Saturday, July 25, 2015

Resources For Self Publishing in Print

Over the last few months, I've entered into the exciting, nerve wracking, and sometimes flat out frustrating world of self-publishing to print.  I am so glad I finally got enough courage to embark on this journey.  I've grown a lot in the last couple of years, and trusting and having confidence in myself is one of the amazing fruits of my labor.  But I digress.  I had to do this myself.  I am lucky to have a couple of incredibly gifted friends who blessed me with their photography and modeling skills, and a sister who has good copy edit skills.  But even then, it was a lot of trial and error and there is a big learning curve.

I now have more respect for why editing, interior design, and cover design are so expensive.  By all means, I think these services are valuable.  However, many great emerging authors out there can't afford to spend thousands of dollars per book for these services (and yes, for those out there who might be unaware, that is thousands.  With an "s"), and would like to have their work in print before they die of old age.  For anyone who is in that boat with me, I'm going to link some tutorials and resources that I've found handy.  I have learned though, that no one tool did the job in one go.  I often got almost the product I was looking for, but there was one thing I couldn't fix.  Then I'd have to experiment or find resources to fix was kind of like an RPG!  Nerd that I am, I enjoy a degree.  One disclaimer: I am not an expert at this. Far from it!  This is only my first experience.  I'll try to save you some steps to finding the key to the wizard's castle though...

1) India Drummond's tutorial on how to format your word document for create space. I really liked this, as she shows you on the screen what she is doing and what it should look like.  There were a couple of things I changed in addition to her advice (as a result of my RPGing).  I got my page sizes and margins from the template they provide on Create Space, but just used my own word document.
Another thing I noted while on a side quest, was that in professionally published books there are never pages or titles in the header of the first page of a chapter.  In order to do this you have to set up the page numbers the way she says, but also make sure to go into page set up =>layout => and check the box labeled "section start."  The details are for another day, but I had to play around with this in a couple sections of my manuscript later on because there were blank pages in two places near short chapters. Changing it from starting on a new page to starting odd or starting even seemed to fix this.
I also didn't format my text body exactly the way she did, as I didn't think it matched what I was seeing in professionally published books in my genre. I think this tutorial gives you excellent basics, which you can then adjust to fit your tastes.  I suggest scoping out exactly what you want things to look like by studying the books on your bookshelf.

2) Creating Covers in Microsoft Word by Joanna at The Creative Penn.  I started here for cover creation.  I was mainly looking for an inexpensive way to pretty-up the generic e-book covers I already had. I got some decent results, but most importantly, I learned how to manipulate pictures, layers, etc. within MS word, a skill I used later when I made my actual print cover.

3) How to Make a Full Print Book Cover in Microsoft Word by Derek Murphy at Creativindie.  His free tutorial was what I actually used to make my cover for Earth and Sky.  When I first read through it, I nearly gave up on the spot.  It sounds complicated.  But once you dive in, it's really, truly, not that bad.  I can't speak for any of his pay services.  They look/sound awesome, but I wanted free :)

4) Choosing a Font For Your Manuscript at Holly Brady's blog.  I didn't know the difference between serif and sans serif fonts at first.  This helped me choose the best font for my manuscript and later my back matter.

Hopefully his helps anyone who is taking this exciting and terrifying step! Let me know if you have questions and I'll try my best to answer.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cover Reveal

I am so excited to reveal my new cover for Earth and Sky, courtesy of LE Photography.

The edited e-book is up for sale now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Print version coming soon!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Exciting News and a Shameless Plug

I've been working on a project on the semi-sly for a couple of months now.  Earth and Sky will be released in print sometime this summer! I've done some minor edits and re-writes, and am finally feeling confient enough to self-pub to print.

One of the most exciting pieces of this project is that I am getting a new cover, courtesy of my wonderful friend over at LE Photography.  Please take a moment to check out her beautiful photos.  More to come soon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Foray Into the Dreaded Writing Group!

Like many writers, I suffer from a great desire to sit behind my computer and interact with people only through the written word.

Its so much easier.

And comfy.  (I don't have to wear pants.)

And okay, I'll admit, it's easier to deal with any sort of criticism if you can view the source as cold an impersonal.

It's strange that I should feel this way about my writing.  My day job requires lots of interpersonal interaction with people on various levels--from doing personal care to meetings with families and co-workers--and I weather that just fine.  I don't mind any sort of feedback from online forums and things like that when it comes to my writing.  But for some reason, having real live people listen to or read my work while looking at me is just too much.

Recently I've lit a new fire under my butt.  I've decided to give my dreams a chance, re-visit some of my older works and breathe new life into them--give them the attention they deserved in the first place, rather than giving up on them because an agent didn't give their stamp of approval.

Soooo... I put my big girl pants on and attended a real live writing group.  Like, one with people.  In the same room as me. It was terrifying.  And awesome.  I'm so glad I put on the big girl pants.  They're starting to feel really comfortable.

I've been in the Critters writing group for some time now and have found it valuable.  But there is something about being in a room filled with other people who also have the same crazy, passionate dream as you do... It's inspiring, uplifting, and motivating.  You're not alone! And as solitary as writing can sometimes feel, this is very important!

I highly recommend Writing at the Ledges, in Grand Ledge, if you are a mid-Michigan native.  They are a great group of people and I hope to continue to develop supportive relationships with the group.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Goodreads Ask the Author

I just took some time to answer some of the questions on Goodreads Ask the Author section.  Its a fun feature!  I hope that one day when I'm a big bad "real" author, I will get the opportunity to do things like this.  I love hearing what people are thinking as they read, their questions, how they see the characters.... Its amazing to me how a book can bring people together from all over!

Friday, January 30, 2015

E-Book Freebie This Weekend

I've been so busy lately that my poor little baby blog has been neglected. I'm thinking of gearing up and taking part in the Blogging From A-Z April Challenge.  I've really enjoyed writing little bits of flash creature fiction for this in the past, and getting to "meet" new people on-line.  Click the link for the sign up page.
Comment if you're participating this year and I'll try to make sure to check out your posts!  Also, if you have any fun blog hops coming up, I'd love to hear about them!

This weekend, my E-book, Redemption, will be free from Amazon.  If you need the kindle app, available for any device, see the headers at the top of my blog for the link!

    “You have five days to find the key, or death will visit your waking world.”  Rebecca is trapped in an endless dream- and the grim reaper wants to play.
    Rebecca must fight her way through a series of fantastic creatures who force her to face her deepest pain and her innermost fears as she searches for the key to her escape.  She finds an unlikely ally along the way- a beautiful man named Isaac who is also trapped in this nightmare world of hydras, lamia, and sadistic hooded death.  They struggle on together, revealing their darkest secrets, each finding strength and purpose in the other.  The two broken souls soon discover that this fantasy world is more than a dream, and that one of them is running out of time.
    Rebecca finds the key to their escape and returns to the waking world- alone.  Now she must use her newfound knowledge to return Isaac’s soul to the world of the living, before it’s too late.
    REDEMPTION is fantasy romance with a contemporary feel.  It explores the breadth and depth of the human spirit- and the idea that we are all capable of redemption.  This novel contains explicit scenes (language, adult concepts, and sexual content), and is for mature readers only.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Writing Courses

I wanted to share a little writing gem with you.  I recently went searching for some sort of writing course that I could use to help develop my writing. I am a bit limited though.  I don't have tons of money to spend, I work 40-50 hours a week and have a family.  I can't be jet setting to thousand dollar week long writing retreats or something like that.

Good news! I found a podcast on Writing Excuses (check them out if you haven't already!) with guest speaker David Farland.  He is a teacher and author who has an extensive biography that includes about a million bits of relevant experience, including best selling author, teaching at the college level, and work in Hollywood as a "story doctor," for screenplays, among other things. He mentioned his online courses at My Story Doctor and I had to check it out.

I was happy to find a beginner course that sounded like it would be a good fit for me. It was pricey (by my admittedly cheap standards :) but I've found it really worth the money.  The courses are online.  You read/listen/watch material at your own pace, and there are several on-line meetings each week that you can join as you have time.  I love that you get to talk to Dave personally and ask him any question that pops into your head.  In addition, he gives you assignments throughout, which he then provides personal feedback on.

For me this has been a great way to fit a class into my busy schedule and still get to actually interact on a personal basis with a professional writer and teacher.  I highly recommend his courses.   Take a peek. Happy writing!