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.

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.

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.

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.

Alpha Away!

The last two chapters of Hunting the Dragon are finally typed up and will be sent to my alpha reader by this evening. I also have feedback from her on several previous chapters waiting in my inbox.

Progress on what I hope is the last revision/proofread round on Blood Curse 2nd edition (which will be a sort of 10th anniversary edition if I can get it out this year) is slow, but well worth it.

I went into this one originally just to fix my punctuation snafu mentioned in my previous post, as well as insert accented letters; something the free Word app either doesn’t do, or I haven’t figured out how to do with it. It’s turned into line editing and seriously tweaking the prose one more time. I’m really enjoying it, even though I’m only 15 pages in.

My biggest problem is fighting off the impatience and wanting to do ALL the book things at once. I blame my newest addiction for this enthusiasm which must be bridled: booktube channels. For those yet to discover them, YouTube has a couple of genres which truly feed an author’s needs: booktube and authortube.

Booktube channels are primarily collections of videos about book reviews and sometimes book clubs/fans. Many of these channels can give books a wider audience than just promoting on social media and at conventions.

Authortube seems to consist of authors’ channels or videos with publishing and writing tips. For me, especially last year after so many conventions were canceled, these filled my need/desire for writing and book promoting panels. Plus, it gave me fresh perspectives beyond the familiar ones from the conventions I’ve been haunting for years.

I do have plans to revive and bulk up my own channel eventually.

Some day.

Oh! Before I forget, I recently took part in the recording of a panel for the upcoming virtual LibertyCon. The title of the panel is Very Vocal Vampire Voices. Look for it when LibertyCon goes live the last weekend of June. Since it’s virtual, it’s FREE and without an attendance cap.

Welcome to Organized Chaos

Oi.

I have plans, so many plans. Time, however, is an issue. Been working a lot of 6-day weeks, but that might calm down a bit in April.

I’m waiting for all the info from the game developer so I can do a promo video for Dragon Poker. They were going to launch it at LibertyCon this year, but the convention had to change to a virtual format this year. The online version of the convention will be free and open to all, rather than have the membership cap of the physical version.

I’ve been watching a lot of author-tube/book-tube videos lately. This has had the effect of putting my planning mode into high gear. I want to create a good bit of content for my YouTube channel to promote my books. I want to re-release Blood Curse later this year, and building interest beforehand will hopefully boost sales and pre-sales. I’d like to put some of the things I’ve learned to use, so that hopefully this second edition will take off and do better than the first time around did.

Still, time remains the crucial factor. Wish me luck. Thanks.

Bereavement and Business

Sorry I’ve been so quiet online this month. My father went to the hospital again on my birthday. He’d been having serious health problems all year last year. This time, he didn’t make it home.

While he did test positive for COVID in December, it was asymptomatic and not the cause of his death last Wednesday morning. However, it did prevent the medical school he’d arranged to donate his body to from accepting. They refused on the grounds of protecting their students, which is understandable.

He will be cremated. The family will have to find out if they will take a body if a positive COVID diagnosis is far enough in the past, since my mother has a similar arrangement. She also had asymptomatic COVID in December.

On to business: I’ve completed inking the Dragon Poker art and am working on the color accents for the top tier version of the game.

The plan is to have the game available by June, and to do the official launch at LibertyCon. Barring another postponement or health issues, I plan to attend. (The convention is sold out, but I already had a membership for it.)

If you are interested in the Dragon Poker cards or the Dragon Riders of Pern LARP they are a companion game for, go to Antiquarian Boardgames for more information.

I am about to start minor revisions on Blood Curse before I format it for print. Hopefully, I can manage to get time to do some promotional videos for my YouTube channel.

That’s the news for now.

Book News (and stuff)

I must agree with Viktor on it this time.

The rough draft of Hunting the Dragon (Waves of Darkness book 8) is in the bag. The first 10 chapters are with my alpha reader, and she’s promised feedback notes, hopefully by next week.

The remaining chapters are still in handwritten form and need to be typed up. I will start on that soon. I have to admit that the back half of the rough draft is a hot mess and in need of some scene rearranging and serious polishing.

Meanwhile, I’ve completed inking all the Dragon Poker portraits. I will be doing a color accent version of them for special edition sets of the cards. I’m told those will be offered in a wooden case.

Next on my agenda is the reformatting and revision of Blood Curse (Waves of Darkness book 1). The new edition will be in the 5×8-ish (not sure of the exact measurements right now) size rather than the 6×9 trade paperback version it was previously published in. I plan to snazzy up the interior as well. All this is necessary before I can order a new cover design, since I need a page count to determine the width of the spine. The size change will change the original page count, of course.

Finally, happy news: someone bought one of the 6-episode mini-omnibus ebooks in my The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe steampunk serial. This is the first sale of the year and the first sale in months!

That is all for now. Thanks for reading!