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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

Step 37: Panic!

I’m reminded of Hemingway’s supposed comment that “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” When I hear about people in awe that someone wrote a book, I have to say to myself, “That was the easy part.” I wrote Steven George & The Dragon in 30 days in 2007. I edited it for two years. But even that was comparably easy.

It was (is) putting the book through the publishing process that was (is) hard. I’m not sure it will be easier with the next book, either. I wrote an article in the current issue of Line Zero magazine titled “10 Reasons You Should Become an Indi Publisher.” I decided to validate my reasons against a live project. So, I’ve been documenting the process with Steven George & The Dragon. Great story, publication ready manuscript, care for design. Check check check. Realistic expectations, knowing who will buy. Check, well… sort of. Let me put it this way: I know a lot more people who have said they will buy the book than have ordered it. But, I’m still getting the word out and it’s early, so I’m not going to let that stop me.

Business in place, funds to invest. Check, well… sort of. There’s always a money crisis. What I didn’t think about was that the cost of the books is not the only cost. There are promotional materials (even a fee for the email invitations), postcards, posters, ISBN numbers (lots of 10 for $250), membership in the Pro-plan for publishing, Website setup cost and domain registration, Paypal fees, and what we used to call in the building industry “sweat equity.”

Marketing plan, check. Family and friends willing to do the author promo and sales bit. Reluctantly, check. No illlusions about how easy this will be. OUCH!

That’s where step 37 in the process comes in. When you find out your books will be printed in South Carolina and will be shipped to you via the Panama Canal unless you pay double to get them on a steam locomotive across the country, or quadruple to get them by truck with the possibility they will arrive for the release party… Panic! When your social media promotions yield minimal results for your surveys and pre-orders… Panic! When you discover you’ve scheduled your release party opposite a performance in the theater… Panic! When you cut the quantity of books to be ordered in half so not to become the cliché author with a garage full of unsold copies… Panic! When you find a misspelling on page 37 after the print order has been shipped… Panic! When you are two weeks away from release and still don’t have the ePUB design finished… Panic!

And after you have hyperventilated, hug the dog, go for a walk, write it all down, and keep going. Because that’s what you committed to in the first place. Follow the plan and you will get there. As Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”


I seem to recall, back when I was in college, reading the following quote attributed to the NYT sportswriter Red Smith: "Writing is very easy. All you do is sit at the typewriter until little drops of blood appear on your forehead."

I wonder who REALLY expressed this sentiment first?
For what it's worth, I find typos in books from major publishers all the time...