about creating books

Here you’d think I’d be relieved to finally be done with my last book, and yet this week I already started working on the next one!

I’m sure part of it is simply because this one got dragged out so long – I literally started putting that book together last fall, but got side-tracked, then we moved, then I got side-tracked some more. It didn’t help that I’ve been working through issues with my printer for the last month – it was actually all ready to go around the end of June, but every order I received had print errors that just kept dragging on and on! But we’re not here to talk about that right now…

Instead I kind of just wanted to ramble about the process in general because like most creative things that I do, I really enjoy the end result even if there are points throughout the process that seem arduous or sometimes even mundane. Books in particular are kind of a big deal because I’m really fortunate in a number of ways to even have the opportunity to be publishing them – a lot of stars have to align, from having written the actual content first of all to having the technical knowledge about how to put the things together, being able to squibble up enough design know-how to come up with a cover that looks halfway decent, and then having a print-on-demand option that will still allow me to make more than pennies a book for my efforts.

I’m definitely greatful because it becomes painfully clear at all of the various points throughout this process just how delicately my ability to publish my own books hangs in the balance – it became quite clear with my printer issues because as much as I may have wanted to get angry and pitch a fit, they’re really my only option other than to not print books for profit right now, and thus it was required as a business decision to play nice and give them the benefit of the doubt.

…or even several benefits of said doubt…

But it could’ve been anything else – what if I wasn’t able to come up with a cover design that didn’t look amateurish like 99% of other self-published books? Luckily for this one, being based on our comic strip I had some old graphics to fall back on to bring the design together, but it’s still a fear for the next book because even though I mostly have the 50-60 columns for my next humor book picked out as of a few days ago, I still haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m going to do for the cover yet. I think the last one turned out ok, but there’s always that little bit of fear over whether your next project will be deemed better or worse.

So anyways, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that I’ll feel this exact same way after I finish the next one, too, which should really be in the next couple of months. And you could argue that two books in one year sounds like a lot, but actually next year I want to do three, so we’re really only getting started! That’s another part of it – my long-term business plan has me ramping up even more work as the years pass, so it’s not like this creative anxiety is going away or anything.

Plus, next year’s books will feature two that are based on content that hasn’t already been created yet, so in addition to the stresses of making the physical book, I’ll also have to worry about actually writing the stuff that goes inside, which oddly enough hasn’t been as much of an issue to date because books 1-3 have all been (and #3 will be) covering content that I wrote years ago. I’m sure that’ll invite along a whole new set of challenges for what it’s worth, but if there’s another thing that I’m finally starting to pick up on, it’s that you can’t get worked up about what might happen tomorrow because you’ve still got work to do today, and that work for me today is my next humor book.

Hi ho, hi ho – it’s off to make books I go…

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