the Author

State of the Author: October 2023 edition

Posted in Essalieyan, chapters.

The state of this author is frazzled.

The only thing I’ve really self-published before were ebooks; the print collec­tion Memory of Stone came later, and there wasn’t neces­sarily a ton of excite­ment about it; it wasn’t new per se.

Hunter’s Redoubt is entirely new. And I have discov­ered that while uploading ebooks is simple and clean, uploading files for print books is … not. Little things have to be adjusted. Big things have to be adjusted. The book is at the maximum length that Amazon will print, which means some of those adjust­ments are diffi­cult to make. But Amazon’s processing tells you imme­di­ately when you have to make adjustments.

IngramSpark’s processing does not. I know I uploaded the wrong cover file for IngramSpark because neither I or my designer under­stood what needed to be uploaded (it seems very coun­ter­in­tu­itive, tbh). But I can’t cancel the process and upload the correct cover file. I have to wait. For 3 – 5 busi­ness days. And then upload the correct cover file and wait for another 3 – 5 busi­ness days.

Eva Wilhelm has been uploading her finished chap­ters as she goes, and I’ve been uploading those to Find­Away, the distri­b­u­tion plat­form. But that, at least, I’ve done three times now, so I foresee no ulcers in that process. (She says, knocking wood.)

I wanted to wait to post anything until all of the various parts were lined up.

But I also want to post the sample chap­ters I gener­ally post before a book is published.

So there’s been a lot of spin­ning in circles.

In the mean­time, the revi­sions for Cast in Atone­ment have arrived, far earlier than they usually do. But I haven’t been able to dig myself out of the Hunter’s Redoubt print SNAFU to really look at the revi­sion letter or to arrange to talk to the editor.


I am going to put the Hunter’s Redoubt chap­ters up, which means the book page will go live. The publi­ca­tion date is set for 30th of October — but the print on demand books aren’t quite there yet. Amazon was (rela­tively) simple. Ingram may be simple? But Amazon takes about five minutes to eval­uate whether or not your uploads are print read; Ingram takes “3 – 5” busi­ness days to assess. During that time, there’s nothing I can do. Any mistakes I’ve made during this first-time endeavor will have to be fixed, but will incur another 3 – 5 day wait.

I still have hope that 30th October is a real­istic release for print and audio, but there’s a lot more anxiety and lot less certainty as the days pass. Actu­ally, I’m not worried about the audio­book. Just the print versions.


16 Responses to State of the Author: October 2023 edition

  1. Joe says:

    I am v excited for this. Just wanted to say

  2. Marie says:

    Wishing the best for you!

  3. Melanie A Allen says:

    I am cheering you on in the learning curve, you get through it! As excited as I am about a book coming out… it could be next week or next month, I am just thankful there are more of your books contin­uing to tell me the stories I been following a log time

  4. Birgit McCall says:

    We will wait for you to figure it out! Don’t stress. We are all just so exited about the book!!! Thank you!

  5. Chris G. says:

    I was excited for the print collec­tion of Memory of Stone and am still very glad to have it. 

    I have faith that this will all work out well…in the end. Hope­fully that end arrives sooner for you than later. Good luck and thanks for the update!

  6. Joey says:

    Congrat­u­la­tions to The Author — actu­ally The Creator since you’re doing far more than writing the book — for getting this far!

  7. michelle says:

    @Chris G. That was maybe poorly worded on my part. I was happy to put out a print version of those stories for those who do not read ebooks, but I also knew if people would be happy, there wasn’t the same sense of New Novel antic­i­pa­tion, if that makes sense?

  8. michelle says:

    @Joe: thank you :). I’m very excited as well — but there’s a bit more anxiety in mine =/.

  9. Marti M says:

    Eagerly awaiting the publi­ca­tion of Hunters Redoubt (with instruc­tions as to how it can be purchased).

  10. michelle says:

    @Marti: In theory, purchasing the book should be similar to purchasing any other new novel. In prac­tice, I had no idea what I was doing, and I’d never worked with either Amazon or IngramSpark for print before. Ebooks get ordered the normal way – the ebooks link on the book page are live for pre-order. Print books will be avail­able, but with ebooks it’s a simple: upload the files.

    With print books it appears to be: upload the files. Order a proof copy to make sure the actual printed book works. Fix anything that wasn’t an obvious problem with the elec­tronic proof. Upload new files. Etc. 

    The Amazon print book should be avail­able to order for the 30th of October soon. The every­where-else print books are far more up in the air. Amazon lets me know imme­di­ately when there’s some­thing major wrong with the files; I can fiddle with them and upload new files, and iterate on this until in theory the book will print properly.

    IngramSpark takes 3 – 5 days to produce an elec­tronic proof. If any changes are made, it’s another 3 – 5 days. IngramSpark is the source of the print-on-demand hard­cover. So I’m uncer­tain at this point if that will actu­ally be avail­able by the 30th.

  11. Chris Carlucci says:

    I’m not sure I under­stand the differ­ence between a print version from IngramSpark and one from Amazon. Why would I choose one over the other?

  12. chibipoe says:

    Chris, the print on demand from Amazon will be paper­back, and their hard­cover option was a lami­nated board akin to a chil­dren’s book. Ingram will be a proper hard­cover with a dust jacket.

  13. michelle says:

    @Chris: Sheila retired from Astra’s version of DAW, so it’s my hope that she’ll have time to do what she’s always done going forward. In the mean­time, I hired a copy-editor who has done good, expan­sive work for the first book in the series, and a proof-reader with an eye for detail. (And an unpaid second pass proof­reader – my mother – who has used her natural talent to find flaws, which she has shared.) 

    There are two advan­tages to self-publishing these books. The biggest, for me, is that I don’t have to watch sales figures & numbers, wondering whether or not I’ll be able to write the rest of the series. I also won’t have to leave things off the page because I only have a certain number of books, and I can’t actu­ally write them because they will expand that number of books. I didn’t intend, before this, that I return to the South at all, because I was desper­ately trying to write *four books*, even if I warned Sheila that there would prob­ably be six. I had an entire thread involving Angel and Terrick that I would have left alone. (People were… not very happy to hear that I had intended not to have events in the Dominion on the page.) Now, I don’t have drop every­thing that won’t fit in four books.

    Writing to length was never, ever a strength of mine. Aiming for a specific length was never a skill I could leverage. But Hunter’s Redoubt was long, for a first book in a series. My longest series book that wasn’t a final book was Battle, at 276k words. So it seemed reason­able to me to assume that the upper limit of a West novel that wasn’t the last book in the series was 276k. This did not prove to be true.

    The disad­van­tage to self-publishing is every bit of work that occurs after editing and proofing has been done. There are things that I didn’t think about while writing, while revising, while going over copy-edits, etc. For me, the book was finished once I’d dealt with the revi­sions neces­si­tated by various stages of process.

    But of course that’s only true for books that are being publishing by someone else. But.. of course: Yay! I’m finished! Is only true when a publisher has the respon­si­bility of doing every­thing else. And, oh look, that’s me.

  14. michelle says:

    @Chris: What chibipoe said. Amazon’s print version will be sold by Amazon; IngramSpark’s print version will be sold by anyone else (including the book­store I work in). Amazon has its own self-publishing and printing arm. But Amazon’s hard­cover option is “lami­nated boards”. The cover art printed on the hard­cover. So there will be no Amazon hard­cover. Amazon *can* order copies of the IngramSpark hard­cover — when it’s avail­able T_T — but I expect that it will order only to cover specific special orders; I don’t expect them to keep it in stock.

    I expect, in fact, that people who want the book will have to special-order it; I don’t expect stores to stock it on shelves. The entire print on demand endeavor is to make sure that people who *do* want the print version *can* special order it from their book­store of choice.

  15. Chris Carlucci says:

    Thank you. That will help in deciding which one to purchase.

    Hadn’t heard about the acqui­si­tion by Astra, or that Sheila had retired from DAW after­wards. Given her and Betsy’s age, and that I’ve never heard of anyone else in Betsy’s family involved with the busi­ness, I imagine that was the best deci­sion to insure that DAW continues going forward — but when Betsy retires, it will be the end of an era.

    Forty-six years ago, when I was a sopho­more in High School, I found my school’s Sci-fi and Fantasy section. Someone had given me “the Hobbit”, my first book that wasn’t a Scholastic chil­dren’s book, on the bus to school. It was awesome and I wanted more.

    On the shelves, mixed with the other books, were these odd paper­back sized books with a yellow spine and hard covers (special versions they published for schools). They all had “DAW” printed on them and a number for each title. Most notable was a large series of books by an author called “Allen Burt Akers”, (what I later learned was a pseu­donym of Henry Kenneth Bulmer — at the time, I didn’t even know what a pseu­donym was, or why someone would use one.) 

    This was my intro­duc­tion to reading vora­ciously (often two or more per week) and DAW books. From that point onward, seeing DAW on a book meant that I was very likely to enjoy the book, and I always looked at those books first. That was how I first found you.

    When you next speak with her, thank her for me. I couldn’t tell you the names of most publishers, but I knew of Donald, Betsy, and Sheila.

    You are only a few months younger than I am. When did you discover reading and spec­u­la­tive fiction in partic­ular? Do you remember the first science fiction or fantasy novel that you read?

  16. Chris G. says:

    Amazon US now has the Paper­back avail­able for purchase: https://​www​.amazon​.com/​d​p​/​1927094518/

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