Deer in the Headlights

Or, the look on my face as I try to remember how to publish paperback books.

It’s been a while. Four years, if I remember right. And it’s been almost three years since I published a new story in any form. So if you’re ever mad at yourself for not writing or publishing fast enough, you’re not alone; a lot of us are in the same boat.

But my dad asked for paperback books for Christmas, and he specifically asked for something I’d written. It doesn’t matter which book, only that I’d written it. He still thinks fiction writing is magic- this from a man who’s an Odd, and quite well educated, formally and informally- and I’m doing my best to keep his illusions intact.

Alas that, to do so, I have to learn a new software, then reacquaint myself with the ‘Zon’s print on demand service. I ran the manuscript through Atticus, which is supposed to do the typesetting automatically, then I hit the wall, mentally, and haven’t touched it in the past few days.

Let’s be honest; at this point, it’s going to be a New Year’s gift. Oops.

This is my own damn fault; I thought it would be fun to reissue my only Christmas regency, Christmas at Blackheath, then remembered that it’s not a matter of uploading the manuscript file and hitting ‘print,’ and I can’t reasonably ask a cover artist for a 2-3 day turnaround. Proof copies take time to arrive and review, and so does entering changes. There was just no way I could do it before Christmas.

This is all compounded by a general lack of motivation due to the weather- I’m unfortunately increasingly solar-powered- and the rush of the Christmas season.

What’s an author to do?

Scrap that plan and reissue a different, non-holiday book, of course. Because releasing a Christmas book the week after Christmas is just weird. And I have a few to choose from. Look for paperback editions of The Hartington Series starting early next year; it’s a trilogy, so I expect to space them out a bit.

The silver lining to this cloud is that I won’t have to go through all of this agony to publish Christmas at Blackheath this time next year, and I’ll have time to do it right. What a novel concept.

So, for the authors in the audience, have you ever used Atticus? Any tips, tricks, or pitfalls I should watch out for?

And whether you’re an author or not, may your Christmas be merry and bright. See you next year.

8 thoughts on “Deer in the Headlights

  1. But but… All you have to do is “punch a few buttons and the computer does it”! [Very Big Crazy Grin]

    Oh, the “punch a few buttons” is what a user said (where I once worked) when he requested a major change to a report. 😆

    And have a Merry Christmas yourself. 😀

  2. I hit the wall 3 years ago during chemo and have been clawing my way back. So, I’m starting the revision of books 1 & 2 prior to writing book 3 of the new series and, as I finally stop prep and start making the revisions today in anticipation of tomorrow’s storm (and enforced stay-in), I catch sight of the last-date-touched on the files and the copyright dates. Of the not-yet-released books…

    Sigh… Yes, I will be updating those to reflect the present so I can forget about that gap eventually and pretend it never happened.

  3. I’m hitting my wall because I am now unemployed and have so much more time to do stuff…except that looking for a new job, especially a writing job, especially an “entry level” writing job is going to be nearly impossible as people are looking at ChatGPT to handle their low-level writing issues and needs.

    But the frustration is helpful and I’m getting close to finishing The Winter Solist as we speak. Now that I’ve escaped that set of headlights, time to start finding out about a cover…

  4. Sigh. I can do paperback cover layout, but it’s like my least favorite post-revision step in the pipeline. And impossible to move up the time table on, because you absolutely have to have the word file for paperback edition completed before moving on to the cover. Probably going to be doing it again in another month or so.

  5. Your mother-in-law introduced me to Atticus, and it’s the only reason there’s a paperback of the poetry book. The only issue I’ve had is that some places get squirrelly when you use Atticus to link an e-mail address. (Likely not an issue if you’re Amazon only.) Usual due-diligence spot checks and you should be good.

  6. Not yet on Atticus. I’ve hired out paperback formatting, since my most recent print books involved merging Word documents, getting an ISBN, and so on. I need to learn, at some point.

  7. Learning Atticus, and I do quick turn around cover art, eBook, Audio and/or paperback. But, one day might be pushing it even for me! lol

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