I’m Making Sophia the Patron Kid of Tiny Cat Pants Today

You better not send me to school any more. My neck hurts from looking up at the teacher!”

Bwah ha ha ha ha.

In completely unrelated news, this morning I saw a goldfinch eating my sunflower seeds right out of the heads of the sunflowers and, more importantly, a female hummingbird at the feeder. I’ve seen her man around the yard for a month or so. This is my first sighting of her.

Now That the Euphoria Has Faded

I was chatting with Beth while looking through the book and I flipped to a page and I saw “Bid Daddy” instead of “Big Daddy.” Yes, I know, three different people have been through it at least once, a couple of us twice and there was “Bid Daddy.”

It jumped out at me.

So, I read through the book and saw two other things that jumped out at me. Now there might be other mistakes in there, but those three were like red, blaring lights.

And here’s a point where this kind of publishing and regular publishing veer so sharply away from each other that I almost can’t wrap my head around it. I was all “No, fuck you, Fate! NOoooooOOOOO. I can’t ask people to pay $15 for ‘Bid Daddy’!” If I were publishing this traditionally, if this were the copy I’d gotten from the printer, I’d just have to suck it up. You don’t see a book until there’s books. You’re going to ditch your whole print run for three little things most folks won’t notice? Of course not.

You fix it before you do another printing, if there’s another printing.

But I just emailed Samantha and told her what I found. I’m bringing the hard copy for her to look at so she can see if there are any formatting things she doesn’t like when she sees it on an actual page.

And then we just reupload the file and get another proof.

Ha, which will be the last!!!! I hope. Knock on wood.

I had hoped review copies would go out by the end of next week, but it’s probably going to be the week after. The good thing is that I only have a handful of places that are getting physical review copies. Everyone else can get their press releases next week as planned. And eager reviewers, if there are any more, can have the PDF.

But it’s wild that I can just fix problems.

For those of you wondering how it looks, more than just in pictures, I was really surprised by the quality. Print-on-demand books are kind of notoriously crappy. Or at least, that has been their reputation. And I thought, when you looked at the edge of the book, that the pages looked a little wavy. I also think no one is going to notice that at first and that, once it’s on a bookshelf being squashed among other books, it will flatten out.

Another kind of tell-tale POD feature has been that they printed on white paper. It’s actually kind of hard on your eyes to read a lot of black text on a white background, but they now offer cream paper! So, reading, your brain easily slips into ‘Oh, this is a regular book” mode.

And then, there’s the issue of type. With a regular book, there’s actual ink on the page and the letters, even if you don’t notice it, all look a little imperfect as the ink spreads unevenly throughout each bend and curve. You don’t see it, necessarily, but you perceive it and most people perceive it as being one of the indications of a real book.

POD books, even if they’re set in lovely fonts, are laser printed, so there’s only color where there’s supposed to be color. Your eye perceives this as being too precise, again, giving you a sense of the book not quite being “real.”

This is what I think is genius about the interior font of A City of Ghosts. Samantha picked a font that had a little irregularity designed into it. Yes, I’m sure, in part, to convey “spooky,” but it has the nice effect of letting your eye delve into the story.

I think this is something I would encourage other authors who go this route to think about–use a font that doesn’t have too uniform a thickness. I’m not a designer, so I don’t know how to explain it better than that. But I have read a lot of books, so I know it improves the reading experience if everything is not so exactly precise.

I think we already talked about the cover considerations and the challenge of making sure that it’s designed in such a way that the whole cover can shift up, down, and side to side just a hair every time it’s printed and still look good.

I think that’s everything I can think of in this stage.

I hope it sells some and that people don’t hate it.

Ha, I was reading through Rachel Joiner’s list of things she wishes people would leave out about the South when writing a book and I realized, I don’t think I’ve missed a single one except for folks speaking in dialect (I hate that and am no good at it and am not sure why I’d want to be good at it). Oh, wait, I don’t have football or fried foods.

So, ha, sorry, Rachel. It won’t be me who meets this challenge! Though, in my defense, my ghost tree is NOT a magnolia, but just a regular old oak tree. A ghostly oak tree. OOoooOOOOO. Though, I guess spectral oaks probably just go “rustle, rustle, rustle.”