“Thank You For Ten” Update

My short story collection, Thank You For Ten: Short Fiction About a Little Theater, moves ever closer to self-publication. The last few weeks I’ve been teaching myself the basics of manuscript formatting for such an endeavor. (If you have never done it, it’s probably quite different from what you know about typing for printing on your printer.) I can report that though their are nuances left to be tackled in this area, I’m probably closer to the end of the process than to the beginning of same.

I say this, of course, not knowing what a final automated check of my manuscript will review once I submit it to the proper website. Though of course I’m hoping that all is as it should be, I am mentally preparing myself for the possibility that my formatting will be rejected by the system on the first try and require more work. I’m betting most of that reworking, should it be required, will be in the form of page breaks and hyperlinks.

Still, I can tell you that some of the aspects of formatting for e-publication have not taken as much time as I’d initially feared. It’s a whole new way to look at typing in some regards, but in other ways it’s instinctual. Almost like baseball and softball; those two are distinct sports but have obvious similarities and comparable goals and strategies. If you are able to follow the former, you will have little trouble following the latter, after some exposure. I feel that is how things are progressing with this formatting for e-publication thing. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that what you see is not what you get when it comes to this.

As for the stories themselves, I will probably give each of them one more proofreading pass at least before I send them off to the e-publication system for review. (I’m using Smashwords and its meatgrinder.) I went over each story several times carefully before I even began the formatting process, but something is almost always missed. As for content, I think each story is where it needs to be. I don’t want to edit the content and the story arcs into oblivion, which is something I have no doubt I could do if not cautious. So any remaining editing is going to be for spelling, punctuation, and in this brave new world of formatting, carriage returns and tabs.

From a technical standpoint, that leaves a cover file. I have some ideas about what I’d like the cover to look like. Various sources online teach one how to design and produce one’s own cover. I’ve not looked into those yet, and indeed most people, including the good folks and Smashwords recommend against designing one’s own cover. Yet I’ll probably look into the process, and perhaps experiment with some images. Truth be told,  I’m leaning against attempting it myself, but in case I can’t locate anyone affordable to do it for me, (say 100 bucks or less at this point), I need to keep my options open on that front. I have some time to ponder that.

Marketing continues to be based here on the blog and on Twitter, with hopefully useful tags in full force. Not every day and not constantly on the days I do it, but I’m making the presence known to both my 400+ followers there as well as my personal friends on Facebook. Hopefully that will make a good foundation for some word of mouth to begin. I have not yet formed a seperate Facebook for the book or for my author presence. That still seems strange and extraneous to me, but I haven’t ruled it out yet, either.

I also hope to make use of some of my local theater connections, modest as they are, to spread the word about the collection, once it’s published. I can’t afford to go all out with marketing as some people do, (spending thousands of dollars for banner ads, press conferences, radio show interviews, etc.) I simply have to start with what I have and work from there.

Business concerns, such as pricing and release date are still undetermined. I can say I want it available to the public no later than the middle of June, this year. Right now that seems feasible, but I won’t dare announce a date for release until such time as I know it’s going to be ready.

Guessing how far along I am in the process is barely more than a parlor game at this point. But for the curious I would say that the entire operation, the end game of which is a professional looking product being available for download onto e-readers, is about 50% complete. Yes, right down the middle. Now some of that remaining 50% will go quickly as it is just a matter of doing it. Other aspects of it could take a while, such as the next level of formatting. There are x-factors involved in all such things as well. But given that I’ve made steady progress so far in areas where I thought I’d be drowning, I think about half way there is a good estimation to share with you all as of now.

I can say it’s close enough to being ready to launch that I can now feel anticipation for it. It’s no longer merely, “someday”, but rather a tangible moment that is approaching in the near to intermediate future.

So stay tuned, please. It shouldn’t be long now!

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