Blood Curse 2nd Edition Formatting

Finished formatting Blood Curse 2nd edition this weekend. Next step is acquiring a block of ISBNs for the series and getting with a cover designer.

I have an idea for the cover, but I want a pro to let me know if it’s good and to actually create it.

At the 5 x 8 trim size I’ve selected, the print book will be 300 pages including the front and after matter sections.

I do still need to go over another copy to comply with Smashwords formatting. I’m still debating putting it on Google Books as well, which will involve creating yet another file type.

Audio books will have to wait for a while. They most definitely are NOT inexpensive to produce.

Still Formatting and Other Minor Aggravations

I’m not really frustrated with the process of formatting. I thrive on tedious things. I’m frustrated with not having large chunks of time to do it. Formatting is a time consuming process, if you want to do it right. My biggest clock eater with it at the moment is correcting paragraph indents manually.

Why manually? Because when I set the indent to 0.2 inches and applied it to the body of the text, over half the paragraphs remaining at 0.5 inches. So, I have to scroll slowly through the entire manuscript and hit backspace on all the incorrect indents.

Once that’s done, I’ll go through and center and replace all the scene separating asterisk place holders with the icon I’ll use. The first edition used little skull-and-crossbones. I haven’t decided whether to use that or find something else.

Some things I find aggravating are some of the little quirks of the editor function of Word. It keeps telling me I need to change witch to which. Also, even after I’ve indicated to ignore certain deliberate grammar mistakes or misspellings used in conversations, every time I go back through that passage for a different purpose, it marks them up again. Also, it incorrectly tries to get me to capitalize or put in lower case words starting sentences in quotations or immediately following the end quote marks. Plus, it doesn’t seem to like that I capitalize Brethren when referring to pirates or Sisters when referring to the Sisters of Power.

Stupid machine program.

Oh yeah, it also tries to get me to truncate certain phrases I use throughout the book down to one or two words. I use these particular phrases to fit the flavor of the book. I believe some refer to that as “voice.”

End rant.

(I’m actually enjoying the whole process. Actually is another word that Word tries to get me to stop using.)

Formatting Update and Other News

First, I’d like to say thank you to my fellow authors on some of the writing groups we share on Facebook. They’ve been extremely helpful in my navigation of Ingram Spark’s submission guidelines. I highly recommend authors, whether new or veteran, to join such groups. They are especially beneficial to those of us whose schedules don’t mesh with in-person writing groups’ meeting schedules.

Meanwhile, I finally got started on the formatting of Blood Curse 2nd edition this weekend. I’m having to go back through and redo the italics because copying the text to the correct trim size undid all that work. Next up will be changing the font from Word’s default of Calibri. I’ve also installed Treasure Map Dead Hand as my font for titles and headers.

I know all this is tedious, but I’m enjoying the process. This will also help make producing the rest of the books in the series easier.

Meanwhile, I should finish typing up the final episode of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe season 3 this week. I will start plotting season 4 once that’s done. I plan to start publishing season 2 early next year. Somewhere in between now and then, I need to do some promoting on that serial.

That’s it for now. Enjoy your short work week, and I hope you had a good Labor Day weekend.

In Memoriam

I learned this morning that we lost a coworker to COVID last night.

William Floyd was also a fan of my Waves of Darkness series. I dedicated Maelstrom of Fate to him and to Michelle Oesterling back in 2017 in its first edition.

His obituary has not been posted yet, or I’d link it here.

He will be missed.

Edit: Will’s obituary finally posted.

Preparations for Formatting

I plan to use this version of my Waves of Darkness logo as an interior embellishment in the print books.

No, I have not actually started formatting Blood Curse second edition yet. Necessary rearrangement of furniture pretty much kept me offline all weekend. I did manage to download copies of IngramSpark’s and Smashwords’ file and style requirements this morning. I used to have the Smashwords one written down somewhere, but haven’t seen it since I moved to my house back in 2017. I still need to see what Google Play Books requires. I already have a copy of Amazon’s from publishing The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: the Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, season 1.

I did a survey on FB and Plurk on what trim sizes to use. 5″ x 8″ won. I would’ve loved to go with 5″ x 7″ or 4″ x 6″, but the number of pages that would change the book to makes those sizes cost prohibitive.

I managed to finish reading The Gunslinger by Stephen King and start The Drawing of the Three over the weekend. It’s been about 2 decades or so since I first read his Dark Tower series, and I never finished it. I will do so this time around, even though it means buying the last 3 books. Like I need an excuse to buy a book.

I need to contact my author/convention friends about the best route to get my books into audio. Some use ACX and Audible, some use Tantor, and there’s a few other audio book publishers out there to check out, as well.

TIP FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS: Find other authors and writing groups, even if they’re not in your genre. Experience is the best resource to tap for advice. Who knows; someday someone may even ask you for advice.

That is all for now.

Revisions Complete!

I finished final revisions on Blood Curse 2nd edition this past weekend. Next weekend (or sooner, depending on available computer time) I will work on formatting. I have to make sure the ebook version conforms to Smashwords guidelines, since I plan on going wide on distribution. I’ll probably still upload directly to KDP, and I’ll have to upload directly to Google Play. While Amazon will accept submissions from aggregators such as Smashwords, ebooks will go live quicker when uploaded directly. Google does NOT accept submissions from aggregators.

I also need to find out what book trim sizes Ingram Spark allows for paperbacks and what cover finishes they offer. I’d like to go with something smaller than the 6″ x 9″ trade paperback size, and a matte finish. Matte will photograph better than gloss and won’t peel with heavy handling. Ran into the peeling issue with my author’s galley of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky: the Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe, season 1 with Amazon/KDP. I was carrying it in a book bag everywhere, and pulling it out to pitch the book. The gloss layer on the cover started to separate on the edges.

Oh yeah, and I need to buy some ISBN numbers, since they’re less expensive in bulk rather than buying one for each book at publication time.

I also need to work up some flourishes for the interior of the print version that won’t be included in the ebook. This is a 2nd edition, but it’s also a 10th anniversary edition. I want it to cause book-gasms for anyone who buys it.

Once the print version is formatted, and I have a page count, I can contract a cover.

I also need to start grilling my author/publisher friends about the best route to get it into audio book format.

Werk werk werk.

I may be slow, but I am getting there.

So Close…

This was a mind twisting but productive weekend. Watched some movies and a smidgen of the Olympics. Read some on The Gunslinger. Got a decent bit of editing done on Blood Curse.

So, I’ll start with the last first. As of this morning, I am 24 pages away from finishing revisions on Blood Curse. I’d forgotten, even from the recent previous round of revisions, how many mini adventures I’d packed into the last third of the book. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this last read through and revisions round. Formatting and commissioning a new cover are not far away now! Then I can start preliminary revisions on Demon Bayou 2nd edition.

I recently started re-reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I read a good chunk of it a couple of decades ago, but never finished. I know I got as far as Wolves of the Calla, but I don’t remember if I read further than that.

Between the book, the editing, and the range of movies I watched, you’ll get a better picture of why I said this weekend was mind twisting. I’ve watched Let Him Go with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, Disney’s version of The Swiss Family Robinson (which is marginally true to the book,but leaves much out), and Disney’s version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I’d really like to watch Mysterious Island again just to see if they kill Nemo in that one. Why? Because the events take place during the American Civil War Era, therefore before 20,000 Leagues, which takes place in 1868, after the war. I admit I’ve yet to read those two books and would like to see how much liberty the screenwriters took.

Anyway, that was my weekend.

Transitional Turmoil

Absolutely no progress was made this past weekend on Blood Curse. Why? I finally got around to installing my new computer, which has been sitting in its box for a couple of months now.

Although I did move the old computer downstairs to the library and hooked it back together, it is not wifi capable, and I haven’t transferred files from it to the new one yet. I do have the means to do so. I just haven’t had the time.

Also, I have a beef with Microsoft. I understand the need to update and improve OSs. However, STOP MOVING THE FRIGGING FURNITURE! It is extremely irritating to have to keep learning new ways to perform basic functions. They made it hard to delete files in Windows 10. In Windows 7, all you have to do is right click on the file then select “delete” from the drop down menu. In 10, you have to use the file navigator (formerly called “libraries”), click on “home” at the top of the window, click on the file, then click “delete” from the top menu bar. And, whatever you do, don’t click “free up space” in the right click menu unless you want to send it to OneDrive.

I am not a technophobe. I just don’t have time to keep having to relearn things that should be simple every time something gets updated. You can see how easily it can be frustrating.

Hopefully next weekend will be more productive.

Peeking Out from the Writing Cave

Photo cribbed from FB

Time for a progress report and other good news.

I made very good progress on the final revisions/edits on Blood Curse this weekend, which was a pleasant surprise. Last weekend, I made absolutely NO progress, and it was a long weekend. I sometimes think I perform better under pressure (self imposed) and time constraints than I do when there’s plenty of time available.

Anyway, I have less than 100 pages left to edit of the manuscript. In its current format, it is 304 pages. That page count will vary between the draft, the ebook, and the print versions.

I did correct a minor detail this morning. I originally had Viktor saying to head south from Dorada’s island to reach open water. However, I changed the location of her island from the Caymans, which weren’t rocky enough, to Islas de Los Roques, which are just north of the South American coast, back before original publication. Neither I nor my editor caught that I didn’t correct the statement of direction when I made the change. Now he orders the ship northeast instead of south.

I realize this old mistake didn’t really hurt the story, but it bothered me to find it. I truly want to keep any Real World references as accurate as possible. I feel I owe it to my readers, especially the ones who WILL fact check me, and to myself to maintain the best quality I can.

In other news: I have even more incentive to finally carve out some time to do some promo videos. I’ve been interacting in the comments sections of several BookTube videos lately. This has already garnered me some promotion space on one of the channels I follow. The Brothers Gwynn have a unique way of announcing premiering books each month by showing a compilation of authors pitching their books and giving release dates.

I will be participating in this once I’ve nailed down a specific release date for Blood Curse rather than the vague “sometime this Fall.”

I also need to create Instagram and Twitter accounts for the purpose of querying some of the reviewers who run the various BookTube channels. Most of them don’t use FB.

I’ve made significant progress on 1st round edits of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe seasons 2 and 3. At this rate, I’ll need to start drafting season 4 before long.

The most enjoyable part of all this editing, both on Blood Curse and The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe is re-reading and re-familiarizing myself with manuscripts written a few years back. In the case of Blood Curse, the original draft was started in 2006, and the first publication (in ebook) was 2011. I think it’s a good thing for authors of series to go back and read the earlier books again periodically. It helps them see where they’ve been and better visualize where they’re going, both in their writing skills and story continuity. While some may bemoan the skill level of their earlier works, they can also look back and visit with old friends with a fresh perspective and, hopefully, fondness — and then whip up freshly revised 2nd editions to hook new readers. (Insert mercenary grin here.)

Fixing the “Oops!”

Nothing like going through first edits on a rough draft written a few years previously and spotting gargantuan plot holes. In case you haven’t guessed, or are new to this blog, I have returned to working on my steampunk serial, The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe.

I’m finally getting episodes 13 through 24 (aka Season 2) ready for publication. I’m also seriously entertaining the thought of having a new cover done for the Season 1 omnibus, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, as well as doing new illustrations for it.

“Why?” you ask. Mainly because sales have been all but non-existent, and I never really got marketing off the ground the first time through. This will mean pulling all the current versions down and republishing.

Yes, I am a masochist. I must be to intentionally put that much on my plate.

Meanwhile, back to why I started this post. I’ve found myself trying to keep supposedly intelligent characters from unintentionally looking like bumbling idiots. In other words, I originally wrote some scenes which turned into “wait-a-minute” moments. So, I have to figure out why I had a character do something a certain way, when an obviously better way was available.

Specifically, why did a character LEAVE a communications center to deliver a message rather than send it via a secure means already available to them. It would’ve been quicker to use the system rather than leave the building and head into a subterranean system of tunnels and lifts to reach a place deep underground.

Not to worry. I did find a plausible excuse.

Messages sent through that system, while secure, have to be entered in the log if they originate from the communications center itself. The character didn’t want this message to be discovered by her supervisor, so she feigned illness to be excused from the rest of her shift. She also didn’t encounter any message stations along her route before encountering other major characters.

Plot hole plugged.