I’m in the final throes of completing my second book, Dangerous Mistakes. I use “throes” with its connection to death struggles purposefully, because the process is killing me.
I finished the final editing of the manuscript several weeks ago, and that was painful enough, requiring the tossing out of not only awkward phrases and clunky dialogue, but also the cutting of sentences, scenes and even characters that I really liked, but that really didn’t fit.
But nothing equates to the torment of the last stages of book production—pulling together the cover, the final proof and the formatting. And when that is done, trying to remember how to resize photos, create clickable links, and update various places on the web where photos, descriptions and content for both books in the series lives.
I was smart enough last time to hire a professional to design my first book cover. I turned to her again to revise it and create a standard look for use throughout the whole series. (You can see what the new Dangerous Habits cover looks like by scrolling to the bottom of this blog and looking at the sidebar on the right) And to make the entire process go more smoothly, I also hired professional help for final proofing and formatting. But I neglected to factor in that each person brought into the process also has other projects and other deadlines, not just mine, to meet.
It turns out that I was wildly optimistic about the time it would take to bring all the pieces of the project together. Which is a little odd, because I don’t possess the most sunny of temperaments and in fact tend to lean toward the Eeyore side of the scale when predicting likely outcomes. But this time, I did not. I confidently announced that the second book in the Leah Nash Mysteries series would be published fall 2015–by which I meant late September to early October. While it’s true that fall doesn’t officially end until December 21st, the odd snowflake drifting by my window as I write this makes that seem like a technicality. The real answer to the question Are we there yet? is No, not yet.
However, I can temper the reply the same way my parents used to do on long journeys and say, Almost. If all goes well, Dangerous Mistakes will be available sometime in the next few weeks. But I hate missing deadlines, even self-imposed ones. So as I start on the third book, which I’ve been noodling around with in the back of my mind for a few weeks, I’m going to add a step to my preparation work.
I always set a general timeline for completing the first draft. This time I’m going to add a production timeline as well. And perhaps this third time will be the charm, and both the writing and the post-production schedule will come together as planned. I can but try.