I’m back from vacation and reality has hit with a nasty thump. Because what you don’t want to hear when your novel is a month away from being published is that your publisher has decided to close his company. But that’s what happened to me yesterday.
My immediate reaction was one of shot. No, that’s not a typo for “shock”. I literally felt like having a shot of tequila. My second reaction was to look on the bright side. What positives can I take from this? Well, The New Sense has improved since my publisher, Chris, became involved. I now have an edited manuscript, a cover, a video interview and a half-completed promo video. What I don’t have is an epub version of my book.
Any fellow self-epublished authors reading my tale of woe might at this point be thinking, “Well, that’s no big deal – just use Smashwords!” After all, I created and distributed my short story collection Life is Good through Smashwords and it worked like a charm. The trouble is, The New Sense has some complex formatting and several visual elements that have always put me off trying to go the Smashwords route with it.
The novel is based on the main character Sara’s daily journal that she eventually converts into a blog. But a large portion of the book is also a series of email exchanges between Sara and the other main character: the mysterious father of her unborn child who she calls B—. It’s important for me that these emails look like emails, with the From, To, Subject and Time/Date fields, not just from a realism perspective but because sometimes these details are significant for the mystery. In my MS Word manuscript these emails are even in a different font, which is something that is almost impossible to reproduce across a range of eReader devices.
Now, however, I have no choice but to do it myself. And to quote Homer Simpson when informed by Lisa that the Chinese use the same word for “crisis” as they do for “opportunity”, this is a “crisitunity”.
The downside of this situation is that I have to do a lot more work myself; time that I could be spending on writing and epublishing my YA novel Silent Symmetry. The upside has several angles: I can control the publication date of The New Sense so it doesn’t compete with Silent Symmetry, I’ll learn a lot more about epub formatting, and of course I’ll earn a higher royalty on sales.
Chris advised me to try using Google’s free epub online coding tool Sigil. Since Smashwords will be accepting epub uploads before the end of this year, this might be an option. I’ll run some tests of the more complex sections of the book to see if I’m happy with the epub results. If it works and I have an epub version of The New Sense in hand, it will be up to me to decide whether to distribute through Smashwords or through each separate channel myself. Either way, it seems pretty clear to me that The New Sense will have to wait until after Silent Symmetry is epublished to see the digital light of day.
I didn’t end up doing the tequila shot yesterday. And today with a clear head I can see a brighter new horizon ahead for The New Sense.