Publishing 101 – Money

Hi, sweet readers. I really, really, really wanted to do a post about money and self-publishing. Money’s a difficult topic to discuss, because some of us have more of it and some of us have less, social stratification, privilege, opportunity, etc etc etc. I know. But we’re all adults, professionals, and hidden safely behind our computer screens here, yes? So this will be easy (-ish.) One of the first questions I ask people who are considering self publishing is whether they have the money to do it well. I see other self-publishers giving the advice to “only spend what you can afford,” and I think that’s wrong. Yes. It’s wrong. What I think they should say is “If you don’t have the resources to do it right, either wait and save up or don’t do it at all.” Yes, it’s sort of a harsh message. Yes, I stand by it. Before I made the final decision to publish ONE and TWO, I spent some time quietly gathering estimates from the various professionals I’d need to hire to make these books a success. I talked to Trisha, who helped me add things to my list I didn’t even know I might need or want, and put myself through a reality check, too. (For example: In theory, I could organize a blog tour myself, but would it drive me crazy? Yes. And did I have any of the right experience to do a good job? No.) She also helped me assess whether I needed some of the professionals I was waffling on. (For example: ONE had been through so many revisions...

Publishing 101 – Review Requests

Hey, Sweet Readers! I’m blogging today’s Publishing 101 installment over at Pen and Muse!  (the first bit is here, but the rest is there, so you might as well just click through now. ;))I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book.  As a self-publisher, you’ve decided that the only audience whose approval of your book matters is the readers. Not agents, not editors – readers. If the reader is the most important judge of your book, then it follows that the book reviewers/bloggers with large audiences of readers are your new gods and godesses. Worship them. No, I’m not kidding. Not one little bit. Out of sheer benevolence (and possibly maybe one day ARCs of Big Deal Books) these people started using their precious personal time, without pay, to write thoughtful and helpful reviews of books. Those reviews were so good that other people started to read them, rely upon them, anticipate them, and follow their blogs. The more followers a reviewer has, the more authors want them to review their books. That means that the book reviewers/bloggers you most want to be reading your book...

To the Recently-Decided Self-Publishing Author

Dear recently-decided self-publishing author,  Congratulations!!! You’ve just made a huge decision, and it’s a very exciting one.  I know you don’t feel like those words fit right now. I know your hands are shaking and your stomach is in knots and your knees have turned to jelly. I know you are trying to hold back tears, or maybe you stopped trying a long time ago and now they’re just pouring out. I know that you think I should be saying, “You are an idiot,” rather than “Congratulations.”  I hope you have a good friend next to you, like I did, to rub your back and let you cry on her shirt, to tell you that she will be there for you every step of the way. I hope that friend is telling you that you are making a good decision – not the only decision, but a really, really good one.  If you don’t, read these sentences over and over and over again until you feel them in your bones: You are a hard worker. You believe in your book. You have what it takes to build your own career. You are making a good decision.  You have learned that there is a wrong way and a right way to publish a book, and that self-publishing is in the “wrong way” category. You may be very concerned about that right now – specifically, how people will view you and your book when (if?) you self-publish it. I wish I could say something to make that worry go away, but I can only tell you the truth you already know – that stigma against non-traditional...

Publishing 101 – Scheduling Your Release (and a 2-months-til-ONE GIVEAWAY!!!!)

Hi, sweet readers!!!! I know it’s been awhile since I posted…well…anything over here.  Truth be told, I’ve been in sort of a holding pattern with ONE for the last couple months. Pretty much everything’s been done on the book since then, and my last blurb just rolled in a couple days ago (thanks Emma!) I just sent the final print version, pretty formatting and blurbs and acknowledgements included, to the printer, last week. Right now, I’m holding the final printed copy of ONE in my hands. I could put the ARC sticker on the front, but I probably won’t. This one’s a gift to one of my nearest and dearest CPs, and it’s the same as the one anybody will be able to buy from Amazon. So, why don’t I start selling this mofo tomorrow? *sigh* I wish I could. But waaaay back in December, I set the calendar for ONE’s release…based on the release date for TWO, its sequel. It’s common wisdom in the self-publishing universe that the closer the release dates between an author’s books, the better. This is especially true for sequels. Three months is ideal, four is workable. Why? Well, really the same reason that it’s a good idea for any sequel to have a close release to its first installment. We keep readers’ interest more easily. Especially in the primarily digital book world, there’s an expectation that things will happen more quickly. Really, because we self-publishers can pull off a close release, we should. It’s better for building an audience and making a profit if a reader who loved ONE can buy TWO in short order....

Publishing 101 – Getting a Great Cover

 Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. Your book’s cover is one of the most important things for making sure it reaches the maximum amount of readers. I know we say that people shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but that’s ridiculous. Your book’s cover is the outward representation of what’s inside. If you didn’t invest creativity, care, and professionalism into your cover’s design, how do you expect your readers to think you did anything differently with the words and story inside? I had mad cover envy for Trisha Leigh’s covers for her The Last Year series, and when she told me her cover designer, Nathalia Suellen, was a freelance cover artist and open to clients, I emailed right away to reserve my spot. I contracted her for both ONE and TWO right then. First, she asked me to tell her a bit about the book and give me a description of the main character, if I wanted her on the cover. So I sent her this blurb and the photo I had worked off of when describing...

Publishing 101 – Copyedits

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book.  So. It’s pretty shocking how few rules of grammar I know.I’m not kidding.  I mean, this manuscript went through three revisions, got polished up to send to editors in big publishing houses, went through intense line edits with Jamie. I was all confident in its perfection when I sent it to my fabulous copyeditor Becca Weston. This’ll be no problem for her, I thought. She’ll have it done in no time, because it’s so close to perfect.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I was hilarious. Every page was FILLED with the red of the track-changes path. Seriously. Once there was like half a page with no corrections and I did a little victory dance in my chair. Here are some of the grammar and formatting issues that were running rampant through my perfectly shiny and polished manuscript before I sent it to my copyeditor: Endash vs. Emdash (I didn’t even know there was a difference. Truth.) lie vs. lay vs. laid (No, I don’t really know the difference between all of them. No, I...