Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Steps to Publication

I have ticked so many things off my To-Do list in the last few weeks, I hardly know which milestone to blog about. I’ll begin by listing them, and then go into greater detail in subsequent postings.

Book 2, The Wysard

I finished my “final” read-through of the manuscript, with an eye toward ensuring continuity and consistency through the three-book series. While reading, I kept in mind Stephen King’s excellent advice from On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out.”

Since I’m on the verge of sending my trilogy out the door, I was particularly focused on making it as smoothly readable as I could. Those who have read WATERSPELL in ms. tell me that my writing is engagingly smooth. To quote the dictionary definitions, it’s “even and uninterrupted in flow” and “free from lumps.” (Nobody wants a lumpy book.) To enhance the readability of Book 2 as much as possible, I shortened and simplified some words, sentences, and paragraphs. All the 19th-century English lit that I have read has had a noticeable influence on my writing style, and I must make a conscious effort to tighten my work—“crisp it up”—for an impatient modern audience.


For interior formatting, cover design, print publishing and distribution, and e-book conversion and distribution, I chose and their “Ready-To-Sell Package & eCombo Package.” And my stars!—those folks are fast. On Monday afternoon, I delivered my manuscript for WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock to the Accurance Group's Bill Earle via e-mail, and the first proof of the cover art (shown above) awaited me in my Inbox on Wednesday morning!

The cover is very close to being exactly what I wanted. I’m going to run it by my critique group, though, for their expert opinions. We have a professional artist and illustrator among our members, and all of us are published, and so we have all had experiences with cover art—some great experiences, and some disappointing.


Also this week, I accessed the ISBN logbook for Seven Rivers Publishing at BowkerLINK. It’d been “a while” (years) since I’d last used my ISBN account, and I was relieved to discover that my old username and password still worked. I used Bowker’s extremely clunky and clumsy interface to enter bibliographic details for five ISBNs, as follows:

ISBN 978-0-9728768-2-7, Four Star Funerals: An Anthology about Death (E-book)
ISBN 978-0-9728768-3-4, WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock (E-book)
ISBN 978-0-9728768-4-1, WATERSPELL Book 1: The Warlock (Trade Paper)
ISBN 978-0-9728768-5-8, WATERSPELL Book 2: The Wysard (E-book)
ISBN 978-0-9728768-6-5, WATERSPELL Book 2: The Wysard (Trade Paper)

I’ll explain the first one, FOUR STAR FUNERALS, in a later posting.

You’ll notice that each edition or format of the WATERSPELL books has its own ISBN: one for the e-book, and one for the paperback. With Bill Earle and his team at, I’m now working on producing the paperback edition of WATERSPELL Book 1, and I’ve checked the ISBN at least 20 times, to be sure we have the correct one on the cover and on the copyright page. The numbers are all so similar, it’s frightfully easy to get them confused.


Also this week (did I mention that I’ve been busy?) I started the process of totally revamping my (—it’s the same destination) website. My existing one is dark, cluttered, and sort of dated in appearance. And to my horror, I find that I have not touched the site since October 2009. I’ve spent my time writing and revising, instead of networking and marketing.

Once I have the final covers for the three books of WATERSPELL, I’ll upload them to my fresh, new, clean and uncluttered site at

Then I’ll move all the text (or the stuff that’s worth keeping) out of my old, neglected site at and into this blog, where I can save it for posterity.


The rough draft of Book 3: The Wisewoman is now out with my editorial review board—my trusted first-readers. I aim to release the first two books in October 2011, and the third one in May 2012. That should give me time to polish up Book 3 and get it ready for publication.

But I want all of the covers done now, while I have Bill and his design team on the job at So I need to decide what excerpt to pull from the body of Book 3 to put on its back cover.

Which is what I’m going to go think about right now, after I post this progress report.

Through this report, you-all who haven’t had an e-mail or a phone call from me in ages can now understand, I hope, why I’ve been incommunicado. Life’s been full. And very satisfying. I’m getting things done, lickety-split. And all on my own terms.

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