Category Archives: Self-Publishing

New Book!

So remember my last post about getting the “itch” to write again? Well….I may have finished another book already!

It’s short, only about 25,500 words, but I think it’s for 5th-6th graders so the length may be just right. I’m sure there’s more to add to it for detail and so I’ll be looking for a critique partner after the holiday. It has a whole plot line and everything! It started with a small idea, and then I just kept wanting to work on it. The monster was creepy, the heroine geeky, and, naturally, the dragon was awesome! It was so much fun to put together and I’m excited to see where it goes.

I’m really excited about this new book and the break it gave me from my series. While I still love my series and the main character, looking at it over and over with little positive feedback from agents was getting me discouraged. Taking a break and actually writing helped clear my head. I can come back to the series a little fresher and maybe see some things to improve or at least get up the courage to start writing again.

Another inspiration I found was from an SCBWI article the other day about the author Kate DiCamillo. She wrote Because of Winn Dixie and Tale of Despereaux among others. Her first book about the dog Winn Dixie won a Newbery Honor Award, but she collected 470 rejection letters before it published! If that doesn’t get a writer inspired to keep going I don’t know what will.

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Filed under inspiration, query, Rejection, Self-Publishing, writing

Fox Cities Book Festival!

Today was the first day of the FCBF. There are so many great authors attending, including Leonard Pitts Jr., Michael Perry, and Jacqueline Mitchard to name a few. I want to attend at least one event a day while also spending my week in WI with my family and friends from college.

I saw Leonard Pitts today and, although for me it wasn’t an eye-opening speech, it was a good talk. Most of what he talked about I have heard or experienced before, but it was fun to hear of another author whose characters wrote the story for him. My characters always have surprises in store for me. They get in fights, form relationships/bonds with someone unexpected, die, etc. A true writer lets the characters run the show. (They know without them we as writers are helpless!)

I am gearing up for my presentation on Friday afternoon (3pm at the Kaukauna Public Library.) I don’t know every author on the list for the week but I know I’m on the young scale, if not the youngest author. It’s pretty intimidating being among authors who have made names for themselves, but it’s also a huge honor. I was asked to present because the Kaukauna librarians loved my event I did with their students a year ago. You never know what kinds of connections you’re going to make.

Hope to see some of you around this week!

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Filed under Fox Cities Book Festival, marketing, Self-Publishing, Uncategorized

Unexpected Opportunity!

I contacted the youth librarian at the Appleton Public Library (APL) to schedule a book signing/reading with the young-ins.  I met with her on Friday, and I thought our meeting would be rather short. She would look at the book, check for the big No-No’s (drugs, sex, violence, etc.) and then we would pick a date and time. It would be easy and brief.

Our meeting did not go quite as planned. It was much, much better.

She looked through the book while I told her about myself and a little about The Healing Pool. (Apparently she can read, listen, and process all the information at the same time.) After she finished flipping through the book, she turned to me and said:

“You know, of the author visits I’ve done, this book is one of the best I’ve seen. You’ve got great flow, good dialog. Do you have any representation?”

Naturally, I was shocked and thrilled at the same time. I told her the book was self-published and that I tried the traditional querying route but it didn’t work for me. She looked at the book some more, and then asked if I would be interested in any representation. Apparently she has connections with Random House and will be seeing her friend at the end of the month at the ALA conference. At this point I am dumbfounded. I handed her a thick stack of my business cards and she put them in some good place to remember them. I can’t believe what just happened.

Of course, she has not read the book yet so nothing might come out of this. Regardless, I am excited for the chance to maybe get connected with Random House or some other agent! And, as a bonus, our meeting got even better. She led me through the library and told me the writer magazines I should look into. She also told me what to bring to the author event and that she might put me with another author (who is backed by Disney) to do a duo-author event. We discussed how to make a sample audio book to get people interested and maybe a little video to get the kids interested. According to her, they like an author’s personality over the description of the book most of the time. If they like me, they will come.

So, I have work to do! Soon I will be making a sample audio book, maybe reading the first few chapters, and a little promo video to put on the APL facebook page. And my page and website as well, of course! My book has only been out for 9 weeks! Based on everything she was telling me, I feel so behind! I know that’s not the case, but now I know some solid, exciting marketing strategies to get people to notice me. The hardest thing about being a new, self-published author is getting people I don’t know to read the book.

Who knew one little event could make such an impact!

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Filed under booksigning, Self-Publishing

School Visit

This past Thursday I had my first school visit! I went back to my alma mater Nichols Middle School to talk to the bookclubs and a couple of the LA/Lit classes. I saw many of my old teachers who were all very happy to see me! It was very strange being back though. I felt like I had gone back in time. (Mixed feelings about that…middle school was not the best time of my life!)

I had three different experiences at the school. I went to 2 classes of the same teacher. There I stopped by for 5 minutes to say who I was, talk about the book, and then open the floor for questions. Many of the students wanted to know how I got my idea for the book and where I went to school! It was very cute.

At the other teacher’s class, however, I was given 20 minutes! I introduced myself and the book like in the other class, but then I read a chapter from The Healing Pool. I decided next to give a creative writing exercise. I gave them 2 prompts and 5 minutes to start either a scene, a story, or develop a character. The seventh graders didn’t know what to do with that much freedom, so they all started a story! Many of them shared what they wrote which was a mix from a couple sentences to a whole plot in a paragraph. They seemed to enjoy it, but I think they were happier to have something fun and creative versus a book report! I ended my time with a little speech about inspiration and how we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Anything can give us the opportunity for inspiration. I also made it clear that inspiration should be for anything creative, not just writing. I know that writing does not resonate with everyone so I wanted them to know that music or dance or poetry or visual art can all be inspired from every day events. Always be open to inspiration!

The book clubs were lots of fun. Many of the students were writers so they talked about what they were writing and what they liked to read. They were also very particular! I told them how enough punctuation errors can make a book seem sloppy and can ruin the book, and several students already had examples of books with spelling errors! Yes, people, middle schoolers are paying attention!

I left most of my topics pretty open for the students. I was lucky that most of them had questions that I was able to elaborate on. I know that many authors bring presentations with them, but I didn’t want to do that for this crowd. The kids see enough power point presentations and listen to people talk at them in class enough as it is. I wanted them to talk and do so that they felt apart of the process and I felt like I reached them on their level. I do not know how I will structure my next school visit, but I hope that students will continue to respond to a more open approach.

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Filed under marketing, school visit, Self-Publishing

Shameless Advertising

I began my career as a sales woman at the age of 10, selling wrapping paper and tubs of cookie dough to my mom’s unsuspecting friends so I could earn enough money to get the best prize in the little catalog my elementary school gave me. I never earned thousands of dollars to get the super-expensive remote controlled cars or anything, but I did reach my goals and got some cool stuff! I learned in those days how to politely get in people’s faces to get them to want the product. Being a cute little kid did help some, but I was also good at getting people’s attention.

My hidden talent and joy in selling things has come in handy in the past couple of weeks. Of course it is relatively easy to sell books to friends and family, but getting other people to buy them is much more difficult. However, I did manage to sell both of my doctors books! I brought my proof copy (ready copies not delivered at the time) and some bookmarks. Once I hooked them with the proof copy I gave them a bookmark with a picture of the cover on it and they promised to buy books to support me. While I did not see them buy books for myself, I want to believe that one of the numbers of sold books on createspace is one of them.

I know that I will have to deal with plenty of uninterested faces and rejection in the near future when it comes to selling my book, but in the mean time I am taking advantage of my resources. I will be carrying my “book bag” with me with a couple extra copies of the book. I am not completely afraid of telling people about the book and asking if they are interested in buying one from me. While I can’t see myself selling books in an elevator to strangers, if the opportunity strikes I will likely bring it up.

I do not want to sound pushy or brash, I just want to sell my book. I want to make a living off of my writing one of these days so I need to do whatever I can to get my name out there. Linnea Garcia is not a name that the world knows about. Even if I don’t sell a book to someone at a bus stop or while waiting in the dentist’s office, I can at least mention it to people and hopefully they will spread the word. I don’t have a little catalog of toys motivating me this time. My motivation is to be successful and to survive on my writing if at all possible. For this book my goal is to break even. I put a lot of money into this project between the editors and the cover artist and other expenses. I need to sell about 1000 books. I have a lot of friends, but not quite that many. I need to start my advertising work now so that, hopefully, once the second book comes out more people will recognize my name and be excited to see my work.

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PROOF!

The proof came in today! It’s a real book!!!

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Filed under proof copy, Self-Publishing

Proof in the Making!

I just sent off the MS to createspace for approval! In 24 hours I should get an email from them and then have the proof copy on its way to me! I’m hoping to have the proof before the end of the week, but that might be wishful thinking. I’m just so excited to see my book as a REAL BOOK! This is real and I am too excited for words!

After the proof is in the final steps are approving the book and then making sure all the formatting works for a Kindle. I’m going to have this book approved and ready before the end of the month! It has been a 2 year process from the writing to the editing to the rejection letters to the self-publishing. While I know the book may never be perfect (let’s face it, I’m my own worst critic) I do feel that it is ready and that the time to publish is now. I have no bad feelings or hesitations at all at this point. Now it’s pure excitement and anticipation.

Hopefully the next post will have a picture of the proof! Keep your fingers crossed that they put the cover on straight!

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Questions for Y’all

I’m so close I can taste it! I have a couple questions for my self-publishing peers (and my other friends of course!) that are bugging me!

1. Copyright? Will I need to apply for one?

2. White or cream paper? 🙂 (It’s a Middle grade fantasy if that changes your view!)

3. How does the About the Author page information look? Anything to add/subtract?

Linnea García developed a love of writing at an early age. She started to write novels at the age of 10 and writing poetry in middle school. She won the first and third prize Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award in 2007 and had poetry published in the Lawrence University literary magazine Topos in 2011. García was raised in Evanston, IL and is graduating from Lawrence University in 2015.

The Healing Pool is García’s first novel and her first experience with the crazy world of self-publishing. Visit her blog “Let’s See What Happens” (www.garcialinnea.wordpress.com) to read about her struggles and triumphs in the world of self-publishing. Also visit her website (www.garciaoriginals.com) for information on book signings, sales, and more.

4. Should I add a classy black and white picture to my About the Author page?

You all are the best! Thanks for the support!

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Filed under Editing, Self-Publishing

Formatting

I am having a lot of fun formatting the book! Createspace has lots of templates to help with the correct margins and such. I even splurged a bit and bought a swoosh! My cover artist used the swoosh on the back cover and I decided it would be fun to add it to the paragraph breaks in the text as well.

The most tedious part to formatting for me was making sure that each new chapter had the right amount of space. It took about an hour to make sure the chapter title was centered between equal amounts of space. There are so many little details to formatting and since I chose to format myself I need to make sure the book looks as professional as possible.

I chose not to hire a formatter because of financial constraints and because Createspace is very user-friendly. I only have Microsoft Word to work with, but I think I did a pretty good job on my own. (Feel free to comment below on how it looks so far!) I have not plugged my MS into Createspace yet and I’m a curious to see how well it all lines up. In an ideal world since I used their templates and all that, I will just plug it in and be good to go! I have no idea if that is actually going to be true. I am 90% done with the MS though, so I will let you know soon whether or not Createspace is honest with their templates!

PS. Below is my first screenshot ever! I learned to do this just for you! 🙂

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Filed under Editing, Self-Publishing

Round 2 Edits-DONE!

I have finally gotten through the second round of edits from my copy editor! It took longer than anticipated because of school starting and all that jazz, but it feels so good to finally have it done.

The edits for this round were much more straight forward than my edits from my content editor. It was a lot of approving commas and sentence structure changes. There were a few comments my second editor suggested, but she did not make changes to the story. Not having to worry about any more plot modifications made this round of edits much smoother and less mentally taxing.

My next step for the book is to read through it twice and work on formatting. I’m actually looking forward to formatting the book now! It was scary when I first began researching it, but since I am publishing through Createspace there are templates I can use and easy instructions all over the internet. I know it will be tedious to make sure all of the chapters line up and make sure that there’s the right amount of pages between the title page and the first chapter of the book. The templates will help with that, but I will keep you posted about how the process goes!

One step closer to publication! Keep your eyes out for “The Healing Pool” this Thanksgiving!

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