Ticked off …

… the last little complication with the .epub files.  It turns out .rtf doesn’t like footnotes (who knew?) and since the conversion software starts with .rtf files, the footnotes in ‘Dear Mister President’ were gumming up the works.  Don’t panic, it’s not an academic treatise, but when you quote lines of poetry you pretty well have to attribute them somehow.  So when it’s a .pdf it can have footnotes, but when it’s an .epub it needs to have endnotes.  Learning curve, right?

Another leap forward

We seem to have cracked the ‘second e-book format’ problem and will now be offering all our titles in a choice of .pdf or .epub files.  We have three titles completed and locked down in .pdf format, with the fourth still with the proofreader; in addition there is now one completed .epub file and the rest will follow quickly – we hope!  That just leaves the online shop software to set up, which shouldn’t be too much of a trial.  (Famous last words?)

Meanwhile a couple of our titles are already going out for review.  This is a complex process as reviewers have very specific requirements, but we’ll do our best to navigate a way through these alarming waters.  A couple of good reviews could do wonders for initial sales, and we hope thereafter to be able to rely on establishing a reputation for quality.  But this, of course, is the big unknown; how will the e-book buyers of the world react to what we have to offer?

Tune in next week.  Or, rather, the week after next.  We’re fifteen days out from launching now.

Progress report

Well, our third title has just come back from our hard-working proof-reader/editor and been forwarded to the author, and the last one has been sent off for proof-reading.  Unfortunately it’s the longest of the four and time is running short, but we have every confidence of being ready to launch on time.

We are still wrestling with the new software for e-book creation, which will give us our alternate formats, but that’s starting to behave itself at last, and we have the online shop to set up – although we don’t expect that to be too much of a hassle.  (Famous last words?)

At the same time, two very interesting proposals have come in for titles for the November list.  If they both work out as well as we hope, that might be our list filled already.  A bit too early to say yet, however, so if anyone is dithering over whether or not to submit work we would still urge them to go ahead and get in touch – there is nothing to lose, after all!

And so the countdown begins in earnest; only 19 days to go.  Wonder if it’s too late to run away and hide out in South America?  No, I don’t think I can afford the ticket – so if anybody wants me, I’ll probably be under the bed … shaking …

James Anson

Somebody – and I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was – asked a short while ago if there was any chance that we might be able to acquire the e-book rights to James Anson’s ‘Larton Chronicles’.  Knowing that it had been quite a long time since James entered into the present contract for ‘Larton’ we thought it worth enquiring in case the e-book rights had not been part of the original arrangement, but we have had a reply today confirming that all the rights on ‘Larton’ are tied up with the present publisher and James is not looking to make any kind of change at the moment.  It was certainly worth making the enquiry, but having no desire whatever to intrude on James’s professional relationship with the publisher we’re content to leave it at that.  But ‘thank you’ to the person who made the suggestion; it was a very good idea and we definitely appreciate the thought!

The website goes live!!!

It’s been a struggle – unfamiliar software, steep learning curve, yadda yadda, you’ve heard it all before – but at last we have succeeded in uploading the new Manifold Press website, which is now available at:

manifoldpress.co.uk

You’ll find details there of our first four titles, and our PROSPECTUS FOR AUTHORS is also available on a link from the main page.  If there’s anything else you need to know we’ll be here as usual, keeping you up to date on our progress towards the launch on 1 May, and you can always contact us on one or other of our shiny new dedicated e-mail addresses (see website for details).  However we’re expecting things to be fairly quiet now for a few weeks as we only have a few small matters to sort out – although at the same time we are going to start spreading the word as far and as fast as we can.

Meanwhile we are also, of course, turning our attention to selecting four new titles to bring you in November.  Several are under consideration but only one is definite so far – ‘The Definitive Albert J Sterne’ by Julie Bozza.  There will be more information about this later in the year, but for now all we’ll say is that we think you’ll find it a good, long, and very satisfying read!

Time for a rest now; this has been a stressful week.  We’ll be back when we have more to report.

A big step

Our ISBNs have just arrived by e-mail; we are now (or will be, by the time we launch) on the publishing map!  This means our first .pdf can be finalised and locked and even sent out for review – hooray!  Our hard-working proof-reader has promised our second script for later today, and her reward for this endeavour will be to receive the third almost immediately.  I am also hoping to have a placeholder website up some time tomorrow, and the site itself uploaded a week later; nobody should expect anything too sophisticated, but it should be reasonably smart and functional.  We’re gradually ticking off the jobs to be done, and our technical guru is coming in tomorrow to tidy up a few last bits and pieces and answer a few more questions.  After that, it should be downhill all the way!

For prospective authors

We have now, at long last, got our domain name and e-mails set up.  Anyone with fiction that they would like to submit can now send it to us at eaditter@manifoldpress.co.uk – but please make sure that you have read our PROSPECTUS FOR AUTHORS first.  If you have not, you can obtain a copy by e-mailing us at the same address – but please allow a few days for us to respond.

Progress report

Well, we’ve lurched forward a fraction more.  The first .pdf file is finally assembled, all but the ISBN which I have not applied for yet; however the intractable business of page numbering has finally succumbed to a fierce session of brain-bending.  The second script is currently with the proof-reader, the third is ready to send, and all the paperwork for the Press bank account has come through and is now in my hot little hands.  In addition, we have been interviewed for one blog (details nearer the time) and the owner of another wants to review each of our first four titles … which should be a tremendous help when it comes to generating sales.  That’s the side of things my co-conspirator specialises in; she has a real genius for making contacts and I am very happy to leave it to her – I have my hands full enough with the editing and all the technical stuff!

Our in-house reader, meanwhile, has gone off clutching the 100,000 word script that came in the other day; I’ll look forward to her response.  We have both decided, however, that the 14,000 word one is going to need a little more work by the author.  Still, it’s reassuring that we are getting so many good quality scripts submitted already, when we are not officially open for business yet.  People’s enthusiasm and faith in us never ceases to be astonishing, and is always humbling.  Now all we have to do is live up to it.

Another lurch forward!

As of yesterday, we now have a bank account for the Press.  I’ll have to link it up to PayPal and then I can get the online shop software sorted out, but we now have a mechanism for actually selling these e-books of ours!

The first title has come back from our illustrious proof-reader/editor and the second is even now in her hands.  This is all a little later than we had hoped as she spent a large part of the winter debilitated by illness, but having seen the bang-up job she did on the first script I am more convinced than ever that she is a vital part of our operation.  The schedule for the rest of the proof-reading is going to be tight, but she assures me she can meet it so I’m absolutely not going to worry about that!

Meanwhile, progress on the website has been stellar.  The new software turned out to be much more like the old software than I expected; although it calls things by different names and is organised differently it works in very much the same way and within 24 hours I was feeling fairly comfortable with it.  In case anyone doesn’t already know, I had a computer disaster over Christmas and have had to transfer from Windows-based to Linux-based software for absolutely everything – word processing, graphics, web design, the lot.  This involved an extremely steep and at times terrifying learning curve which, thank goodness, seems to be flattening out now!

To my astonishment over the past couple of days two new scripts have come in, both as the result of casual discussions I have had with their authors.  One is over 100,000 words, the other is more of a ‘taster’ at 14,000 words.  There hasn’t been time yet to read them both, let alone form any kind of opinion, but it’s obvious what I’m going to be doing over the next few days!

Also, I have been preparing the first .pdf file.  It isn’t finished yet by a long way but I’m starting to see how it will shape up and I must admit I’m rather pleased with it.  I spent much of yesterday just hyphenating – and came to the conclusion that there’s a good reason why that sounds so much like ‘hyperventilating’!  It turned out to be an unexpectedly stressful process, but a very necessary one where such short line-lengths are involved – we don’t want to end up selling masses and masses of ‘white space’, after all.  The look of the finished product is very important to me.

Over the weekend, I managed to fit in a quick ‘research trip’ to the website of one of our rival e-publishers, I won’t say which one.  I wanted to see how they had handled certain decisions with regard to site layout and organisation, to get an idea what would work for us.  While I was there, I had a more general ‘stickybeak’ around their wares – just to see what the level of the competition was.  It’s a nice website, there’s no arguing with that, although some of their decisions would not have been mine.  However they don’t appear to have anyone involved in maintaining it who has any idea how to punctuate direct speech, and when I clicked on a random title to get a sample of the text I was somewhat mystified to see a description of a ‘gregarious turret’ on a house.  Made me wonder whether there was any editing going on over there at all.

Every time I think I’m getting too obsessive about editing, too nit-picky about trivialities, I’ll go back and have a look at that site to cheer myself up.  We’ll make mistakes, I know we will, and we may have some disasters along the way, but at least now that we’re forewarned we should be able to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes as our rivals – and let’s, in any case, hope that we never get too big to pay attention to the important little details!