A Real Book

Iron Shards has always felt real to me. The ideas swirled in my mind on long car trips, worlds building themselves as the miles passed me by. As I typed out the pages, tap-tapping my way to a full manuscript, it became concrete.

As a book junkie, I know that some readers are serious fans of print. I don’t need a physical copy of a work to read it, but I admit that I keep hard copies of my favorites. (I’m going to need my hard copies of Harry Potter and Shakespeare if the world ever comes to end, okay?) I am flattered that others want hard copies of my work, and I was unexpectedly delighted when the paperback proof arrived for me to review yesterday. I stroked the cover, finally holding my brainchild. And to my children, the hard copy meant that I really had been writing a book. Did you think I was dreaming this project up? Of course, the book’s finally done. 

And if you feel the need to own Iron Shards in a tangible form, here it is. Iron Shards paperback The hard copy will also be available on Amazon in a few days.

And I can’t resist sharing a picture of how amazing my book looks resting on my desk.

Paperback pic

Publication Day

I like to think of myself as more deeply entrenched in math and science than your average English degree holder. I took calculus classes and organic chemistry. I suffered through a year of physics. Still, when it comes to computer coding, there are magical gnomes making the processes work for all I know, so I enlisted my computer-savvy spouse’s help for publication.

He is an absolute tyrant about formatting, and that’s something I need. Apparently, I’m a formatting nightmare. (Did you know that you don’t hit “Tab” to start a new paragraph when you’re writing a novel?) He has been worried for months about formatting my book for digital publication, and the process was in the back of my mind as a minor issue. I truly didn’t comprehend the scope of that project. I suppose I thought I would just upload it to Amazon and click “Publish”. Don’t these people know we’re writers, not computer programmers? Alas. That’s not what happens.

Instead, the book gets uploaded, and you check the formatting with various devices. I thought that all of the Kindle devices at least would be consistent. Naive author brain strikes again. They all had different start pages, given the exact same information. A few were awful, skipping my prologue or starting in the middle of my book dedication, a random “I love you” scrawled across the page. Why, Amazon? Why? 

I saw this as evidence of chaos in the universe, the computer gnomes taking my good intentions and scrambling them about. Josh took it as a personal challenge; he was frustrated and curious about why it wasn’t working as intended. He pulled open some html code. (That’s what he called it. I’m certain it was actually from the engineering grimoires.) He cursed a lot. See? Incantations!  And no matter what he tried or how many other wizards he spoke with, all of them confirmed the magic is broken. No one has a spell for getting a book to start anywhere other than the Table of Contents. A few, rare practitioners encountered wild magic and managed to get their books to begin on page one. But they don’t have a spell to share with the other mages.

I thought about the e-books I’ve read, and, indeed, they all begin at the Table of Contents. It’s not ideal, but people know how to scroll over. It’s fine, I insisted. At last, my wizard admitted defeat. He uploaded my book, and we went to sleep. What? You were thinking I’d have a wild party celebrating the release of my book? Engineering wizards and authors are usually introverts. Why would we do that? 

The alarm clock rang all too early on publication day, and I opened the dreadful phone to turn off the incessant music–only to see a Facebook message from a friend in England. She said that my book had typos in the description. Nooooooooo! At first my sleep-addled brain thought she must be referring to the words I made up that Amazon kept insisting were errors last night. It’s scary to click “publish” when Amazon keeps telling you that you have ten errors in your work. Screw you. I invented that word. It’s real! 

But after re-clicking my link, I saw what my friend meant. My stomach churned, my heart pounded, and I had to catch my breath. The book description is critical for any self-publishing author. It’s the crucial paragraph that perfect strangers read to determine if they want to buy the book. And mine had not one, but two typos! My wizard tried to calm me down, to explain that you couldn’t copy-paste this part, that he’d had to type it and must have made some mistakes. This is why engineering wizards don’t write books. 

I did some quick editing in the early morning hours, hoping to eliminate the errors before anyone in the US caught them. And now I can breathe again, and I’ve had enough excitement to last for the entire publication day. You might think I’m heading off to rest on my laurels, but I’ll do nothing so exciting. The book writing, editing, and publication processes have taken their tolls on my family, and I’m off to catch up on appointments, oil changes, and endless laundry.

On a different note, some of you are interested in helping this newly published author promote her work. You rock! Here’s how to help. “Liking” and sharing my pages spreads the word about my book to others and increases visibility. Also, if you read the book and want to help me out, review it. Book reviews increase the likelihood that others will choose my book to read.

I hope that you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you haven’t yet checked out the book and want to, here it is–Iron Shards.

–Jessi