Saturday, March 20, 2010

Book Publication 101

Mobry's Dick has pretty much finished going through its editing and proofreading phases at Loose Id. (Never, anywhere, have I seen such a thorough process. That company does not cut editorial corners.) Release is still scheduled for May 18.

I figure MD will pan out to around 67k words, which will make it my longest book since InDescent. I'm afraid I can't come up with an accurate page count, since that will be determined by final formatting and those various and sundry electronic versions into which it will ultimately be converted.

As I went through the proofread copy, I realized how much I liked the novel and, especially, the main characters. This pleasurable onslaught of the warm fuzzies sometimes happens when a story has been with me for a while. At some point during production, I suddenly realize I'm proud of it. In fact, my reactions to any given project go through distinct phases:

  1. Excitement. Yippee, I'm starting a new book! Where will it take me? Oh, yeah, these chapters are sounding good.
  2. Stall-out. As other authors have mentioned, this often happens after Chapter Three, although it can happen at any time. Things just start grinding to a halt. Now what do I do? Where do I go from here?

  3. Anxiety. Maybe I shouldn't be writing this at all. Maybe my effort is doomed. Should I keep going? But what if it's an irredeemable piece of shit?

  4. Restart. Like a stopped train overcoming inertia, chug by chug, the story gradually picks up momentum again. Huh. Maybe it's not so bad after all.

  5. Race to the Finish. Well, hot damn, I only have two chapters to go!

  6. [I'll skip the whole submission business, because it varies wildly from publisher to publisher.]

  7. Edits. (These have their own subset of phases.) Okay, let's dig in! . . . This is getting a little tedious. . . . I think my eyes are going to fall out of my head. . . . I swear I'm going to kill the next editor I see. . . . Jaysus, I can't read another word of this damned tome! Enough already!

  8. Satisfaction. Well, I did it. Again. I am da bomb! And how I love these characters {{sigh}}.

  9. Cover Approval. Same as the submission-phase comment. Reactions range from ew to what were they thinking? to hmm, this is promising to yeah, okay, I'll settle for it to wow, spot on!

  10. Release. *knock-knock-knock* Hellooo, I have a new book out. Does anybody care? Hey, it really isn't all that bad. Give it a chance! Have all the reviewers died? Did a mysterious illiteracy plague strike overnight? Helloooooooooo . . .



Chris said...

And LooseId's thorough process shows in the quality of their books. :)

Mem said...

"Have all the reviewers died?"

Ha, ha! Thanks, K.Z., for a fascinating look behind the scenes, and big congrats on getting the book done and through the whole process!

K. Z. Snow said...

Wow, you guys are quick! I was still editing the post when-- blammy --comments appeared!

I'm serious, Chris. As much as I might challenge, resist, or refuse various editors' suggestions (and I try not to be capricious about it), LI has one of the best editorial teams in electronic OR print publishing.

Glad you enjoyed it, Val. Of course, I was being facetious to one degree or another about a lot of this stuff. ;-) But the basics are accurate.

Tam said...

It's fairly easy to find those who don't edit the hell out of books, Wren listed some of the bug-a-boos that can make a reader crazy an they aren't plot issues, they are wrong words, weird phrasing, and other things that you assume an editor should catch. Frustrating and tedious as it is for the author, we readers appreciate it in the end.

K. Z. Snow said...

Nice to hear, Tam. I was still tweaking this baby today, as I went over the proofed copy. I'm just grateful there are other sets of eyes to catch the things I've simply stopped seeing.

That's another phenomenon -- how you can go over a book so many times, your capacity actually to read it becomes impaired.