The process of launching a book that will end up being sold in several formats and on even more websites is a complicated one. I've tried to orchestrate this one so that the official launch of Left by the Side of the Road occurs everywhere today, October 15, 2013. Will it work? Who knows?
At approximately 9:00 PM lat night, I went to the Smashwords website and changed the "pre-order" price of $1.99 to the regular retail price of $2.99. How soon will that take effect? Well, it's already showing on Smashwords, but I have no control over when the online retail sites (Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, or Kobo) will make the change on my book pages. With luck you might still find the lower price, but be aware that it won't last long.
At approximately midnight last night, Smashwords changed the book's status from Pre-Order to Published, but of course that depends on where you live. Some of you will find it as a pre-order, others, as a regular book offering. If you've already pre-ordered the book, it should be downloading --or ready to download-- the next time you turn on your electronic reader. If you live in New York, you're set. If you're in American Samoa, you may have a bit of a wait ahead of you.
Now what about you purists who want to hold the actual book in your hand? It's coming! I've been notified by CreateSpace that they have shipped my physical proof copy. When I decide I'm happy with it, all I have to do is click a button that says "Publish Now" and the listing is supposed to pop up immediately on Amazon. Will it? Again . . . who knows.
Of course I have access to the "publish" button now, so I could go ahead and click it, but I learned a long time ago that such optimism is misplaced. Back when I published my first book (with a traditional publisher, a respected University Press), I took the publisher's word that the book was ready for publication. They said it would be a waste of my time to review it again. So I gave permission for publication without seeing it. When the copies arrived, the book was fine -- except for two pages that contained pure gobblitygook. This was, mind you, back in the Dark Ages, when books were set by hand, letter by lead letter lined up in tiny trays. These two pages looked like someone had tripped and spilled several lines of letters. The letters were all there, but in random order with the spacers missing. Believe me, the reviewers had a field day attacking me for a failure of proof-reading. So never again.
I will wait for the proof copy, which is scheduled to arrive in today's mail -- if the post office is open, if the truck arrives on time, and if the carrier does not have too heavy a load. Time? Well, normally around lunch time, but after a Monday holiday, likely to be much later. Then I'll need to sit down and examine each page before I click that fatal button. Provided the book arrives in the mail, and provided it was not printed by inebriated mice running rampant on a keyboard, I will click the button before I sleep tonight.
Now, as for Kindle users, all bets are off. CreateSpace tells me that as soon as I click the button, they will convert the file and send it to me for uploading onto Kindle. That could happen within minutes, because the process is a simple one. Or it could take the several days or weeks they claim they may need. Again, about all I can tell you is that it will be up as soon as possible.
In the meantime, just one word of warning. Despite my best efforts, there are still sellers who have the old version of the book -- the first edition, which is only half as long as this one. Please be careful about which one you order. The new version should say "Second Edition" on the bottom front cover, and the publication date should be October 15, 2013. I will be hunting down the old versions as soon as possible, but some sellers will not take them down without a fight.
Stay tuned. Bet you didn't know how complicated issuing a small book could be! Neither did I but I hope you enjoy this one.
I just pushed the magic button. The trade paper version of "Left by the Side of the Road" is now available for ordering from the CreateSpace bookstore: https://www.createspace.com/4363063
Amazon listings coming soon.