I’m happy to say that The Quantum Contingent ebook is available! click here to buy The paperback will be for sale at the same link in about one week. If you purchase the ebook at bookbaby, you can download an EPUB file for Apple iBooks or other e-readers, a .MOBI file for kindle or a PDF file. (Or all three) If you prefer, you can follow the link from the bookbaby page to purchase a kindle edition directly from Amazon and have it automatically loaded onto your device.
This is the ebook pre-release. The paperback will be for sale at the same link in approximately one week. I’ll let you know when the paperback is available. After reading the book, if you would like to review the book on Amazon, it would be best to purchase the ebook from Amazon so that you are a verified purchaser. You can also put reviews of the book on bookbaby or on goodreads if you’d like! (I’d appreciate the support!)
For those aspiring authors out there, I thought I’d share a little bit about the last mile of the journey. There are several things you need to do to get your book over the finish line. (For everyone else, what are you waiting for, go get that book and let me know what you think!)
First, you need an ISBN number and a barcode of the number for your cover. This is easily acquired through Bowker.com in the US. They’ll sell you an ISBN and the associated barcode. You need to provide lots of basic information about your book to get it registered, but it’s all things you should know. You may need to complete this registration after you purchase the code. For example, you upload your cover when you register the ISBN number. I needed the ISBN to complete the cover. So, I acquired the ISBN, began registration, and then came back and finished registration after my cover was completed. If you are publishing in multiple formats, like ebook and paperback, each format will need its own distinct ISBN number.
In my case, I acquired my ebook ISBN from my publisher. Since I needed to submit all of my files before I received the ebook ISBN, it means I needed to resubmit the ebook files with the updated ISBN number after I got the ebook ISBN from them. So, you sometimes feel like you are going in circles. Not a big deal, but just a note to remember this detail.
I’m using bookbaby.com to handle the distribution and printing of my book, so they are my publisher of record. One of the advantages of bookbaby is that they will provide additional services ala carte. So, if you don’t want to do the interior formatting of your book or buy the ISBN from Bowker, you can have bookbaby do it all. They can convert your word document into ebook format and insert the ISBN numbers in for you. So, I could have made this process easier for myself if I had them do all of the formatting and conversion for me, but I wanted to have full control over the formatting. This also gave me a chance to better understand what is involved in the formatting process. (As it turns out, it is more involved than one would think!) I used Vellum for formatting my manuscript. It made the formatting and ebook generation easy. Doing the formatting myself before going to bookbaby also accelerated the bookbaby portion of the process since everything had been proofed in its final form before submission. I didn't need to go back and forth with bookbaby on formatting changes. Bookbaby also provides a great storefront so you can start selling your book right away. (more on that under the sales section)
Another key component to finishing your book is your cover. This means artwork and a well written back cover. I already did a blog on the text for the back cover, and I’ll do a dedicated blog entry on my cover art after the book is fully launched. The cover art has some good Easter eggs incorporated into the artwork, Remember, the cover is a key component in the marketing of your book since most of your readers will see the cover on their screen before they click buy or read a single word inside. I am fortunate to have a son with a flair for graphic design, so I used his services for designing the cover.
The paperback/ebook editions will be available first at store.bookbaby.com since they are my distributor. So, if you are anxious to get a hardcopy, this is the best place to purchase the book. (When available in approximately 1 week)
If you want to purchase the paperback from Amazon, you’ll need to wait for the paperback to show up on Amazon (approximately 3 weeks). You will then be able to “pre-order” the paperback from Amazon. Amazon does a pre-sale for a minimum of 60 days to gauge interest so they can stock the right number of copies in their warehouses. If you are not in the US and want a paperback, you’ll probably be better off ordering from your country specific Amazon site to avoid international shipping charges from bookbaby. (or purchase and download the ebook.) The book will also be available for order at places like Powell’s and Barnes and Noble. You’d need to ask them to order a copy, since they won’t have one on the shelf in a brick and mortar chain bookstore.
I've started the audible book creation process. I hired a narrator, and have setup my account on ACX. Once my narrator is done narrating, I'll upload the audio files and link everything together so that people can get the audible version of the book. I've had multiple people ask about an audible version, so the good news is: it is on the way.
Reviews (this is where I could use your help!)
If you read the book and want to leave a review on Amazon, you’d need to at least purchase the kindle version on Amazon so that you can be a verified purchaser of the book. Of course, reviews are greatly appreciated since they weigh heavily into how the book is advertised to people looking for books on Amazon. Which leads to the last item...
The last step is marketing. If you want to get your book noticed, you’need to do some marketing. I’ll be using bookbaby for some advertising services as well as leveraging social media to get the word out about The Quantum Contingent. I will expand my marketing effort after the pre-sale starts on amazon. I'll report back on how that works in a later blog post.
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Stay tuned for blogs on the cover, future marketing efforts, and of course, the additional full paperback launch details!
Ok, it's time for pencil's down. I think the manuscript for The Quantum Contingent is now a wrap. Time to focus on getting the cover and then getting it published! Here are some random stats for those who like to hear the numbers. My biggest day of writing was 5284 words. My smallest was a net of -169. Yes, you can have negative writing days. My biggest month was last March with 37,179 words. Not surprising, since that was the first month of my retirement. So, looking back since I first started, it was 228 days of writing, for an average of 469 words per day. A total of 106,932 words written. Only about 80,000 of them made it into the final copy. These statistics average in some very low number days here towards the end.
Interior formatting is also complete. Photos for each chapter header, nicely divided sections, drop capitals to start each chapter, etc. It was much easier than formatting my master's thesis using LaTeX.
I attended a webinar on cover design this week. This is a critical component of any book, and I hope to see some draft work by Monday from my cover designer!
I've posted the opening and closing chapter photos below.
Thanks for your patience. I hope you'll enjoy it. I'll let you know when it's available!
Two new chapters and some more changes as I re-write / re-structure the ending based on the final developmental editing feedback. I've now got the final draft and am doing one last final proof. For the budding authors out there, that are interested in details, I've generated a PDF version for printing, and three different ePub files for ebooks. One specifically for Kindle, one for Apple Books, and one generic ePub for all other ebook publishers. The Apple Books ePub uses higher resolution photos than the generic file. Amazon uses a slightly older version of ePub, so my formatting program, Vellum, knows to generate an ePub that is optimized for specifically for Kindle. Thanks to Vellum, generating those different formats was as easy as clicking the generate button.
And for those of you that like the playlist, that means one of the songs that was cut earlier is back and a new song... Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran has been added. I've changed some chapter ordering as well, so you may notice the playlist song order is slightly different as well.
So, the pebble is polished. Time to dry it off and put a cover on it. Look for the order button on this website before the end of January!
For those of you who like numbers, the final stats are: 77,948 words in the text of the novel. 80,242 total words in the book. This includes things like the acknowledgements and the Spotify Playlist. There is 1 five-word alliteration and 12 four-word alliterations. The expected reading time is 5 hours and 19 minutes. In case you were wondering, the word quantum appears 241 times in The Quantum Contingent.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
Sometimes I feel like a small babbling brook, just polishing the same pebble, over and over... Editing my stream of consciousness to make the pebble smoother and more pleasant to the touch. In this case, the pebble is The Quantum Contingent. Recently, I've done some heavier polishing. Thanks to some fabulous input from my editor, Bridget, I cut one chapter, consolidated a couple of others, rearranged a few more, and can now see a path to a finished product. I'm reading it again and doing some more final 'fine' polishing. For example, did you know you capitalize names of wines named after regions, but not those names after grapes? Hence it's Chianti with a capital C and merlot with a lowercase m. Yes, I'm trying to make sure I get these details correct too!
I also updated a song on the playlist. (based on an edit I did to the chapter) Therefore, Tears for Fears, Everybody Wants to Rule the World has been replaced by Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran. (and yes, the title of the song appears in the chapter) I like Ed's music a lot, so it was a pleasant change for me. Apologies to the Tears for Fears fans. Of course, the aforementioned chapter cut and consolidation resulted in the loss of a couple of other songs on the playlist. The book is now a nice round 50 chapters.
I've also been refining the photos that will head each chapter and refining the interior formatting with Vellum.
The Quantum Contingent will be out in early 2022, initially in paperback and ebook format, with an audiobook to follow. The voice talent is lined up. I just need to finish polishing this pebble. I'm seeing another pebble in this brook I'd like to work on.... but I need to finish this one first.
Happy December. Till next time!
The Photo below was taken @ Simpson Creek, in Landen Ohio.
I had the joy of attending my niece's wedding in Washington, DC last weekend. We went for a couple of extra days and made a road trip of it. This gave me a chance to do some refinement of one of my Washington, DC chapters in The Quantum Contingent. There is a scene near the Watergate steps that I needed to understand the street layout to properly convey the story. So, research done... chapter edited. I am trying to portray all the locations with as much realism as possible! Of course, since it's a spy novel, I also visited the Spy Museum while I was there. Research for a good novel never ends!
The other thing I've been curating for the novel is a set of photos. Each chapter will now have a heading image like this:
In print, they will be black and white, in the eBook, if you read it on a color device, it will be in color. Of course, all the photos will be on the website as well. I've been beta testing Vellum 3.0 for formatting. Vellum is worth checking out if you are going to format a book! https://vellum.pub
The Quantum Contingent will be available on or before March 1st, 2021, I'll let you know when it's available for purchase!
Have a great day,
Guess what. You need to format the interior of your book too. A great cover is important to capture the reader and convince them to buy the book, but interior formatting is an art as well. Being a technology guy, I decided to purchase a program for the interior formatting work. I am using Vellum. Vellum makes the chore of formatting the interior of your book dramatically easier. Here are some examples of the things you think about when formatting. First, the opening sentence of the chapter. A drop quote is nice... Do you want it to be cursive, or block? Also, the first paragraph is usually not indented, where following paragraphs are...
Here's another example. Note how the first couple of words in a new scene are a slightly different font. Also, let's not forget the artistic mark between scenes. I'll want to do something fun with that.
You get an appreciation for the attention to detail it takes to typeset a book. Fortunately for me, computers have made that much easier. Vellum allows me to adjust many different interior formatting elements easily and consistently across the entire manuscript (which is now over 300 pages). Here's another simple example, block quotes. This quote is from my foreword.
So, there you have it. I'm doing interior formatting, getting a cover designed, and doing final edits. (I really need to wait until the final edits are done until I complete the formatting, but I've got my arms around what is required so that I can do it quickly when the time comes!)
For more on Vellum, see www.vellum.pub
Till next time,
I found one of the more difficult things to write for the book is the back cover blurb. I thought I'd share the draft text of the back cover here. Let me know your thoughts. Does it catch your attention in the first sentence? Does it make you want to read the book? I'd love your feedback.
Oh, and I now have an ISBN number... one step closer.
Till next time, Greg
In 2028, a mysterious group known as The Quantum
Contingent has achieved true quantum computing
capabilities. The Quantum Contingent have their sights
set on achieving immortality for a select few that will
chart humanity’s destiny.
Jack and Sarah, sibling spies, race across the globe at
a frenetic pace to stop this nefarious group and their
anonymous Founder. Jack and Sarah are part of Quotient,
a mysterious, independent, spy agency whose secret
advantage is also quantum based.
The Quantum Contingent takes place in exotic destinations
around the globe and features real technologies, extrapolated
for tomorrow, including cryptocurrency, drones, and SpaceX
rocket ships. It is a techno-spy thriller for today with pop-culture
references and even its own Spotify playlist, featuring a song
for each chapter in the book.
Greg spent his career in technology.
He did a TedX talk on AI and has
channeled his technology and global
travel experiences into The Quantum
Contingent. The cover is based on
the church of St. George, one of the
monolithic ‘rock churches’ in Lalibela,
Ethiopia. Greg is shown here outside
of this World Heritage site, which
serves as a key location in the novel.
See key location photos, technology
blogs, and more at: www.simpsong00.com.
Hello friends, I continue to put the finishing touches on The Quantum Contingent. I looked back at how it has changed over the last few months. The easiest metric is word count. From a cover-to-cover perspective, the novel progressed as follows:
The novel takes place across 10 different countries. In the U.S. it covers 8 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. I've tried hard to make the descriptions of each of these locations match the real locations. I used photos from my travels, as well as google maps to get layouts and movement through different areas factually correct. The descriptions of places like Ngorongoro Crater (featured in the photo at the top of my blog page) are accurate as well. One city that is described grew significantly between now and the timing of the novel, 2028, and that should be obvious to the reader. One interesting challenge was getting my characters from place to place during this globe-trotting spy thriller. I can only imagine the effort that goes into making a spy film!
Similarly, I took real technologies and simply extrapolated their capabilities into the future. I touch on many technologies in the novel as outlined on my technology page.
Surprisingly, some of the more difficult things to write are things like the blurb that goes on the back cover. Anyway, rest assured, the book is coming. I will make (or beat) my self-imposed deadline of one year post retirement (March 1st, 2022).
Let me know if you'd like to know anything else about the process, or would appreciate a deep dive on any of the technologies.
Until next time,
Some people have been surprised to hear that I have “beta” readers. Beta readers are not unlike software beta testers, They are early adopters who try your software/manuscript out and give you feedback on how they liked it. (They also point out errors!) I have about 25 beta readers and I’ve enjoyed getting their feedback. In fact, as a result of the feedback, in addition to many updates, I’ve added one more chapter! (and yes that means one more song on the playlist) Here’s a picture from where this chapter is based. Can you guess what country or the specific location this photo was taken?
Oh, and The Quantum Contingent playlist is now updated on Spotify at: https://spoti.fi/3CBPE06. I actually used one of the songs that was already in the playlist for the new chapter. (because the title of the song appeared in the new chapter!) So, used a new song for the old chapter I stole the song from! The new song’s title has also been incorporated into the old chapter. The new song is Adventure of a Lifetime, by Coldplay. Can you guess what song that was already on the playlist is now associated with the new chapter?
I listened to a First Line Frenzy stream today by @RFaithEditorial in conjunction with Reedsy. In first line frenzy, an editor, Rebecca Faith, quickly critiques the opening line in a long list of novels, It's an interesting way to pick up some good tips to consider when working on your book. Anyway, I thought I'd try it with you, my blog audience. Here's the opening line to The Quantum Contingent:
Thud! The wood beside Jack’s ear splintered as the carbon blade dug into the old willow tree next to him. In a split second, Jack swiveled, crouched, and launched himself across the lane like a mountain lion bounding after its prey.
Frenzy away! You are the editor. Give me your critique in the comments or on twitter/linkedin or wherever you saw this blog post!
Thanks and talk to you next week!
Greg's blog will cover some of the things he learned as well as some of the tech and locations he used in his new novel, The Quantum Contingent.