Thursday, March 11, 2010

I look Very Hard For Nothing.

I swear I am getting square eyes.

I have been doing final preparation of my manuscript and cover of Veiled in Shadows.
I have decided to run with Lightning Source as my printer. They are more than competitive in terms of cost per book and they give some advantages in terms of distribution.

Like CreateSpace, the Amazon subsidiary, they have an easy path onto Amazon listings. A presence on Amazon is a vital part of my planned marketing campaign, and my main target will be the American market because it is so big in comparison to anywhere else.

Yet, if I want to sell Veiled here in Oz (or in the UK) Amazon is too expensive. It can cost as much (or even more) than the price of a book to airfreight a paperback from the US to Oz. Lightning Source is an Ingram International subsidiary, which means the potential of international distribution.

I don’t really expect many (if any) shopfront resellers will pick up Veiled, not unless I can get some real sales and interest happening. More to the point, from my perspective, is if Veiled is available at Ingram (which it will be) I may get it listed by the Book Depository. The big advantage of the UK based Book Depository is they don’t charge postage for air freight. And that’s anywhere in the world!

They are well worth checking out, I buy nearly all my books from them. Their prices are competitive with Amazon and no freight cost.

Now I am digressing from my square eyes. I have to submit my MS to Lightning Source (LS) as a PDF. No problem I thought, I already have converted it to PDF using some open source software.
Wrong! LS will only accept PDFs formatted on Adobe Acrobat.

So after a lot of hassle I manage to organise a copy of Acrobat. All good.

Wrong again!
My MS, which happily converted to a PDF using the other software, wouldn’t convert with Acrobat. One of the fonts I have used wouldn’t embed in the PDF using Acrobat (fonts have to be embedded so the printer can access them and I was using an odd one for a few pages of “letters” in the book) .

OK change the font to something similar that will embed.
Still won’t work. Acrobat reports the dodgy font is still in the document.

Much rending of clothes and tearing of hair!

When I calmed down I began a search of the MS to find wherever the font was hiding. No luck on a hard copy. So I begin trawling through an electronic copy. I can’t find it anywhere.

I realise with dismay I am probably looking for a few stray characters (of the font variety, not even Acrobat has taken a dislike to my villains).

No luck. I break the MS into separate chapters and test the most likely (the ones where I know I used the font).

Hallelujah I narrow it down to one chapter and scour that with a fine tooth comb.

Still no luck.

Then, as I contemplate retyping this chapter in a blank document, I look one last time.
I find it, a single solitary space in the wrong font. No wonder I couldn’t see it. I was effectively looking for NOTHING.

Just for your enlightenment I have included the offending space. Here it is. See there? There in front of the last carriage return. See it?

No, neither could I.

So finally last night I got the whole MS into an Acrobat PDF.

Ahh, sighs of relief all round.

Except now, I have to do another line by line check to make sure no errors in formatting have crept in with the change of font and PDF software.

At least this time I’ll be looking for things I can see.

I hope.

Now a totally random piccie, this time from my archive.
Another variety of Banksia
From the leaves I’d never guess this was a banksia, but these beautiful flowers are very distinctive.


Kathleen Jones said...

Currently doing my own line-by-line, so you have all my sympathy!!!
I hope the book does really well, you are doing such a professional job. I will look up Lightning Source, as it's one I haven't heard of. A lot of people use Lulu here.
good luck!

Alyssa Ast said...

I will be doing the very same soon. Good luck!

Deb@RGRamblings said...

I can feel your frustration. Best of luck finishing up!

Al said...

Hi Kathleen,
Yes I noticed on your blog that you are busy with proofing. It is so painful! I find it hard not to get wrapped up in thee content and forget what I am meant to be doing.
At least I am doing a good job of pretending to be professional.
LS demands more from a publisher than Lulu. It is really aimed at professionals rather than home jobbers. Like I say I am pretending.

Hi Alyssa,
Great to hear you project is getting closer! Thank you very much.

Hi Deb,
Yes, it seems to get so close and then there is always another step I hadn't counted on. Grrr!
Thank you!

hmsgofita said...

Wow. Getting published is quite the process. I'm rooting for you! Good luck!

SonshineMusic said...

Oh goodness. Hate when something like that happens. My Dad had a similar thing happen when his printer simply refused to print 3 pages of his most recent research paper because it didn't recognize the Greek font. We were all pulling out our hair trying to figure out why it wouldn't print!

Lisa said...

You've definitely reached the not fun part of writing a book! While I feel you pain, it is pretty darn funny that you were looking for nothing!

Al said...

Hi Heather,
A process, it certainly is. Thank you!

Hi Sonshine,
It is a real pain when something like this happens.
The Printer stuffed him around? What a nuisance.

Hi Lisa,
No it is not a fun part of writing.
It is pretty damn funny, at least I can still laugh at myself.

Amanda said...

I'm glad you still in good spirits and keeping on! I have to say that I am excited for it to come out and I will definitely be buying a copy. Keep up the good work!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

It's all very tedious, isn't it? My book was distributed by Baker & Taylor, but I never got an 'in' with Ingram--I think that would have been a definite benefit.

Amazon is definitely a huge player though, so if Lightning Source eases the way, that's awesome.

Best of luck with everything!!

Al said...

Hi Amanda,
It's all a challenge. Even if it isn't quite fun!
Thanks for the vote of confidence I really appreciate it!

Hi Alyssa,
Tedious is a polite way of putting it!
Ingram should be an advantage especially because they have a European arm which hopefully means I can get Veiled with The Book Depository and affordable online shopping from down here.

Sprollie Mad said...

Good grief - I read your post and I may aswell have been reading ancient Greek. But it sounds very frustrating and complicated, so I give you my sympathies.
And well done for getting published. :-)

Al said...

Hi Jax,
I'll have to type slower so you can keep up!
Sorry for being so obtuse.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Isn't that the most frustrating thing ever!!! I mean, of all the things, one measly offending Space?!

Al said...

Hi Rayna,
It certainly was one of the most frustrating things I have experienced. You just cant see a space.

heidenkind said...

PDFs are such a pain to work with. I had to do a few of them in grad school for professors, and now I just run in the other direction. ;)