The last six weeks or so, I’ve been butt in chair and fingers on keyboard. Lots of words have been written. More important in some ways, new print versions of all my books are in the pipeline. It’s amazing how much work that entails. It is the sort of busy work I hate doing even though I know how important it is.
When I first started this indie gig, we didn’t have all the easy to use programs we do today. You whippersnappers don’t know what it’s like to have to hand code a 100k word manuscript with html tags to make sure the book looks the way you want it to on that e-ink reader without lights. And it snowed every day and no matter which way we walked, it was always uphill.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad but the first few books were coded by hand.
Of course, it didn’t take long for programs to come along that made the process easier. Even those, however, meant having to do a lot of tweaking after the fact. It wasn’t unusual to covert, fix, re-covert at least a couple of times per title. Then there was the mess you could almost always count on happening if you used Smashwords MeatGrinder.
Ah, those were the good ole, bad ole days.
Today, we have programs like Scrivener that helps make writing easier for a lot of us (if you can use it without getting distracted by all the bells and whistles). It even converts your books to Mobi files if you want. Then there are programs like Vellum that convert a DocX file into beautifully formatted ebooks and print editions. Better yet, it does not just mobi and ePub files but you can use it to set up separate editions for each of the major e-book outlets. This last is great because you can put in active links to that particular store and you don’t have to go back and re-edit your links and re-convert just so you have live links for B&N, Kobo, Apple, Amazon, etc.
So there is no reason, with programs like Vellum and Jutoh, not to go back and reformat all those older books so they not only look better but so they match the newer books in my various series. It’s important for a reader who picks up book one of any series to see not only a new, more timely cover (thanks, Sarah, for making sure that is happening) but the same with the interior file.
Fortunately, with Vellum, it really doesn’t take much time to do this. the biggest time sink is finding the latest publication files. I’ve been lucky. Only one book failed to be where I expected it to be. So I simply downloaded the ebook, ran it through Calibre and converted it to a DocX file. This process takes a bit longer because you have to get rid of the Amazon generated cover and table of contents. Then it’s simply a matter of importing the file to Vellum, setting up the bells and whistles you want, choosing the “theme” and converting. The conversion into both e-book and print formats take less than three minutes once you have the theme choices set.
A couple of things have come up in this process, however. If you migrated a print edition over from Cratespace and you now need to update that edition, there are a few hoops you have to jump through. This is especially true if you are adding your own, and not a Createspace, ISBN. This is something I’m in the process of doing and, while it is slowing the process down a little, it isn’t doing so by much.
The one real negative I have with the move from Createspace to KDP for print is their error process for covers. Createspace would be slow as molasses in updating your files and reviewing them. But not once did I get proofs ordered before they said there might be a problem with a cover. That is exactly the situation that arose with the latest print file I did through KDP. More than 24 hours after I ordered the print and had it confirmed it was printed and would soon be shipped, I received an email saying there as a problem with the cover. It would have been nice to know ahead of time. I could have made the tweaks then. As it is, because they initially approved the cover, I waited until I had the hard copy in hand to verify the error report to make changes. That will happen today. It is frustrating because id delays the release of this particular book, not to mention the rest of the series, by at least a week.
Something else I discovered is you can now put a book up for pre-order without uploading so much as a placeholder manuscript. It used to be pre-orders required a manuscript that you then either approved before your drop dead submission date or your replaced with a final manuscript. Now, you can fill in everything and not upload a manuscript, set your publication date and you have your pre-sale started. Better yet, Amazon’s system of sending reminders to you has improved and you start getting email reminders to update your files approximately 2 1/2 weeks before your drop dead date.
This makes is much easier for those who want to do pre-orders. And, yes, I know there are pros and cons for doing so.
It is now a little after 0700 my time. That means it is time for me to get my butt in my office and start to work. My new schedule has me writing every day from 0730 or so until lunch when I take a break. Then I’m back to writing for at least another couple of hours. Yes, this includes editing, but the bulk of it is writing. Then I spend a couple of hours doing the conversions, etc., that need to be done to update my backlist. Evenings, well, what can I say? I run through Washington DC shooting bad guys and blowing things up via The Division 2 for an hour or so. It’s a great stress receiver. VBEG
I guess I’d best end with some promo. Nocturnal Revelations is out in e-book and will be out in print in very short order.
Battle Flight is now available for pre-order. It will be published next month.
Long before conspiracies and war threatened her home planet and those she loved, Ashlyn had to prove to herself and others that she had what it took to be a member of Fuercon’s Marine Corps. Along the way, she learned the true meaning of honor, duty and sacrifice.
Battle Flight is a prequel novel that takes place before Vengeance from Ashes. It is built around the short stories, Taking Flight, Battle Bound and Battle Wounds and contains substantial new material.
Featured image via Genty/Pixabay.