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Posts Tagged ‘Book launch’

With a little more than a month away from my book launch and my first proof ordered for review it’s starting to actually sink in that

I am going to put my book out.

When I thought about this day months ago I was brimming with excitement and the thought of seeing my novel up for sale on Amazon made me giggle in anticipation, but now…

Now when I see the publish button at the bottom on the Smashwords page or the email I received after requesting a proof telling me how to approve the proof for publishing,

I just feel sick.

Yeah, I’ve been so gung-ho ever since I decided to do this on my own –trying not to look down as I climbed the slippery cliffs of self-publishing. Problem is now that I’m so close to the top…I’ve looked down.

Looking down, I began to suddenly worry that maybe my book isn’t what I think it is and maybe I’m not a good writer after all. Maybe the most important thing an agent and publishing house can give you is the validation that you are a good writer and you’ve written something that others want to read.

What if I publish this novel and no one likes it? What if I only receive scathing reviews? I feel like I’m approaching the edge of dream I’ve always had and very soon I’ll find out if this dream becomes real or will just fizzle away to the dark corner of regret where lost dreams go. Is it better to just keep the dream?

But then I sent an email venting some of these worries to my amazing crit partner (Bethany Yeager) and in only a few fantastic lines completely grounded me again to why I was doing this in the first place:

“And Lauren, let me just tell you: your book is good. It’s solid. It’s fun. The premise is fantastic, the execution is fascinating. If you doubt yourself, give yourself a little shake and know this: ultimately, the point of stories is to entertain. There is beautiful prose out there, gorgeous dialogue, pretty covers, but that means nothing if people are bored. And your story is NOT boring. It’s wonderful. And what’s even better? It’s got some pretty gorgeous prose/dialogue/cover as well. 🙂 And if it doesn’t do well at first, then just write the next one. You’ll get there with perseverance. :)”

Okay, you see why I’m so lucky to have her and why she is such a great writer!

(I wish I could use this blurb on the front cover of my book!)

Anyway, it’s exactly what I needed and has completely calmed my launching fears. I’ve turned my head back up to the summit and reached for another hand hold.

Thank you, Bethany.

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Wow. Everything’s going by so quickly suddenly. The summer’s almost over, my son’s school will start soon, the baby’s on its way, a hurricane threatens to disconnect my internet for days, and of course I’m in the midst of book formatting my first novel of the series. Originally when I set the 11-11-11 launch date I thought I was giving myself extra time just in case of a colicky baby or the baby blues prove a challenge, but now with time ticking away I’m so glad I didn’t pick an October release!

Everything I’ve read about increasing your indie book sales recommends getting your second book out as quickly as you can after your first. Many say that nothing promotes your first book as much as another book release. The more books you can get out there the better. So, as I’m learning the ropes of publishing the first one I’ve been busy revising my second. My goal is to release the sequel January 2012 and I’m even planning on including the first chapter of the sequel in my debut book.

Honestly, I’ve been revising this book over the last year. I’ve gone through all my normal revising checklist and now I’ve added all the things my editor pointed out in the first novel. I feel like I can’t get it any better on my own and since this sequel is almost twice as long as my first, I know the editor, the copy editor, and the book formatter will all take twice as long, so I need to get moving. I did worry that one of my most trusted beta readers is midway into the sequel and would need to allow time for her critical feedback, but I know I can still make improvements between this first editor run-through and the second. I might even have time to send it out to a few more people as well.

So I wrote to my AWESOME editor to see if she was available to take on another book of mine. She said to send it on over and that’s what I did. Two books now on their road to print. I can’t believe it. Is this really happening?

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(If I was here I would get a lot of writing done)

Okay, I actually had to reread my post that listed all I needed to do before I launched on 11-11-11 and I noticed I left out one step: after the book is formatted I need to pay for a proof. I have to save time for that since I might need to tweak a few things. Also fellow blogger, Holly Grant was so kind to remind me to create a separate bank account in my company name and obtain a tax ID number. So I will have to add that to the list as well. Other than that, everything looks to be included there and just wanted to give everyone an update to where I am now.

~My superstar editor returned the second look through and she went back over every single word. In two weeks! How does she do that? She reiterated some things that I decided against (causing me to ultimately change them) and noticed things she overlooked with all the red all over the page. So my question is, do I need to send this out to a copy editor? I’m shocked with how meticulous my editor has been and with the second edit I feel like this MS is in great shape. But I want this MS to be a perfect as it possibly can and if traditional publishers send their novels through editors and copy editors I probably should too. I wonder if there will be style suggestions that will only confuse me more but the copy editor just might see things the editor missed as she was dealing with the whole mess I sent her originally. Well, I guess we’ll see, I’m sending it off to the copy editor today.

~I’ve contacted my cover designer and asked what I will need to create the POD cover and it seems I will need the page number to measure the spine correctly. So that means I will have to wait until the book formatter has finished before I create the cover. I also have to decide if I want to put my author pic on the back (ugh I hate pictures!) and a little bio (ugh I hate bios even more!).

~I did purchase ten ISBN numbers for this book and all my future books and something feels so great about looking at all the numbers that will one day be my published creations.

~I asked my book formatter if I could send him the almost finished MS just so that he could get a head start on the quote for all ebook formats and POD. If for some reason he is too high for me I want to have some time to find another recommended one. Hopefully the quote will come back within reason since this guy was recommended by a highly respected self-pubber.

~I’m still deciding whether or not I should include the first chapter of my sequel at the back of the first of the series. I posted it up on kindle boards and members brought up so many factors I hadn’t considered. The major issue may be that it’s not that beneficial to include a teaser sample until the sequel is available. A great point, but if I could release the second a couple months behind the first then that could be great hype for the second book; longer than two months, well it might get forgotten about and then I can’t make releasing the sample on my website a big deal. So I sent out the first chapter to be edited anyway and I can use this time to decide what I should do.

~I will contact an attorney relative (they come in handy) to help create an LLC for my publishing house (it sounds like a big deal but it’s not). That way I can publish under that name and if I’m ever famous (psish!) and sued, I will be protected.

~All the while my faithful beta has been reading my sequel and I’ve been making revisions whenever I receive feedback. I can’t forget that this sequel needs to come out as close as possible to the first novel’s launch date. Oh I wish I had a crystal ball for this.

So it looks like I’m making good progress and the baby doesn’t seem to be on its way out just yet, so maybe I can get most of this done before B-day.

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My head is still spinning!

I had no idea so much thought and effort would go into obtaining book reviews. Yesterday I decided to wade into the murky book review waters. Seeing my editor updated that my MS is due back at the beginning of next week, I’m starting to think it might be a good idea to get a couple of pre-published book reviews to include on the back of my book cover and on various websites.

The good news is there are tons of helpful sites directing writers to self-publishing friendly reviewers. I thought that was going to be the hard part. Here’s a link to the most helpful article which not only explains the in’s and out’s of book reviews it provides a long list of book reviewers.

Now the bad news, I was surprised about the media kit that is needed to appear professional. I felt the familiar panic of the querying process all over again. Each site had its own submission guidelines, each one warned that you might not get reviewed due to the influx of submissions, and you might go to all this trouble and get a scathing public review. Deep breaths…deep breaths….

Additionally, many of the sites offered expedited reviews or guarantees for a review if you paid different amounts. I never factored in this expense so this sent my head spinning. I know that a good review or a great blurb could do wonders for my series but at what price? One that was especially high was the Kirkus Review but it looked like a fantastic site and I liked the idea that you had the option of not publishing a negative review. It still doesn’t promise a good review so it is a bit of a gamble to put down that kind of money for something you might never make public. Also, the idea of expediting is very attractive since I have set a publishing deadline and if I would want these before or on launch date I just might need to pay for it. Some sites say it might be months before a review appears, if ever.

Another factor I’ve learned is that most sites clarify they want the book published so they can provide all the links for their readers to purchase. I’ve only seen the pre-published ms option in a couple of payment cases. It might be awhile before I have the book formatted and in ebook reading capacity, so I’m worrying about being able to get a review before print date. I’ve found that most request print copies even if you also have it in ebook format. This will step up the costs even more with printing and shipping, nevermind the time delays in waiting until it’s been published.

Some sites clarify that they require the current years publication date and that’s making me second guess my November launch date. If I have a 2011 date will that mean I can only apply for reviews within that last month? Is this a good reason to launch in January?

Well, I hadn’t planned for this in my budget. I expected to be able to send out pre-published e-copies with a simple cover letter to various free reviewers who would select your book within a few months. Just getting this media package will take me some time, and the press release seems even harder than the query letter.

These are the things I have to sit down and consider carefully:

1) How early do I need a few reviews?

2) How much am I willing to pay for them?

3) Will I even have time to do all of this as I’m scrambling to publish?

4) Do I want to take the gamble of paying for reviews I might never use instead of just waiting for free ones?

5) How many reviews do I want to pay for in the hopes that one of two will come back positive?

6) How much do I hate the idea of assembling this media package!

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Since posting up my book trailer and releasing my launch date (11-11-11!) I have to be very sure that I’m going to make that deadline. Originally I thought I could release the book in early September since I wanted to get it out before I had my second child, but with all the work required for launch promo it’s probably best to wait a couple of months to get a handle on the baby blues and sleepless nights. And 11-11-11 is way too cool of a date to pass up!

Well I’m a list maker (you probably could tell by all my bulleted previous posts) and something about this stacked plan makes me rest a little easier.

1) Get the MS back from the editor-make all changes and send it back out for second check

2) Create LLC and small press publishing name: Rock Castle Publishing

3) Send blurb out on forums to get feedback

4) Send cover out to forums to get feedback

5) Make final changes to book and send out to second copy editor (it’s always good to get two pairs of eyes to catch everything)

6) Make final changes and read through to make sure it’s perfect (Last chance!)

7) Sign up and register for copyright

8)  Buy 10 ISBNs (I’ll probably get 10 since I have a series and many more books planned)

9) Work with my graphics designer to make the POD cover with author photo and book description

10) Send out to book formatter for B&N, Smashwords, and POD (Createspace) formatting

11) Send out to book reviewers to review around launch date
12) Get quotes from positive reviewers to put on the back of the book & website

13) One month before release send out trailer on all writer’s forums

14) Ask close bloggers to review my book on their blogs or send out the word of the release

15) Look up all relevant blogs and ask to guest post

16) Put up the book for pre-order on Amazon.com
17) When it’s released send out notification on forums, blogs, and websites

18) Get second book out in a few months!

 

So there it is. I’ve picked a date and I’m going to stick to it. This is actually real…this is going to happen 🙂

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