That Book is a Monster

Image licensed from Shutter Stock.


There is one book that I’m wrapping up now that has grown and grown and grown… turning into a monster.

In a good way. But it has been very time consuming.

It’s a good thing that I really love to write.

That’s why, in 2017, I didn’t blog nearly as much as in previous years. I’ve been busy with a seemingly never-ending project.

Actually, a few very large book projects.

One, which I’m in the process of completing, is Kindle Formatting Magic.

The other is a series of physics workbooks/study guides.

Both projects wound up growing much, much larger than I had originally envisioned.

It has taken much more work than I had planned, but it has been worth it.

If you’re a writer, have you become involved in any monstrous book projects?

Or perhaps as a reader there is a monstrous book or series that you appreciate.


You may have noticed that my Kindle Formatting Magic book has been “coming soon” for several months now.

When I first added that note to my blog, the book was nearly complete and I was expecting to publish it in a matter of weeks.

But I realized that I wasn’t happy with the organization of the book.

So I reorganized it and completely rewrote it.

That took a long time, but then I reorganized it and completely rewrote it yet again.

Third time’s a charm.

Now it really is “coming soon,” though by that I mean it’s still a matter of weeks. But this time it will be a few weeks or more, certainly not a year.

The book feels “right” now. It hadn’t before.

Once I finally got it to feel “right” to me, it continued to grow.

I realized that I needed to add a few more chapters beyond what I had intended.

And I have spent a great deal of time putting together over 100 pictures to visually demonstrate important problems and solutions with Kindle formatting.

On top of that, I’ve been editing, revising, re-editing…

Speaking of which, over the course of this project, there have been numerous changes to Kindle Direct Publishing, including the nature of the previewer and Kindle conversion, the steps and organization of the publishing process, and the organization and content of the KDP help pages.

Which has added several revisions to my revisions.

This book has grown into a monster, but I’m taking my time. Having already put so many additional months into this book, I want it to feel as “right” as possible before it hits the market.

Almost done.

It’s a good feeling to be almost done. I’m enjoying it.

Being completely done will be a nice feeling too.

This will be far and above my best formatting book ever.


If I had only been working on my formatting book, I would have finished months ago.

But I also spent much of 2017 completing my series of physics workbooks/study guides.

There are three volumes, each 300 to 500 pages. (This includes space for students to work out the solutions to problems.)

Originally, I planned for my physics workbooks to include problems for students to solve along with answers.

But they grew into so much more.

I added material to each chapter to help students understand the main concepts. I added definitions. I added full step-by-step examples for how to solve similar problems. I added tables to explain the symbols and units relevant to each chapter.

This took much time, but I believe it has made my physics workbooks much more useful.

Many of my physics students have remarked that I can make difficult concepts seem clear, and that I can make the math seem easy.

So I worked hard to try to incorporate this into my physics workbooks.

On top of this, I decided to do more than simply tabulate the answers to the problems at the back of the book.

First, I put the final answer to each problem on the same page as the problem. This way, students don’t have to hunt for answers in the back. They can check if their solution is right or wrong immediately. I want students to gain confidence by solving problems correctly, but if their solution is wrong, I want them to know it so they can seek help.

In the back of the book, I typed up numerous hints to every part of every problem, and give intermediate answers to help students see where they went wrong.

The “hints and intermediate answers” section practically walks the student through the entire solution.

Again, it was much more work than I had originally planned, but I believe it has made my workbooks much better.

Just in case that wasn’t enough, I also typed up full solutions to every problem with explanations, creating three new books.

They aren’t really intended to be solutions manuals, even though they are. These are presented as fully solved examples.

Some students prefer to have fully solved examples to read, while other students prefer to have a workbook to help them practice solving problems.

Then I have two versions of every book, one that includes calculus and one that doesn’t (I call those trig-based).

I finally completed the physics series a few months back, and now I’m finishing up my formatting book.

Sometime early in 2018, I will be able to pursue something new.

It won’t be a book monster. I need a little break from mammoth book projects. I’m looking forward to working on a project that’s more focused.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online BooksellersVolume 1 on formatting and publishing

  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.<<<<

13 comments on “That Book is a Monster

  1. It sounds like it’s a great guide. I hope it doesn’t bite like the one in Harry Potter. The illustration reminded me of that one. All the best with your book, Chris. Happy New Year 2018! 🙂 — Suzanne

  2. I knew you were working on one monster project (would have guessed it was connected to your science workbooks).

    But two? Wow. The formatting one will be a good one to check out, even for people who have already done their own. Maybe even more for those people, like me, who did one book, and are wondering whether it’s going to be the same huge project to do the next one’s formatting.

    As for monster projects, Pride’s Children will be what they used to call a ‘big book,’ probably a half-million words of fiction for a mainstream novel with a complex love story at the core, and it’s getting published in three volumes because 167 K (Book 1) is a lot of story in one chunk, and CreateSpace wouldn’t let me put the whole thing into one volume anyway. I like it that way, so it’s not a problem.

    Happy writing and publishing in 2018!

    • Happy New Year. 🙂 Children’s Pride sounds like a great project. You’ve been working on it for as long as I can remember. I love the thought, effort, and complexity that you’ve described in making it.

      • What cheers me on is that it is an unbelievably complex plot (which the reader should not see the underpinnings of – that’s my job), but even with my damaged brain, I can still write what I want. Very slowly, but I am as committed to this as I was in 2000 when I started.

        Thank goodness I got PC1 published – I’d be wondering about myself if I hadn’t managed that in 2015; the next volume will be completed in a year (or two), and I hope the last takes a little less time!

        But I set myself a massive task (didn’t quite realize that at the beginning, obviously), and I’m doing it, God willing and the crick don’t rise. I still love the story.

  3. Does a trilogy count as a monster project? I decided that I wanted to write all three and edit as a series, paying as much attention to the over-all arc as to each book. It makes me feel stalled, in some ways, but I do believe it will be worth it. When they are ready, I’ll be able to release them on a tighter schedule and hopefully build readership that way.

    We shall see!

    • When you put three books together, it’s very much like one huge book project, so yes. The feeling that all the hard work is worth it can help pull you through. Good luck with your trilogy. 🙂

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