Thursday, July 19, 2012

Phase I Accomplished At Last

To be honest, it shouldn't have taken so long. Ninety per cent of any project is settling in to do it and not letting the incidental crap intimidate you. I knew that, and I let myself be intimidated anyway.

But I now have a Word document of The Maze, a short lower-MG fantasy first published in 1994, to which I regained the rights in 2000 - from Simon & Schuster, miraculously, right before they started being a bear about getting rights back. I did this for a number of books, most of my Margaret McElderry titles, in fact, on the theory that, someday, I'd know what to do with them.

I like this book and always felt it should have sold better. I know, I know; but I understand why The Brick House Burglars is a midlist title, and The Maze, I don't. It's short, snappy, simple by my standards, with a good character arc in the middle of a traditionally episodic plot, and also contains the scene I still consider the funniest one I've written for publication. Admittedly not everyone shares my sense of humor. I've reread it a couple of times, making sure that the text is intact, the formatting was as simple as the devil program would let me get it, and getting rid of things like pesky adverbs that bothered me as I read.

It didn't get picked as my first e-book because I think I know how to make it into a runaway bestseller, though. I don't. In fact, since it skews young, it's probably the least promising candidate for e-publication in my stable, at least until the price point on e-readers comes down to the point that most kids have access to them in second and third grade. It got picked because it's short and, therefore, a good learning tool.

And I have learned a good bit, though I'm not out of the woods. I still need a cover, and once I have one, it'll be time to go to Smashwords and Kindle and all of that truck. I can start researching how they want things done before I get the cover, but as good as I am at processing narrative text, I'm terrible at processing written instructions if I can't reinforce them immediately by following them. So odds are good, until I have a complete package in my hand, with which I can do each step, I won't really understand what the e-bookstores want from me.

That, however, is for another day.

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