Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unattainable Perfection

I was going to title this "In the Home Stretch," but then I realized I have used that title. I seem to be in the home stretch frequently. That may be because the finish line keeps receding. I'm sure I've left out at least a dozen steps as I try to record what I'm doing to write, publish, and promote Words To Live By.

It's painful to admit publicly, but I never realized just how many steps it takes to produce a little book (and it IS little). Every proof I receive has mistakes. What is so frustrating is that these are not new mistakes; they are mistakes we (the copy editor and I) didn't catch. The last proof, which was the third, required ten tiny corrections, which meant a new high-resolution PDF to be uploaded to CreateSpace, all of CreateSpace's rules to follow again, and another proof to be mailed back to me. I guess it will never be perfect no matter how many times I read it, and frankly, I am not eager to read it again.

What complicates this process is that I have two book in progress, both at exactly the same stage of publication. The other one is the sixth edition of How to Write a Nonfiction Book. That means I am reading two proofs, making or overseeing two sets of corrections, and sending and receiving two sets of files. When I said I was "updating" my existing book, I didn't realize how much I would be adding or that a poltergeist would get involved. Short of throwing things around, this one has done almost as much damage. All I can say is save your files with draft numbers and dates, and back up, back up, back up.

Last week, I attended a presentation by Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: the Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed. Mark and I had a nice chat while I was buying his book. He asked me who was printing mine. I told him. He said, "Well, don't read that part."

Words fail me.