Zorya is out on submission again. Also, I Aten’t Dead.

My last post was over a year ago. I’m not proud of it.

I have been dithering with self-publishing my third book, Zorya. That last post long ago involved the leap of faith needed to purchase the expensive stock image I wanted in order to build a cover image on my own.

I did make that purchase some time later (at least it’s deductable), and I did do some work on a cover. Mostly I procrastinated. My biggest obstacle to self-publishing, other than cover art, is marketing. It’s the thing I’ve seen most self-published authors stumble over, and I am no exception.

This past March, I attended the 2018 SCBWI Golden Gate Conference, which gives attendees the opportunity to submit to agents and publishers also in attendance. They pay special attention to submissions from attendees, and the opportunity was too good to miss.

So I sent several Zorya submissions out after the conference, the latest this evening (she didn’t want to see submissions until after the middle of July.) I have gotten one rejection so far. Some response times are as long as six months (not uncommon with submissions directly to publishers).

So. Here I am.

In other updates, the conventional publication of my second book, Roger Mantis, is proceeding, although the publication date was postponed twice. I’m still okay with the process, even the editing, but it’s an education.

The Typo Half-Life Rule and the Quantum Typo

I wrote a post a while back on the physics of “Editing Half-Lives and the Decay of Typographical Particles”

Basically the theory goes, if you’re editing a manuscript and find half the typos in the first edit, the next time around you won’t get them all, just around half the ones that are left. Third time, half again. And so on.

At some point you think you’ve reached the end of this, since of course you can’t have half a typo, and so it’s off to the publisher.

But theoretical writing physics has advanced!

It turns out that at the end of the editing sequence, there will always be one typo left that nobody at all will find.

It can’t be observed, but the new equations say it’s in there somewhere. It’s a quantum thing.

The joy of anthologies

I’ve been picking up some Kindle anthologies that were recommended to me based on one of my favorite authors being a contributor.

One plus, of course, is that I usually get a new short story by a favorite author. This is particularly nice since my favorite authors can’t seem to turn out the number of books I need to handle my reading requirements.

What do you mean, a new novel every month is unrealistic? I have quite a few favorite authors to pick up the load, so it’s not like they’d have to write one every four days or something!

Another plus is that I get introduced to writers who can become new favorite authors. I’m kind of fussy about my reading tastes, but it’s happened more than once.

There’s nothing like finding a new author in an anthology (or anywhere) and discovering they’ve written a whole pile of books. It’s like fishing for change in a couch and finding a hundred-dollar bill. It’s particularly great if they have one or two completed series, and you can binge-read it like a Netflix show.

Thank God I discovered Tolkien long after all three books of Lord of the Rings had been published. It was almost a year between the last two books. Imagine closing The Two Towers back then on “Frodo was alive but taken by the enemy.” The wait probably would have killed me.

Kindle’s Direct Publishing’s new paperback option

Up until now, self-publishers who went with Amazon usually used Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to produce Kindle books, and Createspace to produce paperbacks.

I did this with Castle Falcon, and it worked quite well.

Now Amazon is pushing an option to produce a paperback from the KDP interface, bypassing Createspace.

I’m quite happy with my Createspace edition, and too many of the KDP paperback features fall under the “not yet” category. That, and I never, ever, use the “beta” version of anything. I think it’s likely that Amazon will eventually phase out Createspace in favor of an integrated e-book/paperback KDP, but I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

Sending an updated Kindle edition to previous customers

I created a new edition of my book, Castle Falcon, including a new map. While updating the book was simple enough in both Kindle and Createspace, I was hoping I could convince Amazon to provide free updates of the improved book to previous Kindle purchasers.

Guess not. From their Help section:

“Some examples of corrections that don’t justify sending updates to customers who previously purchased your book are:

•   New Content Added: Chapter(s) or page(s) added, deleted or revised; new images added; bonus chapter added.”

Oh, well.

For the record, there is a list of changes that do justify an update to Kindle customers at Amazon’s help site.  Mostly they involve major mistakes.

Switching to a new edition on my book’s Amazon page

After I officially published the new edition of Castle Falcon (under the new Golden Spider Books imprint), there were two paperback editions for sale at Amazon.

With some excellent guidance from Createspace support, I managed to gently ease the old edition off the book’s page at Amazon.

The first step was going to the Createspace production site, and my dashboard there. I opened the old edition up, and went to Channels (under Distribution). There I just unselected all the channels, and the old book went off sale.

A request to Createspace support then “retired” the old edition. Everything on the page survived the switch, and it was basically effortless.

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The old edition still survives under the surface: if you click on “all 3 formats” on the book’s Amazon page, the Kindle and new paperback edition come up. Opening a dropdown under “paperback” shows the May 2012 edition, still available as a used book from four vendors. That’s okay by me.

For a short time after the switch, when I did a general title search, the Kindle and old paperback popped up, but that got fixed. Only thing I’m waiting for now is for the preview to update. I’ll keep an eye on the Amazon book page to make sure everything stays sorted out.