Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Publishing 101 - Review Requests

Hey, Sweet Readers! I'm blogging today's Publishing 101 installment over at Pen and Muse!  (the first bit is here, but the rest is there, so you might as well just click through now. ;))

I thought I'd do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.

My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done - in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.

Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. 

As a self-publisher, you’ve decided that the only audience whose approval of your book matters is the readers. Not agents, not editors – readers.
If the reader is the most important judge of your book, then it follows that the book reviewers/bloggers with large audiences of readers are your new gods and godesses.
Worship them.
No, I’m not kidding. Not one little bit.
Out of sheer benevolence (and possibly maybe one day ARCs of Big Deal Books) these people started using their precious personal time, without pay, to write thoughtful and helpful reviews of books. Those reviews were so good that other people started to read them, rely upon them, anticipate them, and follow their blogs. The more followers a reviewer has, the more authors want them to review their books.
That means that the book reviewers/bloggers you most want to be reading your book often have their pick of books – both traditionally and self-published – to read and review. That means that you will have to offer them more than “Hey! Free book! Now read it and say nice things about it!” to get them to agree to spend their time reading and reviewing your book (hopefully kindly.) This is ten times as true for self-published authors, who haven’t gone through the established and trusted quality control process of our colleagues in the Big Five houses.
To get in with these great reviewers,  you'll need to behave yourself. Click over to the full post on Pen and Muse for some very important "do"s and "don't"s  of getting awesome reviews for your book. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

To the Recently-Decided Self-Publishing Author

Dear recently-decided self-publishing author, 

 Congratulations!!! You've just made a huge decision, and it's a very exciting one. 

 I know you don't feel like those words fit right now. I know your hands are shaking and your stomach is in knots and your knees have turned to jelly. I know you are trying to hold back tears, or maybe you stopped trying a long time ago and now they're just pouring out. I know that you think I should be saying, "You are an idiot," rather than "Congratulations." 

 I hope you have a good friend next to you, like I did, to rub your back and let you cry on her shirt, to tell you that she will be there for you every step of the way. I hope that friend is telling you that you are making a good decision - not the only decision, but a really, really good one. 

 If you don't, read these sentences over and over and over again until you feel them in your bones: You are a hard worker. You believe in your book. You have what it takes to build your own career. You are making a good decision. 

 You have learned that there is a wrong way and a right way to publish a book, and that self-publishing is in the "wrong way" category. You may be very concerned about that right now - specifically, how people will view you and your book when (if?) you self-publish it. I wish I could say something to make that worry go away, but I can only tell you the truth you already know - that stigma against non-traditional publishing runs so deep that its claws have worked themselves deep into your psyche, and it will take two things to get them out: hard work, and time. 

 The key to ridding yourself of those claws is to throw yourself headlong into working hard to publish your book. Go through the motions. Walk the walk. Fake it till you make it. At some point - and I don't know if it will be when you make the announcement, when you hold the ARC in your hands, when you get your first review, or when you sign your first copy that someone has bought (!) - but at some point, you will stand up tall, pride will wash over you, and you will realize that you haven't felt those claws, or even thought about them, for a long time. 

 (If you want to know, I stopped worrying about what everyone would think three months and twelve days after I decided to self publish. It was a couple days after my cover reveal, and it was awesome.) 

 Every day will get a little better. You and your book will shine. And, most importantly, you'll reach readers and share your story. 


Leigh Ann

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Publishing 101 - Scheduling Your Release (and a 2-months-til-ONE GIVEAWAY!!!!)

Hi, sweet readers!!!!

I know it's been awhile since I posted...well...anything over here.

 Truth be told, I've been in sort of a holding pattern with ONE for the last couple months. Pretty much everything's been done on the book since then, and my last blurb just rolled in a couple days ago (thanks Emma!)

I just sent the final print version, pretty formatting and blurbs and acknowledgements included, to the printer, last week. Right now, I'm holding the final printed copy of ONE in my hands. I could put the ARC sticker on the front, but I probably won't. This one's a gift to one of my nearest and dearest CPs, and it's the same as the one anybody will be able to buy from Amazon.

So, why don't I start selling this mofo tomorrow? *sigh* I wish I could. But waaaay back in December, I set the calendar for ONE's release...based on the release date for TWO, its sequel.

It's common wisdom in the self-publishing universe that the closer the release dates between an author's books, the better. This is especially true for sequels. Three months is ideal, four is workable.

Why? Well, really the same reason that it's a good idea for any sequel to have a close release to its first installment. We keep readers' interest more easily. Especially in the primarily digital book world, there's an expectation that things will happen more quickly. Really, because we self-publishers can pull off a close release, we should. It's better for building an audience and making a profit if a reader who loved ONE can buy TWO in short order.

In short, close release dates are better for both reader and author. Happiness all around, right?

So, back to TWO's release date. Back in January, when I announced I was self-publishing ONE, TWO was only about half-drafted. I knew I couldn't have it ready to publish until late spring at least, but life throws curve balls left and right, and I wanted to give myself plenty of breathing room. Theoretically, I could have had TWO ready to go by July or August. But the problem is - you guessed it - pesky real life. *smile*

I work at a Jewish student center on a college campus. That means that August (Welcome Week) and September (High Holidays) are impossible for doing anything but those things. It's part of the rhythm of this job, thankfully, so I already knew back in December I couldn't schedule a book release then.

That's how TWO got an October 8th release date. And that, dear readers, is how I decided ONE would come out on June 11th. At four months apart, they're about as far as recommended to draw the most possible readers and build the best buzz.

Now, for some fun. Today is April 11th, which means ONE will be out in the wild in exactly two months. I'm beyond excited, and so I'm having a little one-day-only giveaway to celebrate. Even more exciting, with the help of my Twitter friends, ONE hit 1000 "adds" on Goodreads yesterday, so I'm doubling the prizes!!! Woohooo!

Up for grabs:

2 ARCs of ONE (digital or paper - digital can go international, paper US only please.)
1 DVD of X-men: First Class
1 DVD of X-men (the original from '99. Love.)
2 custom ONE posters by Andrea Hannah, signed by me and the artist
2 soundtrack CDs of ONE (you can see the playlist on this post in All The Write Notes) Here's the Rafflecopter! Have fun and good luck!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway