Tag Archives: self publishing

Finally!

It has been a long summer, entertaining the kids in-between proof reads and negotiations, but I got there in the end. Honestly, how is it possible that a three-word sentence could cause so much trouble? Well it did! I don’t know whether it just kept getting missed in the revision rounds, or even if it was identified at all at any point as not being aligned, but it certainly stood out in the final proof, when I noticed it was also still in capitals and not lowercase – the quality control check even missed it! When I pointed it out to her, my account manager was surprised it hadn’t been flagged too; she got on the case, and it was finally sorted. Meaning I could finally sign off the proofs to go to print, finally sign off the book cover designs, and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. If all goes according to plan my book should be available for purchase in a couple of weeks… YIKES!!

 

It couldn’t have worked out any better. Last week was the start of a whole new chapter for me… both my boys are finally in full time school. This week will be my first real week of child freedom; the things I am going to achieve are nobody’s business. I give it three days before I’m running around like a headless chicken, and legging it into school almost late for the pickup! I have promised my husband I will take some time to ‘relax’ each day. I have no idea what it is, this ‘relax’ he speaks of, so if anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate it. What does ‘kids in school’ mean to me really? Well, reduced stress in the grocery store; no childcare worries when I have any of my various appointments; walking the dog without clock watching; the floor will stay clean for two hours after my lovely cleaner has left, instead of two minutes; actually cooking a meal instead of throwing it at the oven or crockpot and hoping that it turns itself into something edible for dinner; and of course, the most important one that all mums miss… peeing in peace!! Yes, nobody knocking on the door and trying to have a conversation with me through it. I can sit on the throne in the peace and quiet of my own home and spend a penny without any interruptions… well for a few hours anyway.

 

Watch this space for the official release date of my debut novel Bruises.

Frustrating formatting!

That moment you’ve been waiting for, when you open up the file and they’ve turned your manuscript into a book with pages, numbers, and chapter titles. My name is on the top of every left hand page, and the book title is on the top of every right hand page. There are simple artistic touches and fancy fonts, ISBNs, copyrights, and… a lot of formatting problems!

I was quite emotional when I first saw the way they’d put it all together. I couldn’t have asked for better, to be honest. I gave them very little to go on, just some basic cover ideas, and the rest was up to the designer. The cover still isn’t quite right, but with some discussion and a smart idea from the designer herself, it will hopefully be fixed. Then there’s this formatting issue. Having never done this before, I wasn’t sure if this was normal. Having only got to chapter 7, after almost a week, with reams of notes that largely identified missing paragraph breaks, I presumed that this was the whole point of my first real proof read. Then my husband pointed out to me that, surely in this day and age, shouldn’t it be relatively easy to convert a Word document manuscript into book format? It would appear not!

So I took his advice about just getting in touch with my manager and questioning it. I’ve mentioned before that I have a good relationship with her and feel I can pretty much ask her anything, no matter how stupid I worry it might be. Turned out to be a good call, literally. She was soooo glad I highlighted this early in my proof read because yes, basically the formatting should have been done better than it had been, and this would have been a HUGE waste of my time if I’d got to the end of the book with my 5 million pages of notes only to find it could have been easily fixed. I guess I’ll know for next time – hopefully there will be a next time!

Meanwhile, it is being reformatted…

Twitchy fingers!

I just couldn’t help myself. Two thirds of my way through planning my third novel and I just had to begin writing it. No self-control whatsoever! My excuse is that, now Bruises is well on its way to being published, I have more time on my hands – I even did some ironing, for goodness’ sake! So, it’s time to fill those gaps with something I actually enjoy doing, and that isn’t going to rot my brain. Thankfully, my husband has a bit of a shirt fetish and has two full closets of the darn things, so I can get away with postponing that particular chore for a while yet. And it really isn’t good for my back or neck; sitting hunched over a computer is much better for me! However, don’t mention the dining room curtains that I promised I would make before starting the next book and which I also enjoy doing….

I have vowed that it will not take over my life, as previous stories have, but now that I’ve started I am already stealing whatever time I can just to get it down and release space for my imagination to occupy. This new story is taking quite a bit of thinking about, to make sure that all the parts finally come together at the end. If I can pull it off it will be one of those stories that begins at the end and takes you back to the beginning, so I almost need to write it backwards – if that makes sense. Also, my other two novels are written in the third person, but I’m writing this in the first, which again takes a bit of getting used to. It’s kind of fun to pretend that I’m the main character.

It will, of course, be rather juicy in places. Hopefully I can continue to provide the reader with the kind of scenes my editor has described as ‘tasteful but smouldering’. I personally find this approach to contemporary romance much more enjoyable. I’m not into the raw, crude use of language, or the graphic descriptions of certain acts that some writers choose as their style. I believe that if we are still going to put this type of book in the ‘Romance’ category then it should at least have an element of romance about it – even in the steamy bits. This is why I describe myself as ‘a true romantic with a dirty mind’. Proper stories with people you can relate to, with a fun sexy side that also gives you the fuzzies!

Right, enough… must crack on!

Spooky…

When it was first mooted that my crazy idea could actually become a reality, I began to have thoughts about what I envisaged on the book cover. The first image I had stuck around in my head for some time. Then, around the 5 millionth round of editing, I changed my mind. I have always been a very creative person, and I can easily visualise something in my mind’s eye, so when it suddenly dawned on me to use some key parts of my story on the cover, a new image was born. However, as I also have no idea what I’m doing, I have tried to remain open-minded and take on board the opinion of the professionals. The beauty of self-publishing is that the author has the freedom to choose. I get to have the final say in everything and if I’m not happy with what has been brought to the table, I can change it.

I have a great relationship with my author manager, and have done since the beginning of this process. I’m completely comfortable with asking her what I worry might be stupid questions; I have no problem discussing something that I feel is not quite right yet; and she is always very considerate and helpful. We discussed cover design very early on in the process and she explained to me that I would be given 2 designs to review. The first one would be my idea, and the second would be the designer’s idea. During this conversation I never once mentioned my original thoughts, I only put to her my second idea. The cover design drafting went ahead while my manuscript was going through copy-editing and proof reading. Both processes take about 3-4 weeks.

About a week ago I received the first drafts of both designs. I decided to wait until my husband could look at them with me, even though I was dying to take peek. Later that evening we sat down together, over coffee after dinner, and opened the file that was my idea. We both gasped! It was the most bizarre, but amazing thing to see the title, the image and my name all brought together in an eye-catching design that you will potentially see on the shelves. Yes, it needed some changes, but it was very much what I imagined, and more.

We then opened the file containing the designer’s idea…

Independently, with no hint or guidance from me, they had designed my original idea. I couldn’t believe it! My gut instinct was screaming out at me then, almost begging me, somehow, someway, to combine the two ideas. So, after a lengthy and very productive conversation with my manager, that is now what the designer will try to do. Spooky? Or do great minds just think alike?

That will do nicely!

I never in a million years thought I would ever receive such a positive evaluation. Sure my beta readers gave me great feedback, but most of them are friends, some of whom know me very well. It would be difficult for them to be unbiased. Only one of my six beta readers doesn’t know me and had no idea who had written the book. She was hooked from the beginning and was making all the right noises by the end. It was enough to convince me, and to some extent my husband, that with fine tuning my manuscript could possibly be good enough to be published.

So, just how positive was the editor’s feedback? Well, the manuscript is strong enough to go straight to proof reading and copy editing in its current form. It’s not perfect, but I personally don’t need to change a thing; all the minor adjustments will be done in the next phase. I worked hard to make it as good as I could get it, but I have my husband to thank for going through it with a fine tooth comb. I can’t be mad at him any more for not believing in me at the beginning of last year, when I plucked up the courage to finally tell him what I was up to. Admittedly, those first five chapters he read were shockingly badly written, and not surprisingly put him off reading any more. But, eventually, even when he had better things to do with his time and life got in the way, he helped me polish it and make it shine!

We are about to go away on a family vacation, and spend some quality time by a pool in a nice round 30 degrees, thank you very much. I can truly go away now feeling proud, positive and able to relax while the professionals do their job sprucing up my manuscript and designing my cover.

See you in a couple of weeks!!

Disappearing chapters

Well, even though my physio is going to give me hard time for sitting in front of the computer for so long, I’m rather pleased with my little self. I’ve so far managed to reduce the book by two chapters. I realized that I needed to be brutal and really tease out the essential components of the story without losing too much meat. So far, so good, and yes I kept my promise, some of it is gone but there’s still plenty of steam!

I never get tired of reading Frankie and Jack’s story, I have no idea where it came from, it just evolved. After reading Fifty, and many others in that genre, my little brain began to see a recurring theme – hot, dominant male chases younger vulnerable female, they eventually get down and dirty, a lot! Somebody reveals they were abused, there’s a bit of drama, then they all live happily ever after with all their emotional baggage!!

It was getting a bit predictable. Time we had a powerful female and a vulnerable male… and let’s make her older and him younger, like 7 years younger (says the 41 year old with a cheeky wink!)… and let’s have real jobs that people can relate to… with real life events… and what about putting a time limit on this relationship so there’s no inevitable happy ever after here… add in a bit of drama, tragedy and steam – et voilà!!

I wanted to make the reader laugh, cry and curse me… fingers crossed I will achieve that, not only in this book but in it’s sequel.

Complicated contracts

Oh help!! Publishing contract, no idea what any of it means. Thankfully my husband appears to be able to translate anything and everything even if it’s not medical. When I read it my only question was ‘what?’ Then we went through it together and now I have two pages of questions, all his. Once again I find myself wondering what on earth I’m doing when I can’t even understand two pages of what is apparently English.

So, I now have to contact the company, but the person I have been corresponding with has just returned today after a two-week vacation in Hawaii – lucky cow! Oops did I just say that out loud;-) Therefore, I didn’t think it was fair to bombard her with a whole bunch of questions, which probably have complicated answers that will cause my brain to run off with my laptop, declaring that I am stupid and have no right to write!!

Of course, you know I’ll end up signing the damn thing because, realistically it doesn’t matter who you employ to help to you, they are always going to cover their own backs and not yours…

If anyone has any advice it would be very much appreciated… thanks!!

Getting down to it…

Right! No kids for 2 hours, every Monday afternoon, for the next 3 months… Time to sort myself out and get down to some serious editing! I have secured a package with a publisher, which now gives me something to work towards. I have 3 weeks to address all the professional reader recommendations, and honestly they are nothing I didn’t already know and there really aren’t many of them. The slightly annoying thing is that I nearly incorporated some of them into the original draft but then after discussing them with my friend, decided that I might be opening too many cans of worms. Well, it would appear that readers like worms and lots of them!!

So, although sitting in a coffee shop for 2 hours will completely screw up the benefits of the wonderful massage I had yesterday, it is the only way I can guarantee the time. I am a typical mum, if I decide to go home during that time I will inevitably do every possible household chore I’ve been putting off for the last however long and suddenly it will be time to pick the monkey’s up. So, instead I am sitting blogging, yes okay I know, not editing… blogging! All right, I’m going ☺

A new year…

It has not been the best end to the year despite making some positive moves towards self-publishing my book. Just within the last few days alone I have had to deal with another harsh reality related to my disease. I am a very honest person, too honest sometimes, so when renewing my driver’s license and asked the question ‘has your health status changed?’ I, of course, answered ‘yes!’ This of course led to a form being produced, and an unplanned trip to my doctor’s office for him to complete said form… which I then discovered a few days ago he had failed to do and my license was suspended. Furious and angry doesn’t even cover how I felt, especially as I am perfectly fit to drive, quite possibly fitter than some of the drivers who do not have a chronic disease!

 

So, putting the obvious reason aside, why is this such a big deal? Well, it was the realization that now renewing my driver’s license is no longer straightforward anymore; I am once again put into a category. Thankfully, I have a great relationship with my doctor; he did everything he could to reverse a situation that should never have happened. The suspension was reversed, and the source of enormous stress removed. Life can now carry on into a new year, with new challenges, and a new adventure.

 

I’m looking forward to 2014 being more positive, I will embrace whatever life throws at me, good or bad. However physically challenging life becomes, I will not let it beat me down mentally. I am going to achieve something that I would have never dreamed possible… and I am going to publish my first novel and stick two fingers up at AS!!

 

When one door closes, another door always opens…

After 24 hours of thinking it wasn’t going to happen, something else came along and changed that. I was so determined I wasn’t going to give up when my original publisher hadn’t worked out. However, despite thinking that I don’t really know what I’m doing, finding other options was easier this time because I actually felt like I knew what I was looking for… well I think I do!!

It would appear that no matter whom you choose, the process is the same. This actually meant I could ask appropriate questions and to some extents understand the answers. The lady on the phone was lovely; of course she was lovely she wants my money!! But, she was quoting significantly less than the first publisher, and when I say significantly I mean SIGNIFICANTLY. One minute it’s not even possible and has gone completely off my radar, the next minute I can do a happy dance all the way to the Apple store to purchase a brand spanking new MacBook Air to celebrate!!