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Step Three to Writing a Book: Publishing

 If you decide to self-publish, there are good prospects and bad ones. It's a complicated process, though it's much simpler now than it was a few years ago. It's hard to break it down, and the learning curve is brutal at times. While I've tried to develop a schedule that covers all the necessary steps, I find myself doing what I feel like doing on a given day and neglecting things I should be doing. That's bad, but since I don't consider writing a "job," I give myself a break and do what sounds doable at the time. Here's what I work on in the months and weeks before publication. Cover Manuscript setup Publicity Corrections Ordering Let's start with the cover. The easiest thing to do is hire a cover artist, and ninety percent of experts will tell you to do that. I admit that I don't have the tools, smarts, or experience that a cover artist does, but here's the thing: they don't know the material like I do. I had a really good cover a

At the Point Where I Can Tell You

 I sent my next book to the copy editor a few days ago, which for me is a major turning point. It's a commitment of sorts; the book that for a looooonnnnngggg time has been only mine is close to being offered to others. I've certainly talked about it at length to friends and family, but no one has read it except my first-draft beta reader, my content editor, and me (many, many times). And yes, I do pay three different people to critique a manuscript before I inflict it on the public. Sending a book to the copy editor indicates that it's in its final narrative form, so now it's her job to find the silly stuff that would take away from readers' enjoyment: spelling errors, extra commas, etc. Once that's done, it will be formatted and prepared for print, e-book, and audio offerings. In other words, I'm saying I don't intend to make substantial changes anymore, and that's really hard for me. Any time I look at past work I think, "I could have done t

Looking at Covers-Please Weigh In

The Kidnap Capers is a three-book series starring Robin and her "hoods," who take down crooks by unorthodox, often humorous methods.  Book 3 will be out on September 1st, so we're trying to settle on a cover. I'd like input from readers on what's eye-catching and gives the sense of a humorous but suspenseful story. Here are their covers (these are for the audio books because that's what I can find right now): Keeping the red/black theme, we got these two possibilities. They'll be fine-tuned once we choose a basic idea. If we skip the idea of coordinating colors, I like this one too: Please tell me which cover you prefer, or choose elements that work for you that might be incorporated into a new cover (e.g., "I like the lettering in X but the picture in Y.")

Another Oldie Reborn

I wrote recently about re-releasing my historicals now that I have the rights from the publisher who originally launched them (2 down, 2 to go!) I explained that they have to have different covers because the original ones aren't mine. There's another book I'd like to tell you about, but we have to talk about some additional things. First, sometimes a book title just doesn't work. You might have seen FORMER TITLE on some of your favorite authors' novels (Did you know that Fitzgerald almost called his book Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires? I think THE GREAT GATSBY is a better title! ) Titles aren't etched in stone, and if one doesn't work, the smart thing to do is change it. The book I once called A Lethal time and Place is a good example. I realized over time that it sounds scary and dark, while the story is whimsical and fun. Hence a new title, NOT DEAD YET... The same is true with covers . The cover artist listened to my ideas and did as I asked, bu

Choosing New Covers

I asked the original publisher of the Dead Detective Mysteries to give me back the rights to the books. They were very nice about it, and I began the process of re-publishing them. Since audiences are often interested in how book covers come about, I thought I'd share my experiences with this series. When publishers accept a manuscript, they often ask the writer for her ideas on what the cover should look like. There is NO guarantee they'll listen, and other writers I've spoken with had covers they hated or felt didn't represent their books at all, but they were stuck with them. When asked about a cover for Book #1, I said I pictured a girl on a ship with a mysterious man in the background. My publisher's cover artist chose this as the cover for The Dead Detective Agency. Some people liked it; some didn't. A couple said the girl looked like my daughter; others said she looked like a robot. My first reaction was disappointment, but I recognize that I am NO ju