Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Beginning of the End

Well we are up to the point in the story where it is almost over.
I had submitted my galley to the Company to their specifications.  It HAD to be in Word format (.doc) and NOT .pdf.  It could have no hard returns and had to be single spaced.
I had gone over it almost a hundred times in re-writes and I was sure there were no typo-s or sentence problems.  I had John proof-read and edit.  He had red penned it and I had corrected all that he had pointed out.  I had two people beta-read it and they gave it a clean bill of health.  I turned on the Word function that showed all of the commands in the document and I went through line by line, word by word, and made sure there were no orphans of any kind.  I held my breath and hit send, planting my child on the Company server, and waited for it to grow into print.
I received an e-mail from the Company with an attachment of my galley, in .PDF !!!!  Seriously?  OK…whatever.  The e-mail explained that I was entitled to 25 FREE corrections to any errors found in the galley.  I was to go through it (Me??  What are you guys doin?) and let them know page, line and word (s) that needed correcting.  Any errors over 25 I would be charged to correct.  Here was the kicker.  If I corrected less than 25 and found errors later in the process I would be charged.  The 25 FREE were a one-time only deal.  Well I was as sure as I could be that there were no errors, but, what the heck, couldn’t hurt to give it one more look. 
I found SIX !!!  I was astonished.  After finding the first two I really got obsessed and I went through and made sure there were no more after the four more.!!!  I was kicking myself.  How could I have missed those 6 ??  Glad I found them!  I filled in a Company form that pointed to the errors, sent it to the Company and again waited for my printed copies to materialize.
I received another e-mail.  They had fixed my errors as requested and attached was another .pdf copy for my FINAL run through, just in case.  Of course, if I found any errors it was now on my dime.  I went through the galley and found FOUR MORE ERRORS !!!   I KNOW they were not there before.  How was this possible?  Did the gremlins get into my files?  (I know I have not fed any after midnight, and I have made sure I haven’t gotten one wet)  I tried to call the Company, but I was only connected to voicemail (naturally) I left a frantic message.  This was outrageous!  As soon as I hung up the phone, and I mean immediately, an e-mail came through.  Cathy was sympathetic to my plight.  She told me that if I e-mailed her the errors, she would “personally” take care of it, and she would not charge me for it. (Thanks.)  I filled out the form again with the new corrections and sent it off. 
A couple of days later, I received an e-mail.  “Congratulations!!! You’re done.  Sit back, relax and 4-8 weeks from now you will have your copies in hand.” 
I thought back on the whole process.  Exactly WHAT had the Company done for my $1000??? Well actually…..nothing.  I paid for the cover design.  The “One on One” assistance was nothing more than e-mail communication that was slow and frustrating.  What they did do was list my book on and B& and made it available through the Internet on a site that was a simple page with a box for ordering it.  I could make the page more professional and creative looking if I would PAY for it.  Everything that you would expect them to do was delegated…..TO ME!  By selling me a “Package” it appeared that they were doing a lot but it was all smoke and mirrors.  What they were actually doing was pointing me towards tasks that needed to be done and then advising me (via e-mail attachments) on how to do it.
OK ….3 weeks later the package arrived.  My TEN free books ( that were included in the Package) were in the box (Along with instructions how to buy more at $10 each)  I was Thrilled!!!  Here were the fruits of all the hard work.  What started as a way to keep my mind occupied during a very hard time in my life had become something more…something to be proud of, and something that I could now share with others.  I was more than pleased.  Was it worth the trouble…well….yes it was.

I hope that Kelly Bloodsworth’s adventures become a series of novels.  I might use the Company again if I have to, but I have learned from my mistakes and it won’t cost me as much in time and/or money this time.  I would, of course, like to get an agent and a book deal for the further adventures of Kelly Bloodsworth, but if I don’t it is nice to know I have other options.  If any of you are considering self-publishing I think it is still a good option.  I will be discussiing some of the things that were a lot easier to accomplish than I thought they would be (no thanks to the Company.)
Stevie Nicks was right, “you cannot know the dream until you know the nightmare,” and I have been through both.

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