof of this book in my hands by the end of February. I had a plan. It was a good plan. There were deadlines and goals and all of that shiny stuff. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men and authors…

A massive rewrite

The first sign of trouble was when I brought to my writing group what I thought was the first chapter of my book. Cue confusion. Arguments about direction. Anxiety. Had I forgotten how to write a book? 

First-readers confirmed that they liked the premise but something was wrong with the execution. So I undertook a massive rewrite. I mean massive. Whole chapters were thrown out. New ones were written. A new subplot was built from scratch at the last minute. 

It was better. I knew it was. 

I sent it back to the first-readers as well as a handful of volunteer beta readers. This time the reviews were better. Their new feedback required mostly small changes. Nothing major. I made the changes. 

Now it was time for my favorite part, what I call the polishing phase. That’s when you work through the story sentence by sentence and make it as good as you can. I thought about word choice, the pictures readers were drawing in their minds, and whether I really needed that comma. In the end, the book was as pretty as I knew how to make it. 

Time to send it to the copy editor. Except…

The one I’d worked with last time fell through. I’d have to find a brand new copy editor for the book. I was already behind schedule. This wasn’t going to help. 

Starting the indie publishing process

After some scrambling and a search of my favorite Facebook groups for authors, I found a shortlist of three people. Two didn’t have space in their schedule. One agreed to fit me in. Win.

Then there was nothing to do but wait (and work on the other two books and one short story project I have in progress). So I did. 

She delivered the book. I looked through her edits. Great. Exactly what I needed. Time for layout. 

I do layouts myself because it’s not that hard and I’m pretty comfortable with Microsoft Word. Last year, I invested in a template package that makes it super easy. 

Fear of failure

Yet, here I found myself stuck again. Fear held me hostage. My fear that I’d forgotten something, or left something out, or had somehow messed up the layout. I had to know how many pages were in the book before I could ask the cover designer to do her magic. (number of pages affects the width of the book spine which affects design.)

I held onto it for almost a week before I decided to stop fooling around. After a final look, I was ready to commit to the word count. 

I got on and assigned the ISBN to this book. Then sent the ISBN and all the relevant information to the cover designer. This is big because a book really starts to feel real when you see a cover.

I’m not going to have the book in hand by the end of February, but I’m still thrilled with the progress so far. 

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