On revising… and revising… and revising

Nov 04

So, I may have gotten a little ambitious. Back when I revealed the superamazingfantasticawesome cover for Terra, I started talking about how my book would likely be ready for released in mid-November. Weeeell, it’s officially early November now, and that’s not looking likely. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I’ve said from the beginning that I want to do this RIGHT, and I will take as much time as I need to do so. That said, I will admit now that I got just a little too excited.

Dude. Revising is hard.

I complained a lot that writing is hard, back when I was just finishing the actual writing of my first draft, but I will say hands-down that editing is much harder. I’m very lucky that I have a couple of highly skilled friends who are helping me, but it’s still tough-going. However! I can now say that I am proudly finished with my first round of edits! So, my first draft has officially become my second draft, and that is pretty exciting stuff. There’s still quite a bit of copyediting to do, with the additions and changes I’ve made, but when I talk about revisions I’m talking about bigger stuff than comma splices and appropriate US AP style (which, I have learned, I know basically nothing about, hahaha).

I haven’t made any HUGE story changes, but I’ve done a lot of tightening up of the storyline, and flushed out a few things. The word count as it stands now is a little over 73,000 (although at one point during the editing process it went down to 69,000, haha). I think that an early December release may still be a possibility, but I’m not going to get too wrapped up in the timeline right now. My biggest thing is to continue making sure this book is as strong and well-written as possible. Unlike the rest of my life’s endeavors, which I readily admit have been predominantly half-assed, I am taking this book very seriously. I mean, let’s be honest. As a self-publisher, I kind of have to. There are already too many things working against me not to put in 150%.

So! That’s just my little update for right now. While I’ve been working on edits, I’ve also been boning up on my XHTML coding skillz (read: learning how to code from scratch) so that I can properly convert the manuscript into eBook format when the time comes. I’ve also been planning out the interior layout of the trade paperback, and am planning on blogging about both those things in detail soon.

The to-do list is still long, but I’m whittling it down one thing at a time. Now I just have to make sure to keep my enthusiasm in check… urk. I’m just so anxious to get Terra out there for you all to read!

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Oct 18

Photos by Taylor (Ben Powell Photography)

So… I received my first proof copy of the book. In real, bound, legit-looking paperback.

Ish just got real.

The first draft of my manuscript is still going through heavy editing and revisions right now, but I was getting really antsy without being able to do much, so I decided to order a preliminary copy of the paperback to ensure that A) I liked the book dimensions I chose, and B) I actually know how to format a book properly. So far, so good!

I went with the 6 x 9, primarily because CreateSpace charges production costs by the page. I was originally planning on going with a 5.25 x 8 ratio, but the page count would have been over 360 at that size, which meant I would have had to price the book unfavorably high in order to make even a few measly cents. Fail. I thought that 6 x 9 might be too big, or feel bulky, but I actually really like it! The ratio of height: width is good, and it’s still sleek enough to fit in most purses, I’d say.

The paperback formatting process is actually quite straightforward. CreateSpace converts your Word document, so you just have to make sure everything looks the way you like (and ensure you’ve followed their guidelines in terms of margins and gutter and whatnot). I printed this copy with .75″ margins, but I actually think I’m going to increase them to 1″. Too many words on a page = harder to read. Plus, this proof is only about 250 pages, which at 6 x 9 doesn’t feel particularly impressive. I think I’m going to try to hit closer to the 280 – 290 mark in the end, still staying under 300 (for cost).

I also need to give a little more thought to the interior font. I went with Garamond for this proof, which seems to be a pretty popular choice for YA fiction (Hunger Games and Twilight were both printed in this font). However, Garamond in italic isn’t the best, so I’m a little torn. Preliminary research also suggests Minion as an option, which I like, though the spacing between lines really increases the pagecount. Decisions, decisions. (You can see examples of top suggested print fonts here or here, if you’re curious.)

Regardless of all the little details that may or may not change, I cannot even begin to tell you how thrilling it is to see your words in actual print. My initial reaction was literally, “Whoa.”

I mean, it’s, like, a real book! I still have a long way to go with the edits and revisions (my editors and I have made it about a third of the way through so far), but it’s still pretty damn exciting. And I have an absolutely amazing cover in the works, which is equally, if not more, exciting to see come together as well! So yes, please imagine a flippin’ sweet cover instead of the dinky little placeholder one I whipped up on CreateSpace’s cover designer.

Man, this really is getting… real.

Which now means all the fears that have been roaming around inside my brain are starting to run a little rampant, of course. I have to literally slap myself in the face to stop myself from being too self-deprecating roughly 3x a day.

Confidence, right? Confidence!

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On finishing (sort of)

Oct 09

Holy crap, I wrote a book.

71,518 words worth.

258 pages (in Word, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt, but still.)

And now the real work begins. Allons-y!

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