About the book

Well, I went overboard with updates about the novel there for a while, so I backed off. But it’s probably safe to do an update at this point. I have sold nine copies so far, but I haven’t really done any publicity except mentioning it here and in an e-mail to some of my friends. The Times-Gazette is going to do a story, and the community reaction to my non-fiction stories about past mission trips has been extremely positive, so hopefully some of those folks will be interested in reading this fictional version.

The book is now available from CreateSpace, Amazon.com and Target.com (which is an automatic result of the Amazon listing). You can also get it in Kindle form from Amazon, although I have to say I’ve never met anyone who actually owns a Kindle.

My first customer

Some time today, a reader of this blog bought a copy of the novel. I want you to know it was my first sale!

UPDATE — Mystery solved: it was, appropriately enough given the subject of the novel, a former mission trip teammate. I know this because she sent me a message on Facebook; I do not receive any personal information about purchasers.

Soapstone

My novel is now available for purchase at my CreateSpace e-store. The cover image isn’t there yet — it will follow in a few days. Within a few weeks, the book will be available at Amazon.com.

Meanwhile, to show off the book, those of you who actually visit the site will notice that I’ve switched to a new theme. Those of you who follow me through a feed-reader won’t notice this, so I’m telling you: I’ve switched to a new theme. So there.

‘We just lived’

If you have not been following Newscoma’s National Novel Writing Month novel, which she has been posting to its own special blog, you should be.

Start from the top.

Meanwhile, in the realm of the printed page, I ended up finding a couple of more typos and ordering (grumble, grumble) a third proof of my novel. Any time you change your interior or cover files, you are required to order a proof copy of the new files. You’re supposed to wait for the proof to arrive, look at it, and then approve that version of the novel for sale.

But now that it’s all been fixed, knock on wood, I believe I’m going to go ahead and activate my e-store (using the third, and presumably correct, version of the files) once my second proof arrives and I get a look at it, which will happen Monday. I won’t wait until later in the week when the third proof arrives, because by that time I’ll be busy re-installing Windows with the replacement CD that Dell is sending me.

It will take a week or two after the e-store is activated for the book to show up on Amazon.

Proof update

The new proof of the novel is scheduled to arrive on Monday. If it’s OK, I can go live with the e-store immediately. (Technically, I could go ahead and click the button now, but from the CreateSpace message boards I have seen that it’s better to wait for the proof, in case there’s been some sort of technical glitch.)

A co-worker is currently reading my first proof. I’m anxious to hear her thoughts. I had trouble getting feedback (not from this person; I don’t believe I said anything to her about it) back when this was a manuscript.

The proof is in the proof

Well, my proof came today. Unfortunately, I immediately found several typos — some text where I missed converting underline to italics, and a weird font error in one of my chapter headings. So I needed to upload a new interior file. I will have to wait until it is approved and then order a new proof copy (at my own expense, this time) before approving the novel for distribution.

But still, it’s exciting to hold the thing. Holding the book in my hands, flipping through the pages, I started to get excited. I had my co-worker Sadie take my photo holding the thing. Several of my co-workers want to read it now. I had planned to do a sort of “soft opening” — marketing the book through the web site to see what the reaction is before making much of a splash with it among my in-person friends and family. I should just get over this and celebrate the book.

Blogging her novel

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month. I have a vague idea for a novel — but I’m fried tonight. I was at my first LEAMIS board meeting and retreat last night and during the day today in Monteagle. (I spent the night in Tracy City.) The meeting was productive but very challenging, even emotional at times, and then I had to drive back here from Monteagle.

I may start the novel tomorrow. On both of the occasions when I completed NaNoWriMo, I had missed a day somewhere along the way and had to make it up. It seems like a bad idea to miss the first day, of course. Maybe I’ll at least set up the .doc file and try to pump out a page or two some time before bed tonight, just so I’ll have some motivation to continue tomorrow.

Then again, I may just spend the month trying to sell last year’s NaNoWriMo novel.

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to say that Newscoma is participating, and not only participating — she’s blogging her novel as she goes. I tried that for a little while during my first (and first successful) NaNoWriMo in 2004, and it was a lot of fun, but then I ended up going back and making some minor plot tweaks to what I’d already written (usually a bad idea for NaNoWriMo), and I didn’t want to bother with trying to make the blog match the manuscript, so I just took the blog down.

I love what ‘coma has done so far, and I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed. Writing under pressure releases kinds of creativity that wouldn’t come out otherwise. Of course, those of us who know Trace will not be surprised by the novel’s general theme. I think it’s cute that — in the process of asking me for some information about the NaNoWriMo site — she apologized for the foul language, because, you know, I’m religious, which means I’ve never in my life read or heard foul language before. It might give me the vapors or something.

The plunge

Well, my proof copy of the novel has been printed and is now headed towards Shelbyville. I’ll look at it, and if it’s OK I can put it up for sale. I’ll have a little e-store to which I can link from here, and the book will also be available at Amazon.com (since CreateSpace, the publish-on-demand company I’m using, happens to be owned by Amazon).

I’m going to probably switch to a new blog theme here so that I can show off the link to the e-store to best advantage. But I don’t think I’m going to make a big deal out of this in person, with my friends and neighbors. I’m still having angst about the book and people’s reactions to it. In reality, I doubt it’s as bad as I think it is on even-numbered days or as good as I hope it is on odd-numbered days. It’s just a book. There are things about it with which I’m frustrated (even on the odd-numbered days), and things about it I like (even on the even-numbered days). It’s just a book. We’ll see if anyone else enjoys it. And it’s been good experience just to go through the process of getting it set up for publication. I had to set up the PDF files for the book’s interior and its cover. I used a photo of soapstone figurines from my 2005 Kenya trip as the cover art.

Because of an agreement between CreateSpace and NaNoWriMo, my proof copy is free. I would be at no financial risk whatsoever, but I upgraded to a “pro” plan that gives me a lower per-copy cost in return for a $5 per year fee, which I think I can probably afford. (There’s normally a one-time upgrade fee of $39 for the pro plan, but that’s being waived until the end of the year as part of another CreateSpace promotion).

It’s just a book.