Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry

Learning Experiences!

So the new novella has been out for three whole days now, and I have learned a few things, which I will inflict on you in case any of you have ever thought of self-publishing, or in case you already self-publish and want to point and laugh at someone else (or perhaps nod knowingly and reach for the bottle.)

Doing this right is hard.

I have burst into tears once, sulked twice, screamed multiple times, ran out of a coffee shop like my ass was on fire and my head was catching, and uploaded at least six versions to Smashwords.

We shall not number the hard drinks consumed, for yea verily, the path of the author is strewn with dying liver cells.

It may be easier with practice (I hope) or for some other people (I suspect) but seriously, every typo has filled me with burning shame before my ancestors, and I know for a fact some of my ancestors thought “wash” was spelled with an R.

Which leads me to the second point–oh my god, so many errors!

And I was GOOD! I hired a copyeditor and she is a very good copyeditor and caught hundreds of them before they could do more than squirm and hiss on the page! But two people going over something with a fine-toothed comb doesn’t cause perfection.

Now, I sort of suspected that, because hell, there are typos in the Dragonbreath books—the paperback version of Book One has two About the Author pages facing each other, and a whole print run of Digger 2 went out missing a page. So even meticulous professional publications go out with typos. I expected that.

I did not expect how mortified I would be by each one–oh god oh god everybody can see this they will see I am an unprofessional hack who didn’t care enough to go over it enough times to fix it oh god oh god the goblins deserve better than to have me for an author oh god-–and never mind that we DID go over it. (I take all the blame—a couple of the typos were even knock-ons from me having fixed other ones she caught in the final draft!)

This experience actually makes me cringe a bit because “typo-ridden” is so commonly thrown around as one of the big problems with much self-published work and I thought “Ha! I shall be better than this!” and then, oh god, like ten errors. Each one a small, mistyped dagger in my heart.

So, I’m probably less judgy now. That’s probably good. I guess. Or at least I have judged myself.

It’s like being Catholic AND an editor. God help us all.

I have also learned that if I do this again, the day it comes out is a total loss. No work will be done. It will be all putting out fires and tearing out hair. I will make a note of it.

Now, the good bits!

The nice thing about this is how nice everyone has been—y’all have been wonderful about reporting errors without going “Write it better next time, jackass!”

The other nice thing is that it’s fixable. I admit, I did not expect how many updates I’d have to do–I THINK I just sent out the last set, which had an exhaustive list of teeny changes—THANK YOU, DRAGONLADY!—but of course someone could turn up tomorrow and say “Yeah, so, that last update did something weird and Sings-to-Trees is now named “Craw-bob” and all the scenes with the trolls have been replaced with an ad for Liquid Plumber.” And that would be bad.

One nice thing—it earned out quickly and is now making money. (I had about $500 worth of expenses.) So in that regard, it’s a great success–we’re well over 300 copies, which is respectable for three days of self-publishing under a pen-name in a weird little niche market (and yes, I did just call you guys a weird little niche market, but I mean it in the nicest possible sense.) I have high hopes that it’ll crack a thousand. (And we were actually in the top 20 epic fantasy on Kindle for a bit there, so that was neat! Obviously George RR Martin was most of the other 19…)

That said, obviously I’m not throwing over Dragonbreath tomorrow–I mean, Book One is cruising towards the 200K mark at a good clip. Different worlds entirely.

However, it’s actually really gratifying to get this weird little story out there. (Heck, it’s just nice to write for grown-ups again—I am good at writing for kids, but I do occasionally want to start throwing corpses around.)* No, it’s not a huge sum of money (although a few thousand dollars and a long tail is absolutely nothing to sneeze at–a novella that pays the rent for two months and buys me occasional coffee is VERY SUCCESSFUL compared to a novella that lives on my hard-drive and moulders!) but finally I’ve inflicted the goblins on other people. And mostly people seem pleased with it. And that’s pretty cool.

So thank you all for being so patient with the typos and my flailing around like a panicked bird on a window-pane. I hope to do this again soon!

Like…err…next year or something.

Anyway, latest version available at:



and still hoping that it will hit iBooks/B&N/Kobo at some point. (If you can’t wait, Smashwords has many formats available, it’s just a matter of delivery to various devices.)


*Somewhere, my editor just twitched and isn’t sure why.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

> I know for a fact some of my ancestors thought “wash” was spelled with an R.

I am extremely confused as to why I felt instantly compelled to make this. Why do I find this funny? Why? x_x

Have purchased and awaiting the ping to say its downloaded.

Congrats on the novella! Copyediting is a painful thing - I helped edit a specialized entomology guide, and it was amazing how many typos were in the CHAPTER HEADINGS. It's a brutal process. I love hearing about how a story comes together (it seems inevitable that it will be a painful process), and then reading the awesome final result.

Bought it- read it on my computer! ( I don't Need a Kindle- this makes me so happy), did not notice typos, despite being a picky Virgo type and just having finished proof reading a friend's book. So there. No self- flagellation young lady. Good story, much enjoyed. Yes, Regency Ninjas???? sniffle

One highly effective way to find typos is to read the text aloud. I've narrated many stories for Will Sanborn's "Anthropomorphic Dreams" podcast and am in the midst of producing "Claws and Starships" for M.C.A. Hogarth, and typos stand out glaringly when I have to interpret and act the text.

Bought, read, reviewed on Amazon.

For what it's worth, I only noticed two typos in the whole thing, and they were one-letter things that turned one word into another -- in when it should have been is, sort of thing. I have professionally printed books with more and worse errors than that.

Are you considering pushing that to amazon.co.uk?

If she clicked the "All Regions," then it should propagate there on its own -- however, Amazon takes at least 48 hours to do so, and it may take longer, depending. (One does want to check that one has clicked the appropriate boxen for the price. If prices aren't set, or the "base price on the current currency conversion from the US price" tickybox isn't ticked, I don't know what happens, or if that page lets you get away with that or not.)

Bought it, read it, loved it. Hoping for more. And as one of the reasons I love Google Chrome is the built in spell checker, I cannot throw stones at the occasional typo. You do not want to know how many I had to correct in just these few sentences.


Ursula, this should relieve you a little:

My family (which, honestly, means my father and I) runs a small community newspaper serving a tiny community in Michigan. The software we use is ancient, ran well on Windows 3.1, and consequently has a very laborious spell check process that becomes so burdensome that we just plain don't use the cotton-pickin' thing.

We're pretty good at catching typos, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is perfect. We have sent papers out with typos in the front page headlines, in the captions on front page photos, and misspelled names that nobody ought to misspell. Every time, my phone rings off the hook with people calling to inform me that I screwed up. My mother even gets in on the deal and tells us about it at home. Thanks, Ma, I didn't know that that was messed up, it's just that EVERYBODY has been telling me.

You're a champ if you've gotten through with only a dozen (or few dozen, honestly) spelling errors. Ignore the haters, and keep on trucking on -- it's really the only thing you can do. :)

Edited because I, like, commas, darnit.

Edited at 2013-11-01 03:00 pm (UTC)

Just read the novella and it was brilliant! Now I just have to stop myself subconsciously putting goblins and bears into my NaNoWriMo entry !

I've just bought (and read through, and thoroughly enjoyed, to the point of laughing loud enough to draw questions...) a PDF version through Smashwords. Fun stuff, and I'm looking forward to more!

One puzzlement: the title page says "Artwork by Ursula Vernon", but the PDF doesn't have any art in it that I can see. Is this a failing of the PDF format? If so, what formats do have art?

And, to answer my own question, yes, this appears to be a failing of the PDF format. The .epub has the cover art.

Just bought it for my Kindle. I'm excited to read it, but will probably wait until Tuesday when I have a 4 day subbing job.

Edit: I lied. I had three of my students cancel on me today after I'd already gotten to the coffee shop I tutor from. I took it as a sign that I needed to start reading the book. It's so awesome so far!

Edited at 2013-11-02 06:42 pm (UTC)

I oncet thought I had typoed, but it turned out I was missprinten...

If God required perfection, they wouldnut be many of us wrunnin' arount!