Archive for the ‘iUniverse’ Category

iUniverse issues TBLP news release

Monday, December 3rd, 2007


Stop the Presses!

I was pleasantly surprised to read this news release issued today about TBLP and its Publisher’s Choice designation. As a veteran PR professional, I don’t expect it will generate much, if any, coverage but it sure is nice to have the recognition. Standing by to schedule interviews… just kidding. Thanks to iUniverse for putting out the release. Every little bit helps…

TBLP is now officially a book

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Yesterday was a big day in the life of this humble endeavour. Not only did Amazon list The Best Laid Plans, but later in the afternoon, a box arrived bearing my author copies of the published novel. I opened the box and found 20 trade paperbacks and one hardcover. It’s hard to describe the feeling. My friend and client Joel Frey recently blogged about seeing and holding his newly published book, Two Sides of a Cypress Wall, for the first time. I can relate Joel.

Now we’re really just waiting for the other online retailers to list TBLP and then the heavy sales and marketing effort begins. Many have told me that writing the book is the easy part. Building profile and driving sales is tough slogging.

Publishing Update: The home stretch…

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Well we’re very close now.  I’ve just approved all of the professional proof reader’s corrections and added a few of my own.  I will get to check to see that they have all been implemented properly but beyond that, there can be no more changes made.  We’re heading into production.  By mid September, I should have my author copies in hand.  Stay tuned…

TBLP Publishing Schedule (tick tock tick…)

Monday, July 30th, 2007

The dog days of summer seem to drag even slower when you’re navigating the labyrinthine publishing process. Everything seems to take a very long time. Here’s where we are in the process, what remains to be done, and some general timelines:
– Production (laying out the pages of the novel – now in process) – another two weeks

– Proofreading (a final professional proofread) – three weeks

– Author proofing (my last chance to review the final copy) – up to two weeks (but I won’t take that long)

– Making corrections – one week

– Final production – two weeks

When this is complete, the novel will immediately be available through the iUniverse online bookstore but it usually takes another three to ten weeks for the book to be listed in the mainstream online book sites including Amazon, Chapters-Indigo, Barnes & Noble, etc.

Put it all together and we’re looking at another ten weeks(!), or early October(!) before the first copies of TBLP will be available at the iUniverse bookstore, and several weeks more for mainstream online availability. I actually don’t yet know when the novel will be on display at an Indigo store, but you’ll know shortly after I do. All I can say is, we’re still in time for the holiday season!
Stay tuned…

New Cover for TBLP

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

final-cover-from-pdf.pngWell, after much debate and some last minute tweaking, here’s the new cover of TBLP. It’s quite a bit different from the version I submitted but if you look closely, all of the original elements are still there. The photo is the same, although it’s been treated and turned into what looks more like a painting than a photo. The line drawing of the hovercraft is the same and the typeface is also the same. Finally, the Allan Rock quotation stays on the front. While much has stayed the same, it does look quite a bit different.

The designer had a change of heart and decided to keep the hovercraft plans front and centre. I confess that I wasn’t too keen on the new design when I first saw the designer’s first crack at it a week or so ago. However, this second iteration is much better and is quickly growing on me.

Next step, layout of the book and proofreading. If all goes well, I’ll be holding the printed book in my hands in about 10 weeks. (Shortly after that, I hope you’ll be holding in your hands!)

I imagine this new cover will take some getting used to, particularly if you liked the original as much as I did. But I’m getting there…

Publishing Update: A new cover coming

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Well, even though I really love what Steve Palmer at 76design developed for the cover,  it seems I may not be the best judge of such things. The official iUniverse review of my submitted cover is in and it looks like we’re heading back to the drawing board, literally. The design experts at iUniverse made a few interesting observations including:

– the design I submitted was a little “flat;”
– the typography needed some work;
– the juxtaposition of the word “Plans” in the title and the line drawing of the hovercraft plans was too “literal;”
– the overall look and feel didn’t really convey that this is a satirical novel.

Interesting points and not without merit I suppose when their reasoning was clarified for me. So, their design team is going to take a stab at designing a cover that still uses the Parliament Hill photograph in some way. The line drawing of the hovercraft plans may move to the back cover.

I asked that they do their best to preserve the Allan Rock quotation on the front cover, as I think it really helps to add credibility and legitimacy to this self-published novel. As well, while this is a satirical novel, there are serious themes that underlie the fun. Satire yes, slapstick no.

So now we wait for a couple of weeks. I’ll post the result when I receive it.

Publishing Update: Cover copy polish

Monday, June 18th, 2007


It’s been very interesting to learn about the various steps in the publishing process.  I’ve just reviewed and tweaked the copy the team at iUniverse proposes to put on the front and back covers of the novel.  When it comes to the description of the book on the back, it’s a balancing act.  We need to provide enough description to entice the reader, without telling the whole story and spoiling the few surprises along the way.  Here’s the result after my very minor tweaking:

Thirty-something Daniel Addison is jaded and burned out from his Parliament Hill job as a speechwriter for the Liberal Leader of the Opposition. After a bad breakup with his girlfriend, Daniel is eager to escape the duplicitous world of Canadian politics, so he accepts a faculty position with the University of Ottawa’s English Department. He soon moves into a boathouse apartment in nearby Cumberland owned by Angus McLintock, a cranky engineering professor in his sixties who is mourning the recent loss of his wife.

Both Angus and Daniel intend to retreat from the world for a while, but fate won’t have it. Angus is desperate to avoid teaching English to first-year engineering students yet again.  Daniel, as penance for abandoning his party on the eve of an election, must find a local Liberal candidate to run against the incumbent Conservative MP, who just happens to be the most popular Finance Minister in Canadian history. In an unlikely alliance, Angus consents to stand as the in-name-only, certain-to-lose Liberal candidate, and in return, Daniel agrees to take Angus’s English class.

Everything is going according to plan until the voters are suddenly forced to take a closer look at Angus. The once guaranteed Liberal loss is now thrown into doubt. Scrambling to deal with this unexpected development, Angus and Daniel land in the middle of a hilarious political maelstrom that tests not only their friendship but their beliefs in government and democracy.

It seems a tad long to me, particularly if there’s to be space left for the complimentary quotations provided by Allan Rock, Paddy Torsney, and Mike Tanner.  We’ll see what unfolds.

While we’re polishing up the cover copy, the designers at iUniverse are considering whether they’re happy with the cover design I submitted or will propose a different approach.  Stay tuned…

Publishing Update: Cover design

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

The publishing ball is currently in iUniverse‘s court. By earning the Editor’s Choice designation, iUniverse gives me free professional art direction for my book cover design. While I’ll certainly consider what they come up with, I really like the cover design already created and submitted to iUniverse by my friend and colleague Steve Palmer at 76Design, the graphic and web design arm of Thornley Fallis.

I’m also trying to decide whether I want to fork out the dough to have the whole manuscript professionally proofread. It’ll add another couple of thousand dollars to the price tag but on the other hand, I really don’t want any typos slipping through. Alternatively, I could try to proofread it myself or have a friend do it. Decisions, decisions.

I also had my twin brother Tim, a solid photographer in his spare time, take another author photo that will appear in the published novel somewhere.

I’ll keep you posted as the journey continues…

Publishing Update: Copy Editing

Saturday, May 5th, 2007


I’ve just received the manuscript back from the iUniverse copy editor and I’m very impressed. Every page is like the one above. Dozens of tiny little formatting and style errors on every page! I can understand now why this part of the process took nearly five weeks. It’s a ton of work. I’m now reviewing each change, (yep, each one) and either approving or rejecting it. I’m finding myself accepting 99 percent of the proposed edits, recognizing that I’m no expert in publishing formating and style. I’m so glad I opted for the copy editing process. It’s well worth the dough, and TBLP will be a better read for it. I have 14 days to process the copy edits before the manuscript is resubmitted and we’re on to layout and cover.

Publishing Update: Editorial Evaluation

Saturday, March 31st, 2007


In some senses, I suppose self-publishing is a supreme act of self-indulgence. Nevertheless, I actually thought it might be helpful for other budding writers, whose books might not neatly align with what mainstream publishers are looking for (like satirical novels of Canadian politics for instance), to tag along on my little self-publishing journey, such as it is. So periodically, I’ll provide these little updates on where I am in the process.

Earlier this week, I received my official Editorial Evaluation from iUniverse, the publishing house I’m using through The publishing package I chose included a professional review of my manuscript from a seasoned editor. As you might imagine, my stomach was not quite feeling like my own as I clicked open the evaluation. With eyes squinted and face clenched, I whipped through the evaluation. How do you spell RELIEF?

All was well. I found it to be a very thoughtful and insightful review of the novel. The editor clearly read it carefully, all the way through. I believe the editor was American but only through the spelling in the evaluation not because anything written revealed any lack of understanding of Canadian politics. There were only two minor suggestions for changes and I have taken them to heart… mostly. Firstly, I have shortened the Prologue somewhat so that the pace is sustained. Secondly, the editor suggested I give consideration to eliminating the Angus diary entries that conclude most chapters so that his character emerges only through Daniel’s eyes. Interesting idea and I understand the editor’s rationale. Having said that, I feel quite attached to Angus’s point of view and the shades of his personality and character that are revealed to the reader, but not necessarily to Daniel, in these brief entries. Based on my own thoughts and the views of a small circle of friends who have read the manuscript (thank you, thank you, thank you) I’ve decided to go part way, recognizing that my proximity to the novel likely compromises my perspective somewhat. I have shortened the diary entries to ease the interruptions in Daniel’s narrative, but they’re staying in the story. As always, your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

One milestone survived in the long road to print. Next stop, professional copy editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax… (not inexpensive, but worth every penny I figure.)

I leave you with a couple of the summary comments made by the iUniverse editor in the official Editorial Evaluation of The Best Laid Plans:

“The story moves along at an enjoyable pace throughout. The energy of Daniel, Angus and the other characters flows off the page and readers will become quite attached to these characters. Most of all, though, the voice the book is written in is original and engaging — just the perfect amounts of earnestness and cynicism mixed together.”

“The quality of the writing is high. The writer goes beyond merely giving an account of the action and enhances it describing it and commenting on it in clever ways (“The Chief of Staff’s left eyebrow lifted in a Spockian arch.” etc.).”

Breathing easier now…