Publishing, Cont.

A Superior Crime and other stories is set to go on Feb 13. at Amazon. Karen Phillips(PhillipsCovers) completed the final version for print and I think it’s terrific.

Anthology_5_25x8_final copysmall.jpg

I’m continuing with the re-edit of Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. I completed No Motive for Murder some time ago. Only one to go after that—The Child on the Terrace.

Painting of Sorrow is back from the editors at Books Go Social with a gold mark of excellence. I have only a few corrections to make so perhaps it will be out in May rather than September.

I noticed discussion recently on some of the author sites I follow about writing programmes, editing and publishing.

Over the last year, I developed the following steps:

  1. Write in Scrivener.
  2. Export to Word as a docx file.
  3. Upload to Vellum.
  4. Edit chapter by chapter in Autocrit and Grammarly.
  5. Generate books from Vellum in all the formats available. The print version should be generated separately as it requires a different ISBN. Also, ISBNs for Smashwords differ from those at Kindle. Amazon doesn’t require an ISBN for books published on Kindle.
  6. Publish at Kindle and Create Space.
  7. Market. I use the book promoter service at Books Go Social and tweet with askDavid.

That’s about it for a snowy Sunday in the Kawarthas. We’re supposed to get 10cm more today and there’s about that much on the ground. Winter was hiding after all.

 

To Press: The Jewelled Egg Murders

Done! The Jewelled Egg Murders, book 5 of Dangerous Journeys available for pre-order on Amazon and many other e-stores through Smashwords. Smashwords is an aggregator that sends the book out to Kobo, iBooks, Barnes &Nobel and many other sellers.

The editing process included an Autocrit Review, a Grammarly review, Word spell check, a Quality Mark review at Books Go Social where The Jewelled Egg Murders achieved a Gold Mark after another Autocrit review and a human perusal of the manuscript.

 

1166

JewelledEggcoverSmall

On to marketing. Amazon and Smashwords both have a pre-order function, so the book is now online and can be purchased ahead of the release date of December 1.

I’m waiting for the paperback version to arrive from Create Space. The online review copy seems to be fine, but one never knows what errors might have occurred in the printing. Release date also Dec. 1.

I decided against Kindle Select for the launch as some of the marketing I want to do isn’t compatible with Kindle Select rules. I plan to enrol in 2018, likely in January.

What’s next:

I’m working on a collection of the short stories that I have written over the years. Some are published, some not. Several of them are Anne McPhail adventures, including Homicide in Haliburton.

That’s it for an overcast morning in the Kawarthas.

 

 

 

2 more publishing lessons

In my last post, I detailed some of the lessons I learned about publishing while I prepared my 4 manuscripts for my new company From The River Publishing. Since then, I discovered, thanks to Joanna Penn, a terrific new tool, Vellum. By the way, if you are a writer and haven’t discovered Joanna’s website, have a look here. Lots of great information.

Vellum is a somewhat expensive, but outstanding program that takes all the worry trouble and hard work out of the final stages. It would have saved me 3 months had I read about it long ago.

Rather than struggle to format a manuscript correctly for uploading to different platforms, such as Kindle and Create Space, or to aggregators like Smashwords, I used Vellum.

The program requires a Mac and a Word document in .docx format. Input the file and the metadata, and Vellum shows you the file converted to e-pub, mobi and pdf. Proof as much as you need, input other books if you want, and, when you are ready, push the buy button, purchase the program and generate the books you need in the required formats.

If you review and want to proof further, go through the process again until the manuscript is polished and upload to your chosen publishers. Nothing more to pay, no annual fee, no rejections, no trying to analyze the mysterious messages about pagination from Create Space, just a seamless process that results in books that are ready for the buyer.

I’m working through my list again, and have finished Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. Both will soon be live, as revised, on all the platforms mentioned above.

Lesson # 2? Read The Creative Penn often.

5 Lessons about Publishing

I’m at the end of my first publishing adventure. All 4 of my books are now on-line again at Amazon in both e-book and paper. Also at Smashwords for distribution(and purchase) for Barnes&Noble, Kobo, iBooks and many others. I started with books that were  available but I wanted to add new covers and add a chapter of the next in the series, so I had to remove them from sale and begin again. Four books in 3 separate formats each equalled 4 months of work. Volume 5 is coming in the fall.

I learned many things but the first one is this:

Use the tools in Scrivener to help produce a manuscript that is easily uploaded to the publishing platforms. I write with Scrivener for many reasons. I store all my research in the appropriate(preset) folders, everything from photos to websites to clippings. I use the character building function to add depth to my cast. And I colour code to keep track of the POV in each scene. Doing that, I can tell at a glance if someone has been off-stage too long, especially my protagonist. When I’m done, I can export in any format, from standard manuscript, to e-book, to paperback novel. Genius.

The second lesson is read the guidelines and if necessary(Smashwords) the books written about formatting. I read all three of Mark Coker’s books about Smashwords and formatting and marketing. Helpful.

The third lesson is to buy Acrobat Pro DC and use it for your PDF’s. I found that the capability to review the pages and particularly assess them with the preflight function saved grief(rejected submissions.)

The fourth lesson: Pay for decent covers. I hired Karen Phillips of PhillipsCovers to create unity out of my chaos and the results are below. I love them and I’m sure they have increased sales.

Child_cover_1563x2500.jpgFacepainter_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpgMotive_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpgRoots_cover_1563x2500 copy.jpeg

The final lesson is about marketing. Seek out as many online groups, services etc. as you can find or afford to help get word out about your books. Booksgosocial is a terrific organization founded and run by Laurence O’Bryan. Services range from twitter campaigns(paid) to several Facebook sites for authors that include a book review group.

I’m going to do it all again in the fall when volume 5 is proofed and ready in time for Christmas.

 

My Publishing Journey

When my publisher retired, I had 4 books at retail outlets online, POD at Amazon, and distributed by Smashwords. Changing over to self-publishing would be easy, I thought.

Not so easy. At CreateSpace, the POD arm of Amazon, I began the process, submitting PDF’s for each book and cover, getting new ISBN’s(free at Library and Archives Canada) for each version and making sure that no vestige of the old publisher remained in the documents. These were then uploaded, assessed and if passed, a proof available on line and if wanted, in paper(for a fee). It’s taken longer than I thought it would and the books aren’t available on Amazon as yet. Along the way I  used Acrobat Pro DC, a terrific program. I’m proofing No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace, while en route to visit my family in Bermuda. I started at the end of the series rather than the beginning because I am making changes in the cover art.

Karen Phillips, of Phillips Covers, is designing covers for all 4 of the published books and for the as yet untitled fifth book in the Dangerous Journeys series. The covers will have common fonts and set-up and a logo. When the latest book is ready to go to press, I’ll present them as a boxed set wherever that is possible.

That brings me to Smashwords, the company set up by Mark Coker, that publishes and distributes e-books to all the major retailers except Amazon, unless one has sold $2000US of the title at Smashwords.

The initial process to change over to me was easy. Arline Chase, at Write Words Inc. turned over the files to me and there they were, all set up to go. Except, her publishing company’s name was in all the books, and I wanted to change that. I also wanted to add a chapter of the preceding book to the next one in the series. That meant getting the original files, adding matter at the end, learning about the page numbering system at Smashwords, and then uploading.

The page numbering? It has to be consistent with their’s and changing it, with my rudimentary knowledge of the finer points of Word, meant hours spent learning and then renumbering. Finally, both cover and content were through the Meatgrinder(that’s the name) and on to Autovetter. This program found errors that at first I didn’t even understand that were left-over ghosts of a pdf file in the Word document I was using.

I’m at the end of the Smashwords process for No Motive for Murder and it and The Child on the Terrace are available under my new imprint From The River Publishing, at Smashwords. The older books are there as well, and at Kobo, Nook, and many other fine e-book retailers.

Oh, yes. The first of my series, Murderous Roots, is free online at all those retailers. No time limit on that and I’ve developed new lower pricing for Volumes 2-4.

One final thought. I’m working on a new web site for my imprint From The River Publishing. It will be available at fromtheriverpublishing.ca. I’ll post the news when it goes live.

That’s it for a sunny Sunday in March.

 

Book Sale

Smashwords. com, the company that distributes my ebooks has a promotion coming on March 5 through March 11. I have enrolled all my books. Murderous Roots will be, as always, free, and the others 50% off. Coupon code, active only at Smashwords on those dates is RAE50.

As many of you know, my publisher, Arline Chase, of Write Words Inc., has retired from the business and I am in the process of revising and republishing under my new imprint From The River Publishing. The books will continue to be available at Smashwords in the meantime, but not at Amazon until the process is complete.

I’m excited to be working with gifted designer Karen Phillips on new covers for Murderous Roots and The Facepainter Murders. She designed the covers for No Motive for Murder and The Child on the Terrace.

 

New Directions

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

My work-in-progress, a novel, occupies most of my time these days. I’m revising. Last fall, I won a prize at The Book Promoter: an editorial review by editor/agent Svetlana Pironko of the Author Rights Agency.

After talking with her and reviewing the changes she suggested, I began a revision, this time on paper. I’m eighty pages in.

BUSINESS WRITING

As well, I follow a course from Susan Anderson — Freelance Writers Bootcamp — on writing for business, either business to business or business to client. Some of the types of writing she teaches — blogging, content writing for web-sites, white papers — are interesting to me. Her course teaches how to do those and about 10 more.

WORDPRESS

Yes, I have a WordPress blog and even my own domain name at Wordpress —ginny200.com — but I set it all up with only rudimentary knowledge. An article on Mashable, 13 cheap(or free) online classes to boost your digital skills, led me to a course called WordPress for Beginners. I’m taking it now.

EDITING

I have an extensive library of books about editing, everything from Self-editing for Fiction Writers, by Rennie Browne and Dave King, to the most recent, The Frugal Editor by Carolyn  Howard-Johnson. A favourite is Revision and Self-Editing, by James Scott Bell.

All this to explain that I’ve been busy this winter.

Four Writing Resources

It’s March 1, St. David’s day, patron saint of Wales. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant. Here in Kawartha Lakes it’s a bit warmer than it has been. -6C rather than -25C, but we’re going to get a bit more snow. But it’s the first of March with twenty more days until Spring arrives, we hope.March, 2014March, 2013March, 2013March, 2013

Wild Turkeys at Elora, March, 2014Wild Turkeys at Elora, March, 2014(photo Anne Simpson)

And yet Spring still came each year.

I attended a workshop at University of Guelph on Friday, March 20, to hear Barbara Kyle talk about the writing process. She is a generous teacher and at the end of the workshop session gave each of us access to a tutorial series online that she recorded some years ago. It is an excellent review of everything from Style to Getting Published. I’ve been listening to one tutorial a day before beginning the day’s work of revision. Invaluable.

If you haven’t heard her speak or visited her website, I recommend it. Barbara Kyle.

Writing resources can be anything from excellent teachers to books on grammar, from programmes like Scrivener to a friend who’s willing to read revisions. Over the years, I’ve found all of these and more.

1. Writescape

2. Barbara Kyle

3. Writers Digest

4. Scrivener and Scapple at Literature and Latte.

And then there’s marketing. I’m still searching for reviewers and will send copies either e-book or trade paperback on request.

Check out my booklaunch page for information about The Child on the Terrace.

Marketing and Revising: Ways and Means and Help

_MG_0835 - Version 2

Setenil de Las Bodegas, Spain, setting for The Child on the Terrace

I spent most of this week learning about marketing. Earlier, I received a series of e-mails from Nick Stephenson, writer and teacher of marketing about “Your First 10K readers“. He supplied 3 videos on the subject. Well worth the time spent, if only for the insight into how Amazon and other on-line retailers find books, but also for the methods of applying that insight to one’s own books. I haven’t applied his method as yet, mostly because, as I have a publishing contract, choosing such things as category and key words isn’t up to me. However, I shall put together a plan and suggest it to the publisher, Cambridge Books.

Laurence O’Bryan at Books Go Social offers a great service, connecting authors with each other and customers.

I’m revising my next book, working title Saving Fillide. One bit of advice that keeps popping up is to “kill your darlings”. and I did just that, moving the opening of the book to the third chapter. It has made for a more suspenseful opening, but in the process, I lost some back story and one subplot that needs to go back in but in a different place and manner.

Barbara Kyle, at a Turning Leaves, a Writescape retreat, suggested a book by her agent, Al Zuckerman, called Writing the Blockbuster Novel and it is immeasurably helpful in revision. I’m attending a workshop Barbara is giving on Friday, Feb. 20th at the University of Guelph Writers’ Workshop on Crafting the Bestseller; Your first 50 Pages and know I will learn more. She is an excellent teacher.

The Child on the Terrace is now available on major e-book sites. Connect through the link to my book launch page.Winters_Child_RT_jpgSM copy2