At the beginning of Covid-19, Amazon suspended the shipping of proof copies. I was reluctant to publish the paper versions of my books without physical verification, so they sat there, unpublished. Finally, almost two years after I’d formatted them, my proofs arrived.
Just recently, I went through all my manuscripts once more, fixing small errors that slipped through despite multiple editing and proofreading efforts. It’s not surprising given the sheer size of two out of three manuscripts: “The Two-blood Legacy” has about 150K words and “Guardian of the Realm” over 180K.
What bothered me wasn’t occasional missing commas and quotation marks, but the repetition of certain words too close to each other in the text, something I started noticing in other books, as well. I wasn’t aware of it while I was writing, which was normal, but I kept overlooking some of these instances in many subsequent edits until I was able to approach my own writing from another perspective – as a reader.
I don’t thing it’s a terrible flaw; certainly more common than I thought it was before my brain started picking it up. In a perfect world, someone else would take care of that; unfortunately, catching such words requires a level of editing I can’t afford. Or maybe I should give myself a break — it doesn’t seem to be relevant even in the traditional publishing industry. Much of pop fiction suffers from the same malady.
But I wanted to make my own books as good as they could be, and as a result, I ended up reading them way too many times.
It was a thick stash of pages to go through, then enter the changes four separate times for each book, then fix the formatting. I don’t think I’m ever going to write such big novels again, if only for the sake of practicality. My current work-in-progress is waiting to be edited and it had just over 25K words. I started it in April of last year and finished in December, but I don’t think I spent more than 20 days writing it. Editing and proofreading should be affordable, which is not unimportant.
Anyhow, getting the proof copies made me truly happy, as if my books returned home after a long journey. If I have to summarize it, they brought me a lot of joy, some frustration, and a very modest income — about $300. A drop in the bucket of money invested, and it mostly came from the platform that hosted them for a year. Nothing from Amazon, of course, a little bit from D2D and Smashwords, which lists 134 sold copies, the majority of them for free during their promotional events, and about 2,400 free downloads of full books or samples.
I enrolled all three of them for their Annual Read an E-book Week Sale from March 6-12. For free, naturally.
Still, one little step before I’m officially done – I need to change the margins in “Guardian” — the recommended outside trim is too narrow — and fix the pagination on the very end. Big manuscripts are indeed difficult to maneuver. Then I’m going order a few proper copies for myself, and close this chapter.
And open a new one.