Paper: Not free

I proofed five chapters of layout today, and then I just hit the wall--I've been pushing pretty hard lately, I guess. You kind of have to be a wimp about proofreading, because if you get tired of it you either don't notice errors, or you notice them but don't feel like doing anything about it. Both are very bad. In general, I'm not finding big errors in the text, just things like "lead" for "led," and some of the art problems I'm finding just aren't fixable, or the fixes look worse than the problem. That's actually good--that means I managed to fix most of the easy stuff in the first go-round. I'm going to save up all the text fixes and replace the e-book texts and jacket art all in one fell swoop, and then I am putting Trang behind me!

It's a long book! It's 550 pages all laid out. When I saw that, I realized that I could shrink the margins, but then I'd have to lay the whole thing out again, and if I have to do that, I'm going to shoot myself. So, it's just something for me to remember for the next book--go with the 3/4-inch margins, not the 1-inchers. It's going to be a 8 x 5 1/4-inch paperback, which means it's a trade paperback. Amazon's print-on-demand service doesn't let you make dinky pocket paperbacks, which I think is kind of a pity because that's really what I associate with sci-fi--fat little books you can cram into your jacket pocket. Trade paperbacks are more for Serious Literature--Viking Press titles in somber eggplant or olive hues, that kind of thing.

Knowing how long the book is brought me to the exciting quandary of pricing. Expensive paperback annoy me, even though that's pretty much the norm nowadays with trade paperbacks. But it turns out that my notion the book would retail for $12 is way off, so I pulled that estimate off my Web page. The way they set things up, you have to make it fairly expensive unless you want to actually lose money on each book. There's no $2 royalty on a $3 e-book; if I wanted to get a $2 royalty on a physical book selling on Amazon, I'd have to price it between $24 and $25! I think that's ridiculous, really--I'd be embarrassed to ask my friends to pay that much. There's a service you can sign up for that costs $40 but brings down the price of the book considerably, and I think I'm going to do it (even though it is kind of annoying to pay extra) just so the book isn't prohibitively costly.