Monday, December 23, 2013

Break from One Means Fulltime On The Other

I'm sure most, if not all, Indie authors can agree that whenever they have a break from their paying job they dive into their low paying/not paying other job, writing/ self-publishing.

My new book, Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers was released four days ago (the eBook version) and the print version will be out in a couple weeks. What that means is, my part time teaching job is on Winter Break until next month so all my "break time" is marketing.

Engaging all my social media sites, and advertising whether via Internet or word if mouth, that my book is AVAILABLE!
So there is no day off and it's exciting and time consuming but had work is the difference between success and failure.

Friday, December 20, 2013

It's Official!

The eBook version of Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers is now available on Amazon!

www.amazon.com/author/valeriedaysanchez

The print edition is still being reviewed by the good old folks at CreateSpace!
Honestly if it was up to me I would write this entire post with exclamation points but it may be perceived as rude and/or pretty annoying, so know that even though there are no more ! In this post I am still very much excited.
Now that the writing, editing, and formatting is done, it's time for the marketing to commence so, keep on keep in on, I got a book to promote!
Cheers!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Home

I have been M.I.A. because life has taken me hostage!

I'm back home, visiting my folks because it's winter break and I turned grades in, and the boys need to see their grandparents, but also because I knew that I would be releasing my book this week.

I received the cover art from the very talented Ms. Yvonne Lucero and so there was nothing holding me back from pulling the trigger and becoming a published author. 

The thing is, that is terrifying!  So I needed to be back home, the place where as soon as I pull into town the radio starts playing all my favorite songs.  And I don't know if they are all my favorite songs or if it's because I'm back where I grew up that suddenly every song is my favorite song.  But I needed that comfort and familiarity.

Don't get me wrong my husband and friends are a great support system (see previous post, "What Am I Thankful For), but nothing can protect me like my hometown.  The mountains even sent some snow my way just because they knew I was coming :) 

There's just something about staying up into the wee hours working on my book that reminds me so much of school nights past that humbles me and grounds me and gives me that extra boost of confidence to select, "Save & Publish" on Amazon's KDP, which is what I just did seven minutes ago.  KDP assures me that it will still be another 12 hours before anyone can read Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers but I'm surprisingly at ease for when those 12 hours are up and my writing is exposed to the wold because, I'm back home.

Cheers

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holidaze

WOW it is full blown holiday season! With a week off from work you would think I accomplished quite a bit, unfortunately you would be WRONG. The past week off was full of Thanksgiving prepping, clogged kitchen sink :(looks like we're going to have to dig up the backyard), teething baby, and Christmas shopping.
Not to mention a ton of new characters just made their way into my subconscious and have been forcing their story onto the page. That's right a totally new book, away from the Harlow Whittaker Trilogy. It's exciting writing new folks but part of me is hesitant because there is still sooo much work to do for HW1. But hey when inspiration strikes...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Am I Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is around the corner, the semester is coming to an end and I'm getting ready to self-publish my first novel. There are so many irons in the fire and that's just stuff that's going on with me; that list doesn't include my teething and growing one year old or my emo three year old or my picky terrier or my hardworking husband. All these players in my life have all their own mess and yet they are patient enough with me to let me realize my dream. They each in their own way have settled for a less present mom/wife and for that I am thankful :)
As with anything, not just being an Indie author, you need support and I am blessed to have that.
Happy Friday!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Waiting Game

3 years ago I completed my first novel, Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers.  I have been writing since I was nine, but I was never able to actually complete a project, not until after graduate school and a 200 page Masters Thesis, did I have the skills needed to complete a large project, so then at 198 Open Office Pages, I had my first novel, but what did that mean?  I had no idea what to do with it. 
Flash forward 3 years and I am self-publishing it via Createspace and the hardest part is over (formatting).  I've formatted not only the print edition of HW1 but also the ebook version and my book still isn't out there, accessible to the masses.
Why?
Well the cover isn't done, that's why.  Cover art is by far one of thee most important aspects of your book, because duh everyone judges a book by its cover.
In an earlier post I bragged about having my cover completed, well that wasn't a lie necessarily, because at the time I believed that to be true, but then I changed the design of the cover, and then I found an artist that said they could draw it but then they got sick and then I found another artist, a Godsend really, because she saw my vision and raised it to something even better.  And then that meant to wait for her to complete her work.  And even though she is diligently working away and texting me pics of her progress, AND its only been ONE week, I can hardly take it!  I so badly want my book, my first novel, my first completed project published.  And that is why waiting is the absolute WORST.  I now know why my 3 year old loses is mind when I ask him to "just wait."  There is no "just" about waiting!
Also it's not like after she finishes drawing I'm off the hook, I will still have to scan and format the cover before I can publish, but at least that will be up to me, I will control the pace of that project, and maybe that's all it is; me wanting to be in control.  I'm a control freak, surprise, surprise, if I wasn't would I have gone the self-publishing route?
Aren't we all as Indie Authors just in love the power we get over our own work?  That we don't have to yield to the demands of Big Publishing?
So with that I say, have a good weekend, and God grant me patience and the ability to work with others :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not Even Migraines Will Keep Me From Reaching My Goal

I don't know how many of you are migraine sufferers, but if you aren't count yourself extremely lucky, and if you are then I hope my mere mention of the dreaded m word didn't trigger one.
I have been getting migraines on a regular basis once again, (once a week).  And even though they haven't been the worst of my demonic headaches (they used to last 3-4 days) they have been annoying.  Apparently sitting hunched over a laptop trying to format Harlow Whittaker & The Soothsayers for hours on end is physically unhealthy.
So the past few days I have been outside, playing with my boys and yelling at the dog, (seriously getting into the kid's Halloween candy is not only annoying because it leads to a sticky and stainy mess but also unsafe) and the muscles in my back have finally started to relax which mean less headaches and a new blog post.
I am finally working with an artist for the cover that really gets me which means the HW1 will be released to the masses SOON! 
The feelings of excitement I feel are only not present when the feelings of doom creep in, but I think that's normal, the best things in life tend to terrify and empower all at the same time, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

You're Self Publishing, So You Should at Least Think About Marketing

This week I have been focusing on marketing.  When you're an Indie Author obviously you're the Marketing Department.  So how do you market your book?
The most important thing is to know your audience.  Who is going to want to buy your book?  Who is interested in the topics, themes, characters that you created?
Once you know your market then think about how are you going to reach them.
I will go into detail on this in a later post, when I actually have a plan figured out, right now my mind is filled with the idea of book tours, larger audiences and social media.  So since my mind is a mess I will simply leave you with this,





Smile and have a good week!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Self-Publishing: Why You Can't Do It

I'm going to take a moment to explain to any and/or every person that is considering self-publishing all the reasons why you "cannot" do it.

1.  You've never finished a manuscript in your life:  You love writing but you've never actually finished anything that you have sat down and written.  So how could you ever self-publish anything.  Well here's the thing, before my Master's thesis, I have never completed one of my novels.  I've been writing since I was nine but I never actually completed anything; something always distracted me, and I just didn't know how to make the characters get to where I knew they were going to end up.  I think it was that along with a combination of other things: I was too young, not enough life experience yadda yadda yadda, but I think it was about ambition, the bottom line is, if you want to someday see your name on the spine of book on someone's bookshelf then you need to finish your novel.  Just do it-outline the entire book so you have a map as to where you're going, and then just write it.  Forget structure and grammar and spelling and just write it, you can always go back and revise, just get that first draft on paper.


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 2.  You don't know where to start:  What helped me to actually create a login on Createspace was all the rejections I got from traditional publishers.  After two years of rejections, but mostly what killed me was the waiting.  The waiting to hear the rejections, because when you're sending out your query letter's you can only send one at a time.  Which means you're waiting months for a response that will either change your life, or make you feel full of poop, because no matter how many times your mom tells you the story of J.K. Rowling and her like 64 no's you still feel like you're book is no Harry Potter, and you're dreams of becoming a published author are slowly being sucked away.  You feel like writing may not be your thing, and all those teachers and friends that have read your stuff and told you that you may be somebody were obviously fools!  But then somehow you hear about self-publishing and you think...what?  really?  Could it be?  Well yes, it very well can...and here's how; Createspace.
            There are a variety of other self-publishing sites but I chose Amazon's Createspace because it seemed to have the most easy set up and most beneficial for me, but there are lulu.com and others that I've heard great things about as well.
             Createspace allows you to create an ebook version, a print version, and an audio book of your work if you choose.  You can sell your books on Amazon as a print and Kindle version and if you pay the extra $25 you can sell your book via their extended distribution service which sells your book all over the place, including  Barnes and Noble.  More on Createspace and How-To, next post....back to why you can't self-publish.



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  3.  You don't have time:  I've got two kids under the age of five and an unhousetrained puppy and guess what I just finished formatting my book for printing.  If you really love something you find the time.


4.   I'm worried it won't be good enough/other insecurities and anxieties:  Life is too short to live in fear, and we never truly know what we're capable of until we live outside of our comfort zone.


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5.  It's too expensive:  If you edit, edit, edit take a month long break without looking at your manuscript, and then edit, edit, edit with fresh eyes, and then send it to your friend that is a grammar teacher to edit, and then get it back and edit it again.  You can save on hiring a copy editor.  Also when you self-publish with Amazon, you can always upload new versions of your book if you discover a comma splice after you've already sold 4 copies.  Also cover artists and cover designers can be hired for reasonable prices. (More on that in another post)  Not to mention marketing can be done for minimal costs thanks to social media.  Self-publishing = low start up, so if money is the only reason you  haven't hoped on the self-publish train, you can no longer sing that tune.
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6.  If I self publish I can never get published by a fancy New York publishing house:  O contraire pooh bear.  This all depends on your ISBN#.  If you fork out the dough and get your own ISBN# rather than go with Createspace's free ISBN# option then when Big Publishing comes knocking you can go with them, no harm no fowl, however if you did use Createspace's free ISBN# then sorry but no.  However my question is, if you're so successful as a self-publisher and used to calling your own shots in terms of marketing, deadlines, your vision etc. then why go with Big Publishing?

7.  No one reads self-published books:  WRONG.

8.  I don't want to turn into the person that is constantly plugging their own book:  Get a Twitter, Facebook page, blog, and maybe even an Instagram account just for your book, that way it's your book chatting itself up rather than you.  This way your friends can look at pictures of your dog and cute kids without having to be bombarded with links to your latest novel.  But if they follow your books pages than they are still in the loop but at their own volition.
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9.  I'm afraid to put myself out there:  Use a pen name.
 
10.  What if everyone hates it:  There are ALOT of people in the world, and if you market your buns off, the more likely that someone will buy your book.  And if they buy it, read it and hate it their going to write a review.  And if they write a horrendous review about how much they hated your awful book, (as long as their negatives aren't poor editing) other people will still buy your book because one bad review doesn't deter people, in fact it may intrigue people, peak their interests, like a car crash or Miley Cyrus, you just can't look away.

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So fear not, and self-publish on!
 



Friday, October 11, 2013

Ain't no sleep for the wicked

Yesterday my Facebook status read, "Poopie diapers are thee worst."  Well I'd like to rephrase that to, poopie diapers caused by diarrhea induced from teething is the worst because teething means, fever, no sleep, pain, no sleep, no appetite, and no sleep.  My sweet gorgeous one year old is so miserable which means I get to do everything with one hand, because the other is holding him.  Good thing I have adopted the whole, you can sleep when you're dead philosophy which is usually attributed to YOLOing college kids, but I think it applies to motherhood as well, especially when you're trying to publish your first novel.  Why sleep when you can comfort your child, or get a few more formatting issues fixed on Createspace?  Sleep, all be it essential, can sometimes be the only thing that you can ignore in order to get work done.  I can't very well tell my kids to take a hike when I have editing or writing to do.  I can't stop feeding the dog in order to meet my own deadlines for designing a book cover, but sleep I can definitely shove off because there is caffeine.  :) 
If publishing my book, or raising terrific children means no sleep, that's something I'm willing to live with, for now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

If I fail at Least I know I Went Down Swinging!


Since I was nine years old I've wanted to be a published author. It was a dream that was always in the that I carried in my heart. Even when I was applying to college and determining my major, I never chose creative writing because there was always that nagging voice that said, “you'll never make it.” You cannot make a living as a writer. But now I'm married, have two kids, and two degrees and I still write almost everyday. That means I will never stop writing and so why not? Why not just take the leap and see what happens? There is nothing standing in my way except myself, because even now; after I've designed a book cover, edited my manuscript countless times, and uploaded it to Createspace, I find myself thinking, maybe this is a mistake. The Facebook page is already up and running and people are awaiting a release date and I'm sitting here thinking, maybe it's not good enough. But good enough for who? Again I have to say myself These seeds of doubt, these nagging insecurities will destroy my career as a writer before I even begin, so I came to internet to blog it out, to let these feelings of inadequacy loose on the rest of the world, because they are no longer welcome here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The pursuit of a book cover continues...

Bad news sports fans...The designer said that my idea of the cover was "complicated" and that I should work with someone else or choose a simpler idea...I went with working with someone else; a new up and comer.   
Maybe this is stubborn of me, but to me the point of self-publishing is that you shouldn't have to compromise your vision for Big Publisher.  You get to do it your way.  That being said, do you think I made a mistake?  Maybe I should have listened to the expert and kept it simple?  Or maybe it's still too early to tell.  At any rate, I am reading and marking up my hardcopy of Harlow Whittaker & the Soothsayers, editing away, because I really want to begin formatting it for Amazon by next week. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2 days but I think I've got a BOOK COVER!!

Yup you read that title correctly, I have slopped through an endless amount of images, changed my "idea" of what the perfect cover would be dozens of times, but now 48 hours later, I've got it!

By I've got it I mean that I have narrowed it down to 6 images from istockphoto.com.  Ideally the designer I'm working with will be kind and cut and paste these images to my hearts content.  Fingers crossed, knock on wood, here's to hoping, blah blah blah. 

This is my first time doing this and I have no idea what is considered "irrational" requests from authors.  I guess I will find out.  I am sending off the email just as soon as I finish gushing out my excitement.

When I was writing Harlow Whittaker & the Soothsayers I pictured what my cover would look like, as I reread, rewrote, and edited my manuscript dozens and dozens of times, (let's just say countless) I have reimagined that image just as many times.  And the past 2 days have been no different.  As I scrolled through istockphoto, I continually reimagined what the final product would look like.  And of course I did, with endless images at your fingertips, you are at a constant struggle between what you personally find aesthetically pleasing, what will sell copies, and what actually encapsulates your characters, your story, your message.  What helped me to finally pull the trigger so to speak, was to constantly repeat to myself (sometimes even outloud), the title of my book, Harlow Whittaker & the Soothsayers.  That served as my guide and I hope when you see the cover (of course I will post pics here once it's finished, and on the Facebook page, Harlow Whittaker Trilogy) that's the message you get. :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

You wrote it...Now what?

Sorry I've been post-less but I've been spending the past two days scrolling through endless images on istockphoto.com looking for images to use for my book cover.  It is so exciting being able to choose the "look of your book"  and then the anxiety creeps in....is this image going to be the one the makes people think, "Interesting, I totally want to read that,"  or is it the image that makes potential readers scroll on through not even to bat an eye?  Luckily I am in contact with an awesome designer, Jeremy Taylor, who I found via Mark's List.  What's Mark's List?  Well for a self-pub (an abbreviation that I just made up right now for self-published indie authors, cute right?) it's pretty much FREAKIN AMAZING.  It has a reputable list of ebook cover designers and formatters.  I will post the link to it here along with an awesome blog that is full of useful information in regards to how to take the next step after you've written and EDITED your manuscript.
http://m.cnet.com/news/how-to-self-publish-an-ebook/20010547?ds=1

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oooh a Blog...


So I wrote a novel, not just any novel but a young adult fantasy novel, full of exciting and graphic fight scenes and paranormal romance, but now what?  I've always wanted to be a published author but let's face it, breaking into the publishing world seemed like an overwhelming nightmare, (almost as bad as attempting to write this post with my newly turned one year old pulling on the screen).  So I've decided to go the self-publishing route and I will keep you updated every step of the way, so that when you have 99,734 words of edited solid book gold you will have a guide.