With some luck (and the expedited shipping I’ve paid for) I’ll have five proof copies of Endgame in my hands on Xmas. Gift to me. From there, I have to approve the proof so the print version can officially be live on Amazon and other distributors. Considering how the ebook version’s been available since October 10th, this ten-week lag doesn’t exactly equate to fire-and-forget. C’est la vie.
The delays were all my own doing–getting the abso-smurfly perfect back copy to my cover designer, monkeying around with formatting, the Word page numbers dilemma (worthy of a blog post all by itself), etc. It takes time.
For those who haven’t gone through the process, CreateSpace seems like a wonderful machine. You go through tasks in order, and you get the product you want. *Note: Both the interior file (your manuscript) and the exterior/cover have to fit specifications, so don’t leave the reading about those details until the last step. Save heartache and time, and read read read first.
First-timers (rookies? newbies?) this is also where the writer has to wrestle the perfectionist. It’s an icy slope: Perfect meets good enough and one has to win. What’s good enough? This is not to be taken lightly, as they say. You’ve spent three to four (or five, or twelve, or twenty) years of your life on this digital masterpiece in your hands. If you’re anything like me, the hours spent hammering at a keyboard don’t equate to the amount of time you’ve lived with this story, heard good dialogue when getting out of the shower, realized you left out a crucial detail while fastening your seat-belt, etc. June Vereeth, Prubius, Esch, Dhani and Bohl have been with me for a long time. So have the Mitasterites, their missiles and their foolish decisions. Raking leaves, I can pause and hear the quiet of snowfall with the sinister rustling of soldiers getting into position.
So if, in Chris Farley’s words, “It’s go time!” you want to be sure the damned thing is ready. Really, really ready.
(For those who run into that problem of not know when to stop monkeying with the thing, it’s time to hand the manuscript to a trusted reader, bribe them appropriately and find another project to occupy you for a month. *Note, when you get that copy w/ comments back from your reader, you go through another pass or three and re-tinker what, in your opinion, is the last word.)
In travel parlance: You’ve picked the flight, purchased tickets, have a hotel and car lined up on the other end. You’ve gotten to the airport, gotten through security, have the proper carry-on in hand and have watched others pass through the gate to the jet-way. Now, pristinely queued, you’re scrutinizing your boarding pass and wondering if that flight to Topeka to see the family wouldn’t be better, after all, than the direct to Lihue, Kauai for Xmas. (Let’s up the ante, temptation-wise: You’re going solo and the flight attendants are decked out in saucy Mrs. Claus suits. Their smiles and eyes are gorgeous. “Second Thoughts, still holding on line one. Second Thoughts on line one.”)
So…is it GO time? Wheels up in five?
This might also be the point where you ask yourself (for the twelfth time) if this is what you really want. Is this it? Is it ready?
With CreateSpace (and KDP, and others) this isn’t the point of no return. You can make changes…or can you? Because while you can alter the text, pages, cover, etc., this is the point where your book becomes public. It’s out there. Out in the world. And unless you happen to be a certain future world leader who shall not be named here, you actually care about your words and what people will think. You give a crap. It’s the reason you’ve worked so hard on this story, the reason you put up with the suffocating self-doubt (Narcissists, you don’t have this) and questions about how you’ve spent your time. Factor in all the hours, nebulous costs of pens and paper and printer ink and coffee and fees to cover designers and proofreaders (Yup, you need those!) and clicking that ‘Submit’ button comes down to a real ‘Oh sh*t’ moment.
So…is it GO time? For real?
If in doubt, still, take a few deep breaths of cold air, listen to some David Gray and then decide.
For me, once again, Yes.
Now, with skillet-to-the-face irony, I’ll point out that all this worry and work may not amount to anything in your checkbook. (To wit: For Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime members, Endgame is still free.) C’est la vie. Again.
But is that why we write?