I believe I am nearing the end of the self publishing marathon. I finished (I thought) writing the book in March. It has been less than three months, but feels like a year. I have been anxious, frustrated, excited, and worried—occasionally all in the same day (or hour).
This entire thing has been, in a word, stressful. Why, you might ask? I’ll say that writing the actual book was not stressful, although it was draining. It took thought, energy, time, and a lot of patience to get to the point where I believed it could be read by someone else. Then some reviewers gave me their thoughts and I rewrote, revised, and modified. Then I really thought I was done and I sent the whole thing to be edited.
Then I rewrote, revised, and modified (again), because editors just see things differently then the author (thanks again, firstediting.com) and then I really knew I was done. But I wasn’t. Because what I learned about publishing is that the proofs are not just a cut-and-paste from my Word document into a different type of document that is a doppelganger of what I wrote. It’s not that simple. For some reason (that I don’t understand, but which is no doubt completely justifiable), things get changed that I wouldn’t have guessed would be. Like a word in the middle of a sentence is mysteriously not italicized any more, but it was before. Or vice versa. Or the number “1” is suddenly an apostrophe instead of a 1. That didn’t happen a bunch, but enough that I noticed stuff like that once or twice.
One thing I learned about myself is that I am not a great proofreader. This is kind of a key skill to have if you are going to self-publish because, as they say, “the buck stops here.” I miss a lot of things when I read my own work looking for things that someone else changed by mistake. It took six versions to get the print version proof to look just about like my original (..almost). And I could probably go for a seventh if given the opportunity (enough is enough, though). Usually, the second I submitted a proof for rework, I found just one more thing that needed a tweak. Most of the things I found were issues with the development of the product, however some were things that I missed during the writing and editing phases that had somehow made it all the way to production.
And then camethe ebook proofs…a completely different adventure in itself. Once again, seemingly random things change without me knowing why. But, the end is nearing, although I’m not sure when it will be. I just submitted the second set of ebook revisions and I’m feeling pretty good about where we are with it. I am extremely nervous about this though because if I approve the ebook proofs that come next, if they are good and ready, then that means it is time. I don’t know if I am truly ready for it to “be time.” Launching this book is something I have thought about and dreamed of for a long time…but that’s like looking out the window of a rocket when you hear the countdown hit 3…2…1…