The sample copy of my self-published book arrived yesterday. Lulu's done a good job. The cover looks better than it did as a pdf, the paper is good quality and the binding seems sturdy--at least for a perfect-bound book.
The not-so-good things are those I already knew about. The pic on the back cover is squished, and I'm going to ask Mark if he can fix it to the required size. If he can (which I expect he can, because it's me who's the techno-peasant), I think I can just reload the picture and leave the rest of the cover as is.
The table of contents looks untidy, because I couldn't get Word (this was on someone else's computer, because I lost Word on my own) to do the ToC in the way it's supposed to, so I did it by hand, and the edges are ragged. Plus, I should have put the page numbers elsewhere on the page, because Mirror Margins didn't fix the gutters, and the verso page numbers are somewhat swallowed.
None of which adds up to a particularly big deal, especially as this is a souvenir of my folly rather than a Real Book.
But I still snagged the 3-Day Novel published winners that I own (Day-shift Werewolf, Wastefall, Body Making Words) to compare them against my minim opus. Which stood up pretty well, for production quality.
So I can go ahead with ordering more, to give as presents to the people who would actually appreciate such a gift (my ego only carries me so far into self-delusion).
I flat-out don't know whether to give one to M--. I told her on the phone that I'd gone to Lulu and would be printing out a few for souvenirs, and she said something vague about 'tell me when they arrive', or 'tell me how it goes' but she didn't ask for a copy, and she didn't ask for the url so she could download it for free. It's not that she doesn't know about downloading or e-publishing, because Irene's been e-published several times. I'm reluctant to ask her directly, 'so, do you want a copy of Fold?' because then she'd feel put on the spot, and I know from past experience she's easily made to feel pressured. Or pressurized, as they say in the UK.
Not a big issue, it's just slightly awkward not to know whether she's making polite congratulatory noises for a friend's sake or is interested in the book itself. Other friends have said, in so many words, that they want to buy a copy, or want to read it. Or have made congratulatory noises that indicate they're happy for me but not interested in the book, which is cool too, because it's an odd story, and I don't expect it to be to everyone's taste.
Eventually I'll expand it, probably by expanding Cami's storyline, perhaps by adding more episodes of Palev's wanderings. The great thing about picaresque narrative is the loose structure. But I've no idea still of which publishers to send it to. I'd have a bit of a leg up for small Canadian presses, being Canadian, but since the story itself isn't set in Canada, neither in the depressed rural parts nor the gritty inner city parts, it has a strike against it.
Anyway, I am now totally a self-published author. Expect to see me harrassing bookshop managers and writing sockpuppet posts to message boards. I'll have to do a better job than my first attempt, though. I'll plagiarise Zolah and Emil's versions, those are way better.
In other news, I decided on the Miele Umbria City bike, with coaster brake and Nexus 8 internal gears. I've been biking to work, and after raising the seat twice I think I've got the correct angle. I'm still not sure where the bumps on the handlebars are supposed to be to properly fit my hands, but I'm supposed to take the bike in after two weeks, to make any adjustments, so I'll ask about it then.
The arthritis is subdued by medication. So far no notable side effects, though the promised 'loss of appetite' has failed to kick in, alas. Instead I'm ravenous in the evenings, even after dinner. I'm hoping that's due to the time change and will settle down. My doctor says if the Hydroxyquin does its job, I'll be able to drop the Neproxene and the associated risk of it eating my stomach lining, so good news abounds, really.
And my bike is very black and very cool. I'm refusing to leave it outside overnight until I have something to lock it to that's out of the rain. I bring it in, as if I were living in a city apartment.