IF IT LOOKS LIKE A BOOK...
Is there a word to describe something more than excited? Previously I've mentioned how this process swings between excitement and terror. It's just escalated! Ecstatic? maybe Orgasmic? close. I feel like screaming very loudly and very long into someone's ear - I'm that excited. Jubilant? perhaps.
What has happened this weekend to get me so shilly-shallied? (yes I think I made that word up - I do that when I'm blown-away sometimes)
This weekend, though busy with my writers group, a charity evening meal, and several hours today acting as a tour guide round Dover castle (might be in the next book) I could see my novel finally getting somewhere. The lovely man, professionally tweaking... no that's not right he did a lot more than tweak, he took it to another level, finished the cover. It's awesome. I'm not sure if he is supposed to PDF it too but I'll forgive him if he was. And that equally lovely man, Geoff, who has done a fantasmigorical (can you tell I'm thrilled now?) job on formatting it - finished too.
As my husband says, (to quote Harry Enfield) if it looks like a book, and sounds like a book, it must be a book.
While they were doing their 'thing' I was sent the pent-ultimate format to do a final read through. Which I squeezed in this weekend. I went to bed at 1am seeing speech marks in my sleep and woke this Sunday morning at 6.30am to continue, finishing my bit of work at 9.45hrs before leaving for Dover.
This evening I've registered with Nielsen's Editor system to obtain a catalogue entry and then emailed Waterstones to open an account with them. That done I was about to log off when I thought, I wonder what happens if I put my name in Waterstones search box?
You know how you can put your name in Goggle and it shows you everyone in the world with your name and what they do? I have a dog breeder in Australia, a lecturer in Denver Colorado ( which is slightly weird as I've been to both places they live.) and a film director in England. Do it if you're bored one day, its fun.
So, I put Carol Salter in the box and nearly screamed in someone's ear. Waterstones will not allow you to sell books to them unless you appear on their catalogue. Screams even louder.
I'm there. I'm there. You can pre-order my book, my book, yes my book from Waterstones. It has the publication date of 31st October and the price £8.99 aaahhhhhh, aahhhh. How stupid am I? I know grow up Carol, but still...
Feel free to pre-order your copy of Witch on the Warpath now. I think I might faint...
5 WEEKS AND COUNTING
Did I say I was on a roller coaster? Make that a Wheel of Death. If I have a coronary and two stomach ulcers after this please don't tell me "I told you so".
As mentioned previously, the new cover came back and it is wonderful. I showed it to the Manager at Waterstones today and she agreed. One fly in the ointment, I don't have the revised back cover yet and I need to update the whole thing to the Nielson agency and Waterstones publication dept. I'm biting my nails, what's left of them, down regarding that bit (or should that be bite?). Fingers crossed my beautiful Gary will be able to zoom it over tomorrow. Frankly I'll take it any size and try to get my newest best friend Geoff to size it.
After I last wrote, I plucked up enough courage to check the formatting and I was very happy with. It looked a whole heap better than my efforts. Meanwhile (Is this beginning to sound like a soap opera?) Ruth had given me details of Geoff who she recommended. I thought, wouldn't hurt to see what he thought. I was sure he'd say "that's great!" or maybe even "just a few tweaks needed". If I thought Gary was harsh about my cover Geoff beat him hands down. Down went the roller coaster. He said it would take at least 3 weeks to format professionally, plus he mentioned more costs. I quailed. Did I want to take a reasonable book to my launch or a professional one? he asked. No brainer there. I signed expecting to tell everyone the launch date was moved, when out of the blue he sent me a sample first chapter - which looks amazing and said he would get right on it. He recokens he can make the deadline. Up I go again.
So I spoke to the Waterstones manager and now I have to apply for Waterstones to accept the book on their catalogues, except I have no cover to show them - yet.
I also need to put the cover on Nielson's site - ditto. An authors life, it seems, is never done.
It was a low day last time I wrote, now I'm on a scooter trying to traverse a steep hill, with my deadline being the summit.
Following the panic over no formatter I needed to pin the printer down on deadline dates for printing. She tells me it's not the print run that's the worry but the queue of folk waiting for access to the print run. Her final deadline date for the PDF's of both cover and content is 1st October or I won't make the Halloween launch date, Pressure - Oh yes!
I went to work Tuesday after the bombshell Monday, and because I'm sad, waylaid a work colleague about my publishing woes. She mentioned her partner's son might be able to help. I was amazed when a little note was stuck to my computer screen (who needs email?) giving me his details and e-mail address. He agreed to check the book over and two days later it's back. I'm too scared to look at it yet plus I've karate in 25 minutes and the SI executive meeting first thing tomorrow, then the SI public event after that, but I will build up the courage to view it tomorrow night - fingers crossed.
The book cover came over from Gary and its beautiful, Okay I sent him the wrong blurb etc for the back cover but I hoping it's an easy fix.
This weekend I'll be viewing the content, completing my Bertram's account form, and the printer proposal account, plus popping to Waterstones to update the manager.
On an excited moment, got to go..
BRING ME A STRAIGHT JACKET!
The road to publication it seems is never smooth, it's full of pot holes, cones and diversion signs. Plus my vehicle seems to have got a puncture and my AA membership has run out! That about sums up the last couple of days in the rusty van that is my effort to get published.
Sunday morning saw me excited as a box of frogs on caffeine as I sent my novel off for formatting. My joy was short lived. I realise my life is supposed to be one long rollercoaster with someone behind me throwing up every now and then. I'm surprised I haven't died of heart failure during this process. If I do maybe my book will sell better. Too morbid? sorry. Welcome to the highs and lows of this adventure.
My formatter wasn't overjoyed that I'd used 'word' to write my book in and had it laid out in A4 size too. Who knew that isn't how to layout a book. I thought I'd done so well. Long and short - he is too unwell to format it now, though he did provide a link to company where I should be able to get it done. I see another lump of my savings swallowed up.
On the good news front. I've heard from Bertram's and they have accepted my account. Woohoo! I'm open for business with Waterstones. Next stop back to Waterstones. I only hope I have a printed book in my hand by then, the timing is looking very tight now . I'm wondering what type of delay the new formatters will offer, especially when I was expecting to go to print next week!
I'm reminded of that old song ' three wheels on my wagon'. I'll start panicking a bit more when its down to two. Watch this space.
I DON'T WANT TO CROW BUT...
What did you do with your wonderful Saturday? I spent nine hours on my laptop finalising Witch on the Warpath. As you know I spent much of this week wandering round Thanet taking piccys. Took a couple today too - of Ramsgate Library. There were only a few I couldn't nail down and I got those off the internet - which was a saga in itself.
If you use someone's work from the internet, be it written, image or design etc you now have to declare it or risk being sued. (the new law came in force 2008) Even if you don't use it as it stands, if you adapt it, or trace it, or do what I did and change it to a pencil drawing (yes there's an app) they can take you to court.
You required to have a Common Creative Licence now. The licence isn't law, I don't think, it's just good practice to cover your back. Reading through the legal blurb the main thing is to acknowledge the original artist in your work. So I took 6 photos off Google to use and thought Oh no! I've got to include all 6 in my acknowledgements section. Apparently you only have to do this if they have titled it and owned their work.
If you're unsure right click on the picture and go down to properties where it will not only tell you who shot it, but the date, time, camera and what filling they had in their sarnie.
Fortunately for me just two artists have, so I've duly attributed their work and provided a link to their website where I could find it. This is what promoted me to go out and shoot my own work. You can judge for yourselves on my efforts. I took these on the grass outside the crematorium (yes I had another lovely time being strange - it was dead boring!) The crows were over 40 feet away and I was struggling to hold my breathe and shoot without wiggling. I have turned them into drawings which feature in my book. You might like you know they didn't pose for me but hopped this way and that while several wasps took a liking to my perfume. It wasn't easy but the outcome speaks for itself - I think. More tomorrow.
WHEN IS A PARROT NOT A PARROT?
Yesterday saw me down Ramsgate beach after work taking photos of seagulls and the sands. I got a lot of weird looks from fifty-something's sunbathing and even more in Ellington Park, which was full of young children. I had to be careful to not look like a perv walking about with no dog or child.
Luckily I was taking photos of green parrots and they were high up in the sycamore trees trying to pretend they were leaves. If you ever want to take a picture my advice is - don't bother. They are so hard to spot and even harder to snap. I've a crick in my neck to prove it bending over nearly backwards. God knows what people thought. I guess after they realised I wasn't after their children they must have labelled me as the resident looney.
Still I'm home now and after working last night for several hours on the Soroptimist International Canterbury website in preparation for our bid to SIGBI to go live today I finally have time to work on the illustrations this evening and tomorrow.
Meanwhile back on the distributor front. I've spoken to Bertrams - the next distributor - who inform me they are not a distributor only a supplier and they can't supply any book to Waterstones until they request them, which they haven't. I don't really understand this angle because where do they suppose they are going to source the book from, if it isn't from me? I reckon it's time for another trip back to Waterstones to discuss it further.
I'll contact my formatter now and get him on standby.
The launch party will still go ahead as planned on 30th October at Quex Barn Birchington 6 - 8pm. Anyone reading this is invited - its your pass.
DRAWING TO A CLOSE?
Publication moves ever closer.
The whole book has been proof edited and I've tooth-combed it. (Is that actually a verb or have I invented one?) I'm going through the process of inserting the illustrations at present, with a view to sending to the formatter on Sunday. Plus the proof editor has offered to cast a final eye over it.
I decided to use the ten pencil drawings as illustrations at the start of each chapter. Unfortunately I could only afford ten so, when I put them in place it looked weird having them on some chapters and not others. There's 35 chapters. 'I know' I thought, having a brilliant idea, 'I'll put drawings on each chapter.' Easier said than done, don't they say'?
First I decided which type of pictures I wanted - animals and birds seemed safe and relevant as they are dotted about all over the story. Plus I naively thought no one would mind me using these type of images. I checked out a very good blackbird, robin and owl on Google images, which I downloaded, then my son, using his sketch app changed the photos into drawings. They looked fabulous. I was on a roll so I included some woodland shots and buildings including Hall Place in Canterbury on the list, because its in the book.
That's where I came unstuck. I'd already had the foresight to check that each image I downloaded had consent to reuse and use commercially without charge but on bringing up the last image the photographer had included a piece on his rights. He advised if one didn't want to be sued (I don't) then his work had to be accredited and also I needed to apply for a Creative Commons licence. Why is my life so complicated?
I was looking at 25 photos, that's 25 accreditations plus the licence, and my nerve went. Plan two., I'm spending a week taking photos myself of the relevant animals and birds which I will turn into drawings for the chapters.
I knew it wouldn't be simple. I spent two hours walking round Margate cemetery Monday evening. I managed to bag several squirrels but the crows, magpies etc were playing silly buggers. I'd sit quietly on a bench seat while they teased me from nearby gravestones or even hopped behind them and stuck their beaks out - I can prove it I have the photos.
Yesterday, Tuesday, I tried rabbits at Baypoint. I managed one retina reflecting eye and a dark shape that could be a shadow. I've still got to find an owl, weasel, seagull, spider, bat and more of the previous. If there are any David Bailey's out there with who have already got photos of these and are not going to insist on accreditation etc please send them here.