Happy Halloween one of the craziest times of the years…

Just in time for my daughter’s birthday I get back my proofread.  So of course it’s in the back of my head and will be there until this weekend is over.  I forgot not only is it b-day party, slumber party, Halloween party, its family b-day party at grandma’s on Sunday.  WHY DID I SAY YES?!?!?!  I think my daughters have discovered the ‘ask an author while they are in the middle of writing and they will say yes to things (sometimes) without thinking’ fact.  I had already said yes to the slumber party and Halloween party while I was not under the influence of characters in a book.  It was the extra party I didn’t plan on.  Then my husband reminded me that we are going over to his mom’s Sunday and that’s about the time I started banging my head against the wall.
The proofread looks really good.  There are very few problems and I am allowed 50 free changes.  The book cover looks a little different than I thought… they didn’t use the font I requested.  The way it looks though is nice, it’s not bad at all.  My husband doesn’t think I should ask to change it, so I probably won’t.  They did do something slightly odd.  I didn’t want a dust jacket/clothbound and it looks like they set me up with that type.  The reason I requested casebound is because I hated working with the dust jackets when I was in the library and I always take them off when I read a book, as do both of my daughters and my husband.  But I’m guessing it was just part of the package and they just designed it.  At least I am hoping that is the case.  But I will call on Monday and ask.  All and all I think I will be done with this part soon hopefully a day or two after this party weekend
I hope everyone has a safe night.  If you are drinking please let someone else do the driving, hitting a child who is out trick-or-treating would be a nightmare for everyone.

A story within a story…

I’ve really been having a hard time thinking of what to put in a blog while I’m waiting. I called about the postponement on my proofread and was told it was just the editor. They must have had too much on their plate.
I’ve cleaned… a lot. My youngest daughter had a birthday, I had an anniversary, and the day before Halloween my oldest will be 13. She was born at 8:11pm… so close, she almost made it.
I have been typing some, not as much as I wished though. I’ve edited the second book, and I’m really happy with it. I got to the part that I wanted to get passed in book 3. Plus I am about 17,000 words into book 3. There were like 3 or 4 chapters that had to be in there that I just wanted to get past because to me it felt like… well, hum? Imagine it’s your 8th birthday; you’re getting to have a big birthday party. All of your friends are going to be there. There will be cake, gifts, ice cream, balloons, and your grandparents promised you something ‘really big’. Your party is after lunch. You woke up early in anticipation of the big day. You had breakfast, got ready, and as soon as you could convince your mom, ate lunch. Lunch was a little early because you have very little patience today. You asked your mom about 8,000 times “When?” “What time is it?” and “How much longer do I have to wait?” and your mom is getting a little upset with you over this, so you go and stand by the window. You stare out at the front yard. You stare for what feels like hours and hours. You wish for nothing more but your friends to show up in one big bus that your grandparents are driving. But, no, they all come slowly. First your dad shows up with the birthday cake, you had no idea dad had even left because you want your friends here so badly. Dad shows you what the cake looks like, you smile when you see it, but you keep glancing over to the window with the little kid desire for the guests to arrive. The next guest who shows up is your little cousin; the one guest you wish hadn’t shown up at all. They want to play but you want to wait by that window. You want to see who will be next. Your mom nags you to play with your little cousin you just can’t pull yourself away from that window. The next person shows up, finally a friend. They are just as excited as you and neither of you can tear your eyes away from that window. Where is everyone and why don’t they get here? You want your gifts, your cake, to play games, the balloons. A few more friends show up, and slowly a few more. You are still looking at the window every few minutes but you are no longer standing in front of it. Everyone is there but your grandparents. You have to wait. You think of the last time grandma and grandpa took you for an ice cream and you were sure it took grandpa twice as long to get to the sweetshop as it does your father. After a while they arrive with a really big gift. Now your birthday party is set in motion, everything is wonderful and happy. You don’t even mind your little cousin like you did at first. Over all, you are very happy. Your mom comes in and tells everyone it’s time for cake, then games, then presents. The world is well. My story was at the wait for the guests to arrive point. It is just as important as the party, even a little more so, but now I can write about the excitement, expectation, adventures, conflict, and much more. Yes, the first chapters had some of that. Like the cake showing up at the party and the little cousin, but the best stuff is yet to come.
I just realized there is a part of me that would love to be 8 again and have my worst worries be when can the party start, rather than the grown ups worry of getting it ready, making everyone happy, cleaning up, and so on. But there is another part of me that is so glad I don’t have to worry about all the little things that used to get me in trouble.
Oh and next month I should have my website.  I’ve got my fingers crossed, legs crossed, and eyes crossed, don’t ask me how I’m typing this, I just am. 🙂

I just don’t want to be that lady…

I’m worried about signings. I one time watched a lady at her book signing, who must not have advertized, sit there alone right next to the cash register with no one buying her book. This image is a little haunting to me. She was a children’s author (with a book for ages 9-12) and her book cover was… well, to put it bluntly, bad. This was at our local indie book store. My husband, children, and I hang out there almost every Friday for about an hour or two looking for a new book for each of the kids and Richard (my husband) looks for himself and his school library, sometimes we bring our daughter’s friends and buy them a book as well. I love watching and helping children want to read! Anyway, this was one of the times I had about 3 other kids with me so we were there a little longer and each kid looked over at the author and her books as we walked in. But not one of them wanted it. They were not rude, thank goodness, but they were not interested. I could see anxiousness in the poor authors eyes, she was screaming, “Please, lady with 5 kids, please, please just buy one book.” My husband wasn’t even interested. I should have bought one, but I’m not one to ever force a book on my kids as long as they’re reading something.
When we finally left Richard said, out of earshot, “With a cover like that, not one of the kids in my school would even look at it.”
The poor lady, she had a massive stack of books. I read the back, I don’t remember what it said, but it reminded me a lot of Frindle by Andrew Clements. My oldest didn’t even like that one and it was popular. I felt a little guilty about judging a book by its cover some, but I did read the title and the back. I mainly felt bad for her. The whole time we were there I was the only one who looked at her book. The author perked up when she saw us enter, and we let her down. She didn’t speak up, she just sat still, and it took me talking to her before she talked to me. I think if she would have sparked a conversation with the kids she would have at least made a sale with my oldest daughter’s best friend. Her best friend grabs book and looks at the back first! She’s awesome that way (with this whole cover thing I forgot that there are people like her). But the author said nothing, she did nothing, it was sad. This is where my fear of signings stems from, the image of this lady. I know I can sale a book, heck I have sold more copies of Monster by Walter Dean Myers than I could even count while I was working at Barnes & Noble. And it is a book I never read (I did read some reviews), but I told moms that couldn’t get their high school sons to read about it. I was truthful, I told them I’ve read the reviews, that I hadn’t read the book, but that almost all teen boys enjoy it. If I can sale a book I don’t know, I’m not too worried about one I know everything about. I just do not want to be that lady… alone with my books… no one there… and somehow wind whistles in the background while a tumble weed passes by. I know I’m just overly nervous. I know when the times comes, I will not just sit there too scared to speak, I will advertize as best I can. I saw her flaws and I will not repeat them. I’m not even at that step in my book, but my fear keeps going back to that poor lady. I guess I’m used to the sales floor and cash-wrap or the library stacks and check-out; I’ve never been the lady behind that desk.

This was something I wrote in an e-mail (I changed some of it) and then thought about it more and more and realized I should post it in a blog…

Bummer…

I just got an e-mail where the editor who is proofreading my manuscript just asked for a postponement for one week longer. I’m not upset, but I have no idea why. As an author, I have a wild imagination and this could mean 5,000 things.
First, the worry side of me starts in. “I hope no one is sick or had a family member die.” “Is there a problem with my book?” “Did aliens invade earth and are robbing us of our editors time?” “Did they find a major mistake and need to point it out and fix it?” “Did they lose all of their work and have their computer crash?” “How many calories were in that 1 pound bag of M&Ms I just downed from stressing out?”
Then the karma me kicks in with the whole, “You shouldn’t have been talking about how smoothly this whole thing was going. This waiting is entirely your fault.”
Then the optimist me smiles and starts to float in on her happy little lavender cloud. “Not to worry,” she sings in a sweet silver voice that I wish I had. “Life is good. Maybe they think your book is a pearl and are talking to their boss about how wonderful it is.” Yeah, I wish! LOL 😛
Then my skeptical voice that I wish would pipe down says sarcastically, “Yeah right. More than likely, the person took a job that was paying more and pushed your pathetic little book to the back.” She smacks her gum repugnantly and then continues. “You know the world is only out for itself, not you.”
That’s when I stop listening because I always try to see people in a better light than in a mini-villain type persona.
I will now wait for a few weeks and see. I will also call and nicely ask if there is a problem in my book or if this was a personal matter, and pry no further. With just that natural feeling one has when one has paid over $1,000, one likes to know to some degree why things are delayed.
Moral of the story ~ never make an imaginative author wait or they will worry that you have been abducted by a mob of time traveling weregoblins whose main desire is to see literature books of the future go into publication with misspellings, improper grammar, and poor punctuation.

History line of my book so far…

This is one of the things I see when I look in my MyUniverse.  Every time something is about to start I see a new project.  “Success” is when a job has been completed, “Ready” is when they (or I) are ready to start working on the job, and “Active” is when they (or I) are working on something.  The dates are the dates the project was started, not finished.  I expect anytime to see something to the effect of “Conduct Proofread” with the word “Active” by it.  The proofread could take 2-3 weeks.  I know at all times were my book is in the procedure, and if something is taking longer then it should, I can call and they will let me know what’s going on.
As one can see I started everything 7/29/2009 and one can also see where I am now.  So far there have been very few bumps in the road.

Send Marketing Success Workbook

08/03/2009

Ready

 

Author Review Edit

09/18/2009

Ready

 

Conduct Interior QA

10/02/2009

Ready

 

Conduct Cover Design QA

10/05/2009

Ready

 

Submit Materials

07/29/2009

Success

 

Evaluate Manuscript

08/03/2009

Success

 

EE Preparation

08/04/2009

Success

 

Conduct Editorial Evaluation

08/04/2009

Success

 

Conduct Evaluation QA

08/13/2009

Success

 

Send Evaluation to Author

08/13/2009

Success

 

Author Review Evaluation

08/17/2009

Success

 

Editorial Consultation

08/17/2009

Success

 

Submit Revised MS-Post Eval

08/28/2009

Success

 

Conduct edit

08/28/2009

Success

 

Conduct Edit QA

09/11/2009

Success

 

Send Edit to Author

09/15/2009

Success

 

Assign PSA to Project

09/24/2009

Success

 

Prepare for Design

09/24/2009

Success

 

Polish Cover Copy

09/24/2009

Success

 

Setup Proofreading

09/30/2009

Success

 

Design Interior

10/01/2009

Success

 

Design Cover

10/01/2009

Success

 

 My team is not sitting in idle and this is very nice to see.  I don’t feel like anything so far has been money wasted.

AAAaaa! Book cover… stock art… I’ve been waiting for this…

I just received an e-mail from iUniverse about stock art and that I can look around and see if anything speaks to me.  And although my ears are wide open nothing is talking.  Art for the cover of the book is so very important.  This is more important than the title.  In all of my years working around books, I have found that people will look at the cover before reading the name.  I know, no brainer, you have to see the cover before you can read the words on it.  But too many times have wonderful classics and great books been passed over because of the cover.  I’ve even sold the much more expensive ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ several times because that one had a better cover (the prices of the 2 books were $35 and $10, if memory serves, and both were hard back).  So many book titles have not even been read, or back of the books not been looked at, all because the picture was not grabby enough.  This picture needs to be not just good, but great, and hold on to the person looking at the cover.  There needs to be an element of suspense, a little wisdom never hurts, and the topic has to go with it well.  If I was looking over Harlequin books and saw a cover with a very nice looking robot, I wouldn’t pick it up and read it.  I would think it was in the wrong place and skip over it.  I guess if it said, “Romancing the Robot” I might, now that I’m thinking of the cover… hum?  That might make for an odd but interesting romance with a sci-fi twist.  Truly though, if the cover is not right for the genre it will not sale.  My daughters wouldn’t pick up the anime books (aka manga) if they didn’t have cartoons on them.  Men will, however, pick up sports and car magazines with near nude women on them.  I wonder, if it was a book on how to cook the best meals and do your own laundry with the cover and in the book it was full of nude women doing chores, if they might buy it as well.  As a matter of fact, it might make a few men help out around the house.  Anyway it wouldn’t help my husband; he might help out if I bought him a video game guide on how to help clean house… maybe. … ok back to reality.  Excluding some men and nude female covers, the book cover has to be right or people will think it’s for something different.  The cover speaks to the buyer before the characters in the book get a chance.  So right now my dilemma is… Will I help to make the right choice with my book?  This is not my area.  I can see when things are not symmetrical.  I love art.  Waterhouse is one of my all time favorites, but will I pick out wisely for my book?  I have been trying to go with simple, without plain… this is hard for me.  I do have a ‘cover copy polish team’ but I still say what goes.  I am second guessing myself all over the place… AAAaaa!!!

Warning ~ this was written by a nervous, babbling author.  Any book ideas that are used from this segment must be taken at the readers own risk of possible failure.