Camping on the Story

I hit my goals yesterday; yes, I did.  I blogged, I wrote an article that took up much of my afternoon, and then, after Doctor Who was over and done, I got down to working on my story, because these stories just sort of languish and do nothing on their own.  It’s like you have to write all the words for them.

The first part is sort of strange, because I was free forming as I went along.  I have a feeling that when I go back over this story, I’m going to end up rewriting a lot of this part.  But it’s a good set up; it gave me the feeling that something is different about this place in the woods, so when things happen, the reader shouldn’t be taken by surprise.

There was one big change that I had to do before heading off to bed, though.  I was looking something up–research, you know–and I just happened to take a closer look at the name of the place where my story takes place.  And that was when I discovered (let me say this in my Hermione voice), it’s not Harmony, it’s Harmonie.  Oops.

Hey, even the best research can be wonky when you’re looking at Google Maps at ten at night after being up for seventeen hours.

A was a bit bummed out, but not so much that I went into a mental tailspin from which I couldn’t recover.  No, I was level headed about the matter, since all I had to do was change the name of the story and rename the project.  Ergo, the story is now known as Fantasies in Harmonie, which gives it an even nicer ring than what had gone before, don’t you think?

there wasn’t a whole lot of writing last night; when I was finished with the scene I’d only written around five hundred words. I wasn’t looking to do a lot of writing last night because I was doing a set up and I knew it was going to take a little finagling to get the words right.

Also, I’m a bit more careful when I write these days.  I found myself writing then stopping so I could look over what I’d written.  If it looked good, I went on.  If I didn’t, I read the lines until I knew what I wanted to write, and then wrote that.  It’s sort of editing on the way, which slows you up, but ultimately helps me keep the text as clean as possible.

I checked my timelines, because if there’s one thing I am, it’s attentive to the time it takes to do anything.  From the time I finished Suggestive Amusements to the time I published Her Demonic Majesty, about seven weeks went by.  That time was spent in edits, getting covers made, and setting up my accounts on Smashwords and Amazon.  As I told a friend the other day, writing is work, and publishing things correctly takes even more work.

So the more I get right up front, the less I have to react to in order to finish my work correctly.

Slowing down now so I don’t have to rush latter is a great idea.  Just like finding a good cabin in the woods, you gotta take your time.


Where We Last Left Off

Sounds like I’m coming back from a cliffhanger of an episode, doesn’t it?

In many way publishing is episodic, and can turn into high drama when you least expect things to go sideways.  My experience has been very minimal to this point, as there are only two stories in my collection, but with Her Demonic Majesty being such an endeavor  it was bound to hit some snags.

Snag One:  the novel loaded to Amazon Kindle Direct without issues, and late Sunday night I was told it was live and ready for download.  Only one problem:  every time I tried to go to the novel page, I was getting a 404 message, saying the page didn’t exist.  I let that go for Monday, but by Tuesday the situation was the same, and I was having a not-so-good feeling taking hold in the pit of my stomach.

Snag Two then showed:  all of my work on Smashwords was rejected for Premium submission.  Going Premium on Smashwords means getting set up on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and a few other distributors.  What happened was this:  I’d altered the name on my Smashwords account to reflect the name on my new cover, but that was a no-no, because the cover names on my other works didn’t match, and all hell broke loose.

So I switched the account name back, and therein appeared Snag Three:  Her Demonic Majesty was rejected for Premium submission because, it would seem, my Table of Contents links were bad.  Could be they were pointing at the wrong thing, could be they were formatted wrong, could be there were hidden bookmarks–  Oops.  Yeah, I remembered that I did that during the creation.

With that in mind, I set about getting things right.

First, I created new accounts on both Smashwords and Amazon for Cassidy.  Then, I pulled up the Smashwords version of the uploaded document, removed all the bookmarks and hyperlinks, and started over, making sure there were no hidden bookmarks this time.  Put them in, linked them, checked the links–everything was super.

Then I uploaded again.

The novel processed in two minutes, because I watched as it ran through the meat grinder.  Everything came out fine, and the novel was at a new home with a new ISBN–yes, I couldn’t use the old one, because that one was assigned to my other name.  Another thing to keep in mind.  Right now the novel is going through review for Premium submission, and I’m hoping that all is well this time though.

What next?  Tonight I’ll pull up the Kindle version of the novel and redo the Table of Contents as I did with the Smashwords version.  Then, once that’s done, I’ll upload it to the next Amazon account, wait for the word that it’s been published, and look to see if it is, indeed, ready for selling.

Then I’ll get the world out.

Of course I could end up with errors I haven’t anticipated, but I’m hopeful that the current snafu came about because of the accounts, and not because the book format was sucky.  After all, the meat grinder told me all was well, and why would it lie to me?

I’ll be right here, keeping my fingers crossed.

Over the Finish Line

Her Demonic Majesty is a done deal.  Yesterday morning I started to prep the novel for upload to Smashwords.  When I mentioned to a friend that I was “thinking” of uploading the novel just to see if it made it through the Meat Grinder, she was like, “What’s keeping you from doing it?”  And she was right:  there was nothing holding me back.  As she told me, “Girls shouldn’t fear!”  Which is good advice to anyone who is fearful what they are doing is shit, but it struck a chord with me, because . . . there’s always fear.

Without further ado I set up the file and uploaded it, once again expecting the meat grinder to take a long time, and gaining great surprised when I was through the process in less than five minutes.  So here it sits on Smashwords, waiting to get sent out to other selling locations.

What about Amazon, you say?  Good question.  In the afternoon I started the upload to the Kindle Store, and just like with Smashwords the novel and cover were through the conversion process in about five minutes.  I’ve received notice from Amazon that the book is “live”, but when I try to find it, nothing appears.  I had this happen with Kuntilanak, where it took about a day before it started showing up on the Amazon pages, so I’ll wait until tonight before sending off messages to the Amazon people.

So here I am, three stories published, and this being my first novel.  I feel–well, relieved, actually, because I can move on to other things now.  I was thinking up a building design last night, one I need for a story, because while I’ve seen the building in my mind, I haven’t actually seen it as it should be.  It’s something I want to get done, even if I’m not starting on that particular story for a while.

What I need to do is get the word out about the novel.  I need to pimp it a bit.  I’ve done a bit of that already, but I want to get more going. I don’t expect it to become a best selling, but a few dozen would be a gas.  It’d be even better if it were a few hundred.

We’ll see.

One thing I’m going to do is do a give away, and there will be an interview.  When I mean “interview”, I mean something probably strange and unusual, since I myself am strange and unusual.  Also, I want to have fun, and I think I can come up with something that’ll fit that bill.  I’ve done the author’s interviews many times before, and while they were good, they seemed . . . well, they could have been a little more light hearted.  So something to else to put into my sights.

It’s finished, and with it a year and a half of my life that started at a minute after midnight on Nov 1, 2011.  All because someone told me I should try NaNoWriMo, and that if I did, I’d be able to finish–

And look at me now.  Top of the World, you know?

Plugging In and On

Saturday was a long day for a number of reasons, which was mostly due to me getting up at five-thirty and not heading off to bed until almost eleven.  Lots of running around, lots of drama, lots of things happening.  It was the sort of day that seems to go on and on, and it just sort of ends with one falling asleep in their chair–which is exactly what I did.

Through all that I had one goal to complete:  getting the Table of Contents created for Her Demonic Majesty.  I created a copy of the novel as a Word document for the Smashwords upload, and started getting all the bookmarks set up, ran thought it looking for errors (of which I found three), and then began linking the chapter headings to the bookmarks.

In all, a solid two hours of work, getting the document ready.  But it’s ready.  Finally.

It remains for me to do the Kindle version today, but that won’t take as long because I don’t need to do a review of the manuscript, just create bookmarks on the chapter headings, and set up the links to the bookmarks.  I may do that after I upload the first document into the Smashwords meat grinder–that checker of all epublishing checkers–and wait to see if any errors return.  I don’t believe it’s going to kick me, but you never know.

This is where I stand this morning:  all ready to go, covers and everything.

I’m nervous as hell.

I remember when I uploaded Kuntilanak to Smashwords, and after reading all the warnings about how long the programs may take to check the manuscript and the possibility of errors forcing me to make additional edits to the story before it could become a real ebook, everything turned a bit anticlimactic when the story uploaded in two minutes.  The day and a half I’d spent getting everything in order paid off, and the week or so I’ve spent with Her Demonic Majesty will, I’m certain, pay off in the long run, also.

Still doesn’t keep me from getting all shook up and nervous.

Oh, and I need to get an ISBN number, which is something the Smashwords upload allows.  You just tell them you need a number, and there it is.  At least I think that’s the case:  I need to check . . . yeah, just ask for a Free ISBN and you’ll get it.  I should look into getting a copyright on the novel as well, because it’s really, really mine then.

So much to do, but not really.  It’s the final crossing of the lines to make sure the novel is truly finished.  Then, once it’s up, I can sit back and watch the money roll in.

Ah, yeah.  If only that last part were true.

If nothing else, I’ll have this novel published this year.  There is more I want put up as well, but this is the start.  And it only took two months to go from the point of “I’m starting to work on this,” to ” It’s up and ready for you to buy!”

Once this is out of the way, I guess I can get back to writing.

Comfort in Numbers

The Formatting of Part Two has commenced.  I opened up the file and started in on it, and just as I was getting ready to head off to bed, I was through with the chapter.  The next awaits me tonight, and I’m going to try and burn through three or four this weekend.  My intention is to get through as much of Part Two before next Monday, then get into Part Three next week, and try and finish up as much of Her Demonic Majesty before the end of the month.

No promises, but if all goes well, I could have the final version heading up through Smashword’s Meat Grinder on 4 May–and not because of any “The Forth Be With You” shite, because that is shite, but but because that would be the first Saturday where I’ll have time to send it up after I finish with the formatting.  If there are issues during the upload, I’ll have the opportunity to fix the problems and send it up again.  And again, if necessary.  But if I get up to Smashwords okay, then I can upload to Amazon as well the same day.Finished-sm

So the first weekend in May is my target publication date.  If it slips–hey, stuff happens.  Oh, and just so you know–I have a second cover!  Just look over to the right and you’ll see it . . .  So the plan now is to use one on Smashwords/Barns, and the other on Amazon, and then after a few months switch them.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe I’ll do like Marvel, and offer variant covers, so if you want them you have to buy everything.  Before you know it, I’m offering the equivalent of the copies of Firestarter with the asbestos covers that once sold for $250.  Not sure how that’s gonna work with ebooks, though . . . maybe that’s where I get the hard copies of the books printed . . .

There is a strange sense here, watching it all come together so quickly.  A month back I was in the doldrums, feeling as if I was getting nowhere fast.  I’d been on Suggestive Amusements since the end of December, and the novel was crawling to an end–or so it felt to me.  I was speaking with a friend the other night, and in discussing my publishing plans this year, I said something along the lines of, “I don’t feel I’m writing now as much as I did last year.”  They asked about what I’d done, and I replied, “I did that novel, that’s about seventy-two thousand words; and I’ve done about seventy thousand words in the blog . . . add a couple of articles, and I’ve written about a hundred and fifty thousand words since the start of last December.”

There was a slight pause, and then came their reply:  “What?  You think you’re not writing anything?  Are you kidding?”

Being so close to the center of the storm, you lose track of what’s going on around you.  Yeah, I know there are some who say blogging isn’t writing, but then, what is it?  Nose picking?  Here’s what it is:  it’s a continuation of the habit that is writing every day.  You need an idea, you need to get it down, you are writing.  And then novel–enough said.  It’s figuring out characters and creating a story and making sure your plot doesn’t fall apart on you.  It’s work.  It’s a lot of work.

And even when you think you’re slacking, you’re probably just kicking yourself for no reason.  As I’ve said, writers are their own worst critics, and this is the pudding full of proof.

So keep on keeping, I say.  Set your goals and work them.  And when you think you’re falling behind–check your data first.

You’ll likely be surprised.