Well, I admit that I pushed myself a little bit harder than I probably should have, but I’ve managed to get Charlotte Powers 3: Hidden Power released before flitting away to Japan (and with, oh, at least two days to spare). I did consider skipping a proof in order to release it even earlier, but decided against it—I only picked up one actual error on that last round but it was a doozy (‘baseball leg’ instead of ‘baseball bat’, I would have been horribly embarrassed to let that one through), so I’m glad I gritted my teeth and just did it. Cover graphic and link? Yes, I think so:
After actually publishing something I usually feel a combination of satisfaction and emptiness, and this time is no exception. I really do put everything I have into my books, no corners cut however tempting it might be to do so—that final proof is a good example, how much did it improve the book, really? By one percent? Less? It’s the law of diminishing returns, the first edit might give a twenty percent improvement to the book, the next ten percent, then five, then three, then two, then one, but even that one percent improvement, catching another error, tightening up those final few sentences that are just a little loose, killing that ‘she said’ which isn’t really necessary, adding that single line of description that really sets the tone of a scene, all of these things really are just so important to me. Little details. Little details are important. After the last proof I did on the book my feeling was that doing another could possibly catch another error or two, would maybe turn up a few sentences that could be better, but in terms of story and polish, I was (and am) happy. I think part of being not just a writer but an author—and in a certain sense a publisher—is learning when to say ‘this is as good as I can reasonably expect to make it; it’s time to cut the cord’. That’s probably the single most important skill I’ve developed through this whole indie author adventure; learning to finish things, really finish them, not just outlining and writing a first draft that I come back to every so often mostly because I want to read that scene I’m particularly fond of, but focused crafting of not just a story but a book.
Anyway, I hope people like this one. The ending is even more difficult than Power Play’s (which was pretty bad, in that sense), but it’s all going somewhere. I’m not just throwing these things together, I have a definite end in mind and know just what has to happen to reach that end. So after Hidden Power there are going to be two more books, Rising Power and then Power Overwhelming, and that’ll be the end of Charlotte’s story. For better or worse. After that, I don’t know. I have other projects and other series but I don’t want to let go of Charlotte’s world just yet; there are stories still to tell.
Anyway, for now I’m happy with where I am. I was especially happy at the response to my pre-release announcements—that there was any response at all was amazing. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just writing entirely for myself, making these little stories for no grander reason than my own amusement, and now here I am, slowly but surely getting my books into the hands of people who actually want to read them—who look forward to the next in the series enough to say ‘yay!’ or ‘hurry up!’ when I announce it’s coming. These sorts of things might seem minor but they really do mean a lot to me, and I’m grateful to all my readers. The simple truth is that this wouldn’t be nearly as fun without you.