After months or even years of working on a book you are finally ready for publication. You are thrilled to have it done! It will be so amazing to hold the finished product in your hands. You can hardly wait any longer, but . . . you hesitate. Fear has frozen you in place, finger a millimeter above the keyboard.
You tell yourself “All I have to do is click on that ‘Order Your Proof Copy’ or ‘Publish’ button and I’m done.” “Are you?” you ask. You nod. Yes. And a little fear nudges into that little crack you didn’t know was there. You try to push past and reach for the Enter key on the keyboard. In a rush, the questions come: You’ve done your best, right? Your editor has been great and hasn’t missed a single thing, hasn’t he? Your full cover has everything, doesn’t it? The interior design looked perfect, right? All the sections on Bowker for the ISBN are filled in correctly, right? What about the official Copyright with The Library of Congress? You posted an announcement of your accomplishment, didn’t you? Where? On Goodreads, your Amazon Author page (is it set up?), your personal Facebook page as well as your business page (do you have a business page?), What about LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, . . . oh gods, you suddenly think about all that still has to be done now that the book is done. You jerk your hand away from the keyboard letting panic replace the excitement and joy of publishing. You’ve been busy writing, rewriting, and rewriting, so when have you had time to do all of that?
For independently publishing authors this is a crisis moment. And whether you believe it or not, it will happen with everything you publish, not just the first book. You will always second guess, always want to do more editing. Every time you see your work in a different format you will find things you’ll want to change. The important thing for you to do when this happens is to Stop and Think whether those changes truly matter. I was encouraged to change the font of my manuscript while I was working on the third major wave of editing. I was amazed at the number of errors I found. Even saving the Word Document as a PDF changed how I saw it. (How could I, my editor, and beta readers have missed all those missing quotation marks?) It was enlightening and delayed my publication goal by almost two weeks while the text was reviewed more closely one more time.
Now, I did manage to get one proof copy of my third book, The Blades, in my hands before I got stopped once more. Through all of changes I was not prepared for the formatting of the glossary that was in that proof copy. I did not notice the difference in the PDF nor in any of the Word documents. It was different than the glossary in the second book in two ways. Was it really a problem? Yes and no. Could I live with it? Maybe. So, thinking that if I could live with it, I moved on to ordering a proof copy from KDP. And once again I was stopped – for reasons I still don’t understand but I took this as a sign that I needed the formatting to be corrected to match that found in the second book. Why waste money on another proof copy when I knew this was something I knew should be corrected. However, this again moved The Blades’ publication date to mid-November, if my interior designer could correct it in a day or two.
Everything else is good and excitement returns, but that excitement is tempered with the certainty of my decision. Is there truly a rush to get this wonderful story into the hands of my readers? They think so. And that encourages me to get this done right.
The fear and panic of all those questions has been pushed back. I can return to the list and crosscheck what’s been completed and what has not. I know not quite all are checked off, but most of them are. I know that even though this is my third book I am still learning. And I thank the gods and the Stones of Lrakira and Teramar I’m still capable of learning. Sometimes there are good reasons to NOT push that ‘Publish’ button, to take just a bit longer to ensure that your readers will be pleased with your finished product. You don’t have to do everything at once, but be sure to do the really important things – write a good story, get it well edited, get a good cover, get the LCCN and ISBN set up, etc. Then you can push that publish button and get excited to hold your book and show it proudly to your readers – Now You Can Sell It!
Addendum: the paperback version of The Blades: The Stone’s Blade, Book Three went live on Amazon on November 20, 2019. I’m so excited!!!! Please join me.