As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I am publishing my novel, "Here Be Monsters", through Amazon.com's self-publishing site, CreateSpace. In order to get acquainted with the production/publication process, I wanted to make a practice book, to explore all of the nooks and crannies of their software and try to avoid surprises when publishing my "real" book. To that end, I made a workbook out of the various exercises and worksheets and note-taking devices that I used in writing HBM.
I have started thinking about the next book already, and a huge part of the process (for me) is pre-writing. My pre-writing process includes lots of brainstorming, character and setting notes, plot and story arc work, and an ongoing series of idea-catchers (for random thoughts that wander into, and might fall out of, my head if not for a space to collect, if not organize, them). I had been thinking of formalizing and gathering and organizing all of my pre-writing stuff anyway, to help facilitate the process of getting ready for the next month-long writing sprint, and this provided a great opportunity (excuse).
I looked at what I had done for pre-writing prior to the NaNoWriMo Summer Camp in August for HBM, came up with some ways to streamline and improve the process, and kludged it all together into a 54 page workbook. I worked on formatting and made a cover using CS's cleverly named "Cover Creator" and filled in the forms and boxes and such, after which I submitted the book for approval by the CS gnomes. I had an email waiting for me this morning, notifying me of one minor problem (a jpg inside the book was slightly below their suggested resolution levels), and am debating how to deal with it.
I'm somewhat on the fence about listing the book for sale on Amazon. I think that it's a useful tool, and am certain that I'll use it (or subsequent editions of it) for each novel that I write. On the other hand, I don't want to risk having some disgruntled writer slam me for the simplistic formatting of the worksheets if they shell out their $4 (it apparently costs $3.59 to produce) and aren't satisfied. I may just leave it on my CS account bookshelf, and order the occasional proof copy when I update for future editions...hard to say at this point.
At any rate, it was a fun learning experience, and I got some practical knowledge about CreateSpace and a nice workbook out of the process.