Thursday, 25 April 2013

Preparing My Book File

You know, some days just get away from me. Do you feel like that? Where did Wednesday go? Here I am posting on Thursday - sorry if you wondered where I was.

I mentioned last week that I'm clearing the clutter so I can see the wood for the trees. I've also been preparing my book file for my new book Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John. I finished editing it, and, using a copy of my other book file, pasted it into the right format. It was then I discovered it was eight pages longer than the first book.

I spoke to my printer, who gave me a quote. Too much. I want to charge the same price, since this is a companion to my first book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth. So if the printing costs are higher, I have to absorb them and cut my income. I think printing costs have gone up since last year anyway, so there's only so much I can absorb.

Alina is £4.99 and that price is important. Because it's particularly aimed at tourists, at under £5 it's an impulse buy. Any more, and they stop and think about if they can afford it or are willing to spend that much. But at 'only' £4.99 they are more likely to spend the money.

So, eight pages too many. And the pages are printed four at a time, so I have to lose four or eight. I went back to editing, and managed to save four pages. Then I realised that I didn't need a front title sheet like they have in most books, because it's only a slim volume. Suddenly, I have saved six pages! But six pages is two too many or two too few.

Then I remembered the advice to advertise the first book in the second. So Broken Reed now has the introduction from Alina in the back! And I amended my Contact the Author page in the front to mention it as well.

With a few other tweaks, my book file is ready. All I need now is the illustrations and the cover, and it can go to the printer. I even put the new ISBN in, since you have to buy them in blocks of ten, so I have a few to use up as I write other books. I still have to prepare the ebook file, but that's much more straight-forward.

Now you see why I don't know what day it is!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Don't Die of a Surfeit

King Henry I famously died of a surfeit of lamphreys, and the humourous history book 1066 and All That took up the theme and had several people die 'of a surfeit' just because it was a curious phrase.

As I prepare my plan for publishing and marketing my new book, lately I have realised that I'm in danger of 'dying of a surfeit' - a surfeit of good advice and opportunities. It's easy, as you browse the internet, to come across web sites and blogs with good advice or opportunities about writing, publishing, self-promotion, marketing etc. I used to bookmark them for later use.

Recently I came to realise there's so much out there on almost any subject, you can't read it all. As a beginner, I used to be worried I'd miss the best advice or the best opportunity. But I've finally had to bite the bullet and start deleting things. I had so many bookmarks I was never going to use them. I'm registered on so many sites it would take all my time to keep them updated, I'd never get any writing done.

So I'm taking the time to check a few out, sometimes with just a cursory glance, and if they're not instantly attractive, if they don't say anything new, if I don't find anything especially useful, it goes. I need to be able to see the wood for the trees. [It's a good job this isn't a novel with all those cliches!]

So take my advice, and cut down your bookmarks to manageable levels - and then use those sites to your advantage.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Lots of News

For the last 8 weeks I've been posting the talk I gave about self-promotion and self-publishing, in the hope it will help others. I learned all this in the process of self-publishing my first book, a local history book called Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth. It came out at Easter 2012 and by October had sold 250 print copies in local shops.

Lots has been happening during the last 8 weeks, so here's the news:

  • I took part in the Firepole Marketing Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt, had a great time and learned a lot – see my posts at the start and the end. As a result, I've improved this blog, including adding a very important page.

  • I've ordered another 100 copies of Alina and contacted all the shops for the new season. Unfortunately the Friends of Oystermouth Castle decided to sell only their own books in the gift shop, so inside Alina's Chapel there's no book about Alina. It doesn't make sense to me, but the nearest bookshop is delighted, and ordered extra copies.

  • I've finished writing and editing my new book, Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John. I formatted it the same as Alina and it's 8 pages longer.

  • I talked to my printer and he quoted me for printing, so now I have to decide whether to shorten it or absorb the extra cost, as I want both books to be the same price. I think I might compromise and reduce it by 4 pages – but where?

  • My cover designer is working on the cover, and I met with my illustrator and decided on the illustrations. I'm trying not to be impatient as they're working for free again.

In between my husband's had the flu, I've had the flu, the family has visited, and life in general has been busy. I missed one or two blog posts because of it. Now all I have to do is:

  • Shorten the new book.

  • Finish writing my media kit, which I just found out how to do.

  • Design posters for the launch of the new book.

  • Arrange the book launch.

  • Prepare the ebook.

  • Contact other possible outlets.

  • Prepare to spread the word through all my new online connections.

  • ???!!! Help!