Kristen Hall-Geisler has been a freelance writer and book editor since 2006. As a writer for print and web, she specializes in explaining difficult and technical subjects to people without boring them silly. As an editor, she helps authors do the same with their books. She’s also the author of Take the Wheel: A Woman’s Guide to Buying a Car Her Own Damn Self.
If you’d like some of this clever clarity for your own project, click on Contact in the header above.
I’ll be at the Oregon Convention Center for the Portland Auto Show’s press day on February 4. There’s usually an emphasis on green cars and vehicles that can get you to the slopes, the coast, and the trailhead on the weekend. Any car that can do all of that — and keep your dog safe — will rule this city. I’ll let you know if I find it.
I’ll be in Snoqualmie, Washington, this coming weekend for the Red Bull Global Rallycross event September 26-27, 2014. It’s being held at Dirtfish Rally School, which is one of my favorite places to visit. If you want to come up and visit me — and Bucky Lasek, and Sverre Isachsen, and Ken Block, and Tanner Foust, but mostly me — please do! I’ll be the one with the notebook in my hand. I’m pretty sure none of the drivers will have that distinctive feature.
If you want to check out the race, here’s more info: http://www.redbullglobalrallycross.com/
In honor of International Women’s Day today, I just added an excerpt of the chapter on test driving a car over on the Take the Wheel site. There are tips for new cars and used cars, and stats to back up why women are actually better at this than men.
And in the words of Annette Sykora, past president of the national dealer’s association, “It’s not necessary to bring a man along, but it is necessary to bring your confidence along.”
How did I end up not updating my homepage? Who knows. The book came out, there were deadlines to meet, there were holidays, there were marketing moves, there were more deadlines … and my blog sat here alone and unloved.
The book has been edited, I have made the changes or stuck to my guns as necessary, and the text is now in the hands of the book designer. I am being asked to decide between fonts that look nearly identical to me and whether I want the page numbers in the middle or at the edges of the pages. (But wait until you see the little logo by the page numbers — you will die, it is so cute.)
Which all sounds real enough, but it’s 2013. Nothing is real until it is on the internet. So I give you the official book website, TaketheWheelBook.com. I’ve got business cards, too, so if you meet me in person, ask for one. They look as amazing as the site, and they make lovely bookmarks.
Take the Wheel already!
If you want the latest industry news as it pertains to women’s lives or updates on the book as it nears its September 3 publication date, you’re going to want to visit the site. Oh, and of course the book has its own Take the Wheel Facebook page too.
After several weeks of tweaking and and honing, Nicole at Spot Color Studio sent me the final versions of the logo for Take the Wheel this weekend! She made one vertical version that will work great for the cover of the book, both print and electronic versions, and one horizontal version that will grace the web site.
Hold up! While I was writing this post, I got an email from Vinnie, my book designer at Indigo Editing, and he says the horizontal version has a bigger title, which will show up better on Internet shopping sites. This, friends, is why it’s worth it to hire someone who knows these things. Also, Nicole sent me an Ai file to pass on to Vinnie. Not only do I not know what an Ai file is, I don’t have the program to open it. Vinnie, however, tells me loves Ai files. Great! You get down with that Ai file, Vinnie!
I may be terrible at design, but I am good at words. I’ve already given Nicole copy for the home page and an About page for the book’s dedicated site, and even some pictures for a gallery of me and all the crazy cars I’ve driven. Lamborghini, Mercedes Gullwing, Tesla Roadster — and the smart fortwo and Fiat 500 convertible.
This week, I’m expecting the line edits from Ali at Indigo. Nervous …
I write lots. For a living. And editors often return my articles with red lines all over the place and blue notes in the comments and green highlighting for all the words I overuse. Being edited is nothing new to me.
I was walking the dog the other afternoon, and it hit me mid-stride: Ali has started editing my book. Another person may be reading my manuscript right now, with a friendly but critical eye. She is making notes on my book, pointing out my errors and typos, and questioning the opinions I espouse. She is editing my book, which took me a year to write while writing a dozen other articles.
It was a weird feeling. Usually, when I hand over an article to an editor, I’m eager to get to the editing process. Hurry up and read it, I think. I want to check this box and move on to the next thing. The next thing in the case of Take the Wheel, though, is publication. Marketing. Reaching sales goals. I’ve never done these next things, and they are terrifying. All right, they’re not Somali-pirates-just-boarded-my-yacht terrifying, but still. And having Ali edit the book is just the beginning.
Happily, I am an editor myself, and I just returned a big batch of suggestions and comments to one of my authors. He thanked me, and we set up an appointment to talk about his next steps in the process, which right now are focused on major revisions to a solid memoir. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, and he knows it. Here’s how he signed off his email to me:
I met with Vinnie Kinsella at Indigo Editing yesterday to ask him questions about the publication process, since I am — or was — so admittedly clueless. He was very enlightening; I feel like I got an upgrade for my literary headlights (see previous post if you have no idea what I’m alluding to). He also agreed to design Take the Wheel, despite being a male without a car himself, and help me publish it.
Here is my new understanding of the self-publishing process:
I write the book. And rewrite it. And ask for readers. And take their suggestions. And rewrite it.
An editor tells me what still needs to be fixed in the manuscript, and I fix those things.
I give the fixed manuscript to the book designer, who makes it work as an ebook and a print book.
We hand it over to a proofreader, who makes sure the designer and I didn’t fluff things up too badly.
Something about ISBNs and registration comes at this point.
I set up an account with a printer, who makes the product available as both an ebook and a print-on-demand book.
That printer happens to be a subsidiary of a distributor, who lists Take the Wheel in their catalog.
I sell the mother-lovin’ fluff out of the book.
As you can see, my understanding of the process is quite detailed and technical. Also, during the course of writing this post, I have decided that “fluff” is my new favorite euphemistic swear word. I don’t want to burn your eyeballs with my filthy language.