Monday, August 25, 2014

So How's the Book Going, Part 11 or whatever it is now

I must have been insane to think I could get this Sherlock Holmes eBook out by the end of September.  I had no idea that the easiest part of making an eBook is writing the eBook. Now I'm editing for a final draft (and fighting illness), but also need to:

  • Change formats to PDF files before submitting to Amazon
  • Make sure no strange symbols or line spacing appears as a result of changing to PDF files
  • Figure out how to make an eBook cover
  • Get an ISBN number
  • Find the time and energy to do all of this
Maybe I should just go back to bed.  Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Finished the First Draft of Sherlock Holmes E-book

I meant to blog about this on the day I finished the first draft (Saturday) but I was too darn tired.  Quite frankly, I'm still too darn tired, so this will be a short post.  Some stats:

  • Book has five parts
  • That's 33 chapters
  • So far, it's about 96,000 words but I still have tons of editing and rewriting to do before the Muse will be satisfied with a final draft
  • This will definitely be an e-book and not a conventional book
  • I've worked on this since December for hundreds of hours
  • If I sell 100 copies/downloads it'll be a freaking miracle
  • My Mom is nagging me to read it

The working title still remains Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and that will probably be the final title.  Just my luck someone else will take the title right when I hit that publish button for Amazon's e-book program rigmarole.

I'm currently scouring public domain photographs for a suitable e-book cover.  I'd rally rather not pay someone to make the cover (which can go into three figures) if I don't have to.

Off to collapse now.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

So, How's the Book Going? Part 10

My Muse (Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes) is my jockey and I'm the racehorse about to break down right at the finish line.  However, I'm still amazed to report that we are both in the homestretch of getting the first draft completed.  (Okay, technically it's not a first draft. I must have written Part I nearly 30 times. The book will have five parts and I'm over halfway completed Part V, so I'm still calling it a first draft.  Don't argue with me.  I'm writing.)

Getting the first draft done means (of course) that the book is not ready for prime time just yet.  After the first draft is finished, I will then still need to:

  • Edit
  • Reformat the Microsoft Word document to whatever format Amazon handles
  • Edit it some more
  • Somehow figure out a cover image for the damn thing (!)
  • Edit is some more
  • Go through a final internal argument where I decide whether to go for "mere" ebook publishing or try to send the damn thing to a traditional publisher (and have it ignored for ten years)
  • Market it when it's published in whatever format it comes out as.
It's actually getting scary now.  So far, no one has seen this manuscript except my Muse.  Letting someone else read it means that someone could really hate it.  Or, worse yet, I could place the book up on and sell not one friggin' copy.  As Holmes is saying in this scene from The Second Stain, "Every man's hand is against us."

Well, now I know what I'll have nightmares about tonight.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

So How's the Book Going, Part 9

The Sherlock Holmes book was chugging along pretty well until July 2, when my main client Yahoo Contributor Network suddenly announced that it will go out of business on July 31. It will start deleting all 1643 of my articles on July 30.

I also have about 1100 articles on Helium that will go dark in December when they officially go out of business. At least Helium gave their writers a six month warning.

YCN is now the third client of mine to go out of business this year. My industry (web content writing) seems to be completely screwed. I had hoped writing would be my final career -- what a dumb hope, huh?

The nice thing about the late YCN is that I could write about topics I had an interest in.  Now it's back to writing about such scintillating topics as vaginal cosmetic surgery and how to choose a DUI lawyer.

The big problem is that the residual payments that I received help pay my ridiculously expensive health insurance premiums (I live in America, remember) and still take time out to work on the book.  Remember, time I work on the book is time that I'm not getting paid.  Odds are, I'll never make a single cent with this book, so I'm not sure if I can ever find the time to finish this damn thing, let alone try to edit it and flog it.

And yet my Muse is nagging me to finish this.  Of course, he gets very quiet when I'm upset.  He doesn't seem to understand the importance of getting my bills paid.  He gets jealous so easily when I have other things on my mind except him.  If he really wanted to be helpful, he'd get me publisher.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

So, How's the Book Going? Part 8

The first draft of the book is still chugging along.  My Muse is getting more loquacious, but I really want to stop this book before or at 100,000 words.  More than that and I think I'll tax even the most tolerant of a reader's patience.

One bit of Sherlock Holmes legal news to report: All of the Sherlock Holmes stories EXCEPT for The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes (the last one) have been declared part of the public domain.  That's pretty good because the license fee from the Doyle estate starts at a minimum of $5000.  Now, I can see the Doyle estate getting steamed over non-canonical Sherlock Holmes books that suck.  Hell, even I wanted to sue the authors after I read these books. And that crap got published!

I'm debating whether to just go ahead and do an e-book or try to submit to a traditional publisher.  The big problem is that my parents are in their 70s and I'm not too sure how long they have left.  It'd be nice for them to read this thing before they die.

And yes, I know that 99.9% of all traditional publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. However, these do:

So far I think my best bet is the e-book format.  I have to wrap up this blog post, as my Muse is muttering again.  Until then, here's a little video I put together during a brief spell of writer's block:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

So How's the Book Going? Part 7

The book seems to be rolling along but I could use a vacation.  It's now at about 70,000 words long. I've done some reformatting so hopefully that will translate well with Amazon Kindle's ebook download program.  It's a bit daunting to face the end of this draft.  After that is editing and then we're off to the races.  I get to face mind-boggling choices like what to use for a cover and do I really need to add an acknowledgements page?

But what's been really tiring has been working with my Muse (pictured, left (actually, it's a picture of Jeremy Brett, but anyway...)).  He's turned into a real slave-driver.  He is still only revealing the story bit by bit instead of a whole grand overview.  He does not always reveal the story while I'm at the keyboard.  Sometimes he talks when I walk the dogs, do the washing up or when I'm trying to sleep.  He especially likes the last option.

Successful writers like Stephen King advise writers to lay down the first draft as quickly as possible.  My Muse is not so keen on that idea.  He always wants me to go back and fix errors so sometimes I wind up writing a sentence three or four times before he grudgingly allows me to go on.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not "hearing voices."  Yet his is quite insistent.  I can see where the idea of demon possession came from.

And now he says that I've taken up too much time here and have to get back at it.  See you when I see you.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

So, How's the Book Going, Part 6

And I'm happy to report that after 5 or 6 months, I've been able to dive back into my Sherlock Holmes manuscript.  It's been so long since I've looked at it that I'd forgotten half of it.  This time I reworked a chapter, fixed some plot problems and added two new chapters.  I've also made a new file to reformat the manuscript so it can have page numbers, double-spacing, indentation and all of that happy crappy.

I have managed to give Peter Gabriel a cameo in the book, although I'm not sure about the legality of that.  I think I'll just throw that out on the blogosphere and see if anyone from PG's camp screams obscenities at me. If they don't, I'm going to assume that I'm good to go.

Mom asked me an interesting question, "Is it any good?"

Now, how the heck am I supposed to answer that?  The worst person to ask about the quality of a piece of art is the artist herself/himself.  It's not like the artist can be coldly objective.

I finally got to see Peter Gabriel inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I'm surprised he bothered to show up (he didn't when his old group Genesis was inducted.)  He even toted along Wife Number Two and Kids Three and Four for the ride.  My Mom was impressed with PG's speech.  She has never been impressed with his most laudable music, fantastic singing abilities or even with the dazzling videos of the 1980s and 1990s.  But she liked this speech.

Mom told me, "Pretend Peter is talking to you about your book." 

Um, cute idea, Mom, but no.  His speech was clearly not intended for anyone trying to hammer out a first book.   I've got to get back to work on the manuscript.  Anyway, here's his speech, filmed by someone in the audience.  The actual speech was much longer than what was shown on HBO, which heavily edited PG's segment.