I’ve seen a lot of writers say online how much they hate this question, but I don’t really mind. I think it’s nice that people are interested, and my deadlines seem manageable, at least for now...
I’m working on final details now. My writing mentor, Sage, and I are both going through the manuscript (Sage uses this word, and it makes me feel extremely fancy and Real Writer-ish) to do detailed grammar edits, and I’m also reading the whole story out loud to see how things flow. My beta readers pointed out some grammar issues, and I thought it was interesting that everyone caught at least one thing that no one else did. So, THANK YOU beta readers! (NOT the only time I’ll say this.) I’m sure there will be at least one typo in the final book, though, just because it seems like there’s no way we could catch everything. I’m trying to let go of my expectations of perfection.
Something I’d never really considered is that self-publishing means doing everything on your own. The title page? The page behind the title page that talks about copyright? Where to put a barcode on the cover? I have to figure all of these out, or hire someone to do them for me. I’ve selected my cover image, and I decided to contract out the layout of the cover and the actual pages. The cover in particular was hard for me to let go of, because I think of myself more as a visual artist than a writer. But I don’t have software or access to a variety of fonts or any experience laying out a cover or a book. So, I’m leaving those parts in the hands of someone who knows more than me. And a nice thing about self-publishing is that I’m still the one who gets the final say.
Choosing a cover image, like choosing a title, took a long time. It’s scary, thinking that I could write a decent book, but what if no one picks it up because of the title or cover? I know that these two things definitely influence whether I’ll pull a book off the shelf to read the back, or (more accurately these days) click to learn more online. I started where I’m most comfortable, by painting a cover, but eventually decided that I could convey more about the story with a photograph. I set up a still-life of items that my main character might have on her desk, took a few pictures, and I think I ended up with a solid image.
And did I mention that I’m doing all of this while working full time? If you’ve wondered why you haven’t seen me out and about lately, this is why. Since January, I’ve been spending about an hour a night writing, and now I’m spending that time editing. Now that I don’t have a word count goal, it’s a lot easier to slack off. But I’m trying to fight my inner self-sabotager that likes to come out as any project nears completion. “You’ve already done so much,” it says. “You should rest for a while.” But I know that listening to that voice will result in the story sitting on the shelf like it has for years. So, I’m trying to listen instead to the voices of Sage and my friends and my partner, who are telling me that I can do it! I can finish this! And I can share it with my friends and family and the rest of the world, including the scariest people, strangers online.
I like cats, feminism, queers, making things and writing, apparently.