Money, money, money ~

Here is the what, when, where, how much of everything right now.
I bought the Bookstore Premier Pro Express (on sale form $2,499 to $1,599) when going with iUniverse.  I would have gone with the Bookstore Premier Pro NOT express, but the express was on sale and the other was not.
I read reviews and ratings for the top self-publishers out there.  I studied Lulu, AuthorHouse, and a couple others and found that there were a few I liked.  In the end it came down to 3 things plus their overall rating.

Three important things to me in order of importance…                                

1. Editing ~ I want my book worth the money spent on it.

2. Cost for the buyer ~ I want my readers to not have to spend a fortune on my book

3. Book return-ability ~ I want stores to want to carry my book and that means they might need to return it.

I found that iUniverse had the strongest reviews with the editing, prices were a little high but nothing I could change, and the books could be returned if I bought the package.  I do wish I could change the price of the book.  I will only be taking 10% instead of 20% making it so bookstores will be able to sale my book for cheaper.  That was the best I could do for anyone.  I wished iUniverse had the same deal that AuthorHouse offers, so I could take a 5% and make my book very cheap, but editing was top on my list.  Without a good edit my book would not even be worth a buck.  If I could have found a review on Wright Book Publishing I might have gone with them.  I did like what they had to offer in their packages.  Please, if anyone goes with Wright Books let me know how it went/goes, I am very curious.
Now I understand (from working at B&N) that books need to be modeled in the store in order for them to be stocked in the store.  I also know from working in a book store that people do not always pick-up what they order and that people do order a lot of books.  So that return-ability is important.  I really don’t know if going with the 10% or 20 % will be help any, but I am trying.
This was a great table to go off of…
http://online-book-publishing-review.toptenreviews.com/index.html
I think it was from early 2009… not sure though.  Lulu was not on it, which surprised me, but I’m sure it’s because Lulu in not technically a “publisher.”  But they still publish books…
http://www.lulu.com/en/help/disclaimer
This info did surprise me, but I still considered them.  I did not find a disclaimer like that on the other sites but I could have missed it.  If anyone finds something like that please let me know and I will update this.
I was shocked that iUniverse, Authorhouse, and Xlibirs did not have more matching items since they were all bought by Authorhouse.  I discovered that in some of my research.  iUniverse still topped out as the best edit wise.
I had the editorial evaluation done and it was recommended that I had a content edit.  That cost me $3,475 and some odd change.  Which my book is in the process of finding the editor to do the right type of job I need.  It sounds very hand picked, which makes me happy.

WOW, What a week…

I have been over at my grandparents a number of times to see family.  I have gone over Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday… sadly I could not go Friday (today) or Wednesday, I had job related phone calls.  I am very much not sad over the calls!  Very happy, very very very happy!  Great phone calls!  😀  I will be published soon, I hope.  It will be with a self-publisher.  It is so crazy.  I have read some awful books that made it to being published traditionally and I have read some slow books, mediocre books, which have also been published traditionally.  Then I have read some so-so books that have become great hits… none of this makes sense to me.  It should not be that hard to get published traditionally.  Oh well, a number of authors/books have started with being self-published and here I go… I hope that I can make it starting this route.

My editorial evaluation had some highs, mediums, and lows.

The highs ~
The story was believable
The story line was very good and worked well
There is lots of potential for my book

The mediums ~
It was a leisurely read (but has everything there to make it more exciting)
It was enjoyable
Two of the characters were very exciting and enjoyable

The lows ~
They wanted to change my main character and make her something she is not
I messed up on presenting one part of my story and made a character look like an idiot
I used too many modern terms (that I did try to avoid) “Barf” and “Humongous” were two of them

It is extremely hard to see the evaluation in its real light, at first all the negatives jumped out and attacked, then the emotional room was not as dark as it once appeared and I could see that they wrote that the story was good, the book was good.  I was not just attacked, nor was my story.  They actually said in the over-all report that my book was good.  I have always tried to be very good about taking constructive criticism.  But when you read something as blunt as an editorial evaluation it’s a little harder than you would think.  I thought before I saw it, I can take anything.  If they say my book is junk I can deal with it… but they don’t.  Their bluntness is in minute details.  It is their job to nit pick.  If they do not like something you have to swallow that large pill without a glass of water while having cotton-mouth and hear the details of why.  I did know this before I did it, but I did not expect any problems where they were and a few where there was none.

I did learn a lot and am still learning.  They wanted this story to be everything that the second book is, and that was great to hear, because I enjoyed the first book the most and was a little worried about number two.  That was a major plus to me, the only problem is they want this character to be everything that a different one is in number two!  Of course the second book is still in rough draft form and not ready yet. 

Another wonderful thing was my husband’s help editing was great!  He told me to add more detail and he was right.  He enjoyed that it was leisurely at times, he like the main character, so he would not have wanted me to change her, and he liked the climatic points as well (there was no complaint from anyone about the climactic points just that their needed to be a least one more.)  He reminded me that theirs was just an opinion, but that his opinion was a little different.  He did agree however with a few minor things that were pointed out that neither he nor I saw… “Barf” and “Humongous” were two of them.

I really want to share with everyone my experience.  I will keep everyone posted.  Good or bad I will share it like I have shared the negative of my book evaluation.  It will be fixed so I am not worried, but I will share as much as I can.

I am going to also add this to the ‘about me’ area…

I travel, I don’t sit still, and I never have.  I was born in Tacoma, Washington and moved to Germany where I lived for about 4 years, and then we moved to Texas where I lived for a few months.  I have lived all over California and still travel all up and down the west coast.  I used to drive two times a month from Sacramento to near LA… we did that from the time I was 8 until I was 13, then we moved to South California and I have been here since.  I love to travel and I do it often.  I go to the coast a lot.  I love Morro Bay and Solvang.  My husband and I shop when we travel and we love going to indie book stores and music stores.  One finds the greatest surprises in these places!  My family is huge and in order to see them sometimes I have to go to Arizona, Utah, South Dakota (I still have yet to go there, my cousins just moved), Washington, all over CA, Nebraska, Tennessee, Nevada, and Kentucky.  I have been to most of those states at least once, most many times.  I have also been to New York and New Mexico plus many place in Europe when I was young.  I travel, I was an Army brat, and when my mother and father got out of the service when I was 5 we still traveled everywhere.  I went to a year round school and my grandparents would pick my brother and me up in there motor home or airplane and take us many places.  Yes, my grandfather, who was a teacher, principle, superintendant, taught navigation in WWII, grew oranges for Sunkist, and built houses in the summer… he also had a 5 seater plane.  The inside was like a small car, and 3 people could fit in the back… tight and 2 in the front.  The trunk was a little larger than a cars.  The plane was very loud and very uncomfortable to squeeze in there.  But when it was just my little brother, grandmother, grandfather, and me there was room.  Grandpa sold his plane when I was 17, I was so sad when he did, but he was getting too old to fly it.  Year round school allowed my brother and me to be around them when all of our cousins were in school still, and we were allowed to have a tight bond with them.  They are now nearing 90… grandpa will be 90 this year and grandma next.  They have traveled more than anyone I know.  When I am older and a grandmother I hope to get to travel like they have… and maybe with grandchildren too.

Do tell…

I am writing about vampires (as about half of America is also doing.)  I love vampire stories.  I have since I was a kid.  I remember my dad letting me see Dracula with Bella Lugosi and I was just wowed by him in anything horror.  Dracula was on late night TV and it was black and white, I did not complain, I just watched it and was freaked out but not scared.  I thought the black and white color made it even more suspenseful.  Then, when Bram Stoker’s Dracula came out (I was a teen), I watched that thing 100 times, then I saw Dead and Loving It and watched that about 1000 times.  It’s funny because I am not a blood person.  I hate a ton of blood but I can see anything vampire, read anything vampire and I am just fine.  I should say almost anything.  I just couldn’t watch The Little Vampire… I thought about it, but I can’t.  Although I have seen Monster Squad more times then any adult should admit.  Luckily, I have an excuse that one did come out when I was a kid.

I have also read a number of vampire books and have enjoyed how everyone views them.  In role playing (yes, I know dorky) there is also a difference between Ravenloft and Masquerade… there is always a difference in vampires, it makes writing, reading, playing (both role playing and video games like Kain and BloodRayne are very different) and watching vampire movies is so much fun.  Who is right and who is wrong?  How do you see vampires?  Are your vampires three witch-like women with lovely bodies and a taste for human blood?  Is there only Dracula?  Do you like that Forever Knight type good vampire, or the Buffy and Angel relationship, or do you go for the cold, uncaring Underworld vampire?  Do your vampires sparkle in the sun or are they only half-vampire/half-man and killing off all the rest of the vampire race?  Do your vampires turn to dust in the sun, can they transform into bats?  Do your vampires drink human or animal blood?

In just the essence of Vampires, there is something romantic, frightening, and mysterious about them… they can make fiction fun.

Me… just now… I am typing this for right here right now only…

Now these two should be near enough caught up.  I do not think I will make the same post to both places, but I still do not know.  I will see how this all goes.

Sarah

FYI ~ Old posts from Myspace…

Working on working

Posted July 24

So today I am going to sit down and go over what my husband edited from my book.  This might take a week.  We decided that while we wait he would run over everything.  So I printed it out (he did not want to tamper with my original work)… wait I am being me I should start this at the beginning…
My husband is and English teacher, he has now had a library credential and works in the school library.  He also does book reviews for a magazine.  So asking my husband to help with the editing is a good idea.  There that should shed a little light where it might be needed.
He read my book from start to finish then told me to add more detail to a few areas that were lacking (this was in the beginning… last year.)  After that (a week ago until yesterday) he read it again this time making notes and corrected grammatical errors, punctuation errors, and sentence structure.
Now today (as long as life allows) we are going to go over a few chapters day by day until we are done.  I had thought I was done, but my husband suggested a good polish to send in… if anyone ever says yes.  I know I have done a bad, I am telling everyone in my query letters it is done.  Since most people do not have the nice ability to ask their spouse and get someone like my hubby (I’m sure I am not the only one with this gift though) I do not think it’s wrong to do, plus we have said at this point if some says “send it in” we will just rush over it in a day or two.  I have not been sending it in to the “first 50 pages” literary agents yet… I will start that when the first 50 pages are gone over and done with.
The sad thing is I am getting agents who say I have a good query letter, but my topic is too popular.  The poor chi-lit authors are getting the ‘nobody is buying’ and us vampire authors are getting ‘the market is flooded and I am already carrying a number of those’ type responses.  I am grateful that I have been told that my letter was good… just not good enough, I guess.
I feel a little stupid though, I sat on this book / series to wait until vampires were back in and now they are, and I can’t budge.  I guess I should say, “I sat on the idea with an out line, of my book/series too long.”  I did not actually type them until now.
I also waited until I was done with my second book (very rough draft) and added a lot more to my outline for the third book, before I started looking for an agent.  I have heard doing this can be a good idea.
Well that is enough for the day… please anyone feel free to add help or even stories.
Best wishes to all who are trying,
Sarah

 

I am feeling butterflies of nervousness…

Aug. 4

My book is going though an editorial evaluation at the moment.  There is no reason to sit on it… right?  So, right now someone is reading, critiquing, and studying my manuscript.

This does not let my nerves feel at ease.  I am sitting here wondering if I am going to lose a lot of sleep and weight over this.  I’m not all that brave when it comes to others seeing inside and knowing what I thought up… there have been several times over this last month where I have asked, “What have I gotten myself into?”

And the whole time my husband is standing next to me saying, “Go for it!”

I am so uneasy, he is going to come home and wish he had just let me sit in the closet and type my stories for his eyes and mine only.

Though there is another part of my Gemini brain saying, “Why sit at all while you are looking for a publisher?  Get it published with POD.  And then you can still look and type and do all that you want.”

Sometime I let the other side of my Gemini brain make decisions, but she can be childish and eat a whole box of See’s if I let her.  Seriously though I don’t know… there are many options and I just do not know which road to go down… I’ve researched into this until I have gone cross-eyed.  I think I should just go out and get some See’s but I am worried the butterflies might not like chocolate.

Sarah

I wanted to let everyone know that I am sure my husband did a great job, but we both felt it best to also have someone go over it and let us know what they think.

 

Oh… I forgot…

Aug 7

I forgot over all this work and everything I forgot to add in that I am proud I did the outlines for books 4 and 5, just to have them done.  They are just the general outline, not as much depth to them as there is in the 3rd right now.  Although I have a few pages for the fifth done and then the fourth has been in my head forever.  It’s funny, once I get to four and five there will be no thinking; it will just be putting it down on paper.  The third has to be there, but there are still a few chapters that I am lacking right now.  I think that’s why the outlines for 4th and 5th are so general, the book is all there right now, I just needed to put little things down to remember it all.  I think in a month I will be writing the third.  Right now I am going over the 2nd book, so I can make sure that there are no contradictions within the two.  For example I am making sure I did not say an insignificant guy was short and then in the next book make him tall.  Then I will get back to writing.
I think there is no wonder as to why the dishes are starting to get a little backed up…

Sarah