“The Boy” – An 8.5 x 11 Nightmare in Publish On Demand (POD)

The Boy“.  I’ve been picking up my ‘Proof’ and going over it – and my! – it’s good.  If you don’t believe me, check out these reviews .  But I’m trying to cut costs so the consumers will buy this thing.  And that means cutting length.

I started like many young amateur authors – using the ‘default’ page provided by my word processor: 8.5 x 11 with 1 inch margins all the way around.  I wrote it over and over et cetra ad infinitum ad nauseum until the wee hours of the morning, during breaks at work . . . here and there.  Writers know this thing.  Burning the coffee pot in the morning because you’re too anxious to get to work . . . *something* is driving you . . . call it ambition, call it what you want, but in “me” it was my ‘souls’ crying to be let out . . . in some kind of way.

Finally I was ready.  I created the cover according to the vision I had and began looking into POD: Publish on Demand.

Anyway . . . the first thing I found out is books don’t come “8.5 x 11”; no, they come in ‘standard industry sizes’ . . . so like the 3 Bears, I found a size that seemed just right . . .

And those 750 pages changed to over twelve hundred.  The  paragraphs – which had looked so right in the 8.5 x 11 format – were sometimes pages long!  One paragraph occupying just ONE whole page can be annoying; one going on for two and a half pages?  Ugh . . . gimme a BREAK !!! (If you didn’t see the ‘double’ meaning – maybe you need to stick to “How To”.)

So . . . I had to go back through the whole book page by page, deciding what to do: how to split the overly long paragraphs at some ‘change’ in subject (English rules) while maintaining the style; not losing the meaning; breaking it down . . .

And it swelled even more.  After all, you are adding lines to your book . . .

“So what?”, I thought, thinking of Stephen King’s books.  “The Stand” was well over 1000 . . .

No way.  Come time to submit the book – it is too long.  The presses can’t ‘bind’ a backing that thick.  A technical problem but I what am I to do?  This stuff was (and is) ‘free’ – am I to complain to the publisher?  Nooo . . . but I don”t want a bigger book.  It wouldn’t look right.  After all, who wants a coffee table NOVEL? Plus it wouldn’t ‘fit market demand’.  I needed a ‘popular size’, one people would be willing to take to the pool. Yeah, I did do some homework.

That’s one of the lessons I learned in self-publishing, or “POD”: Print On Demand.  Get some idea as to the finished product as per popular industry and market standards for your book (eg. a coffee table book would start big)  – and start your formatting that way!  Use the same font, page size, margins, et cetra as you wish to SEE in the finished product.  Turn automatic hyphenation on (that’ll shorten your book as well – and aids in readability sometimes, especially if you use long words like I do sometimes).

Also remember: it has to be to be printable publishable files by the Publish on Demand publisher.  These things are read – and judged – by a computer, not a man or woman.  And in some cases (for instance Createspace), those computers can be quite picky!  Make SURE not to put anything in margins.  I (and others) have spent months trying to find ‘hidden characters’ that ‘they’, the POD computers won’t reject . . . it delayed my publishing by about three months, all the above . . .

That’s one of the things you gotta realize: you can either do this on your own as I’ve done – A to Z, haven’t got a clue – or you can hire someone to do it for you.  I don’t know about you, but I’m living off SSDI and don’t have money to spend.

But that’s one of the things you learn. You CAN do it yourself – but getting the right start will help!!!  (And remember; I started our novel “The Boy” 34 years ago; writing it by hand . . . it’s seen BASIC systems, early DOS 1.0 . . . and so on, LOL’ing!  Not many options back then  . . . )

So if you go to write the next great novel, bear in mind: you want to start with a template which will translate into a finished product that you – AND the publisher can stand.  One that will be ‘acceptable’ by their computers and system (for instance, most call for PDF format).  Nothing in the margin – even invisible anchors, comments . . . just the computer’s mumbling and notations to itself, or the byte of bit gods . . .

“The Boy” – Give it a try.  You can find a free copy on Fictionpress and you’ll see.  You’ll find what it’s like to be a child – understand an abused child’s mind – and for some, they will see the ‘fight’ we had over the years under the hood.  I do know this: thus far the reviewers (and a few copyright buyers) have said it was good.

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About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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3 Responses to “The Boy” – An 8.5 x 11 Nightmare in Publish On Demand (POD)

  1. I have it in my browser, and yes… i will read it. I haven’t had a chance lately – I’ve gotten pretty deeply involved in the war on women and politics… stuff is so addictive! But I have been reading your posts as they come through, so I am very VERY looking forward to reading “The Boy.”

    Oh, and Kings, “The Stand” is the BOMB! I have read that at least a dozen times. When the unedited version came out… I thought it was a dream come true. The TV mini-series was okay. They’ve butchered his work a lot worse than that. But that book is so intricate, it’s hard to put in a short mini-series. Need a couple seasons for that one to be done justly.

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    • jeffssong says:

      LOL, no pressure, Michelle! Life comes first.
      S. King – man, he put out some good works. But his stuff of late? Poorly done, IMO. Even the grammar and editing is ‘poor’ – as though he’s just being forced to kick out 300 pagers to meet some bills. I really have been disappointed in his last half dozen or so books; some of it is real trash. But “The Stand”? It shines! (So do a lot of other books by various authors). But I would put my book up against his in terms of quality, descriptions, character development and evolution – with the ‘bonus’ feature of there is so much ‘hidden’ stuff within: metaphors, double (triple, quadruple in some cases) meanings – and a LOT of ‘truth’ buried in it regarding racism, the law, the ‘treatment’ of abused children, how the law and procedure work; about the corrupt politics I’ve witnessed down here – and I mean up close, personal and ‘for real’ backroom meetings by politicians interested only in their own selves . . . plus it covers some madness, and the most important thing of all, it has lessons for child abusers and the children who love (or loved them) as well as the inside scoop on an abused child’s mind – one who has been sexually ‘trained’ or groomed to ‘want love’ – SEE love – as incomplete without a physical expression of the same thing – and the disturbed man who ‘finds’ him . . . weird book, it covers SO many things that I could not, and still have not figured out it’s genre’!

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      • I SO look forward to reading “The Boy.” Just from the posts I’ve read, I can tell you are a superb writer. It is hard to keep my attention when reading… I’ve become too “spoiled” by the internet and immediate gratification. But when I read your posts, I don’t want them to end. I can feel, smell and see everything you write about.

        I haven’t read any new King for years. He started pumping them out due to demand and the quality went downhill. I also love his book of short stories, “The Night Shift” and “Different Seasons.” The “Night Shift” is the first one I ever read, and it will always be my favorite, but rather tied with “The Stand” too.

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