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Posts Tagged ‘Self-Publishing’

(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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First off–A DISCLAIMER–I’m not an editor nor do I have any editing background. Upon correcting my MS, I see these mistakes highlighted repeatedly by my editor and would like to pass it on to anyone else with grammatical disability*.

(I’m probably making grammatical mistakes even just explaining this to you.)

Like I’ve said before, I have tried…tried to learn how to revise every common mistake new writers make. I’ve read all the blogs on revising advice and I’m still so shocked that there were so many corrections! Well, maybe you can learn from me…hopefully I’m learning something through this all so that I won’t make these same mistakes with my next novel.

 

TOP MISTAKES I’VE MADE:

TOWARDS- I always spoke with a plural on the end of this one…note to self: it is toward.

COMMA BEFORE BUT- I thought it was a general rule that whenever you used but in a sentence, you needed a comma before it but not always so. Only if the group of words following the but is independent the comma is used. (Notice I didn’t use a comma above–there may be hope yet!)

DON’T OVERUSE EXCLAMATIONS! – Whenever my characters were upset, I used exclamations for the whole tangent when I’ve been told it is overkill. Use them sparingly and let your dialogue convey the anger instead.

CUT GARBAGE TAGS- These tags should be used sparingly: says, continues, and finishes.

CUT REDUNDANT ACTION- With actions such as ‘nods his head’ you should always cut out the obvious ‘his head’ since nods is self-explanatory. (I already knew this one but you’d be surprised how they disappear into the text)

NO SPACE AFTER ELLIPSIS- When using an ellipsis in a sentence there is no space between the end of the ellipsis and the next word.

POSSESSIVES- When you put a possessive at the end of a name that ends in an ‘s’ that doesn’t have the hard ‘z’ sound you must add an apostrophe ‘s’ to the ending. Example: Sokarisis’s dream chamber.

OVERUSING ‘THEN’ IN ACTION- My editor pointed out the abundance of ‘then’ in my action sequences and pointed out that it’s better to just allow the action to flow without it.

I HEAR, I FEEL, I SEE- It is extremely hard to resist using these when writing first person present, but as my editor pointed out using these makes someone feel like ‘they’re trapped in a long car ride with someone who is only talking about themselves.” Allow the reader to experience the action outside of the first person’s head as much as possible.

SLIPPING TENSES- I originally wrote my novel in first person past tense, but after a workshop everyone agreed it would feel much more immediate if it was in present tense. I seem to naturally write in past tense so I find whenever I rewrite I slip into past tense again. Thankfully, my amazing editor always found the slip-ups.

SEMI-COLONS AND COLONS- Still haven’t seemed to fully understand when they should be used. I get corrected 50% of the time…will have to study these more.

 

Oh well, that’s about all the grammatical talk I can tolerate. I still can’t fathom how people like my editor can just spot these things so perfectly. I have a feeling my disability has to do with my ADD, since I seem to get so hyper-focused into the story that I can over-look most errors. However, lucky for me, I have a superhero editor who will make it possible for me to self-publish in spite of my grammatical kryptonite.

*Don’t know if grammar disabilities do exist but I’m sure if there was a test, I just might qualify for it.

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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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Blogging from the Jersey Shore today and so far I’ve never seen the beach this crowded in my life. Nothing makes me realize that I can’t stand most of human kind like a crowded beach. I read about a study with mice where scientists just kept overcrowding them to see what would happen and they all attacked each other. Well, that’s pretty much what started happening when you pile in way too many people on lava-hot sand, blanket to blanket.I’m hoping today will be much more enjoyable with all the weekenders gone.

Anyway, I was so excited when my editor returned my MS yesterday! She was a few days early and I was biting my nails wondering what kind of an editor she was going to be. My biggest fear was that my MS would come back with a few commas misplaced here and there. I’ve heard that one of the reasons why Amanda Hocking decided to take a publishing deal was to get traditional publishing editors due to her past unsatisfactory freelance editors. She mentioned that even after a couple of good editors looking over her books, readers were still finding errors.

I found this editor through a great recommendation from a member on the Absolute Write Forum and I liked that this editor actually worked for an e-publishing company presently. That made me feel like she’s obviously qualified to edit professional-grade books out on the market so she would be able to get mine to those standards as well.

But, I still worried that maybe somehow this person might not put as much time into freelance work or take it as seriously. Especially since this editor has extremely reasonable rates and promised to not only get it back to me within a month but will do a second once over after I make the corrections.

Well, she was wonderful! She sent me an email explaining some of the big things she felt needed to be changed and explained that she had a style sheet attached to help me understand all of her corrections in the margins. I’ve only glanced over the first few pages and the pages are filled with comments and corrections! Most of them are punctuation misuse, suggestions for tightening, and word repetition. She’s even tried to look up some of the historical facts to be sure I’m 100% authentic to the time periods.

Wow…seriously wow. If you are in need of a wonderful, professional, and reasonable editor I think I’ve found one! (And I will slip you her name for a small fee)

Just kidding, I will pass this good find forward. I can’t WAIT to get home and really start cracking away at it!

PS- I wish I could pay someone to edit my blog 🙂 My grammar and punctuation misuse must burn some reader’s eyes!

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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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