Tuesday, December 12, 2023

The Twelve Days (so to speak) of Self Publishing

On the first day of self-publishing I planned a date for publication.  (Presumably with plenty of time...)

On the second day of self-publishing, I formatted my manuscript (which had gone through at least a dozen edits from one person to another. 

On the third day of self-publishing, I collaborated with a designer to beef up my cover. 

On the fourth day of self-publishing, I changed my word.doc to an ePub. On Calibre...

Five rejections and counting!! 

On the sixth day of self-publication, I submitted my manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing. (Refer to five.) 

On the seventh day of self-publication, I delayed my Kindle release.                   
e-book cover

On the eighth day of self-publication, my book cover came back to me from Ingram (too narrow!!)

On the eighth day of self-publication, the revised cover was resubmitted to IngramSpark. 

On the ninth day of self-publication, my eBook came out on Kindle. (on the original date--horrors!) 

On the tenth day of self-publication, I downloaded the Kindle Create app and then loaded my word.doc on the app.

On the tenth day of self-publication, I went through the e-proof from Ingram and realized the font was wrong.

On the eleventh day of self-publication, I realized Palatino Linotype would increase the page numbers and mess with the cover. 

On the twelfth day of self-publication, I redid the cover to fit the pages. 
 The redone print cover. 

[Obviously in self-publications there are more than twelve days. I am currently waiting for the next e-proof manuscript from Ingram Spark, so I can approve it and then order a copy of the book. 
In KDP, I am waiting for the updated e-book manuscript to replace the icky one.]

Definitely, if this had been the launch of a real submarine, it would have slid off the ramp and sunk to the ocean floor.  

Fingers crossed. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Happy Moon Crusher Day!

Moon Crusher Day! I am declaring Moon Crusher Day! Since I am declaring it, it’s not any particular day, (although today is as good a time as any). It’s a celebration of my book Moon Crusher. Why am I in such a great mood?
First of all, a little background. Moon Crusher is my award winning book about a fourteen-year-old boy from 1829 Mexican California who is abducted by aliens and made a slave on a huge starship. He must learn the language, the customs, how to serve his reptilian masters, and how to fight with weapons of unimaginable power. He must show his loyalty, his bravery, and his ability to adapt, all the while trying to earn his freedom. Moon Crusher won a bronze Royal Palm Literary Award from Florida Writers, a first place in juvenile literature from Oklahoma Writers Federation, and recently received a five star award from Literary Titan. So why the special day of celebration? Moon Crusher has gone international! Thanks to Francisco Silva, Moon Crusher is in Portuguese, Lua Eterna; Os Herdeiros do Universo! (Eternal Moon; Heirs of the Universe.) It’s a beautiful volume and I am so elated that it was considered good enough to have life in Portugal and Brazil.
I am also celebrating a new look for the original Moon Crusher! My publisher, Karen Fuller, has created an amazing new cover. It’s stunning! (Not that the first one wasn’t great, this one is greater!)
And to seal the deal? Moon Crusher 2 will be coming out in the near future. I don’t know how near or far yet, but it’s coming! So celebrate Moon Crusher either in English or Portuguese and keep checking my site for updates on the sequel to Moon Crusher!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Thar She Blows! The adventures of a landlubber trying to launch a submarine.

I have planned for the publication of Voyage of the Sea Dragon for months, even years. This publication is going to be different. I have learned enough over the years that I was going to whiz though the Nanowrimo and then the critique group and then some light editing. Lest I get cocky, let me back up and hitch to the reality. Yes I did quickly write the rough draft during Nano months, adapting a little of the fan fiction I had written over the years and blending it with new materials, fresh characters, and different settings. The whole thing ended up being about 120,000 words, give or take. It would be a two book 'series.' And, yes, I still fully planned on self-publishing it. Hopefully, the right way this time. (The other way was when I had possession of the manuscript to My House of Dreams and only knew enough to take what I had and put it into an Amazon template. I wasn't able to fix the size of the font. I also had to have someone take the old ISBN number off the original cover so Amazon could slap theirs on it. Then it languished on Kindle Unlimited for over a decade. It had needed a make over. ) No, this new book was going to be done right. I figured out a little formatting, but knew I'd need help. (Thanks to all of you offering help.) I messed around with a cover and was told I had a winner. Wow! I think it will still need some tweeking to make sure it will be as nice on the finished product as it was in my computer file. More suggestions as I went along. One of my book critiquing partners was so masterful about seeing where detail needed to be added or clarifying characteristics of the character and the setting. So I had inserted chapters, lots of inserted chapters. There were so many that I ended up renumbering the chapters. I certainly hope I don't have two chapter thirty-fours!
So when I finished all of that, I thought it was a simple matter to take the individual chapters of the novel and put them together into a 6 X 9 format. It was fairly easy, but that was also when I noticed that the manuscript needed more work. The editor was heading out of town, so I sent it out anyway. The editor later contacted me and pointed out the obvious. She was nice about it, though.
So, while I know Sea Dragon is going to be published, I need to remember some rules. 1. Be patient. While it's good to come up with a publication date and shoot for it, there are times when you need to admit you need more time. 2. Be patient, things happen for a purpose. Perhaps this time it was to understand that I am still learning and will continue to learn. 3. There is no such thing as a perfect manuscript and mine is very far from perfect. 4. Listen to your editor. 5. Be patient.
So with that said, I'll be patient.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Summer Adventures

June was a very busy month for me. Maybe I'm making excuses for not posting last month, maybe I just want to pass along some of the enjoyment my family and I had. 

My husband, Dan, and I went to the Oklahoma Salt Plains to dig for crystals in June with our daughter and her family. It was a bit cool, but that worked out fine. It was a bit wet and Dan found one of the deep dig holes. He had to go through a bucket of sand in the car to find his crystals because the wind was a bit cold with wet clothes! We were all dirty, but that was all right, too. We have lots of little crystals to show for our effort. 

Salt Plains- Selenite crystals

Later in the month, our son and his family drove down to visit with us. Five days just weren't enough, but we packed all we could get into those five days. Most of the time the kids wanted to swim, so we did Pelican Bay and the rest of the time they swam at the hotel pool. 

Pelican Bay (Edmond)

They wanted to see a movie together so we did that. (Spiderman Multiverse) I'm still trying to understand that one. We also went to Eichen's and Kingfisher, but that was the farthest we went out of OKC. We enjoyed both. How can you go wrong with fried chicken and fried okra, then putting the grandkids into an old-fashioned jail? 

Eischen's (Okarche)
In Jail (Kingfisher)

There was Pop's, an arcade, and fun and games at our daughter's house. As I said, the five days went by too fast. 

Enjoying a soda at Pop's

Fun at the arcade

I haven't had another book published. I have to get on the stick if my new novel, Voyage of the Sea Dragon; Into the Dream World, is to be published this fall.   

Anyway, that's my excuse for having fun this summer and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Fun's the Thing!

 I will probably overuse the word- AMAZING! What am I referring to? I am talking about my recent weekend and the two days I spent at the OWFI conference. (For the uninitiated...) This is a writers' conference held annually in Oklahoma City for writers throughout the state (there are even writers from out of state.) 

Even though I was also running a book selling table and despite volunteering to help out with registration (it was wonderful working with Shelley Pagach.) I had more time to go to sessions this year. First, the time of the sessions was shortened just a little so that gave attendees time to visit the book store, check out the donated baskets, and just visit with other authors. The sessions themselves were wonderful. I only wish they could have been video'd so I could revisit, or see some coinciding with equally valuable sessions. 

Since I do have a little violence in some of my science fiction books as well as my adventure/historical books, I attended Tao Wong's discussion of martials arts in writing. Sword fights are hard to write, as is most fighting, and this session helped me to determine some rules about this kind of action. There was a great session about SEO's (Search Engine Optimization) and how they work by Marisa Mohi. Rob Roensch talked about flash memoirs--creating a moment and then building on it. Social Media Marketing by J Hall really added a new spin on putting your books out there, or rather creating a relationship with our fans and followers. 

I must say, I had never heard a speaker who made so many mistakes come out in such good shape. Grady Hendrix was so enjoyable as he let each of us know just what boners could be made in the writing journey. It was good to laugh at the mistakes mirroring my own, and good to know others have gone through the same thing. I attended his session the next day. 

There were sessions about book covers from Sylvia Frost, small presses from Casie Dodd, character motivation using something called Enneagram with Claire Taylor, and creating a calendar for my work

process that helps me do a better job in my writing with Marisa Mohi. I have already been doing that, but this helped to pinpoint improvements I needed. There were so many fun sessions that I could have gone to if I could have cloned myself. 

I had checked out the baskets donated for Basket Wars and bid on a couple. I won a basket! It had some great stuff in it. Can't wait to try the Oklahoma barbecue sauce, the beans, and the corn bread. Yum! 

Even the OWFI board meeting was interesting and Nick Lyon kept it short. Finally, came the Awards Banquet. It was a nice dinner, but the real prize was hearing the winners of the writing contest. So many great stories and novels that earned awards. I felt blessed to be among those.  

Shelley White getting her award for her 1st place script.

Needless to say, I'll be going next year! It was an amazing weekend!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

March is Spring; Trying a New Thing!

 Here in Oklahoma March has no clue if it's winter, spring, summer, or fall. Earlier this week, it got up to almost 80 degrees, (early summer), then it dropped to below freezing, (winter). West Oklahoma got a layer (briefly) of snow! Today it reached the fifties in the morning and then it rained, while a cold front blew in and it's going to get down to the twenties tonight. 

Even the cedar pollen doesn't know what to do. And this is spring break for most of the kids around here. Oh, well. 

Since the weather has decided to do different things, I decided to try different things, too. I have been working on a science fiction novel set in the ocean. I decided I was going to try my hand at self-publication of this one and post teasers ahead of time. That meant I needed a cover, a blurb, and whatever one does to promote a new book. I tried several things with my cover creator from Book Brush, using pictures from Pixabay and a friend with Photoshop. (I didn't want the fisherman with the whales. Wouldn't work!) The friend took out the fisherman, I took out the background on the whale and duplicated it with Book Brush, and then played around. For Photoshop people, we're talking about at least four layers. 

I bounced it off of several people, making changes and bouncing again. Let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Me? Consistent? Whoops!

I noticed last year that I had consistently written a blog post every month until October. I did a September post and then a December one. And this will be my first blog of 2023. 

Okay, a one sentence excuse. It's hard to think about doing blogs when at least one person in the family is sick.  

Anyway, it's a new year. Time to be optimistic. And I am going to be optimistic. I am still writing. I submitted things to several contests after fixing mistakes from previous contests. You see, if we're progressing, no matter how slow, we are doing better. I pulled out several kid's short stories I wrote a long time ago, and as I was making edits and corrections, I realized they would be perfect as children's books. Wow! One started life as a magazine submission that sat on the shelf for almost twenty years. Another started as a flash fiction based on a critique group prompt. (I actually have several of those.) There was another magazine submission with a history of rejections. (It won a prize last fall.) Memories of my childhood, a memory of my college days. I doubt those would be kid's books, but who knows? It was so nice to get them out and dust them off and let others read them, critique them, and help me make them better. 

And lest I forget, my first book also got a dusting off. My Zorro publisher republished My House of Dreams with a new cover, a new back cover blurb, and new formatting after I gave it some fresh editing. It's amazing what a facelift can do! I'm grateful. 

What are you optimistic about or grateful for? Let me know....