Update: I have left this page on the website for those who are interested in the process of self-publishing. I still have a few books left. If you are interested in buying a copy of “Only a Week Away” at a discounted price, contact me by email and I will tell you how to order one.
The books arrived on my doorstep during the morning on Jan. 18th and I worked several hours that day and the next to get all the orders filled and mailed out. The pre-publication orders totalled 101 books. If you ordered a book before Jan. 15th and you have not received your book yet, please let me know. Many people have reported getting theirs. I did have to replace one when the package was torn open by the postal handling machinery.
Now comes the next phase, to sell the balance of the books so that I do not have boxes of them stacked in my living room five years from now! So if you like the book, tell your friends. If you do not like the book, tell me.
The big project this past month was to get a PayPal account so that people could order the book off my website with a credit card. That required several hours of telephone conferencing with my webpage-savvy daughter, Mariamne. Thank goodness for the younger generation.
Since this Progress Report was created to keep you, my faithful readers, abreast of what was happening, this will be my last addition to this page. As book signings or readings are scheduled I will post them on the website. I hope you will come. I will happily sign your book if you do. And be sure to bring your friends.
Where are the books?
I am sorry but we will both have to curb our impatience a little longer. There have been printing delays over which I had no control. Last message received from the printing agent was that they would be shipped on January 15th, but I have not received confirmation of that shipping yet.
We sent back the corrected proof files and did not receive the corrected copy until January 7th. We gave the “Go” signal at that time and we are, like you, still waiting. Be assured that your orders will be sent to you as soon as possible.
The response to the book has been gratifying – the best Christmas present I received this year.
We have a printer, the Great American Press. We sent the book out to the printer on November 30th and were promised a proof copy the next week. We waited anxiously all week and it did not come. Inquiry determined that there had been some problems at the printers (an electrical fire) and some problems getting our files to print (not our fault). So we waited some more and finally the proof came a few days ago. Wow! It looks great! However, it required some corrections – some pages had been left out, some were numbered wrong – so we made the corrections and sent it off again.
With the proof in hand we went to the post office to ask about mailing cost. Ouch! More than we had guessed. The book is about an inch thick. So I must revise my offer to send books postage free. I will honor all orders received to date as postage free. Did you do your shopping early? Lucky you!
Books are still available at reduced cost if you order before December 31, 2007.
The book is ready for the printer!! We making queries and getting quotes from printers.
You have been very patient. Click on Order Form to the right and you should get a new webpage with an order form that you can print off and send in with your order. Your books will be sent postage free if you order before December 31, 2007. I can not guarantee books by Christmas, but will send them along to you as soon as they are in my hands.
Now that I am back from Greece and into my usual routine, the book is on the front burner again. Right now we are finishing photo work for the inside and working on the book cover. I have had professional pictures taken for an author photo, ordered the bar code, established price and sent information about the book to be listed in Books In Print. The book cover is presenting a challenge. How to present an illustration that represents the book and is attractive and eye-catching is taking a lot of time and effort. Meanwhile I am preparing some of the back cover information. This is slow going but we are making progress every week. I will be preparing pre-publication notice letters before long so that you can order the book and have it shipped as soon as it is available.
The book will be put on hold in a few weeks because I am leaving the country – going to spend the summer in Greece with friends. (See my blog page for some of my notes about Greece). Doris and I are finishing family tree charts for the book and need to do photos and maps, but expect to have these all done before I leave in mid-June. The book cover and the printing will have to wait until I return in mid- September.
For those of you who have been anxiously waiting for the book to be published, I am sorry, but you will have to wait a little longer. This opportunity was just too good to pass up. Have a good summer!
I have all my important numbers for my copyright page now and Doris continues to work on interior design. This month I rounded up some pictures for inclusion. We have a way to go yet. Doris has done little on the graphics as she is still working on the text. I set the process back some when I decided that the font size needed to be changed -it was too small.
Dr. Timothy Abel of the Jefferson County Historical Society was kind enough to read the book and check for misdated events. His questions sent me back to the books I had used for reference to be sure I had interpreted the material correctly. I was impressed by his knowledge of northern NY history and grateful he took the time to look over my efforts. He said the book qualified as historical fiction; it was about my family but it was set in historical framework. That is what I was striving for, so that made me feel good.
Doris, whom I engaged for my book design, is working on the interior design of the book and this past week she showed me a font that I really liked. It was exciting to see what a printed page might really look like! We have a long way to go but we are making progress. I have ordered my ISBN numbers, registered my publishing company and am still working on front matter and back matter, in other words those pages you find in the front and back of a book which “sandwich” in the story.
Ideas for a front cover are beginning to bubble up but we are not ready to work on that just yet. Probably Doris will work on that while I am doing the next edit. Yes, would you believe it? In spite of all of the previous edits, I am still finding errors or things that need to be fixed. People who have done this many times before say this is pretty normal and you just have to keep chasing down the errors and even then the printed copy may have a typo. You have occasionally seen one in books you have read, I am sure.
I am still sending letters trying to get endorsements for the book.
When I finally finished all of the revisions -again- I decided to print off the manuscript to check for typos and errors. It is easier to catch them on paper for me than on the computer screen and I had not printed it off since I finished the rough draft last June. So I printed off all 451 pages and than was appalled as I proof-read that there were so many typos, elisions, paragraph omissions and so forth that it took me several days to wade through all the pages. Of more major concern was one chapter that desperately needed a rewrite (how could I have missed it?) and so I was revising once again.
But on January 29th I sent it off for an estimate of cost for doing the interior design including graphics, pictures and maps.
I am still making progress slowly. Stay tuned.
A week before Christmas I received the marked-up manuscript back from my editor, Katie Hall, with her editing notes. Too busy to spend time with it then, I did not look at it until after Christmas. Katie has helped greatly in terms of organizing the chapters in the book and had good suggestions regarding all of the back pages, notes and supplemental material. She suggested a map would be helpful and I need to get some other graphics done so that will be the next assignment for myself. It is time to put the book into its final format.
At the bank I inquired about another checking account for my “publishing company” and was told that in Kentucky the bank can not open an account with a dba name until I have a certificate from the state that I have registered a dba (“doing business as”). I have chosen a name, Levassor Park Publishing Company. Levassor Park is the name of the neighborhood in which I live. Many of the names I first thought up were already taken. There is a large book at the library, Literary Market Place, which list all of the publishing companies. There are hundreds of them. And many being created all the time, just like mine, as more and more authors find themselves self-publishing.
Next Wednesday I have my first meeting with a staff person from Women Writing For (a) Change who has agreed to do a final edit of my book. Recently I sent a portion of the book, a story about a medical emergency, to my cousin Dr. Peter Lee, a pediatrician, and was gratified when he responded that what I had conceptualized was in line with medical practices that were available in the nineteenth century.
Since I will be self-publishing, this is going to be a slower process than if I had a Publisher who would guide me through all of the complexities of publishing. The cost of having a subsidy or vanity Publisher take care of all the details of publishing is prohibitive for me and research has shown that authors who use a subsidy publisher rarely recover their costs. I do not need to make a profit, nor was that my intention, but I do need to recover my cost. By going one step at a time I can spread the cost over more time and make it more manageable. Many of you have asked when my book will be published. I simply do not know at this point, but it will materialize – I promise.
The rewrites are going slowly. I have been away from home, in New York state in July and in Seattle for two weeks in August. The visit to Seattle was very helpful on the book front.
Jennie Trerise, of the Robert Douglass line, and I got together for dinner. Jennie is an editor for a small publisher in Seattle and an avid genealogist so we had much to talk about.
Beth Whitman, my son’s companion, is writing a book about women traveling solo. She is self-publishing so we had many discussions about process and resources. Beth writes a travel blog which you can find at
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/travel/ Beth has traveled widely, likely in any area you are thinking of visiting. She will have a website up soon and her book will be out within a few months.
I am now researching groups, libraries, book clubs, and sources to contact with pre-publication information. My book is written primarily for Douglass family members but it may be of interest to schools since it is written in story fashion about historical periods. If you know of a group or media contact that you think I might use to get the word out in your local area, drop me a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Alice Sykes for pictures of the old Douglass house on Pillar Point.
You probably wondered if this book would ever be done. Well, so did I at times.
I am happy to report that the rough draft was sent off for its first edit to my cousin, Lee, and she has returned it with suggestions. I expected to do rewrites and will get started on them soon. I knew parts of the book were weak, but was gratified to know that some of the parts were good reading. There is hope.
Now I am looking for a few pictures. I need a picture of the old Douglass homestead on Pillar Point before the house burned.
When I was in Canada last month I made some contacts related to possible book signings or readings in the areas when the book is published. If you have any suggestions for promotion in northern NY state, Halton, Bruce or Oxford counties in Ontario or in Cloud County, Kansas, these are areas I write about in the book, and I would like to hear your ideas.