Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Let's Get Physical

After a longer wait than I expected or liked, I finally received my dead-tree copy of KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff today via FedEx. As I've said previously, I wanted to hold the thing in my hands and look it over before recommending that you purchase a hard copy.

So, a quick evaluation:

  • It's a nice book in the physical sense -- a trade paperback on reasonably high-quality (so far as I can tell) paper. The cover art and text survived transition from electronic to physical format without a lot of degradation. I don't like the spine text; that's one of two things I can blame on FastPencil rather than on myself (they offered only a few fonts, all of the same general class, with no sizing options).
  • Every time I look at the book in any format I see typos I missed when editing the book prior to publication. This time, a very large and very ugly one in the bio text on the back cover and one within the first few sentences of the introduction. No excuses. My fault. I didn't hire a proofreader or editor. I should have.
  • The other thing I can blame on FastPencil is the page count. In all electronic drafts, reports from FastPencil on length, etc., the book weighed in at 406 pages. That's why I've boasted pretty much everywhere (including in the book itself) that it tops out at "more than 400 pages." Well, the print edition comes to 388 pages. And that includes a lot of blank pages which puzzle me in the e-formats but which I now realize are a formatting convention related to the FastPencil book template I used and the fact that I designated each article a "chapter" (when the "chapter" ends on odd, i.e. right hand, page, the rear of that page is left blank).
So, am I going to go back and correct all those typos and such? Nope. The end of the FastPencil publishing process results in an "edition" of the book. Once I've done all the final approvals and paid, that's the end of it. If I want to make changes now, I have to go back and do another "edition" ... and pay them again.

It's only $20 ($30-ish if I want another physical copy) ... but so far, according to the automated royalty reports, I've only made about $20 from this "edition."

I didn't publish this book for the money, but the way I see it, when I go to the trouble of creating a 400-page ... er, 388-page ... book, giving it away free in PDF format and selling it at rock-bottom prices in other formats, there's a limit to how much additional time, effort and money I should put into the creation/perfecting end of it once I've got a reasonable product. So for now it stays as is, embarrassing typos and all.

Will I use FastPencil again? Probably. Almost all of the problems with this book were my fault, and I suspect the ones that FastPencil owns will be solved shortly. Did I mention I created KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff in a new beta version of their site, and that I sent in support tickets on all the issues? They're pretty good, in my humble opinion, and I expect they'll be getting better, quickly.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I'll be packing this copy into a padded mailer and shipping it off to my mom (for reasons explained in the book itself) ASAP. If you're at your wits' end on selecting a Christmas present for someone who reads, well, yeah ... buy the book! I won't complain. But don't say I didn't warn you about the typos.

[Brief addendum: It looks like we're at about 500 downloads of the free PDF version of the book (my cool orangedox counter shows 380; I'm guesstimating 100-150 before I created the counter link). I had hoped to hit 1,000 a week or more ago. So let me repeat one thing and ask one favor. The one thing is it really is free free free free free. No obligation. No ads that you have to put up with. Download, read, enjoy, share. The one favor is that you tell your friends about it so they can get it too. FREE. REALLY.]

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