and with that, it is done

Dear Internet,
My deadline for completing the book for Amazon was January 22 at midnight. I made it with 1.5 hours to spare. It felt like I was back in grad school all over again! But the book is finished and ready for pre-orders.

Operators are standing by! Pre-order me now!

From the forward,

Dear Internet,
In May of 1997 I moved, for a boy, to California to gain riches and fame. In July of 1998, having ditched the boy and gained neither riches or fame, I started putting my diary online. I named it The Lisa Chronicles for who better to tell my life story than me? While I didn’t think I was extraordinary, I seemed to continually get into extraordinary circumstances. What I also wanted was the ability to connect to others who were like me: the scared, the frightened, the unsure, the outsiders, and any other group that felt rejected by society. Adding in 1998 I wanted to eat the world, what better way to do that was through the Internet?
What can you expect from the first volume? Love, conflict, obsessions with people, places, and things. Rotating cast of characters and adventures. Sprinkle of song lyrics here and there. Pop culture references galore. Sex. More sex. Profane words and a bipolar girl desperate to connect with a world she did not understand.
While this work has been edited for grammar, clarification, and the obvious typo, it remains largely unchanged from when it first appeared online nearly two decades ago.
And lastly, every word here is true.

I have been asked by several people on the process, editing, and WHY I decided to go to Amazon first.
Why Amazon
I’ve been following the self-publishing world for about 10 years (probably longer actually). I wanted to do a chapbook or something along those lines.

  • What persuaded me to go with Kindle (as the first step in the world publishing biz) and ebooks is because:
  • Your book is pubbed immediately across ALL of Amazon’s global sites
  • You can set the price and have control over royalties
  • You have complete control over everything
  • You can use Amazon’s print service, CreateSpace, to make print copies
  • Kindle ebooks is available on all devices via the app, so it’s not necessarily proprietary unlike ibooks or nook. iBook is available on Apple devices only and Nook is now defunct. HOWEVER Kindle ebook format is proprietary while iBook/Nook use non-proprietary ebook formats so you can use any app for those books.
  • Amazon’s reach is bigger
  • It’s super easy to EXCEPT the cover creator. I ended up spending $10 for an image from iStock and following Amazon’s guidelines to make the one that I thought was far better.

Now that it is safely up in Amazon’s cloud, I’m looking into adding it to iBooks and other eBook locations.
So that describes the whys, now for the process.
Because all of these were journal entries from my online journal, I cut and pasted them into a Word document. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book was 117 pages NOT 50 as I originally thought. 1998 has 51 entries while 1999 has 88, which means the second volume could well go close to or over 200 pages. Yowza.
After the entries were in the Word document, I began the process of creating a style guide for me to follow. This included everything from how to format dates to whether or not I was to use AD or CE when speaking of years to how to format images. I wrote all of this down to refer to as I worked.
While I was working, I also created a separate list of To Do items as the book got nearer to completion, including book bloggers, writing an introduction and so forth.
On the document itself, with a style guide now more or less in place, I started line editing. Line editing, to me, was to read each line out loud to catch missed words or wrong spellings, correct them and also grammar. As you can image, this took forever. I corrected a lot of mistakes but if you go through it again with a fine tooth comb, you’ll find more I’m sure. The reading out loud is an old trick I was taught in grad school since my brain processes faster than I type, so I drop a lot of words.
I did a massive spell check, which took several hours, to correct all common spelling mistakes and to add words not found in Word’s dictionary. I also did a search and replace function to make sure there was consistency across spellings such as cd’s became CDs and so forth. For images, I decided to use tables to place them and decided on a width of each image for singular and multiples. Additionally, I broke each month out like a chapter to make it easier to read.
All in all, I probably spent close to 50-60 hours doing the line editing, proofing, prepping and other work. Now that I have a process of sorts in place, time frame for next volumes will be more based on length of the volume rather than figuring out style guides.
I learned a lot about the process of writing and editing a book, which I’ve more or less outlined above. What was more interesting to me was the comparison between 26 year old Lisa and 42 year old Lisa. I discovered a lot of things about myself that were embarrassing, depressing, enlightening, comedic, and shocking. Some things never change, while others, change was definitely a good thing.
While there are a lot of things about 26 year old Lisa that 42 year old Lisa would never stand for, much of who I am today still shines like a diamond after all these years.
I found that,

  • 26 year old me was a classist, racist, abelist, and other -ists that make me cringe today. I decided not to erase those words because I’m not going to white wash my history.
  • I could clearly see the patterns of mania vs depression in my writing. When I was manic, it was a hot mess of grammar and spelling mistakes, while I was stable or depressed, my writing was a lot more measured.
  • A lot of my problems then (instability, unable to commit, etc) are still prevalent today. Now that I see the triggers and patterns, I can easily work on them where I’ve been struggling before.
  • After reading nearly 118 pages, the startling realization that I’m everyone’s favorite crazy ex-GF smacks me across the brain.

With that, now on to volume two!

This Day in Lisa-Universe:  2011