Adventures in Publishing and ROW80

Around of Words in 80 Days

A Round of Words in 80 Days

Those of you who are following along know that on Monday, my first eBook–The Astrologers–was released a day early on the Kobo store. You also probably know that it didn’t entirely work–something got messed up somewhere along the line, so I’ve taken it down. I’m taking this as a learning opportunity, so I wanted to say a quick word about it here.

But first! You see this logo to the left? This is a new (to me) project that works something like the ubiquitous NaNoWriMo, where you try to write a novel in 30 days–only it’s more flexible. The team behind a Round of Words in 80 Days calls it “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.”

Community is the idea behind it all. It’s a way for you to join a group of like minded writers who are finding it just as challenging as you to find time to write. And as any self-publishing author knows, you’re on the hook for all the details–which makes for an even bigger workload. The idea behind ROW80 is that others are in the same boat, and they’re here to encourage you in achieving your goals.

It’s pretty simple to get involved. Each cycle goes for 80 days–the most recent one started October 1st. You write a blog post detailing what you’re going to accomplish in those 80 days, then link it back to their blog so they can help track it. They have a team of volunteers who will provide encouragement and feedback. You check in twice a week (Wednesdays and Sundays) with your progress…and hopefully, you’ll reach your goals by the end of the term. Easy as that!

So I’m going to give this a spin. Check out their website–they have some specific procedures for you if you want to participate–but do look into it if you’re a writer. This will be a great tool.

So what’s my goal for this term?

I’m in the process of finishing up the first part of Phase One of my Tapestry project. My goal is going to be in two parts:

1. Write, edit and submit for copyediting all sixteen short stories that comprise the four parts of Phase One. This one should be easy enough to accomplish if I keep at it. I’m aiming for a total of 32,000 words–2000 words for each story.

2. Publish at least Court of Sand, the first four stories of the project. This may or may not happen, but I’m throwing it out there as a goal. Ideally, I’ll still be writing future parts as early parts get edited and published, so it should be doable.

Ambitious? Maybe. But shoot for the stars, right? And really, if NaNoWriMo expects you to do 54,000 in 30 days, I should be able to handle 20,000 fewer words in 80.

Now back to The Astrologers:

Here’s what happened. I compiled the eBook using Sigil, went over it multiple times making sure it was all just so, then finished the cover and assembled everything. I debugged/validated the file not once, but three times. I checked it in Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre, Kindle Desktop, and by side-loading it onto my Kobo. It all seemed fine (barring a few visual tweaks I

The Astrologers

The Astrologers–coming soon!

made as I went),so I uploaded it to the Kobo Store.

When it went live, I downloaded it once more to make sure it was still okay, and it’s a good thing I did. Somehow, the formatting got messed up. I don’t know if it was on their end or mine–it could well have been one of those small tweaks I made, though the file still works for me. I’m just not sure.

The result is that when you load the book, it shows the cover image. Turning the page takes you to the Title Page–with a nice graphic I made up–and shows the book as 99% read. One more tap to get to the Forward, and the book closes. The whole file is down to two pages.

However, the TOC is still there for some reason, and you can navigate through the story just fine from there. Of course, nobody not checking for a TOC is going to know this, so I de-listed the book. My hope was to have this free story released a week before my collection, The Ancestor and Other Stories, but both may end up being delayed; I don’t want to re-submit either until I know what’s wrong. I have a ticket into tech support (and Kobo is generally very good with that,) so hopefully I’ll know soon.

So if there’s a delay with my books coming next week, I hope you’ll bear with me. My thinking is that it’s better to push back a  release than to put out a product–reader’s first impressions of me, mind you–that is flatly broken.

4 comments on “Adventures in Publishing and ROW80

  1. Ryan Casey says:

    Sorry to hear about your hiccup, James. I always think back to the day in June when I finally decided to announce what I’d been working on to the world… only for Facebook to begin maintenance on my profile. Keep your chin up! Totally agree with you taking the book down – 100% the correct decision if something is wrong.


  2. James J Parsons says:

    It’s funny the roadblocks that sometimes appear–but as long as you take them as learning opportunities, they make you stronger. I think it’s ready now–one last test!

  3. Ryan Casey says:

    Received my copy via email and it all seems to be working great on my iPad – can’t wait to get started!

  4. James J Parsons says:

    Excellent–it’s a relief to have it working now. The problem was a tiny little missing thing I’ll talk about later today–definitely won’t be forgetting it again!

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