Big news, people! I’ll get straight to the point:
My first book, Order of the Spirits: Fragments, is 100% done!
What does that mean, exactly? Well, let’s start with the manuscript.
Order of the Spirits: Fragments has been written, rewritten, edited, then re-edited more times than I care to recall. What’s more, the entire manuscript has also been professionally proofread!
I’ve mentioned in my last update that I’ll probably look for a proofreader, and I was lucky to discover and work with Michelle Hope on that final edit of my book. Michelle did a great job checking and making last-touch improvements on the manuscript Courtney and I had prepared! So, now, I can say with utmost certainty that the manuscript for Fragments is ready for the world!
Unless someone makes a very compelling argument for it, I’m not changing a single character in this chunk of text ever again! Oh, and for those interested, the final word count of the book sits proudly at around 102.5k words!
Anyway, with the manuscript ready, you might think that’s all there is to it, however…
There are illustrations to talk about! Maps, too!
Also stated in my previous post is that Cristiana has created an amazing (soon-to-be-revealed) cover for Order of the Spirits: Fragments. She had also drawn two maps for my stories, and now, well… we can add five illustrations to her list of contributions!
Cris has an incredible art style, and her work adds a lot to this book. Before our collaboration together, I was on the fence about whether I should include illustrations in Fragments or not, but I’m glad I went through with it. Not only was Cris wonderful to work with, but this also might very well be my only shot at publishing a book. So, I figured, better do it right.
Looking at it that way, these illustrations (and maps) aren’t just nice bonus content, but essential elements of the book. Without them, the formatting wouldn’t have worked out quite right. Which brings me to my next topic.
The interior book design is tricky stuff.
Formatting a book isn’t the hardest thing in the world, but it can get real fiddly if you care to keep everything proper and consistent. I spent quite a few days (well, nights actually) learning the trade, and I like to think that I eventually got good at it. At least, good enough to format Order of the Spirits: Fragments myself.
However, since this first book in the series is a collection of (intertwined) stories, it meant there were some design challenges not usually present in your average novel. Namely, how do you transition from one story to the next in print? Of course, there are easy solutions to this issue, but I didn’t want to use the easy solutions—I wanted to do it right. Hence, the illustrations and maps! That’s why those images are essential to Fragments—they complete the interior design of the book. Maybe I'm not making much sense, but hopefully you'll see what I mean once the book's out!
Either way, with the illustrations in place now, the formatting for the book is done!
So, what’s the hold-up?
With everything above covered, it sounds like I’m ready to publish my book as soon as today! However, there are still some loops to go through. Primarily, I need to test the print version of my book. Getting done with formatting is all well and nice, but how my book actually looks like in our physical realm, I have no idea…
That’s why the so-called proof copies exist, and why Amazon offers authors an option to order a test copy of their book before they release it to the public. That way, authors can inspect the printing quality and learn what is it that their readers would end up with. Which is all great and fun, but if you live in Serbia, you’re kinda fucked. I mean, that’s the general rule around here (regardless of what you're doing or trying to achieve), but in this particular case of ordering proof copies, the problem is that it takes a whole month or two for Amazon packages to get to where I live (meanwhile, the delivery costs are a bitch).
That being said, I still have to get it done. I can’t release my book before testing its quality first, so getting my hands on a proof copy is non-negotiable. I’m currently working on a way to reduce the delivery time, but this process will take a while regardless. Especially if I didn’t nail down the formatting with my first try... Many things could go wrong between my design and Amazon’s print, and any one issue would require a fix and a second proof copy, which would then double the length of this testing period! So yeah, that’s some scary stuff…
What also makes me nervous is the whole marketing process.
How the hell people promote their books successfully and seamlessly, I’ll never understand… I have trouble maintaining a simple conversation for longer than a minute, and I’m supposed to encourage people to buy my stuff? I mean, what? I guess I’ll have to work on it in the following weeks, but boy, am I not looking forward to that…
I suppose I’ll start with a post that’ll explain what my book’s about, for once. I’m not sure if I’ve done that properly yet… Oh, and also ARC teams! We need to talk about review copies soon, as well! I’ll be giving advance copies of Fragments for free, to readers who’re interested and would like to leave their honest opinions of the book in a form of a review on Amazon or Goodreads. That might end up being fun, actually! If anyone shows interest, that is...
Anyhow, that about sums up everything that’s going on with Order of the Spirits right now! I’ll be sure to let you know how my proof copy fares, and in the meantime, I guess you’ll learn more about Fragments!