Friday, July 31, 2015

Of Mice and Men...

Hello folks!

My plans to blog everyday up to release day have stumbled a bit because of life circumstances. (One of which was my youngest son turning 6 yrs. old. The time is flying by!) It seems that release day has been pushed back a few days as well. I am still in the midst of getting things settled. The proofs look fantastic. The last few details need to be ironed out. Thus, release day has moved from today's date (7/31/15) to Monday (8/3/15). On Monday, I will be posting links to where you can pick up The Dragon Child of Evandar in hard cover, paperback, and e-book format. I will also slap up here and on the Facebook page a picture of what the cover looks like for both the hard cover and the paperback books.

Thank you again for joining me on this grand adventure. We're almost to our destination!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All Hail Tech Support!

It has been rough going on getting the book set up with the publisher. I was having several thorny problems with the cover creator software and I had several errors regarding the interior of the book. One quick call and a few clicks later, the whole works appear to be moving in the right direction. Nothing is as lovely as technical assistance at just the right time.

Tech support is great for more than just making software do what you want it to. There is a lot of different forms of tech support out there. Anyone who has worked in IT can tell you that they have to wear a lot of proverbial hats and juggle a laundry list of things at any given time. The people who help you with the details of making things happen are pretty frequently forgotten after that assistance has been rendered. It isn't fair to them. Thus, today's post is a huge thank you to all of you people that help the rest of us with getting our equipment, software, and jobs done.

In 24 hours, approximately, I will be reviewing proofs. Looking at the digital proofs as I have moved through the process, I am really pleased with how everything is working up. I am optimistic that the next set of proofs will be just as good. It is really amazing what you can do through places like Create Space and While vanity presses are more work compared to traditional publishing in the aspect of putting a book together, with the right type of help it works out fairly well.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Publication: it's no joke.

Articles like this one bring to sharp detail the sheer amount of work that must be done to move a manuscript from an idea to a selling book. If you are going the traditional publication route, there is a whole lot of work that you have to put in when it comes to getting the publisher's notice. With traditional publication, there are a lot of 'services' that are managed by the publisher. Things like designing a cover, selecting a good typefont for the contents of the book, and finding a good editor are generally what the publisher takes care of. I'm sure there are a lot more details to that form of publication that I am just not aware of. Still, looking at it, it is pretty clear that you are not sitting on your laurels dreaming of the next book while you smoke cigars and drink umbrella drinks at some island retreat.

Self publication is a huge amount of work as well. You have to take care of all those details yourself and fund them from the outset. Starting out in self publication is rough work. While it is tempting to think that the traditionally published author has an easier time of it, it really is just a different form of work. Unlike traditional publication, the self published author has a great deal more creative control over the final product that hits the shelves. You surrender a goodly portion of that control to the publishing house when you are traditionally published. For some people, the idea of determining what paper stock is best and how big the typefont should be is daunting enough to send them running for cover. And that is ok. Not everybody wants to handle that stuff.

In either case, you still have to go out there and work hard to market your book. You still have to the leg work of meeting the public, be it via the internet (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or the old fashioned book signing at the bookstore down the road. You still have to make a point of doing the interviews and (if you're lucky) panel discussions at conventions. The idea that the publishing house will take care of it all and you just have to show up is a myth that, in my opinion, does a huge disservice to the work the authors who go through that route do independent of the publisher. The stereotype of the self published author begging family to buy books and putting out work that is mediocre at best is just as damaging.

Publication is serious business. While it can be undertaken lightly, it does not get as positive results as the person who approaches it with due respect. Honestly, it is also pretty scary stuff too. There is the fear of rejection that runs rampant through either process that can really cut you down. There is the anxiety as to if your work is good enough to make sales just to break even, regardless of any dreams of profit. And that dizzying sense of free fall when you put your work out on the market is a real rough patch of ground to go over too. It is hard work. It is scary work.

But for how hard and scary publication is, it is also truly rewarding. There is no feeling like the one of holding your proof copy in hand, seeing that your manuscript has made it into print. The thrill of having successfully birthed a creative endeavor is ecstatic. The excitement of making your first sale is equally wonderful. Some people have compared the process to having a child. Honestly, having birthed two children, I think that is a brutally accurate description. Your heart is in your throat half the time. You work long hours, many of which are painfully tedious and you may find yourself questioning just what you got yourself into. You have times where you honestly question if you are competent enough to see that manuscript to completion.

It is grueling work. Some of it is terribly painful and some of it is breathtakingly wonderful. At the end of the day, no matter how much work goes into the process, you still have the accomplishment of completing a book. And that right there is just as much of a miracle as a newborn child.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

6 Days and Counting!

Hello folks!

The big day is fast approaching and I have been having a devil of a time with the cover creator software I'm working with. The stock covers available from Create Space are nice, but not exactly what I am looking for. Thus, I am attempting to work through and having a bit of difficulty. My plan is to create the cover I want for the dust jacket to the hard cover edition and then use it for the soft cover version. I have the pictures picked out that I want to use but the software is being fussy. It is a frustrating thing but I think I will have all the details of the cover ironed out in the next day or so.

The hardest part for this project is not the cover. It is writing the blurb. I am looking at the manuscript and finding myself at a little bit of a loss for how to condense the whole story into a brief paragraph. There are so many elements at play in this book that I am worried that my efforts are going to come off as jumbled chaos. I am not going to let myself get extremely upset over this, because I have several wonderful people who are my sounding boards.

The title of book two of the Umbrel Chronicles is The Dragon Child of Evandar. I will be sharing some details about it as the week progresses and providing a preview of the final version of the cover. At the end of the month, the paperback and hardback versions will be released. For a limited time, they will be offered at a discount after the release date. I will let you know more about that as it gets closer to the big day.

Thank you all for hanging in with me and being patient.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Progress is being made!

Hello, dear Reader!

I have been working on editing book two and getting it ready for publication later this month. As I am working through this process, I can not help but be amazed that this is becoming reality. I am humbled and delighted by the fact that I can create these stories to be read by you. I am excited as book two of the Umbrel Chronicles marches closer to publication.

For the last month, I have been doing line edits. I anticipate being finished with them some time next week. This is the third round of line edits. The general editing was finished a little while back. My beta readers are going through one of the final versions of the manuscript. When I hear back from them, I will be incorporating their responses on how to improve the manuscript into the final version. I should have the cover finished approximately a week before it is time to send the book off.

Like the first book, this cover will focus on the season and major setting of the story. This is going to be a theme through the series. In each cover, you will have a clue as to a major detail of the story. It is my hope that if I get picked up by a publishing house to continue this theme through out the series. Until then, I will be doing the best I can with what I have.

Your readership means the world to me. I appreciate your time and I sincerely hope that you enjoy my efforts. If you are interested in contacting me to discuss the possibility of some form of collaborative project set in my little world, feel free to contact me.