Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Just To Be Sure...

by Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson

At long last it’s here. The release day of your new book. The cover is gorgeous, the print PDF and the electronic versions are pristine. All the editing passes and revisions are finally over with and each sentence has been polished until all of them shine like diamonds. You’ve got your excerpts ready for publicity, the various sizes of your cover are waiting to be posted, you’ve done your keywords and metadata for release… all that awaits is for you to push the ‘Publish’ button.

And your finger hovers hesitantly over your mouse as you frantically search your mind and your manuscript for anything you might have forgotten. Stress brings a sheen of perspiration to your forehead as your clicking finger starts to tremble. Remember the old saw “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow”? Well, just about now I always start to glow like a horse.

This is it. This is what you’ve been working for for so long. But is your precious book ready? Really ready? Maybe just one more check… just to be sure?

Believe me, you can ‘just one more check’ yourself into total stasis. I know. I’ve done it. Especially when the book is a very important one.

You see, that’s where I am right now. One year ago this month The Husband and I started out for Egypt, where we had been invited to stay at an archaeological dig house. The excavation director is a very dear friend and had suggested I might want to set a murder mystery in this lovely old house built in 1906 by an English Egyptologist named Somers Clarke that is now the excavation headquarters. Of course we went and though we have been to Egypt several times it was just about the most magical trip of my life.

The resultant book is A KILLING AT EL KAB, and it’s going to be released in the middle of this month – almost to the day we arrived at El Kab. As I am an avowed Egyptomane, this is one of the most important books of my entire life.

And I want it perfect. I have driven both my cover artist and formatter almost to madness with my pickiness and these last few weeks The Husband has been positively grateful to escape to his job every morning. I have been through the manuscript and the various formatted copies so many times that I can recount great chunks of copy from memory. Yet still I hesitate to hit the ‘publish’ button. I tell myself it’s because I haven’t yet received the paperback proofs.


More likely it’s because I know that somewhere deep in the manuscript there lingers a malign typo, waiting in hiding until the book is available to the world before it makes itself known…

Maybe I should go through the book again… Just to be sure.


  1. Soooo right! Not just Indie authors about to publish, but authors ready to send out their babies to an agent or editor go through that excruciating moment. Hitting the "send" or "publish" button is hard. It's so easy miss a mistake, but oh so heartbreaking when we do. Good luck with your new book.

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  3. The new book sounds great. We want everything we put out to be perfect and that's incredibly hard to achieve. So we have to settle for as close to perfect as we can reasonably get it.

  4. I'm sure it is perfect. I have found typos in my books after they have been gone over by editors. I think I found typos in every book I have read.

    So hit that button! Egypt is on my bucket list, but with the current state of the world, I may never get there. I'll live vicariously through your book.

    And I deleted the comment and reposted because I found a typo - LOL

  5. It sounds like a fine book! And yes, when we get the paper proofs there's always something, but they are usually small, petty details. Still, I understand your agony very well. When I received the print ARCs of THE KILLING LAND from Five Star/Cengage, I still found a few small typos that needed to be corrected for the hardcover version. The hardcover going out to libraries now has no errors (hopefully). I haven't seen the Kindle version though. We humans are imperfect creatures.

  6. Congratulations! Your book sounds very intriguing. I'll look out for it on Amazon.

  7. Some things are universal. Go ahead and hit that "publish" button. The books sounds wonderful and the cover is stunning. Remind us again the middle of the month that it's available.

  8. Thank you all for commenting - and Kathye, I did wonder why you had deleted that comment! I've done the same thing many times myself. Sometimes being a perfectionist is a pain... Sandy, thanks especially for the kudos for the cover - I took that photograph (sans blood, of course).

  9. Janis,
    Your new book sounds wonderful. I love the setting. Reminds me of all the wonderful Amelia Peabody mysteries I enjoyed.

  10. I love that analogy...I use it a lot when out dancing... Men sweat, women perspire, dancers glow LOL! Love the new cover. Good luck and God's blessings with the new book.

  11. Wow! I love the cover and the story behind the creation of the book, Janis. My first trip to Italy resulted in my first published novel: Wait a Lonely Life, but I didn't visit Italy for that reason. Some of the best in us comes out wherever we are.

    Congratulations! I'm sure it's fine, but then the Japanese have a tradition of intentional flaws -- to circumvent the demon in us that believes we're perfect.