After the frenzied writing and word-counting of my writing retreat, it probably seems as though I have gone a bit quiet now – but that is the nature of the editing beast. I have so far read the whole of “Heir Apparent” three times myself (including once when my printer went moody and missed out two whole chapters and I couldn’t work out why the plot made less sense than usual…) and now it is being read for typos, spelling, etc. by my husband. He is a very precise person – engineer by training, bike mechanic by passion – and therefore good at looking closely at things. Plus it gives him such pleasure to be able to point out spelling mistakes to me, an English graduate – the things we do for love.
While all of that is going on, an author’s mind turns to thoughts of publication. And to that end I have been:
- Writing the “front matter” for the book – which (for me) means:
- gathering extracts from reviews of the other books in the series – these go on the very first pages of the book
- deciding on a classical quotation to start the book – I can’t remember why I first did this in “Fatal Forgery”, but it’s part of the process now, and quite good fun for someone who had no classical education
- writing the dedication
- Co-operating with the cover designer – by which I mean I give him some rambling drivel about how I think the cover could look, and he creates something amazing out of it (we’re nearly there now – I’ll show it to you soon)
- Planning the launch – I’ve emailed one bookshop which (perhaps in a moment of madness after a reading) offered to hold my “next” launch party (they didn’t know I’ve never had one before).
After “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” (book two), I did write myself a list of pre-publication tasks, which had been invaluable: when you’re preparing a paperback and several e-versions, there’s a lot to remember. And at the end of the list, I have written: Don’t worry about a specific publication date – Amazon will publish when it wants to. Good advice.
On a related note, you know that I have my free guide to the Sam Plank series? When I published it, I managed – through publishing on another site and putting that price to zero and then asking Amazon to price-match that zero price – to get the guide listed for free on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I assumed – fool! – that this meant that it would be free on all Amazons, but apparently not: a friend in Belgium emailed to say that Amazon.fr was trying to charge her 99¢ for it. What to do, I wondered? Thankfully, my friends at the Alliance of Independent Authors came up trumps; I put a query out to them and they suggested contacting Amazon directly and asking to have the publication price-matched across all Amazons – and it worked. Live and learn, live and learn.