Friday, September 04, 2009

Writing Journey: Part XXVI

Two proofs of the grammar book had already been ordered and deemed not good enough. The third one had to be the charm. It just had to be. My husband and I both proofed that thing and went over it several times, held our breath, and then uploaded the file.

A day later, the file was approved. I ordered the proof, and it was shipped. I opened it up, flipped through it, and to my huge relief, I didn't see any glaring errors. I flipped to certain pages just to be sure that specific mistakes hadn't slipped through my radar. Those pages were clean. Phew.

I approved the book for sale and immediately ordered a bunch so I could ship them out to those twenty-some odd people who were patiently waiting for their copies.

I had two people in particular who were needed free ones. I'd promised that anyone who helped me come up with the title would get a free one. As you probably recall Lara and my sister Mel both contributed to the title, so they each got a free book.

Mel got her copy when the three of us sisters went out to celebrate our youngest sister's (belated) birthday for breakfast. I handed it over, and she excitedly flipped through it. Then she looked up apologetically.

She'd found a typo.

The kind spell-check won't catch.

I about died.

I don't know if there are others. I haven't had the heart to look. I do know there is one minor formatting issue that I blame Word for. (Word is the lamest program on Earth; it thinks it's smarter than you are.) I don't know if anyone's noticed the latter issue, because it's so minor; I certainly didn't notice it in the proof, and I'm guessing (hoping) a lot of other people won't notice it either. (It's really minor; trust me.)

But the fact that the book still isn't perfect bugs me.

I did a giveaway of five copies of GoodReads and got over 1500 people requesting the book, which I thought was awesome. Unfortunately, one person who won ended up giving me a scathing review, saying all kinds of horrid things.

Part of what she said included bits like how some of the book was already available on my blog (Well, duh--I admit that fully. I used parts of WNW to write it, but that's only a fraction of the book.) And then she thought I'd misspelled "Macey's" in an example because she assumed I meant the department store Macy's. Fortunately, a sweet bloggy friend corrected her, saying that there's a grocery store chain spelled that way.

Another odd criticism was that not all my examples were funny. (Okay . . .)

Other people have stepped in to comment on the review saying they loved the book, but the reviewer won't allow those comments through. (I won't link over to her; there's no point, really. I'm not upset anymore. But it did rankle for awhile. Just telling the story. For those who saw my depressed FB status awhile back, this is what it was about.)

On the other hand, I know an editor of a good-sized publishing house who keeps a copy of There, Their, They're at her desk for easy reference because that's what it is: it's small, it's short, and it's not scary. It's easy to flip to a specific rule or example and find what you're looking for. That was a huge compliment. Same goes for a lot of published authors I know: they keep it nearby to check for comma rules or whatnot. It's been helpful to others. I'll take that, even if the book's not perfect.

Plus, recently a local junior high ordered 10 copies for an English classroom, and a journalism association ordered another 10 copies to sell in their bookstore.

So there, miss reviewer chick. :)

I do plan to revise the book and (I hope) make it even better and cleaner when I can do it without being rushed. I'll add more content, have other editors I know and trust go over it with eagle eyes, and so on. But in the meantime, I really am proud of that little book. No, it's not perfect, but it's still pretty darn good, if I say so myself.

I get periodic orders through Amazon, the CreateSpace store front for the book itself, and through our own PayPal site, LyfeBooks. The latter was set-up by my techie husband (of course!) specifically so I can sell the books directly but with a lower shipping option than either Amazon or CreateSpace offer. (They charge almost half of the price of the book to ship it. I can ship it for two bucks.) All three links are on my sidebar.

This self-publishing thing has been an interesting journey. We've been so busy lately that I still haven't even gotten There, Their, They're onto my website (Note to self: duh, get it up there!), but I'm sort of in the middle of a very different writing project right now, so that little detail has fallen onto the back burner.

My current project is one that's very out of my comfort zone and one I never in a million years expected to be doing.

I suppose the story behind that one starts back in 2003 when my older sister, Mel (a former caterer and event planner) moved back to Utah from Arizona. After she arrived, with the three of us sisters gathered around our parents' kitchen counter, she said, "On the way up here, I got the most fun idea."

We had no idea how much fun (or work!) we were in for.


Kristina P. said...

I love your cliffhangers.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't lie, your cliffhangers are good but I don't like them. You see, I'd like to be a slavemaster and keep you at the keyboard all day long. I could just read an unending post and hear all about you forever. Now that you know my evil ways, you'll have to ban me from your site. ;)

That reviewer...WAY OFF THE MARK. I love my copy of "There, Their, They're"! It IS a handy reference! It's one of the most valuable reference tools I own! Crazy lil' reviewer...seriously.

Lara Neves said...

You SHOULD be proud of your little book. It's a good one. Not many people could do what you did!

Joel stole it from me and has it in his office on campus now. Rude. But it should make you feel good that he likes it enough to steal it from me. He eats up stuff like that.

Jami said...

I really like my copy. Frankly, your charm just brightens the whole subject. You've even managed to get a smile out of my tween on one subject. Impressive.

Rebecca Irvine said...

I won't look too closely at my books after they come out as well--I HATE finding typos! I would just rather not know.

My son just started jr high so I need to order this now to help me ensure I give him the right info for grammar rules.

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that you wrote a book to help all of us who did not pay attention in English. Instead I was drooling over the hot guy, chatting with girl friends, and just having fun. As a teachers aide there are times when I feel like I need a book about the rules of grammer to so that I can edit childrens work better. Looking forward to buying your book really soon.

Loralee and the gang... said...

I am looking forward to your next book (I assume that is what it is)
Sorry about the reviewer refusing to comments through)

amelia said...

I still need to buy this book. I must buy it. I often order with Amazon's free shipping for orders over $25 deal - I'll have to check if this book applies, too!


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