Thursday, June 16, 2011


Not the actual house kind, but the writing kind. As I continue on “Steph’s Quest Toward Possible Self-Publishing” I realized it might be a good idea to figure out where all my stuff is. Do have all my manuscripts? Was everything backed up and more importantly can I retrieve what’s been backed up.

I’m a HUGE believer in backing up for obvious reasons, I’m sure we are all. Where I have problems (I have recently discovered) is in cleaning things up part. I thought I had a system, but really the system sucked.

I’ve probably gone through 6 or 7 computers since I started writing. I can’t imagine how many versions of Word.

Was I always moving everything forward to the new computer? Was I always converting all my older documents each time I upgraded? Was I carefully putting finalized edited versions of published books in easily accessible folders?

Am I asking multiple questions like this if the answer is anything but no?

No. I don’t have my old books. I have them on a bookshelf. I have the really old ones on floppy disks. (I don’t have a computer that takes a floppy disk anymore.) And even if I could find a way to load them, Word will only go back so far.

Why did I need to save everything, I mean it was already a book? See this was my 1990’s thinking. Now my 2011 self knows what an idiot I was.

I’m not naïve enough to think there is no way to retrieve, load and convert all this old stuff. I’m sure there is. But let this be a lesson to all you sloppy housekeeping writers. Each completed work should be migrated into a single document instead of left as 24 separate Word docs representing things like Chapter 1 and Chapter 1 A. Those documents should be stored in a folder with a name that makes sense.

Not… Stuff I Never Finished or… Stuff that is Almost Done, and my personal favorite…. Old Stuff.

And with each new version of WORD you upgrade to each completed/partial book should be updated and saved with that version.

I’m just starting to get into the whole idea of the HTML conversion and what all that means, so maybe it makes sense to store these documents differently, I don’t know.

But the point is you should be able to lay your hands on an electronic version of every completed manuscript or partial you have.

Sounds like a reasonable thing for a writer to know… Uh yeah not me.


Kwana said...

Great advice. Thanks.

Maureen McGowan said...

I always have great plans to do stuff like this, then never do.

Karen Whiddon said...

So true. I have five books that were pubbed in the 90's for Kensington and I have the rights back, but like you, I never saved them. I thought the same thing, they were already published.

Luckily, the other five that were published in the early 2000's were stored on my computer and I did move most of them forward - I was able to find them on old floppy disks, the little ones, thank goodness.

But - there are services that will scan and convert old books for you at a minimal cost - I believe it's $30. However, in my case with the old Kensington Books, I will have to do some serious rewriting and editing. It's been a long time since I wrote those books, and my skill level has changed. Greatly.

Eileen said...

I was just realizing what an unholy mess my hard drive was today. I was looking for something someone sent me and it was . . . just gone. Can't find it. Can't find the email it was attached to. Just gone. I can, however, find Dead on Delivery in about 15 different stages. Gah!

Molly O'Keefe said...

oh my god - I never thought of that. Ever. Those old books are three computers ago and while I have a few cd's with finished books on them that all stopped once we could email stuff in... man, point taken.

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