The countdown has reached zero, and everything is on schedule. As this month was crunch time for me, I thought you might like to hear about exactly what happened.
A month ago, the development editor who’d been recommended to me stopped communicating so I hired two copy-editors and set them loose on a draft of the manuscript. The agreement was that they had until around the end of the month to finish, but that I’d need them to give me their edits chapter-by-chapter so I’d be able to do edits on the fly.
While they began their work, I began to work on my brand-new website, as alluded to back in Month 2. After much tweaking and no small amount of panic, the new WordPress-based site is online — and more importantly, the store is open. As a result, I have also closed my Etsy store, since I can now do my own sales and Etsy wasn’t bringing much in anyway.
Two weeks ago, I had finished my website and let my focus group beta-test it (and also get the first few preorders of the book in, ostensibly to test the e-commerce side of things). When I was convinced that all was well, I let the preorder mailing list know that preorders were live and they were welcome to come and do what they’d signed up to do. After a bit of troubleshooting and three emails to various parts of the list, I had 150 orders for the book — 1/4 of the preorder mailing list.
One week ago, I began letting everyone else know. So far, preorders have reached 215 copies.
Today, thanks to my good friends Kate and Lars, (and thanks also to the other folks whose blurbs I didn’t use here but will use later), I have finished the manuscript and the covers, and am sending them to the printer so they’ll have the first thing Monday morning. Next, I need to make the hardest decision: how many copies do I print? I have to balance this decision carefully. First, the more I print, the more I stand to make per copy. But if some significant errata are found, that means it’s that much longer before a second edition can come out. Second, I’ve put so much of my own time and money into this project already, I thought it was only fair to try to get the first printing paid for by my customers directly. But if I want to print the number I have in mind, I need 600 copies presold by the end of November (when the final bill comes due) and I’m only a little over 1/3 there.
Again, the book is on target to ship for Christmas this year, so if you’re thinking of gifts for the adventurous knitter on your list, this would be a great one. With my publicist’s help, I’ll be doing some big promotional pushes in November which will hopefully raise the sales on their own — but the best advertisement is word of mouth. If you want a book for yourself, by all means go ahead and buy one — but if you could share this around, that would also be much appreciated.
Now, if the question on your mind is, “When does the digital version come out?”, the current plan is to release each book with its own unique code to allow a free download of the PDF from Ravelry. This will make things easier for gifting, and reduce my workload since all I have to do is print a bunch of stickers and put them inside the covers, instead of individually “gifting” each buyer with a copy of the book on Ravelry. What this means is that I’m not releasing the eBook until the book itself is out. It would be unfair to the people who bought the book (and will be getting a copy of the PDF later) if people who didn’t were able to get their eBooks first. However, I may change plans later and will certainly let you know.
Thanks for all your support so far and stay tuned for more news as I have it.