Thursday, March 14, 2013

On The Transition

I'm finally there. The end of the book has become reality. Cover of Darkness is finished, proofread, and ready for distribution. I call this point in the process: The Transition. Why do I call it this? Well, there is the formation of a book, the sitting down and sketching out of characters, plot, story arcs and the so forth, and most writers excel at this foundry of creation. We live for it, we sit behind our keyboards and pound away until before we know it, we have a manuscript. We are skilled at this, that's why we call ourselves writers. Some of us went to school for it, some of us have been writing since we were children, but all of us can put together a manuscript for better or for worse.

Once we put together one of these things, we are in a state of flux. Because here there are many decisions that can be made. It can go into percolation...which is on the shelf, or on the hard wait until we forget much of the heat that went into it, and then re-edit it with, hopefully, fresh eyes. Or it can move on in the process. It can go to a professional editor, proofreader, beta-reader or other editorial professionals, lurching its way toward distribution. I consider this process more of a 'creationism' and is on 'this' side of the process. That's because we are abundantly familiar with this procedure and are largely comfortable with it. Some of us can't take criticism and this can be painful when the manuscript moves into other hands. But it's still on this side of the fence.

I will get into the other side later.

Then there comes The Transition. This is the mechanics of the machine, the churning muscles beneath the skin. This is where we do what we do because we have to. We have to find formatting and formatting companies, book creation, standard printing or print of demand, book cover design, outlet and distribution choices, all the meat and potatoes that bring the book into either an ebook format or physical book. This is the bewildering hurricane of jargon, choices, and options that come at you in dizzying cyclone of information. A great deal of reading goes on at this point, a great deal of digestion. You learn everything from book binding, ISBN numbers, cover design, it goes on an on and in some depth until you go round and round and come out here.

This is where I'm at, The Transition, and it's terrifying because you don't want to make a mistake that will cost you dearly. Every decision that you make has far reaching implications in the cycle of your book. If you survive The Transition, if you are not bilked out of tons of money, if you get what you paid for, if the quality of your final product makes you proud, you survived and can move on to the other side of the fence.

The other side is also fraught with the same trials and tribulations. But worry about that later, because if you don't have any experience with The Transition, you'll probably have even less with “Marketing your book” which is the other side of what we do. I break this entire process up into three zones so that in totality it doesn't seem so daunting.

I'm sitting behind my computer, fielding emails from my cover designer, ebook and paperback formatter, ISBN website and distributor. Survival and success is in the future, and I will chronicle the rest of my journey on these pages as I go along.