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.