It’s not really Publishing Eve. It’s going to take a few more days. I am waiting on the final proofs for the cover. I have gone back and forth on this, biting my nails and changing my mind. This is the moment in the process when the burden of being an indie author weighs heavy. I am a one woman show. All the decisions are mine. First, I write the book. That’s the part I can do. The first time around I then edited the book , again and again, but a strange thing happens when the writer edits her own book. The words are so familiar she can’t see the mistakes. Oh sure, she sees plenty of them, she makes corrections. But she misses a few. Several people advised me to get an editor, they said it was the single most important thing. I was still in my cubicle, working as an author in the middle of the night. My budget was limited, I thought I could do it myself.
Live and learn. I hire a copy editor this time around, Charlie O’Hay, in Philadelphia. A friend of a fan who has become a good friend. He is also an accomplished poet.
Next step is formatting for Kindle and book form with the help of Jesse Gordon, a format guy in Los Angeles. I don’t know how he came to be known as the format dude, it was back when I used him on The Reverse Commute. It might be due to the fact he uses expressions like “no worries” and works through the night. He formats manuscripts for Kindle, Nooks, books, etc. They all have their own rules and formats. Books are no spaces between paragraphs, indented 1st line on pdf. Kindles can have any spacing and are best on mobi to avoid weird spacing issues when the manuscript is downloaded. If you read on Kindle you know what I’m talking about. Even big time legacy authors have weird spacing issues once in awhile. I wish I was legacy. My goal is to create a legacy, a body of work then hopefully someone will come knocking on my door, or more likely send me an email, and offer me an advance or a contract or a book deal. Something like that. You have to dream big.
Anyway, this formatting is all way beyond my computer capabilities. I send Format Dude both books because I have edited The Reverse Commute. I want it to be the best it can be without entirely changing it. I know my writing is improving. The brain is like any other muscle, you exercise it and it gets stronger. I’ve been using it a lot lately. Like a long distance runner, I am addicted to writing. I get high on my own form of endorphins.
I change sentence structure, correct some homonyms. Yes I know the difference between heel-as in a part of your foot versus heal- as in doctor please heal me, it’s just when you write 120,000 words you sight read when you edit. The character is head over heals in love as you skim the page. You’ve read this line fifty times. You don’t see it should be heel. This is why there are editors.
I take walks to clear my mind. It always works. If corporations realized this they wouldn’t keep people chained to their desks in a cubicle. Saturday we went bird watching again, at Green Cay Nature Center.
This is larger than Wakodahatchee but the birds are harder to spot, however their constant chatter is louder here. The sound of birdsong is peaceful and relaxing. We discuss the difference between a cay and a key. Later that afternoon, I Google it. There is no difference, they are one and the same. A small, low elevation, sandy island on the surface of a coral reef. We start on a trail that passes by swamp hammocks.
We ask the passing ranger what a hammock is and she tells us it is the elevated areas of land surrounded by the swamp. The higher land. Like a cay or a key but a hammock. We ask if there have been any alligator sightings today. She says they are ghosty and cagey. Later Rich asks me, “How can it be ghosty and cagey at the same time?” I reply, “I think she was just using a lot of adjectives to let us know they are hard to spot.” At the end of a trail, I see what I think is an alligator with its head and tail submerged, just his back jutting above the water line. Rich says it’s a log. We wait for about ten minutes to see if it moves. He wins, it probably is just a log, but as we move on I can’t help looking back just to make sure.
Self editing is now ingrained in me. I know I used its and it’s in that previous paragraph and yes, I do know the difference. It’s is it is. It’s zero degrees in New Hampshire today, I am glad I am not there. Its is possessive. I wish the alligator reared its head because I still do believe that log is a gator.
I fret about the book. Is it good? Will people like it? Did I get all my its and it’s right? Did the editor? I double and triple checked them even after I paid him. The their and they’re too, whose and who’s, your and you’re.You know the write (no that’s right, I just caught that) word, but the thoughts are tumbling out, your fingers are flying across the keyboard.
English is a tricky language. Cagey as in evasive. But not ghosty. Therein lies the difference. We keep walking.
Rich uses the word irregardless, then asks what is the difference between regardless and irregardless. “I don’t think there is a difference, but I’ll add it to the list of things to Google when we get home,” I reply. There’s a great website run by the grammar girl called Quick and Dirty Tricks
. She has helped me out numerous times. In this case, she confirms my initial suspicions, they are one and the same. Like the key and the cay. Grammar Girl recommends you use irregardless sparingly unless you want to sound like this: I ain’t gonna conversate with him irregardless of the consequences
I add conversate to a list of made up words I have for a character I have in mind and am saving for another story.
Whom is a word I avoid like the plague. I will change a sentence to avoid using it. I don’t care if it’s correct, I hate the sound of it. Except in the case of For Whom the Bell Tolls
. I also hate lying versus laying. Is he laying on his side or is he lying on his side? Just check Grammar Girl’s explanation on this subject
and you too will choose to say, “He was lounging on the bed.”
Format Dude’s updates of The Reverse Commute formats come through at 4:00 a.m. on Friday night/Saturday morning. I happened to be up at 4:30, laying or lying in my bed, thinking about the book and I got up to check my email. Later in the day, on Saturday, I downloaded them to Kindle and CreateSpace, the book department of Amazon. I ran into a glitch with the CreateSpace side of things because I use a MAC but it was easily corrected. You email the Help team and then they call you back. Immediately. In one minute. They all speak clearly, in English, and are very helpful. Comcast needs to follow their business model.
I realize I am bouncing between past and present tense. It’s intentional or subliminal or accidental, a sign of my restless mind. My jumbled thoughts. This really annoys some people. But it’s a blog goddamn it. I’m riffing between today and yesterday and the day before. Days 235-237 on my journey to walk every day for a year. Go with the flow. This is what I like about the Grammar Girl. She is funny and witty and very helpful. She knows English is a difficult language.
So, I’ve begun to lose track of what I came to this blank page to write about. Was it the cover? Was it the Green Cay Nature Center? Or just writing in general? It’s supposed to be about walking, that much I know. There is some walking involved. I clearly have a lot on my mind. It’s all good things though. The work is hard, it’s time consuming. But it is time spent advancing my own goals, not someone else’s. It is work I enjoy but I have some self doubt. How can I be good at all these things? Writing, publishing, editing, marketing, advertising. Do what you love and the money will follow, right? That’s what I am attempting to do here. I am passionate about improving and succeeding.
So I wait for the final proofs of the cover. I hope I have made the right choice. I like it a lot but I am not a Madison Avenue Mad Man. I am sometimes a mad woman but insanity is not a very helpful trait right now. It may be helpful when you’re writing, a touch of madness seems to be a handy trait to have hiding in your writer’s toolbox, but not when you’re making business decisions.
I do know when I first opened the email from my favorite Cover Girl, Victorine Lieske, I loved it. I smiled a hug smile. My heart skipped a beat. So I must trust my instincts.
Let me know what you think:
And here is the “blurb” for the back cover and the Amazon page:
When Josie Wolcott finds herself with an empty nest and another failed romantic relationship, she sets off in search of herself on a uniquely American adventure that takes the reader across the country.
Leaving her life long New England home in her rearview mirror, Josie’s journey of self-discovery begins in South Florida where every day feels like a vacation. While enjoying the waterfront bars with their countless happy hours, she begins to question her relationship with alcohol and what it is she truly wants out of life. Determined to find her way, she decides to take on a new challenge at a fishing lodge along the Snake River in southeastern Idaho where she meets Dr. Andrew Radcliffe, a kindred spirit navigating his own way to happiness.
From the Northeast to Florida and the great American West, Josie meets a cast of characters as varied and different as the landscape she travels through. With an adventurous spirit and a willing heart, she confronts her demons and past mistakes and dares to find happiness in the most unexpected of places. Will Josie, a lifelong wanderer, find the road that finally takes her home?