I officially feel like I’ve arrived in some small way. Today, I recieved in my email the official cover for my book, Devil in the Details. This is a huge thing for me! It was like looking in the mail and seeing my child’s first acceptance letter. Sure, the acceptance letter was to the little league soccer team, but it didn’t matter. I was proud!
This whole journey began last November, during the 2011 NaNoWriMo extravaganza. On November 1st, I started with a random idea. No outline, no plan, no notes, just a vague character named Riesa Grimshaw, and the knowledge that something was going to happen to this character. Quite likely many somethings, in fact.
As it happens, while struggling to come up with a little under 2 thousand words a day, Riesa led me in directions that I wasn’t sure I ever could have expected. By the end of the 30 days, Riesa and I had met the 50k words challenge, and I had the very rough draft for my first supernatural novel, Devil in the Details.
I did a lot of googling and blog surfing, trying to figure out what to do with this brain baby. Did I raise it and try to find a good agent to represent it? Did I raise it and try to jump on the e-Pub bandwagon? Either way, I was going to raise this brain baby.
(1) No matter where I looked, almost every advice column had the same thing to say.
“Edit, rewrite, edit again, rewrite again, leave it for a month, come back and edit again, have someone else read it, then edit. If you think you have it perfect, you don’t. Go back and edit one more time.”
In other words, polish that rough diamond until it shines like a becon in the night. And then it still isn’t done. Most sites suggested sending your baby off to a professional editor. Lets face it, unless you have a degree in literary editing, there is going to be something you missed that will stand out like a sore thumb to a professional editor. Are there words that you over use? Are you writing in passive voice too much? Do you have a plot hole that you somehow missed because, as the writer, you already know everything? As an ebook reader myself, I can tell when something hasn’t been through the editing process. Those books make me sad. They aren’t bad books, but I know that they could have been so much better if someone had just stepped in and given it some counciling.
There is a downside to a professional editor though. $$$. I’ve seen editors charge from $450 to $900 for a 80,000 word novel. Some charge by the word, some by the hour, and some offer flat rates. It is a pricey investment for a first time writer, but it is also a personal choice. You can publish to Amazon or through Createspace just fine without going this step.
(2) Step Two differs depending on if you are submitting to an agent, or self publishing. In the end, I chose to self publish. Majority of the articles I read on self publishing waxed poetic on the urgent need to self advertise your book. No one will ever read it if they’ve never heard of it! Some tips and suggestions that I’ve found were:
Start a blog and/or join a blog community.
Utilize social networking sites (facebook, twitter, ect.)
Create business cards that include your name, a web address for your book, and an extremely brief synopsis (your hookline) of your book.
Get the word out through your friends and family.
(For the record, “writing a proposal letter” is the second step for submitting to an agent, and then preparing for the rejection letters, and then try, try again.)
(3) After this usually came “Create a unique and eye catching book cover that looks good as a thumbnail.” Yeah, I had a bit of a problem with this one. I am not an artist, photographer, or anything else of that nature, and as good as I am with word art, nothing I ever did looked as good as some of my favorite books. So here were my options:
Use cover designing software offered by CreateSpace, and other distributers, usually at a cost.
Hire a professional designer.
Bribe an artsy family member to make a cover for you in exchange for a month supply of fudge filled cadburry eggs.
(4) And now for the tough choices… Choosing which platforms to publish from. I’ll be honest, and just tell you that I am not smart enough yet to outline this step. There are so many options, but I will give you a word of warning: Vanity Presses are still out there! These are “publishers” that don’t pay you, you pay them. If someone is charging you an upfront fee to publish your book, run in the other direction. A real publisher or distributer will take a cut from your sales, but they won’t charge you upfront. The amount of the cut varies on the publisher/distributer.
This journey isn’t over for me and Riesa, but wish us luck! We will do the same for you in your ventures. =)