I've hit yet ANOTHER SNAG in the release of Indebted. The cover is not ready. This will probably push the RELEASE OF INDEBTED to the FIRST WEEK OF APRIL 2012. I apologize to all of you who've been waiting for months for this. I'm not happy about it, but I understand that when mistakes are made the best thing to do is fix them and move on because just like in GET IT DADDY by SLEEPER AGENT: "I'M NOT A BABY NO MORE" EITHER
· Here are the details for the cover: CreateSpace sent me the cover mock-up after 5:00 p.m. on 3/21/12 (which was Wednesday). I was scared to open it because I wanted it to be perfect. I said a small prayer and then I peeked. It was perfect...perfectly wrong and I thought at first it might be a joke—more like a prank. The cover was great, there was only one small problem: it was the EXACT SAME COVER as INTUITION—trees, red feather—except it says Indebted on the front.
· I called them the next morning (because they were already gone when I called on Wed.) and found out that the designer had pulled the wrong cover option off the file because there were two—one I used for Intuition's cover and the one I want to use for Indebted's cover. (The odds were fifty-fifty and I guess he was feeling lucky.)
· So since it's their mistake, they're going to fix it fast and get it to me sooner than the 5-10 days, right? WRONG! I couldn't get them to help me out like that. I guess at least I now know where I stand. (I think that they should know up front that they can't break me. I've already been toughened up by my attempt to get a literary agent. They're lightweights compared to that torture.)
· In the words or Winston Churchill: You do your worst - and we will do our best.
Hi! WE ARE STILL ON TRACK FOR AN END OF MARCH RELEASE OF INDEBTED. Unfortunately, I don't have a firm date on it, yet. Sorry. Just like this song by the Black Keys: I GOT A LOVE THAT KEEPS ME WAITING...
Here's an update on the publishing progress of book 3:
· I received the interior mock-up on 2/23/12. The interior mock-up consisted of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the book formatted in a PDF file. It looks AMAZING! I approved it just a few hours after I received it. (I saw a couple of errors, but these were small and they were things I can change later by using the Interior Changes form so it was no big deal. The interior designers did really well with Chapter 2! I'm so happy!)
· Okay, now I have to talk about the cover (which I'm dreading). In the past, I have been blown away by the CreateSpace cover mock-ups in the first round of the cover design process. I went with the first round mock-up in Inescapable. I literally didn't change a thing. For Intuition, I only changed a couple of things and went with the second round mock-up for the cover. Maybe that has spoiled me, I don't know. This time, after receiving the mock-ups, I was not blown away; I was very, very concerned (borderline panic attack). When I received the two design options for the cover of Indebted, how do I say this nicely...neither design met my expectations or achieved the caliber of work that I had gotten from them in the past. I declined both options (which I'm not supposed to do). Then, I panicked. I replied to them in writing that maybe we could try working on the second concept from Intuition's mock-ups that I didn't use last time (the second choice). The designer (and I still don't know who it is) sent me another mock-up similar to the one I suggested, but it was not the same design. It was like a second choice of that second choice, do you know what I'm saying? I declined this option, too. I tried again to explain what I want on the cover in writing in a window they provide authors to communicate with them. That was on 2/22/12. I haven't heard back from the design department. I have to wait and see.
Here's the latest progress on Indebted (For all of you NOT interested in the publishing process that I've outlined below, I will just say that I think we're still on track for Indebted to go live in March of 2012 on Amazon.com. Yay! Can't wait for you to read it):
· I received the LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) for Indebted on 2/8/12, which opened up the interior design process so that I could then upload my manuscript to CreateSpace.
· I uploaded the manuscript of Indebted on 2/9/12 to CreateSpace. I had already downloaded the questionnaire for the interior design team, so I just cut and pasted my answers onto the form on their site. (When I first did this for Inescapable, the online questionnaire was time sensitive and would only remain open for something like 20 minutes before it would "time out" and make you start again. My advice to anyone publishing is to get the questions in advance and work on them so that when you do it, you won't be pulling your hair out.)
· I also completed the questionnaire for the book cover design on 2/9/12. CreateSpace contacted me via email to arrange a consultation with a Designer Manager to go over the questionnaire. I had my consultation on 12/16/12. The Design Manager is not the person who will be designing my cover. Her job is to ensure that the designer assigned to my cover has all the relevant information about the characters and the plot. (Okay, this conversation is always a little awkward for me; it's not the designer manager's fault either, it's mine. I provide a brief synopsis of each of my manuscripts: Inescapable, Intuition, & Indebted, so that they know the plot, progression, and characters—new and old. But, invariably, there are those questions about the characters that sound absolutely absurd when one says them out loud. Case in point:
Designer: So this Brennus is a...
Me: He's an undead, evil faerie.
Designer: *Small exhaled laugh* Ooo-Kaaayy...
It gets more awkward from there but I won't bore you with the details. I'll just say that one can tell right away if someone is NOT into the fantasy genre. This is not a criticism of her. If someone were to describe his idea for worm farming in the Arctic, I would probably roll my eyes. I'm not into worms, farming, or the Arctic, so I see it as a completely human reaction. But, like I said: awkward. )
· I'm hoping that the interior format sample chapters are ready by 2/20/12 or 2/21/12 (Monday or Tuesday). The sample chapters are a PDF file that consists of Chapter 1 of the manuscript and any other formatting from chapters that were specifically mentioned prior to formatting the interior. For mine, I expect to see a sample from Chapter 2 because I have an "email exchange" that I want formatted to look like computer writing and indented to offset it. Once I get it and approve it, they will format the entire book and then send the entire PDF file to me for review and approval.
So, just like in this song by Kasabian: I'M WAITIN'
P.S. This song reminds me of Brennus and the fellas
I’ve finished my read-through of Indebted. My grammarian, Gloria, has also checked it for errors and has pronounced it fit to print. I’ve begun the process of publishing it. Here’s what has happened so far (this will probably only be interesting to someone considering publishing a novel):
· I contacted CreateSpace and spoke to my account rep. I have worked with the same account rep. on both Inescapable and Intuition. I purchased the “Total Design Freedom Standard” package for Indebted, which gets me professional interior design formatting, called the “Custom Design Interior,” and the Unique Book Cover. I also purchased the eBook conversion and a LCCN.
· With the Custom Design Interior, CreateSpace converts my document from a docx file to a PDF and makes it look professional. The interior page designers do custom typography, which I feel makes my books look amazing. I want readers to have a quality product when they purchase my novels. I could do it myself for free, but it wouldn’t look as nice.
· CreateSpace has assigned a free ISBN (International Standard Book Number) to Indebted from a bank of them owned by CreateSpace. You are welcome to purchase your own ISBN. I opt to get mine free from CreateSpace, which immediately tells everyone within the industry that I am a self-published author. Here are my thoughts on that: it is what it is. I am a self-published author. I don’t have an agent or a publishing house behind my work. Everything I know I learned from reading books and from other self-published authors, who either wrote about it, or actually reached out to me to try to help me along the way. (Thank you Volatalistic Phil, R.S. Guthrie, Charlotte Abel, Shelly Crane, and Amanda Hocking.)
· The fear in getting a free ISBN for most authors is in the bias associated with self-publishing. There’s a stigma attached to it. You can buy your own ISBN and create your own “publishing house” in an attempt to hide the fact that it is self-pub, but I feel that my writing will speak for me. If my writing is good, I will find an audience regardless of whether my ISBN is associated with CreateSpace or Random House (although, it would be much, much easier with an ISBN associated with Random House). It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” (By the way, he was self-published, too.)
· I also bought the eBook conversion. After the print book is formatted, the PDF will be converted into an eBook (mobi file—eBook format for Amazon/Kindle) that looks almost as good as the print book. (CreateSpace made Intuition look almost exactly like the print version, but they failed to do it for Inescapable. I think it’s because the service was brand new when Inescapable was launched and they were still working out the bugs.) The downside to CreateSpace doing the eBook conversion is that it takes them 3 to 4 weeks to convert the eBook after the print book is published. This upsets people who’ve been waiting for the eBook to come out. I’ve found myself apologizing a lot to readers in those weeks between the book’s launch and the eBook’s launch.
· In general, I have been happy with the interior design services with the first two books, however, there were times during the formatting of Intuition when it would’ve been much easier to speak to them on the phone than through emails. (**Caveat ** This eBook conversion file will only be available on Amazon.com. If I want to put an eBook on Barnes & Noble and iBooks, I have to convert my own file via the “meatgrinder” conversion program on Smashword.com or through other means to make it an ePub format.)
· The Unique Book Cover option is part of the “Total Design Freedom” package. With this package, I answer some standard questions regarding what my book is about and then I’m allowed to tell the designers, in a brief description, what I’d like to see on my cover. I can be specific, but they caution against it because the more specific one is, the longer the design will take. (Don’t worry about the length of time it will take for the cover; be as specific as you want because I guarantee you it will take the interior designers weeks longer to complete the conversion, typically it takes them approx. 2 months. The cover designers will be finished in a couple of weeks. When they have the mock-ups, they will present you with two options, the first will be what you requested and the second will be something they came up with based on their own professional design aesthetic. (This can be a good thing. On Inescapable, I went with the first option, which was my idea of a feather on an “eerie” background in black in white. The designer came up with the background. With Intuition, I thought I wanted two feathers, red and gray, with a storm cloud background. The designer gave me that option, but she also gave me the red feather against the wooded background that reflects a gray feather, which is, of course, Intuition’s cover.) The one thing that I dislike about this is that we generally (and I mean almost always) communicate through email. I request a “consultation” at the beginning of the design process, wherein a designer calls me and we basically go over what I wrote on the questionnaire, but there is no verbal contact after that initial consultation. It seems like there should be. But, I must add that I have been completely satisfied with the result of both covers. (I just want to point out that I have to write the description for the cover of the book. This service does not extend to marketing.)
· I purchased an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number). This is what is holding up my book right now. It takes 3-5 business days to get the number and assign it to Indebted. I believe it’s important to have an LCCN because it’s the unique identifier that libraries use to catalog books.
So that’s it so far. I’m waiting for my LCCN assignment so that I can upload my file to CreateSpace and begin the interior formatting process. In the meantime, I’m reformatting Intuition so that I can put it through the “meatgrinder” on Smashwords.com so that they will put it on Barnes and Noble and iBooks. Yeah, I haven’t finished that, yet. (I know, I suck, but I’m publishing my third novel in less than ten months. My first novel was close to 140K words, the second one was around 168K, and the third is over 140K. I’m also marketing them myself as I attempt to create a brand. I know it’s a bunch of excuses. I’ll get it done ASAP.)