Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “CreateSpace

Waiting for the Door to Close.

The submission deadline is almost up for those of us throwing our hat in to the ring for ABNA 2014. I’ve been curiously watching to see if the submissions would fill up early, but much like last year, it appears they’re not going to… or at least it will come down so close to the wire, we won’t know if they truly hit 10k or not.

I have lots of questions about the process of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards… but there’s no true way to really quantify things. How many submissions do they really get? What’s the initial break down in categories? From what I’ve found there’s no true way to know, short of taking a survey of people willing to post in the forums. I think knowing the raw numbers alone would be helpful in figuring out market segments, and where to focus effort as you craft future work.

This is probably why they don’t tell us.

But maybe it’s better that way. A little vague competition keeps everyone wondering and makes it harder to work the system. For now, tonight marks the beginning of the real wait. I’m more patient than last year because I have a better idea of how things go, but I’m still insanely curious to see how far my submission goes this year.

Once again, I submitted Houses of the Broken. Last year HoTB made it to the Quarter Finals, but no further. In truth, I was pretty pleased for it being my first attempt. With nearly the same material as I submitted last year, I am more curious about seeing if I get the same results, than I am hedging my bets on my chance at winning.

Will I get kicked out at the Pitch stage? Maybe never make it past the second cut? I have little illusion that I’ll go ‘all the way’ but… you never know. Good readers having bad days can send your submission into the circular file. And bad readers… well… we all seem to get at least one.

Last year the one that made me chuckle the most was the review complaining about my use of ‘language.’ Serial killers? No problem. Child abuse? Whatever. F-word? Oh my stars, you vile little girl…

We all have our triggers, I suppose.

So now… well, soon… we wait. In the mean time I need to try and keep busy with other things, because I officially have no control over my fate until the dust settles.

Patience is not my virtue.

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Formatting a plan.

I pride myself on thinking ahead. It’s my blessing and my curse.

When I decided to self-publish for the first time, I had what many new writers had. A nicely formatted manuscript. Take the data from manuscript to print-ready resource took some time and effort, but in the end all was well. As I tinkered and tweaked, and caught typos, I reloaded the CreateSpace file more times than I can count before it was finally, truly, done. All was right with the world.

It’s a little less than a year later, and the need for a nice, clean manuscript has arisen. It’s now time for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award – 2014 edition. But guess what… the final edits? They’re all in proper book print format.

Formatting a manuscript is hard enough. “Un-formatting” a manuscript is a a good way to drive yourself insane. It’s amazing how many things are just different enough between the manuscript and the print template. Reverse engineering into a publisher friendly format takes a methodical mindset and a chunk of time without distraction.

How do we combat this in the future? In truth, there’s no real good way I can think of. There are still going to be tweaks to the final print files. There’s no way around it. That means maintaining both a fully up to date manuscript AND a fully up to date print file. It’s a recipe for disaster but in the long run I think it might be better than reverse engineering things down the road. Of course, this only applies if you want to submit your work to something that requires a traditional manuscript format. If you’re content with self-publishing, problem solved!

As my next work in progress hits editing and formatting, I’m going to keep in mind the backwards slide that happened with the first one and strive to do as much editing as possible in the manuscript format. But I know there will be tinkers. And tweaks. And things that don’t look quite right once I see it in a proof.

But for now, the lesson has been learned. My manuscript is official in for ABNA 2014, and let’s hope that the effort to re-convert it can also be used for sending out queries. Yes, I’m taking the step of trying to find an agent, but I’ll still self publish if that doesn’t work.

File management has never been so important.


Blackest Friday

Things I need to do… staring at the screen blankly doesn’t accomplish much, nor does it give me much of a story to tell. But there are things, retail things, that I must pay attention to. It’s my duty as a newly published author to shill my work when the opportunity arises. So here we are, Black Friday.

For your purchasing pleasure, there are a number of options for picking up Houses of the Broken. I hear it’s a great stalker… I mean… stocking stuffer…

Kindle and print is available at Amazon.com

Print is available at barnesandnoble.com and I hear there’s a pretty good coupon code floating out there, so give a google!

CreateSpace is a personal favorite.

And, if you’ve already read it, and can’t wait to tell others about my twisted mind, check out GoodReads!

So there we are, one click for all of your needs! Stay out of the snow and curl up with a chill thrill.


Createspace on your shelf for me!

See what I did there?

I’ve been sitting on pins and needles since the launch of Houses of the Broken last week. To put it mildly, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been interesting watching how Createspace and Amazon handle the publishing, and sales. And torturous as to how long it takes for sales to report from the various outlets.

Every day I check my ‘sales’ list, and my Amazon ranking. Some days I’m happy, some days I’m said, some days I’m just plain confused. I need to get a better media blitz together, but it’s difficult when no one returns your inquiries… I could argue back from a ‘no,’ flat out ignoring is a lot harder.

In many ways, it’s what I expected: It’s a lot of work. It’s a leap of faith. It’s not great for immediate gratification or questionable self esteem. And Kindle formatting… good grief. Don’t let the ‘it’s easy as pie!’ sales speech from CS or Amazon fool you. If you have a formatted file for a print book… be prepared to completely reformat it. This is still a work in progress and I even have people to help. I’m already wondering if the $69 fee to convert it in CS might have been worth it… but I’m the stubborn sort, and I like to know how things work for myself. So… Kindle version will be out… eventually… Besides, spreading out the action should be good… I think.

For now, I’m keeping an eye on the sales numbers vs. the number of copies that are showing up in people’s hands. If they don’t match, I’m not going to be a happy camper and that will lead to a whole other series of blog posts in the future. But for now… I must wait.

Take a chance on me!


Houses of the Broken

Now available in print, and soon in Kindle format, Houses of the Broken.

Anna Shaw never intended to go home again. On the run from her demons since an early age, she never looked back to her sadistic father and the family she left behind to suffer at his hand. But with age comes the nostalgic longing for the familiar, and after years of distance from her estranged family, the only contact remaining to Anna — her sweet baby sister Lacey– uses their mother’s illness to lure her back into the fold one last time.

What starts as a bittersweet family reunion with her ailing mother and four of the younger siblings Anna so willingly abandoned as a teenager soon becomes a snare of animosity and deceit, proving once and for all that the perverse legacy of their father is more than just skin deep. And when the handsome stranger Anna met on the arduous journey back to her family shows up on Lacey’s doorstep with her vagabond sister, Silver, Anna discovers that her gruesome tendencies are not just hers alone.

With no one left to lead the family, Silver and Anna fiercely struggle for control of a twisted birthright. Anna must face a difficult reality that gives her only one choice to stop the fraternal darkness from spreading, setting off a chain of events that will leave her an unsure fate and no place left to call home.

Houses of the Broken is currently available at the following outlets:

Houses of the Broken on CreateSpace

Houses of the Broken on Amazon

 


Burden of Proof.

It has arrived. Snuck right up behind me, in fact, a day early. My hands trembled in excitement as I tugged at the packaging. In a moment, the reveal. Glossy cover, straight spine, not a bad heft… my PROOF is here.

I flipped through the pages, surveying what I could at a glance. Text right? Check. Images formatted? Check. Any obvious glitches? Nope. So far so good. Closer inspection… where did that ‘s’ go… gah, there’s another one missing…

Yes, there are typos. After all the eyes and editing, there are still typos not willing to reveal themselves until they’re in glaring black and white. But I’ll find them., as many as I can. I still have time.

There will be tweaks inside and out. Little things. Picky things. Things to add more polish and shine, but overall I am very very pleased. And soon it will be ready for public consumption.

But will the public be ready?


If at first you don’t succeed… do it again.

This is the theme of the week and this potentially wine laced tirade. Nothing has worked right the first time, but perseverance is paying off. I hope.

I bought ISBN numbers. Or at least I thought I did. A few hours later my celebration was cut short by a note from customer service… somehow I had managed to log in to their site during a test phase. So neither my account, nor the numbers I bought were valid.

Try, try again.

ISBN numbers re-claimed, profile re-established, onward to the final phase. Createspace and uploading! *the crowd goes wild* The proof comes up, I start to page through it. The few minor image issue flagged aren’t really important until…

Where did my header go? *crap*

I had wanted blank pages in the front of the template, which CS hadn’t provided. Apparently in my previous attempt to insert them, I manage to scrub out the header information in the entire file. Not good news. Thankfully there was a formatting fairy to the rescue, and I was able to get the doc fixed to re-upload. On to the cover.

Oh, we only take PDF not JPEG. *sigh* Ok… cue email to my friend doing cover art. //facepalm.

It’s taken 2 tries on everything this week, but things seem to be working… now I wait to hear from CS and see if my info and files are all up to snuff.

And now we wait, until the morning…


ISBN = PITA

Getting close. So close I can taste if. If that would be a normal thing to do with a book, of course.

Wrapping up the odds and ends, formatting. Dotting T’s, crossing I’s… and maybe getting a little punchy in the process. I spent a good part of the past two days trying to decided what I want to do with my ISBN. I know I can’t use the free one and do what I want to do, but then I start looking at options like buying your own, buying blocks… etc.

I’m the frugal sort. I like to buy in bulk. Do I really need a block of 10 numbers? It’s a crapshoot.

My heart sank for a moment today when I read that I needed a separate number for the e-book as well. I think I may have audibly hallucinated some antique cash registers chiming in the distance. I’m not afraid to put a little money out for the product, but I want it to be a reasonable risk/reward. What it comes down to is I want to be prepared, but not over do it.

The short version is, for what I want to do, I don’t need a 2nd ISBN. Bullet dodged, but not easily. Most of the answers fell in the category of well-you-can-if-you-want-but-you-don’t-have-to-but-it-might-be-best…. or not. InterwebFAIL.

I still have a little time to decide but not for long.

What’s the worst that could happen?


Formatting the Beast.

I’ve been in a bullet biting mood.

I unceremoniously sat down this past week to start formatting Houses of the Broken for CreateSpace. I was in the mood, which is something that has not happened for a very long time. ABNA helped me in a few ways. I made it a few rounds, got some good feedback and most importantly… was faced with a deadline to get my stuff together.

It took an hour. No lie.

Well, for the first blush at least. Before I knew it, I had a nicely formatted novel looking document sitting in front of me in Word format. Immediately I learned a few things….

My manuscript program sucks for grammar and spell checking. So does Google Drive. Word is where it’s at. This was a bit disheartening at the time. I’ve been using Scrivener, which I really like for formatting and ease of story organization but good grief… the amount of errors that flashed up on the screen once I copied it in to Word was just plain disconcerting, given it was something I thought I had made a substantial amount of read-thrus on.

I’m not sure how to rationalize my work flow now. I like the way the manuscript program organizes, but if everything ultimately ends up in Word… why waste time going back and forth? It seems like extra busy work .

Very soon we’ll be wrapping up the graphics portion of the document and then it will be proof time! I can’t wait to get a copy in my hot little hands, though I’m sure the minute I open it up I’ll see 20 more glaring mistakes that mysteriously weren’t there the last 30 times I looked.

But it’s getting close… so close I can almost read it.