While in high school, I did freelance photography for a local newspaper. One assignment was to create a photo story to go with a feature article about a man and woman who published their own books. I don’t mean vanity publishing where one pays a publisher to publish your book. This couple hand printed and bound their books.
The woman wrote poetry. The man typeset the book using a composing stick, loaded the composed lines of type into a galley, and then used a screw press to print. Those printed pages were hand stitched together, trimmed, and bound in a hardback cover. I was amazed by the process. Ever since, I’ve wanted to print my own book.
What I’m doing now is probably as close as I’m going to get to physically making a book. I have typeset my Utopia Origins anthology. After more proof reading to ensure nothing has gone wrong, a print-on-demand publisher will print the book. It’s exciting.
There is more work to do before reaching my goal, but I’m getting closer as I tick off each task.
Many of my skills and experiences are adjacent or even contiguous with the skills needed to publish a book. All I have to do is learn the aspects of the process I don’t know. That is a challenge — there is so much to understand — but I am learning, even if the process seems slow and tedious.
I spent the month editing, submitting more stories to various markets, and studying the many aspects of independently publishing a book. Ebook and print book formats are selected and a cover concept art created, but I still have a lot of work to do.
While I have been editing various stories, I haven’t written any new material lately. The stuff in my head desperately wants to be written. I need to take some time to satisfy that urge.
I continue to work on Utopia Origins by making more edits and studying best practices for eBooks and print books. The work never ends.
I’m also working on Hope and the Last Dragon. Hope needs to feed a baby dragon. Dragons are obligate carnivores. She has to find something she has access to to feed him that doesn’t make him sick at his stomach (she discovers fruit doesn’t work). I researched mock-meat. In real life, making mock-meat from vegetable proteins is not easy. In this story, hand-waving* and phlebotinum** will be needed to allow Hope to prepare food that works for the dragon.
The Nyxie and Sky story is also roiling in my head, but I can’t spend time on it yet.
In addition to all of that, I’m waiting for more submission windows to open so I can send out more short story submissions.
Interminable effort, but indomitable persistence.
* Hand-waving: Not explaining a detail in a story while expecting the reader to accept that it exists and works.
** Phlebotinum: A versatile substance that may be rubbed on anything to cause an effect needed by a story’s plot.
During this year’s Write-a-thon, most of my effort was in making more editing passes on The Dragon Universe: Utopia Origins.
During last year’s Write-a-thon when I was preparing a draft of Utopia Origins for my beta readers to review. Since then, I have made multiple revisions and additional editing passes honing the manuscript to perfection, or as close as I can get.
I also worked on other projects during the year and sent out more short story submissions. I sent one a few days ago and will send out others when the target markets open for submissions.
For now, I’m creating a glossary for Utopia Origins and working on more projects.
I’m participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon again this year. If you wish to contribute to Clarion West by sponsoring me, go to my event page and select the Donate Now button.
Most of my effort during this write-a-thon is editing my Utopia Origins anthology — a collection of five stories that tell the tales of a few of the courageous heroes, both human and dragon, who challenged their societies’ beliefs and in so doing changed the world.
For one of my editing steps, I examined dialogue. I wrote a macro in MS Word that extracts dialogue into a compilation that removes the dialogue from context. This gave me distance that helped me refine the words. The task was tedious, but I definitely improved the content.
Now I’m doing another read-through. While doing that, I’m collecting a list of characters and glossary terms for an appendix at the end of the book.
As I write and edit, I read aloud because I want my words to flow with sounds and cadence. Also, it’s fun to hear what I’ve written and helps me become immersed in the words. Nevertheless, I also find that editing silently has its uses.
The issue is I get lost in the sounds of my words, which interferes with seeing ways to make the words better. Reading silently helps me be more aloof. I make the improvements, and then read the results aloud to ensure the words are still beautiful.
That might sound odd, but it works for me.
I’ve been doing a lot of this style of editing, sending out more submissions, and preparing an anthology for publication.
After sending out a couple of stories for possible publication with short fiction magazines, I turned my attention to one of the stories in the anthology I’m preparing for publication. The story is novella sized and a call for novellas had come up.
I made multiple edit passes looking for anywhere I could enhance the story. There is always something that can be changed, and every reader has their own suggestions for changes. Whether those changes improve the story is often a matter of opinion. However, I do believe I improved the story. Moreover, the concentrated effort enhanced my writing and editing skills. I look forward to applying those enhanced skills on editing my anthology, and on the other stories I have in progress.
Work toward publishing is continuing. Corrections suggested by one reader have been applied. Suggestions from other readers are expected. I’m working through the punch list of items I need to do in preparation for publishing.
Two short stories are ready to send out at the beginning of April and a novella is ready for a May submission window.
Things are happening, but there is still much to do. I wish I could make these things happen faster, but I’m simply not super human enough to be faster.
So much work to do, but I’m making progress on preparing to publish. Many steps are required, such as writing book blurb, creating the book’s front and back matter, formatting ebook and print book interiors, record the audiobook, creating covers, and more. I studied these aspects of publishing for years, but now I’m digging into the details and actually doing the tasks. I look forward to accomplishing something.