No skin off my (hard)back…

God, for that pun alone I shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard.

So.

I’ve been balancing the last few weeks post-book launch by getting some more marketing done (which is hard work, but kind of easier now I actually have a product out there), as well as making some more detailed notes about Book II, and acquiring and reading a bunch of books and academic material for said Book. I’m hoping to plough into the reading more substantially over these next few weeks – which I’m bound to enjoy, just as I did last time. 99% of it won’t go into the novel at all, but it’s all useful background in my mind. It’ll let me imagine or conjure up things/ideas/people that are grounded in reality. It’s historical fiction, after all. I want it to be authentic, but it’s not going to be a history textbook. Story comes first, every time. And quite frequently, many things (characters, characterisation) come before story.

I’ve accumulated quite a lot of books on Roman history (both specific and more general) over the years, both while I was at Uni and since then, though I’m trying to spend less right now as money’s a little tight. Accordingly I’ve been dusting off (quite literally) my old library cards, and reaching for what research material I can borrow instead of buy.

My old Uni library is sadly not currently lending to alumni (understandably, I think. COVID is still a thing and what limited access there is to libraries is being prioritised for actual students), so I’ve not only got back in with the local Oxford Library, but a couple of rather more fancy ones on my doorstep…

Yup. Wouldn’t want to rack up the overdue fees for those babies.

I’m going to take some pictures of what they look like inside and post them here at some point (either here or on my Instagram, where I’ve got a lot of Oxford-flavoured scenery porn already), because believe me, the novelty of feeling like you’re walking into fucking Hogwarts each time you want to look at some books is probably never going to fade away.

But anyway.

My research and marketing was interrupted when I flicked back onto KDP Bookshelf. I’ve done this a few times recently, mainly to go back and edit the content in the paperback and eBook editions; I’ve noticed, sadly, a few minor style and typography errors that somehow crept past the proof copy, and had to rectify them. One of the great things about KDP is that you can edit the content you publish without taking it offline. You just submit updates, and they are implemented within hours.

But then, the other week, when I flicked back onto the Bookshelf, I noticed a rather intriguing new feature they were running as a Beta service (hence the ribbon)…

Hardback, you say? For my book?

Well, I remember saying to myself. I’m sure this won’t side-track me at all.

And that brings us to here, after about 8 days of getting well and truly side-tracked… and busting my arse, in my defence. The minimum size for an Amazon hardcover is 6″ x 9″ – an inch bigger than the paperback in each dimension – which meant that the paper size had to be completely reformatted. Which meant that the margins and typeface had to be reset. And that the front cover needed tweaking, to make larger as well as accommodate the chunkier spine.

And then, of course, go through the trials of uploading the manuscript and cover onto the Bookshelf, finding out that each one needed to be resized/readjusted multiple times, and then running the gauntlet of trying to open the Previewer – something that takes anything between 5 to 40 minutes each time, and sometimes doesn’t end up working at all, short of biting your fingerbones and making a sacrifice to the gods.

But here we are! After all that blood, sweat and faff, I can finally say that Legion That Was is out in a third format for y’all to enjoy:

…Just thought I’d make it extra obvious.

I’m doubly proud of this milestone. As much as I’m enjoying staring at the pristine paperback on my desk, having a hardback book with my name on it is probably going to feel more… prestigious.

I’ve ordered one and it’s going to take about 6 days to ship. But you can bet, as soon as it arrives, that I’m going to be spamming your arses with sweet pictures of it for a long while afterwards.

And on that unashamedly self-aggrandizing note, I will bid you all adieu.

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