Self-Publishing Part 9: The Galley Proof—Do Changes Ever End or Have I Lost it?

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness

The latest round of changes sent, I returned to a holding pattern, and it remained hard to relish how near to publication my first novel was. After twenty-two months of work, from initial contact and submission in May 2015 to waiting on the second round of updates in March 2017, the work on the book itself is not yet done. I cannot recall my exact expectations of how long it should take from submission to book in hand, but probably 4, perhaps 5 months. Perhaps I never had a specific number, but nearly two years is much longer than whatever notion I might have had.

Granted, much of this expanding time line rests upon my shoulders, my life and my decisions about how to spend my time. That and the complete rehabilitation of the book after the developmental edit, which took time, generating many notes, outlines, and guides.

Still, just as it had seemed when I neared the submission of the final version for typesetting, after many rounds of edits and corrections, it felt as if I were pulling the manuscript atop a sled over rough ground, and the closer I got to the finish, the heavier the sled grew until it became infinitely heavy and impossible to move, inches from the end.

Oh, sure, there was much busy-ness, doing this or that thing, which  seemed relevant to publishing the work, or marketing it, or somehow, in some way, to be helpful, including reading about yet more things I need to do to make it successful, until the pages holding these notes ached from the sheer mass and mess of great ideas and things that must be done first, or next, or now, or then.

Such as collecting pages of notes about how to use social media effectively, and then gathering notes how social media is all but useless for actually selling a book, but useful for drawing attention to me, and then still more pages of notes and links on describing how very complex each of the platforms are, then decoding them, all the while having no clear map for approaching it all: so very many great ideas that I put into action, so very many things to learn. I probably spent two days simply organizing and prioritizing and then reprioritizing the myriad to-dos.

It seemed like the ground I drug the sled over kept getting steeper, and steeper until I faced dragging a near infinite weight to up a wall that went straight up as far as I could see. It would be easier to say to hell with it all, even after I put all this work in. What’s the point in pouring good time and money down the toilet of an impossible task?

Stunned to near inaction, I kept forcing myself to at least feel like I was doing something, pretending if I had to. My wife tried to help, but she couldn’t see the totality of the problem, and I suck at delegation: A leader I am not. Another thing I could distract myself with and work on—becoming a good leader and learning to delegate. Instead, I tried to get a handle on my platform, but mostly I chased my tail appearing busy, with things occasional getting accomplish, much to my surprise.

Then the latest typeset version arrived in PDF, cover included.

And no, the wall was not then surmounted. In fact, someone started pour grease down its sheer sides, and I slipped backward again: I found an error on the cover, and nine additional mistakes on the interior, both newly introduced errors and a couple of requested corrections not implemented. As the weight of the manuscript yanked me back down, preventing me from forcing it to see print, to transform into a book, new questions piled their weight on to me as I crashed to the ground at the bottom of the wall.

Why not? It’s not like it will ever get done, so what’s a few more changes?

I mean, I’ve been thinking about the cover, and conceptually, moving the notes up to the title would suggest music is connected to the story more than me, and that would sell better.

            Right? 

And, alternating the red and white elements would look better, and so it would sell better.

            Right?

            Or have I simply lost it?

            I asked my Rising Star contact, and the person in charge of production, and my wife about these ideas.

They all said no.

So, I concluded that I’d actually lost it and should correct the 9 new errors and hurl this manuscript over the goal line, no matter if it must smash through that sheer cliff to do so.

I pushed send. The last “Publisher Error” changes, one to a line, flew back and I ducked, hoping that manuscript finally crossed the line into becoming a book without bouncing back and crushing me.

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