Should Questions and Minor Formatting Problems Delay Publication?

After months or even years of working on a book you are finally ready for publication. You are thrilled to have it done! It will be so amazing to hold the finished product in your hands. You can hardly wait any longer, but . . . you hesitate. Fear has frozen you in place, finger a millimeter above the keyboard.

You tell yourself “All I have to do is click on that ‘Order Your Proof Copy’ or ‘Publish’ button and I’m done.” “Are you?” you ask. You nod. Yes. And a little fear nudges into that little crack you didn’t know was there. You try to push past and reach for the Enter key on the keyboard. In a rush, the questions come: You’ve done your best, right? Your editor has been great and hasn’t missed a single thing, hasn’t he? Your full cover has everything, doesn’t it? The interior design looked perfect, right? All the sections on Bowker for the ISBN are filled in correctly, right? What about the official Copyright with The Library of Congress? You posted an announcement of your accomplishment, didn’t you? Where? On Goodreads, your Amazon Author page (is it set up?), your personal Facebook page as well as your business page (do you have a business page?), What about LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, . . . oh gods, you suddenly think about all that still has to be done now that the book is done. You jerk your hand away from the keyboard letting panic replace the excitement and joy of publishing. You’ve been busy writing, rewriting, and rewriting, so when have you had time to do all of that?

For independently publishing authors this is a crisis moment. And whether you believe it or not, it will happen with everything you publish, not just the first book. You will always second guess, always want to do more editing. Every time you see your work in a different format you will find things you’ll want to change. The important thing for you to do when this happens is to Stop and Think whether those changes truly matter. I was encouraged to change the font of my manuscript while I was working on the third major wave of editing. I was amazed at the number of errors I found. Even saving the Word Document as a PDF changed how I saw it. (How could I, my editor, and beta readers have missed all those missing quotation marks?) It was enlightening and delayed my publication goal by almost two weeks while the text was reviewed more closely one more time.

Now, I did manage to get one proof copy of my third book, The Blades, in my hands before I got stopped once more. Through all of changes I was not prepared for the formatting of the glossary that was in that proof copy. I did not notice the difference in the PDF nor in any of the Word documents. It was different than the glossary in the second book in two ways. Was it really a problem? Yes and no. Could I live with it? Maybe. So, thinking that if I could live with it, I moved on to ordering a proof copy from KDP. And once again I was stopped – for reasons I still don’t understand but I took this as a sign that I needed the formatting to be corrected to match that found in the second book. Why waste money on another proof copy when I knew this was something I knew should be corrected. However, this again moved The Blades’ publication date to mid-November, if my interior designer could correct it in a day or two.

Everything else is good and excitement returns, but that excitement is tempered with the certainty of my decision. Is there truly a rush to get this wonderful story into the hands of my readers? They think so. And that encourages me to get this done right.

The fear and panic of all those questions has been pushed back. I can return to the list and crosscheck what’s been completed and what has not. I know not quite all are checked off, but most of them are. I know that even though this is my third book I am still learning. And I thank the gods and the Stones of Lrakira and Teramar I’m still capable of learning. Sometimes there are good reasons to NOT push that ‘Publish’ button, to take just a bit longer to ensure that your readers will be pleased with your finished product. You don’t have to do everything at once, but be sure to do the really important things – write a good story, get it well edited, get a good cover, get the LCCN and ISBN set up, etc. Then you can push that publish button and get excited to hold your book and show it proudly to your readers – Now You Can Sell It!

Addendum: the paperback version of The Blades: The Stone’s Blade, Book Three went live on Amazon on November 20, 2019. I’m so excited!!!! Please join me.

The Balance is here!

Now the marketing work begins – or rather continues to ramp up. How am I marketing this entertaining second installment of The Stone’s Blade series? Here is a list of the things I have started:

First I had my book designer, Nathan, upload the print version of the book to Create Space and made it available on Amazon after approving the file. Then, with support from my eBook transformer, Helena, I learned how to upload the The_Balance_Cover_for_Kindle.mobi file to Amazon’s KDP program. That one took about four tries before I got it right but it did work after a good night’s sleep and a fresh outlook on the process.

Then I moved to Goodreads and created a Giveaway for five autographed copies to readers in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. I am running the Giveaway for a full month and three days in 138 people have entered. So take a moment and enter the Giveaway (see below for the link).

I have announced that The Balance is live and ready for reading on both my personal and business Facebook pages.

If you want to purchase a copy directly from me you only have to attend one of our dances. One benefit to doing that is you will receive a twenty percent discount. Granted none of the books I sell personally gets recognized on Amazon but that’s okay. I do receive a larger royalty by selling on my own too. And that helps my bank account. I am hoping that one day I will break even on this venture. At the moment that means selling between one and two thousand copies. And you can help by purchasing a copy or two (insert smiling face here!) for yourself, family and/or friends. To buy from Amazon click here.

If you enjoy reading this second installment please take a moment to post a brief review on Amazon and Goodreads. This way you are helping me spread the word.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Balance by Allynn Riggs

The Balance

by Allynn Riggs

Giveaway ends September 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details

 

I thank you in advance for joining me on the continuing adventure of The Stone’s Blade series. Let me know what you think and share your thoughts. Help me celebrate!

 

Marketing Experiment for December 2015

December 2015 has been an interesting experiment in marketing book one of The Stone’s Blade series, The Blood. In preparation for the upcoming release of the second installment of the series, The Balance, I launch a multi-pronged social media announcement scheduled across three different sites.cropped-the-blood-at-tattered-cover-hr-rmas-shelf-6-24-14.jpg

I began the month with by paying for several advertisements on a website for readers called BookDaily. Their daily e-mails to general audiences and targeted e-mails for readers of specific genres included a brief blurb, copy of the cover and link to Amazon for purchase along with the first chapter as a sample.

Then I set up a five day FREE Kindle download from Amazon which ran from December 18 through the 22nd. This was been a very interesting result. Day One 148 downloads, Day Two 158 downloads, Day Three 40 downloads, Day Four 231 downloads, Day five 92 downloads. The jump on day four is directly related to a single day announcement on Goodreads of the free Kindle version.

On December 22 I decided to check on the rankings: this was my posting on Facebook: So here’s the good news on the Kindle down loads and rankings on Amazon for The Blood.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048 Free in Kindle Store
#4 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Time Travel
#7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

If you look carefully you will notice that I broke into the top 10 in two categories – Time Travel and Space Opera! Thank you to everyone who downloaded the past five days. I look forward to seeing your reviews when you get the chance to post. I hope you enjoy the read.

Then on the evening of the 23rd I returned to Amazon to see how far the book had dropped in the rankings. This was what I found:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,432 Paid in Kindle Store. #403 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Time Travel. #1614 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera. #1871 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery

A fascinating difference, don’t you think? Now I am hoping that of the total of 669 downloads of the Kindle version at least 65 (I’m thinking 10%) will actually read it and perhaps post honest reviews to Amazon and or Goodreads. That will have wait I guess because it should take most readers a couple of weeks to read. I mean a lot of people actually collect free downloads and probably read none of them. I hope to see an uptick in the number of reviews around the end of February 2016. That’s when I am hoping to get The Balance out. Somehow I am hoping for some bleed over from all the Kindle downloads of The Blood to purchases of either the Kindle or paperback version of The Balance.

This marketing is all a learning process. I really just want to write the stories but I must learn how to be more effective in my marketing – essentially no one else is going to do this for me. I promised the characters I would write their stories and I promised to do my very best. Learning marketing of fiction, particularly science fiction and fantasy is not an easy task and I believe it will be worth it. My goal is to break even. At an average of $3 to $5 profit from each book I must sell at least 2,000+ paperbacks just to break even on The Blood. I believe this is possible. I will be patient. Most series don’t really get noticed until at least the third installment is well into publication. I have five titles. I truly can hardly wait to get started on number three, The Blades. Yet, again, I must wait and be patient. Number two, The Balance demands my attention for now. I promise it will be good. I am doing my best and with help and guidance from my editor, proofreader, book designer and a couple of beta readers, it is worth the wait.Book Promotion

Have you read The Blood yet? What do you think? Please post a review on Amazon, Goodreads or BookDaily. Don’t keep it a secret.

I thank you for sharing the stories of The Stone’s Blade.

 

“Books Are Now Forever”

Inspiration to write comes in many forms. Hugh Howey’s blog (see portion below) is inspiring. The realization that what I have written and will write in the coming decades will be available to any who find, read, hopefully enjoy and/or share it is not just a possibility but an exciting reality. By refusing to quit because agents didn’t respond or that the sci/fi and fantasy genres are overflowing with a multitude of bad, okay, good, and out-of-this-world great stories (literature), and the likelihood my book getting picked up by one of the big5 is extremely slim, I have crossed the bridge to the other side by doing it myself. I did not just slap something together, I paid attention to details by hiring excellent editors, proofreaders, and cover/interior designers. I have two P.O.D. printers to supply potential readers with beautiful paperbacks and the e-book design is top notch as well. My books are now forever.

From Hugh Howey’s blog:

“Write knowing that your works will never expire, and that no one can deny you the right to publication. This was the attitude fanzine authors used to stoke their passions for over a century (and still). It’s the power of this democratizing force. Books are now forever; they remain fresh; they’ll never go out of print. It’ll be decades before most people adequately appreciate this. Get ahead of them by writing today.”

To read the entire blog go here: http://hughhowey.com/Books-were-once-like-razor-blades/

What have you written today?

 

NOW!! The Blood is here.

NOW!!

Yes, the e-book is available as of May 7, 2014 – very early in the morning. Here is the direct link:  http://alturl.com/fbn43

I would love to hear what you think about The Blood. Ask me questions here at Timberdark Writer. Write reviews on Amazon.com and Goodreads. If you enjoy the story let your friends know how to get the book. The print version with its magnificent cover will be available soon.

This is an unbelievable moment. Well, perhaps not really unbelievable as I have always known The Blood would be published. Until late in 2011 I thought it might get the traditional treatment with one of the medium to large publishers. Then in February of 2012 I was encouraged to join the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. This group has been fabulous. I have learned more than I thought possible about the publishing industry. Instead of someone else deciding what the cover was to look like I was able to connect with an artist who made my imagination visible. He was my personal choice. I can with him about how important covers are, to those who are buying a book, to the author and to the story between the front and back cover. Nathan Fisher (Nathan@scifibookdesigner.com) understands the impact of the cover. Several weeks of visual research focused on certain aspects of his proposed design finalized subtle elements such as seeing two of the characters from behind, designing a specialized font for the title, using the crossed blades to divide the cover into quadrants at the same time pulling the front, spine and back pieces together. If the cover is not appealing then few readers will get beyond glancing at it and shoving it back onto the shelf. By using the crash scene he chose the pivotal moment when the lives of the characters are truly changed. After reading the original manuscript Nathan had several ideas on possible covers and, though the others were good, he kept coming back to the crash. He felt it was the beginning of an epic story. There is an air of mystery about this scene. You want to find out who the girl and dog are, what are they thinking as they observe the crash site, how will this impact their lives, why did the ship crash and did anyone survive. I won’t answer those questions here – you will have to read the book.

If you are considering publishing independently you must be willing to spend time and more than a few dollars. You should have enough respect for what you have written to hire editors/writing coaches to help you hone your words as well as cover artists, proofreaders and beta readers who understand your chosen genre. I once spent hundred of dollars on an editor who told me that rocks can’t talk and I should cut that part out – turns out she had never read a science fiction or fantasy book and had no interest in either of those genres. So don’t necessarily choose the first one available. Again, respect yourself and your work. Take the time to find the right team. Don’t be in a hurry – it took you a while to write it and it will take you a while to publish it. Listen and learn from fellow writers, small independent publishers, photographers, graphic artists, editors and writing coaches. Surround yourself with experts who can do things you are not comfortable doing – they will help you create the best possible product.

Again, I invite you to read The Blood. Join me on this adventure. Leave me comments. Do you have questions?