Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Liebster Award

A big Thank You to Annalisa Crawford for my Liebster Award. I feel honored and humbled. Check out her cool blog at the link above!

The good, the bad and the ugly...

No word for this post - I'm sorry, but I'm in a little bit of a hurry typing as I'm in the hospital with my daughter (see the 'ugly')

The Good:
My vacation was great! The flight as expected, full of knots and tight spots in my stomach, but all right. We had a wonderful time and great weather. Thank you to everyone for all the nice comments regarding the flight. The trip back home, not so good (see the bad). I apologize for not posting earlier, but 'the ugly' in my personal life was very 'ugly' and had to deal with family first.
The good is that I was able to upload Two Halves on Sunday to Smashwords successfully. It is now availailable in HTML, PDF, EPUB and more on that site. Distribution to B&N and Apple etc... pending approval. I also uploaded it to Amazon, but have not been able to check the status yet. Nevertheless, I'm very excited that the novel is out there for people to see. You can preveiw the first few chapters, see if you like it, and if so buy it. If not, don't buy it. I love that feature.

The Bad:
I have limited access to the computer over the next few days due to my kids illness. They got sick on the way home and we're still trying to figure out what bug they have. The good news is that they're better, but there's nothing worse than sick kids. I honestly wish I could take their illness away and put it on me. I think more parents are liket that.

The Ugly:
A little combination of bad and ugly here. We got home Sunday morning, I uploaded the book, kids got the runnies and vomiting, ended up at the hospital on Monday morning with one of their kidneys almost shutting down. They're both better now. One at home with hubby and one at hospital. Things are improving which makes me excited and eager. I promise to be back in full force in answering questions and connecting once they're both home.

Until then, I hope you enjoy Two Halves :)  I can't believe the time is actually here and Two Halves is out there for everyone to see. I should also have some cool news about "Marked: A Two Halves Novella" by next week. I love this novella! Written from a male POV - A character I fell in love with while writing Two Halves.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I hate flying...


Aerobe (n):  A microorganism that can live and grow only where free oxygen is present.

I am almost ready for my vacation. Very excited, but I hate flying. I've flown so many times, and I hate flying. I will say my Hail Mary's and still hate flying. Did I mention I hate flying? I'm one of those people you don't want to sit beside on a plane. I will not take off my seat belt. I will not go to the bathroom, I will grip the handles on the takeoff and landing until my knuckles are white. I hate flying and I'm only doing it because of my family and because I need a vacation more than hate flying.

I have to take a good few shots at the airport's bar before going on an airplane, just so I can get on. I always sit at the back of the plane, because studies show that's the part that get's left behind should you crash on takeoff or landing. Just writing about this makes me think I'm jinxing myself. There's nothing in the world I hate more than flying.

Yes, the probability of getting into a car accident is much higher than being in a plane crash, but tell that to the people who survived a plane crash. Plus, you're in control of your own vehicle and can't control the plane and we all know I have control issues :)

And, it's not like you can stop in the air to pull over. I wish we could just teleport like in Star Treck. Ok, I think I can start drinking now...

So, having said that, here are the blogs for this Friday.

1. Smashwords: useful updates for writers, agents, publishers w.r.t. ebook publishing.

2. Trac Changes: I only discovered this blog this week. There's a great post on the trends in YA cover design.

3. JA Konrath: I know I've mentioned Joe before, but I had to mention his blog again, specifically the latest post. Newbie writers beware! There are many changes going on in the publishing industry. Get all of your information before making decisions or signing contracts, paying for things you can get done for free or cheaper.

Okay, time to go zip up the suitcases. I will be away all week next week, and unless I'm able to find a computer where I'm at, I won't be able to blog (and I think my husband would kill me if I blogged on a family vacation). We'll see if I can get enough beer into him, perhaps he won't notice, but I'm not promising anything. Worst case scenario, my next post will be up on Nov 28th, with an update.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Timing is Everything


Whoop-de-do:  lively and noisy festivities; merrymaking.

Let's address the Word for this post first.  This is one of three definitions, but that's not the reason I put it up today, The reason is that I never thought "whoop-de-do" was an actual word in the Webster's dictionary and that it had a definition. I knew what it meant, but found it funny that's it's actually a word. I found some other ones as well, but I'll keep them for other posts.

Timing is Everything.  How? Well, I decided to upload Two Halves "earlier" than Dec.1st. just to make sure everything is working and I'm glad I did, because it didn't work. Couple of reasons: 

1. My document had a double extension of .docx.doc instead of .doc which I didn't see until someone who knows files and computers better than I do "diagnosed" it for me.  But, the upload fail was a blessing in disguise, because...

2.... of ISBNs. I know we get free ones from Smashwords, but never really understood the meaning behind them until I did more digging.  As Canadian Authors we get them for free from  Canadian ISBN Service System: Library and Archives Canada. Well, since I am publishing under my company MyLit Publishing, that's who I want listed as my publisher when sales are tracked. In order to do that, I need my own ISBNs. So, that's what I'm waiting for now. Ordered on Nov 10th, I expect to have them sometime this week (5-10 bussiness days). Which means, thank goodness I didn't upload the original file. (Hence the Timing is Everything title for this post) But...

3.... this puts me on a tighter deadline. Since I will be away for a week and will not return until Nov 27th, I have to upload the book that day so that it can "flow through" all the appropriate channels in time for the release. I'm pretty sure I'm still fine, because everything was formatted according to instructions and is ready to go. It's just a matter of attaching the ISBN to the title.

Ideally, I'd get the ISBNs this week, upload before I leave and have a peaceful vacation - but we all know that's not how life works. 

Another note to any Canadian's publishing through Smashwords or Amazon: get your EIN (Employer ID Number) from the IRS to qualify for the 0% tax rate due to the treaty US has with Canada. Otherwise I think a 30% tax rate will be applied to your earnings. Get more info on the IRS website. At first it scared me to go through the information, but it's not as hard as it seems. I ended up 50 minutes on hold, then after a 5 minute conversation I had my EIN. 

Disclaimer: always check your country's rules and regulations re: taxation and learn how to comply with other countries. 

So, I just thought I'd share this info with those planning to go the route I have. This was the first challenge I really faced so far. Now it's wait time...  I'll let you know if I'm able to load it before I go away for the weekend.

Have a great day everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Blogs


Suspire (vb): to sigh or utter with a sigh; yearn.

Before I get to today's three blogs, some items I want to share with you. The Ontario Writer's Conference has been set for May 5th, 2012. Early bird registration begins Nov. 15th and you can get more information here. I'm planning to attend, are you?

As every Friday, some new blogs I enjoy in no particular order, and for various reasons:

1. Dean Wesley Smith: Dean has lots of info on his blog, useful for both established and new authors. He follows the trends of the publishing industry and shares his opinions.

2.Beautiful Creatures: I'm sharing this one because Beautiful Chaos just came out. I've been waiting for this one awhile. It's now waiting for me in my suitcase for our vacation later this month. I vowed to read that week and not to write. We'll see how that pans out :)

3. Query Shark:  For those polishing your queries, query shark is a great place to learn the mistakes you should not make. I found the site very useful when I was writing my query,

Other than that, I'm already feeling the withdrawal syndrome. Later this month we have a family vacation and I cannot take my computer, which sort of sucks and doesn't at the same time. I think a break before Two Halves is released will do me some good. I'm already planning on observing the different people I meet to see if they have some cool 'quirks' I can use for my characters. Other than that, just reading and relaxing.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Indie vs Traditional


Aerie (n): the nest of a bird of prey, as an eagle or a hawk

Indie (individual) vs. Traditional

As my publishing date nears, I have been asked by a few people why I decided to self-publish. There are three main reasons, but I think it comes down to the type of novel Two Halves is and that I'm a control freak (yes hubby, I said it). I did a lot of research before I made the decision, and yes, I sent out queries to agents as well (I'll touch on that below). So, in order of importance, below are my reasons.

1. I couldn't wait 12-18 months to see Two Halves in print, and not only because that's how long it normally takes when you publish traditionally, but also because of the theme of the book. The market is saturated with vampire novels, and although Two Halves is not your typical 'vampire' novel I'm sure many people, hearing 'vampire' turn away. I had this happen to me when I asked someone to read it. They explained to me they're not into that kind of stuff. I said: "It's not that kind of stuff". They read it, loved it, agreed with me. But, I can't explain that to all my readers.

That brings me to my queries. I sent out only 12 and all were to top agents. I did not send any to small presses. I received 6 polite rejections. It was simply not what they were looking for at this time. And, I understand that, because I know what the market is like for vampires. It's difficult to put in a query that Two Halves is NOT that kind of novel though.

2. I'm a control freak. I can't imagine someone else picking my cover art for me, deleting scenes which I think are important, changing the chapters around. I just can't. (No, I did not do the cover art by myself. I got help from Robin Ludwig, but the concept was mine. That's why I liked working with Robin. She listened and delivered.)
Because I'm a control freak, Two Halves reads like a novel. It's been professionally edited (because I simply suck when it comes to punctuation and grammar), proofed, edited, proofed, edited, proofed, edited... ... get my point. For those trying to go the indie route, that's what you have to do edit, edit, edit, edit. If you can't do it yourself like me, hire a professional. Do not sell your readers short.

3. It's a business decision. I know I will have to do a lot of marketing, just as much as I would if I were published traditionally, and I think with the resources I have found I can sell enough to make the $10K-$20K advance I would probably get from a publisher.  After that, all rights still belong to me. As is right now for indies, the novel can live in perpetuity (forever) in ebook format. We'll see how long that lasts, but I can't worry about the future for now. Maybe I won't sell a copy. But, my mom promised to buy one, so I know I'll sell one ;)

Q: Will there be a print copy?
 A: Yes.

Q: When?
A: I hope before Christmas. I will have a better date before December 1st.

Q: Why are you doing print?
A: I would be happy to stay in ebook format only. But, why not? Extra exposure, I can frame it at home. Give it as a gift, donate it to our local library, etc. All part of marketing. Why sell myself short?

Q: What it an agent called you with an offer?
A: I would consider it. But, I must say, it would be a business decision, so I don't know what my decision would be. Am I expecting an offer any time soon? No way! I'm still a nobody in the writing world. I cannot hide that JA Konrath has been a big influence on my decision to self-publish, for which I'm thankful right now.

That's also not to say that I wouldn't publish traditionally. Never say never, keep all doors open and keep writing.

Q: Are you saying you plan to publish more?
A: Yes, four planned projects in 2012, we'll see if I can do it, given Two Halves took me so long. But I'd like to think I know what I'm doing now (but still learning). Definitely more than I knew when I started. Stay tuned for announcements this December.

Any questions, feel free to ask :) I'm always happy to share information. I'm not an expert, so I don't know everything. I am a beginner who researches a lot. If you have information you'd like to share, let me know.

I feel like I've just developed a double personality disorder with the Q&A and I'm liking it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marketing Tips


Spoliate (v): to plunder, rob or ruin

On Fridays I usually post three blogs which I enjoy reading or find interesting. Today I will do only 1, but for a good reason. I find when someone has a blog which shares information with other writers that can help them, the blog needs to be mentioned. I found Neil Ostroff's blog on Book Blogs and when I had a further look he has a great post on October 25th, 2011 about websites all writers should be on. So scoot over, and have a look.

The great thing is that all of these websites are free. Great way to market your writing, whether you are indie or traditionally published. Here's a quick roll of the websites Neil mentioned. I hope you find them as useful as I have. Thanks Neil!












Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cover Design

No word for this post. I'm too excited this morning. I will tomorrow when I have a great post on indie and traditional marketing, courtesy of someone from Book Blogs.

Here it is! The wonderful Robin Ludwig from Robin Ludwig Design Inc. helped me place my vision for the Two Halves cover into a great design. I hope you guys like it as much as I do!

Twenty-one-year-old Sarah is a child of a human mother and a vampire father and has suppressed her dark side with serums. The only memory of her mother is when Sarah killed her, soon after birth. Of her father, nothing—just a hatred for his vampire traits that made her kill her own mother.

When a disturbing nightmare foretelling her bleak future stirs the superhuman traits, underworld creatures are beaconed. On the run with William, a man she knows from her dreams, Sarah tries to learn what’s been hidden from her, for a good reason. Had she known her destiny, she may have continued with the serums that kept her hidden. 

Mark your calendars for December 1st, 2011 release.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insecure Wednesday


Nascent: (adj): beginning to exist or develop.

It has been busy few week(s) for me as Two Halves is almost ready. I am happy to announce the e-book release date is December 1st. Yes, in less than one month. Later this week I will post my cover as well. I’m excited beyond words (not really beyond words, because those who know me also know I can type endlessly). So, instead of me telling you about it, I added a little excerpt from the novel Two Halves in the main tab above. Enjoy!

Having said that today is the first Wednesday of the month and it’s time for my Insecurity for our Workshop. All the hoppers and more information can be found here here (or the tab above).

My insecurity this month:
With the release of my first novel approaching I hope I will be able to upload everything correctly. I am diving into new territory here. OK, I’m not a computer genius, but I am not a beginner either and I hope that my past wits and education will not fail me when I press the ‘enter’ key. I’m thinking of uploading a little earlier to test it out, (don’t tell anyone:)) just to make sure everything is up and running for Dec. 1st. 

Has anyone else done that? Uploaded before the “official” release date? I’m not counting on everything going smoothly, I’m ready to face the demons of formatting (although I’ve gone through the instructions on smashwords once and they are simple), and hope not to screw it up. Any suggestions you guys have would be great!

Happy Hopping!