I am extremely pleased to report that Gavain's Proving has finally gone into final layout.
This means that the manuscript is done, with no further edits to be made before publishing (and unless egregious errors are discovered, none after publishing either). I finished the final changes yesterday after one last review, finding only a few minor corrections. The only corrections that need to be made now are any that crop up while reviewing the layout in the document I will be submitting to Amazon.
It also means that all that is left are things like building a hyperlinked table of contents, additional little bits like author's notes, the map of Aerth (readers of Laeryk's Proving will recognize it immediately), and some preview materials I am placing at the end of the book for Laeryk's Proving.
I'm very happy. It's stressful just before a release; there's an instinct (especially when you're publishing without a separate editor) to go over your manuscript one last time to make certain that you haven't missed anything. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I probably will do a quick search through the manuscript to hunt down certain words and make certain they're consistent. However, at this point time my manuscript has entered into diminishing returns. The changes I make now won't necessarily make the book stronger, and will probably prompt me to review it further, making changes again, and again, and again as my initial instincts war with corrections that I've made. Honestly, at some point it all just becomes a delay-spiral, and counterproductive. Having made that decision to say, "It's done," is a huge relief. These last final steps are important, but not very stressful for me. Building a Table of Contents is pretty simple, preview materials are easy to generate, and layout is almost automated. It's not as if I'm doing a roleplaying game layout, which often layers backgrounds, borders, images, multi-column text, and shaded text-blocks within a page.
So what does this mean in terms of release? When will the final book be available?
Soon. Very, very soon.
I'm fighting the urge to rush it off as soon as possible; sure, my birthday is this week, and it would be awesome to tell everyone that they can buy it as a birthday present to me. On the other hand, there's something to be said for timing. Rushing things for the sake of a single day (which happens to fall right when most people are trying to plan out Valentine's Day plans) just isn't worth it.
So right now, I am estimating release on February 18th, the day after President's Day. I'll probably upload the final file late on the 17th, so Amazon might show it as available before the 18th, but I won't be making any "Hurrah!" noises until that day.
That's all for now. I can't wait for everyone to get their chance to read Gavain's Proving! Thanks for sticking with me this entire time!