Okay, a few of you have actually inquired (thank you). After all, I spouted all over the Internet that it would be available on January 1, 2013. That was my publication date, and here I sit with nothing to show for it but a T-shirt.
For those of you following this saga, where we left off before the holidays was that I had everything in order: the novel had been copy edited, I had had the files formatted for eBook and print-on-demand, and I was ready to publish as soon as January 1 rolled around. In the meantime, I offered the files of Answer free to anyone who wanted to read it on their Kindle or Ipad. I hoped that if people liked it, they’d review it on Amazon when it went on sale. I had a good number of takers, which made me happy.
One of the people who asked for the file was my Internet friend James Ashley Shea. Jim wrote me a year ago that he loved my memoir Crossing the Moon, which made me love Jim. He’s living in Thailand, and as he said in that first note, he’s read thousands of books, and hates most best sellers. Sounded like my kinda guy. I was so taken with Jim being taken with Crossing that I wrote him right back and we struck up an Internet friendship. I gladly sent him the Answer file.
Right before Christmas I filled out the Kindle online eBook form for Answer, uploaded the cover and the mobi file, and clicked “save draft,” so that all I’d have to do on December 30th was press “publish” and voila, Answer would be available for sale on January 1. I was all set.
No sooner had I closed my saved Amazon file than I opened my emails to find one from Jim. He was reading Answer. He wrote me, “Paulette, the nice thing about self-publishing is that you are in charge . . . There are any number of things that must be changed. Take a deep breath and learn the 90-90 rule: the first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time. The last 10% of the job takes the other 90% of the time.”
He then gave me the page numbers of twelve mistakes in the manuscript that needed to be fixed. And he was only on page 146.
To say I was floored would be an understatement.
Some of the things he caught were judgment calls, but not all of them. Such as:
He continued, “Paulette, I think you will agree that all the above glitches need to be fixed . . . but I haven’t finished reading the novel. Right now it is 4:00 a.m. in Thailand and I am on my first cup of green tea.” Then, kindly, “The Answer to Your Question is a wonderful novel. There is no doubt about that. But you will need to take some time and fix some things. There is no hurry.”
He was right, absolutely. But the realization that I had to send the files back to the formatter for these changes and delay publication was disheartening, to say the least.
Reader, it is a mystery and miracle to me that Jim Shea came into my life to save me from two dozen proofreading errors. I assume there will still be mistakes in the final files (and Jim assures me there will be), but at least he caught these for me. Dumbfounded by the whole thing, I asked him how in the world he could see things that everyone else had missed. It turned out he had been a professional proofreader and editor during a lot of his career.
I had to send corrections back to Rob at www.52novels.com to change in the files. And the holidays were upon us. I’m still waiting to get the files back. I will let you know when the novel is finally published, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
In the meantime, I’ve continued my reluctant education in self-publishing. Here are my latest lessons:
Do not trust a copy editor to catch everything.
You absolutely can’t proofread your own work (nor can your husband); your eye reads what your brain thinks is there. For example, both Jeff and I read the manuscript many times, and every single time we read “Park Defiance Park” as “Point Defiance Park,” which is what I meant. When I told Jeff that we had missed that, he didn’t believe it. I had to show him the mistake in the text for him to accept that he hadn’t caught it.
And sometimes you get lucky. A guardian angel who happens to be a professional proofreader living in Thailand will appear in your life out of the blue.
Thank you, Jim!