Tag Archives: self-publishing

Blame it on the Weather

This past Thursday I had a book signing event at the Appleton Public Library. I had posters everywhere, the youth librarian visited schools, there was food and drink and the room was gorgeous. It was too bad that no one came.

Spring is finally coming to Wisconsin so everyone was outside. No one was in the library on a beautiful, sunny day, and I don’t blame them. If I was in middle school I doubt I’d want to come sit and listen to someone read a book when I could be outside running around.

Needless to say I was upset. Being a new author is difficult in a world filled with other distractions and writers that people already know. This event showed me that no matter how hard I work or plan, sometimes people are going to say no, and that’s hard. It was frustrating sitting in a large, empty room drinking lemonade with my two friends that came to support me. I was glad that they came, but I need people I don’t know to come and be interested in the book. I was hoping to see some teens and talk with them about writing and answer their questions. It was upsetting.

Alicia said something surprising that day too. She said: “Don’t be discouraged. I hope this won’t make you stop writing.” Honestly, that was the farthest thing on my mind. I know that last Thursday was frustrating and sad and awful, but there is no way I am going to stop! This is the first book. The first book comes with issues like this. It is the trial run for books to come and I will learn from these mistakes and do better to get people interested. I know Alicia also wants me to get an agent, but I have tried that. Getting an agent is not simple, as all authors know, and I am fine with self-publishing. I do want representation in the future, but for now I like learning things on my own. It is challenging and hard, but I get to interact with people on my own terms instead of having to go places because it would be good press. Eventually in my life I want to have an agent. I want someone to help me get my books out to the people. For now, though, I am going to keep writing and keep pushing. One setback will not hold me down for long.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A little reflecting on editors

I am working on a project for an entrepreneurship class that I want to use to expand into my existing business as a self-published author. This mock-business has developed into a resource for new authors looking to self-publish for the first time. Ideally, this business will be filled with online resources on how to find the right self-publishing company, editors, cover artist, etc. For the final in this class I will only have bits and pieces of this greater goal. Especially since I have only published one book and the field is constantly changing, I cannot be that resource just yet.

However, I got to thinking and I really wanted to take some time to wrap-up my experience with finding editors. It is easy to think that publishing companies will take care of everything for you and make it simple to publish. Easy is not always the best way. Self-publishing today is getting a better reputation, but there are still enough authors out there who do not put in the time necessary to produce a good product. Looking at my book now I find mistakes that make me *facepalm* but I know without the help of my editors the book would not have the story structure and flow that it has now.

When I started out looking for self-publishing companies I discovered that they all had packages that would make it easy to publish my book. I admit I was tempted. I like having a one-stop-shop to get everything done, but there was something fishy about the editing packages available. Author House was one of the places I looked. At the time I was thinking I did not want a package but it would be nice for them to edit the MS. I called to ask what they would charge. I learned a fun fact–they charge per word on all their edits.

Keep in mind: at this stage my book was 100,000 words. It was long (too long) and getting that thing edited was going to hurt the budget. If I went with AH I would be paying close to $3,000 just to get the grammar checked! If I wanted content editing it would be almost $5,000. It is possible they do a fine job, but I did not know this company. I needed to figure out my other options to see if editing really is that expensive all the time.

By this time I had joined SCBWI, which has been one of the best decisions I have made as an author. I joined some message boards and began asking around to see what people had used and if there were better options. This is where I discovered my editor, Chris Eboch. She, like other freelance editors, is much more affordable than publishing packages. She also specialized in MG/YA fantasy which was perfect for “The Healing Pool!” I read her testimonials and emailed her.

She completely turned my MS around. She knew when to cut, what to ask, and how to get 12 year olds to care! She pointed out how my descriptive chapters read more adult-like and that children would be less interested. She knew her audience and could articulate well how to fix some of the plot holes and where to cut chapters. Although Chris only does content editing she taught me more in her edits than in any english class I have ever taken. I now look at my writing and other writing with her in mind to help make drafts more efficient.

For my line editing I decide to use the company Yellow Bird Editors. They did a fine job and had a quick turn around. Their prices were much more reasonable than publishing packages, but line editing is expensive. It just is. I went with Yellow Bird since they seem to have good standing with their editors. They each have testimonials and bios, and authors have the option to ask for specific people they want to work on their book. I admired that quality in the business and I am glad I chose to work with them.

In short, never take the easy way out. Working a little harder to find the right people and the best decision for your wallet will lead to a book you feel closer to. I enjoyed going through the purple pen markings Chris gave me and the 1,500 Word reviewer comments Kristen (Yellow Bird) gave me! If I decide to self-publish again I will likely keep looking for other options even though the ones I have are already pretty fantastic. It is best to connect with individuals rather than a large corporation.

Have any questions for me? I would love to help if you are just starting out! Or, do you have a great editor? How did you find her?

Leave a comment

Filed under Editing

Book Signing Recap

The book signing was a couple Thursdays ago, but I am still jazzed from the event! I got some good feedback and I even sold 7 books. I had been hoping to sell some more, but for my first official book signing I think it was a good turn out.

The signing was held in a small room at my school’s library. The room had shelves of beautiful, old books and some cozy furniture. People milled in the room, mainly the library employees and some friends from SAI. My poetry professor made an appearance and that made me very happy. It was clear she genuinely wanted to be there which was lovely.

I am not a fan of talking at people. The library director had a podium for me, but I declined and chose to sit in one of the comfy chairs. I like talking to people. I’m much more comfortable talking when I am at eye level versus standing and looking down on people. I want to be approachable but professional, and I think I achieved that.

I began with a brief history of my writing life. Starting from my attempted novels at the age of 10 to actually starting The Healing Pool and up to its completion. I outlined the battles and steps of self-publishing since most people there were unfamiliar with the process. I then talked about the book and read two chapters near the beginning to give them a sense of the characters. After the reading I opened the floor to a Q & A. Not many people had questions, but the questions they had were interesting. My professor of course asked me about the difference between writing poetry and writing novels in terms of how I organize and edit my decisions. In short, poetry for me is generally a one-and-done deal. It has to be in the moment, otherwise it will not likely exist in the future. Novels are easier to come back to since there are so many moving parts to work with.

Afterwards I had a table set up in the back with books to sell and sign. My roommate was kind enough to loan me her mini travel suitcase so I didn’t have to carry 40lbs of books across campus! The feedback I got from everyone was positive. People liked how I spoke and how I read. My friends wanted me to keep reading! One thing I want to do for the website and for advertising the next book signing is have a sample audio book. I need to learn how to use technology, but at least I read well!

The library took pictures of the whole event. Check out the link below! My trusty mascot Rhodes was also present and quite helpful. 🙂

https://www.flickr.com/photos/seeleyg/sets/72157648114843443/

Leave a comment

Filed under booksigning

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!

2 Comments

Filed under booksigning, Self-Publishing

Fun with Marketing!

This week has been crazy! It is the first week back at Lawrence and classes and rehearsals are taking over my life again. I miss being able to bum around at home, but duty calls!

Despite my insane school schedule I have been able to get a few things nailed down. I will be having my first official book signing and Q&A in a couple weeks at my school library! I had fun making a poster design today. I will post it below! The Mudd library bought a copy of the book without much prompting, but I initiated the idea of the book signing. They were more than happy to host me, and even suggested one of the nicer rooms to hold the event in. Now the fun part: getting people to come. I know a lot of my friends have rehearsal that day, but I can sell them books anytime. The key is to get other students/faculty I don’t know excited about the book.

I also have an appointment with the youth librarian at the Appleton Public Library. She wants to meet with me to discuss the book and whether it “fits their demographic” before we set a date. Personally, I think a middle grade fantasy will be a big hit. I do not anticipate any issues with that. I will let you know when that event is too! I’ll probably cheat and use the same poster template though. Sorry! 😉

In the mean time I have been carrying books around with me everywhere I go. I have sold 6 copies on campus doing this! Accessibility is key. It’s also fun to walk around with the books and shamelessly advertise to my friends!

Let me know what you think of the poster! What other marketing strategies do you like to use?

Poster The Healing Pool

5 Comments

Filed under advertising, marketing

Worries

I finished a raw MS a couple weeks ago and I am about a third of the way through the beginning edits. These edits are for me to make sure I got all the tenses right, have correct commas, and prepping for other people to read it before I edit again (and again) for a new agent.

This new MS is much different from “The Healing Pool.” It is an adult fiction–not sure if I can get a more specific category–that addresses heavy issues such as mental illness and domestic violence. I think that this work is much more gripping and interesting than my first book, but as I go through and edit some worries are creeping into my head.

I am a senior in college. I am graduating with a music performance degree, but I want to make a career as an author. I know that my writing dream will take time. I can live with that. But the pressures of being an almost-real-life-adult along with the stress of marketing myself and my book is beginning to sneak up on me.

I love the writing process. I love the editing process. Hell, formatting was pretty cool too. However, I really want this second book to get an agent. I want some hard-core help with marketing and for someone to fight for my book and get a publisher really interested. Self-publishing is difficult. I did it once and I know I can do it again, but I don’t know if I can afford to do it again. Self-publishing takes a lot of time but it also takes a lot of money to do it right. I was financially savvy with “The Healing Pool” but even so it took a chunk out of my wallet. I also feel pressured to get this new book out ASAP. There is no one pushing me but myself, but myself wants to keep turning books out so I can get a wide audience and a good standing as an author.

I might be getting ahead of myself. The new MS is still raw, the edits are only beginning, and by the time it’s ready to submit I will likely be graduated and looking for jobs. I think once school is over my mindset will be able to focus. It is difficult to write while in college. I’m sure many of you can attest to that! There are so many other priorities in life right now although the latest MS feels like it should be the most important!

Ok, my nervous rant is over. Needed to get that off my chest! I know that all good things come with time, and although I consider myself to be a patient person, sometimes things need to happen NOW. Right now I need to focus my energies on the creative process before I freak out about the other stuff. I still need to take into account that I might decide to self-publish again and prepare for that, but right now I can also spare to enjoy the process a little.

Has anyone else had freak outs like this before? It’s nice to know you’re not alone!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

Leave a comment

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.

2 Comments

Filed under advertising, Self-Publishing

Let the Battle of Marketing Begin!

So now that the book is up and ready to go (http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Pool-Linnea-Garcia-ebook/dp/B00Q96V0LM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417583014&sr=1-1&keywords=the+healing+pool ) the marketing strategies are beginning!

The first step of course was emailing all of my friends and family about the book. My mom emailed everyone she knows too, so a good portion of Evanston should at least be mildly aware that I have a book published! Many of my friends will be buying books directly from me once school starts up again in January, but for the time being I am trying to widen my net for people who want to buy online.

I emailed my middle school librarian to see if she would be interested in buying a copy for the library. She was so enthusiastic about it! She wants to buy a book and invited me to come to the bookclub meetings during lunch for all the grades. There’s a chance that a couple LA/Lit teachers might want me to stop by their classrooms as well. I doubt that I will sell a lot of books at the school, but it will be nice to know that I will have at least a small cluster of middle schoolers who will read my copy in the library!

I’ve also begun researching different websites to advertise the book. My first targets were the SCBWI member bookstore and Goodreads. Both places now have my book available to look at. I have also targeted Bookbub and a couple reader/writer groups on Facebook that I am apart of. I found an application to try and get on the B&N nook website, but that is still in process.

The biggest setback thus far has been the city of IL actually. I called to get an appointment about getting a sales license so I can sell my books in public libraries and such in IL, but according to the woman I spoke to I cannot get a business or sales license unless I have a permanent retail location. She sounded as equally confused and annoyed about this as I felt. I didn’t really know what to say to her. It’s not her fault, but really??? That makes no sense. A friend of mine suggested that I promote my book at libraries and then encourage them to buy via amazon or my website, but I don’t know if that will generate sales at all. I pictured myself with a nice little table with lots of books all pretty and set up at a library. If I show up with a single copy and some business cards it makes me feel like a really bad insurance saleswoman! I’ll email the libraries and ask (if they are interested in me coming) if the lack of sales license bothers them at all. I don’t see it being a big deal, but I also hate breaking rules!

Any IL self-published authors out there with advice? Bueller?

3 Comments

Filed under marketing

PROOF!

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

10420027_10204849588537675_4012090892694548165_n

3 Comments

Filed under proof copy, Self-Publishing