out of the ashes

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Where did January go?
I watched with excitement as Diary continued to sell well at Amazon KDP, and Checkmate began to move up in sales (where is that smiley-face key?). So I'm all in a dither to complete Purgatorio and get it up.
Now I have no idea how Diary actually looks on an e-reader 'cuz I don't have one. I use Amazon's Cloud Reader to view it when I log in there. Maybe I should reformat Purgatorio when I put it up? If I ever finish it?
I'm buzzing, too, because a new idea hits me. It will only take a few hours to go on over to Createspace and do Marvin in trade paperback! I put Purgatorio on hold for at most a day or two. I open an account at Createspace and begin. You must go through several steps. Create Title, a few more easy ones, and then upload...a cover. Laz did a great one for me when I put it up at Bookrix, and so I upload that one. The twirly thing twirls on my screen, and then up comes the message..."This won't work, buddy." I can't remember what the issue was. But that's okay, they provide the option of building a cover using one of their stock designs. I use that, and it's great. I'm four hours in by then.
File upload. I do it. The auto-process reviews it, and then tells me I have several issues. Basically margins. My text is way outside the page, especially at the gutter.
Val created The Man Who Lost His Genius and Other Stories. She signed and gave me a copy, and it came out beautifully. I call her. Help! I send her my file and she creates a brand new doc, which I upload, preview, and okay. I'm a bit shocked, though, because I broke The Redemption of Marvin Fuster into two books, Part One and Part Two (upcoming). The proof arrives for Part One...450 pages! Not only looooooong, I had to price it at $12.95 in order to make a few dollars/copy royalty. The worst, though. The text looks like a poem, not a novel. Cringe. Outside margins are about 1-1/2"; same at the gutter. I can't put this up for sale, lol. Not only THAT, I begin reading it in its paperback form and spot a gazillion errors. Way, way too many commas (I fight them when I write). I'm turning British, I think I'm turning British, I really think so...

It's horrible from this point on. I go back in to Createspace and begin again, finding a free template to upload the doc into (after correcting the punctuation dilemma to my satisfaction--half a dozen hours worth of work). Don't end a sentence with a preposition.

Upload. Preview. Crap. Do it all again because the margins are STILL f-ed up. I try everything to correct them, but my WordforMac is a bit different than Windows Word. Plus I do drop caps and indent manually, and on and on, and the whole thing starts to go down the toilet with each change. Do you have any idea how long it takes to hit the space key for every single paragraph in a sixty-thousand word document? The tab key sometimes indents twenty, sometimes ten, so I decide to block format and do eight. I call Createspace and explain. They're nice, and tell me what to do.
It doesn't work. It's still that bloody gutter that won't cooperate. A few days ago, after over two weeks worth of work, I upload again, and the book looks pretty fabulous, except that the right hand page has half a letter intruding into their recommended gutter line. I want to kill my computer! Truthfully, I want to kill myself for being so technology dumb.
I look at that latest preview a hundred times. Should I go for it and hope the print version is acceptable--I mean, half a letter! Should I break down and hire one of their team to create the whole book? I should, but the phone bill needs to be paid.
I finally click, "Save".
In a week or so the new proof will arrive. IF it's goofy-looking I'll go back to square one and bite the bullet. Have their team reformat it for me so that at least it LOOKS like T.C. Boyle or John Irving sat down and created the book. Do they have these problems I wonder?
"No, stupid. Our publisher knows what he's doing when it comes to creating The Tortilla Curtain and A Prayer For Owen Meany."
Oh yeah, that's right.

And all this time Terence and Teresa are stuck outside the city, waiting for me to get them to the climax and denouement.


  1. Patrick, oh my goodness, this is exactly what I was about to go through with my paperback! I sat down with every intention of formatting myself (as I did for the Kindle and Nook) and then I realized how much work it is. So I think I'm going to bite the bullet and hire an interior designer...but the prices are insane. I'm going to give CreateSpace a second look for their design services. Let's keep in touch with what works best. A fantastic post, Patrick!

    1. I have the first book in block format, the second in single spaced indented. Sigh. I wonder if it will matter in the long run??? For me it was a grueling ordeal.