Monthly Archives: May 2014

First Critique Group!

I have just helped organize a critique group with SCBWI.  I was flipping through their discussion boards and responded to a woman looking for an online critique group.  I put together a google doc, more people joined, and we are ready to go!  I am very excited to be a part of a critique group of other amateur children’s book authors.  The only other critique groups I have been in are for school projects and those never seem to lead to anything.  I think this one will work though since we all want to receive feedback on our MSs and help each other out as well.  So far I have only met good people via SCBWI!

For this critique group I am going to use it for a couple picture book MSs that I have started.  My finished novel The Healing Pool I think is good to go and I have already hired an editor, and I think most of the people in our group are also working on picture books or children’s fiction.  The PBs I have started were really fun to put together.  One of the little kids I babysit for always wants me to “read a story out of my head” so I was inspired to write some things down.  All of the PBs I have now involve animals in some way.  A couple rhyme, one is for toddlers, and a couple have more depth to the story.  One is about Syd.  I mean, who wouldn’t love a tiny and adorable dwarf hamster?

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New Goals

This school year is dragging on and I cannot help but feel jealous as I see pictures of friends graduating and hearing when people get back home.  I still have four more weeks.  Four.  And it’s hard to keep my motivation up, especially since I am not wow-ed by either of my classes this term.  I have also found it very difficult to keep writing.  I have a few books started, but I can feel that 2 of them are really going somewhere.  Yet with all of my school work and practicing that needs to be done it is almost impossible to safe enough time and/or brain space for another novel.  

I have decided I need to change something.  I have decided that I am going to write everyday in one of my novels.  Steven King has a whole rule about how he must write at least 2000 words a day.  I understand passion and dedication, but right now I need to take things a little slower.  I have enough pressure to finish homework on time which is why I have decided to stay away from a daily word-count quota.  My goal is just to write everyday.  If I write three words one day and 3000 words the next, so be it.  I love writing, I want it to eventually become my full-time career, but right now I also have grades and school and other aspects of life to worry about. 

Habits are everything and I am a creature of habit.  I also love routine, so writing needs to become part of my daily routine.  If I can shower, stretch, and brush my teeth every single day, why can’t I also write a little every day?  

(I wrote 724 words today!  Woo!)

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Sometimes we all need a little help

Sometimes we all need a little help

Typing away with a hamster on my shoulder. Good times!

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May 16, 2014 · 9:48 pm

Impatient

I am ready to publish my book.  I have an editor signed up, a cover artist ready to go, and the guts to try and format it myself.  Only I have to wait.  My editor is booked until July and my cover artist will not be able to start until after graduation in June, leaving me sitting on my hands vibrating with anticipation. 

It’s not like I don’t have things to do. I have four more weeks of school with papers and projects to prepare.  I have started another book that needs a bit of research that should be easy and interesting to collect.  I should probably try to research formatting so I will not be totally in the dark…yet I am eager to finally finish this project!  I have a long history of starting books and never finishing them.  I did finish a manuscript, I have edited it myself (twice), but I am still nervous about waiting!  I am ready to start my career as an author and explore the complicated world of advertising and marketing.  I want to be successful, but I need a published book first!

I think part of my impatience is coming from still being in school.  I am tired.  I am wiped out from the stress, bored of my classes, and getting sick of practicing!  I know that I have better classes next year (senior year!!) and I am eager to find a summer job in the near future.  Anticipation is something that I do not like to deal with.  I like for things to be completed, yet as much as I want to live in the Now I am constantly thinking of the Next.

It is not always a bad thing to think of the future.  At least I know that I have opportunities waiting for me.  An editor will give me suggestions for my book to be better.  I will learn how to format a book on some DIY publishing website.  I have a good friend designing my book cover and we can work together to find the right one.  Anticipation is exciting.  Patience is virtue.  Good things always come with time.  I have things to keep me busy and for the time being and I have to focus on the Now to keep me from dreaming about the Next.  I just hate waiting!

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Making Friends with SCBWI

I was told by a couple books to join the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and I decided I might as well.  I was not expecting a fee but I sucked up my gut and decided to go for it.  I wasn’t about to waste any money, so I began exploring and clicking on things and spiffing up my profile.  I also decided to send a random note to an author.  I saw he was self-published and thought it couldn’t hurt to ask a couple questions.  He has been the best!  He’s told me so much about his experiences and other things to check out for children’s book authors and how to advertise in local bookstores.  It’s been so much fun making contact with an author, especially someone who is so down to earth.

I also started a couple of discussions on discussion boards and immediately received feedback.  Everyone is so supportive and helpful it has been a wonderful experience already, and I’ve only been a member for a matter of days!  Joining SCBWI also got me inspired to start this blog.  There is a slot for websites and another one for blogs.  I do not have the know-how to create a whole website just yet, but I thought I might as well start a blog to get my name out there.  Networking is such an important part of life, and I am so glad that there is such a large community of authors who are so willing to help me out!

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I Have an Editor!

Woo!  I just sent an email confirming that I would like to hire the editor Chris Boch.  I crunched some numbers and compared to the other editors I found I can afford her (which is a plus) and she seems to have the right kind of editing my book is looking for.  She looks for holes in the plot, character development, chapter endings, and “show don’t tell” sections to be ironed out.  I am nervous about sending off my manuscript to be read by someone who isn’t my family, but I am also excited to be getting constructive feedback that will make the book more engaging and more efficient in its story telling!  Ahh!  I really want her to start now, but she will not be able to start editing until July.  I need to take a step back and be patient, but I am just so eager to get started, especially since everything is falling into place.  Erin won’t be able to finish the cover until summer either, so all the more reason to wait.  Good things take time.  Besides, it will give me a chance to work with a new book idea I have…

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I Have a Cover Artist!

Hooray!  My good friend Erin is going to design the cover of my book!  I talked to her in person today and the excited look on her face was just awesome!  I am so excited to work with her on this project and start discussing ideas.

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Self-Publishing Plan! (as of right now)

I talked to a worker from LuLu.com today about my options to self-publish.  At this point all I really want are an editor, an ISBN, a format template, and an artist to make a cover.  I can’t really pick and choose parts of a plan from LuLu which sucks.  The cheapest LuLu plan is $999 which is a little steep…

I did discover on the LuLu website that they have free templates for formatting books in their DIY (do it yourself) section!  This will make my life easier (I think) since I can format the book myself for free and then publish through their website free of charge.  I have no idea how frustrating formatting is just yet but I will figure that out soon enough!

Before I start formatting I need to get the book edited.  The problem is, my book is 101,000 words long and the editors at LuLu charge per word.  I emailed an editor and I am waiting to hear back from her about an estimate.  Hopefully I can get the edit under $1000, but honestly if I can find a high-quality editor to both check for spelling/grammatical errors and content edit that would be awesome and worth the expense.  I want my book to make sense and read well and an editor is necessary to smooth out those little road bumps!

Another exciting thing about LuLu is that they offer a free ISBN, but I decided on a whim to check up on that.  After a little research I realized that taking an ISBN from a publishing website is making them the publishers.  That means that if a company/agent/etc. contacts the publisher to inquire about my book no one will get in touch with me.  I was bummed to hear this but I do want to be in control of my own book, especially since I want to start my writing career with this YA novel!  It will be worth it in the end, but I am still crunching the numbers to see if my full-time student budget can pull this together!

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Self Publishing is Hard!

So I am being a good person and doing all my research for self-publishing my first novel, but it’s hard!  There is so much out there!  At this point my goal is to avoid all vanity publishers and do as much work myself.  The writing and my personal edits are done, but I still need to get an editor, format the manuscript, hire someone to create the cover, and then send it off to a self-publishing company.

At this point I am leaning towards LuLu.com to help me with publishing.  I got a call from “Logan” the other day asking to set up an appointment time with me.  Right now all I think I want from LuLu is for them to publish my book as a paperback and then I can pay them to format and publish it as an ebook.  I also need an ISBN, I hope they can provide for that too!

It is so tempting to just buy one of the packages that LuLu, CreateSpace, etc. companies offer.  It certainly would make my life easier, but according to the people helping me on a SCBWI discussion board the prices of these companies are insane!  I need to do more research and get an estimate from an editor a few people have recommended.

Such a process!!  Hopefully the second book will be easier…

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Syd

Syd

This is my little dwarf hamster Syd. He is the furry center of my crazy life and brings joy to everyone who meets him. He’s not the most social or docile of hamsters, but he is a little fuzzy creature I can play with when I’m stressed! I am quite positive that this will not be Syd’s only appearance on this blog.

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May 3, 2014 · 3:23 am