Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two Blogs Too Much

Hey folks, just wanted to let you know that I've decided two blogs is too much. Between Twitter, Facebook, blogging, writing, promoting, yada yada yada, I feel like I'm stretching myself too thin. So....although I won't be deleting this blog, I probably won't be posting here in the future. Instead, you can find me at my main blog, MsElenaeous Rants, where I cover just about everything. Hope you come by and check it out, and if you like it, please consider becoming a follower, or subscribe to it.

Fractured Facade has a Facebook page, so you can check that out too.

Thanks for all your support!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the Nook

Just checked and found out Fractured Facade is now available directly from Barnes & Noble for the Nook. Click here for a direct link. It's always been available for the Nook via Smashwords, but some folks prefer to buy it directly from B&N, so there ya go!

Gosh, it would be nice if authors were notified when the book arrived in an eRetailer. I don't know how I'll find out when it hits the Apple store as I don't have an Itune account!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Facebook Page

Ya gotta have a Facebook page...and you need to have at least 25 "likes" so you can get a shorter url. Well, that's what I've been told, so I went ahead and created one. I really hate asking people to "like" me, but since I gotta have a Facebook page, I'll ask you to "like" me here.

I really don't know what good having a page will do. As it is, I feel like I'm being pulled in too many directions at once. And, I am now questioning the wisdom of having two separate blogs. Originally, this one was set up to document my self-publishing journey, but my other blog gets way more readers. What to do? What to do?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Premium Catalog

I am pleased to report that the book has achieved Premium Status on Smashwords! What does that mean? Well, it means that Fractured Facade has now been entered into their premium catalog.

According to Smashwords...

"Once your book is accepted into the Premium Catalog, we automatically distribute it to major online retailers such as Apple (distribution to iBookstores in 31 countries), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Borders Australia and Angus & Robertson Australia (both powered by Kobo), Whitcoulls (New Zealand, powered by Kobo), the Diesel eBook Store, eBooks Eros (operated by Diesel), and other distribution outlets coming soon."

The only problem is that I am not notified when it "hits the shelves" at each retailer so I'll have to check every once in a while. From what I've read, it could take a couple of weeks before some of them begin to carry it. It's still available for all those eReaders on the Smashwords site, but some people prefer to buy it from their "store" instead of Smashwords. As an author, it's "better" for me if folks download it from Smashwords as the other eRetailers take an additional 25%, but, I'll be happy no matter where readers get it from!

At least I can now begin to market the book. I wanted to wait until I knew it would definitely be accepted into the Premium Catalog before taking the promotion plunge. So, for today's task...create a Facebook page and a press release.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Best Reward

I have to say for two days after I hit the publish button, my stomach was still doing cartwheels. You know when it stopped? After I sold a handful of books. Besides being available on Smashwords, it is now live on Amazon...click here for the direct link.

I know there must be a way to get the snazzy book little book Amazon icon, but I haven't figured out how to do it. And frankly, right now I just have to step back for a couple of days. Besides living the story, writing the story, editing the story, formatting the story and finally publishing the story, there's also promoting and marketing the story. That takes a lot of effort. I've got ideas and plans, but right now my other life is pulling on my shirt tale.

For now word of mouth will have to do, and the way I look at it is, every sale at this point is gravy. The important thing is that I accomplished what I set out to. My husband feared that after I finished I would just put the printed pages in a drawer and the formatted pages on a flash drive and forget about it. For a second, only a second, I thought about doing that, but then thought, what type of lesson would that be for my children?

No matter how many sales I get, the best reward was having my daughter hug me after she saw the book on Smashwords and Amazon -- "Mom, I am so proud of you. You're a great role model for me."

Who needs anything more? Well, a couple of good reviews would be nice too ;)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I Did It!

Well, I did it...I hit that publish button and Fractured Facade is now available on Smashwords! Here's a direct link to the page.

I'm just waiting now to get accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalogue which means other outlets will carry the book. Meanwhile, you can still download it to any eReader from Smashwords. Amazon is still publishing it and I hope to get it up there directly soon.

I'd like to thank everyone, especially my family, for their support. It's been a difficult journey, but I was able to accomplish it because of you. Excuse me now, while I go weep...

Friday, September 30, 2011

D-Day -1

I do believe I have the formatting complete and am ready to upload my novel. Plan on attempting that tomorrow. September's always been such a sad month for me, so that's why I'm waiting for October 1st.

Meanwhile, I have updated my website to include the book trailer, so check it out here.

Once I'm assured the book has been accepted and is available, I'll post the actual trailer here, and info on where you can find "Fractured Facade." Getting excited, but am also nervous.

D-Day -1...

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Scream

This is me after spending all day formatting the book, and screwing it up:

The Scream, Edvard Munch Pictures, Images and Photos

Silly me thought I would finish Kindle and Smashwords versions in one day. Haha! Should never have attempted such a project on a Monday. Thank God, a formatting knight came to my rescue. Hope to start fresh again tomorrow...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dedication and Synopsis

Had a very busy weekend that included coming up with a synopsis and dedication which I've now incorporated on my website. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Spent the rest of the time working on the trailer. My daughter did a fantastic job. I can't wait to show it, but I'm hesitating because the book is not formatted and uploaded yet! I don't want people to look for "Fractured Facade" and not find it.

One more read, and then I'm off to format...starting tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Week's Tasks

Been busy getting ready to launch "Fractured Facade."

Updated my website with a tag-line and About Me, so if you get a chance, please check it out.

Working on the description today. Hoping to produce a book trailer this weekend and the goal is to begin formatting next week. Been reading all the do's and don'ts so hopefully I'll get it right. Man, being a publisher is hard work, but I love it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

About Me

As part of the preparation for launch, I have to create an "about me" blurb to go on the different sites. What do you think of this?

"With one foot planted in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia and the other in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Elena DeRosa is a Yankee living in a Southern town. Born and raised in Bensonhurst, Elena now resides in Roanoke with her husband, two children, and a Welsh Corgi.

A former videotape editor, producer, and newspaper columnist, Elena’s most rewarding career has been the years spent with her children. Blogging, photography, and paranormal investigating are her hobbies. Writing her debut novel, “Fractured Facade” has been her calling."

Monday, September 19, 2011

*The End*

*The End*

I did it. I hit those two words, after finally being satisfied with the 100,291 other words...

A father's death, a daughter's life, and a sociopath's vendetta.

A novel written as memoir...hitting *The End* marks a new beginning...

By the way, today is the 4th anniversary of my father's death. Coincidence? I think not...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New Website

Now that I own my name, I can begin work on my new website. Got the basics down for now...Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Cover

Halfway through the final edit. Here's the book cover, designed and created by my daughter.

The original design I had in mind was too busy, not the correct proportions for an e-Book, and didn't stand out enough in thumbnail. When my daughter and I spoke about coming up with something, I wanted a style that would translate to any of the books I eventually plan to publish. It's important to have a brand that is easily recognizable. My daughter pushed for the black/white/grey scale, looking ahead towards the printing stage of promotional materials, etc. Besides, anyone who knows me, knows black is the dominant color in my life ;).

Thanks to my daughter for a job well done. I see a Mac in your future so I better get back to work...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Better Get Cracking

This landed on my desk this morning...

Looks daunting, but I'm told it's not...commas and the such...

My editor's done. My turn. Better get cracking...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Past Week's Tasks

tunnel Pictures, Images and Photos

This past week's tasks...

Finished reading Smashwords Style Guide. I am so glad I opted to go with old school editing -- using sticky notes and red pencil -- instead of editorial marks in Word. I can only imagine the horror of finding and correcting hidden "things" I would experience when first re-formatting and then trying to upload the book. It's clearly not an easy "cut, paste and upload" process.

Conceived a concept for a book trailer. Writing the script and gathering the sound effects, which means mostly creating the sound effects and music on a Clarinova. Haven't decided yet who my voice-overs will be.

Worked on the book cover only to realize the dimensions are totally wrong. Besides, my daughter thinks she could design a much better one using Photoshop which she has on her Mac at school. School starts Monday, so I'll have to give her a couple of days ;).

Decided to eliminate and/or revise a couple of character names, locations, descriptions and actions.

Have started a personal website, which as you will see, is still a work in progress.

Fooled around with a couple of tag lines.

Working on a book description. Have to figure out how long it should be.

Since there are quite a few different ones, determining in which Fiction categories "Fractured Facade" would fit.

Set up a basic Smashwords account and downloaded a book on psychopaths.

Playing Word Games on my Kindle. Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle?

Going to enjoy the last couple of days with my teens before they head off to school. It's been a pleasure working on my own deadline, but come Monday I'll have to crank it up a bit if I expect that light at the end of the tunnel to grow bigger...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

List of Tasks

Lists Pictures, Images and Photos

While I'm waiting for the return of my edited manuscript I've been keeping myself busy. Just a quick list of tasks I have completed, started, or need to start:

* Changed the title of the book. Too many books named "Oblivious" out there. Have decided on "Fractured Facade" which will make sense to anyone who reads the book.

* Started a separate bank account. This will be my "author" account which will make it easier come tax time.

* Look into starting a Paypal account linking my author account.

* Joined more independent author groups, cleaned out and adding more "like" persons on Twitter.

* Designing a new website.

* Writing a book description.

* Designing a book cover.

* Storyboading a 30 second book trailer.

* Reading Smashwords Guide.

I figure even if I went the traditional route of publishing I'd still have to do all the above. Well, except for the last one. Being an independent author may not be easy; there's a lot more to it than just writing a great story, but I am enjoying it. I love having total control and at least I'm on my own deadline. Looking forward to crossing some tasks off the list...

Monday, August 8, 2011


Since I actually wanted to hold an eReader in my hand before I ordered one on line, I went to Best Buy. There were quite a few different ones plugged in and ready to take for a test drive. The two I was interested in, the Kindle and the iPad, were nothing alike.

iPad_3 Pictures, Images and Photos

The iPad was larger, in color, used touch screen, was way more than an eReader, and way more expensive than a Kindle. I don't have any iStuff and I'm not a touch screen person. Although I could get a new cell phone free for the last two years I'm still using my LG Envy3 because most of the new phones are touch screen. I've tried using my daughter's and always screw up. I tried the iPad and discovered I had the same navigational problems. The screen looks like a handheld laptop screen and I could see glare becoming an issue while reading. I didn't like that I had to sweep across the bottom to turn the page. I sometimes turned two pages quickly, or went backwards. But the thing that deterred me the most was that I could see myself becoming easily distracted with all the goodies before me. I really only wanted an eReader not a large smartphone on steroids.

kindle Pictures, Images and Photos

The first thing I noticed with the Kindle was how much lighter and more compact it was. It could easily fit into my pocketbook. When I saw the screen I thought it was "fake" -- a piece of paper placed over the face. I clicked the button to the right, and was surprised when a new page surfaced. It was very easy to read, and easy to maneuver. There's forward and backward buttons on both sides of the reader placed right where my hands rest to quickly turn pages. The navigation is like my phone's, using up and down arrows, and buttons without a touch screen. I read through some of the guide and thought it was something I could easily handle so decided I would buy the Kindle. Unfortunately they only had a white one so I didn't buy it at Best Buy.

At Target they had a graphite 3G - WiFi w/ads for $139.00. The ads only come up when it's in sleep mode as a screen saver, or upon first turning it on, so I took the $50 discount. I also bought a black leather cover which can also be used as a stand, will protect the Kindle, and make me feel like I'm reading a book.

It was very easy to register since I already had an account with Amazon and I've already downloaded two books on ePublishing. I started the first one by adjusting the text size so I don't have to wear my reading glasses. I like that the Kindle remembers where I left off in the book when I pick it up again later. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with it, look forward to downloading some other books, and hope it turns out to be Kindleicious, but first I have to focus on finishing the ePublishing ones.

I do have 2 questions for Kindle users...what happens if I lose, or someone steals the Kindle? Can they make downloads from Amazon on my dime?

And what are these free codes I've been seeing on Twitter or Facebook status when someone posts you can download their book free using xxxx code? How does that work?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Starting Line

the starting line Pictures, Images and Photos

Once my decision was made to self-publish I immediately took advice from my kids who always answer my questions with "GTS" -- Google That Shit. A ton of links popped up, but the one I found really useful was a Facebook Group called Indie Author Group. I stalked for a while before I requested to join.

After reading the documents on the side of the page I jumped right in and peppered the group with questions. I immediately felt welcomed. Many of the authors recommended using Smashwords to create an eBook. After reading about it I think that's the way I am going to go too.

Since formatting an eBook is different than formatting for print, once I finish revising, I'll "save as" a full copy of the book and reformat that. I'll still have the original Word Doc version, and another version w/headers. At first glance it seems daunting, but luckily there is an eBook available, Smashwords Style Guide that should walk me through the process. It's a free download and that brings me to the next step of my journey -- breaking down and buying an eReader.

I swore I never would. I love my real books too much. I felt buying an eReader was a direct slap in the face of all those worn-out dog-eared tomes I have lining walls in practically every room of my house. But is it really? Just because I buy an eReader it doesn't mean I'm going to get rid of, or stop collecting actual books. Frankly, I don't buy brand new books, unless it's to support an author I personally know. I read all the latest ones thanks to my library, and many of the books I own I bought used from my local library. Some of the eBooks I would like to read would not be carried by my local library. Instead of checking out the book, I would have to purchase it at a much lower cost than that of a hard copy. That's good news to the author who wouldn't have seen a penny from me if the book was only available on a shelf. Better news is that the royalty rate is so much higher than a traditional publisher offers, that even offering the book at a much cheaper price, garners more author income. So really I'm helping authors by adding an eReader to my library.

Still, I hate reading on a computer screen. My edited work comes back to me a couple of pages at a time, with pencil markings, post-it notes and the random soda stain. That's my preference. I enjoy the hands-on feel of actual paper, I don't enjoy straining my eyes scanning a computer screen. And I think that's the difference for me between a book on a lap vs. a book on a computer screen. The one on my lap I read...the one on the screen I scan. After putting out an eReader personal preference request, it seems most people who had the same fears as I regarding the screen, recommend the Kindle 3G with Wifi.

I checked it out on-line and read as many reviews as I could and it sounds like the one. But I need to see it, feel it, turn it on, and read that screen before I buy it. To the mall...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My e-Eureka! Moment

I think I’m a pretty quick learner, and know I'm impatient, so all it took for me to rethink my debut novel strategy was the response, or lack thereof, to the query letters I recently submitted to three literary agents. One polite agent informed me it wasn’t “right” for her. One automated agent response informed me if this was the last time I heard from him, I should assume he passed. And the last agent’s response -- *crickets.* It’s been almost two months, I think I should stop waiting.

After "only" three rejections, some writers would have started re-reading all the “how to write the perfect query letter” sites. Been there, done that and thought I had nailed the perfect query letter. This time I checked a book out of the library, which not only delved deeper into the elusive key-to-the-kingdom letter, but included listings of agents and book publishers, all very specific in what they expected in a query letter, as well as their “likes and dislikes” of life in general. I would hope that if an agent dislikes something I like or vice versa that wouldn’t matter, or, say if they saw a horrible picture of me on a blog taken from a while ago when I was in my “what were you thinking?” phase, or, seeing my dopey mug shot from the column I used to write, would have no bearing on deciding even a partial read, but I’m not convinced. I've met enough people in my life to know just one little thing could irk someone so much that I could be totally misconstrued and my words would not get a peek.

As I compiled my list of agents to check out further on the internet (the book was from a year ago and you’d be astonished at how many agents are no longer at the same place) I pondered the stress I felt having to rewrite my query letter. Just thinking about writing another query letter felt worse than writing and editing my book five times had. Why would I subject myself to this? How could I know who my book would be “right” for? How can a couple of sentences determine if my book is “right” for anyone? I don’t believe it can. But that’s the system. And that’s fine, but I don't believe it's a productive way to spend my time.

I don’t want to spend weeks, months, and years searching for an agent. I don’t want to spend weeks, months, and years having that agent search for a publishing house. Then wait more years to see my book on a shelf. Frankly, I don’t have a year to spare. And let's not forget the rewriting requests. After spending years on my words, fine-toothed by my chosen editor, I would have a hard, if not impossible, time revising it to make it “right” for someone else. It may not be “right” for some agents and/or publishing houses, but I know it's "right" for me, and I believe it will be "right" for my audience. And all I want is to give that audience a chance to read it.

sweet Pictures, Images and Photos

I think I had my e-Eureka! moment while reading a couple of book reviews in "Entertainment Weekly." True, they weren’t glowing, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was that a popular magazine had reviewed self-published works. This is wonderful news for independent authors, and just the final push I needed to self-publish.

So, what will this debut author be giving up by going independent? Well, I doubt I’d be giving up a tidy advance. I know I won’t be giving up much publicity and marketing bucks. And seeing my name bound on the back of a book on a shelf in the last remaining book store? Not as important as it once had been.

As I grow older I realize my goals have changed. I no longer feel the only way to be a “real author” is to see my book’s title as a best seller in The New York Times. I have no illusions I will sell a million copies. It would be nice and I certainly wouldn’t mind that, but my real desire is to get my story out to as many people as possible. The best way for me to do that, and to have total control of my book, is to e-publish. I’m already working on the cover design, which I would have no control over if I used a traditional publisher. I’ve already got quite a few ideas regarding marketing and promotion. And while my editor continues working I will be reading whatever I can regarding e-publishing. I feel like streams filled with gold are before me. It's up to me to sift through the silt and find the nuggets.

When I was young and Studio 54 was the hottest place to be I refused to step up to the velvet rope. I preferred dancing downtown where everyone was welcome. By e-publishing I’ll be able to dance wherever I choose to dance. No matter how quick or slow I want to move, I’ll be leading the dance of the deadlines.

So here I go. I’ve started this blog at my initial e-Eureka! moment and hope to document the journey before arriving at the final destination, publishing an e-book.