I was already thinking that my book might not get published in 2020 when the pandemic started. Yes, that was well before I took my trip, let alone started working on the book, but I knew that the pandemic was the kind of thing that could suck my energy and attention. 

Then my mom died in November, and I hadn’t even finished writing up the first draft of the book. Old me would have seized on the opportunity to panic and procrastinate. And I wouldn’t just have put it off, I would have tortured myself by putting it off, thinking over and over again about what I should be doing. 

Instead, I extended myself some grace in these trying times. I worked when I could, and I got the draft done before the new year. Ambrose read and commented, then I revised. Then he read and commented again, and I revised. The words are ready to get into a proof copy. 

I had planned on getting the photos done over winter break, but that didn’t work out. However, they are done now – I got them done over the weekend, and Ambrose reviewed the captions. So, I’m actually making progress at this point, and I am confident the book will be published before the end of February. That’s still a pretty quick turnaround in the publishing business – less than a year from trip to publishing. 

My next step is to place the photos in the large print Word document. Then I’ll work on the cover, once I know what dimensions are needed for the large print (which I’ll determine from the number of pages). Then I’ll change the font size and rearrange everything for the standard print in another Word doc, and then I’ll fix up the Kindle edition. It’s all pretty mechanical from here until we get the proof. 

In years past, I’ve avoided the step of ordering a proof copy, but I decided last year that no matter how late I ended up being in my publishing schedule that I would order a proof. It’s just easier to catch typos in hard copy, and I don’t want to have to republish (again) after I’ve already ordered copies for my family!

The main reason I’ve skipped the proof order step is that shipping takes so long. Yeah, Prime two-day shipping does not apply to print-on-demand author copies. I don’t want to wait once I’m ready to publish. But it’s worthwhile to avoid obvious and/or silly typos – like last year when I forgot to remove the part that read [insert distance here]. 

I’m hoping to get the proof ordered by next week. All I need to do is get my butt in the desk chair and hunker down like I did on Sunday to finish writing up all my captions. Oh, and I need to pick my front and back cover photos! That’s usually something I do pretty early in the process, but for some reason, not this year. 

I’m also thinking about refreshing my About the Author page, maybe adding a photo. And I want to start including a list of additional works as well. I mean, this is the 10th Hike with Me book. Anyone who buys it should know there are more!

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