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Posts Tagged ‘Self-print’

Yes I’m still getting them!

I couldn’t believe it when I checked my email yesterday and saw the kind form reply apologizing for being a bit late (eight months!). Could that really have been only eight months ago! I feel like so much has happened since then.

How did I come so far in only eight months?

I learned how to query, how to process promising agent’s rejections, decided to self-publish, began a blog and website, and took on self-publishing. I can’t help but be proud of so much growth.

I reminisced about those hopeful replies and requests that I checked for every hour and had to laugh out loud when I saw it. It felt so wonderful not to care at all about it.

But what if this had been an interested agent’s reply at this point, what would I have done?

Right away I knew that this was the right direction for me to go in with this series and I would have politely turned down the agent at this point.

That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t query a new novel in the future but this series is made for self-publishing. I agree with so many other self-publishers out there that you must evaluate each project’s needs and marketability on a case by case basis. But I am so excited by this process and love this adventure. I love the support from all the self-publisher’s blogs, forums, and my blog readers and I can’t wait to see my first proof, get my first positive review, hold that finished book in my hand, sell my first 100 copies, and get an email from an appreciative reader (I will frame that you know).

Yeah, I realize there are all the negatives to cope with also: the first negative review, slow sales, emails from disgruntled readers demanding refunds, but I’m going to focus on the reason why I’m expending all this energy to begin with–I have to get this story out and I just hope there are some that will enjoy all my hard work.

It really has been so much fun so far!

What about you? How has your writing/ querying/ publishing journey progressed so far and how do you feel about it?

 

 

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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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I can’t wait for this editing to end!

This is all new to me so every step I don’t know what to expect. I was so pleased after working with the editor I chose and part of me wondered if I even needed to use a copy editor. But I listened to all of the most informative self-publishing blogs that insist you must have a quality editor and proofreader before publishing.

So luckily, I found the name of a very reasonable proofreader on one of the forums I frequent. Her website looked fantastic and I liked how she has a review site as well that showcases self-published books. Anyone who wants to support self-publishers like that I want to give my business to.

I gave her my MS on Wednesday and she had it back to me by Sunday night. She even had her partner give it a look through for no extra charge!

I was worried about seeing completely different suggestions the other editor pointed out. I worried I wouldn’t know which editor was right and I’d lose faith in both editors. Well, when I opened up my file I saw the corrections were very infrequent. She changed comma placement, suggested some sentences could be made clearer by removing a few words, found a word I left in by accident when I made my last edits, and made a few editorial comments.

All in all, there was much less corrections than I anticipated. At first I wondered if that meant she wasn’t thorough but then I realized all the improvements she did point out where spot on. So then I realized that this was a great sign. It showed the first editor did a great job and the second editor agreed with her choices.

A few instances she pointed out things I went against the editor with and so I knew I had to change them. But I was very happy to see that the majority of things I did keep (against the first editors recommendations) the copy editor didn’t pick up on. Making me feel much better about going with my gut.

In conclusion, I feel very confident going forward. The fact I’ve had such a thorough and professional editor and then a great copy editor who picked up on the little things we’ve both missed, makes me feel fantastically ready to publish. The copy editor also told me that she and her partner really enjoyed reading my book and couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

I’ll probably do another read through before I send off to the book formatter, who I am still waiting on for a quote. This is all really moving forward so nicely.

PS- Would love to give you the name of the copy editor if you’re looking for one, just ask!

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So in the middle of this whole first self-publishing experience, I’m attempting to get my second novel of the series ready to quickly follow the first.I find myself going back (what feels like so long ago) to the first major edits of my first. So these are the things I’ve learned from so many terrific editing blogs out there:

1) Remove all the ‘just’s you can

2)Remove all the ‘that’s you can

3)Do an ‘ly’ search for adverbs and change them where you can

4) I tend to overuse the word ‘look’ so I do a search for those and change them

6) Tighten up unneeded words

7) Remove all unnecessary dialog tags

8 ) Cut the fat (take out anything that doesn’t move the story forward)

9) Change all ‘has pulled’ to ‘pulls’ or ‘is running’ to ‘runs’, even ‘comes running’ to ‘runs’

I’ve also started to go through all the things I learned from my editor so she doesn’t think I’m a lost cause. My goal is to have a lot less red on the pages with the next one.

It seems a never-ending process though because publishing the second makes me want to finish writing the third book so I can have that follow as well, but I’m only human! How can I be learning self-publishing, promoting, editing the second, AND writing the third! How do these prolific writers do it?

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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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Now that I’m thinking about sending my MS out to the book formatter I’m seriously contemplating if I want go with the POD option. The book formatter’s informed me that the ebooks are fairly simple but the POD formatting is a “whole other beast”. The ebook price is a set fee but he will need to look over the needs of my novel in order to figure out a price. So of course I’m thinking about the necessity of POD and the truth is I doubt that I will sell many more expensive print copies. Most individuals will take a chance on a self-publisher for 99 cents but not $16 for a print copy.

But when I think about only having digital copies and never seeing that physical copy, I feel like it won’t feel real until I hold it in my hands. Is that worth all that extra money and time?

I may buy extra author’s copies and visit local book stores to see if they will consign it. I also noticed that many book reviewers require physical copies sent to them so I would need them for that. Plus, when I was walking on a packed beach and spying on what everyone was reading, I saw most still preferred print. Is it good to have that available even if it won’t be the majority of my sales?

How much will I pay to have that copy on my shelf?

Well, I guess I’ll find out soon.

Oh and on a side note, I just wanted to mention that I put a sample reading up now that my editor handed my MS back. I do have a prologue prior to this that explains where this first chapter begins but I hope you all enjoy it!

 

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Phew! I did it. I sent the corrected MS back to the editor for the second look through. She said she’d have it back to me in two weeks and then I’ll make the changes and ship it off to a second copy editor to make sure we caught everything.

But I didn’t change everything the editor suggested. Most of the time, I immediately saw that her suggestions improved my novel and implemented them, but there were some instances where I realized the change wasn’t right for what I wanted to convey to the reader.

Here are some examples of what I didn’t change:

1) I kept some ‘says’ and ‘continues’ in where I felt needed it, but I did try to take out as many as I could.

2) Some historic things she didn’t find in her research but I found support in more detailed non-fiction books.

3) She wanted to take out unneeded words and I thought it changed the flow or impact of the sentence so I kept them.

4) She made a suggestion to completely remove something that didn’t seem to have much relevance to this novel but it is something that will be mentioned throughout the next few books and explained in the last book.

5) Her suggestions sometimes showed me that she didn’t understand what I was trying to say and told me I needed to clarify the sentence better.

6) Also some of the suggestions she made went completely against some beta readers’ favorite parts. If you hear the same suggestions being made it tells you to change it, but if some of your readers love something I say you should keep it.

All in all, 95% of the time I made the changes. The last 5% I thought over and over about before I decided to keep my words in. But if I send it to the copy editor and she picks up on the same things I didn’t change, well then, I’ll probably make the changes since it’s obviously standing out in the wrong way.

Well, off to enjoy a little summer 🙂

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Ugh! I see why it takes a year to print an accepted novel to be traditionally published. I’m still working on this MS and I’ve been working on it every moment I can get! I can’t believe what a tedious process this is. I sympathize with editors since it must feel just as long to go through a novel, looking for every blessed error, and trying to give suggestions to correct them. It must feel twice as torturous to them because it’s not even their story!

So last night I finished all of the easy corrections (wahoo!) but I highlighted any areas the editor flagged for larger changes that I have to still work on 😦

Historical Inaccuracies– My editor was outstanding in that she even looked up all of my historical phrases, places, and objects (there are many!)  and double-checked to be sure I got them right. Some of these suggestions I have to go back into my research and be positive I have support to back me up, but I love the extra confidence that my historic details are strong.

Scene Building Although I thought I worked out all my scene building gaps from suggestions from workshops and beta readers, my editor found a few more areas where she felt a scene or a character needed more description. It’s easy to miss these sparse areas while writing since I have this whole world in my head so clearly that I can’t see where I forgot to guide the reader through. So I have to go back and try to describe what’s already there for me and try to do so in a descriptive and intriguing way.

Plot Holes- *Dum-da-dum-dum!* There are a few instances where my editor pointed out areas where illogical events, unlikely actions of characters, and statements that contradict earlier events in the storyline cropped up. These make my head spin! They are hard to accept because to me it all makes perfect sense, so the trick is that I have to figure out a way to convince the reader that it all makes sense. This means I might have to go back earlier in the story and put in more information to make a development seem more logical. Or I might have to put in some historic information to explain why I have my character act in a normal way for their time but not as likely for our time. Or I have to remove a contradiction or explain why my character is contradicting themselves. And if I can’t do any of these things, then I have to take it out entirely (ouch!) since it will pull the reader out of the book.

I really, really hate this part.

I’m desperately trying to finish all these improvements by tonight so that I can send my editor the MS back before I go away again. This will be my last vacation before the baby comes and it will be nice to get it off for my fabulous editor to complete the last look through. I’m not sure how long that will take but it feels so great putting my novel in her hands. And even though I doubt that she’s overlooked anything, I will still send the returned MS out to another copyeditor to be doubly sure that my book is in the best shape possible.

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