Thursday, June 30, 2011

POD - part 2 Continuing Drama

Good morning.

My print release is delayed due to cover rework. :( I can't get the background resolution high enough, so I had to call in an expert. This is another BIG reason to hire a cover designer - they should provide digital and print ready formats (including back half) as part of their deliverables. I do love my DIY cover, but I'm just sayin'... A cover designer is work the money for so many reasons.

I planned on covering the digital to print interior process for today's post. However, as I researched, I found a new template that I want to try. So far, the formatting has been problematic with all the templates I've worked with. The preset headers and footers have been a nightmare. I've sampled formats on LuLu and Createspace and compared to Lightning Source. Finally, I think I might have stumbled on "the one." :)

Also since so many people are at RWA *Sniff* I am thinking if I wait until next week to post, I might be able to provide more value to your journey.

SO instead, I'll ask: Are you at RWA? If not, how you feeling about missing the main event? This year I have a crit partner, a MargaRITA sister, and another good friend nominated for the YA Golden Heart. The YA RITA nominees (including Cassandra Clare) are awesome. And Meg Cabot is the award night emcee. So many of my friends are there and I am BUMMED to be watching from Ohio.

Last year was my first year to attend the conference and it blew my mind.

RWA 2010 Ally Carter, ME, and Meg Cabot
Your Turn: If you are on the sidelines, how are you feeling about it? Will you be following the Awards tomorrow night?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

POD part 1 - The screwup

I screwed up. L After extensive Print On Demand research, I knew I wanted to take the lower risk, minimal investment option of Create Space vs. Lightning Source but I underestimated the learning curve and formatting demands of the print ready process. I’m reworking elements and have bumped my POD release from 6/24 to 7/1. *grrr*
Today, I was going to rehash my CS vs. LS rationale. However, I stumbled upon Robin Sullivan’s brilliant blog WRITE TO PUBLISH and it’s amazing! I enjoy the business side of writing, but with a highly demanding corporate job, 2 small kids, and a hubby who travels M-F for work, I have to prioritize. Robin Sullivan’s blog has just leapt to the top of my priorities list.
Her post covers everything I learned in my research—only she says it more concisely and with the stats to back it up. Thanks Robin!
Conclusion: If you are thinking about going indie, add WRITE TO PUBLISH as part of your writer’s foundation.
Mood: Busy
Next steps: Fixing my CS formatting issues and aggressively focusing on my latest DOON revisions for editor X.
Your turn: What do you think about WRITE TO PUBLISH?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Indie-curious? Self-publishing made easy

As promised, here’s my easy peasy step-by-step guide to self-publishing.
(note: Do not buy an expensive ISBN or set of ISBNs before starting.)

Before you start, make sure you have a finished, professionally edited manuscript and a professionally designed cover. These two things will make or break your career.

For editing perspective, please see my post Who Should See Your Book Before You Self-Publish?

Also invest in a professionally designed cover. Not only will it look great, most designers will deliver final content in fortmats needed for Smashwords, PubIt, Amazon Kindle Direct, and your preferred Print on Demand (usually Create Space or Lightning Source). Find some indie covers you like and ask the authors who did their cover.

On to Self-Publishing DIY

I found the digital formatting process pretty detailed, but simple. But there are some great, reasonable services that will deliver finished, ready to upload formats, like Formatting 4 U.
·         Download Smashwords Formatting Guide
o   Follow the guide step-by-step (all 68 pages)
o   Don’t do nuclear formatting method unless you have a ton of rogue html code or unfixable formatting issues.
o   Save as MANUSCRIPT_SmashwordsEdition.doc
·         Make Smashwords account
o   Upload MANUSCRIPT_SmashwordsEdition.doc to Smashwords & wait for confirmation of success.
o   Smashwords will generate in multiple forms including Epub (Nook compatible) mobi (Kindle compatible)
·         Download Kindle for PC and NOOK for PC
o   Download (Kindle) and check formatting
o   Download MANUSCRIPT.Epub (NOOK) and check formatting
·         If you find formatting errors, fix and re-upload to Smashwords
·        Go To Smashwords Dashboard > Distribution Channel Manager
o   Opt out of Amazon and B&N distribution
o   Yes, really – Opt out of Amazon and B&N distribution!!!
              (Make sure you follow the final SW "opt out" step above.)
·         Download MobiPocket Creator
o   Open MANUSCRIPT_SmashwordsEdition.doc
o   Delete “Smashwords” from copyright page (2 or 3 places – covered in SW formatting guide)
o   Replace “Smashwords” with "Kindle" & "Amazon"
o   Save as MANUSCRIPT_KindleEdition.doc
o   For copyright page example download THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN free excerpt.
o   Open Mobipocket Creator
o   Upload Cover (do not add as first page of MANUSCRIPT_KindleEdition.doc or it will show up twice on Kindle) 600x800 min. pixels for mobi discussion thread here
*Amazon recommends a 1.6 width/height ratio, and their recommended height is 2,500 pixels.
Upload MANUSCRIPT_KindleEdition.doc – Mobipocket Creator will create a .mobi file
o   Save as
·         Make Kindle Account
o   Upload your Manuscript cover
o   Upload

(the easiest one)
·         Make B&N Pubit Account
o   Upload Manuscript Cover
o   Upload MANUSCRIPT.Epub (downloaded from Smashwords earlier – I didn’t worry about uploading a version w/o “Smashwords” on coverpage since distribution is typically much smaller at B&N.)

·         NOW YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT Amazon     Barnes & Noble AND   Smashwords!
·         Stop and pat yourself on the back

·         Continue to check Smashwords Dashboard to confirm MANUSCRIPT is approved for premium status (2—3 weeks)
o   Once approved – get Smashwords ISBN # (Follow SW ISBN Manager on Dashboard) – Must have ISBN to be eligible for Sony (eReader) and iBookstore (iPad/iPhone/iTouch) catalog distribution.
·         Create Author Page on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, & LibraryThing (minimum)
·         Add purchase  links to your email signature:  Buy THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN (a 2010 RWA Golden Heart® finalist for young adult fiction) at Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Smashwords    coming soon to iBookstore Turn your computer into a free eReader: Kindle for PC  NOOK for PC
o   more information at
·         Use Smashwords Dashboard to generate discount and free coupons. Free codes can be used for giveaways, ARCs, and review copies. SW allows recipient to choose whichever form is compatible with their eReader or PC software.

NEXT THURSDAY: Print copies – Are all Print on Demand Providers Created Equal?
Don’t forget the Kindle Indie-pendence Contest ends on July 4th. Win you kid a Kindle loaded with hot YA and MG titles.
YOUR TURN: What tips or questions do you have about digital publishing?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What can Small Press do for you, you can't do for yourself?

Good morning all!

I am guest blogging today on The Writer's guide to E-Publishing. What can small press do for you, you can't do for yourself? Please stop on over.

Also, check out the cool indie contest I'm participating in: Win a Kindle for your Kid.

Win a Kindle for your kid

The INDIE-pendence Day Author Celebration can help keep your kids reading all summer long!
Fifteen independent teen and ‘tween authors are hosting an eReader giveaway in which one lucky parent will walk away with a free Kindle loaded with hot indie Middle Grade and Young Adult books for their child. 
INDIE-pendence Day, devised by middle grade author Sybil Nelson, serves the dual purposes of raising awareness of Indie authors and meeting the increasing demand for eReaders among teens and tweens. As more libraries invest in eBooks for younger readers and indie authors like Amanda Hocking top teen summer reading lists, it seemed the perfect time to do something on a broad scale. So Sybil put out a call for like-minded writers. The result was a diverse group of talented writers whose fiction runs the gamut from contemporary to fantasy, from horror to the social concerns of bullying.
In order to enter, participants need only to register on the official INDIE-pendence Day website. Additional entries can be earned for tweeting, blogging, and sharing participating author related info. Activities such as book reviews earn even more entries. Details posted at
So come and join the fun by helping your child reach reading INDIE-pendence!
The event runs from June 1 – July 4, 2011.
Three additional prizes include a collection of free MG and YA e-books from participating authors.

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Love Friday with YA author Tina Ferraro

Happy June everyone!  To kick off the long, hot summer months, YA author Tina Ferraro is joining me to talk about her first kiss.

CC: Thank you, Tina, for being a part of First Love Fridays: where we explore the glory and angst of first loves, first kisses, first breakups, and life beyond.
TF:  Haha, I live and breathe this stuff! 

CC: Tell us about your first kiss. To protect the innocent feel free to use an alias.
TF:  Okay!  My first kiss happened under a tree in a vacant lot in middle school.  The funny thing is that he told me it was his first kiss, too, but in high school, I found out he'd told the same/done the same with one of my very good friends a year earlier. So forever I will think of him as a serial first kisser. But a sweet and cute one!

CC: OMG—that’s hysterical! Was he a good kisser, at least?
TF:  LOL--hard to say.  I think I was too obsessed on the fact I was actually kissing a boy to make a real memory of the event.  (Haha, says she, the author of a book called The ABC’s of Kissing Boys!) 

CC: Was there a love connection?
TF:  I’d say a “crush connection.”  He “asked me out” that afternoon and we were a recognized couple for a month or so.  Later he transferred to a private high school while I went to the public one, so our paths stopped regularly crossing.

CC: Have you connected with him/her since then? Have you gone searching for him/her on Face book?
TF:  We still have mutual friends, so I know he’s happy and doing well!   

CC: Tell us about your most recent project. What role does love play in the story?
TF:  My agent is presently reading the full of my latest young adult novel.  At present it’s hush-hush on the specifics, but believe me when I say there is love and kisses--although not a first.  In fact, the confusion that the main character feels about her first kiss (back in middle school--wonder where I got that idea?) is what lays the groundwork for the a-little-bit-crazy plot!  But I promise, it’s all made-up from there!  
CC: I will actually be seeing your agent today, I’ll be sure to tell her about you being my FLF guest. ;)  Do you have any final wisdom to share with us about first loves?
TF:  Cherish the memories, but it’s okay to move on, too!

Tina’s *amazing* RITA nominated book The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, is a perfect summer read. So add it to your beach stack today!  You won't be sorry.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Are you as sick of me as I am?

Release week for THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN is finally over. If I’ve done my promotion right, you all are sick of me. J Heck, I’m pretty sick of myself. The promotion continues. I’ll still be blogging at a few sites this month as well as my own. I’m participating in a really COOL MG and YA indie author kindle giveaway. I’ve been and will continue to network with valued industry professionals. I’ve got a conference coming up this weekend that I’m prepping for—creating some promotional material.
Out of the gate, sales are better than I anticipated. Between Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Smashwords I’ve sold nearly 100 copies. I’m getting 4 and 5 star ratings and reviews  at the above sites and Goodreads. (So one rated my book 3 stars – I will not obsess about it!) Despite the rigorous line edits, someone else found some typos. (Crap! See mantra above.)
Overall, I just survived one of the most exhausting, momentous weeks of my career. It was completely worth the hard work. And the work is not over. But I’ve got to pull back and refocus enough that writing becomes my priority. I have projects stacking up. Not a bad position to be in.
Conclusion: Acting as your own publisher is more time consuming that difficult. There are so many systematic resources that help. Later this month, I’ll post my step-by-step analysis of my process/How to guide.
Mood: Rested
Related topics: Win a Kindle for your kid! Fantabulous MG and YA indie author giveaway.

Next steps: Write, conference this weekend, write, In about a week I need to start getting THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN print-ready.
Tomorrow is the FIRST LOVE FRIDAY!!! To celebrate Tina Ferraro will be joining me to talk about her first kiss.
Your turn: What’s your current writing priority?