10-20-2013: Galactic Alliance (Book 4) - Peacekeeper has been released

At long last I can finally report that Peacekeeper has been released. This book has occupied much of my free time for the past 9 months. I did take several forced breaks to build a new fence around my house, attend DragonCon, participate in two refueling outages, and make a trip to Minnesota. I cannot thank my wife enough for putting up with my desire to finish this book and for her help in doing the grammatical review. She's not a big fan of science fiction but she does have a knack for spotting the grammatical errors I tend to miss.

As she was finishing up her first review, I was doing my second pass through the book and making additional changes. Although I wrote the novel using Scrivener, the final editing is done in Word. This gave me the ability to use Word's track changes feature so my wife could have her chance to review the changes I made. This process was finished on Friday. I made one final quick pass looking for spelling errors and seeing what Word claimed was not proper grammar. Only a very few minor changes were needed. This process finished up Saturday morning.

The next phase involved making 3 copies of the manuscript; one for Amazon, one for Smashwords, and one for Createspace. Each one is slightly different. Amazon is the easiest and it's pretty much a direct upload to start the publication process. Smashwords requires a different header page with a mandatory license statement on the first page. The hardest one to create is the one for Createspace. This gets reformatted into the 5.25 x 8 inch PDF that will become the interior of the book. I have to add page numbers and tell Word to use mirror margins so the printed pages will align correctly. I also have to do a page by page check to make sure the chapters don't end with only a couple of lines on a page. When everything is formatted properly, I print it out to a PDF file. The different versions get uploaded to the various sites and the process is complete.

I will be taking a break from writing for awhile. At the moment, I don't have a project in mind. I could write another Peacekeeper edition creating a spin off of the Galactic Alliance series. I also have an idea for a follow-up to Off Course and there's the possibility of a third Dragonverse book. I have a germ of an idea for a short story as well. But for now, I'm going to catch up on some of the things I've missed out on while working on Peacekeeper.

I was adding a recently completed book into Goodreads and it occurred to me that even though I read the entire book, I don't recall much of anything I had learned from it. On reflection, however, I know I did learn quite a bit. When you think about it, the human brain is always learning--it never stops. Reading a book on how to develop better characters will help me develop better characters even though I can't write down what I learned. The learning process takes place on a level that we can't directly access. There are books out there that give the reader these large checklists to run through to make a book better. Does anyone actually ever do that? I seriously doubt it! When you write a paragraph, do you go back through it, word for word, and do an analysis of sentence structure and word usage? I hardly think so. Instead, your brain integrates what you've read in the past into how you write. The bottom line is this: If, after reading a book on how to make your writing better, you set the book down and think, "well that was a waste of time", you're wrong. Learning has occurred--you just don't know it yet--now go write something!