Doomsday Book Launch: Outside The Men’s Room

Outside the Men's Room

Outside the Men’s Room

Last Sunday at our writer’s meeting, a forum which is part pat-on-the-back, part kick-in-the-pants, I announced that, barring any unforeseen obstacles, my first novel would be on Kindle with the final book cover and the last edit. Tim Giron quickly pointed out I had left lots of leeway for not getting it done with the qualifier about “unforeseen obstacles”. He wasn’t the only skeptical person at the table.

See, for the past six months, every time someone asked about the progress of my book, I held up my hand to show about half an inch of space between my index finger and my thumb, saying “It’s this close.”

But this time it was close. After an Editorial Review and the revisions that followed, then a Copy Edit review by an English teacher, and another fresh read by a friend who’d never seen the material before, and then reciting all 100,000 words out loud, I’d handed over the manuscript for one final Proof Edit.

My Proof Editor (aka The Nit-Pick) had completed her review. She’d sent her notes in a file format that was hard to read. We arranged to meet on Monday evening with the expectation there would be a quick once over of the changes, an exchange of funds and the book would be ready for publishing.

In preparation for this last step, I’d deciphered about two-thirds of the changes she’d recommended, and made the revisions. The rest were minor adjustments, style differences by and large.

I arrived forty-five minutes early, eager to get started, very much feeling the finality of soon to be ending this long drawn out process.

She arrived and announced that she lost all her notes in electronic format (don’t ask how). To compensate, she’d started re-reading the book. Then she explained that she had found even more things to question and had accumulated twice as many edits as before with less than half the novel read.

Once again I had fallen into Editing Hell.

Two hours into our review and I was losing my grip on reality. I looked down at the pages of the Nit-Pick’s tiny, hand-written notes about moving commas and word choices and realized we weren’t even through Chapter Six yet.

I grabbed her arm and said “It’s done. No more editing.”

So, stop reading this and go check it out. It’s live now, warts and all.

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The New Kindle 3

I love books. And, normally I’m one of those late adopters when it comes to new products, especially electronics.  For me any new invention or innovation has be tested, used, abused and given a certain length of time to discover any life threatening properties before I’ll try it.  That’s why it’s a bit surprising that I was one of the first to get the new Kindle 3 – the slim delicate one that lets you read outside. 

What I like

  • The battery seems to run forever without needing a charge. You don’t even need to bring the charger along with you on a trip which is very impressive.
  • It’s small enough to slip into a purse without adding any bulk or weight.  That makes traveling with Kindle much simpler except on a plane.  When going through security, Kindles are treated like electronics and the flight attendants make you turn it off during take-off and landing.
  • You can find hundreds of classics from Amazon for less than a dollar.  It’s so easy to fill your Kindle library by downloading for ten dollars recently published books, and everything else costs even less.  There are other ways of finding pre-1922 books, but it takes quite a bit of searching to find the best edition, and more software to remember and manage.

 What I miss

  • It just doesn’t feel right.  That visceral sense of reading a book is completely lost.  With Kindle there’s no physical perception of how long, how important, or how old the ‘book’ is.  Sure, there’s a numerical sizing system with Kindle, but how long is a 10,000 unit book?  With Kindle, the books are imaginary just like the characters and story.
  • There’s really not much need to go to a bookstore or a library anymore.  Wandering the bookshelves and picking through the discount table appeals to me as a reader.  It’s as though I think something serendipitous will happen and just the right book with jump out at me, demanding to be read.

After I finish the stack of paper books I’ve already got, I suspect I’ll be mostly a confirmed Kindle reader.  I just wonder if in ten years time they’ll discover that the electromagnetic waves emanating from the Kindle alters the structure of your brain or ruins your eyes.  I guess that’s the price of progress.

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