Self Publishing

Self Publishing

So, you’ve finally made it! You now have a nicely-polished novel. And, boy, are you proud! AND YOU SHOULD BE! Not many people make it to the finish line and writing a 70K-100k+ book is very arduous.

Now what? Well you could either go the Traditional Publishing route or you could Self Publish. I’m going to make a case for Self Publishing because that is the choice I made for The Wanderer Trilogy. I want to cover the reasons I’m Self Publishing and help you make the best choice for your literary work of art!

Benefits of Self Publishing – (In my opinion)

There are a number of reasons I want to Self Publish. The good news is that it’s super easy and more widely accepted than it used to be. In the time of technology, the newer generations tend to read the News, Social Media, and (yes) even Novels on e-format. However, there are some of us Millennials (like myself) that are Purists when it comes to books. I always prefer to hold the copy in my hands. And now, with Amazon CreateSpace, you can sell hard copies of your book through Amazon.

To me, Self-Publishing allows a whole additional layer of creativity. Publishing companies have certain ‘formulas’ that they desire. Some will want you to change your book, and the constant battle to just have ONE company say “yes – we want your book” is way too stressful. Not to mention, you have to adhere to different manuscript formats for each company. It’s pointless, it’s outdated (in my opinion), and adds to the stress already compounded from putting your book out there.

Making sure you have the best book that you can is part of the reason you want to use Beta Readers, contracted Editors, and Freelance Cover Designers. Without breaking your bank, you want to have the “Best of the Best” or close to it. Because you don’t have an entire company providing these services, you have to pay for them yourself. However, you won’t be forced to use a specific editor, cover designer, etc.

If you decide to traditionally publish your novel, the amount of money you will make per book will decrease. I’m not sure the exact percentage, but with Self Publishing, you can make roughly $2.00 per book compared to less than $1.00 with Traditional Publishing. Once you gather a following, you can up the price of your books and make a few more bucks! The way I think about it… if I have $20K in Student Debt (*sad face*) and ~15,000 people purchase my book in either eBook or hard copy, minus taxes, I would be able to pay off my debt! That’s really not that many people 🙂

On the flip side, traditionally publishing a novel leaves the company to do your marketing for you. They take care of getting your book into stores. Sure, you make less per book, but you don’t have to market your book alone. If you choose to Self-Publish, you also have to self-market. This means going to bookstores, libraries, boutiques, and random people to sell your book. You’ll want to practice your pitch and be open to rejection. However, you can negotiate with the store owner to benefit both parties. It’s hard work, but it could work out well for you!

I know… on the surface Self-Publishing seems like hard work. But, you are putting in the work to market your novel on your Blog (like this one) and creating fans from the get-go. You’ve already put in the work for your book, what’s a little more elbow grease? If you are willing, you exclusively reap the benefits.

 

Where to Self Publish

I have already mentioned Amazon for the #1 most important place to publish your book. With any of these websites, you have to format your book a specific way. Using Scriviner, you can easily convert your book into popular formats accepted with the Big websites.

  1. Amazon (CreateSpace) – CreateSpace also takes care of the hard copy of your book.
  2. Smashwords – this website is exclusive to eBook format for independent authors. I also believe this publishes your book to smaller eBook websites to get the best coverage without having to know every url.
  3. Kobo – similar to Smash words.
  4. iTunes – this is to get your book on iBooks. If you end up recording an audiobook, I would also publish that here.
  5. Barnes & Noble – this uses the same format as Kindle from Amazon.

 

I really hope this helps! If you have the extra $$$, I would use a Book Printing website (like BookBaby) and print out a few copies of your book. Then, go around to your local libraries, bookstores, etc. and drop off/sell a few of your copies! Any outlet you can think of to sell your book is KEY! 🙂

 

BEST OF LUCK!

Linking 2 Writing Prompts! How Creative of Me :)

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I’m putting my writing prompt at the top this time because I’m going to try and connect the two. Perhaps you can too! 🙂

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I found this abandoned castle while on holiday last year. I knew, as soon as I walked in, that this would make for a great tale. What I did not realize was that the ghosts that walk these halls will instruct me to keep it secret. “You may only tell your children, and their children,” they say. “Only after two hundred years, can our story be made known. Otherwise, this curse will forever be upon us.”

It was a beautiful autumn night when I was whisked away from my friends. We had decided to travel Europe to experience the many cultures in food and drink. Admittedly, I have always been one to get lost in my own thoughts and end up in a different part of town. So, this wasn’t the first time I had been separated from them. And to be honest, I don’t really remember what I had been thinking about before I stood face-to-face with this forgotten relic, miles away from any town. Perhaps it was the ghosts who called to me, placing me in a trance. Deep down, I feel like I was supposed to find this place. All of my questions would soon be answered.

As I stood at the precipice of the world of the living and deceased, something called to me. A voice. It was soft, melodic, and was carried by the wind. My feet were bare somehow and I now wore an old servant’s dress. I was called to the cemetery next to the castle, and I let my feet carry me over the soft moss that had overgrown this timeless cobblestone. Caressing my fingertips over the towering brick walls, I was greeted by wrought iron fencing and a gate that had rusted and fallen years before.

“Come in,” the voice said. “This is where my story begins. I have been waiting to tell you for a long time…”

I was careful not to step on any jutting metal but strayed from the path. Dozens of stone and marble graves scattered the grounds. One, however, drew me in like an insect to a flame. The extravagant sculpture of a crying angel shadowed over a plaque with what looked like silver lettering. As I approached it, the clouds opened up and gave way to a beam of moonlight. It shined upon the epitaph and I was able to read these solemn words.

Loved by many, but her heart belonged to one long since gone.

Perhaps she will find him in the afterlife.

Emmaline Hanover

“I couldn’t love the man my father had chosen for me.” It was then that I got my first glimpse of the spirit of Emma. She placed her ghostly hand on my shoulder and wept. “And then… the curse.”

“What curse?” I asked. All of a sudden, I felt a tug towards the front doors of the castle. As a neared the entrance of the cemetery I was jolted to another, less intricate headstone. An eerie green glow touched this headstone and a feeling of immense sadness washed over me.

Always chasing after what he could not have.

David Wispen

This time, another voice spoke to me. The figure of a man appeared beside me and beckoned me towards the castle. When I passed him, his handsome face flashed to a horrible disfigured one. My heart skipped a few beats. It looked like he had been badly tortured or disfigured in an unspeakable accident. I hoped to find out more in this place.

Surprisingly, the old oak doors were still intact. One thing I did remember was that they were shut tightly when I first arrived. Now, as I left the cemetery, they were wide open. The spirit of Emma flashed in the dark doorway and I stepped inside.

What a sight to behold. Crumbling stairs wound upwards to rooms where no one had set foot in a century. Remnants of old tapestries and rugs bearing stains and tears wrapped around wooden furniture that had become so rotten, they were nearly unrecognizable.

“You don’t have much time,” Emma’s voice called in my ear. “Your friends will be looking for you soon. Only a few hours until daybreak and my story will be lost.”

Honestly, I don’t know why I wanted to hear this ancient tale of tragedy. Something in me felt as though I knew this Emmaline Hanover. But there was just no way that could be true, she had died over five hundred years ago. Still, I let her spirit lead me further into the castle.

Again, I found myself in a room without recollection of how I got there. It was the dining room, no doubt. High vaulted ceilings boasted old stained-glass windows that were mostly intact. Some of the moonlight was obscured by creeping vines, but I was still able to see clearly enough. Immediately, I felt a shift in my bones and I was jolted back to when this abandoned place was bursting with life.

“I will NOT have my daughter marry a servant,” a booming voice said. A middle-aged man with a large belly appeared in front of me. He was jabbing his finger violently at a young, red-haired girl. 

“But father,” the girl cried. It was Emma. “I do not love Gregory. I will not -.”

“You WILL do as I say,” Emma’s father grabbed her by the frail arm. “You are my daughter. MY property and you will marry whoever I say.”

Suddenly I felt the overwhelming need to run. The feeling in my stomach told me to turn here and open this door. Before I realized what was going on, I was outside again. But this time, I had traveled to the garden. There was a soft stream that trickled around a sitting area with a pavilion. I walked closer and saw Emma’s ghost, with her head in her hands. A man walked through me and I instantly recognized him as David, the man who was buried near the entrance of the cemetery.

“Emma, my love.” I felt myself gasp as he spoke. Again, an unusual sense of familiarity washed over me. “You must marry Gregory. It is for the best.”

“But I do not love him,” she wrapped her arms around David’s shoulders. “I love only you. There must be a way we can be together… I know! We leave this place and never return.”

David placed his hand on Emma’s cheek. “I wish it were that simple my dear. But we would have nothing.” 

“We would have each other,” she corrected. “That is all I ever wanted.”

“I love you Emma,” David laid his forehead against hers.  “More than life itself. I promise that I WILL find a way for us to be together. I could never see you so unhappy. For now, just pretend to be interested in Gregory. We will wed in a week.”

Emma leapt into David’s arms and they kissed. What they did not see was a woman with dark black hair hiding behind a tree, watching. But I noticed, and I had a sick feeling as to what would happen next.

The spirit guide lead me to the cellar. David and this mysterious woman seemed to be waiting for me to begin their conversation. Emma was nowhere to be found, only the young woman and the servant.

“I would love to help you,” she said. I didn’t believe her for a second, but David did.

“You can make me a prince?” he said. “Place a spell on me so Emma’s father will believe i’m royalty? Then we can be wed! This is amazing. Thank you!”

David took his leave, but the woman remained. “I love you David. And if you cannot be mine, then you will belong to no woman.”

That night, in the same cellar, there was a horrible accident. David was caught in a fire and could not escape. He screamed for help, but no one came to his aid. The woman who had promised to cast a spell on him had  set the fire. I could almost feel David’s last words as this fiery reverie filled my vision, “Emma. I will always love you.”

“This happened a week after he promised me we would be wed.” The voice whispered and I was back in the garden.

The pavilion was overflowing with people from all around. Every one of them was wearing regal attire and smiling at the two joining hands in the middle. It was Emma and someone I did not recognize, but assumed it was this “Gregory” that her father had spoken of.

“Tears of joy my little girl!” Emma’s father boasted. “I knew you would fall for this wonderful man… now that the poor servant you were infatuated with has now been laid to rest.”

Emma’s ghost appeared next to me again. I finally got a good look at her face and noticed that it was becoming more decayed by the minute. “But they weren’t tears of joy. I had lost my only love, but I had no where else to go. I had nothing. So I had to pretend to love Gregory. But I never did.”

At that moment, I was alone. I could tarry on this ancient place in peace for a while. Perhaps the next part of the story I had to find for myself. I circled the garden. It was so serene that I thought I was hearing the faint sound of piano music. Beautiful chords added to the scene of rose thickets and beautiful Forget-me-Not’s.

“Those were always my favorite flower,” Emma’s voice whispered. “I did not realize that it would remind me so much of David.”

I ventured off of the main floor into the upper stories of the castle. Many of the rooms did not feel important as I walked through them. Still, the feeling of familiarity lingered. I knew this place, somehow, and I felt like I could spend an eternity here. Finally, I reached the bedroom corridor. Most of the doors were shut tight, but not locked. Oddly, it felt like someone was holding their weight against the other sides, almost to keep me on my task.

There was one room I was able to enter. A large, pillared bed sat off to one corner and two desks and a boudoir on the other. In between was a large door that opened to a balcony overlooking the rolling hills of Britain. I knew the story was almost complete because twilight had gone and the first rays of the new day were forcing their way through the horizon.

“I am so sorry about your beloved David, dear sister.” It was the witch. The one who killed David. Wait… Sister?

“Half sister,” Emma corrected. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days. Her eyes were puffy with tears. “But thank you Vivian.”

I wanted to scream at Emma, explain everything, but I knew that it was no use. These are just the imprints of life before. This scene had already happened. Instead, I simply cried. I was overwhelmed by sadness that matched Emma’s. I desperately wanted to hug her and never let go. This Vivian ruined her life, but the poor girl had no idea.

“You know,” Vivian smiled and reached in her pouch. “David did want me to share something with you. He came to me the night before he died and gave me this.”

It was a small note. I rushed over to Emma’s side and read it with her.

Emma,

I do not know why we continue to play this game. We were only children, and the feelings were just that… childish. You had to know that there was no way we could ever be together. While I know that I tugged at your heartstrings through adulthood, I wish I could say the same of you. I do not love you… I was only hoping to marry you to get out of this life of servitude. I am sorry.

David

No. This can’t be right. David LOVED Emma. The ghost quelled my confusion.

“I should have known my half sister would do this,” Emma said. Her face was rotting away at the bone now. “David loved me and I knew Vivian’s handwriting. She had always been jealous, but I was in mourning. I was forced to lie to a man that I loved him. For five years I did this… until…”

Another shift. It was a year later. Emma was still wearing a black gown, as if still morning for her lost love. She stood on the balcony as a cold air softly touched her hair and dress. Slowly and carefully, she stepped up to the ledge and held out her arms. Tears were streaming down her cheeks and she turned to face the door, careful not to slip. A small child, HER child rushed into the room. It was her son.

“Mommy? What are you doing?” the little boy inquired.

“I cannot do this anymore.” Emma was whispering to herself. Her son could not hear her. “I cannot keep living this lie. I am undone.”

She took a step back and plummeted to the ground below. Her son ran over to the ledge to try and save his mother, but to no avail. There was no way she could survive the fall. I was at a loss for words.

“I did not survive,” Emma’s words hit me like a ton of bricks. “But I saw David right before I hit the ground. He told me that he loved me.”

“Why tell me this?” I finally had the courage to speak. I felt like, this time, she was listening to me. “Why me?”

“Because, dear friend,” Emma stepped back into the beam of sunlight as it burst through the sky. “You are me. Rather… you WERE me. And now that you know this, I can finally rest. Vivian did not want anyone to hear this tale, but I could only speak to someone who carried my soul in the future. Because you listened, I can now free David from the clutches of her curse and be with him for eternity. Thank you…”

And just like that, she was gone. I have never felt the same since. In fact, I ended up winning quite a bit of money and purchasing the old castle, restoring it to it’s former glory. Just for Emma, for myself… I kept everything true to it’s nature. I even wander into the cemetery from time to time and reminisce on who I once was…

 

I HOPE YOU ENJOYED! 🙂 Don’t forget to “Follow” for more Prompts! 🙂

Quick Update on My Novel!

I apologize for not posting as frequently as I would like. I have been extremely busy with trying to finish edits for my book. Now, the story has been handed off to my amazing Beta Readers for a month and a half. All that I have left on my checklist is obtain a Copyright for the novel and have a Cover designed. When those tasks are completed, it will be ready for publication!!! I hope you are as excited as I am!

What shall I do during my free time now? I suppose I shall start the first draft of Book 2 – Preservation. Of course, I will try to post on here at least 2x per week with new writing prompts, tips, and updates. If you have any topics you would like me to cover, please let me know!

Enjoy your day today! 🙂 I will be posting again soon.

Happy Saturday!

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I walk this luscious Earth and smile at the greenery around me. The animals that walk around me, but never close enough for me to touch them. They nod their head as my equal, sentient, aware. I was part of this creation, rather, its creator… though my wings yearn for my old home. It’s beauty is unmatched, even compared to the rolling hills, babbling brooks, monstrous mountains, and vast oceans of this world. But I chose to walk this path, guarding my purpose.

What is my fate on this land? To keep it untainted. I vowed to protect these rolling hills, babbling brooks, monstrous mountains, and vast oceans. All of this beauty overwhelms me from time to time, my tears cover these endless horizons as I walk for all eternity. And as I think of my home often, I remember that these footprints that I leave behind are of my own doing. My own choice.

And yes, I do stretch my wings from time to time. Their feathers dancing against the wind as I lift to the sky. My eyes, downcast at the sight beneath me. Unfurling beneath me, a never ending landscape of trees and pastures, gradually rising to snowy, rocky caps. As I travel the world, it changes from green forests, bursting with life and noises from the countless animals that inhabit it, to the barren deserts, nearly devoid of life and as silent as death. I have grown to love it all. And I have become protective of every grain of sand to blade of grass.

Over these millennia, I have seen many things come and go. Even a flower, it’s life so fleeting, leaves its mark on every other flower around it. Every life, every death. It has a reason… except for my own. As I do not die, my footprints will remain, my soft touch on the trees as I pass them, and my breath against the wind as it blows around me. These things, too, remain for eons along with me.

For there will never be another like me. The rest have left, long ago. They created, but they did not stay. No. That was my burden to bear. Mine and mine alone. I remember them all, though. There were so many. The battles that ensued. Debates of what should be created and how it should be done. Thousands of years of chaos before the end result. What became of these quarrels is truly a sight to behold. The lives that were lost is the reason that I protect what they died for.

But my life has not been without bloodshed. I swore to protect this land, and protect it I shall. It was when the humans were created that my land began to decay around me. Everywhere I went, the greenery curled to their graves in a brown dust. Peaceful animals were murdered for sport and nothing more. The very air was fart too toxic to even breathe. How they could survive in a land that had given so much for their needless hate, I will never comprehend. 

And while I allowed them to share this land with me for a time, I grew in rage with each passing day. The needless destruction and the refusal to change became white hot in my heart. But the most heinous thing was that, through the ages, these humans became bloodthirsty. They killed each other in the millions. With each generation, deadlier means were used. Children were slaughtered but no change was made. Finally I had enough. I loved this earth, not these abominations.

Yes, I ended the human race. With the swipe of my blade, an entire race fell to their knees. You see, I am not just an angel. I am the Angel of Destruction. I care not for the petulance of humans. In fact, I enjoyed ending their existence. Every drop of blood on my sword made me smile. I turned my head to the heavens and laughed at them. How could they be so foolish to create beings that are so selfish? They became do distracted with killing each other that they were easy to slay. My blackened wings will forever be speckled with droplets of their crimson blood. For an angel I am no longer.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it! 🙂

 

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Making Your Novel B-E-A-U-Tiful!

If it scares you,it might be agood thing to try.

This is the step that I find myself with Purpose. Today, I’m going to cover the reason I’m using Beta Readers, questions I’m having them answer for the polished and ready to publish version of my novel, the Blurb for the back of your novel, and the cover. These are all necessary steps to take prior to getting your book published. 🙂

First of all, why have Beta Readers? What are they? Well, Beta Readers are a select, handful of people who you choose to read your final draft for gaping plot holes and content critique. Make sure you don’t have too many Beta Readers, though. Less than 5 people is more than enough.

I have 3 Beta Readers. I wanted people of various backgrounds so I could get different perspectives on the questions I pose to them. My father, my husband, and my aunt-in-law (if that’s a thing???). They are all honest with me and always have been. My father and husband have an obsession with fiction, specifically fantasy. My aunt-in-law loves to read and can pick out any large issues with little effort. One is more detail oriented, the other two see the big picture. Things like this are important if you want a well-rounded critique of your novel.

The following questions that I have listed below are pulled from various websites/blogs around the internet so please enjoy!

  1. Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning? If not, why not?
  2. Did you get oriented fairly quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, why not?
  3. Could you relate to the main character? Did you feel her pain or excitement?
  4. Did the setting interest you, and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?
  5. Was there a point at which you felt the story started to lag or you became less than excited about finding out what was going to happen next? Where, exactly?
  6. Were there any parts that confused you? Or even frustrated or annoyed you? Which parts, and why?
  7. Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details?
  8. Were the characters believable? Are there any characters you think could be made more interesting or more likeable?
  9. Did you get confused about who’s who in the characters? Were there too many characters to keep track of? Too few? Are any of the names or characters too similar?
  10. Did the dialogue keep your interest and sound natural to you? If not, whose dialogue did you think sounded artificial or not like that person would speak?
  11. Did you feel there was too much description or exposition? Not enough? Maybe too much dialogue in parts?
  12. Was there enough conflict, tension, and intrigue to keep your interest?
  13. Was the ending satisfying? Believable?
  14. Did you notice any obvious, repeating grammatical, spelling, punctuation or capitalization errors? Examples?
  15. Do you think the writing style suits the genre? If not, why not?
  16. Would you read the next two books in the trilogy based off this one? If no, why not?
  17. Which parts resonated with you and/or moved you emotionally?
  18. Are there parts where you wanted to skip ahead or put the book down?
  19.  Which parts should be condensed or even deleted?
  20. Which parts should be elaborated on or brought more to life?
  21. Which characters did you really connect to? (None is acceptable)

Other Questions/Comments:

Use as little or as many as you like! This will help make the finishing touches on your book (if you need any at all)! Value critiques, whether or not you decide to actually make the changes.

 

Next is the Blurb and Cover:

I have already posted my Blurb for Purpose but I’m posting it again for reference. Try to keep it under 200 words if you can. Mine is 138 and I had done about 5 revisions on it. I also had my Facebook group vote on which of 3 options that they liked best and this was the winner:

The only remnants of the Old Times are crumbling cities and desolate streets. Their tales, all but lost. Five hundred years have passed since the Old Time Wars, nearly causing the extinction of all humans.

Descendants of the few survivors have since rebuilt. Power, weaponry, and skill in battle now rule the region where Eva Calloway resides. She protects a colony of Rovers from the two largest Gangs in the region, desperate to atone for her own bloody past.

Everything changes when she rescues brothers, Jake and Tommy McAvoy, from a mysterious vault that has not been opened since the wars. With each step closer to finding the boys’ missing father, the ghosts of her past begin to reappear. Now, Eva will be forced to fight her way out of the darkness or else be consumed by it.

Remember: This is the SECOND MOST IMPORTANT part of your book. This is what grabs the reader to buy your book compared to the rest on the shelf. Aside from the cover, this is extremely important. Ask yourself a few questions when forming your Blurb:

How do I encompass the entire book in a few sentences?

What important information do I want to convey?

What parts of the book will grab the reader?

How much do I want to give away to the reader in the Blurb? (Is there a plot twist I want to keep secret?)

How can I write this concisely yet cover enough to describe my book properly?

Try writing a few paragraphs at first and then narrowing down and combining sentences. Give yourself a few options and have your fans/family/friends choose the best one. Which one would make them want to read your book? Good luck with this 🙂

 

And Finally… *Drum roll* Your Cover!

There are about a thousand different places that you can have your cover created. If you are talented in the visual arts (or Photoshop), you can design your own. Since I am neither, I have to find a different route.

If you outsource your cover to someone else, you have a few options. But first, make sure you have a good description of how you would like it to look (if you’re picky). At the very least, a description of your book so the artist can play around with images.

  1. 99 designs – This website is in the middle in terms of pricing. A book cover design will run you about $299 or more. Basically, you set a price over the minimum amount and receive dozens of designs from various artists. Then, you choose your favorite and they receive the money. They seem to be very high quality, but I do believe there you have to pay separately for an ebook cover.
  2. Canva – This website is helpful if you want to design your own cover. They have templates to work off of, but make sure the photos that you use are stock photos. Otherwise, you may have to pay in order to use them. Canva has a few that you only have to pay $1-5 per photo.
  3. Freelance Artists – you can find a few of these around the internet with their own websites. They tend to charge quite a bit, but have years of experience and produce high quality covers. It really just depends how much you are wanting to spend. If you know a few colleges in your area, you can snag a student working on a portfolio to design your cover for ~$50.
  4. Book Printing Companies – Online Book Printing companies sometimes offer Cover Design and Editing services as well as printing hard copies of your novel. These usually run a bit, but most websites have a fleet of artists and it is well worth the $$$ if you have a design stuck in your head. (#3 is a good option for this as well)
  5. Fiverr – This is the option I’m using. Why? Everything starts at $5! There are a few people who design quality book covers (ebook is $5, but hard copy may run you $50ish). The one downside is the wait time. Since there are a few artists on this website, they have other projects in queue and may take a little bit to get your design completed. If you don’t have a set deadline to release your book, or if your deadline is a few months away, this is a great option!

So there you have it! Hopefully, after these final steps, you have a beautiful polished document ready for print! Stay tuned for the benefits of Self-Publishing 🙂

 

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