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I want to begin by saying, I didn’t start writing because I wanted to get published. No, I started writing because it was another way of expressing myself. Aside from my photography, being a master barber and talking way more than I should (lol), writing opens up a new door of imagination. I cerainly didn’t write because I wanted lack of sleep or anything.
I have pages and pages of notebooks, full of ideas and different scenes that dance around in my head. Most of my ideas come to me in strange dreams. Sometimes it’s the smallest ideas that inspire me to write.
I’ve finished two books, however I’m publishing my second book first… Does that make sense? I found myself stepping back several times with the first book (YA), doing research, re-thinking and re-writing, getting upset when I found out about copyright laws… Seriously, why wouldn’t a singer want their song and their name mentioned in a book? It’s free advertisement in my opinion… and it could possibly give them more sales. Especially if I had placed a link on a website (or blog) taking a potential buyer to their song! That was the plan… “was” is the word here folks. It’s sad but true… so I took the songs out of the book. Oh well.
With all the re-work going into the YA novel, I took a break from it especially when I felt compelled to write The Magic of Finkleton. I had so much fun writing this book. I was emailing chapters to my critique group as soon as I finished them. Now let me mention, that in order for me to write, I need to stay up very late at night. Not joking… I can’t think when the tv is blasting away in the background, when the phone is ringing, or when the kids are asking questions and general household stuff needs to get done. I need to have uninterrupted silence, my diet coke and sleep deprivation to write. I pay for it the next day, but it’s fun just the same.
Even before I thought about trying to publish my book, I was thinking of covers. I made a mock-up cover and found a designer that did a wonderful job. Robin Ludwig Design Inc., http://www.rldprint.com/ it turned out better than I could imagine.
After I had the cover designed, then I gave publishing some serious thought. Mind you, I had joined writers forums, to get feedback and gain useful knowledge and continue to visit them frequently. What I found out about traditional publishing made me take a step back (again) and re-think. Did I really want to try to publish the traditional way? The answer was: Yes and No. Who wouldn’t want to get picked up by a publisher? It would be pretty awesome! But there are rules! Yes, I said rules.
You can’t just go to a publisher and say, “Hey dude, I’ve written a book, will you publish it for me?” Yeah, like that’s going to work, lol. I did the research and it scared the day lights out of me, but I was at least going to give it an honest try.
I found out most (pretty much all) publishers won’t accept your manuscript. “What?” you ask. It’s true, you need a literary agent to tell them that you have a book worth publishing.
What about those rules you ask? Most of you know, but let’s recap. QUEARY, SYNOPSIS, SUBMISSION, and REJECTION. Yes, we all know about those heart-breaking rejections. I even joined Query Tracker http://querytracker.net/ it’s a pretty cool place actually.
You query has to stand out from the rest of the slush pile or the agent won’t even consider requesting a partial. If you have a bad query then you have a bad manuscript (that’s what they think anyway). I could write all day long, but that darn query scared me to death. OMG!
Back to the Query… I sent out several upon several. I think I still have 5 out if I’m not mistaken, but after all the rejections (nobody likes rejections) I started to seriously ponder about self publishing. I researched and did more research (didn’t want to get scammed). I found several that I liked, however my bank account didn’t like them, so the search continued. I ulitmately decided on Createspace by Amazon. I liked everything that I read and even reviewed the forums before deciding. I like their customer service and appreciate all their help. The only downside is they don’t print hardback, but hey… paperback is my favorite anyway.
So, my ebook cover had been designed, I opened an account with Createspace and had my manuscript edited. Meanwhile, during the editing stages, I opened an account with http://www.goodreads.com/ I have a personal page on that website but wanted to have my author page seperate. I do like a little privacy. Anyhow, I uploaded the ebook cover. I suppose I had ants-in-my-pants, lol. I got a jump start and started advertising my upcoming book. I even started a blog at wordpress http://kc-hilton.com/ (but I like the cool widgets that I can get on blogger) to get the word out. http://themagicoffinkleton.blogspot.com/
Now at this point I’m doing my happy-dance. I’m getting pretty excited and I even orderd bookmarks! They are the best bookmarks ever! I ordered them through the same cover designer to match the book cover. I’ll need to order more, because I want to give them to schools and libraries. And there are a lot of schools an libraries!
The editing was finished in no time. I uploaded the manuscript to Createspace and chose what interior format I wanted and it all turned out quite nice. I got to preview the pdf file before approving everything. Once I approved the interior text I contacted the cover designer with the exact size template needed for my book. Although I had an ebook cover, the actual cover needs to have the front, spine and back. It didn’t take long to get the final proof on the full cover and I loved it.
While waiting for the full cover to be designed, I went ahead and published through the Barnes and Noble Pubit! I did the converstion and downloaded a few other programs like Sigil and Calibre to help me figure it all out. Six hours later (yes I said six) and it being 4am in the morning, it was finally done and uploaded to Pubit! My book was officially available on ebook form (in one place at least). Oh happy days! Time to do my happy-dance! (after I get some much needed sleep).
Sounds like a fairy tale! Wrong! My son read the book, he loved it, however… he found some mistakes. Yes, mistakes! Now keep in mind, although you have your book edited you MUST and I repeat MUST read everyword of your manuscript to make sure. Well… I did! In fact I did twice. But if you remember, I can’t concentrate unless it’s late at night with sleep deprivation (like now – and I need another diet coke). I missed a few words, well three to be exact. What I failed to do was READ IT OUTLOUD. If I had read it outloud, I would have caught the mistakes. But I was tired (as usual) and didn’t want to wake anyone up.
So, immediately I was freaking out! Seriously, I’ve seen several traditionally published books with simple mistakes, but they were well-known authors and I’m sure most people (as I did) over looked them. But we’re not talking about the mistakes in their books. No, we’re talking about mine. I’m an unknown writer. A nobody to the outside world and I had three mistakes. And I knew they would be mentioned if I didn’t do something about it quick!
Ok… the plan… fix it and fast! Diet Coke in hand, everyone asleep, house is quiet, let’s get this done. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong again! No, apparently I had deleted the file that I created through Sigil and had to figure out how to do it all over again. I did it once, shouldn’t be too bad. OMG it was totally aweful! I was literally pulling my hair out this time. Something strange happened between the word to pdf to epub conversions. It destroyed the manuscript! It was aweful! (I know I said that already).
Eight hours later and 4am, I finally finished what I thought was correct. My eyes were burning and I couldn’t focus on the computer screen anymore. I saved what I had and decided to look things over again the next evening to make sure before uploading the corrected version to Pubit!
The next day I contacted Createspace and had to pay $75 to do up to 20 interiror changes to the book. Apprently it happens quite often so I didn’t feel so bad. But I was upset because now it pushed my book back by another week or so. They sent me another pdf file along with an interior change form to do the corrections. I had two people read it along with myself before uploading the completed form. So now we wait, but it will still be available in April 2011. It’ll just take a week or so longer before I get the actual proof book in hand to approve.
That evening, I had to go through the entire manuscript three times. Did I mention that the conversion really screwed it up? It was bad. It was another late night but I finally got it all polished and proper. Did I mention I help run the family business? Well, I do have to get up in the mornings so I was dragging pretty bad. Not to mention headaches, blurred vision, and the lack of sleep that added to it all. And having to answer the phone all day to the point of the battery nearly going dead and keeping a smile, helping customers and just keeping things going. I’ve had some long days and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more, by the way it’s 4am now, lol… and yes, I have to work in the morning, but I’m not finished.
After getting everything fixed with Createspace and Pubit! I decided to go ahead and publish through Smashwords. If you haven’t heard of them, you should really check them out. I wanted to publish on ibook and a few others but it was much easer to go through Smashwords. They distribute your ebook to everyone, it’s much easier. They even distrubute to Amazon for the Kindle and Barnes and Noble for the Nook and Ipad. But I’ve already uploaded to Pubit! so I’ll opt out of that as soon as it’s approved and I can make the changes. I’ve also paid $69 to Createspace to provide me with a digital proof of my book in prc format (mobi) for the Kindle, because I wanted the interior format to look the same as the actual book.
I have to mention that I wasn’t planning on publishing the ebook to Pubit! or Smashwords until the actual book became available, but I thought “Why not get a jump start?” I’ve been doing that all along, so I did.
So here I am sitting at my computer at 4:30am blogging about everything thus far. I can’t wait to get my YA manuscript back from the editor. It’ll be finished about mid-April, there’s a line of writers ahead of me waiting to get their manuscripts edited also.
Meanwhile, like before I’m tossing around ideas about a new book cover for the YA novel. I already know the title, so if i can come up with a good book cover idea, then I’ll get a jump start and list it on http://www.goodreads.com/ . Then I’ll contact Createspace again and start this whole process over again. Not to mention converting files, uploading them, having bookmarks made, blogging about the book and so on… and oh yeah… lack of sleep.
I have so many more books I want to write. I just have to find more time in the day (or night) and write them.