At the Halfway Point—CoronaLife Day 782

You know the old saying, “She doesn’t do things by halves?” Well, apparently I do…at least this week.

I am halfway through my edits of The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. I’m moving pretty fast because this is a polish of a manuscript that has been edited multiple times. A tweak here and there, but nothing major.

The first chapter had more issues, as will another later chapter, but even those are relatively straightforward. Hopefully I will send it to my co-author early next week to settle on the final form.

Then we will decide if we want to try the traditional route again, or go straight to self-publishing. We have submitted earlier versions of this book to agents before, but not this version. The last time we tried was several years ago, and it’s a much different world now.

My other half-accomplishment has been the  public release of my mother’s genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. The paperback version is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, if you search by title on their websites. I am hoping that after a few more days it will pop up on Google searches or under my author name. At the moment neither listing has the cover, either. So I will check back on that in a few days.

The hardback version of the book is not out to the public yet. I am having technical difficulties with the distribution. The algorithm is flagging it as a duplicate title, rather than a different version (paperback vs. hardback) of the same book. I have never had that issue before. The other issue is that I want it to be US distribution only, but it is insisting on being worldwide (which I do not want to pay for). I have also never had that issue before. I am working with their tech support, so things should be resolved soon.

My projects are halfway done. Hopefully by next week both of these will be complete and I will be on to something new!

April 2022 Wrap Up–CoronaLife Day 775

Spring Break is over, and we are back to the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that means moving forward with a few writing projects.

I finished going through my co-author’s edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone. It wasn’t hard, since I agreed with virtually all of them. Now I am doing a read-through, to see if there’s anything I see that needs polishing. After that, I will make my suggestions for the first chapter, and we will make final decisions on that.

I am also eagerly awaiting the print copy of the public version of my genealogy book, The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and their Ancestors. It was mailed this weekend, so I expect it any day. Once I make sure it looks good, I will open it to distribution channels. My proposed On Sale date was always May 1st, so it seems it will be right on time.

With April coming to an end, several of my projects are also coming to the end of their current phases. But as with every ending, there are also new beginnings, and the progress continues.

Spring Break 2022–CoronaLife Day 768

So it’s been a fairly productive spring break, all things considered.

I am close to solving a genealogical mystery (or reaching a total dead end).

I am nearing completion of a document about a family Bible my husband’s family has. I will then post it on ancestry sites so others in the family can access it.

I am going to finish the first pass of the edits on The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone.

My co-author Jeff Pero sent me his suggested edits a few weeks ago. I was finishing up my genealogy book, so had to put off looking at it until this week. I imported his Open Office Document, and first Word said it was corrupt and couldn’t open it. Then it said if I trusted the sender, it would open it and see what we got. So I did. All of Jeff’s comments were there, but all his Track Changes were not. Sigh.

First I went through and read/addressed the comments Once that document was “clean”, I opened the original file I had sent to him. Then I merged the two into a new file that would show the differences between them, essentially replicating the Track Changes.

I’ve been working through them, and should finish tomorrow. Then I want to read through it myself, and see if there is anything I would like to polish, since it has been some years since I looked at it properly, and I have learned more about writing since then. I know we need to work on the first chapter, but I have a few ideas to talk over with Jeff.

The rest of the book we are happy with, so once we get that first chapter to where we are satisfied, we’ll move ahead toward publishing. Not sure yet if we want to try for an agent (again) or just move on to self-publishing. We shall see.

So, are you on Spring Break? And if so, what have you been up to?

A Willy-Nilly Week–CoronaLife Day 761

I’m having one of those weeks where I’m doing a little bit of everything. Makes it hard to focus.

Attended a Township meeting.

Visited the library.

Went grocery shopping.

Got my daughter a new passport.

Was close-contact exposed to Covid.

And I still have a ton of things to do.

Why do my to-do lists never seem to get smaller?

I did manage to approve the online proof of the public version my genealogy book. I ordered a printed copy, and if that looks okay, the book will be available May 1st.

Next week should be quieter (spring break), and my intent is to get through the edits of Pharaoh’s Stone my co-author sent me.

Hopefully I won’t have Covid!

What have you accomplished this week?

The Madness of March–CoronaLife Day 747

The weather here has been crazy. Nice and warm and spring-like, then BOOM! Snow squalls and below-freezing temperatures. Is it any wonder that I am having trouble finding my rhythm, when Mother Nature herself is out of sorts?

In spite of it all, this has been a fairly productive week. I have completed the interior file for the public version of my genealogy book. After cutting out the living people, it was 5 pages shorter.

Next, I will get the cover templates for the hard cover and the paperback, and create those. With only a 5 page differential, the cover template size may not change. If that is the case, I can use the same files I used for the family version. Either way, it is not much work.

Then, all that remains is to order the print proof and then have it go live once I approve it.

I also received the latest edits to my middle grade novel The Curse of the Pharaoh’s Stone from my co-author. We have been trying to find a home for this book for years, but it is not in a “hot genre” so it has been a hard road. We are going to try the traditional route once more after this clean up, and if we cannot get traction, we will self-publish. We believe deeply in this book, we want to get it out to the readers.

So getting to those edits is the next project after the genealogy book is done.

Speaking of genealogy, my mom’s DNA sample is “processing”. Fingers crossed our unorthodox method of collection doesn’t cause problems!

How is March wrapping up for you?

Marching Ahead–CoronaLife Day 733

After a couple of rather hectic weeks, it’s back to the routine grind.

The good news is my mother’s genealogy book arrived prior to her surgery, so I was able to give it to her before.

Allow me to introduce The Campbell Family of New York City, New York, and Their Ancestors:

That edition is the “family” edition, which contains details down to the present generations. My next step is to trim out the information on living people and create a “public” version. That version will be for sale through the usual distribution channels, same as my other genealogy book, The Warren Family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Their Ancestors.

So that is my March project. Hopefully I will have that done by the end of the month.

Sometimes I lament at how slow my progress seems to be. I need to remember that slow progress is still progress, and learn to accept that this is the best i can do at the moment.

With that in mind, I choose to celebrate the publishing of the family version and enjoy sharing it with my Campbell clan!

The Proof is in the Printing—CoronaLife Day 698

Last week, I mentioned that I had gotten the e-proof for my genealogy book. There is a reason we get proofs prior to going to print. I found a mistake on the first title page! While it was a bit disheartening to have to resubmit the fixes and wait another 4-5 days for a new e-proof, I was happy that I had caught it. Also, it allowed me to polish up a few other pages that I had been willing to live with but would have liked to change. So I got the chance to change them, and now the only thing bugging me is the index, which I just could not get to cooperate no matter what I tried. The index is 99% fine, though, so I feel okay with it.

I got the revised e-proof and found nothing to worry me. So I approved it, and ordered myself a print proof. This will allow me to see the colors and quality of photos in reality, because colors in e-proofs are not always spot on, and resolution can look fine on a screen but not in print. I expect everything to look fine, as it did the last time I printed a book through this company, but I will be relieved when I see it in person.

The company estimates 15 days to print (perhaps longer) and then however many days of shipping. So it will be a while until I have it in hand. Still, it’s exciting to be so close!

My illustrator for my middle grade book has been turning out some wonderful work, so that project is also moving forward.

Progress!

How are your projects coming along?

 

Forward in February–CoronaLife Day 691

January seemed interminable, but like all things, it has come to an end! As we move into February, I am once more looking forward.

My illustrator for my middle grade book, The Witch of Zal, churned out more awesome illustrations, so we are moving closer to the finish line there.

I also got the e-proof of the genealogy book late Wednesday, so I will be perusing that. I’m hoping I can approve it and then order a print proof before setting it for production.

I mentioned the issues I had uploading files that passed validation. I managed to resolve all the issues, except the “graphic less than 150 ppi” error. I went into the PDF and replaced each one of the 70 illustrations with JPEGs of 300 ppi. Every. One.

Still didn’t pass validation. Since I could not figure out where the issue was, I went ahead and put it to publication. That’s why I will be ordering a print proof after the e-proof. I want to make sure everything looks good.

Still, forward progress, and soon I will have a new book published. First one in a lot of years.

How are you moving forward in February?

Not Quite There—CoronaLife Day 684

I had thought that I would be done with the genealogy book I am working on today. Yesterday I got the cover template from the publisher, and finished the cover. I uploaded it today. I had already uploaded the interior content. So all that remained was to run the final checks.

My files failed the final check.

I had uploaded regular PDF files. Apparently, these files did not have the correct color profiles and did not have all the fonts embedded. There was also a warning that one or more of the images was not 300 ppi.

The program told me to convert my file to a PDF-X to solve most of the problems. I had actually expected this, as this was the format needed for my last book with them. I had wanted to try a regular PDF, though, because I had a huge problem when I converted to PDF-X last time.

The conversion added errors to the text—either smashing words together by removing the space between, or adding excess spaces. I don’t mean just a few times, either—the PDF-X was littered with them. I cleaned it up as best I could, but I found even more once I got the printed proof.

You can understand my reluctance to convert it this time.

But there was no alternative, so I converted the PDF to PDF-X. Even though I already paid for a proofread, I am now in process of combing though the new file and cleaning up the text errors the conversion has inserted. Perhaps because I did the conversion differently this time, there are not nearly as many mistakes. Most of them are words smashed together, which is much easier to see than extra spaces.

So I am going to spend at least one more day going over the text to fix mistakes I didn’t make, on a text I have already had proofread. I’m not terribly happy about it, but it must be done, so I might as well buckle down and do it.

The conversion will not help the image under 300 ppi issue, but I am baffled as to which image(s) it might be. I knew from the start that 300 ppi was the standard, so I created everything at that resolution. I am going to re-export the cover as  JPEG rather than a PDF, since I can be certain of the JPEG resolution. I am hoping that the wonky image is in the cover, and that this will solve the issue. Otherwise, I will be spending another day combing through the 69 pages of images inserted in the book to try and find the culprit.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend, this will be uploaded and in the queue to be printed!

Ups & Downs – CoronaLife Day 677

As the saying goes, life has its ups and downs. This week my daughter tested positive for Covid. She’s doing okay, mostly just congested. She had one day she felt terrible, with a horrendous headache, but that was the second day of symptoms and has eased off considerably. Now my husband and I are waiting to see if we get it from her.

So that’s the down.

The up is that the genealogy book I am working on is nearing completion! Remember how I had thought I would need to cut a whole lot of pages to fit it into an affordable price range? The text of this book was clocking in at a whopping 290 pages, while the earlier book I did was only 180. Therefore, I spent a few days trying to cut it down, despairing of ever getting close.

Then I had a bright idea. I decided to look at the final PDF of the first book, to see what the final page count was after I added all the photos, trees, and title pages. I almost fainted, because it was 500 pages! I immediately knew that even with all the inserts added to the 290 pages of text, this book would not be 500 pages. Which meant I did not have to try to cut any text out!

What a relief!

I will finish compiling the PDF tomorrow, then I need to upload that to the printer so I can get a cover template for the book. The final large project will be designing the cover once I have the template. I already know what I would like to do for the cover, so it will just be a matter of getting it done. Then I can send it off to be printed!

Almost there.

How’s your January going?

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