Monday and May Day!

Happy Monday! It also happens to be May 1st so it is officially May Day today.

After a busy week with my day job, I was able to do a pre-publishing look over of my paperback version of The Hard Way on Saturday. Glad I took my time to take one more look at all components. I was hoping to announce it was ready for purchase this weekend, but I need to make one more check with my cover designer to make sure the cover is ready to go. I’m anxious to get it out there, but I want it to be right. Will make the announcement once it is officially online.

The other thing on my mind about writing is how hard it is to balance with a full time or more than full time day job. Many of my friends and co-workers are having a hard time believing that I could get a book published with all of the activities I currently have on my plate. Family life, major changes at work, and trying to get my book out there. I say when it is important, you find the time to do it. It has been hard trying to make it all happen, but I can’t be too hard on myself. I believe it will happen when the time is right. And it will.

Here is the link to the ebook again. Go ahead and take a look if you haven’t done so already. I get excited every time I think about the fact it is actually online.

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The Hard Way E-Book

My next step is creating an active marketing program and exploring places to get my book out to. The audience for my book are readers that have parents and teachers making their reading decisions for them. I need to explore ways to find those groups and get them to look at The Hard Way. And once I find them, figure out some advertising methods that will be the most productive. If they are gained from networking, that would be the best. But, If I must pay for them, then I want to be able to get the biggest bang for my buck.

It is a good thing I am self publishing my book on my own deadline. I will make time in my already tight schedule to get it done, because I want to. With all of the demands on my time and energy, I will need to be patient and know it will get done. If not right away, in its due time.

Another day, another thought

Happy Monday!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I took four days off from my day job last week. Our sons’ half-sister got married on Saturday and I wanted to have time available to take care of last minute things. We spent some great family time together throughout the weekend and at the wedding.

It is 9:11 PM on Sunday night at the end of such a great weekend. I am having a tough time putting my thoughts together for the Monday blog tomorrow. I know I could write about all of the things my family and I did together, with our friends, and family this weekend, but that is something I am cherishing in my heart. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

In a writing class a few years back, I learned a way to battle writer’s block and get those writing juices going, is to just describe what is currently going on around you, and write it down. Well, I’m going to try it tonight and see where it takes me. Here is goes.

I’m currently sitting out on our deck feeling a nice light breeze and listening to the sounds of the night. We have an evergreen tree whose branches slightly overhang one edge of our deck. I just heard the sound of a pine cone falling and bouncing twice. I wonder, how often does that happen? Probably quite a few, but how often am I present for it? Not very often.

Our dog, Maddie, is out here with me. She usually just loves to lay out here and watch people during the day, and just listen to the noises with me at night. She seems a little anxious to get back inside, though I’m not sure why. Our sliding glass door is open and I start listening to what is going on inside our house. I can hear the boys opening boxes and wrappers for their before bed snacks. She probably believes she should be a part of that activity. Or, it could be, she needs some attention from me.

An update on my paperback publishing. I fully intended on getting it done this weekend. I’m not the type to make excuses, I tend to work until all things are done, even if it means staying up late and getting the minimum sleep. Sometimes life gets in the way of getting my writing goals accomplished. We have a big deadline for our new software implementation at work, so I put some of my time away from the office aside to get data ready for import. It was also a big family quality time weekend with the wedding. I’m struggling with the fact this isn’t done yet, but I need to be ok with it. Life will get in the way sometimes for good reasons. I’m so glad the deadlines are mine with this project since I’m self publishing. It gave me the power to put family first.

Have you been on Amazon.com to take a look at the book? It is really cool for me to see the ebook up and for sale. I know quite a few people are waiting for the paperback version to be ready. I am sure they will be willing to wait a few extra days for it.

Here is the link!

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The Hard Way E-Book

The process of publishing my first book has been an adventure. It is also a lesson in things will happen when they are supposed to happen. In their due time.

The Hard Way is a Published Book

I have done it! I am a published author. It is a childhood dream realized.

The e-book is on Amazon.com. Here is the link

The Hard Way E-Book

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I now have an author page on Amazon.com and I’m in the process of creating an author profile on Goodreads. With access to create these new profiles, I have arrived in a whole new place than I was in last week. In the world of books, I’m seen as a new member of the club.

The paperback version of The Hard Way will be released this week. I was planning to publish both versions at the same time, but there is only so much time in a day. So, while trying to work the day job, be on call for that job and accomplish a lifelong dream all at the same time, I was feeling stretched thin and something in my plan had to give. So, I decided to focus on getting the e-Book published and launched by April 15th. 

The e-Book actually published on April 12th. I got it ready and hit the publish button in Amazon’s self publishing program, Kindle Direct Publishing. They said it can take up to 72 hours to have it published and go live on Amazon. It would up only taking a few hours. Not saying it will work that way for everyone, but it did for me.

After the paperback is officially published this week, I’ll be exploring marketing avenues for it. Being a self published author, the leg work for the process falls on me. Like many other parts of the journey, it will be new to me for this book, but, the next two should be easier with the leg work done for this one.

A friend of mine reminded me that the things we work the hardest for mean the most. I look back at the time and challenges involved in publishing this book and I would have to agree. I will publish more books, but this one will be the most memorable.

This summer will bring with it another editing project, book two of The Way Series, The Bully’s Way. It will follow in a similar path as The Hard Way did, but it will be a journey on a path already travelled learning from the experience of publishing my first one. I’m excited to see where the story will take my characters going forward.

Thanks for following me on this journey. Your support has helped me to achieve this goal. 

Book Launch – The Hard Way

The day is finally here! The Hard Way is an officially published e-book on Amazon.com. Here is the link!

The Hard Way E-Book

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It has been quite a journey to get here. Thank you to all of my followers who have been there to either give advice or just support me by being there.

The paperback version will be coming out next week. I’ll make another announcement when it happens. Then I’ll really get to the promotion side of things.

This has been a four year project but a dream since I was a preteen. If you believe in your dreams and put in the work required to do it, you can make it come true too.

More news coming soon!

Just Days Remaining – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

6 days to go! Less than a week!

I feel like a kid the week before Christmas. Seeing all of the trees, lights and gift displays. I am so close to my dream coming true. When I write next week’s post, I will be a self- published author and have made one of my childhood dreams come true.

It has been a journey. One of hard work and some tears. I respect any author who goes through the process of writing and publishing a book. I’ve had a lot of help and support along the way, from my family and friends to members of Facebook groups, which makes accomplishing this goal mean even more to me. 

What did I get done this weekend?

For my paperback version, I assigned an ISBN number to it.

I set up my CreateSpace account and started uploading my cover and my manuscript. It was really fun to see it all in the close to final format. My editor did the formatting for me, but said sometimes the upload process can change things a bit. I’m glad that she told me, otherwise I might have become frustrated when it didn’t look just right the first time. We will have some minor tweaking to do to the spacing before we publish next weekend.

What is left to do this week?

After we do some additional formatting to the manuscript, I will upload it again and get it ready for the Saturday launch. Since I have been working on getting the e-book and paperback version ready to go, I may be publishing both versions on Saturday. I was originally planning to publish the e-book now and the paperback in a couple of months. After seeing that the processes are pretty much the same for both, as long as we get the reformatting done, they both may be ready to go live at the same time.

Going to the bank today and setting up a new checking account. This is where I’ll have  the royalties from my book go to and hopefully be able to pay expenses out of someday. I didn’t write this book to make a bunch of money. I wrote it because I have a passion for writing. But, if I can make some money, it would be icing on the cake.

Writing and publishing a book is a process with many steps. I know the process for my next one will be easier having done this one. In next week’s post, I’ll be sharing links with you on how to get a hold of a copy of The Hard Way.

Week 1 – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

13 Days left to go!

This is my 140th post on Word Press. There is a lot of research and writing in those posts and it is definitely a lot of Monday Mornings!

I am so excited. It has been a lifelong journey, but I am less than two weeks away from the launch date for my first book! Here is where I’m currently at:

Final Manuscript Review. Still need to look through my final manuscript for formatting. Why isn’t this done yet? Because the struggle to write is real. To battle with the day job and family life has always been my challenge for my writing getting done all along. Not an excuse mind you, but a fact of life for those of us who aren’t able to write for a living. I have a lot of respect for the people who do get to do it. They worked very hard for the privilege.

Applying for Copyright. Waiting for the final formatting read through.

Author Pictures. I did get these taken today. So, I will have one in time to add to my cover and inside my ebook. I’m pretty excited with the proofs. You’ll have to see the actual book to find out which one I picked.

Thanks to my editor, I did a little tweaking on my cover design so it would look good as a thumbnail on Amazon. She also posted the cover in her online portfolio. Here is the link to her site at Fiction Edit.

Getting things checked off of the To Do List. It is a fun time, but a stressful one too.

Be sure to check out the post next week. It will be a status update and a look at what things will need be done just days before an actual launch date.

Week 2 – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way – Cover Reveal

20 Days to Go!

The big day is getting closer! Can’t believe it is almost here. After a pretty busy weekend of things around the house, I’m back on track to make this launch happen.

Where are we at now?

  • My editor sent the manuscript back to me for a final look at the formatting. We want to make sure nothing looks funky as far as the spacing goes. I’ll be taking a look at it early this week. After the formatting is finalized, then I’ll apply for the copyright.
  • I assigned my first ISBN number to my e-book. Having an ISBN assigned to an e-book isn’t required, but I want one to be assigned to it for tracking purposes.
  • Making plans for getting some updated pictures of me taken to go on the cover. It is on the list to be taken care of this week. Like the ISBN,  it isn’t a required item, but will help readers become a little more engaged with me by being able to put a face with the name.

I’m getting anxious for April 15th!

Last week, I talked about a cover reveal for this week. Well, here it is!

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Thanks to my cover designer, Jennifer Givner! You can find her at Acapella Book Cover Design. She did this cover for me as a custom design and created the page breaks in the novel itself. You’ll have to wait until it is formally published to see those. Be sure to keep an eye out for this cover!

This is an exciting journey for me! Thanks for joining me on it.

Week 3 – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

27 days to go!

Under a month to go!

The name of the self publishing game is choices and making the right ones. Thank goodness I have Facebook writers’ groups I follow and other sources through networking I have done that are able to guide me on my publishing journey. There are many options for becoming a self published author. I have been researching all sorts of ways to do it and have learned a lot.

Don’t pay a vanity press to be published. The number one rule in the process. Now, to make your book ready to be published, there are expenses that can be incurred along the way. After you have put your time in writing and self editing (which has a price to it, even though it seems free since there is no actual outlay of money involved), as a self published author you will need to pay for an editor and cover. If you can find an agent and publishing house that will take your book on, they will typically take care of these costs for you.

When I first had the dream of doing this as a kid, I’m sure I didn’t have any idea that it would cost me something. I figured every one would love my book and publishing would just magically happen. I believe I have a good book in my grasp, but I may have to make the effort and invest the money to get it out there.

It isn’t a cheap endeavor. I waited a long time before I took the plunge to publish. I started writing this book almost four years ago. Like I talked about last week, I wrote two drafts for two more books while I waited to publish this one. Don’t let the costs or the time that it may take do it discourage you. If it is what you want, go for it!

The other thing I will caution you on is don’t shortcut the self publishing process in the name of being in a hurry or to cut costs.

Don’t try and edit your own stuff or have your friend do it (unless they truly are an editor). I have read a few self published books that tried the self editing thing and it doesn’t work. You are too close to your own writing to do it. I have learned a lot from my editor and see the issues that my own writing has thanks to her. Depending on the type of editing your project needs and how many words it is will determine the price. Line editing (primarily grammar and punctuation) can range between $300-$600. Developmental editing (story line adjustments and content reading) can range between $1200-$2000.

If you are not a cover designer, pay someone to design your cover. This will be the first thing your readers and potential buyers will see. It can make or break a sale for you. There are many designers that have premade covers for $50-$75 that may fit your book and budget. Otherwise, they are also able to do custom covers for more of a $200-$300 price tag. In my opinion, it is money well spent.

The one thing I have noticed is that some editors and cover designers are able to do payment plans to help you get these jobs done. I did a payment plan for my editing piece of this project and it is what ultimately made it affordable for me to do. However, if I would have known about these costs beforehand, I would have been putting money aside for it as I was going along.

Where am I at in my process?

I finished my final read through of my manuscript yesterday and sent it back to my editor. She will do a final look over and get the final formatting done. I may have to look at it one more time to make sure that the spacing works.

My cover designer has my cover set for me to look at. I’ll be able to take a look and see if the spacing works or if I feel it needs to be tweaked. I still need to decide on an author picture. Since I’m writing with a pen name, it seems kind of funny for me to use my photo, but I’m still the person writing the book.

Once I get the final version back, I’ll be sending it in to copyright.gov and getting it registered for an official copyright.

Be sure to stay tuned for the cover reveal next Monday! We are counting down the days and I’m getting closer to realizing a dream. Pretty exciting time.

Week 4 – Countdown to Book Launch – The  Hard Way

34 days from today!

I find it funny that they call it a book launch. I guess it is the day you launch your book out to the world. At this point, April 15th will be that day for The Hard Way.

The day of the book launching becomes the book’s birthday. Just like the birth of one of your kids, this day will stick in your mind as one of those important ones.

Publishing a novel the traditional way has a very worn path. For a long time, it was the only way for an author to make that dream come true. The decision of whether a book was published or not was up to the publisher. There were many books that were never published for that very reason. It was up to the author to find the right publisher who would take a chance on their book. This is still an available option for authors to pursue and has its own amount of work in sending copies of ones manuscript to agents or directly to publishers. If they are able to find the right match for their book, the publisher will cover the costs. For some authors, it is the route they choose to take.

Now, an author can choose put in the time and money and do what the traditional publishers do, but publish it on their own. Some authors prefer to be more hands on in the publishing of their manuscript, but this option will cost the author in hiring people to do the editing, cover creation, obtaining ISBNs and a copyright. Having a choice of how to publish has made the decision a more personal one for the author. It seems to be based on what the author wants to get out of their book. Are they looking to just make money with it? Or, are they out to share their book with others?

I did a lot of thinking about it and I know that there are pros and cons to either route. But, I decided to self publish my first novel.

So, where am I at in the process,

Last week I received a final edited copy of my manuscript from my editor. After multiple edited versions going back and forth between us, we still had a couple of outstanding questions about wording we wanted to finalize in this last edit. Glad we did this step. There was a piece of the story line that was not resolved. I found it and tweaked it. Now it is resolved.

While trying to save money for the editing and publishing of this one, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) two years in a row and got drafts of books two and three in queue. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November. It is a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words in 30 days with the goal to have a novel by the end of it.

I consider myself very lucky to have the draft of my second book already written. By having it done, I had the opportunity to read through the beginning of it to make sure the flow of the first one would work with how the second one starts. So glad I did. I found the time line in book one wasn’t going to work well with where book two starts.

Now, I could have left book one alone and modified the start of book two. Instead, I made the changes to my final edited manuscript for book one so the timeline works the way I want going forward, which seems to work better for the series as a whole.

Other milestones accomplished this weekend, I purchased my own ISBNs through Bowker so I can start assigning them to my novels. I’m also researching the publishing options through Createspace and Ingramspark. I’ll talk about that more next week and let you know what I decided to do. I’ll also be working on marketing strategies for the launch and a cover reveal will be coming up in the next week or so. So much yet to be done but I’m excited and scared at the same time. It is a big step to making my dream to write and publish a novel come true.

Have a great week everyone. Stay tuned for more news leading up to launch day, April 15, 2017.

Status Update for The Hard Way

Happy Monday! Lately I have been pretty busy with things at my full time non writing job. It has caused me some stress about not having the kind of quality time I want to have to work on my manuscript. Everyone says that you need to make time to write which I believe is true. But with any creative endeavor, sometimes things just can’t be rushed. The delays, self imposed or life imposed, are sometimes a part of the creative process.

I’m lucky the deadline on publishing The Hard Way is on my own schedule. It allows me to tweak things on the schedule if needed. If the editing to make this book the best I can takes a little longer, I can let it. Deadlnes can be very motivating to get things done. Sometimes I think it adds an additional level of stress to a process that may be comprimised if it is rushed.

We had useasonably warm weather last week and it allowed me to start walking at lunchtime again. There is a historical site across the street from where I work. It is called the Cummins Homestead.

According to the Eden Prairie Historical Society website, John Cummins had come to west to Minnesota and bought this 300 acre farm in 1856. Not knowing much about being a farmer, by 1857, he learned that he may have taken on a pretty big project. This house was built for them in 1879-1880. John was frequently trading labor with his neighbors, but John did help with some of the building. John and Maddie never had any children to help them work the farm. I found that interesting. Usually people had big families to help run a farm.

Cummins sold the farm in 1908 to Edwin Phipps. He sold 280 acres for $50 per acre. When he bought it in 1856, he paid $13 an acre. If you want to learn more about the Cummins Homstead, be sure to check out this website Eden Prairie Historical Society. They also have many of John Cummins papers and diaries in the Minnesota Historical Society archives.

I was able to walk around on the grounds twice last week. The walk was good exercise, but it also cleared my head a little to shake off some of the stress I’ve been feeling.

While I sat on a bench at the Cummins Homestead, I was working on an e-mail to my editor with a couple of updates on getting the current round of editing implemented and a read through done. As I wrote the e-mail, it turned into journalling a feeling that I was having about why I write. Here is the last paragraph of that email.

I dream about one day just being an author. Writing books, visiting schools to talk about books and mentoring kids and their dreams. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what those dreams are. I know that some kids need that person to take their hand and get them started. That is where I want to be with my writing someday.

There are many places to go and write. Some find inspiration in coffee shops and others find it at a lake cabin in the woods. I think I found a place that helps me tap into my creative juices and helps them flow. Like tapping a tree for sap to make maple syrup.

On my walk that day, I got some ideas for what would tentatively be book number four in the series I have started. I am only close to publishing the first book. I hope I find the readers who will enjoy and benefit from the stories I have in me to tell.

So for the update…

I sent my edited copy of my manuscript beck to my editor yesterday. We will see what she has to say, but I believe we are really close to having it ready to go and my personal goal of publishing on April 15th is very doable. If so, March will be a big month with a cover reveal and starting the prepublishing hype. I’m scared but excited to almost having my dream come true. I may be spending some more time at the Cummins Homestead in the near future. Not only to get those creative juices flowing, but to start editing book number two in “The Way” series.