problems with the print version

I’ve decided I want to share the process of becoming a self-published author. I’m partway in and plan to go back and fill in the “how did I get to this point” gap. Then again, I hear that it’s going to be a rollercoaster all the way through and I might not have any time or attention for backwards reflection. So I’ll say I’d like to do that and I know that it may or may not happen.

I’m learning this is a good stance for me throughout this process.

The high-level summary thus far: I finished writing “No Complaints,” and had it edited by 3 professionals at different stages to make it as tight as possible. I hired pros to do the cover design and the interior layout and I love how it looks. The Kindle ebook went on sale December 12 and has been well-received. I’m pleased that highly critical designers and artists in my circle like it. Far more importantly, I’m happy to hear that people are resonating with the content and it’s already proving useful.

This is all very good. It’s also not quite what I wanted.

Back in July, I set a deadline for myself of early December for publishing it because I wanted it to be available to support New Years Resolutions. In my dreamland, the ebook and the print version would both be available, I would have some publicity interviews lined up, and the first episode of the associated podcast would drop on January 1. At the same time, I would lead an in-person workshop the first weekend of January which would be simulcast to expand its reach, as well as recorded for use later in creating a self-directed online course.

Ha. Just writing that out I can see how absurd that is. At the time I felt sure I could do it all. I’m grateful to the people who talked me through it so that I could talk myself out of it without getting too crushed and disappointed.

Right now, I’m struggling trying to finalize the print version. I’m doing self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) and it’s an unknown landscape for me. The initial proofs came out looking terrible and I’m trying to trouble-shoot the problems so I can be sure that the books will look good consistently when they’re sent out. I’m confused by the world of ISBN numbers. (I’ll try to write up a thing about ISBNs later when I get clear on it). I’m juggling keeping the price low while ensuring that it looks good while being determined not to get involved with fulfillment while publishing in a way that supports both online purchasing and leaves open the possibility of bookstore sales while not wanting true POD because that means every book takes 4-5 days to get to the buyer.

I signed on with a PR company who wants me to confirm the publishing date for the print version but I haven’t been able to see a new proof because FedEx is delayed getting it to me.

I was hoping that the interviews which were unrealistic in December would still happen in January but now January is slipping away and I’m worried that they’ll be pushed into February which is bad for me because I have very intense work (yes, I’m still working a more-than-full-time-job) in February and don’t want to screw that up.

Meanwhile, I got feedback from early readers who are also past NoCo workshop graduates that they were feeling the loss of something I cut out of the manuscript so I decided to take advantage of this delay to sneak it back in. And I just got the new version back and it’s not laid out properly so that’s delayed as well. I know that one will be fixed quickly but still it sent me into a spin of feeling like none of this is in my control and all of it is my responsibility and I guess that’s just what this is all going to be about.

I can control my expectations. I can control my reactions. I’m the one who set up these deadlines for myself and I am authorized to change them.

So I’ll say that I’d like to have the print edition out this month and I know that it may or may not happen. Very likely it will. We’ll see.