He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. ~Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Self-Publishing is only half the battle. Or maybe even less. Some kind of fraction or percent? IDK, math was never my thing.

It's strange to think that after putting SO much time and work into writing a whole novel that you're only half-done once you type The End.

Marketing. That's a whole other ballgame. You've kicked your book into the vast ocean of Amazon and then you have to teach it to swim. Granted, I tried to get some marketing tools in place before I published. I culled a group of advance readers for reviews, built a new Twitter, Facebook and blog (this one) but all of those require marketing tools in order to build an audience too.

This then, is the pitfall of my choosing to self-publish: the business aspect. I don't want to market or promote or Tweet a million times a day. I'm proud of the book but I want to write. That's what I do.

On the other hand, there is NO point in going to the trouble of writing a book you want people to read and then not do the work to make sure that they can find it. So it will take a judicious planning on my part as NaNoWriMo is two days away and I want to start the next book, market this one, and not neglect my kids or home.

But the silver lining is that as far as marketing strategies go, having more than one book out is a biggie. So I can do what I want to do and it counts toward support for this one! WIN!

So here's where you can find my first born, in the literary sense. Enjoy!
Love Beyond Words

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why Picking a Good Name for Your Book is, like, Important or some junk.

When I first started on this self-publishing road, my hubs said to me, "You are going to make mistakes and learn things that will only serve to help you for next time. It's unavoidable."

Of course, making mistakes was not on my list of Things To Do no matter how helpful and informative they might prove to be in the future. 100% error-free perfection is the goal, isn't it? That's why the draft of my novel was perfect after one typo-sweep and I'm totally NOT still finding missing words or clunky bits 183,597,305 read-throughs later. Right? Right.

But I digress.

Naming the book came late into the process. Usually does. I take in all the themes and pithy bits of dialogue and scour them for a title. This romance is about a shy book-nerd and a reclusive writer. I wanted to encapsulate the writerly/bookish aspects of the story and tie it all together neatly at the end. Hence, The Story of Us.  The perfection of it was dizzying, truly. At least to me. Okay, only to me.

The hubs wasn't blown over. He thought it kind of...blah. I didn't care. It fit perfectly. And because I am nothing if not a paragon of perfection, and not at all sloppy or rushed, I quickly Googled "story of us" to see if my chosen title was already taken. What foresight! What incredible attention to detail! I was pleased to see that the Story of Us belonged to an old (and forgotten) Bruce Willis movie and a Taylor Swift song from 2010. I was in the clear! I proceeded with cover design plans and PAID FOR THEM with that title.

Fast forward a week later and my computer-savvy brother informs me that there is already a recent book (August-of-this-year-recent) with that same title. Whaaaa? How could this be? I Googled for god's sake, and everyone knows Google is the Shining Oracle of Truth. Had it forsaken me? Where, praytell, did my brother find this other charlatan using my title?

On Amazon, as a matter of fact. Oh, right. Amazon. THE PLACE WHERE I'M PUBLISHING MY BOOK.

Without delay, I examined Amazon in greater depth and lo and behold... There were not just ONE The Story of Us's. There were four of them. Being the optimist that I am, I rationalized that some were old. Ancient even. Like, from 2013. Sure, one came out a month ago, and another in March of this same year, but it's cool, right? More the merrier.

And because I am nothing if not detail-oriented, I meandered on over to Goodreads and typed in the title. NINE other books. Nine. And all of them, but for one, romances.

At this point, the writing was on the wall, but I took my dilemma to my Dilemma Committee, aka Facebook, hoping one of my beloved friends (most of whom are writers themselves) would say, "So what? There could be a million books with the same title and yours will just rise to the top and not get lost at all. It's brilliant. Trust me."

Instead, one for one, they told me to change it. And all were suddenly afflicted with a viral strain of honesty that prompted many to tell me the title Story of Us wasn't exactly...good. (see hub's initial reaction) Not that it was bad, but that it was just eh, and eh is almost as bad as bad.

I resisted. It was sort of like I'd given birth to this thing, my baby, and I just knew in my heart of hearts that it should be named Joe. Not the most exciting, but it FIT. Then I found out 20 other babies on my ward had the same name and the nurses were all confused about who was who, and people were hearing my choice of name and saying, "Oh. Joe. That's...nice."

I was not pleased. Already mildly stressed/nervous about the whole process in the first place, the last thing I wanted was to be upheaved with a title change. Especially after the first cover was already in the bag. (and paid for)

I agonized for about 20 hours and after a back-and-forth with a friend, I landed on a new title that I didn't automatically hate after 15 seconds. It matched my themes, and while there wasn't any pithy dialogue with it, it was writer/book related and romancy too. Love Beyond Words.  I dug it. I Googled it. I Amazoned it. I Goodreadsed it. One truly ancient title, and not a romance. I could live with that.

One day and $75 later, the cover was redone, crisis averted.

I still like the Story of Us. I still wish that was the book's title in much the same way a new parent naming their kid Joe likes it: because it fits, not because it has the biggest wow-factor. But this is business, after all. If I'm not out to wow, what's the point? I don't know if the new one will wow, but at least its readers will be able to find it and tell me without having to play Where's Waldo first.

And, dammit, the hub's was right. With the second book, the chosen title will get a thorough research before any money goes to a cover.

Because I'm nothing if not the epitome of caution and not at all careless or impatient. Nope. Not me.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Self publishing

I don't regret my plan to self-pub this romance. It was practically a throw-away book, written in 2009 and not even looked at until earlier this summer. Not to say I don't like it, am not proud of it, or am trying to lessen the blow of any potential negative reviews by being dismissive. Quite the contrary. I've grown to be quite fond of the thing, which makes me even MORE nervous as I prepare to kick into the world. But that's what it was intended for. I half-assed tried to shop it to agents (and by half-ass I mean my query letter was sincerely craptastic, my synopsis filled with typos; just a mess). But about a day after I finished a query blitz I realized how silly that time spent was as I moved ahead with self-publishing plans.  In short, this sucker was born to be self-pubbed and self-pubbed it shall be.

However, as the day grows closer, the self-doubts are piling up like rejection slips. Or roaches; they scuttle in from everywhere and I don't know where they come from since half of the worries are those I've never even remotely entertained before, even on my worst days. No sense in hashing them out here (or giving them credence) they all just boil down to one to one shining, robust fear: NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

NGE is a pesky little bugger; a chameleon that takes all shapes and sizes and colors and tenors, whispering sweet nothings in my ear as I edit. So silly, really, when one considers I'm not going to stop. I'm still going to publish it, so aside from striving to make it better, I don't see why NGE bothers. The show's going to go on motherf*cker, so shut yer piehole etc etc tough talk hoo-ra etc

In other news, loving the design the graphic artist came up with for my cover. NGE had a lot to say about its flaws, but when my initial reaction is to tear up slightly for joy, I know that NGE is full of shit.  ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Accidental romance author

I am not a romance author. Not by nature, anyway. I am a fantasy/sci-fi geek and have been writing such since high school. Emma Scott isn't even my real name. It's an identity for this strange person living in my brain--the one who demands a good romantic interest in every book she reads, regardless of genre. It's the name I've given to the sappy entity who saw a lapse in the endless fantasy saga I'd been working on for years and pounced. It happened to be a November, the National Novel Writing Month, and since I CANNOT resist NaNoWriMo, the Story of Us was born.

It began as a prompt in my favorite writing competition, the NYC Midnight Madness Creative Writing contest. I'm not pimping them, but for the curious: http://www.nycmidnight.com/  

They provide three prompts, you have 48 hours to write a 1000 word story. I got romance/computer lab/glow stick. The computer lab and the glow stick didn't make it into the novel, but I turned that flash story into a full-on book for NaNoWriMo. This was in 2009, a book so old one character's parents were named Kristoff and Ana. (Of course, I had to change the names but it was tough; I rather liked them. But sometimes you just have to let it go.) I know, I know...

It languished until a few months ago when my nautical fantasy grew too unwieldy and needed a break. Or rather, I needed a break from it before I went cross-eyed. So I opened up the file, dusted it off, and cleaned it up. I toyed querying agents but this thing was never meant to be anything more than fun, and there's nothing LESS fun than having strangers poo-poo something that you really just want to feel good about. So I'm drop-kicking this little novel, that I've grown extremely fond of, into the ether and I hope y'all like it. I do. So much so that I'm going to write another romance. 

NaNoWriMo's coming up, after all. ;)