Monthly Archives: September 2011

Unity Alpha is Out!

I’m pleased to announce that my debut novel, Unity Alpha, is now officially released! (Actually, it’s been up for sale since last Thursday, but I was waiting until I had links to more of the places it would be for sale before writing this post).

You can click on the cover of the book just to the right of this text (or here, if for some reason you can’t see the cover) to find out more about it and where you can buy it. Also, if you buy it based on reading this post, would you please comment here and let me know that? I’m curious to see if anyone I don’t know is actually reading this blog.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you may know that I’ve also been in the early stages of working on my next book. I have much more ambitious plans for that one. It will be set on the ship Unity that features in Unity Alpha, but will focus on some different characters (though some of the characters from Unity Alpha do show up in this one). I’ll have more about that book in the future; for now, please go check out Unity Alpha, and tell any friends of yours you think might be interested. Thanks!

 

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First Book Proof Review

I received the proof copy of my first book in the mail yesterday. It was pretty exciting to see something I’d written in a bound paperback book form. I had expected my review of the proof to be mainly looking for typos and checking the formatting. I had hoped I might not even need to order another proof. However, once I started looking at it, I realized it’s going to need some major fixes.

First, when I set up the header, I hadn’t noticed that I had dropped the text quite so far. There’s a pretty large gap between the page header and the actual text on the. I found the cause of this; I had used a table in the header to get things laid out the way I wanted, and had neglected to set the height of the rows. That was simple enough; however, it had a ripple effect which caused the page count to drop by several pages. To fix this, I had to adjust the spacing. (Doing a new page count would also mean redoing the cover, which I want to avoid if possible).

The next thing I noticed (or rather, my wife noticed) was that the indenting of paragraphs was a bit bigger than most books. Fortunately, that was an easy fix, though it also affected the page count and left on chapter ending with a single blank line at the top of the page. I’m leaving that for now, though, since it may change as I fix other problems.

I’m only a few chapters into the read of this proof, but I’ve already found several typos and a few places where I just want to change some wording. My wife is also going through the book, and she is also finding things. I still think formatting the book for printing and getting a proof was valuable. Sometimes seeing the words in the final format helps to highlight errors.

Anyway, this means it will likely be the last week of September before I can get this book for sale. Whatever changes I make the to text have to be done in two places now: the print version and the ebook version. Plus, I’ll have to order another proof copy. This takes a few days; I ordered this one early Monday morning and got it Thursday. That’s quick, but it does add some delay.

Assuming everything goes relatively smoothly, I’m guessing I may get the book for sale on September 27th or 28th (just in time for my birthday!). Then I’ll be able to start my next book in earnest.

 

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Next Book Progress

In my last post, I mentioned I had started planning my next book. Since then, I’ve written over 6,000 words of outline and general notes about the book. I think that’s a pretty good start. I have the parts mapped out (it will have 3 parts, each covering a different aspect of the story, but all linked together) as well as fairly detailed descriptions of each chapter (I currently have 35 chapters outlined).

One thing I learned from my first book is that I need more details in my outline. My first outline had pretty generic descriptions for some chapters, and when I got around to writing them, they suffered, both in quality and in length. I think that’s one reason I came in way short on that book. This time, I may have gone too far the other direction; if anything, I put too many details in the outline. However, I think it will be a good thing. I have a much better overall view of this book than I did of the first book before I started writing it.

Now, I’m going to let this outline sit for a couple of days before I jump in and start writing it. I’m currently reading a draft of my wife’s second book, so that has to take priority over anything else; she needs to get it done. Then, my proof copy of my first book should be getting here soon, and I want to go over that one more time to try to catch any last typos.

Once I’ve got that done, and have uploaded the ebook files and made everything available for sale, then I will start writing my next book in earnest. I have no idea how long this one will take, but I think it would be great if I could get through a first draft by the end of the year. That’s pretty ambitious, since I’m aiming for almost twice as many words in this book, and there are some things I will need to research more thoroughly, but I think it may just be possible. I do have a couple more week-long vacations between now and then that I can use to get some serious work done.

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Productive Weekend

I had a very productive weekend with regards to my book. I was able to get the text formatted for Amazon’s CreateSpace, as well as the Kindle and the Nook. My wife made a great-looking cover; she’s really amazing at that kind of thing. I also submitted the interior and cover to CreateSpace, and got the approval this morning. I’ve ordered a proof copy, and once that comes, I’ll go over it and look for any spelling or other mistakes. After I’m happy with it, it will be ready to sell. I’m thinking possibly by the end of next week.

I also came up with an overall plotline for my next book. It’s going to take place in the same setting as my first book, but take place over a longer time period. It will have a new main character, but it is one that had a small role in my first book. I’m planning on making it much longer as well; this one turned out kind of short, and I don’t want another short book. I’m aiming for at least 120,000 words; we’ll see how I do.

Finally, I started working on a separate page for my book that will go up on this blog once I have “for sale” links to the various places. It will feature the cover, and a link to download a sample PDF of the first few chapters. Look for that probably late September.

 

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Calling it Done

I’m calling this book done. Mostly. I’ll probably continue to tweak it a bit here and there over the next day or so, but I plan on beginning the formatting process either tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to create a version to publish using Amazon’s CreateSpace service, and then take the text from that version and create Kindle and Nook versions. (I’m doing that in case I make any changes while formatting for the print copy).

Things left to do:

  • Get an ISBN. CreateSpace offers free ones; I need to check with my wife and see if that’s what she used, and if not, why not.
  • Design a cover. I have some rough ideas, and my wife is pretty good at that, so I’ll probably work with her on that.
  • Write text for acknowledgments, about the author and back cover blurb. I have a rough back cover blurb done.
  • Decide on a price for the print version. This will somewhat depend on how many pages I end up with in the formatted version.
  • Decide on a price for the Kindle/Nook version. I’m leaning strongly toward $.99, partly because that’s a good price for a first novel, and partly because it’s a bit on the short side.
  • Add a page for the book on this blog. I’ll do that once I have a cover and back cover text.
  • Start annoying everyone I know, asking them to buy my book :-).
It’s been a fun process, starting from the first idea and getting to where I am now. I’ve been reading a bit about formatting books, both for print and Ebook, and I have some strong opinions on how they should look already. I don’t want it to look amateur, and I’m pretty sure I can make at least the inside of the book look fairly professional.

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Novel First Revision Complete

I had the previous week off of work, and I spent a fair amount of that time reading through the first draft of my novel and making changes. I fixed a lot of things and added a little over 4,000 words to the text. Most of it was expanding descriptions, but I did write a couple of new scenes that (hopefully) explain certain things a bit better. I also deleted a bunch of unnecessary words, and changed some of the ones I tend to overuse. It still needs work, but I think it is in much better shape that before I started the process.

After I got all the changes put back in, I printed a new copy and gave it to my wife to read. I’m hoping she’ll find more things I can fix, and maybe suggest more ways to add to the word-count. I’m still under 70,000 words, so it would be good to get a longer book if possible. However, I’ve decided that I will probably just go with whatever length I end up with. If it’s right for the story, I hate to add unnecessary padding just to reach some arbitrary size.

It was an interesting experience. I didn’t completely hate anything I had written, and there were several parts I still really liked, even coming back to it after two weeks. For now, I’ll have to wait and see what my wife thinks. I’m counting on her to give me an honest opinion; then I’ll decide what to with the book, if anything.

 

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