If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Confessions of an Indie Publisher

After a long gestation period, Doubtful Relations (by James M. Jackson) is available for pre-order. Sort of.

As I write this, it’s available for Kindle (ed. note: now also at iBooks and Kobo) and in print directly from me if you’d like a signed copy or eBook directly from me. During the pre-order period, I’m offering free shipping on the print book and a dollar off on the eBook compared to buying it online—but you need to know how to load it on to your reader. Other retail outlets will come online as I work through each of their processes. Some don’t allow pre-orders, so the first time they show up will be on the official publication date, August 23. You can check my website http://jamesmjackson.com/ for purchase links.

The Big-5 publishers have a different process and retailers have different rules for them. I have no issue with that. I chose to use Wolf’s Echo Press to publish the fourth Seamus McCree novel to have greater control of price and timing. Along with that comes the knowledge that I have to go with the retailer flow when it comes to having the books listed on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. Of course, I could pay someone to do all the necessary work, but I (mostly) enjoy the challenge.

Readers of my blogs know that I don’t like to read books with lots of typos, homonym errors, or poor layout. My tolerance for mistakes has increased as I’ve learned by being a published author how easy a mistake can be missed by everyone. I still rail against poor design, because that is very much a conscious decision. Knowing that it is impossible, I still don’t want any errors in MY book.

This sounds like a perfectionist streak in my personality, but those who know me realize calling me a perfectionist would do a grave injustice to the word. The issue here is that I have a double reason for things to be correct: I’m the author and I own the publishing company; any errors reflect doubly poorly on me. And truth be told, I don’t want readers to think I’m stupid because of spelling errors or using the wrong homonym.

Publishing is a very part-time adventure for me, and I have not invested in the InDesign software that many professionals use for book formatting. I use Microsoft Word, which frankly has some limitations. The one that drives me craziest is its methodology of producing a PDF file. It is NOT a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) process. I’ll have modified the spacing of lines on a page to avoid any orphans (single lines starting a page that are part of a longer paragraph), and it looks perfect in Word. Convert it to PDF and Shazaam the orphan has returned.

That gets me yelling at the computer. The air turned blue the time I inserted a soft hyphen (one that only appears if it is needed at the end of a line; it will not show if the word is in the middle of a line) because a line had a bit too much white space between words, and POOF! orphans appeared from a parallel universe. Eliminate the soft hyphen and the issue disappears. [And yes, I have checked and unchecked the various boxes deep in Word’s option menus. I learned those by trial and error—well, error and trial.]

I’m a geek, so I’m reasonably good at stuff like this, but to tell the truth, I’d rather be on my deck watching the eagle fly past and listening to the chimney swifts twittering overhead, (both of which just happened as I wrote this blog. No camera, so no picture. Sorry. Use your imagination.) Nonetheless, it’s what I signed up for when I decided to form my own little publishing company, and really, my complaints are minor ones—long after the fact, of course.

So, if you’re a Kindle reader or would like a signed print book, check out my website for the correct link. If you read Nook or Kobo or want to support your Indy bookstore, be patient while the words propagate throughout the system.

And if you do find an error, PLEASE let me know. I’ll fix it for future readers and send you a heartfelt note of thanks.

~ Jim


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congratulations on publication and yes, I'll let you know if I find anything. Just like where's Waldo, which my dentist has on the ceiling over the chair.

Kait said...

Well said, Jim, and congratulations on the publication!

Jim Jackson said...

MARGARET -- Where's Waldo over the chair? That might be cruel and unusual punishment as the whine of the drill fills your ear!

KAIT -- Thanks, the journey is interesting for sure.

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations. I hope you sell a ton of books.

Julie Tollefson said...

Congratulations on the new book! I totally sympathize with your struggles to make Word behave. As someone who designs publications for the day job, I would lose my mind if I didn't have InDesign.

Polly Iyer said...

Best of luck, Jim. I'm sure this will be a great addition to your series.

Terry Odell said...

As an editor from Harper Collins said, "Typos are like cockroaches. They breed when you're not looking." I think as authors, we're even more sensitized to them (in someone else's book), There's a rather embarrassing one in one of my books that nobody caught until my audio book narrator pointed it out. Another good reason for reading the manuscript aloud as part of the editing process.

KM Rockwood said...

Congrats! I've enjoyed the others, and I'm sure I will enjoy this one, too.

No matter how careful we (and our editors) are, there always seems to be a forehead-smacking worthy typo in the finished product. That of course leaps out at you when the work is in print.

Jim Jackson said...

JULIE -- I may have to break down and learn InDesign -- but a few other things are higher on my to do list.

Thanks POLLY.

TERRY -- I love the cockroach analogy -- and, like cockroaches, typos will probably outlive humanity. I think the only reason there isn't one on the gold/aluminum message we sent out to space on the Pioneer spacecraft was because it was pictures, not words!

KATHLEEN -- at least with the eBook versions those typos should be easy to fix--although there isn't much financial reason for publishers to take the time to make those changes unless the produce a new edition.

carla said...

Great blog, Jim. I hadn't heard the term Orphan used this way but it sure makes sense!

Gloria Alden said...

Congratulations, Jim, on self-publishing your own book. The positive aspect of bening indie-published, no one can drop you. I can't wait to read it since I so enjoyed your other books. As for typos, I find more than one would expect in published books by well-known publishers, too.

Jim Jackson said...

CARLA -- not a term I made up. I think I saw it with my first word-processing program circa 1978.

GLORIA -- yep some publishers seem to have more of them than others. There is one publisher, well-known in the mystery community, whose books I shy away from because of all the typos and grammar errors I find. It takes away from my reading pleasure and as TERRY said, as an author I may notice them more that others, but still it is me who is deciding what I will buy and read and why buy typos when there are other choices with equally good stories.

Barb Ross said...

I was pretty sure "widows and orphans" were old printing terms, which sent me on a hunt through the interwebs. It seems the practice of neither beginning a paragraph at the bottom of the page (or column in newsprint) nor ending one at the top goes way, way back in typography, but when the terms came into usage is much murkier.

Anyway, what I came here to say before I started reading comments and wasting a lazy Sunday afternoon is that one major advantage you have as an independent publisher is that if the inevitable typos, etc. sneak by, you can fix them in the e-versions in a timely manner, and even if the print books if they're POD. It seems to take an Act of Congress to get an error fixed in a traditionally published book, even in the digital versions or a later paperback.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I think your fans will very much enjoy DOUBTFUL RELATIONS. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of it. I'm at the age where my brain sight-reads the right word into a line if there's an error. It takes a lot for me to root out all the errors, so I applaud your diligence. As another indie publisher, I share your frustration with Word. Someone turned me on to Draft to Digital to create online files and I now highly recommend that to others. Have you tried it?

Jim Jackson said...

BARB -- Widows and Orphans have been around for a very long time -- but from what I seen, when it comes to novels, that Widows don't cause people much concern, whereas Orphans are still considered bad form. And you are correct that I plan on changing eBooks regularly. The cost of changing print depends on the vendor: some are free and some charge for each time the manuscript changes.

MAGGIE -- I am using Draft2digital for the ePub versions of Doubtful Relations, although that experience has not been without some frustrations in modifying their html to correctly reflect the Table of Contents. For Kindle, I use KDP, which I have found very easy to use.

C. T. Collier said...

LOL, Kait, I take my glasses off in the dentist chair. Waldo would be lost forever.
LOL, Barb, I sent 12 error fixes to my publisher for book four and was told some were not errors. Seriously?
Jim, as a fellow geek, I appreciate everything about your post and thank you for the hidden-hyphen heads-up! I'm so grateful, as a new indie publisher, for the opportunity to fix the occasional error a reader points out. When one found an error in the back cover, my wonderful cover artist jumped right on it, too. After all, it reflects on him, too.

Jim Jackson said...

CT -- a good book cover designer is very necessary if you are going Indie publishing. I think a lot of people try to scrimp on that, and unless they have the skills, they end up hurting themselves, because people won't find out they can't tell the inside from its cover if they don't buy it because of its cover!