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?

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?

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?

 

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?

Genealogical Proof—CoronaLife Day 670

Ask and you shall receive! I got my proofreading copy for my genealogy book back last weekend, so I have been diligently making or rejecting changes.

There’s a lot to look at.

Some are genuine mistakes. Some are things perfectly clear to me that confused readers who have not been immersed in this for 20+ years. Some are things I decided not to change because they weren’t actually mistakes.

One thing I should have explained to the proofreaders is that ages and spellings are elastic until after 1900, and even sometimes then. Many people were illiterate, so spellings were at the mercy of whoever was taking the dictation. I once had someone write an ancestor’s name as “Eva Murray”, leading to a long chase for an Irishman in early 19th century Germany. Turns out her name was Eva Marie, and her immigrant husband’s heavy German accent was misheard by the clerk.

Ages floated a lot, too. People lied to go to war, to get married, to appear younger than their husbands. Many people honestly didn’t know their exact birth year. Until Social Security, it really wasn’t necessary to know. So genealogist get accustomed to a certain amount of drift in ages. Ancestors are simultaneously 40 and 37 and 52—it all depends when you look.

Schrodinger’s relatives.

Still, the proofreaders did a fantastic job. I am inching my way through. I have 4 more chapters to do, then all the photo and graphic captions. I hope to have it completed by Monday.

I will still have to go in and edit it severely to bring the page count down. I hate to lose so much fun historical stuff. So I am considering keeping the longer version and making it available as a PDF giveaway with purchase of the book. We shall see.

How is your new year kicking off?

Entitlement—CoronaLife Day 586

I have finally gotten around to working on the title pages for my mom’s genealogy book.

Working with the image I chose to use for my title pages proved a little more difficult than I had anticipated due to my own software limitations, but I figured it out and am now proceeding happily.

I had decided to use a basic outline map of the British Isles as my title page backdrops.* My mom’s lineages come mainly from Ireland and Scotland, so I divided the book into sections. The Country Title page has the appropriate country as the backdrop.

Then, with each section, I have the surname chapters. The appropriate county is still the backdrop, but in gray, with color highlighting where the family came from in that country.

I figured since I am paying for a full-color book, I should make the most of it! Using  this scheme is a great way to have the reader oriented without having to use a separate map page. Since many readers may not know where these places are, and are not familiar with the geography, I had wanted a way to provide this info.

Hopefully the title pages look nice as well as being informative.

*Thanks to Base map © maproom.net

Photo Finish—CoronaLife Day 565

I am continuing the progress on my mom’s genealogy book. I have completed all the photos pages with the pictures I have.

We are tracking down which of my aunt’s six kids has the “old” photo album with the intergenerational pictures in it. Once we locate it, I will borrow it and scan some of the relatives I am missing from there and add them.

That book hopefully will solve a mystery for us. We have a photo of my grandfather with his siblings. We know who they all are, but the two oldest girls were only a year apart, and we don’t know which is which. We have no other pictures of Caroline, but we think there is a photo of Annie in the album. If so, we should be able to determine which is which, as they look very different.

So what remains? The chapter title pages. I think the first one will be the hardest, as I figure out how to work with the multi-layered image I am using. Once I figure it out, the rest should be able to be tweaked easily. I also have the cover to do, but I can’t really do that until I know how many pages the book will be and get the template from the printer.

I have secured proofreaders for my book’s text, so that is set up. Hopefully by the end of November I will have all the parts together and I can do the final formatting and cover.

With luck, I can have it ready for order by Christmas. However, I know there are supply chain issues in publishing right now, so it may take a little longer. But my goal was to have it ready to order by the end of the year, so I’m hopefully on track for that.

I am moving forward on my project. How about you?

Finding Our Footing—CoronaLife Day 544

We have a few days of school under our belts now, and we are starting to find our footing. I am getting used to having time to myself again, after a full 18 months of remote learning/summer. So far I have not been using my time wisely, but that is typical for me at the beginning of the school year. It’s almost like having so much free time paralyzes me with choices. But I know that will settle down.

My daughter is also starting middle school, so that’s a big change for her. But she, too, is starting to find her footing in more ways than one. We are also transitioning from her walking boot to a walking brace starting today, and hopefully her ankle will be back to full strength October 1st, when the brace is due to come off.

Although I have been spending time doing a lot of “catch up” work (little things I never seemed to find time for while my daughter was home) and searching out last-minute school supplies that I didn’t realize we needed until we actually got there, I HAVE made progress on the genealogy book.

I should finish indexing the final chapter today. Whoo hoo! After that, the equally painstaking job of formatting the book properly, making sure the margins and page numbers are correct, and that page breaks do not fall at inopportune places, begins. Once that’s done, I will send it to my proofreader to catch all the mistakes I thought I caught but didn’t.

Finding our footing has been a bit harder this year, as we spent the last 18 months in a period where every day was much the same, and time seemed to stretch endlessly. Then, abruptly, on Friday, everything changed and we were back in the world. It is disconcerting and a bit overwhelming.

But we will get through it, as we do every September, and hopefully COVID will not hit our school and send us back to remote. Whatever happens, we will adjust.

We always find our footing.

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