Where I’ve Been…

Newsflash: I’ve been MIA on this blog for a few weeks. Now that I’ve told you the obvious, please take a few moments to review the following list of excuses:

  • I have published Purgatory. It was a fair amount of work, but I have issued Purgatory as a self-published print book and ebook. As I write this, it is available for sale at Amazon.com, and I expect to see it on BarnesandNoble.com shortly. I’m bringing a handful of copies for sale at Balticon next weekend. Starla Huchton created one awesome book cover, and I have to say the print version looks gorgeous!

Self-publishing is not a quick process, at least not if you want a professional-looking product. I proofread the entire novel again over a weekend, saved it into a CreateSpace MS Word template, tweaked the formatting, uploaded it, got error messages, tweaked again, uploaded again, got error messages again, rinse and repeat. On the fourth attempt, I met with success. Then I discovered a minor continuity error in the text and had to repeat the process. And this was just for the print version.

Maybe I don’t know how to use it properly, but I found that the EPUB compile option in Scrivener produced one seriously ugly ebook. Text went from centered to left-justified, line spacing looked crunched, and the cover didn’t display properly. However, I downloaded EPUB-editing software Sigil and was able to correct the problems. The preview on Barnes & Noble’s Web site looked fine.

  • I created promotional bookmarks for Purgatory. This project took almost as much time as did publishing the book. I use Photoshop Elements so seldom that whenever I do use it, I’m flailing. I did multiple versions of the bookmark that met with rejection from the Web sites I sent them to. Eventually, my 20 year-old son, who is a wiz with this software, created a version that worked in about 15 minutes. It’s good to be related to people who know what they’re doing.
  • I had an unexpectedly difficult campaign for re-election to the Liverpool Public Library Board of Trustees. I have served on the board since December 2005 and have stood for election twice before this year, both times running unopposed. That was not the case when my five-year term expired this year. Three people (another incumbent, a challenger, and I) ran for two seats on the board. Someone decided to actually give the voters a choice! This meant the purchase of lawn signs, the printing of flyers, and the widespread distribution of same, not to mention a few public appearances. In the end, the other incumbent won by a comfortable margin and I prevailed by a scant 17 votes.
  • I had to prepare and deliver a presentation for my day job to a business group in Cooperstown last Friday. The one-hour presentation took the better part of a work day to create in addition to the overnight trip to Cooperstown. By the way, my employers can send me to Cooperstown on business anytime they wish. Seriously. I will not complain.
  • I have a couple of freelance assignments outstanding that I’ve begun researching but have not yet written.
  • My son is a pitcher on his high school varsity baseball team, and I have not missed a game. That will change, unfortunately, with Balticon this weekend.
  • Oh yes, and I’ve been earning a living as per normal, too.

All of this, by the way, was in the last four weeks.

However, the book is published, the election is won, the presentation has been delivered to an appreciative audience, the bookmarks should arrive tomorrow, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief. I have a very good interview with Starla Huchton waiting to be released on The Geek Side of Life, and my intent is to have it drop Thursday morning. Unfortunately, with all the madness, I missed my usual every-other-Thursday schedule. I hope this will get me back on a regular schedule.

And next weekend is Balticon — one of my favorite weekends of the year! What will I be doing there? That’s the subject of the next blog post…

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