Monday, May 26, 2008

The Perils of "Going it Alone..."

Mai Shangri-La has just appeared on Amazon, and I'm thrilled - but I'm in a quandry. I've discovered it needs a critical final "polish" and I KNOW I should put it on hold right now - in case anyone out there really buys it. I KNOW I shouldn't release it in a less-than-perfect format.

But it's the last couple of weeks of the school year, and a final polish just is NOT going to get done until summer - so I've decided to leave it out there and to make a gift-book offer to anyone who buys this copy (if they notify me either through this blog or by email, of three undocumented "errata". I'm assuming that the "long-tail" of POD publication is not going to bring in a lot of buyers - and so there won't be many of these May20th editions ever actually printed.

Who knows? When Mai Shangri-La becomes a best-seller:):):), maybe these editions will become Collectors' Items!!! -rjr-

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Errata - Mai Shangri-La

If you've paid full-price for this book in the May 20th release, I have an offer for you. I'll send a Gift-Copy of the final, polished (CreateSpace) edition of the book to any reader that adds at least THREE new errors for final correction in this Errata" posting. Submit your corrections either as Comments to this post or email to me at, along with your name and the mailing address to which I can send the Gift copy. And THANKS! It's been a great experience, and I look forward to your help in bringing it to a final, polished conclusion. - rjr-

ERRATA - Mai Shangri-La
(error-corrections to the May 20,2008 Createspace publication)
Author's Note: par.3, l.5, missing "inevitabe" following "arguably"
Chapter I
p. 1. - paragraph4, line6, add "the" before "diaphanous"
p. 2. - par3, l4, space between "twentyhours"; par.4, l9, close quotes on "Roaring 20's"
p. 3. - par2, l11, italicize "the Great Leveling"
Chapter II
p. 9. - par1, l3, "know" to "knew"
p. 10. - par1,l9, "an ever-changing" to "a never static"
p. 11. - par2,l5, cut "to the" before "of the tower"
p. 14 - par2, correct indent second line.
Chapter III
p. 15 - last line, last word, "seven" to "four"
p. 16 - par4,l9, "up to the" for "up toe the"; par5, l1, cut "," after "Strange," he"
p. 17 - par1,l7, "still" for "held"; par1,l9, cut "still" before "offered"
p. 18 - par5,l11, "protecting" to "protected"
p. 19 - par2,l4, cut "by" before "flu";par3,l3, cut "of" before "down";par3,l9,"as it was" to "but";par3,l10, "as" after "gold" to "where";par3,l11,full stop after "sea";cut "where apparently; new sentence begins with "The air there was relatively"
p. 20 - par.1,l5, "clicks" for "miles";par1,l14 "The majority of" for "Most of";par1,l18,cut "that had", change "greeted" to "greeting";par3,l7,Cut "Although", begin sentence with "He";l9, add "but" before "all in all".
p.21 - par2, l2, cut "had" before "barreled";par2,l13, "mile and hour" to "mile-an-hour";par4,l4, "as" after "stupidity" to "when".
p.22 - par2,l1, "importantly" to "important"
p.23 - par2,l13, cut "that" before "left";par3,l4, period after "through" to outside quotes.
Dreamory, 1994
p. 293 - par3, l. 7, "taxi-drives" to "taxi-drivers"; l.8 "comfortabl" to "comfortable"; l15, "buse" to "buses"; par 4, l.3 del "sh", add "breathing" following "are"
p. 294 - par4, l.5 - replace "Reuben" with "he". Dreamories do not name the character.
p. 295 - par 2, l12 - move "off" before "into space"; l15 - cut "he now sees" & change to "that's"
p. 296 - par2, l2nd from last, cut "," after "turn";par3,l3, "Wwhat's" to "What's";par5, last line, "awayt" to "away".
Chapter XXVII
p. 300 - par1, l9, cut "that";par4, l6, "here" to "he";par5, l9, add "," after "port".


...well, it's a little too late for that, as the book's already been released to Amazon and I've ordered a dozen copies for a few chosen friends who've agreed to be my "First Readers". But last night, while thumbing through it, thinking, for the hundredth time, "Wow. It's hard to believe it's actually finished," I realized that actually, it wasn't.

"What's this?" I exclaimed as my I scanned p. 293, one of the "Dreamories" I particularly enjoyed originally writing, but then reworked extensively in draft 5. "Comfortabl," with no "e?"

I grabbed a pencil and circled the offending typo. "How did I do that?" I wondered. "I ran a spell-checker on the damned thing a dozen times. It would have picked this up for sure!"

I went back to the to of the page.

"OUCH!" I yelped. "Another one!" "Taxi-drives. Should be "Taxi-drivers!" Another pencilled circle. I kept reading, finding two MORE glaring typos. FOUR errors on one page!!!!

How could this have happened? How had I missed a page so glaringly unfinished? What do I do now? The book is already for sale at CreateSpace, and I've initiated sales on Amazon. I've ordered those dozen copies for First Readers. I've emailed a select group of colleagues to crow about finishing my first book...

My first inclination was to go directly to CreateSpace and freeze the publication. But then I thought again. It's nearly summer break. There's no time to correct the errors, order a new Proof Copy, review and approve it again, and get new copies before summer. And I want to get some other eyes on the book. I've spent almost three years "writing with the door closed", as Stephen King calls it, and it's time to open the door on the damned thing, warts and all.

And so I'm leaving it up on CreateSpace and letting it go for sale on Amazon - but I'm going back to do a full re-read myself, and I'll keep a log here of all the errors I discover. At the same time, I'll ask my "First Readers" two additional favors. Along with offering me some general constructive feedback on the premise, the plot and the character development, I'll ask if they'll note specific grammatical, spelling and formatting errors, either by marking up their copies of the book, by dropping me a note to advise me of these, or by posting comments to this blog.

It's a lot to ask, but the people who've agreed to be "First Readers" have been really supportive of the project so far. I'm hopeful that they'll see this as an opportunity to help me polish this thing into a really finished product that we can all take some pride in.

And so, in a new post, I'm going to set up an "Errata" post. I'll note, page by page, the remaining errors I've picked up myself, for cleanup once I've completed a full re-read (this is a busy time of the year, so it's going to take, at a guess, a month). With First Reader input, I'll then put the manuscript on "Hold", resubmit the (final?) polished copy, and then, of course, go through the process of ordering yet another proof copy and, hopefully, on receipt, taking the book off "hold" and back up for sale. This, of course, is one of the really nice things about Print on Demand. It's an ephemeral product, and as such, I can hold to a baker's dozen the number of copies that go out with all these remaining errors. If my First Readers give it a thumbs-up, the final draft will include the cumulative corrections of a half-dozen people rather than just me.

SO - If you're still with me here, something about this process has interested you. I hope you'll join me in this next phase, which will be to get a final polish on this thing, so I can move on to other projects.

And why did this happen? I think I've got the answer. I ended up doing some pretty extensive rewrites of several chapters in Draft 5 - and I did NOT run a Spell and Grammer check after completing the last of these. In fact, I didn't run a spellcheck in the last two weeks I worked on it. So, I'm guessing I introduced new errors in my final rewrites, and in my eagerness to finish and finally get the project off to CreateSpace, I forgot a final check. Egg on Face - bigtime!

Oh, for an editor, a professional who does this for a living, and could probably spot these compositional faux pas in a flash! As the writer, I'm beginnning to really believe that as I read and reread passages I've been over a dozen times, that I start seeing what I "meant" rather than what I really committed to the page.

But hey, who ever said this was going to be easy! Let's not give up when we're this close. Onward!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mai Shangri-La - AVAILABLE NOW!

Mai Shangri-La is now available from these online outlets; - and on Amazon at;

Or just go to Amazon and search for "Robert J. Rubis" or "Mai Shangri-La"

This is all new to me - so visit often if you're interested in the process of bringing a novel concept to fruition and publication in the emerging world of Print on Demand ~ rjr 19/05/08

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mai Shangri-La - NOT (quite) a Vanity Press pub...

Mai Shangri-La really IS almost ready for release! Watch here for details on where to buy the book. I"ve completed tinkering with it and am just waiting for my final proof copy to arrive. Hopefully, I'll find the result satisfactory and release the book for sale on CreateSpace and Amazon before the end of the month.

I've just reviewed the distinctions between Vanity Publishing, Self-Publishing and Publish-on-Demand. I'm going to take the high road here and state, for the record, that I don't consider Mai Shangri-La to be a Vanity publishing product. It's a self-published "Print-on-demand" title, and, assuming that my layout and cover looks as good on the actual copy as it does on the PDF files my wife helped me to lay out and format, it's a work I'm proud of. I can't deny that I'd love to see MSL published by a traditional press, but I'll hope that the work will speak for itself and provide the next level of positive promotion to get my work into the public eye.

If YOU get a look at Mai Shangri-La and can provide a positive, constructive reader-review, I'll be pleased to offer you an early signed copy of the book; on my nickel. My profit margin with CreateSpace is very small - but I want to get my work in circulation and I believe in the power of the "Long Tail". YOUR positive Reader Review will become my primary advertising tool. Thanks in advance for your support.