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Posts Tagged ‘Novel release’

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I can’t believe it. This day has come. I saw the small book-sized package on my front step and I couldn’t remember what book I’d ordered. Upon opening it I could hardly breathe…

my proof had arrived!

It was such a strange surreal moment. As if something you had only imagined had materialized right before your eyes by some white magic. As if you wanted something so badly that it wished its way into the world.

Now, that’s not obviously what happened since I have been toiling away trying to bring this book to life –revising, beta-ing, work-shopping, editing, copyediting, formatting, and uploading, but it suddenly felt like it just appeared out of no-where on my front step.

I’d heard on other self-published writer’s blogs that you shouldn’t expect a bookstore quality version in print, that they have bleeds, pages askew, smudges, shiny thin covers and poorer quality paper, but I was incredibly impressed.

The 5.5″ x 8.5″ size feels wonderful with its hearty 280 pages. Yes, the cover’s shiny, but I thought it looks like many of the shiny covered Grisham/Patterson novels in my bookshelf. The cream paper is a perfect thickness and all of the print was smudge-less and straight. My mother was with me when I opened it and both of our jaws dropped with how professional it looked and felt. It was only when my husband saw it that he pointed out one flaw — the cut was slightly narrower at the top than at the bottom. Of course, now it’s all I can see, but if that’s the only thing that’s not perfect than I can live with that since it doesn’t interfere with reading. I don’t think it’s something I can tell Create Space to correct, but I’m going to get another proof to see if the same thing happens.

All in all, this little bound book made the biggest smile spread across my face. Everything looked fantastic inside, the formatter and cover artist did a terrific job. I passed it proudly around to my large family and they all couldn’t believe how great it looked. Watching them all thumbing through it, inspecting it, and smirking (many of them doubted that I would see this through) was priceless.

I realized that this is a huge milestone. I’ve already achieved something that not many people do. Whatever happens after this won’t take away from the fact that I set out to bring this story to life and I’ve done it –through countless distractions, agent rejections, self-teaching, and self-doubt –I’ve accomplished a life’s goal and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.

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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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Google Alerts - Monitor the Web for interesting new content

 

Just a little tip for anyone not familiar with a great tool called Google Alerts. I heard this mentioned on another blog and wondered if I would be able to figure out how to do this myself. I typed in ‘google alerts’ and wouldn’t ya know it went directly to a google alerts screen. You can enter any keywords or phrases that you want to be notified about anywhere online. This is so important for writers since if anyone reviews your book on their blog or happens to mention your book you can immediately thank them. It’s important to know what others are saying about your writing and your books (good and bad) and this way you will be notified it’s out there.

After you type in something you want to track (my example: Infinite Sacrifice), you can choose what facets of the web you want to search (I chose everything). Then you can chose how frequent you want it sent to you (I chose once a day) and if you want only the best results sent to you or all (I chose best results). Lastly, you enter the email you would like these notifications sent to.

You can create as many of these alerts that you want. I chose to enter the titles of my books, the series name, a few different versions of my name, and my website address. This is also a neat idea if you want to track a certain author or topic you’re extremely interested in. I also decided to enter the names of future titles of my book since it would be good to know if someone else uses these titles before I can.

Well, just another tip I learned about through purusing blogs and thought I’d pass it on!

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I just realized how similar it is that at the same time I’m preparing to get this baby out into the world, I’m trying to get this book out into the world as well. This is how similar both processes are:

~Same crazy elation in the beginning. The idea of it all sounding so wonderful. Not truly thinking about how much work was ahead.

~Five months of morning/day/night sickness equal to the painful revision process. I also took two grueling workshops during this time that was as helpful as it was critical.

~As the baby grew so did all the things I needed to read about self-publishing.

~Spending money: factoring in all the things I needed to purchase for my expanding belly and for the needs of the baby and started laying out money for the website/cover/editor/copy editor/book formatter/ISBN’s/review copies…

~Having to lean on others. I haven’t been able to lift things over 20 lbs for a while, I can’t pick much up off the floor, and I can only waddle around so long before I get Braxton Hicks contractions. I’m also at the point in self-publishing where I’m asking more detailed questions on the forums and blogs.

~Starting to get tired. Tired of moving around and also tired of trying so hard to get this book out there. I keep trying to stay focused on the outcome I’m working toward but it is getting pretty hard to feel motivated at this point.

~Worries. The closer I’m getting to my due date/launch date the more I’m getting worried at what’s ahead. I had a baby already and I know exactly what’s to come. How much sleep I’ll get and how much time I’ll have for myself. I’ve also heard how grueling bad reviews can be, how my sales will most likely be few until I can really get noticed somewhere, and how tedious all the self-promotion can be.

~Can’t change things now. This baby/book is going to come out and I’ll just have to try my best to get it out as perfect as I can get it. I can’t keep either thing inside me any longer!

~Letting Go. These two things I’ve been creating for so long–two incredibly important things–I must release into the world. They’re going to go from being safe inside me to starting their own journey; where other people can ultimately ignore or judge them. But hopefully, where some will appreciate and love them the way I have.

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Well I’m back home from the beach today and so anxious to really dig in and start correcting the suggestions from my editor. Every night I’ve tried to keep my beach-tired eyes open to read some more of her comments. I can’t help but be both super impressed with everything she’s pointed out and also overwhelmed with how much I overlooked after all the revisions I’ve done. I wonder if traditionally published authors have so many things flagged or do I have a punctuation impairment?

I try to assuage my interior editor by remembering that this will improve my finished copy greatly and if I pay special attention to the correction hopefully I’ll learn all that I’m doing wrong for my next book.

My plan is to print out the editor’s copy so that I can check off each correction as I make changes to the only copy I’m working on now (you don’t want to know how many copies I’ve saved so far!). There are some corrections that will take longer such as places where she’s pointed out areas that require more explanation or scene setting as well as asking questions about possible historical inaccuracies that I’ll have to research.

It may take longer than I originally planned but I feel so secure knowing that this editor has done everything she’s promised to further my first novel. If this book had gone out to print after beta reads and only my revisions it would have been a catastrophe. This step is critical for self-publishers to produce quality material and to be taken seriously in the marketplace. It’s just wonderful to know that such thorough freelance editors are out there to help us get there.

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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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