I've HIT A SNAG in my plotting for a MARCH RELEASE date of INDEBTED. The release has the potential to spill into the first few days of April, making me an April fool. I'll know more in the next couple of days. I promise to update you as soon as I know for sure. I'm trying to: "RUN, WHIRLWIND, RUN" so I'm NOT like one of the girls they're sing about in this AMAZING song: GIRLS LIKE YOU by THE NAKED AND FAMOUS
· Okay, here are the details regarding Indebted. First, the good news: I received the corrected PDF (interior format) proof of Indebted today. I checked all the corrections and it looks BRILLIANT! I approved it an hour after receiving it. The next step that follows is usually for my publisher to print it and send me a physical proof in the mail—the first copy of the book. (This is where the bad news comes into play.) Normally, I have the cover already squared away, however, it's not ready yet.
· I was supposed to get the cover proof yesterday. (My team leader—yes, that's what she's called, which always makes me smile because I think of Star Wars and I want to say, "Copy that, Gold leader," after everything she says—told me last Monday that I would have it in 5 business days, which is standard.) When it hadn't come by 5:00 p.m. today, I called CreateSpace. Their representative said that they're "slammed" in the art department and it could be as late as the 22nd that I receive my new cover proof. (And she hinted that it may even be later than that, so I had to thank her quickly and get off the phone so she wouldn't hear me beating my head against the wall.) This is very bad for me. I'm desperately trying to have this release by at least the 31st of March. Everything is up in the air until I get the cover, so I plan to give you updates as I get them.
· In the spirit of managing expectations, I feel I should mention again another point for those of you new to this sandbox: when I say release, I mean the paperback version of my book. The eBook version usually follows 2-3 weeks after the paperback goes live on Amazon.com. (I know, Grrrr, right?) I feel the same way! I want them to go live at the same time, but that is not how they build sandcastles around here. I don't make the rules; I just try to avoid the cat poop. (And right now there's a big, steaming pile of it headed my way if I don't pull this off by the end of March.)
WE ARE STILL SET FOR AN END OF MARCH RELEASE OF INDEBTED. So just like this amazing song by KINGS OF LEON: IT'S COMING CLOSER:
· Here's the latest news: I submitted corrections to Indebted's PDF (interior format) today. That means that within five business days I should get another PDF proof of the book. Once I approve that one, the publisher will print the first copy of Indebted and send it to me in the mail for final approval.
· The cover is sort of a sore subject with me right now. I couldn't seem to explain my vision for the cover to the designer. I take full responsibility because I'm a writer and I should be able to describe in words what I want, but it just never came across to them based on what I've been getting for mock-ups. It came to a point in the process that I was afraid that the cover was looking "self-pub." Don't get me wrong; I am self-pub. I will own that all day and into the next; I just don't want you to be able to point to my cover and say, "Ahhhh, self-pub." I pay for it to be done professionally, so it should look professional. I know that my covers are not the norm anyway. I am aware of the genre for which I write. I'm supposed to have some smoking-hot guy on the cover—or a very beautiful girl in an elaborate ball gown walking though a field or conversely draped over a chair—or a kick-ass, tatted vixen in a leather outfit who is ready to smack the taste out of your mouth. Sex sells. Beauty is everything. I get it. But, I don't know...done and done, right? If I do it too, then I don't stand out. Not to say that mine are cutting-edge covers. I mean a feather is hardly original, especially when it comes to the kind of story I write, but there is still something about it that appeals to me. It is very, very simple—and simple is difficult for me. I find simple a challenge. Simple is appealing in another regard: because size does matter. Sometime simple comes across better when the image is small, like in an eBook ad. I am primarily an eBook author (for now, anyway). If the cover is complicated, it doesn't seem to come across as well. I am also hoping for a more universal appeal. Maybe it will appeal to others outside of the genre as well—more of a crossover book. (Marketing executives are clutching their sides right now from laughing so hard at me.) Anyway, I scrapped the cover they were working on. I called a halt to it yesterday. I'm going with the alternate mock-up from Intuition. I remember really liking it when I had to choose between the two last time. I don't get that feeling now, but I think it's because I'm really disappointed that I couldn't explain myself well rather than it not being amazing. (Sorry, bored yet?) As soon as I get the jpeg of the cover, I'll post it so you can see it.
· I'm NOT going to dwell on the cover. I'M GETTING SUPER EXCITED FOR INDEBTED! I JUST READ THE LAST CHAPTER! I WANT TO TELL YOU RIGHT NOW WHAT HAPPENS, BUT I CAN'T! UGH! I'M DYING! ONLY A COUPLE MORE WEEKS AND YOU CAN READ IT FOR YOURSELVES! IT'S COMING CLOSER!
I just received the PFD (full interior formatted) proof of Indebted (like five minutes ago—I'M FREAKING OUT, IT LOOKS GREAT). We're still on track for an END OF MARCH release date for INDEBTED.
And just like in the song by FUN: I NEED TO GET MY STORY STRAIGHT. So enjoy this We Are Young video while I proofread...
HI! We're still on track for an END OF MARCH release date for INDEBTED. I still don't have a set date, yet. (I know, shoot me, right?) And just like in this song by Adele: I'LL BE WAITING
· Here's what's been going on with the publishing of indebted. I'm waiting for my publisher to return the first draft (the entire formatted PDF of Indebted) to me so I can check it. I thought I'd have it by now, but I don't. I've been haunting my inbox for any sign of it. I'll check it again...nope. Grrr...
· I received another draft of the cover last week. I wasn't in love with it, but I could be if they change a few things. I wrote them with a few suggestions for changes last Friday. Other than that, I'm just waiting.
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.)
Hi! Here is my first official update for Indebted. At first, I was thinking that I’d just do a quick timeline-type update of the facts, but maybe I should aim higher. Maybe this will interest someone who is considering writing a novel, or someone possibly considering self-publishing a novel, to see how the process works. So maybe I’ll do bullet point updates for those who just want to know where Indebted is in the process, and longer explanations beneath those to give more information to writers.
· I am in the process of proofreading Indebted one last time before I submit it to the publisher. I hope to submit it within the next couple of days
· Indebted will then be formatted and a cover design will be created by CreateSpace—of which I will have a choice of 2 options
· The process took 3 months (each) for both Inescapable and Intuition. I hope that this will not be the case for Indebted—that I can get it finished faster.
· I am hoping Indebted is ready for release on Amazon in March 2012.
· There are 26 chapters in this book
(Yes, I have a problem with brevity, but I like a lot of story in my stories, with twists, action, and surprises…I think it may just be my “style”).
· Indebted will probably translate to around the same number of pages as Inescapable
(Which is around 394 pages give or take a few—that is the 6 x 9 print book, the eBooks have a ton more pages –Indebted is currently approximately 143,000 words—traditional publishers just gasped in horror.)
· While reading through chapter 6 & 7 yesterday, I revised some of the dialogue.
(I would tell you exactly why, but I don’t want to spoil anything, suffice it to say I wanted the dialogue to sound effortless.)
· After I fixed chapter 7, I re-read 6 & 7 a couple of times before I continued on, almost without incident, through chapter 11.
(I should’ve gotten farther, but I had eleven phone calls today and a few that were really long. Grrr! I also corresponded on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.com, Google+, and I wrote a blog for Weebly: this website, and I am writing this update to fulfill my marketing obligations. I have to make sure I keep up with you guys. :) I plan on trying to read more tonight when all is quiet. )
Notes: I really like Chapter 8. I wish I could tell you why. I will start reading chapter 12 as soon as I can (tonight or tomorrow morning).
**If you have any questions, you can comment here and I’ll try to answer them for you either in my next blog or via email.
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