Observations from an author’s perspective

I have been pretty busy with my day job lately. I wanted to share two lines from my current project, The Bully’s Way, on Facebook yesterday and noticed the last update I made to the manuscript was August 3rd. It bummed me out.

It isn’t that I haven’t been able to write. I did get the Monday Morning Blog written and published for two and almost three Mondays since then. But haven’t had the time to get the edits done for my second book.

The writing projects I have in progress right now, my WIPs, are for middle grade/YA readers. So, I would say that some of my best storyline ideas come from observing teens. Not only in day to day life, but also on television and on the internet. I have two teens living in my household and have spent a lot of time at baseball games with them and their friends. I was also a teen once, so I can probably speak from experience.

As a teenager, I don’t know how aware I was about how my actions impacted my life path. As an adult, I can see those kinds of things with our kids and their friends. It is the angle I chose to write the books in The Way series from. To show a teen the kinds of situations they would come across and the choices they may have to make. I want to give them some things to think about when they are given a decision to do or not to do something. Teens may not have as much life experience at the time, but they can always use some additional information to help them out.

There are so many moments as a young adult when I finally figured out the value in what my parents told me. It was all good advice, it just didn’t fit with my life experience at the time to understand its value. It is something I remind myself as a parent when I talk to our kids about things. They may not get in now, but they will.

Peer pressure is one of those situations teens must deal with. The Hard Way is about a kid named Paul, who is put into a situation where he must make some new friends in high school. He finds out he may have picked the wrong crowd to hang out with. Find out how he deals with it in the first book of The Way series.

Be sure to pick up your copy of The Hard Way! It is available on Amazon.com and in both paperback and e-book. And on BarnesandNoble.com in paperback.

The Hard Way Thumbnail

Here is the Amazon link! The Hard Way

Here is the Barnes and Noble link! The Hard Way – Barnes and Noble

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The Hard Way is a Published Book

I have done it! I am a published author. It is a childhood dream realized.

The e-book is on Amazon.com. Here is the link

The Hard Way E-Book

The Hard Way Thumbnail

I now have an author page on Amazon.com and I’m in the process of creating an author profile on Goodreads. With access to create these new profiles, I have arrived in a whole new place than I was in last week. In the world of books, I’m seen as a new member of the club.

The paperback version of The Hard Way will be released this week. I was planning to publish both versions at the same time, but there is only so much time in a day. So, while trying to work the day job, be on call for that job and accomplish a lifelong dream all at the same time, I was feeling stretched thin and something in my plan had to give. So, I decided to focus on getting the e-Book published and launched by April 15th. 

The e-Book actually published on April 12th. I got it ready and hit the publish button in Amazon’s self publishing program, Kindle Direct Publishing. They said it can take up to 72 hours to have it published and go live on Amazon. It would up only taking a few hours. Not saying it will work that way for everyone, but it did for me.

After the paperback is officially published this week, I’ll be exploring marketing avenues for it. Being a self published author, the leg work for the process falls on me. Like many other parts of the journey, it will be new to me for this book, but, the next two should be easier with the leg work done for this one.

A friend of mine reminded me that the things we work the hardest for mean the most. I look back at the time and challenges involved in publishing this book and I would have to agree. I will publish more books, but this one will be the most memorable.

This summer will bring with it another editing project, book two of The Way Series, The Bully’s Way. It will follow in a similar path as The Hard Way did, but it will be a journey on a path already travelled learning from the experience of publishing my first one. I’m excited to see where the story will take my characters going forward.

Thanks for following me on this journey. Your support has helped me to achieve this goal. 

Week 1 – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

13 Days left to go!

This is my 140th post on Word Press. There is a lot of research and writing in those posts and it is definitely a lot of Monday Mornings!

I am so excited. It has been a lifelong journey, but I am less than two weeks away from the launch date for my first book! Here is where I’m currently at:

Final Manuscript Review. Still need to look through my final manuscript for formatting. Why isn’t this done yet? Because the struggle to write is real. To battle with the day job and family life has always been my challenge for my writing getting done all along. Not an excuse mind you, but a fact of life for those of us who aren’t able to write for a living. I have a lot of respect for the people who do get to do it. They worked very hard for the privilege.

Applying for Copyright. Waiting for the final formatting read through.

Author Pictures. I did get these taken today. So, I will have one in time to add to my cover and inside my ebook. I’m pretty excited with the proofs. You’ll have to see the actual book to find out which one I picked.

Thanks to my editor, I did a little tweaking on my cover design so it would look good as a thumbnail on Amazon. She also posted the cover in her online portfolio. Here is the link to her site at Fiction Edit.

Getting things checked off of the To Do List. It is a fun time, but a stressful one too.

Be sure to check out the post next week. It will be a status update and a look at what things will need be done just days before an actual launch date.

Week 4 – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

34 days from today!

I find it funny that they call it a book launch. I guess it is the day you launch your book out to the world. At this point, April 15th will be that day for The Hard Way.

The day of the book launching becomes the book’s birthday. Just like the birth of one of your kids, this day will stick in your mind as one of those important ones.

Publishing a novel the traditional way has a very worn path. For a long time, it was the only way for an author to make that dream come true. The decision of whether a book was published or not was up to the publisher. There were many books that were never published for that very reason. It was up to the author to find the right publisher who would take a chance on their book. This is still an available option for authors to pursue and has its own amount of work in sending copies of ones manuscript to agents or directly to publishers. If they are able to find the right match for their book, the publisher will cover the costs. For some authors, it is the route they choose to take.

Now, an author can choose put in the time and money and do what the traditional publishers do, but publish it on their own. Some authors prefer to be more hands on in the publishing of their manuscript, but this option will cost the author in hiring people to do the editing, cover creation, obtaining ISBNs and a copyright. Having a choice of how to publish has made the decision a more personal one for the author. It seems to be based on what the author wants to get out of their book. Are they looking to just make money with it? Or, are they out to share their book with others?

I did a lot of thinking about it and I know that there are pros and cons to either route. But, I decided to self publish my first novel.

So, where am I at in the process,

Last week I received a final edited copy of my manuscript from my editor. After multiple edited versions going back and forth between us, we still had a couple of outstanding questions about wording we wanted to finalize in this last edit. Glad we did this step. There was a piece of the story line that was not resolved. I found it and tweaked it. Now it is resolved.

While trying to save money for the editing and publishing of this one, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) two years in a row and got drafts of books two and three in queue. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every November. It is a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words in 30 days with the goal to have a novel by the end of it.

I consider myself very lucky to have the draft of my second book already written. By having it done, I had the opportunity to read through the beginning of it to make sure the flow of the first one would work with how the second one starts. So glad I did. I found the time line in book one wasn’t going to work well with where book two starts.

Now, I could have left book one alone and modified the start of book two. Instead, I made the changes to my final edited manuscript for book one so the timeline works the way I want going forward, which seems to work better for the series as a whole.

Other milestones accomplished this weekend, I purchased my own ISBNs through Bowker so I can start assigning them to my novels. I’m also researching the publishing options through Createspace and Ingramspark. I’ll talk about that more next week and let you know what I decided to do. I’ll also be working on marketing strategies for the launch and a cover reveal will be coming up in the next week or so. So much yet to be done but I’m excited and scared at the same time. It is a big step to making my dream to write and publish a novel come true.

Have a great week everyone. Stay tuned for more news leading up to launch day, April 15, 2017.

The Hard Way – the editing step

The name of my first manuscript is currently titled The Hard Way. I’ve been struggling to take the step of having a professional editor look at it. I’ve been checking on different editing sites and Facebook pages to understand how much it will cost. I got a little overwhelmed with the fact that it might be a little out of my price range right now. Wanting to get to the publishing step of my journey, not being able to afford it made me consider whether I really needed to do it or not. I thought, the beta readers that I asked to read it for me should have given me adequate feedback, right? Coming back to the fact that it should be done, I started spinning my wheels to come up with a way to get the money put together for it. With all of the family expenses we have, I wasn’t seeing it to even be possible until our youngest son graduates from high school in three years. This potential road block on my journey to publish a novel has been really upsetting me a lot lately.

By checking out different writing sites, Facebook groups and author pages, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would go about finding the right editor. I want to find one that I can build a relationship with, and not someone who is going to do a onetime read for me and then leave the scene. I know that I’m looking for an editor that works in my genre of YA/Middle Grade. They will be knowledgeable about how the story should read and what is required for the audience that I’m ultimately trying to get my book out to.

After thinking about how important my publishing goal is to me, I took a big step yesterday and started searching for an editor to see if I could make this work. Being a writer with aspirations of publishing a book someday, I wanted to take the right steps to get this done. Many published authors talk about how important it is to have an editor involved in your work. If it is the right person, they are able to collaborate with you to produce a successful book for the readers. The trained second set of eyes can see a lot of things the writer can’t see, like ideas or information that may be missing from the flow of the story. I realize how important it is to have those trained set of eyes on the manuscript before it becomes a book and goes out into the world to the reader.

Yesterday when I started my search, I noticed that some editors offered a free read through and critique of a few pages to provide the writer with a sample of how they edit. I think that this could be a good way to interview an editor. I looked through one of my Facebook Writing Groups and found a YA/Middle Grade editor that I decided to contact. Sending the initial e-mail set the process in motion. I e-mailed back and forth with her and it seemed to be going as expected. I sent her what she required from my manuscript for her to take a look and see what kind and how much editing it may need, in her professional opinion. I’m excited to hear what she has to say. Maybe a little scared too. But it feels good to make that step, a step I needed to take to move my project forward.

I’m sure there are things that will need to be changed and or cut out to make the story cleaner for the reader. A little anxiety wells up when I think about how much of the story the editor thinks doesn’t need to be there, but I feel that it is important to be included. I saw all of the work it took to get the story on the page, but I have to remember that the editor is going to have a good idea about how it should go. These conflicting feelings are a normal part of the process that all writers go through when they send their stories out to be edited.

To make myself vulnerable and put my work out for the masses to see has definitely taken some courage to do. I started with a few friends and had them read my story, which wasn’t too hard for me. We got together for coffee and they gave me their thoughts. Then I decided to present it to my book club for our monthly club selection. I felt a little more anxious about doing that one. They commented and critiqued it during our book club meeting and that was a bit intimidating. But I’m so glad that I did it. Now I’m working on finding a professional editor critique it for me, which is a bigger step than the other editing and feedback opportunities, but those opportunities gave me some experience going into this one.

I got to the point with my own self editing that if I read it again, I either wouldn’t be able to see anything more to change, or I would make too many revisions to things that didn’t need to be changed. In my case, the editor is going to bring objectivity and knowledge about getting a book ready for publication, which is what I need at this stage in the process. I’ve heard that writers must develop a thick skin to accept the critiques and rejections that are received from the editors and critics. But those are usually offset by the readers who love and enjoy the story. Not everyone is going to like what we create, but it must put out there if we want the story to be heard.

I was originally planning to post a segment of my WIP for the blog today. Now I think I’ll wait until I’ve had an editor take a good look at it!