After a couple of false starts — CreateSpace’s printing quality couldn’t do right by the illustrations, and getting LightningSource to keep up required a couple of rounds of proofs and a huge electronic file — we got a proof that the artist and I were happy with. I ordered 150 copies, figured out the best way to get the ebook and audiobook to people, and prepared for the Sneak Preview Launch Party at Capclave.
The official release date is October 30, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to show the book off at Capclave, where the convention’s focus is short fiction. Every decision I’d made to choose quality (with delays) over speed (with compromises to quality) was vindicated. People marveled at Kate Baylay’s cover art and said things like That can’t be a self-published book — it’s too beautiful! and If that’s what a Kickstarter campaign looks like for you, why would you do anything else? (There’s an answer to that question, but it’s for another day.)
Between the launch party and the mass autographing session, I sold enough copies to cover the cost of the launch party food, which is never guaranteed. A few of my Kickstarter backers were at the convention, so I got to put the book directly in their hands (Look Ma, no postage!). If any of the people who went home with a copy write online reviews, it’s a pure win. Here’s hoping the World Fantasy Convention goes as well. There won’t be a party to host, but Broad Universe will have a table in the Dealer’s Room, and some of my backers will definitely be there.
I’m about to start shipping actual postal parcels to people. Kickstarter veterans tell me this stage can make a person feel like s/he lives at the post office, and that postage always costs more than one imagines possible. Postage, they say, is the Kickstarter killer, the budget buster that can leave a creator in the hole even after raising a bunch of money to get a thing made. I’ve been advised not to count on online estimators to be accurate. So now I start finding out whether I built enough into my budget.
In another month or two, this little chapter of my career will be behind me. I’ll still need to give the book a lot of ongoing support, but I’ll be ready to put most of my day-to-day writing time into The Next Thing. We’ll see if an agent comes on the scene to have an opinion about which possible Next Thing will win out.