Monday, July 18, 2011

PART I: MY SELF-PUB LIFE or How I learned to love new aspects of publishing

My latest Regency! Lady Varney's Risqué Business
Am I ready this week finally to put up a 99-center at Kindle?
Oh, yes. But my journey into self-pubbing a book in digital format has been a journey! A BIG ONE!
Loving the success of my erotic Regencies, and cascading down a hill of delight after a week of SIX five star reviews for different books from different sites, I am giggly, jittery and in a panic.
I hate new learning curves. AND THE ONE FOR THIS has been gig-i-normous!
But I wanted to try this for many reasons. What are they? They begin with the fact that I thought this 99 cent push would increase my readership numbers and complement what I do at EC, Total-E-Bound and Resplendence. (I also have a few books rights' reverted to me from my print books and I wanted to learn how to do all this to get them out into the digital world.)
My goals in place, my strategy developed and I kept on going.
The first task, create a plot and characters I adore!
Now my challenge as an author is to see and feel the people before I write them. No outlines. No character charts. Nah. Not for moi. I have got to SEE these folks. This Takes Time. Usually 2 or 3 a.m. Time. You feel me.
Then, I need to know the conflict and I have to SEE the story. For me, this means visualizing the scenes and their dialogue.
Then, what? We come to my first WONDERFUL benefit of self-pubbing: I went, dear reader, SHOPPING. Not for shoes. Not for clothes. Or purses. Shopping for a LOOK. Yep. You get me. ART.
Now, for some this is a quick affair. For me? I spent my life in corporate and government PR and advertising. So art means the world to me. And if one benefit of self-pubbing is that I am going to be able to choose my branding look with art, lemme just say, it will be precisely what I want. So my shopping was a joy and I indulged myself in it for hours, days, days and days. I hear you as you say, wow, where is this art?
I will show you. Soon. (she teased.)
Having found the art to go with my plot, I knew what artist I wanted and I approached her. Yes, she is a pro and she had done work for me before and yes, I did love it all! Having worked with artists for decades, I can tell one who has not only software but skills AND an artistic eye. For me, this artist has it in spades and she understands romance and erotica. Vital to have an artist who knows your genre and the audience's needs.
Within one email and exchange of ideas on the art I had chosen, this artist had my perfect concept back to me within days.  Fueled now by the beauty of what my product would look like, I moved in fully to the task of writing the book.
Let me just say, the writing was not hard.
Oh, no. Never has been. I submerge, go into Flow and do not come out until it is done and I am happy with the product.
However, what happened after I thought I was finished was a bit of a rough go.
And what happened? I walked away, as I always do and asked myself (as you, Dear Author, also ask yourself), what's missing? What did I not say? What did I not include? How might this be better?
And as I asked, I did something I usually NEVER do: I sent it to a Beta reader.
As a professional writer now for many decades, I learned long ago the only person I must please is my editor. Without one, what's a girl to do, eh?
I had an answer! I have friends, accomplished, delightful, HELPFUL friends. I sent LADY STARLING'S STOCKINGS to her and she raved! She adored it!  Big hit, she proclaimed. Great conflict and resolution. We talked about this and that in the plot and I felt better. Relieved!
Result? I stopped worrying that this story was not up to my own standards OR that of my accomplished friend's.
Next step?
One I am used to. Send it to an editor. Now this person I know well, too. She is a professional fiction editor, an expert copy and line editor and one I knew would comb my manuscript for the elements it needed to make it, dare I say, superb. Especially if it already...wasn't.
This person I paid. Gladly. I am not a sloppy writer. I am good at grammar and spell check is my pal, but occasionally I will omit a word, a bit of logic, an emotion that might make the work perfect. I knew this editor would find all those pesky things.
And she did.
What's more--and I knew this would happen--during the interim, I had thought about my story. In the shower. In the car. Cooking. Dining. I re-read it one day. OH. I. FELT. WHERE. THINGS. NEEDED to be added!
So when my friend/copyeditor came back to me, I rejoiced at her comments and her copy edits. Yes, she had done what I, in my creativity, failed to see or do.
The result?
I edited as per her suggestions here and there. Then I went in and added those things I FELT it needed. And viola! In the end, the work had roughly 3000 more words! Not bad. I re-read them, too. All necessary, I concluded.
What was next?
Return for Part 2: My Self-Pub Life or How I learned to love New Aspects of Self-publishing!
When? Tomorrow!


Amber Skyze said...

I can't wait to see what the results are! Congrats on moving into the self-publishing world! said...

Wow - good for you Cerise!!!

I think it's going to be super exciting and can't wait to help you promote your new venture!!!

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Amber, Thanks. I'm not leaving my publishers, just using the medium to increase sales and name recog. Will let you know how it works!

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

DeNita! Thanks for this. I will be with you for the debut of this new one!

Bill Wetterman said...

The self-publishing world is a fascinating world for many, and I horrible stomach ache for others. I'm super glad it works for you

Lia Slater said...

Cerise, congrats on all the fab reviews!! Well deserved. And congrats on breaking out into self-pubbing. I've self-published a couple of books that I'd gotten the rights back to and they're doing pretty well. I was mostly thrilled to be able to decide on the covers. :-) I wish you the best on your venture!

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

LIA! THANKs for the kudos. Tell us how you liked your self-pub adventure!

Steve Lazarowitz said...

Looking at self publishing myself, for some of the same reasons. After navigating the industry for a while, I decided I'd be much happier doing things myself. Because I have had coves I didn't like from publishers, or run ins with editors in at least a couple of cases, that had ideas that I couldn't live with. Exceptions to the rule, sure. But they happened. Interested to see how it goes.