Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The end of May. Final edit is complete.

I spent two days this holiday weekend with my editor and finished the final draft of The Eternal Gateway: Requiem.  The rest of the work is all up to me now.  I have to format the book for Nook, Kindle as well as get it print ready for Lightning Source Direct.  The only other bit left is a book cover.

It has been very interesting to go back and look at the first draft, to first edit, second edit and the final edit.  It is so much better now than it was before.  The only mistakes that we found in the final run through of the book were places that I had applied edits from before.  Left out a word or had an extra space between words.  I don't see any way to polish it anymore.  The few real edits that we did were very very tiny subtle things.  Like change one word in some dialog.  The word "dirty" to "filthy" as well as changing "northern lights" to "auroras" because it was brought up that northern lights was too earth-term.  I won't say why but it ended up being important.  But only fans who end up reading all three books and go back to re-read them again will pick up on it.  Even then they might not.  Also my editors have chosen to remain in the dark about the overall story arc's.  It will be neat to know their thoughts when its all finished.  There is a lot of tricky dialog that took me a while to get correct and not have it stand out on the first read through the series.  But once you know all the plot twists by the end of book 3, that dialog means something else totally.  I am hoping people will like it.

So while I'm working on the formating bit, I plan to print out a couple of copies and let some trusted friends read them who have not had any part in its creation or edit.  Think of it like a closed beta test before going live.  I know they can be honest with me and tell me if it sucks, but I doubt it.  Everyone so far has really liked it, and I hope to get a review out of them as well.  

I spent a good deal of time outside this weekend and managed to get a nice sunburn on my nose and arms.  My mother has mentioned several times that it must feel good to have simply gotten it written.  When I think back, I can remember typing that last sentence.  It was a little odd because I had not planned out how to have the end fight go.  So on the second to last chapter, I stopped and wrote the last chapter, finished it and went back to finish the one before it.  So when I finished chapter 29, it was a lot like finishing any of the other chapters.  I do remember a delayed reaction though when I realized it was done.  But the special feeling that my mom keeps bringing up hasn't happened yet.  I think that moment will be when I finally get the book cover done and the final proof from Lightning Source is sitting in my hands. 

It took 5 weeks to write the book and 4 weeks to get it edited.  I hope to have it published in the next 2-3 weeks and end of June at the absolute latest.  Attainable Goals!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Forgot the Teaser

I forgot the teaser part.  The other day I created with movie maker a small trailer video for book 2.  Guardian.  A couple of weekends ago, I was sitting around the deck drinking beer with my parents and we were talking about how my book was coming along.  I told them that I had the prologue written and that was about it.  Because in the early outline an design of this trilogy, I took into account that I wanted them to be made into movies, so we started to brainstorm a bit about what the movie trailer for Guardian would look like.  The idea that I came up with was in a 60 second trailer, the first half was to quote and flash on things from Requiem, then hit on a plot twist before Guardian and spend the rest of the time flashing and dialog from Guardian.

I felt like this would work well because it would remind you of book 1 and prime you for book 2.  Other than a handful of people have read book 1, this trailer wouldn't be very significant for those who haven't read it.  But those who have seen the little clip and read book 1 found it to be very exciting.

I think I will try to create something like this for book one and get it uploaded to generate hype and interest before it gets published.  As far as the one I have now for Guardian.  Don't expect to see it any time soon until it's time to launch. 

Of birthdays and teasers.

The 25th was my birthday.  I celebrated by starting the first chapter of my second book titled The Eternal Gateway: Guardian, and a nice dinner and fun with some friends.

  Book one is still floating in limbo it seems and with the holiday weekend and Western Days following it I don't see it moving forward.  I find it frustrating with all the excess time it takes with editing and such.  There is way too much 'hurry up and wait' involved.

I still think the most important part of a book is getting it written.  However getting what needs to be done after should be planned as soon as the writing starts.  For example, it took me 5 weeks when I finally sat down and wrote Requiem.  It was finished on April 28th.  I handed out 5 copies for red line editing.  Looking for punctuation, syntax, wrong words that were spelled right that the computer missed etc.  I can't complain honestly as this is only costing me time and my budget is low.  One copy I received back fairly quickly.  Under 5 days, but the reader after chapter 6 quit marking mistakes and got too caught up in the story...  Another I got back after 70 pages were looked at was all.

About a week and a half went by before I got a complete edit back.  I spent the next 3 days applying the edits and a week later I spent another 3 days going over the new version and did a reading.  Basically I sat for 14 hours or so and read my story out loud and whenever there was a hiccup, we stopped and corrected it.  It was mind blowing how many corrections and adjustments were made on the second run through.  But the book is a 100 times better than what it was at the end of April.  I feel that it still needs one more going over and it will be print ready but I am having problems finding someone who can do it.  For free lol.

Two of the first copies that I handed out, have yet to be finished and returned.  I guess my point is that I am frustrated with the parts of writing a book that I cannot do myself.

Another point of frustration is the book cover.  I don't have the programs or skill to do it properly myself and to have it hired out will break the budget I have set for this.  I have looked around and the cost for a cover is $800-$2500.  Poo on that.


Knowing what I do now, and what I plan to do while I write book 2 is about every 50 typed pages, I hand it out for the first red line edit.  When I get it back, it will just sit there until the book is finished.  The prime directive of book writing is to get it done, if you stop and go back you are in edit mode not writing mode.  But it will allow me to immediately start on applying edits while I wait a day or three for the last bit is being edited.  It should put me on the second edit of the book a week after finishing the manuscript, compared to 3+ weeks it took this go around.  This also lets me use my editing sources more efficiently.  I can only get one good run through with a person before they know the story and objectively edit.  Like myself, once you are familiar with it, your brain automatically starts to overlook mistakes.

Also starting work on the book cover as soon as the writing starts.  I lost a good 2-3 weeks of time with the book cover because the model who agreed to help up and quit w/o notice or reason.  So I wasted another 10 days after getting it set up trying to get a hold of her to reschedule before moving on.

In the end though, it was a good birthday and frustrations aside, I am happy with my book and progress.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Assumed Business Name

It was expensive today as far as how much money I have spent in creating my first book.  I paid $250 for a block of 10 ISBN numbers.  Seeing how you need one for every format there was no other choice.  I don't have $1000 to spend on 1000 numbers.  At least not yet.  It is aggravating that I am going to need 3 numbers for one book.  One for Paperback, one for the Kindle format and one for the Nook format.

However the sad thing is that the ISBN website itself preys upon people by charging $25 to generate a barcode.  I took a class this last weekend about writing, publishing, and marketing a book.  The instructor in that class also said that you should be paying $20-$50 for a barcode from your graphics designer.  Generally the same person who is doing your interior design or book cover.  The best part was when the instructor said that the barcode is special because it has "film" in it.  Wow, just wow.  Because you know, that special film is important and its not like you cant get MS Word to create one for you, or that there are not 100's of web sites that will generate them for you as well...

I also spent $25 today to register SBJones Publishing with the state of Idaho.  As a sole proprietor I would not have had to do this if my name was in the title.  But I need a tax exempt number so I can have my books made and then sell them to people w/o having to pay the tax myself.  To get that number, the business name needs to be registered.  I should be receiving that documentation by the end of this week or the start of next week.

So $275 today.  Other than a few reams of paper, printer ink and about $30 in office supplies I had yet to spend  what I consider to be any real money.  With additional costs coming up and trying to pay myself at least minimum wage for my time.  I need to sell about 3000 downloads from Amazon or BN.com at $2.99 with the 70% commission.  Thats roughly $2.09 per sell.

With this being my first book, I think that goal is going to be a challenge but doable.  I don't think book one will be able to do it on its own unless I get lucky, or I spend a thousand hours selling it.  Once books two and three are available, I think getting 3000 sales will be achievable.  Sure I will need to sell more total books, but the next two will not have these upfront costs associated with them.

One of my current goals is to keep the out of pocket costs of this book to under $1000.  So far it still seems doable.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Starting the marketing journey

And so it begins, I have finished the second red line edit of my book.  It went from 74500 words to 74500+ after the first round and now its settled at 74211.  Not that it really matters.  I feel it needs going over once more and then 2-3 copies of the final edit need to go out for beta test outside of friends and family.  If the feedback matches what I have so far, then its rock and roll time.

This blogspot is where I plan to do some of the marketing as well.  Create buzz and all that good jazz as I try to sell my book.  Goal is to have it ready for purchase in June of 2011.  I plan to also use this as a journal as well.  Writing the book so far has been the easy part.  Editing, cover design, and researching the various print on demand options and e-book options have been far more challenging.

Book 1 of my trilogy is:
The Eternal Gateway: Requiem

Some current info for the curious.  I originally did the outline for all 3 books back in March of 2010.  I did write about 3000 words of the first book as well then I got caught up in trying to kill the Lich King and then the Cataclysm happened.  And didn't touch it until this year.  March 29th of 2011 is when I finished chapter 2.  On April 28 2011 I finished the 30 chapter manuscript.  At the start I spent maybe a whopping 2-5 hours a day if that, but the last week of work when I had a stack of papers to look at for motivation, I started to put in 6-12 hours to get it done.

It wasn't that hard to get it done.  The outline from a year ago made it easy.  I just read all of my notes and wrote about what I had already planned out.  I cannot stress that having it outlined made all the difference. And never going back to read what you had written before.  That means you don't go back to edit or review until its done.

Book 2 : Guardian I am planning on starting soon.  There isn't much anything else I can do right now with Requiem.