Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 123--Book Renovations

I updated the electronic version of The Pet Washer with its new cover, but the paperback has not been updated yet. This will be a longer process. It's not as simple as uploading a photo. The paperback cover has to be formatted for the trim size of my book and for the spine width. Once I upload the full front and back cover, I will need to order a proof to make sure the fit is perfect. During this time, my book will not be available for sale.

It's a big deal to change the paperback cover and I don't plan to ever do it again. I've decided to utilize the opportunity to re-format my manuscript. I wrote earlier about how I made a major, rookie error and failed to right justify the text. Now is my chance to fix that. But why stop there? I took a good look at my book and compared it to books on the market in my target age group. These are the changes I've decided to implement when I update my cover.
  1. Right justify the text.
  2. Add drop caps for the first letter in each new chapter.
  3. Remove the indentation of the first paragraph in each chapter.
  4. Change the chapter heading fonts to a "princessy" font.
  5. Add a teaser blurb at the end about book two in the series, The Wishing Star.
  6. Increase the line spacing for my young readers.
  7. Decrease my large margins to lower the page count.
  8. Double-check the spelling and grammar one more time even though I'm not getting complaints in this area. 
I researched the legalities of making these changes. According to my sources, small revisions that don't impact the story, like correcting punctuation and text re-formatting, are allowed without having to treat the book as a new entity.

It's a pain to have to re-do things, but I am enjoying making the manuscript prettier and easier to read. I thought my book was ready the first time. I did a lot of research and I looked at other books when I was formatting, but so much was lost to my inexperience. I'm not beating myself up for my blunders, I'm excited that I'm learning from them. One cannot be an expert overnight! I am fortunate to have the opportunity to put out an improved product and I hope that I don't have to go through this ever again.

To Do: Compare your manuscript (ebook or paperback) to other books. If it's close to perfect, I would just leave it alone, but if you find more than three things you'd like to fix, consider taking the time to make the changes. The improvements will last a lifetime! That's what keeps me going. I will never have to mess with this book again and I will enjoy knowing that the spacing is easier on the eye. The drop caps will add a custom feel to the text and I'm excited to see my new look in print. The process will be completed in June.