Back in 2009, I competed in NaNoWriMo for the first time (National Novel Writing Month). I finished the challenge and really, there is no "prize" for doing so; it's a personal challenge sort of thing. However, you do get a neat little certificate to print out and then you get a coupon code to get a print copy of your book from CreateSpace.
For those of you who haven't heard of it, CreateSpace is a site that is run from Amazon and is the place to go if you want to self-publish your work. Now if you had asked me in 2009 what I thought of them, all you would have heard is a growl followed by a scream. I had no idea how to upload my book or how to format it to their specifications and after three months of trying (although not very hard) I gave up.
Then 2010 came around and although I DID finish my 50,000 words, I forgot to validate my work so I didn't get my certificate OR coupon code. I was kicking myself for a long while after that. BUT I DID compete in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award and although I did not advance in that, they too gave away a coupon code for a free proof copy. So I sat myself down and forced myself to figure out the formatting process.
I almost killed myself over it, but I FINALLY got it done! I formatted my book, designed a cover, edited everything to the best of my ability and ordered my proof copy. If I was a drinker I would have sworn I'd been drunk when I did that because that proof copy was filled with many, many mistakes.
So I started the editing process. I read the entire book and used highlighter sticky tabs to mark all of my errors, went back to the original file and started fresh - because my headers and footers were a mess, too. Go figure. I had a former student of mine design the cover and I went and resubmitted everything and when I was approved to order my proof (Now at the price of $11 with shipping) I noticed that the old cover was still there.
There is an option on the CreateSpace website where you can have a customer service agent call you immediately. So I clicked the link, typed in my phone number and in less than ten seconds my phone rang! I talked to an extremely nice young lady who walked me through the whole process, found my new cover and VOILA, I now have my new proof copy on my way. I am hoping that it will be DONE and that I will not have to edit it anymore! That process is crazy.
So once I approve this second proof friends, I give CreateSpace the okay and I will be selling on Amazon within 5 days. How cool is that???