This'll be something of a first, as I've used the open-source desktop publishing app Scribus to assemble the cover art (although not the interior; I'm still using Word for that). My previous efforts were all Photoshop, but this time I did the graphics alone in Photoshop and added text and layout through Scribus. The end result I exported directly to .PDF and uploaded to Lulu.com.
It astonishes me how easy it is to do so much of this stuff now. It's desktop publishing in the most complete sense of the term. — not just the design, but every single stage of the publication down to the fulfillment. I'm still working on the promotion end of things, but I figured that part would always lag a bit.
You've been hearing me crowing about The Four-Day Weekend for long enough — now it's time to actually see for yourself!
I've posted the first chapter sampler (.PDF format) for 4DW, a cut-down version of the first several chapters of the book to fit in a 32-page booklet format. This is the same item I'll be distributing at AnimeFest when I head there later this week, although after I get back I do plan to have a much longer, more complete chapter sampler available as well.
Part of the reason I decided to do this was because my Summerworld sampler — the first four chapters of the book — fit perfectly into 32 pages with almost no editing needed. Since that wasn't the case here, and 32 pages is about the upper limit of what I can produce on my own thanks to the magic of Kinko's, I decided to cut down and assemble highlights from the first several chapters to produce this particular sampler. The booklet has a note to this effect, and again, I'll be offering a longer preview at some point in the future, too.
The book itself won't go on sale until I get back from the show, but until then, check out the chapters and sock away those pennies! (And if you're lucky enough to see me at the con, you can buy signed copies of it and my previous books directly from me.)
There's a part of me that still feels like I have something to do, but I know there isn't.
Last night I sent the files for Four-Day Weekend to the printer's. After the usual endless round of checking and cross-checking, tweaking this and fixing that, it's now being prepped for its debut at AnimeFest 2008. Signed copies will be available directly from me at the show for $15+tax, and after I get back it'll start showing up here on the site for sale.
I'm exhausted but also hugely happy. The book started off very differently, in a far more scattershot and meandering vein, and I'm now certain if I had tried to write it as I had originally imagined it, it would have been an overblown mess. After I found the discipline to cut it down to the story it needed to be, it took off and really started to go places.
I've talked with friends about the possibility of revisiting Winthrop and Henry and all the rest in another story, but I haven't decided completely what that is. One idea that sounds better than most of the others is for them to visit Japan — but I'd want to actually do that before I attempted to write about it. So there's no hurry about embarking on a follow-up — yes, I'm loathe to say "sequel" if only because I've always been against the idea of simply writing another book for the sake of it. This would have to stand on its own two non-prosthetic feet as an idea before I could even think about hitting the keys.
So, where from here? I'll save that discussion for another post, but I'll leave the last word to Kurosawa: "People always ask me what my favorite of my own movies is, and I say, 'My next one'."
At just a few minutes shy of 1PM today, I completed the third-draft edits for The Four-Day Weekend. I've since sent the edits on to my readers — who, with any luck, will be sending me back corrections before I have to get the book to the printer's a little later this week.
I don't have a sampler chapter yet, but I'm aiming to have that ready by the coming week. What I may do this time around is excerpt a few pieces here and there rather than just the first couple of chapters straight through, as a way of giving people a better flavor for the book. (One might argue that is itself a case for moving chapters around, but I've got reasons for keeping things as they are.)
As it stands, I've managed to achieve about 90% of what I had in mind with this book, and the 10% that's missing is not a 10% that I'll miss in the long run anyway.
Expect the book itself to be available for on-line ordering the first week of September!