Hard to imagine, but its been a year.
I was sorting through the knotted Christmas lights, wondering when they’d last been untangled. What, a year? No, wait. Last Christmas, we took a break from all that, spending the Christmas week in London. It was the year before.
But as I teetered on the edge of the ladder, stringing the now-untangled lights, my thoughts went back to that last year. No, Christmas wasn’t a worry, nor the trip (we’ve done bunches of those). No, it was getting Early Retyrement between covers, as they say.
If you’d have told be way back in, what, July (just went back and checked my elance history) that it would have taken six months, I’d have thought you mad. My first effort, the cover, was perfect. Mike Metcalf, my artist, hammered out exactly what I wanted in two weeks. Each time he posted it was better than before. He even researched Persian foot-gear to get it right. How could it go wrong?
Then I got my editor – a disaster. We spent months (September through November) fussing with it. Everything was wrong – the icons didn’t line up, the page numbers didn’t line up, there were scripting commands imbedded in my work, problems, problems, problems. I remember feeling sick every time I got a new update from my contractor. I’d go through 400 pages of draft and find even more things wrong. Finally we parted unhappily (I had a scrambled manuscript and was out $400 so of course I was unhappy). And suddenly Christmas was fast approaching, gift time, book time, and what better time to release a book than this merchantalistic season (you think it was about the Christ child? No, it’s about the gold, frankincense and myrrh).
I was already playing with the Kindle version myself (it was actually easier than I expected – over one Friday night I got further and was happier than I was with my former contractor) Further, I hired DedicatedBookServices to finish up the paper version. They did it in four attempts, which means four days. I was very happy with that. By now, it was going into December.
There was a little worry about the rights to the icon I used for the chapter headings. I tracked down where I’d gotten it on the web, only to be unable to get in touch with the creator. Given that it came off a carving, I had Mike Metcalf draw it out on the fly. The irony was that I was worried about a tiny graphic and missed the point some song lyrics would play after release. Oh well.
I still had three weeks to Christmas, two weeks before the trip, plenty of time, right? Then I submitted it into Createspace. And found at that it could take two weeks, even longer, to get approved. So I sat, and waited.
By now, it was a little too late to really blitz for Christmas. I might make some sales among friends, but really, I had no network in place. And so finally the trip came and it had to wait until I was overseas. I actually used my brother’s laptop in the hotel lobby to click the final checkbox and release the book – and that was two days before Christmas.
If I learned anything, it’s that writing a book is the easy part. Getting it produced (even self-published) is hard. Very hard. Think well, warriors, before you enter into this pact.