To B, or not to B: that is the question…

I know lately I’ve drawn a lot on here.  It’s been fun but here is a normal blog post… boring I know, but I still needed to do it. 😀 (FYI ~ I couldn’t help myself there’s a funny at the end.)

This is the back and forth topic that a lot of us are now being forced to choose.  The first choice we have is do we self-publish or not.   That is an entire different blog post that many authors have done, and a choice that only you can make on your own.  But if you’ve made up your mind to self-pub, here is the second choice and a new question… Do we go with the $.99 book that Kindle is offering us?  We all keep hearing the rags to riches stories.  And, although we know our work is good, we are also aware that there is only one JK Rowling out there and unfortunately it’s not us. (Ms. J.K. Rowling, if you are actually reading this, please give me a shout out. 🙂 <– Shameless promotion, mixed with wishful thinking.)

To get back on track, I’m going to list the perks and the downs. Yes, another pros and cons list by yours truly. This one is about the 99 cent books which are becoming labeled B books –just like the old B movies.  I shall start positive with the perks.

The pros…

1. Your book will sale. There is truth to it.  People don’t mind wasting a buck on a book when a latte’ costs 4 to 5 times as much.

2. You will make a profit — IF you did it all yourself.  You still might make a profit if you hired an editor, which, no matter what, you should do everything you can to be properly edited, even when it costs 30 to 45 cents a word!

3. Well, there is no three I just felt there should be at least one more…

The cons…

1. You will be labeled as a B author. That is not “you might,” you WILL be labeled.  The truth of the matter is we do not yet know in 20 years if that will matter, but we know right now it’s not a great thing.  If you are planning on NEVER going traditional or you think only snobs will care and bookstores are dead… then being labeled doesn’t matter one bit to you… which is great! Go for it!

2. Traditional publishing is not dead, it’s just a little sick and chances are it will recover. There will be changes but it will recover.  The only indie movement we have to compare this new one to is the one the music world faced years ago.  Music labels and big companies didn’t die, they just changed.  By stating this I’m saying we shouldn’t place all our eggs in either basket.  I think there is going to be a meeting ground.  Why is this a con when we can just about guarantee that self-pubs are here to stay too, you might ask. The reason is we know that self-publishing will not dirty an author’s name, but we have no idea yet if being a “B” author will.  If, by some unforeseen event, the entire self-pub dies out, and one is labeled a “B” author, traditional pubs are less likely to tarnish their name by publishing a “B” author.

3. This is going to sound very cliché, but there is nothing in the world like holding your book in your hands.  It’s very much like seeing your child for the very first time.  You love to just look at it and hold it.  After all you created that book.  I’ve held my book in e-format… not the same.

Here is a good link to read a little more… http://www.publishingebooks.blogspot.com/

Now before everyone gets mad at me for what I’ve said please read this last part.  The reason this blog is up is because for the last 3 months I have taken this topic into the deepest consideration.  I have asked myself, “How fad is it?”  “How bad would I suffer?”  But after long, hard deep, consideration I have decided that I will just keep doing what I’m doing.

Note ~ I cannot stress editing enough. Before you submit to agencies, edit. Before you self-pub, edit. Before anyone but betas read it, EDIT! Have a pro look over it and fix what you, your friends, and your family didn’t see. It is VERY worth it! Your book Your baby deserves a fair start on the selves.

Note Note ~ Yes, I broke a writing rule and used ‘you’ all over the place.  Please forgive me Mrs. Brundidge, you and Mrs. Fleming are still my fav HS teachers! (My hubby is too, but he was never my actual teacher.)

Note Note Note ~ Some people do love B movies! Just NEVER watch Worm Eaters your eyes, tummy, and mind will thank you.

August, September, October, November…

I have not counted days, weeks, and months like this since I was expecting my daughters.
Here’s what my chart thingy/timeline looks like right now.  I still don’t have any clue when my book will be done.  I know I’m close.  I know that even though I am close bad things can still happen.  I know I’ll have one more look at everything before it’s ready to be finished.  I don’t know how long that will take on their side, but from what I understand on my side it should just be a quick check and a stamp of approval.  I’m still hoping everything will be done before the Holidays

Send Marketing Success Workbook 08/03/2009 Ready  
Implement Proofreading Cover Corrections 11/10/2009 Active  
QA Proofreading Interior Modifications 11/10/2009 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  
Author Review Edit 09/18/2009 Success  
Conduct Interior QA 10/02/2009 Success  
Conduct Cover Design QA 10/05/2009 Success  
Submit Final MS – Edit 10/06/2009 Success  
Confirm Proofreading Readiness 10/06/2009 Success  
Conduct Proofreading 10/06/2009 Success  
Conduct Proofreading QA 10/29/2009 Success  
Send Proofread to Author 10/29/2009 Success  
Author Review Proofreading Interior 10/29/2009 Success  
Author Review Proofreading Cover 10/29/2009 Success  
Submit Proofreading Corrections 11/10/2009 Success  
Implement Proofreading Interior Corrections 11/10/2009 Success  

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.

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.

How much is this going to cost…

As most of you know I have been sharing my experience with iUniverse on here, well today kids lets talk about money.  It’s paper yet it doesn’t grow on trees… (deep sigh)

Here is the list of exactly what I spent, what it was spent on, what I saved, and when ~
Aug. 29th 2009 paid for Bookstore Premier Pro Express package spent $1,579.00 ~ saved $920
Sept 6th 2009 paid for US Copyright spent $100 ~ saved $70
Sept 28th 2009 paid for Content Edit spent $3,475.82 ~ saved $0
Oct 1st 2009 will pay for Proofreading spending $1,162.43 ~ saving $0
Total spent/spending = $6,317.25 Total saved = $990 Total would’ve spent = $7,307.25

For the Content Edit it cast $0.035 a word, for the proofread $0.011 a word.  I will also be purchasing the Kindle/Sony Reader option ($99) for the people how enjoy reading that way.  (Like I have said before I think the book and the Kindle can live in harmony, but the Kindle is not a replacement for the book.)

If you chose iUniverse they will not wait for you to save the money for your first edit.  Once you get your manuscript back from the Editorial Evaluator you have 2 weeks to decide and pay.  I understand why, if not they would be sitting on hundreds of ‘maybe laters’ and ‘please wait, I’ll have the cash in X days/weeks/months/years/centuries/eons’.  They will give you a little time for the proofread; they are a little more lenient there.  Best thing to do is have the money saved.  If your book is near 100,000 words (and want about the same as what I have done) save about $7,000 to $10,000 before you go down this road.  Look at what is important to you.  You might wish to save more if you want to buy more books to give to libraries or friends and family.  You might want to buy a book signing kit or a marketing packet too.  They won’t help to make your book better, but they will help with sales.  Those are also things you can purchase down the road.  So if money is tight (I would not recommend skipping the edit) you might want to cut other things you find unnecessary.  The right type of edit, front cover, and the back of the book are all very important things.  People will still read it if it is paperback or if they can only get it online.  But if it looks like an amateur artist scribbled the front cover of the book, people will think an amateur author scribbled on the inside of the book.  If the edit job is poor and the story is great, most people still put it down because it’s too hard to understand.  If the back grabs them and pulls them in, the cover looks good, there are little to no editing flaws, and your story is interesting, then people will enjoy it and speak well of it.  You’ll still have to advertize, but it wouldn’t be as hard as it would be if one of those three things were lacking.  These are just recommendations and by all means this is your story, your decisions, and you are the one that has to walk in your shoes.

Although stores will not be modeled for my book when it first comes out, I saw the importance of my book being returnable from bookstores.  I want people to be able to order them from a store if need be.  I also want stores to feel comfortable with my book so they want to be modeled with my book.  That is why I went with the package I went with.

Note ~ Some of the covers I have seen artist do are lovely!  Some look very professional.  I do not want anyone to think I am saying that all are bad.  Truly though look through some of the places like iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Lulu, and any other self publisher’s site.  You will find a number of good choices as well as some of the worst covers you have ever seen in your life.  Pick carefully.