Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel

The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel

This is Part 3. Click these links for Part 1 and Part 2

The writing, editing, and publishing process was such a long and extensive journey that I finding it hard to remember all the steps I took.

We covered the writing in part 1 and the editing in part 2.

We started on Cover Design, but never finished.

The cover design was so difficult. Not to mention every channel (KDP, Pubit, Createspace) want a different size or format. Argh! I had already chosen my cover image, so next was the font of the words. I went to and chose a free font that I loved. It's fancy and romantic but looks like dripping blood. Romantically Gruesome! Perfect!

My cover designer and I must have tried 15 different placements of the title and author name on the cover. But it just didn't work until the graphic designer at my office suggested using a strip of grunge wallpaper behind the lettering to make it pop. I had never heard of it, so I went and Googled it. Found a super-awesome-mega-extreme one that I loved and put it behind the lettering. Perfection!

After a few more sizing adjustments, we were golden.

So I had my cover, ISBNs, and my business was formed. I still had to format. After doing some research I found it was fairly easy. I couldn't imagine having to pay Createspace or other author services to do it for me. One lesson I learned is to format while writing to cut out that extra step. That's what I'm doing with Book 2, Shock Wave.

I turned up some Snoop Dogg and did some page breaks after each chapter, did my cover pages (copyright page, title page, dedication page), did the table of contents and made sure all the text was within the format that was needed for uploading to Amazon's KDP. It took literally 20 minutes.

I was ready to upload to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace (for my paperback) when I learned that all three required different formatting. No  problem.

The ebooks didn't require page numbers so with the paperback version you had to make your electronic file look exactly how it will on each page. I had the hardest time with the page numbers (getting them to go on the outsides of the pages, so I gave up with that and put them in the middle of the pages). For ebooks the ToC is hyperlinked to the chapters (reasoning for the page/chapter breaks and ToC without page numbers - all ereaders are different sizes), so for the paperback I had to do a real table of contents. Plus, I did an author page with a pic and bio of me in the back of the paperback.

I had done all of this, but I still hadn't received any real useful feedback so as my photographer friend and I were talking she mentioned that she can't wait to read it. She's extremely intelligent and very literary (she's also a talented poet) so I offered to give her an advanced copy if she could help me with some final edits and changes.

She gave me what I needed. A comprehensive edit. She read and re-read it to find errors and inconsistencies within the text and we were able to rid the novel of many errors. I'm sure there are still some, but you show me even one (professionally published included) book without an error and I'll bow down to you because so far I haven't encountered one.

So I had the completed versions uploaded and ready to present to the public. I was so nervous at this point. From the advanced readers, I was given the idea that it was really good, but I knew them all personally. I wanted to hear from a complete stranger that they liked it. So that was the true test. Will the public accept Culture Shock and love it?

Marketing. The endless task. Marketing when you're self-published is so important. I started marketing early on. I started when I first started writing Culture Shock. I started this blog first, Adventures of Life and Literature, to document my journey as a writer, to give book reviews, and to spout the random strange musings of my brain.

Then I discovered the world of Twitter and have over 2000 followers. I created a Goodreads account as a reader a while ago and then opened an author account with Goodreads. It's a fantastic networking site for authors. It helps create that bond between reader and writer. The giveaways have received many entries through that site. Finally, I got on Facebook and Pinterest. I also have a website where you can learn more about the book, author, etc.

So the book was now up for sale and I was hoping since I hyped it up big time up until the release date, I would get tons of sales. Not is very difficult to sell books. Don't get me wrong, my sales are steady and I'm happy with the progress and attention, but please don't have delusions of rolling in the dough. It takes self-published authors a while to become recognizable to a few people besides family and friends. Hopefully, you or I can gain popularity quickly and sales will skyrocket, but for the meantime it's steady, but I'm happy.

Blog tours have been a supertastic outlet for this author! Dedicated readers who have review blogs will read your book and write reviews. They cost anywhere from $20 and up. Depending on what you're looking for. A cover reveal, review post, interviews, promos, etc. They have gained me many bits of attention and quite a few sales.

I keep plucking away with my networking and have distributed these beautiful bookmarks and done many giveaways. But you or anyone else who purchases ebooks know, reviews sell books. If it doesn't have at least 100 reviews/ratings, I don't even consider it unless it's free. I know...I'm so bad, but we are all guilty of it. So that's my goal is to raise the number of reviews so people will stop and take a look.

I've been getting some great reviews from complete strangers so I've accomplished what I set out to do. Bring hours of enjoyment and entertainment into people's lives. I can't wait for book 2 to come out. It should be ready in the fall.

So that's my story so far. Share your story. Your failures or successes. I would love to hear them.

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

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