Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Proof!

NaNoWriMo is less than a month away! The website has already relaunched, welcoming back previous participants and inviting new people to sign up. Which I highly encourage you to do if you have a love for writing—even if you've never considered yourself a writer or a novelist. Give it a try! Writing can be very cathartic. Writing can make you realize you had something to say that maybe you'd never thought was in you to begin with.

Going along with the theme of NaNoWriMo... I have something to show you guys!

Besides shameless self-promotion and the fact that I’m super proud of it, it’s also potential motivation to any of you thinking about signing up to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year!

What do I have to show you?

PROOF!


Last year, one of the prizes for reaching the 50k-words mark was a code for a free proof copy of your novel! CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company, partnered up with NaNoWriMo to offer this awesome reward. And the coolest part? NaNoWriMo may end on November 30, but I had until sometime in either June or July to use my code!

What does this mean? This means I had plenty of time for edits, adding and taking away scenes that weren’t working or that needed to be fleshed out—basically, it meant that I didn’t have to settle for a proof copy that wasn’t tightened up.

Of course, being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last second to order my proof copy. In fact, I thought I’d missed the deadline, because I won’t lie—formatting through CreateSpace kind of threw me for a loop. It took me much longer than I’d expected. I couldn’t get the margins right, and admittedly my chapters still don’t start mid-page like they should. But I finally got it in.  The best part? Even though I was technically a day or two past the deadline, my code still worked! I won’t count on that again, though, just in case. But I was super excited!

The hard part was waiting for my proof copy to get to me. I had been home for some of the summer, and was between apartments at the time, so I had them ship to my home address. It still hadn’t arrived when I had to head back down to College Station and move in to my new apartment, so I was a little bit bummed about that.

But really, the excitement was…exciting. It was fun to have something to look forward to. And when it finally did arrive, my parents called me to let me know.

Instead of having them mail it to me, I decided to wait until I took a trip back home. I had a wedding to go to anyway, so I figured I'd just pick it up then.

Which I did.

And it was AWESOME.

Unhinged. By...Me!

I was surprised at how thin the actual book was, considering I had over one hundred manuscript pages. It just goes to show how different a manuscript looks from the book it will make. Can you imagine how many manuscript pages an author has when his published book ends up being over one thousand pages? Yeesh! On the positive side, I was afraid I was getting too wordy, writing too much—obviously I can afford to continue in my current writing style. Because my whole book was probably about fifty pages.

Granted the story isn't finished. I had hoped to have completed the manuscript before getting the proof copy. Unfortunately, I didn't manage that. But really, that's a good thing, right? I mean, if the story was finished at 100-ish pages, it would be more of a short story, wouldn't it? And I'm really hoping to write a novel.

Still, having a proof copy of a book, with an official ISBN number, my picture on the back with my biography, my name on the cover! Very very cool.

That's me! And Tucker, too. :-)

This experience also has made me appreciate editors even more than I already did. I can't tell you how many times I went through my manuscript looking for typos, name discrepancies (my protagonist had his name changed, then changed back) and notes-to-self, denoted [insert note-to-self here]. I thought I'd got them all, or at least most of them.

I was so, so terribly wrong.

Not only are there several typos—spell check is not fool-proof, you guys! Who knew?—there are also several occasions where my main character's name didn't make the switch back. And I have several [notes-to-self] shoved in the middle of sentences, glaringly obvious in print but somehow missed when I re-read the manuscript—Yes, I re-read the whole thing before submitting it, and I still missed all of these things.

In short, God bless editors. I know I for sure will not be self publishing because I don't trust myself to catch all of my mistakes. And I'd hate to come off as an incompetent writer my first go around.

Or really, ever.


Dedicated to my parents, of course!
What's that? Oh, just my book... ;-)
My book blurb, my picture, my bio, my barcode!

11 comments:

Matt Bukaty said...

yay'z! now you just need to...uh...actually finish said book. ;)


-exotor

Sarah said...

I know, right?? So many ideas! So little time! Story of my life.

:-D

Thanks for the encouragement! Oh, and for reading my stuff and telling me what you think!

Matt Bukaty said...

anytime partner! :) since you're the only person that seems to care about my stuff too haha

-jumshie

Sarah said...

Oh, surely not! If so, I don't know why. People must be crazy. I always love hearing your little tunes. :-)

Especially because when you hit the big time, I'll be able to say I was your fan before you were famous. ;-)

Mike "Kigen" Suazo said...

Man, that's awesome. One of my best friends actually tried NaNoWrimo but I think he got as far as 30k+ but he did end up finishing his book which is the great part. Man, thats a pretty bad-ass looking too. Congrats!

Sarah said...

That's awesome! I still haven't actually finished the manuscript, which I would LOVE to do. It's great that your friend did!

And thanks! I agree! :-)

June said...

Oh my goodness...I may be just as excited for you as you are:) That is fabulous. I would be picking it up and looking at it over and again...carrying it around (hehe) and displaying it for everyone to see! I'm jumping up and down for you. Because.....I mean....that is just so awesomely neat-o! I want one now...my own--and yours when it is finished. I will settle for nothing less than a signed copy, of course:)

Way to go!!
June

Sarah said...

Why thank you! :-D
I'm torn between wanting to take it everywhere and such to feeling like I should lock it up in something so I don't destroy it, or spill something on it, or bend it... Haha!

I'm hoping I'll reach the 50k mark again this year for NaNoWriMo and maybe I can get a proof copy of an updated, longer version of this book!

If—no, WHEN, because I'm thinking positive—I finish it and find someone who wants to publish it, I will absolutely sign you a copy!

AFon said...

I wanted to do NaNoWrimo this year but with school and work I have to pass. The proof copy of your book is really cool I didn't know they made proof copies. Good luck with NaNoWrimo!

SuckyPeopleSuck
Letters-Unsealed

Sarah said...

I totally understand—I'm in school right now, so finding time will be challenging. But I'm not currently working. If I were, I don't know that I'd be up for the challenge. Ha!

Thank you! I'm pretty proud of it. I'm pretty sure they're doing the proof copies for winners again this year. I hope so, anyway!

Thanks for dropping by and commenting! :-)

RJ68 said...

It is pretty cool getting the proof copy. I'm afraid I was far too excited to go through the sensible process of proof reading so my story probably has more typo's than correct spellings, there are even typo's on the blurb!! Well done on the book