What To Expect When You’re Expecting

 No … silly writers … this isn’t a pregnancy post!  This is a business post.  I want to discuss what you should expect when you’re expecting something book related … anything book related.

As a writer, an independent writer, you’re not just writing books for the sport of it … you’re running a business.  You’re producing a product in your bed or office or at the kitchen table.  It’s a product that will be bought and sold for years to come and it should, in a perfect world, rise up to meet your expectations of it.  And, chances are, you’ll end up outsourcing some of the tasks involved in the production of that product.  It’s the loss of control that’s extremely hard …

For me, this was equal parts of exhausting and rewarding. When you hand over your vision as well as your money, you are taking a chance — no one knows that better than a virgin-writer with no real connections and zero experience. There are no lily-pads in your pond to hop from. As I prepare to get the second book really moving, and align myself for the best success possible in terms of time management and output, I think taking a hard look at what to expect when you’re expecting is a pretty important thing.

I’m pretty much a pacifist.  I’m easy going, I try my hardest to be nice to everyone I meet and I’m fairly level headed in terms of my expectations.  I might go so far as to say I have a perfectionist streak in my ideals … but I’m not impossible please.  Many, many of my business dealings were amazing, having the resources at my finger tips to ask the important questions and establish a bell-curve of expectations was priceless … but it wasn’t flawless.  I was new, green and fumbling as I like to say, and I had to learn a lot of things … hard things … but with any education, there is growth and … believe it or not … I’m actually sort of thankful for the moments that had me pulling my hair out, because they taught me more for the next endeavor.

1. The people you hire actually do work for you!

I can remember one instance where I was working with someone … going back and forth, “yesing” and “noing” a certain thing over and over and over again … it started to feel like a tennis match of sorts, with this certain thing bouncing between us with no points being scored.  The fun of it was lost in the inability to match up our minds and communicate effectively.  In the end, the person I was working with just e-mailed a few options and pretty much threw her hands up in the air.  That was discouraging.

When you’re paying someone to do a job, what you get in return for your money should be what you were expecting and nothing less than that.  If you’re sensing a mental break-down, either from you or your contractor, take a break.  Shoot off an e-mail and be nice about it, explain that you’re going to take 12 or 24 or 48 hours to think it over.  In the grand scheme of things, the cooling off period won’t make a difference in the timeline … but it may make all the difference in the end result.

Don’t be afraid to say “that’s not quite right” … it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  When you’re working over e-mail, things can get lost in the communication process, and that’s not really anyones fault.  If you can disguise a criticism as a kudos … even better.  Pick one thing you love and start with that.  Remember to say thank you … that’s important!

Let your contractor know, upfront, what your expectations are.   Don’t roll in during the 11th hour with X,Y&Z … be concise upfront and hopefully, in return, you’ll get the same.

2. Be kind … but firm …

This is sort of piggybacking off of point number one.  But remember, the people you’re working with have lives too.  Be aware that people get sick … that accidents and emergencies arise.  If something like this happens, because it does happen, be nice about it … but let them know that you’re still expecting the work done by such-and-such a date.

3. Work out a contract … and don’t be afraid to ask for a signature!

As a writer, you’ll be asked to sign contracts all the time.  Have one to offer back in return.  It’s an extra step, I know, but when you’re working online with someone you don’t know and you’re sending them your money and freely discussing a novel that isn’t copyrighted, it’s smart to safe guard yourself.  There are tons of online resources that will help you flesh one out … but use it, and keep them filed away by book (if you have more than one).

The primary thing to remember on this front is that until you have some safe guard, you’re wide open.  If you don’t mind that, don’t worry.  For me, however, I worry and so I mind.  I didn’t have contracts on the first go around, I signed some, but never had one in return.  I’ll be a better business woman the next time around.

Key components to remember if you’re going to draw up a contract are:

1. All business dealings should be kept quiet.  The world is a small place.  One disgruntled contractor could sour your good name.  People do this all the time in the name of privacy … you should too.

2. What does the purchasing said work entitle you too?  For a cover … that’s easy.  You want access to use the cover for any and all book related events and swag.  Don’t be blindsided by limitations.

3. Speaking of covers … companies like Createspace has minimum DPI’s you need have for printing … the magic number is 300.  Make sure your artist is aware of that can can create a cover using that as a launch pad.

4. Confirm the price up front.  Whatever the service, make sure that you have a base line fee that won’t be changed last minute … those sort of surprises are awful, even when it’s not that much money.

5. Have an opt out!  This is an uncomfortable thing to approach … but the truth is, people do misrepresent themselves.  If you have the feeling you’re getting run-around or the excuses are piling on, have a built-in escape hatch.  Spell that out.  A settlement fee a portion of the cost is fair … but don’t feel trapped by someone else … ever!

6. Anything else that creates worry or stress for you.

4. Establish a timeline 

My first time looked a lot like a hot mess.  I was a mess.  No directionality at all.  This time around, my timeline tentatively looks like the below:

-Write (MS finished and self-editted by April)

-In Appointment with Editor NOW — as in January.

-Converse With My Cover Artist Mid-Feb for image for cover

-Book Goes To Editor In April

-Book Returns In May/Make Corrections

-Apply For Copyright

-Book Goes To Formatter In June/Cover Artist Does Spine and Back

-Book Is Published in July

Will those dates change?  OF COURSE THEY WILL.  But, it holds me accountable to a time table.  I obviously don’t have a publisher breathing down my neck for my next book … and to keep it sort of organized, I set the goals and reward myself if I finish on time or better yet, ahead of time.  Expect set backs but learn to be your own boss, hold yourself accountable.

5. Be calm in the face of crisis

When I was writing THE MILESTONE TAPES I realized that I had totally and completely plagiarized an entire chunk of the book.   Sucks to be me.  That was what I consider a crisis.  But, I did the old … keep calm and carry on … thing.  It worked out fine … but just know, shit will happen … be okay with that, be prepared for that.

So … writers … be excited when you’re expecting … but be smart about expecting as well!

P.S: Don’t forget to enter THE MILESTONE TAPES GIVEAWAY!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Streetlight Graphics … An Enlightening Experience

One of my favorite things about being a writer while simultaneously running a blog is being able to connect others like myself with really amazing industry professionals.  If I had been a true DIY author I wouldn’t have had the time to blog nearly as often as I do … or, worse yet, start this blog at all.  It’s been a true win/win for me … and now, I get the chance to offer up another amazing recommendation.

Formatting is for some (maybe most) the hardest part of the process.   When you consider how many separate formats you need for each individual platform, plus the specifications of a print book … it’s no wonder this no-small-feat has had some pulling their hair out by the root.  And I was almost that girl …

Then, I met Glendon Haddix.

Mr. Haddix came with glowing recommendations from other authors, those that worked with him in the past and those who had yet to use him — his reputation in the writer community is stellar.  He is a trusted, respected resource — one that every indie should know.

Haddix owns Streetlight Graphics  a true soup-to-nuts shop for the indie author looking to simplify the process of publishing a book.  In his own words,“Our primary mission is to provide an affordable, customer service oriented, one stop shop for authors to get all the independent publishing services they need so they can spend their time doing what they love…WRITE!” 

How nice is that?  The ability to just write?  After all, that’s what we want to do … but it’s all the other things that simply get in the way of that craft.

Streetlight Graphics was born from a true need … the ability to be a trusted partner in the process of publishing for the fledgling or seasoned writer.  With the company, an author can commission not only formatting services for print and multiple eBook platforms, but cover art, banner ads, logos … just about anything your little indie heart could desire.

My personal experience goes like this …

I knew nothing about formatting, only that I couldn’t do it myself.  Having considered using a big box company like CreateSpace, I was pushed (and not so gently) towards Streetlight Graphics. “Get a quote!” some authors said … while others couldn’t believe I’d spend $300+ when I could easily accomplish the same thing with a private small business for a lower price.

It was on their advice, I reached out.  From the first e-mail exchange Glendon was wonderful.  His kindness and patience were evident from the amount of time he took to answer my questions and address my concerns.  But, it went far further than the commissioned work of formatting, he became a sounding board of sorts for other matters that arose.  If I forgot something … he’d remind me.  He went over my manuscript again as as sort of “oops detector” and sent it back to me with a few small changes.  Every step of the process was painless and professional and easy … working with him was truly a pleasure.

Then panic struck.  I had an issue with my cover … not only did Glendon take his time, without asking for a single cent more, to create a new templet for my cover artist … he patiently walked me through understanding the process so that I could not only forward the information on, I could resource it myself.  That, right there, is the measure of someone who views your success as his own.  That is someone willing to go the extra mile for a client … and that is why I’m sure we’ll work together again in the future.

It may sound simple-minded, but it’s true … the people you surround yourself with matter.  Your options, as an independent, are as deep as they are wide.  There are times when it seems like everyone and their brother are peddling promises and services.  But to find that one person who really understands you and the process in the same breath, it matters and it’s rare.

So, I’m shamelessly plugging Streetlight Graphics … If you’re looking for a cover artist, or a formatter or maybe you need a banner or logo … reach out Glendon, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

“Obviously You Don’t Care!”

An interesting take on the new KDP Select Program was raised on the Kindle Boards Forum … by a Nook user.

In the past few weeks, this Select program has gone from very hush-hush with secretive terms and confidential phone calls to loud and proud.  We now know the terms of the agreement, the limitations and the benefits.  While no official cheques have been written by Amazon, we have numbers in terms of “lent” books … which are more than just a little impressive.  Some authors are seeing lending numbers garnished from a singular hour match what they did on B&N in an entire year for a single title.  Like I said, impressive.  As for what percentage those numbers will win them from the $500,000 pool … that’s still TBD … but it’s a bright light, and I look forward to hearing from the brave souls who gleefully publish their numbers.

And for me, with this new information, it’s become an increasingly difficult decision to make … spread the love or give it all to Amazon?  What’s a girl to do?

So, that brings us to this Nook User (we’ll call her Nook User for the duration of this post).  What makes her take so interesting is this … she’s not an author, she is a reader — a very brave reader who came out of lurking to write an open letter to the authors who post there.  She is our target market, the reader with the open mind, and rightfully so, she guessed that her opinion would matter.  She clearly stated that she uses a Nook by choice — leaving me to guess no one from B&N has put a gun to her head.  And, as you can probably guess, she has great issue with Amazon’s new “take all” strategy.

Nook User uses Amazon.com and it’s Kindle Store as a shopping tool.  She’ll research the books on Amazon’s much friendlier site, and then — with list in hand — head over to B&N for purchases.  She has a well oiled system to her buying … and when a to-be-bought book that was listed on Amazon fails to appear on B&N she feels like “obviously you don’t care!”

It’s an interesting take, right?  To think that if your book isn’t widely available your actions are perceived as careless … thoughtless … insensitive.  After all, you’re making a business decision … but for others, those that want to read your work, it’s personal.

In my opinion no one single reader is more important than the next … I say that as a reader and as a writer.  That the sum is truly greater than its parts.  Amazon has always been a much friendlier place for authors than it’s brick and mortar counterparts — and even its online competitors.  The lending program is proving to be a valuable tool, reaching new readers who will borrow a book from a new author whereas they may not make the decision to “pay” for the chance otherwise. Likewise, Amazon understands business and the business of writing books and in turn, give the writer a nice compensation.

But still …

I do care.  I care a lot.  Which is why Nook User’s post earned its own place on my blog.

My first eReader was a Sony 505 … or something like that, I can’t remember.  I wanted a Kindle … but Oprah had gone and made it the hardest and hottest grown-up toy of the season.  The backorder log was months deep and I would have had to wait forever for an Kindle of my own.  It was hard decision, but I decided to give up my place in line and buy a much more accessible Sony.

It was a beautiful eReader … a glossy powder coated blue metal device.  The case had a built-in light that, when folded down, covered the whole screen.  I was so excited to have it.

And, like Nook User, I found an easy way to find books I wanted to read … I went to Borders.  I would make short lists, come home, log into my account and try to find the books.  This was still the dark ages of ePub, and 90% of what I wanted to read wasn’t for sale through Sony.  Unlike Nook User, I did deviate from my eReader and simply supplemented my Sony by buying hardcovers and paperbacks.  What I’m trying to say is that, I understand, I’ve been there.

But, I never felted slighted by the authors for not publishing their books with ePub.  No, I understood that businesses make decisions based on what works for them and eBooks, at the time, were still a sluggish yet proven venture.

I eventually popped on the Kindle 2 and sold my Sony after spending some time on the Amazon site and realizing what an opportunity I was missing.  It changed for me then, I started ONLY buying e-editions of books … and rarely would I go for a paper version.  So, in that instance, again … I understand.

My point is … I get it.  I know that, in a perfect world, every book would be available in every format, but it’s not always the sagest business decision to do that.  And as an author I’m half writer half, business woman.  I have to look at the bigger picture to make the best decision … it’s really as simple as that.  It’s not that I don’t care … it’s that I care too much.  I care about everything.  I care about sales and readers and marketing and profit/loss … I care about my image and availability and the economy and the market.

But, there is a happy medium.  There is a solution …

PDF.

My decision in regards to KDP Select remains unmade in this moment.  But, I have scrambled my brain around making it fair … fair for everyone.

KDP lends the books to users for free.  Android users, iPad users … anyone with the Kindle app can pounce on the lending option.  It gives someone the opportunity to take the chance … and I think that paying that forward in the spirit of fairness is the best.

So … this is my personal solution …

If I decide, in the end, to make my book exclusively linked to Amazon … in essence shunning myself from readers of B&N and Apple, I will offer free PDF versions of my book for those unable to access it with their chosen provider.  I will set a pre-determined number of “free copies” … and when they’re gone, they’re gone.  Like with Amazon, I will run the promotion for 90 days and reevaluate things at the close.  It will allow me to be as fair as possible while still playing by the Select rules.

So, Nook User, I care.  And I consider your feelings and opinions very important … and you’re right … books are for reading.  So, no matter what I decide … anyone who wants to can read it.

 

 

 

 

Now I Know Why Authors Write Sequels

I have writers block … and it’s bad, like really, really bad.

I have the idea for book two fleshed out … it’s titled and outlined and plotted down to the very end … and still, I cannot write it.  I can’t figure out how to put these characters into their lives and how or why they’d be where they are.  Well … that’s not exactly true … I do know the why and the how … it’s the elaborating that I simply fail at.

It’s absolutely the most frustrating thing in the whole world … I could literally rip my hair out at the root, bash my head against the wall, quit and just walk away.  Oh, I’ve tried to get past this mental road block.  I think — counting today — I’ve started this story eight times over the last three months.  I have started from various points of view, places in the story, points in time.  I’ve closed the computer and walked away … I’ve forced myself to sit in front of it for hours watching the annoying optimistic cursor flashing.  I’ve tried reading … tried watching movies … tried thinking about one hundred other things hoping that along the way the small fire of brilliance would kindle itself to self.  Yet … here I sit with a few thousand useless words.

Truthfully, I’ve got nothing … nada … zilch.

Now I get it, the reason why authors squeal over sequels … because they just know everything there is to know, the map is draw, the characters are flesh and bone, the conflict is primed and ready for paint.  New books … they give you nothing.

I was lucky the first time around.  I came home with a story … and I wrote it so quickly.  I lucked out big time.

My greatest fear is being a “one-hit-wonder” — and I’m not even saying book one will be a hit, just that, in this moment, I fear that’s the only solid story in me.  There is no longevity in doing something once.  Its the time and time again that gives a person fulfillment.

Recently I read an article about that girl from Hairspray (the movie) … Nicky Blonsky.  You may remember her story.  She was working at Coldstone Creamery … the ice cream store … when she was discovered.  Thrust into the world of Hollywood, she starred opposite John Trivolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Amanda Bynes, and Zac Effron.  She was a big deal for a hot minute.  Now … she works at a hair salon … doing makeup.  Take it from me … that is not glamorous work.  She’s talented … she can sing, she dance … but she could never recapture the fire of her Hairspray … she couldn’t turn it into a career.

She tried, sure.  Some ABC Family network show and a few other little gigs on Lifetime, but nothing stuck … and now, she’s just another MUA working the counter in a small town salon.  And I’m not saying that isn’t honest work … because it is, believe me, I know … but it’s not what she wanted, and I’m sure it’s nothing she ever saw coming.

Writing is hard work … it’s frustrating work.  I am at a place where I realize I may need to give up the ghost … walk away from my idea and my work and either breathe for a while or start something new — what that would be, I don’t know — but this is not a good thing.

 

Whoa … Hold On A Minute

So … everyone kind of knows, you need to copyright your works.  It protects you … your book … and your “intellectual property” from less savory characters.

But, no one ever told me oh, you should probably file the copyright as soon as you finish editing. 

Currently, the copyright department is running 3 months for electronic filing, 10 months for snail-mail filing.  And while you can absolutely publish without … why would you?

This is a PSA … if you finish editing, the moment you receive the file back polished and ready to go … FILE YOUR COPYRIGHT!!

Your Reputation Is Everything

This afternoon I read about a very interesting story about a small publisher who purchases work from Independents for a journal she puts out — basically, a collection of stories. She pays for the work from authors and then publishes it.  She asks for (and pays for) a perpetual license because eBooks, unlike print, have no run-life … they can simply go on forever.  She ran into a snag with one of her previously published authors who wanted to move on to other ventures and needed the publisher to pull not only her story, but the entire journal.

That story is not what this post is about … but in some ways it is.

When the publisher told her “I’m sorry but I simply can’t do that” … the author decided to start spewing vitriol.  The publisher, at the end of her rope, posted a thread about this exchange.  And, much to my surprise, people actually said “out the author!” … they wanted, and even encouraged, the publisher to publicly shame this person.  The publisher demurred, for which I was thankful.  But still …

Ouch, right?

That, of course, started me thinking about public persona.  Who we are in real life versus what we say behind the comfort of our computer screens.

Right now, we’re living in a very interesting time.  The internet, social media, forums … they have made reclusive actors, authors, musicians part of our circle.  You can “friend” just about anyone as opposed to join a fan club … you can “tweet” your favorite actress in mere minutes rather than writing the age old letter.  And … if you’re lucky … that person will friend you back or even RT (re-tweet) you.

Authors are … more or less … considered famous.

Think about that girl … maybe she’d 14 and lives in Podunk, Somewhereville USA … maybe she’s read your YA book and is madly in love with your leading man.  To her … you’re a celebrity.  She doesn’t care if you’re traditionally published or not.  She just knows you’re an author and authors are famous people.  That’s just one example … but truthfully … there are a million more.  For me — I was recently involved in a twitter convo with Jennifer Wiener.  The Jennifer Wiener.  She and I essentially do the same thing … we both write books, I know it’s not glam work, I know it’s a job and it’s hard and it’s stressful … but still, I was gobsmacked by her giving my tweet a moment’s time.

Sitting behind your computer screen, worrying things like punctuation and format, you may not realize such important things … but, you’re about to become a name.  Maybe not a household name … but to someone, somewhere … you’re going to be the person who wrote their favorite book … you best not disappoint.

I used to frequent online forums.  I loved the release the internet gave me to be really honest about how I felt.  Sometimes it’s easier to say what you’re really thinking when no one is staring back at you — and I never knew there would be a day when I would be mortified by the things that came out of my mouth — or off my finger tips.  I was always truthful with my thoughts and feelings and particular take on hot topics … but, I was not always kind.  And now, as I get ready to become a “public figure” … I’m starting to realize, the internet has a long, long memory.

Your reputation is everything.  Things you say and do from the comfort of your home and the privacy of your IP number … those little slips can come back to hurt you.

I have backed off a lot of social posting, my name is now tied to this blog and my website and my book.  If I offend someone now, it means something different.  It means I’m not a screen name … I’m a person.

I’m going to quote my mother … and probably everyone else’s mother as well … “if you can’t say something nice … don’t say anything at all.”

Now I’m off to close some accounts and scrub some forums clean of my footprint.  ::sigh::

 

 

Insanity Press … Oops … I Mean Vanity Press

And so it has happened again … another well know and highly respected company has crept in with promises of, um, brighter days for the Indie …

A while back I posted about Bookcountry … the twist of Penguin that was offering author’s insanity vanity publishing services.  Well, they are far from alone … joining the ranks today is Writers Digest with their Abbott Press imprint.

This time, we’re talking BIG BUCKS.  Fees that branch upwards to … hold on, you better sit down … $9,000!  Yes … that’s dollars not rupees.  I know, I know … I threw up a little too.

Here’s what kills me … It’s such a “take all” mentality.  It reads as greedy.

What Abbott Press is offering is nothing special … their “starter package” is around $1,000, and for that you get a cover, ISBN, and blah blah blah blah blah (I should mention, that editing is not one of the services) … for $9,000 you get blah blah blah blah blah blah plus a social media publicist.  Yeah.  Whose going write the check first?  (I ask in jest)

I did the query thing.  I had a few nibbles, no real bites.  Would I have liked to be published by a big brand like Writers Digest … sure, of course!  I’m not stupid, I know what that means and what doors that would open.  But … since I never agent’d up, I never had a prayer.  Writers Digest doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Now … we have a vanity press under their moniker.  They will take my money, publish my book and eat my royalties without the benefits of really being published by them.

Fair?  No.  Worth it?  Not really.

But their site is beautiful.  It’s alluring with columns heavily weighed down by check marks.  But what do those check marks mean?  Not much.  Nothing any everyday Indie couldn’t do for his or herself.  And as someone mentioned, imagine the less than tech savvy author who has fought against slush piles for years and read Writers Digest since they were a child …

And that’s my problem.

I have no issue with branding or business.  I have no problem with innovative offerings and remaining relevant in the face of a revolution like the boom of self publishing.  But be honest about it … if you’re going to charge up front, fine … but why snag the royalties too?  Because you put a sticker on my book?

Abbott Press … Thank you, but no thank you.

 

 

 

Signing On

One of the huge perks of working with a traditional publisher often evades the indie … its not the pretty covers or eagle-eyed editors, no … that is, it’s PR … the “I have arrived” muscle behind your story that does get it sold.

Traditional publishers have in-house PR machines that get the book and then the two-man team assigned goes to work getting national and viral coverage of said book.  That why so-and-so ends up on Oprah or garnishes a fantastic, brag-worthy spread in a glossy magazine.

Indies … unless you’re married to a PR guy or gal … chances are you don’t have “in-house” anything.  So, you are left flapping in the breezy, so to speak, figuring out how to best campaign within your budget.

But, PR is a huge part of getting your name and book out there.  After all, if no one knows you wrote how in Heaven will they know to buy it?  The truth is … they won’t.  Indies often wallow at the bottom of Amazons algorithm simply because they don’t take the time to spread the word, to drive the interest, to build the momentum, to make the big splash … or, more likely, they aren’t sure how.

Blog tours seem to be a very popular sale to Indie Authors looking to cover massive ground in short sprints of time.  They hedge on the affordable side of the PR line.  Running anywhere from free (if you can do it yourself) to $150.00 and beyond.

I can tell you, as a blog owner, I do get traffic.  When I’ve hosted particular Indie’s or held a guest appearance, my numbers spike.  Would that generate into sales for someone?  I’m not sure.  But it can’t hurt, right?

Hiring a PR agent, while expensive, is also a viable route … one that I am taking.  Which is why I “signed on” … okay, not officially, but within the next month or so I will officially be a client of the Alicia Brockway firm.

Every author … traditional or otherwise … dreams of wild success.  I know my limitations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “want it” … I just have to find help.

Alicia was the perfect person to do just that.  Having worked with the likes of Danielle Steel, Kathy Griffin and gaggle of other big name authors, Alicia was once a Random House PR machine (yes … that Random House).  She is the sort of person I need on my team, pushing my book towards bigger and better.  So, while her service will nearly double my original budget and slightly break my book-bank, I can’t see another way.

So … Authors, tell me about your PR experience?  How did you do?  What resources did you use to make the magic happen?

 

 

 

A Writer’s Holiday

I woke up this morning, the day before Thanksgiving, and immediately checked my e-mail.  I’m working with a few people overseas right now on my website and my communication with them often happens at odd hours of the day–either late at night or early in the morning.  It reminds me very much of when I was actually writing the book, as those magic hours amounted to my “author work day”.

Normally, I wouldn’t notice such a thing as it is almost common place now, but, this is also the morning before Thanksgiving.  In years past, I would have made a cup of coffee to go, deposited myself in my mother’s kitchen and been up to my elbows in potato peels by now.  I would have stopped along the way for a newspaper, removed all the Black Friday ads and started scouring them for the best deals.  I would have been setting the table and boiling pumpkin and running to the store to join the droves of the other just-like-me last-minute and frazzled shoppers hoping all they need hasn’t been picked over yet.

This year is decidedly different.  I have to work.  I no longer have the luxury of free time.  Just because I’m not going to my day job doesn’t mean my other job isn’t clamoring and chiming for my undivided attention.  I anticipate bring my laptop along to Thanksgiving tomorrow and either blogging, answering e-mails, working with my team across the globe or simply staring at the open Storyist page while going glassy-eyed without the benefit of a globed glass of red wine (if I drink while I write, it looks a lot like a mess 🙂 ).

It’s a writers life…and this is a writers holiday.

When I compressed my book into a neat little word document and mailed it off to the editor, I blissfully believed this would be an easy month, a nearly free month.  I figured that I could lose myself in my second book and that when the holidays crept around, I would be able to kick back and really just decompress.  Uh…no.  Not at all.  Silly me, I should have know, holidays are for people with normal lives, people who aren’t running towards publication and people who have the good sense to realize publishing around the Holidays is an almost certain disaster.

I’m busier now than ever, November has officially knocked me on my ass–I can’t wait for December (can you see the sarcasm dripping from the page?).  As the book comes to completion, I’m scrambling.  I have to write a dedication, table of contents, blurb–and that’s simply for print.  For my site, I have to do all of that and then some.  Not to mention to aligning the next steps for THE MILESTONE TAPES and making sure those people are in the know.  Somewhere in there, there is a second book that would like to be written and of course, this blog begs to be updated (thank you Jesus for giving me the foresight to do a blog party!).

It’s finally clear, my time is no longer my own.  Writing the book was a cake walk compared to this.  Writing was my time, if it didn’t get that done perfectly each day–oh hells bells–eventually I would.  Not now, now my time belongs to several other people and projects and plans, each one needs to be given 100% of my effort and focus–I’m no math savant but that seems highly unviable.  If I don’t get-right-on-that I slow them up.  That’s not fair–especially to the people who I have commissioned who would like that final cheque.

So, I work.  And that means–yes–over the holiday.

This is a brave new world…a writers one 🙂

 

 

 

 

Vanity Presses…Author Beware!

As a new author, I can honestly tell you, I knew nothing about vanity presses until this whole fiasco with Book Country blew up across the blogosphere and forums.  Authors everywhere were nothing sort of steaming pots of outrage.  I honestly didn’t know enough to have an opinion one way or another.  But, after a bit of research, I started to wonder why anyone would sign up for such a racket.

I’m writing this blog to warn independent authors to steer clear of the likes of Book Country, and here’s why…

While it might sound lofty to say “I was published by Book Country, a subsidiary of Penguin” the truth is, that’s rubbish.  By signing with Book Country you’re not signing with Penguin–as in the publisher with the muscle to move your book to the NY Best Seller list–no, no, no…what you’re doing is signing away a cheque and handing over the royalties of your work forever.  The company can and will gloss the fine print up to spin it every which way…but the bottom line is that you’re paying them for absolutely nothing.

People making money off the backs of “the talent” is nothing new.  Agents, publishers, lawyers, managers, and so on have taken cuts and retainers and percentages since way back when.  And likewise of course you, as an author, can’t expect to get anything for free.  If a company is formatting your book, you’ll pay them.  If a company is doing your cover, you’ll pay them.  If a copy is uploading your book to be sold at XY&Z, you’ll pay them.  But, once you’ve cut those cheques…the book is yours as is the money rolling in from the book–that’s how it works when you’re an independent.  But not if your sign with Book Country–they’ll continue to take royalties.  Why thought?  What makes them entitled to such a thing?  And that remains the 30% question.

Since the revolution of “self publishing” in the era of Amazon and B&N, Vanity Presses are popping up like web companies in the 90’s.  They’re almost everywhere.  But there is absolutely nothing they can offer you that you can’t do for yourself.  That’s the bottom line.  That’s the truth.

Book Country wants nearly $600.00 to format for you and create a cover.  But that’s a high number considering what you can freelance it for.  Book Country wants to print your book–but, sites like CreateSpace or LuLu offer the same thing without demanding a slice of the pie in return.

Consider this blog a public service announcement.  Please, do your homework before getting caught up in a true publishing web.