Progress

As I’ve indicated in an earlier post, I’ve been writing for over half my life now, and truth be told, I have no intention of stopping.  Let that be fair warning to you all…but fair warning isn’t really why we’re here.

Over the years, I’ve written many pieces of stories.  Some of them have been Fantasy.  Some have been Science Fiction.  A few have even been Action/Adventure-type stuff, reminiscent of the Mack Bolan serial novels.  Until very recently, I wouldn’t call anything I’ve written ‘good.’  🙂

One of my favorite works is and has been the 10-book Epic Fantasy that I’ve been working on since somewhen in the vicinity of 2000.  It has taken many forms over the years, and the earliest versions highlighted my inexperience with writing more than the kind of story I wanted to tell.  Matter of fact, the story I wanted to tell has changed a few times, too…or maybe I’ve finally just figured out what I want to write.  😛

As I write on the main page, the Epic Fantasy series’s title has become “Histories of Drakmoor,” and my first book will have the published title of Awakening.  Oh…as I don’t believe I’ve announced the book cover yet either, it will look like this:

The cover design is by a fellow named Mark Foley.  I met him through work, and he just shakes his head when I call him a genius.  I’m not an accredited psychologist to determine if he actually is indeed a genius, but I know for certain that I can’t do the quality layout and image work that he makes look easy.

The cover image is by Jakub Skop.  I discovered his work through a different site, and it captivated me so that I contacted him to ask if he would accept a request for a custom image.  In all truth, I had originally planned to use the image as the background for my publishing company’s website, but the more I thought about it, I felt it was too busy and data-intensive even for our modern age.

I do believe it worked out fairly well as a cover image, though…

So, that’s all well and good, but how close am I to publishing?  Well, closer than you might think…

I entered the new year intent on completing my Writing Database, the software that started as a project to learn Visual Basic and coding with the goal of replacing the various three-ring binders I’ve accumulated to serve as Series Bibles.  The whole idea is that I’d open the Database on my desktop (or laptop) and be able to access all my notes and information without being chained to my residence or having lug around three-ring binders that will only grow in weight and size over time.

I had this goal, because I wanted to try to release Book 2 of my Fantasy series nine months after I release Book 1 (Awakening).  I have many books I want to write, 54 in total thus far (including Awakening), and releasing one book every nine months means I’ll finish all the books I want to write in only 40.5 years.  No problem, right?  🙂

Ideally, I’d like to work my way through the current list, releasing one book every six months…but I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain my day job, publish a book every six months, and still feel/act/be even slightly human.  The most time I’ll allow between books, though, is nine months.  Any longer than that, and it doesn’t look good that I’ll finish my writing list in my lifetime.

I came to realize, however, that I felt an incredible pressure/weight hanging over me to publish Awakening.  It had been too long.  The time was now.  So, I changed my focus.  Starting Sunday (28 January 2018) afternoon/evening, I began the Second Rubber Ducky Revision of my manuscript.

What is a Rubber Ducky Revision?  Why, I’m glad you asked…

I never knew what it was called when I print out my manuscript and read through it aloud, making notes where things are wrong or don’t read well, until a colleague told me about the Rubber Ducky of computer programming. The story goes that developers will sometimes keep a literal rubber ducky (or some other object, like a bust of Napoleon or a stuffed howler monkey toy) on their desk or in/around their work area.  When they hit a rough patch in programming where a piece of code isn’t the working the way it should with no apparent reason, the developer will then describe the piece of code, what it’s supposed to do, etc. to the rubber ducky (or whatever).  The way the human brain processes auditory stimuli differently than just reading something silently, it’s not uncommon for the developer to discover the problem while explaining the code or code problem.  Hence, the Rubber Ducky Method…

The whole process of reading your manuscript aloud makes a considerable difference, and I highly recommend anyone who can’t seem to find the problem with a chapter or page try reading it aloud.  You never know what will suddenly become apparent, because reading aloud draws on many different facets of your brain.

After several hours, I have worked my way through the first 20 chapters.  That means there’s only 39 left!  I doubt I can keep up this pace; after all, I’m writing this at 2:40am on a work day, but I’m wide awake.  I might as well be doing something productive, and my throat and voice are a little tired after reading through 20 chapters.  That’s about 147 pages, in case you were wondering.

I’ve given myself a deadline of 10 February 2018 to complete the Second Rubber Ducky Revision, but if I can keep even close to the momentum I have so far, it won’t take that long.

The Second Rubber Ducky Revision is the final revision the manuscript will receive, and once it’s complete, I’ll write up the front and back matter.  I’ll make one Word file with the front matter, the manuscript, and the back matter…and then, the manuscript will be locked.

I imagine it’ll take one evening to write the front and back matter and, at most, a second evening to collect everything into one Word document.

The next step is formatting the eBook.  In an earlier post, I listed sending the manuscript to a formatting service for both the eBook and formatted PDF for printing.  The formatting service in question is Booknook.biz, and they are great people.  Kimberly Hitchens and her people are top shelf, and I cannot recommend them enough.  That being said, I’ve been playing around with Calibre, and I’m aching to try formatting my eBook myself.  It’s more of a curiosity thing to see if I can do it than any desire to save money or not use Booknook.biz, especially since I fully intend to hire them to produce a formatted PDF when I want to release paperbacks.

I’ve allowed myself four days to format the eBook.

Once I have two formatted eBooks (.mobi for Amazon and .epub for everyone else), I’ll publish.  Right now, I’m planning to publish on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo.  I’ll investigate additional venues later on.

I don’t know how long it will take the various sites to list my book, but it is entirely conceivable that I’ll be putting my book on those sites by the 7th or 8th of February.

Don’t worry.  I don’t think you’ll have any doubt when my book is finally for sale on those sites…

😉

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