I write. And I blog. And I love every minute of it.
Some day I will be known by the single name - Liebja (lee-ebb-jah), which, as far as I know, I invented when I was 14. A long time ago.
My debut novel is available on Amazon - Pride's Children: PURGATORY. First of a mainstream love story trilogy. And the second, NETHERWORLD, is now published on Amazon, too.
It has been a bit of an odyssey, as the book was finished in March – but cover and formatting were only finalized late last night, and Amazon accepted it in about an hour – record time!
I’ve set up a Kindle Countdown Deal for NETHERWORLD on Oct 19-26, starting at $2.99 and going back to $9.99 by the end, and it is in Kindle Unlimited for those with the KU service. They require that the book’s price not be changed for 30 days before a Countdown – so we have to wait until it’s been published that long.
Meanwhile, it is already available for the hard-core reader. I also set up a Countdown for PURGATORY, to start Sep 21-28, if you haven’t read it.
Good for Christmas presents.
The print version had an unacceptable flaw: on ONE page, the text touched the gutter margin; it is being corrected. ONE page. Picky, picky, Amazon. I like that bots and algorithms can maintain quality – a human would be bored to tears examining every one of 540 pages for minute errors; a computer does it quickly and without errors caused by ennui.
As soon as I have that tiny correction, up goes the paperback; hardcovers for both books will be available as soon as I can make the appropriate cover for PURGATORY (I already have the one for NETHERWORLD).
What can I tell you about NETHERWORLD I haven’t already?
It starts only hours after PURGATORY ends, back on Night Talk in New York City with our late night talk show hostess Dana Lewiston. Will she get some juicy revelations out of Andrew O’Connell, last minute guest?
And what was he doing in Boston that morning?
And what’s with the pigeons?
Dana has a secret, too.
And there is a waltz, and a festive treat. Why?
The fun process of getting editorial and customer reviews has begun
I will be out for some medical stuff for about two weeks – not much will happen until all that is over – we ME/CFS types have such a small amount of energy that appointments and such wipe us out, and we dare not push because the crash could make us permanently worse.
So the part I enjoy, after the book is finished, will be paused (the main reason for this post).
I can’t wait to get to Book 3 of the Trilogy
Life keeps interfering, but
I have a VERY rough draft (which I hope no one ever sees), and
Writing has begun (I couldn’t help myself)
I already have a good idea what I want for the cover!
You are up-to-date for now – and I’m excited to finally have something to offer readers.
Don’t rush – unless you can’t wait. Oct. 19 will have a Kindle Countdown Deal at a very good price for my doorstopper volume.
When an author writes genre fiction, savvy readers can tell almost immediately, from the cover, whether the author knows the genre, and some basic details about the type of book it graces.
I write MAINSTREAM CONTEMPORARY LITERARY fiction – indie.
Not that many of us self-published authors (SPAs) do – because it is a category (‘a novel’) that big publishers have claimed as their own area of expertise. Many of the practitioners hope to land a traditional publishing contract, and advance, and what distribution their publisher may give them, depending on the publisher’s expectations that the book will sell enough copies to be a positive influence on the publisher’s bottom line.
There isn’t even a category labeled ‘mainstream’ on Amazon.
Covers in these categories are up to the publisher
with an occasional sop to the author.
Covers are created by cover designers selected by the publisher.
After all, if you have a publisher, your expectation is that you write, they do everything else (including sending you on tour with your book to TV stations and bookstores).
The reality is much more nuanced (ask any author who managed to land a traditional publishing contract, did NOT sell as expected, and after a book or two more, was ‘not renewed’ (i.e., dropped).
The royalties associated with these deals are such that most money is made by the author in the advance, because it never ‘earns out’ – sells enough copies to account for the advance – and then goes into the period in which royalties will be paid by the publisher twice a year.
It’s the dream of many.
It’s the meme of many a movie about writers.
And it must be very frustrating to an author who KNOWS (i.e., is convinced) that if the publisher had made more of an effort, the book might have sold more copies, and their career might have taken off.
Sort of the same mental gymnastics that happen when one buys a lottery ticket.
Genre covers for SPAs
The author can either spend time and effort learning how to do covers, or expend up-front money buying one.
Indie genre fiction is often priced at a few dollars, which means the calculus of the cover cost – and the possibility that a professional cover will help sell more books – can be very off-putting, and many authors do their own (not toting up the cost of the hours of their time spent learning and creating).
So the quandary of the indie mainstream author is creating a cover which will sell
Or, as some of the more stubborn of us aim for, will give the author the control over and input to what is on the outside of the novel they probably spent a lot of time creating.
It’s no bigger a challenge for the SPA than choosing everything else.
But it IS important.
PURGATORY’s cover was completely my creation
J.M. Ney-Grimm, who creates gorgeous covers for her fantasy novels, was my kind mentor, and I learned so much from her I have no idea where I’d begin to credit her input.
The year was 2015, and I spent most of the summer cover-creating and formatting the first volume in the trilogy, and had a blast (and, boy, was it hard work!).
NETHERWORLD’s cover was stuck in my brain
I had planned to do that this time, seven years later, and ran into a long stretch of months of brain fog which had me unable to focus, relearn Pixelmator and all the cover specifications from KDP, and get going on it.
I won’t call it writer’s block; with the ME/CFS, it is physical, has to do with the totality of stress and time and pain and insomnia of the disease; and you think it will last forever. In any case, I was stalled.
A few ideas were coming out – picking a scene representative of NETHERWORLD and then refining it into the second part of a trilogy concept (which has also left me with most of the ideas I need for the third cover). I was able to locate and then license a couple of necessary images from Dreamstime.
I tried finding formatters AND cover creators who would do things as close to MY way as possible – and ran into economics: those who do these tasks for hire, at least the ten or so I communicated with, have to do things quickly and generically with their own software. They were not interested even in finding out what MY way might be.
Until I had the idea of asking a friend, Bill Peschel of Peschel Press. He and his wife Teresa write, publish, and sell their own books over a wide range of fiction and non-fiction topics (I’m currently reading his annotated Dorothy L. Sayers mystery novel, Whose Body). I dared ask, he said he’d try tackling the task, and he’s been wonderful (i.e., able to put up with nitpicking me and MY way), and, among other miracles, essentially got me unstuck from my muddy mental rut – because giving him what he needed to work with gave me a series of small discreet tasks, a great way to tackle an overwhelming problem. My previous post about the cover was one of those small tasks (What did you have in mind?). Bill has been VERY patient and laid back.
Putting the pieces of NETHERWORLD together
Bill has just sent me the final proofed and formatted interior for the paperback version of the new book. Boy, is proofing – and fixing the quirks – NOT fun. But we did it.
I will produce the epub of the interior – I’ve already done it once with Scrivener, and the results were readable. Bill will send me the cover for NETHERWORLD’s ebook, and work on the cover for the hardcover version (which may take a bit more time, since I want to launch a hardcover version of PURGATORY at the same time, which also means relearning my graphics and doing some editing – now that my new Mac is on the way, it will be easier to handle the huge graphics files. I THINK I’ve located the input files – from the 2015 publication – I need.
Hoping to get something out this week; if not, in the latter part of next week.
I’ll try the uploading – cover and print – when the brain is on tomorrow. Hope there aren’t any bugs to fix!
While the cover is being created piecemeal, and the formatting goes apace, tasks which I have thankfully uploaded to the friend who is doing the actual work – after which I’m asked to nitpick – I’m doing the remaining pieces only the author can do on Amazon:
Request an ISBN – done.
Fill in the sections for name and title and price and… – working on them.
Getting the files created for ebook and print cover and interior – he’s doing that for me.
Choose paper and distribution and… – working on them.
It moves toward publication – slowly because I’m slow, even with help.
And I don’t worry about it, because working with my friend has given the brain fog a routing – probably because he needs a piece here, a piece there – and reducing the tasks to small bites is one of the strategies for Overwhelming tasks which I’ve use for years.
I thought I had set up Pride’s Children as a series when I published PURGATORY
So I could add the remaining books in the trilogy as they were written and published, and any prequel stories or related stories, but apparently not.
I thought I had done that at the Library of Congress, too, but apparently not.
I think people will be able to figure it out, but I somehow didn’t. No biggie. I’ll give Amazon a call or and email and see if there’s anything I can do – when I have a moment – but it shouldn’t stand in the way of getting NETHERWORLD out there, in an ideal world. Oh, well.
I read the posts I’ve saved, and ran through the blurb books
and wrote a rough draft of the description above.
Thought about it for a while.
Thought about what I’ve been taught – the goal is to have enough ‘above the fold’ (what the reader sees on the book’s page WITHOUT scrolling or clicking) so that the reader will click ‘more’ (or Buy), and read the rest.
I used italics and BOLD to make certain elements stand out.
I moved bits around.
I added the first three lines of dialogue of the first Chapter as a sample.
Moved MORE bits around which gave me two short pointed lines after the blurb title.
And have declared myself satisfied – for now.
What’s there will also be on the back of the printed books
And probably won’t get changed on the back cover, even if I make changes to the book description text on Amazon for marketing reasons. That will be the same as PURGATORY – where you can see my original description.
Because changes to graphics files are never trivial, and I am reluctant to mess with what most readers won’t even notice – the back of the print version.
I also thought about Book 3
which I can’t wait to get back to, and which starts only a few hours after the end of NETHERWORLD.
And I already know almost exactly how that goes. Have even started writing.
But readers will, unfortunately – as I am the proverbial snail – have to wait a while more for.
Oh, to be Kary’s age again – but no one gets that privilege from where I am now in the ‘venerable’ age category. (I refuse to use the other designations.)
So that’s it for today – another little teasing appetizer – so that at least you get SOMETHING here periodically from me to know I’m not reading books on a beach and eating bon bons.
AND IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO REREAD PURGATORY to be ready for NETHERWORLD – soon is a good time.
I’ll do my best to help with names and storylines from Book 1 – hope to publish something here with some details for reference – but it is lower on the To Do list than I’d like.
WHAT NETHERWORLD’S PAGE 99 SAYS ABOUT THE BOOK AS A WHOLE
This is temporarily page 99, as the final formatting hasn’t been done, but it works well enough to prove (test) the hypothesis: is this page a satisfactory example of the book as a whole, from the author’s (me) point of view?
Minor but recurring characters are a consistent way of looking at a main character, and this is a very good example, so I’m glad it ended up in the Page 99 position.
Kary has no choice but to go see her lawyer, Joseph Farentz, Esq., whom she originally met at a CFS support group meeting when she moved to New Hampshire – when what she needs isn’t something she can get quickly, and she knows that he can. He is very proud he is still working – even though they share a major illness – as a small-town lawyer. She knows how reduced his abilities are and how limited the time he can keep it up, but accepts him at his own valuation, as she does most people. He has indicated interest in her several times, but she is interested only in keeping him as a friend, and has consistently found a gentle way to turn his attentions down without affecting his ego.
Based on the earlier part of the story, we are about to see what it might take to safely get Kary out of her rural retreat and off to any kind of an adventure: the signature on the papers is that of a famous director who heard about her involvement with Bianca’s screenplay, will be directing Andrew’s next movie, and wants her to come advise on it because his Indian costar’s wife is a big fan of Kary’s novels.
Kary knows it makes no sense – and she couldn’t possibly – but… the hook is baited just right, and she’s very tempted.
Because one of her problems is that everyone seems to have an opinion on what she can do. And she’d rather make those decisions herself, though usually in the negative (first line on page).
I like the Page 99 test.*
Except for posting an updated Page 69 and Page 99 test pages when the formatting finalizes what these would be for NETHERWORLD, I won’t be doing any more of these until LIMBO is written, but it was fun, and allowed me to look at the concept of making sure ALL pages are in some way representative of the novel, the story, and my writing.
If you’re a writer, have you ever tried these on your own work?
If you’re a reader, what will you think the effect on you will be as you get to these pages? I’d love the feedback.
Yes, I’m working on it.
No, this isn’t really a distraction. Think of it instead as ‘freshening.’ And if you don’t know what that is on a farm, go look it up. Another interesting word that says a lot.
And now I’m all interested in getting the final text to the formatter – to see where page 99 ends up – my ‘reason’ for playing with the new toy.
*I still recommend the test and the blog, but am sad to say SPAs are not welcome to apply, though it took some doing to find that out, as it isn’t mentioned.
This test comes from Ford Maddox Ford, again via the Campaign for the American Reader blog, but is a different way of assessing a book, and may well be apocryphal, as mentioned in his Page 99 Test post on Aug. 6, 2014, by R. John Williams, Yale professor and author of The Buddha in the Machine.*
In THIS test, Marshal Zeringue asks authors, ‘whether Page 99 reveals “the quality of the whole” about their books.’
That’s a little harder, and the authors who speak about their P. 99 implications have wide and varying opinions about it.
Why is it harder?
Because authors have somehow picked up the notion that they are supposed to let other people – interviewers, reviewers, readers – comment about their work, not themselves, or at least not themselves praising the book.
It means putting my opinions of my own work on record.
Specifically, whether this one page – 99 – is a good way to display the ‘quality’ of the whole.
Funny how that makes my stomach unhappy.
I much prefer the nice comments from reviewers (and usually have no trouble ignoring the less-nice ones).
I’m going to do it anyway
Never waste a good prompt is my motto.
Parental rules to my generation from our parents were meant to keep us from turning into the loud-mouthed, self-centered kid we could have become, because it would mean our parents hadn’t reared us correctly. ‘Children are meant to be seen, not heard,‘ is part and parcel of the same.
I don’t think these rules are followed quite as much any more, but, for example, I never knew my mother thought I had turned out okay until, as a grownup with three children back on a visit to Mexico, I happened to tell her I never felt I had met her exacting standards, and she replied something like, “That’s ridiculous! I brag about you to my friends all the time.”
That was the key. She never told us. And the eldest child does have the tendency to try to please, especially if she’s a girl. I think my four younger sisters figured it out, but they didn’t really leave home (Mexico City) and not come back, as I did.
We had no brothers; I suspect it would have been different, possibly worse, if we had.
I don’t think they meant anything bad by rearing us to enter polite society modestly, when it was our turn, but I was already the odd daughter, the one who wanted to be a scientist, and the nerve endings were exaggeratedly exposed.
Self-promotion is an absolute requirement for indie authors
Many of us aren’t so happy with that part of self-publishing, or maybe it’s only those of use who were older when we started writing.
Or even possibly I missed a lot of changes because, as a Person with ME/CFS, there was little energy left for me and my own concerns after the family got what I wanted them to have from me.
So, do I think that page 99 of PURGATORY reveals the quality of the whole book?
It reveals a lot of the main relationship: Andrew has come to visit for the first time, taking Kary up on a casual offer to drop in if he was in her neighborhood (rural New Hampshire vs. where they met in New York City on Night Talk). The only reason she got a bit of advance warning – less than a minute – was that, due to an overly-aggressive fan, she has had a gate installed at the bottom of her drive, and he had to speak into the CCTV and ask permission to ride his motorcycle up her mountain retreat; otherwise, he would have knocked at her door!
This scene is in Andrew’s point of view (pov), and we haven’t heard from him until this chapter after they said goodbye in NY at the end of Chapter 3.
In the intervening time, Kary was moved to take in the movie Roland, based on the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland, which was the reason he was on the talk show, and was blown away, whereas, being basically a recluse, she’d had no idea who he was when she met him. So their entire relationship is being torn down and replaced though neither of them know it.
The novel has many such accidentally-fraught encounters, each one showing the characters’ behavior under unexpected stressors. And how each character’s inner and outer lives complement each other.
Does this page 99 show off the whole?
It shows Kary’s self-control under extraordinary circumstances – a result of her medical training as a former physician: ‘Never let them see you uncertain.’
I know what is going to happen in scenes – I’m an extreme plotter – but not how, and it’s been fun to essentially listen to the characters to see what they do with my stage directions.
I love that this page has a good example of working characters – so many novel characters don’t seem to do much, but work takes a huge portion of most real people’s lives. They discuss their work – but expectations and reality are at odds.
And it lets a changing inanimate object, the fire in her fireplace, take one of its many mood-setting opportunities. I didn’t grow up with a working fireplace, but after I left home, my parents moved, and the new house’s massive fireplace was used in so many warm gatherings they were almost not complete without a fire (houses in Mexico City usually have neither heating nor air-conditioning, and can be chilly, especially in winter months).
It gives a nod to the relationship between writers and actors which is fundamental to the novels: each asks about the other’s work. She’s been writing earlier, he (and his feet) came from a morning of filming locally. Each is cagey, neither takes the bait to speak at length about themself.
In the whole, I think it does
represent the whole: two of the three main characters, a developing relationship, the settled homestead of the rooted character, the peripatetic nature of a working actor, and something of me as the author.
Not bad for one page!
If I am allowed to say so myself.
*I still recommend the test and the blog, but am sad to say SPAs are not welcome to apply, though it took some doing to find that out, as it isn’t mentioned.
If you’ve read Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, was there enough memorable about Andrew’s first visit that you remembered it?
Had you noticed the recurring fires?
Does this scene make you smile?
What do you think of books where no one seems to be employed?
Did you ever think anyone could make a movie out of The Song of Roland? Did it remind you at all of El Cantar del Mío Cid?
Due to the extra challenges I seem to be facing lately, and because I’m getting very antsy about launching Pride’s Children: NETHERWORLD, whose text has been finished for longer than I expected, I have explored various publishing assistance options – to uniformly fail in finding people who would do it MY WAY.
I have a book out, PURGATORY, for which I had plenty of time, learned graphics (Pixelmator), acquired a cover mentor (thanks, J.M. Ney-Grimm), learned how to format from Scrivener through Word to the final pdf files to upload, etc., etc., in 2015.
It seems quite reasonable to ask someone whom I’m paying to produce the same thing – so they look like a set. Right?
Well, even though the concept seems simple, and I don’t blame them, many ‘professional’ publishing services (all the ones I’ve approached ~ ten of them so far) must make their money by using their preferred software quickly and efficiently, because I had no takers once I explained I’d already made my own design decisions, and wished to keep them.
I don’t have the bandwidth to work with someone learning, or to spend a lot of time going back and forth explaining things, unfortunately, so that avenue didn’t pan out either.
The solution is probably at hand
as I had the inspiration and the sense to ask a friend who has published plenty of his and his wife’s books whether that was something he could see doing – and, if so, what his rates might be.
And got a ‘Yes – let’s try’ back.
I’m still in shock, because I sent him a few emails, and all the images I had accumulated, and a few questions – and the next thing I see (which you won’t, yet – that would be a proper cover reveal) was a cover (he modestly said it was his fourth attempt) that I could have used exactly as it was if I had needed it that fast.
Either they get you, or they don’t
seems to be my fate, and I admit, not to being difficult (every author is picky about their baby), but to being niche (indies don’t often write mainstream – mainstream authors usually want traditional publishers).
He understood everything I said – just as I was starting to think it was me (no, of course not, Alicia).
‘Niche’ means no precedents, no cover tropes to announce the content, and a wide variety of possibilities.
‘Mainstream’ means – for a traditional publisher – giving the cover designer a lot of freedom and latitude and little input from the author. There are some amazing (and probably quite expensive) covers out there that win design prizes. Okay, almost NO input from the author.
And we indies are stubborn.
When do we see it?
Very soon – he is working blazing fast, from what he sent me in a day.
I have a few more things to send him to do a bit of tweaking because we can.
Plus a thing or two about the fonts I should also have sent (but that brain fog has been heavy and dark) from the beginning, and which I will dig out and send today – quibbles.
So what on Earth did he start from?
I put it up there for you as the header image, probably against all reason.
But I thought you’d enjoy the improvement when it comes – though I’m not ready to reveal even that first example he sent yet.
Just see that I actually know what I want, but couldn’t make my brain do the work.
But I’ll get it anyway.
And that makes me happy.
From what he’s already said about formatting, that will be making me happy, too, as soon as I send him the raw materials.
As I’ve always believed – you just need the right person.
APPLYING Temporary p. 69 TO NETHERWORLD: a preview for readers
This is labeled Temporary for one reason: I don’t have the final formatted version of NETHERWORLD, so this might not even be p. 69 in the final version, but it will serve nicely as a placeholder for now.
This time it was that it is EASY in the new editor to get an image into a post – create an image block, and just hit CTRL v to paste the image in.
For some reason, I can no longer update my Media Library the was I thought I could, but pasting is MUCH simpler than that, and this post has the image!
It’s a screenshot, so a bit rough.
Problem temporarily solved? Who cares? Twill serve for now.
Temporary p. 69:
This page turned out to be centered on Andrew getting back to Ireland for a too-short visit before heading off to… India! to film another movie.
Andrew is talking to his agent, Maury, on the phone, as the page starts:
Andrew is in Ireland, where he’s used some of his movie salary to add a nice recording studio to the family farm
His band – The Deadly Nightshades – has gathered for a rare recording session, since he’s now seldom home
George, his long-time mate who was his manager during PURGATORY but moved home to help with the family farm (and married his Fiona, with Andrew as Best Man), makes an appearance in NETHERWORLD, the only one until the next volume
Maury Gibbs, Andrew’s agent, interrupted the session
Reality is intruding, hard: Andrew spends little time in Ireland – and the band is suffering; a planned CD is not moving very fast
Andrew wants everything – and it isn’t possible
I’ll replace/add the actual p.69 when I have it – soon!
Still a very useful test, I’d say.
Watch this blog – things are finally starting to happen.
When you grow up in two countries, and on top of that get STEM degrees, you miss a few things other people take for granted.
I was perusing an SFF blog I follow, Weighing a pig doesn’t fatten it(highly recommended), I came across a link to another blog, Campaign for the American Reader, (highly recommended) and the Page 69 test. Follow the link for the details, which credit the idea to Marshall McLuhan via John Sutherland’s How to read a novel.
Basically, ignore everything else – cover, blurbs, descriptions, reviews, recommendations, etc. – open the actual novel to page 69, and make your decisions based on a single sample page deep enough into the novel to be characteristic.
Being self-centered, I immediately grabbed my paperback copy of PURGATORY, and applied the test to my own work.
And was actually quite chuffed to find it works very nicely as a sample page that covers many of the threads that run through the novel!
For some reason, WordPress is telling me this post does not exist. So, just to be stubborn, I’m going to try publishing it – in which case you might see it.
If not, I’ll eventually win. Possibly it didn’t like me adding a screenshot.
Well, there it is
I think I won – must have confused something inside WordPress, but it let me publish, so I’ll add a few more words.
A reference to the show, Night Talk, where the story starts, and the receipt of a DVD of that episode from Dana Lewiston, the host (a recurring character)
How a main character talks to herself – she lives alone
Why she was on a talk show in the first place: as a person with CFS
A reference to a recent episode where an irate fan almost gained entry to Kary’s home – with intent to force her to retract something he read into one of her books
And why Kary’s homestead now has a locked gate at the bottom of her mountain.
Hope that’s enough to intrigue, and, of course, you get a taste of my stylistic choices.
I like this Page 69 test. When I have one for NETHERWORLD, I’ll put it up, too. I hope very soon.
Registering the NETHERWORLD copyright at the Library of Congress
That was an interesting couple of hours!
After a very long and frustrating process, I regained access to my Library of Congress electronic copyright account, and have REGISTERED the copyright, including uploading the 3.2MB PC NETHERWORLD pdf I just created yesterday, and we are paid – so will just have to wait for the certificate, and am DONE.
I tidied up a number of small things – such as minor formatting on chapter titles – before uploading to LoC.
This is the backup – it contains the full text except for a table of contents, and is not in the final formatting ebook and print readers will experience, and it has some running heads about the pdf itself, but it is an important step because I’ve already had Amazon demand proof I wrote PURGATORY, at which point I was very happy to already have the registration certificate (they gave me a short time period to prove I wrote it OR they would take the book down, and, IIRC, we may have been in the middle of the big move).
These requests are never convenient, and always feel scary, and you wonder why, and whether someone is trying to publish your work under their name… Best to be prepared.
Discussion Guide for Book Clubs for Purgatory
When invited to a book club, I created the earlier version of a set of questions that a book club leader can use to help readers talk about Purgatory.
Those have been reorganized and expanded – feel free to copy/paste into any convenient word processor, and to send them out ahead of time.
Discussion questions help spark thinking about different topics covered by a book, and have no predetermined answers.
Permission to use the KJV quotes for Netherworld
The Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible is copyrighted, and vested in the Crown.
Cambridge University Press manages the copyright for the Crown, and should be consulted when using extensive quotes or commercial uses.
For Purgatory, I requested and received permission by sending them the list of quotes I was using for chapter titles, epigraphs at the beginnings of chapters, and Ethan’s epitaph.
I just did the same for Netherworld – and expect to receive the same permission, as the quotes are unaltered, attributed, and labeled, and used with respect. There are MANY wonderful verses covering almost any topic you can think of. Not everyone has a Christian biblical background, but the KJV is my personal favorite for many of the verses (which modern scholars sometimes translate ‘more accurately’ but less poetically, and language has changed). These are the quotations you remember if you’ve read them.
Since the whole of Pride’s Children is, in many senses, a modern retelling of The Book of Job in the Old Testament, many of those verses are appropriate as epigraphs in the beginnings of chapters, and I enjoy finding the perfect ones.
ARC now needs to be created for reviewers
A big job is to created the interior for the books for uploading to Amazon. But a similar job is to create the electronic Advance Reader Copies that can be sent to reviewers for their reading and comments, and it is good to have those before publication, so that the book launches with some reviews already on its Amazon page.
The eARC will be the same content as the ebook, except that it is not the exact copy of the Kindle Unlimited version, so I’m allowed to send them out and not violate the KU terms and conditions of exclusivity.
They, of course, go out free of cost in exchange for the reviewer considering the writing of an impartial and honest review.
I usually have to go back and forth a bit with the pdf that provides the ebook and print book interior, so I use one of the early versions for my ARCs.
The next big job – because I have to refamiliarize myself with Pixelmator, my graphics program, and update to the current version – is producing all the covers, back covers, and other bits of graphic information for reviewers to use.
And that’s the progress up to May 3, 2022. It’s going much faster than the first time. More when I have it.
They start out not existing – an idea, notes, thoughts, bits of characterization are not a book (ask anyone who writes).
And then, for me, such a long time goes by before all the organization and notes start to take on form, even though I tell people that Pride’s Children was vouchsafed to me as a unit, with basically all of the major plot points, and the three main characters, and some of the setting coming as a finished story, one I would have read if it had been available.
But that day in 2000 is over twenty years in the past, and, though I’ve worked on the tangible form continuously, it’s been slow going.
PURGATORY was proof
of principle, of the ability to create something that wasn’t there, of the ability to learn how to write, somehow, to the standards of the vast reading background of writers good and bad and in between.
I did that – in late 2015.
I learned every single step in the process between idea and having an ebook and print book available for sale on Amazon. Every speck of that is me.
I had support. And mentoring when I asked for it. The internet is wonderfully supportive for writers who ask questions nicely and have done the work.
I found my cover mentor – J.M. Ney-Grimm – and my beta reader – Rachel Roy Gavris – online, on writer’s sites. I am eternally grateful for their advice and help.
The second book is another kind of proof
The world is full of people who had a very hard time creating the second book. It’s a cliche in traditional publishing: writer debuts to acclaim (the book was written over many years, or in school) – and cannot seem to write another (time pressures, deadlines, expectations). It even has a name: ‘the sophomore slump.’
And now NETHERWORLD exists
The complete story, from a continuation of the faux New Yorker article that begins it, through epigraphs and chapter titles, to ‘TO BE CONCLUDED’ at the very end of Chapter 40, promising the end of the story, the third book of the trilogy, as soon as I can write it (you don’t want to see the very rough draft).
Its cover is in my head. I have a title and cover for the third book, but am not sure I’m ready to commit, so I’ll call ‘LIMBO (& PARADISE?)’ or just ‘LIMBO’ a working title, and see how it goes.
I have a very long list of steps to take for NETHERWORLD, and it’s a little daunting how little I remember from last time, and how the publishing parts may have changed in the interim so I will have to start from scratch on some things.
The good part? Since I work only in finished scenes, and my beta reader processes each chapter as I finish it, the text is final. The editing and proofing is done as I go, and is not a long task ahead of me fraught with potential pitfalls, but a finished chore.
The years of writing, moving cross-country and fitting into a new community, getting back to writing – are finished, too. This is it – our forever home. I may even eventually get plants on the balcony (the writing has been more important up until now).
There is a lot of work to do
This post is part of girding my writing loins to do all those missing steps, from registering a final copy with the Library of Congress, through learning the new Pixelmator version to turn the cover in my head into one on the page, to figuring out again how to run the text from Scrivener through Word to Amazon, this time adding a hard cover version for both books because it is available, and exploring Large Print.
I did the obvious: I’ve contacted various companies for help with formatting and covers – which I would rather pay for than do – but I haven’t found one yet that will do it my way. After several months of looking, I give up. I’m too persnickety, too opinionated, and not the least interested in them putting my second book through one of their templates. And have been told that the covers proposed wouldn’t be similar and they can’t use my fonts.
I should have expected that – but I did have hopes I might be able to get someone else to do the hard work part, and now I don’t. It will, again, take me less time, and cause me less stress, not to try to get other people to do what I want.
It’s entirely MY fault.
So be it.
At least I can say that, when you get one of my books, it’s all me. For whatever it’s worth.
ARCs out into the world
I don’t know when I will have NETHERWORLD available as an ARC for those who are willing to CONSIDER writing reviews, but it’s high on the list.
I have signed up for BookSprout to manage the review copies and reviews – if interested, check it out; it’s set up for a campaign for PURGATORY right now, and I hope some people will read and review it in preparation for reading and reviewing NETHERWORLD. Accounts are free, of course, for readers.
I just thought you’d like to know.
Should mention here that the time between final text and publication is typically 18-24 MONTHS for traditionally-published novels; I doubt it will take me more than 3.