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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

My Crazy Journey with Createspace

For goodness sake! Whose stupid idea was it to put a novel into print? Yeah, that’d be mine then. I had never really felt the need before and was perfectly happy with all my books on Kindle and Smashwords. They’re doing fine there. Occasionally I would get asked if someone could buy a physical copy and I would shrug and suggest that they downloaded it onto their phone or something. Admittedly that wasn’t awfully helpful for those who pulled out a brick-sized, battered Nokia, but hey, they probably wouldn’t really have bought my book anyway. Would they? And then I saw it. It was a photo of Jalpa Williby holding her latest novel. Outside her front door.


I was jealous, I admit it. I yearned to post photos of my novel and all these random images went strolling through my head.


My cat holding my novel in her little ginger paws.

My novel by the toilet - what? We all do that, just admit it.

My novel on the edge of the bath.

My novel driving the car (that one might be harder to fake, but not as hard as keeping the cat still.)

My novel watching TV with me, knitting, having dinner, watching a soccer game under an umbrella.


The possibilities are endless.


My unborn novel took on a personality of its own and I wanted it so bad. I wanted to touch its glossy cover and in the tradition of all proper readers, I wanted to thoroughly sniff it.


So I did it.


I logged onto Createspace and I did it.


I would love to end there so that you all thought I was amazing and clever and produced a print book just like that. But I would be lying and I only do that on very special occasions.


Actually I did an awful lot of screaming, some swearing and a fair bit of threatening over a terrible four day period, in which lots of awful things happened in the world and I saw none of it.


For those of you who understand that you type in A4 on your laptop, well that’s awesome, but I didn’t. You cannot load an A4 size manuscript into a 6 x 9 inch book and expect Createspace not to bark at you. I wasted a whole weekend trying to eliminate inexplicable gaps from the proof that just appeared without warning and I Googled solutions until I was mystified. Lots of posts about gaps and the frustration of gaps. 


No solutions.


My private technical specialist, who also foolishly married me was away for a few days, luckily for him. He looked at me strangely on his return, probably because I was still sitting in the exact same spot as when he left, wearing my pyjamas, only now I looked oddly crazed and demented through sleep deprivation. He had driven for 12 hours through hail, sleet and snow, toured a university and slept in a noisy motel and my first words to him were,


“I can’t make this stupid thing work!”


Seriously, if it hadn’t been for Demelza Carlton, author of the Ocean’s Gift Series, there would be no print copy! My stroke and sniff urge would have died a tragic, painful death by technomoron. She took me, a blithering stranger under her wing and put up with my dumb questions and nursed me through a process that I’m not sure I ever want to go through again. So, thank you Demelza Carlton for your tireless patience from across the ditch and international generosity for a fellow Oceanian. (And please can my moronic agonies with the cover remain a well-kept secret? Other people don't need to know all my mistakes, this is humiliating enough!)


I got an email this morning.


Your interior and cover files for Blaming the Child meet our technical requirements for printing.
The next step in the publishing process is to proof your book.”


Oh, the excitement!


Until I saw the damn postage price.


$7 if I don’t mind not seeing it until late September.
$17 if I can wait until the end of August.
$33 and I have no idea what for because I couldn’t bear to look anymore. I figure for that price, a Createspace representative will be knocking on my door having read and reviewed it on the plane over.


Honestly!


I wanted to pay the $7 and sulk and complain for 2 months, but my financial advisor and credit card controller (who also doubles as my technical specialist in case you thought I was a bigamist) took pity on himself and paid the $17 so now he only has to put up with me sulking for one month.


When it finally arrives I will be temporarily elated and promise that I will take lots of wonderful pictures. Then I will pick holes in it, find mistakes and decide that I don’t like the cover. Because unfortunately things don’t stay shiny for as long as we want them to.


Blaming the Child, my teen mystery will be out in print...soon.


You will be the first to see it, warts and all. Unless there’s something wrong with the cover and then you’ll never even know it arrived...