Archive for the ‘Editors’ Category

Self-Pub Success Story!

This Wall Street Journal article (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204770404577082303350815824.html) opens by saying that author Darcie Chan’s debut novel, The Mill River Recluse, has sold 400,000 copies and has placed her on the best-seller list “next to writers like Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and Kathryn Stockett.” Then the next paragraph goes on to say, “It’s been a success by any measure, save one. Ms. Chan still hasn’t found a publisher.”

Needless to say, a statement like that grabbed my attention (something of an understatement, to tell the truth). And Ms. Chan’s story turned out to be inspirational, as well as instructional–one more light on the horizon for those of us who’ve decided to try a DIY (do-it-yourself) angle or two on our publishing journeys.

If you haven’t read this story yet, I promise that you’ll learn at least one thing you don’t know already about the worlds of self-publishing and e-books. Furthermore, if you’re trying to decide which way to go with your next book, I suspect that you’ll be a little closer to that decision by the time you finish this article. Enjoy!

The Big Reasons Indie Authors Aren’t Taken Seriously

Sometimes we writers have to pull our hands away from our ears and force ourselves to listen to tough words. At least, that’s what we need to do if we’re serious about growing in our craft and eventually finding a wide readership for our work. This article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/indie-authors-struggle_n_1242935.html?ref=books) puts some of those tough words right in our faces!

Still assimilating the wealth of information from the 2012 Writer’s Digest Conference two weeks ago, I was drawn to this article for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the subject of editing. Not only were there dozens of references at the conference to this critical element of the publishing process, especially if you’re opting for a DIY avenue. But there are dozens more such references in the first year or so of this blog, as I was bringing my second novel, Separation of Faith, into life. Having learned the hard way what happens if you don’t invest in a book’s editing, I was determined to produce a novel comparable, or even superior, in editorial quality to anything coming out of the traditional world.

Separation of Faith has now placed in more than a dozen competitions. First Place continues to be elusive. But the novel has earned Runner Up to the grand prize winner several times, in addition to multiple Bronze prizes and a list of highly ranked Honorable Mentions. And most recently, even though there wasn’t an associated placement, the 2012 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards produced the following feedback from one of the judges:

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent,” please evaluate the following:

  • Plot: 4
  • Grammar: 4.5
  • Character Development: 5
  • Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Judge’s Commentary:

What did you like best about this book?

Congratulations on writing and publishing your novel! The cover design and packaging is very professional. The back cover copy does a good job of maketing the book to potential readers. You have clearly done a great deal of research, which shows in the historical details and description that bring the scenes alive for the reader. You have created some interesting characters and brought them to life with strong dialogue and characterization. Good job balancing action, dialoge and narration. Good job with grammar, proofreading and formatting of the interior of the book.

How can the author improve this book? (Cheri’s Note: I decided to include this part as well, because I learned something, and I thought some of you might as well. And, we do need to strengthen our nerves so we can hear the improvements along with the accolades!)

Watch out for the overuse of italics, as this can be difficult to read, dilutes the emphasis, and makes the pages look a llittle disorganized. (Cheri’s Note: This comment addressed letters and journals written as part of flashbacks, several of which I formatted in italics.) Also, the book’s price seems a little high. These are minor concerns for a book that is quite strong overall.

The winners’ list for this contest will be announced by the end of this month, and I’m anxious to see who beat me. But the main thing I want to point out here is how important formatting and interior quality are with any book, but especially with self-published books! And even though Separation of Faith didn’t win a slot in this particular competition, the novel, as I said earlier, has placed in more than a dozen others. And there’s no doubt in my mind that a primary reason for that success is the quality of editing. (That’s also a main reason why I truly believe this entire endeavor will eventually take off! 🙂 )

Enjoy this important article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/indie-authors-struggle_n_1242935.html?ref=books) — and have a wonderful Super Bowl weekend!

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Sunday, January 22–Panel Members:

  • Phil Sexton–Moderator of Panel; Publisher, Writer’s Digest
  • Karen Cooper–Publisher, Adams Media
  • Michelle Howry–Senior Editor, Touchstone (an impring of Simon & Schuster)
  • Donya Dickerson–Senior Editor, McGraw Hill

A. What is the most common mistake writers make in nonfiction proposals?

  • Too much emphasis on the manuscript.
  • Not enough evidence of need. Why does this book need to be in the marketplace?
  • Not enough emphasis on the author platform.
  • Not enough competitive analysis. Need to do research: a) Where will this book go on the shelf in Barnes & Noble? b) How does this book contrast with competitive titles? c) What does this book provide that no other book does? Check publicity volume of competition and occupied shelf space in bookstores. Also check Book of the Month Club offerings and other visible signs of a book’s sales/popularity.
  • Writer is not realistic about competition for books by a “new author.” In proposal/query, presents him/herself as “the next ___________ (fill in the blank with a famous author’s name).” This approach brands the writer as inexperienced and unrealistic. Instead, the writer should answer: a) Here’s how my book fits into the market, and b) Here’s how my book differs …”

The approximate length of a nonfiction book proposal should be thirty pages, not including any sample chapters.

Include suggestions about where book could be sold outside of the trade (ex., Walmart, Costco …) Research should include publishers and where they sell.


B. How important is the author’s writing in nonfiction?

  • Depends on the imprint, the book idea, and how hungry the editor is for an acquisition.
  • Authors should not have someone else write the proposal. Both the manuscript and the proposal need to have the same style. Editors can tell if they’ve been written by different people.
  • Editors/publishers vary regarding how important the writing is. If the concept is great, the quality of writing is not as important. Writing can always be beefed up through input from agents, editorial staff, or even ghost writers contracted through publishers.
  • The author’s platform plays a role in how important the writing is. The more the author already has in place to help sell the book, the less important the actual writing becomes.
  • Editors differ with respect to the weight applied to a) good writing, b) promotion, and c) platform.


C. How has the view of self-publishing changed?

  • All three editors said they would enthusiastically look at proposals that included self-published books.
  • Writers should keep in mind that, if an author is doing well with self-published book saes, then there is a strong case to be made for not going with a traditional publisher.
  • However, publishers can offer access to additional distribution channels, unique book promotions, etc.


D. What is the most compelling proposal you ever received, and why?

  • Wreck This Journal. Original proposal was a mock-up that was intended to be torn apart (as is the final product). Sometimes editors have to do a hard-sell job with odd ideas like this one, when channels like Barnes & Noble and Amazon have decided to passed on a project.
  • The Starbuck’s Experience. Author had gained full access to Starbuck’s operations. (The publisher was instrumental in changing the title from the original.)
  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Author had secured permission from J.K. Rowling to use the Harry Potter name.
  • Retail Hell. The proposal came in as a self-help book. The publisher reworked it into a memoir.

Editors and publishers want authors who are cooperative and willing to listen, who respond positively to input, and who want to work in a partnership to produce the best quality book possible.

–Cheri’s Note: I’m now studying up on how to write a nonfiction book proposal. I will keep you posted on what I’m learning and how the process unfolds once I actually begin writing the document.–

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Separation of Faith Is Back in the Proof Process–A Great Big Yikes!

Fortunately, the panic is over, because every single person I’ve communicated with at iUniverse in the last three days (counting today) has been phenomenal! Unbeknown to me, they have a 24/7/365 customer support operation, and when I called (mildly hysterical) to leave a voice mail at nine o’clock on Saturday night, a real person actually answered the phone! So my heart rate dropped, and I was actually able to sleep that night.

Here’s what happened. On Friday, I received the printer copies (one copy each of the hard and soft covers) of Separation of Faith. There was an issue with the way the dust jacket was folded on the hard cover, but I figured that was relatively minor. The panic began setting in as I was forcing myself to read through the printed book one more time. (Keep in mind that 325 books–my entire promotional launch supply–were, I thought, in the printing process.)

And (no surprise here) that whole subject of editing suddenly began rising up to claim my sanity. As I was reading, I intermittently came across little things (mostly minor punctuation issues) that had been missed in one edit or another. But then, as I moved deeper into the book, I came across two major errors that were my fault that arose in the final revision process after I received the last proofreader’s input. As we all know as writers, every time we write something new, we run the risk of adding new errors to the mix. And that’s precisely what I did.

The recommendation had been made to me at some point in the editorial process that I should put the book through two proofreading cycles, which would have, in hindsight, most likely have prevented this current situation from unfolding. (Traditional publishing houses put their titles through two or three or more.) But I thought I’d be okay with one–and I’ll never forget that I was wrong. Fortunately, thanks to the fact that I made myself read the book right away, and then that the iUniverse folks responded so quickly, we avoided a catastrophe.

Otherwise, here are two of the errors that would have been in the book:

  • Right in the middle of a sentence there was “Eight-foot-deep” instead of “eight-foot-deep.” I know that seems small, but it’s so obvious that it means someone (in this case me) wasn’t paying attention.
  • The worst: I had Zoie looking over Isaiah’s shoulder when it should have been Ava looking over his shoulder. This is called a content error–something hugely major that would make a reader stop and say, “How could they have missed something like this?” And some of those readers would have been judges in the many contests I’m planning to enter. A content error like that would have most likely resulted in the book’s being disqualified from the contest.

 When added to the list (a short list, but still a list) of punctuation issues, those errors would have seriously downgraded the quality of the book I’ve been working so hard to elevate above the pack. And it’s all about that editing thing again. Thank God I read that book as soon as UPS brought it to me! But if I had only put the book through that second proofreading … If only … If only …

I’m sharing this with you because I’m hoping the timing will hit someone out there who could use a little timing help/wake-up call.

All of the necessary changes have now been submitted, and the title has been pulled from print. So 325 books that would have put me in the hospital are not, in fact, on their way to me. This slight setback will only mean a delay of a week or ten days probably. And I did have to pay a redo fee. But that is many thousands of dollars less than what it would have cost to have me committed … 🙂

I’ll let you know when I get the new proofed copy back for my review.

The Video Book Trailer

This magic little one-minute, forty-five second wonder is almost complete. We’ve been tweaking things after seeking input from objective viewers, and I’m at the point where I can’t even imagine what’s involved with full-length feature films that we see in theaters! The link for the video will be included with every piece of promotional material sent out, as soon as Separation of Faith is fully available everywhere online and through bookstores. And as we now know, that will be a couple of weeks later that originally planned …

The Truth About Cinnamon

The re-edited manuscript will be submitted to iUniverse by the end of this week. The goal is to have the 2nd Edition of Cinnamon available as close as possible to the full release of Separation of Faith. (I absolutely cannot believe how long I’ve been working on this!)

The iUniverse Avenue

Each of us is writing with different motivations and objectives, and if we want to see our books in print, we each have dfferent reasons for that as well. Some of us just want to share things with family and friends. Some of us just want to write and publish for ourselves. But if we want to write and publish so that lots of other people will want to pay their money to read our work, we either have to keep plugging away trying to get the attention of someone in the traditional publishing world, or we need to opt for an alternate route.

If you’re looking at the alternate avenues, I highly recommend exploring iUniverse. Yes, this is a big company. And yes, they take a piece of each book. But they honestly do value their authors, and the way they’re running their operation speaks to that point. They also do most of the work that full DIY authors have to learn how to do (and then do) themselves. There are trade-offs with each choice. For me, iUniverse is the best way at the moment for me to get where I want to go (see November 4 Blog Launch Posting).

Once again, however, if you’re really serious about being taken seriously as an author–no matter which avenue you select–you absolutely must put your work through an extensive editing process, either through the professional services available through a company like iUniverse or through professional editors that you find on your own. But as I’ve just learned again this past weekend–even though I’ve talked about the editing thing a million times in this blogwe all avoid/dodge/decide against a comprehensive editing process (or even a single step of that process) at our own peril.

Hope You All Have a Great Week Ahead!

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The Editing, Opening-the-Kimono Thing Again

Following yesterday’s post, I was having a conversation with someone about the importance of having our work edited and the various reasons why writers remain hesitant to seek input. For me, that hesitation existed in spades years ago, before I grew my sea legs as a writer. That’s when I was still trying to make myself believe that I had somehow been miraculously born with everything I needed to know about writing novels already embedded in the creative side of my brain.

I remember one editor I’d queried directly (at a major New York publishing house, something you could still do in those days), who actually asked to see the entire manuscript of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon. I believe there was a dust cloud behind my car as I raced directly to the closest Federal Express office. After spending all that money to overnight the manuscript, I waited a couple of months to hear back from her. Then she called me (!), giving me a valuable few minutes of her time over the phone, a gesture I absolutely did not appreciate as I should have. (I’d be groveling all over the floor if something like that happened today!)

At any rate, during that call, she said something like, “Your first draft of The Truth About Cinnamon isn’t a bad outline for starters.” And then she proceeded to give me a list of things that she thought needed to be changed/added/deleted/thrown into oblivion, if I wanted her to consider taking on the book. She was truly offering me a gift of immeasurable proportions. But, of course, I thought the manuscript was completely finished and ready for a multi-million dollar distribution–and, of course, I thought the editor was nuts, out of touch, off base, and you know the rest of the litany. Ah, the lament! If I had only listened to her, I would have certainly saved myself years of wasted time and effort. And hers is only one example of advice I foolishly turned away in those early days.

Instead of having the effect she’d intended, however, that editor’s input only caused me to pull inward for a long time, avoiding any further possibilities of having someone else tell me that what I’d written wasn’t very good. (Never mind the fact that she never said my work wasn’t good. On the contrary, she was trying to tell me that I might have a shot. But I wasn’t paying attention or hearing her at all.)

Hey! What if I’d let a professional editor into my writing world before I’d even begun queryingespecially before I’d begun querying? Who knows what would have happened, because here’s one unavoidable truth we all need to keep in mind: No matter what we attempt to do in life, we learn how to inprove ourselves and our craft/sport/art/business by playing with people who are better and more accomplished than we are. And no matter how good we become, there will always be people who are better than we are. For aspiring authors, those “people” are editors.

Believe me when I say that I remain fearful to this day of hearing anyone tell me that something I’ve labored to write needs a lot of work. But now the years have instilled in me the confidence that I can actually fix problems, once I’ve given people permission to point issues out to me. That entire process is intended to make the writing/story better, not to make me (or any writer) feel bad.

The person with whom I was speaking yesterday after my post was published said that, in addition to the editing thing, a lot of writers are also fearful of sharing their work because they think their idea(s) might be stolen. That particular reason hadn’t occurred to me, but my conversation with him was freshly on my mind this morning when Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest posted this link in her “Best Of Tweets for Writers” list from last week: http://jasonlbaptiste.com/startups/they-will-steal-your-idea-they-cannot-steal-what-really-matters/. The article centers more on techical writing and development than on fiction, although the concept is still totally applicable. Aside from the fact that legitimate editors are not in the business of stealing writers’ work, even if they did decide to co-opt an idea for a novel, there’s no way anyone could steal the author’s planned implementation for that novel, the essence of all the characters, the plot twists that exist only in the author’s head, and so forth.

Basically, in the end, there isn’t any legitimate reason for avoiding a professional edit of our workor for releasing our work into the hands of beta readers–and there are plenty of reasons for submitting our work to such scrutiny. Removing all the excuses for not having our work placed under a microscope is the goalmy goal–and hopefully the link and the additional thoughts shared in this post will be further steps in that direction.

We need to believe in ourselves, but not exclusively in ourselves! So let “the people” in. 🙂

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Separation of Faith Is Almost Here!

Last week Separation of Faith, the novel that’s been tracked through this blog since the launch posting last November 4 (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/, went into post-production where all the formatting is finalized and the printer files are established. By the end of this week, I should have in my hands the “printer copy” for the hard cover and the soft cover for one final review. These will be actual copies of the book, covers and all, and their receipt will be a hugely monumental moment! I’ll take pictures and post them for all to see!

Once I approve everything, the book will “go live,” marking the official publishing date, and the title will begin feeding into all of the online and brick-and-mortar retail outlets. That process will take another couple of weeks, and I’m not going to do any promotion until I know that the book is available everywhere. Needless to say, the next two or three weeks will be unbelievably busy as I pull what feels like millions of marketing pieces together.

The one date that I do have confirmed is my book launch party, which will be at the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, on Thursday, September 23, from 4-7 pm. That’s when all stops will be pulled out and the Journey’s next phase will officially begin. A Calendar of Events will be added to the Web site very shortly (www.SeparationOfFaith.com), and the last quarter of the year promises to be extremely full of stuff (much of which I probably can’t even imagine yet). My second surgery (search my blog for “breast cancer” to find relevant headings in posts) will be on September 2, and that operation (part of the reconstruction process) is supposed to make me a lot more comfortable than I’ve been since the big surgery on May 4. So I should be in great shape and kicking at the gate by September 23. A high energy level will definitely be crucial.

As we’ve discussed, one of the key elements in this plan is the video book trailer, which is going to be an amazing little thriller running 90 seconds. On Tuesday July 27, I’ll be spending the better part of the day with the fellow who’s putting the thing together for me. We are very close to having a finished product, and I absolutely cannot wait to share the end result with you! In preparation, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about using video book trailers effectively, and I’ve learned that there are at least 14 different sites, in addition to YouTube, where our masterpiece will need to be loaded. As I’ve said many times since I started trying to get my arms around this octopus–Yikes!

The Focus of My Reading Lately 

Now that there is really nothing left to do to the internals of Separation of Faith, my editing focus has been on the reduction of The Truth About Cinnamon (which seems to have been going on for a millenium at this point). Right now I’m entering the changes from the last edit. When finished with that, I’ll do one more read-through on the computer–and then–YAY!–the updated manuscript will go to the publisher–hopefully by the end of July!

Since this will be a re-do agreed to by the publisher when I elected to publish Separation of Faith with them, the book will basically go directly into production. At that point, the original version (which will then become an official 1st Edition) will no longer be available for purchase anywhere. The new 2nd Edition will probably take about six weeks to go live. So, by the time I’m launching the promotion for Separation of Faith, the new Cinnamon should be available. At least, that’s the plan.

Meanwhile, in addition to thoughts about my third novel, which are beginning to gel in the spare recesses of my mind, my attention has been drawn to every blog and article I can find relative to book promotion. I thought my list of avenues to attack was fairly comprehensive as a result of the Rising Star Application (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/). But there is actually a seemingly endless list, I’m discovering, of things I need to try. Looking at the whole picture is always a little overwhelming for me, so I’ll take a topic or two at a time, as they develop, and share them here like I’ve been doing with the video book trailer. The concentration on the promotional elements will begin in earnest the moment the Cinnamon edit is complete.

Some Additional Information for You

Along with things I need to learn and do for my own Journey, I continue to be on the lookout for information that I think will be helpful to you on your Journeys as well. This week I found several articles that touch on topics we’ve addressed before, but that I continue to believe are extremely important for all of us:

  • Alan Rinzler, Consulting Editor at Jossey-Bass Publishing in San Francisco, wrote a post titled The Author Background Check: Cautionary Notes (http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/). This subject was one of the huge revelations that launched my blog and Journey last fall after attending the Writer’s Digest Conference in September in Manhattan. The fact that our queries of agents or editors in traditional publishing houses immediately triggers a Google search of us blew me away. Well, there are apparently lots of other checks performed as well, and since everything ever posted online about any of us remains there forever, that could be highly problematic. Decisions that affect our Journeys are frequently made based on what’s being discovered. Rinzler’s article could be very sobering for some of us who are trying to break into the traditional publishing arena. (In March, I referenced another of Rinzler’s posts on his view of self-publishing, which you might find of interest if you missed it the first time: https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/30-journey-from-publishing-obscurity/.)
  • We’ve talked a whole lot about the importance of having our work edited by professionals (something I did not do, much to my regret, with my first novel). Here are three more perspectives on that subject, which has become a major hot button for me: 1) The Myth of the Evil Editor by Victoria Strauss (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2010/07/myth-of-evil-editor.html); 2) A Fourth of July Lesson in the Value of Editors by writingfordigital (http://writingfordigital.com/2010/07/04/a-fourth-of-july-lesson-in-the-value-of-editors/); 3) A Good Edit Would’ve Fixed That by April L. Hamilton (http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2010/06/good-edit-wouldve-fixed-that.html). The point abundantly made by all three of these is that the quality of editing in our work is as important, if not more so, than our writing, our stories, and our characters combined. And this is true whether we’re pursuing our Journeys via a mainstream route or an alternate path.
  • Since I’m beginning my focus on the development of my third novel, I was drawn to Janet Fitch’s 10 Rules for Writers (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/07/janet-fitchs-10-rules-for-writers.html), which I found very useful and thought you might as well. I especially enjoyed her point #10: “Torture Your Protagonist. The writer is both a sadist and a masochist. We create people we love, and then we torture them. The more we love them, and the more cleverly we torture them along the lines of their greatest vulnerablity and fear, the better the story. Sometimes we try to protect them from getting booboos that are too big. Don’t. This is your protagonist, not your kid.” After reading wonderful pieces like this, I begin to think that I should have my head examined for trying to compete in this business … 🙂
  • Here’s another interesting take on self-publishing–My Novel: There’s An App for That! by David Carnoy (http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=17935).
  • Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest posted about “New Tools for Entrepreneurial Writers” that consolidate social media input into a daily newspaper: (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/CommentView.aspx?guid=f0aa3c49-14df-4391-82a7-a77bc90d93d4).
  • And finally–and probably my favorite–Victoria Mixon, Editor, posted 6 Personality Types Who Will Succeed as Writers (http://victoriamixon.com/2010/07/13/6-personality-types-who-will-succeed-as-writers/). I encourage you to read the entire post. But I was particularly struck by her “#5. THE PATIENT: those who take their time, realizing life is long and a career in the arts takes the whole of it and even the greats never lived long enough to learn it all.”  What she goes on to write is so beautiful and so applicable to all of us that I want to end this post with her words:

“Somerset Maughm lamented it. Flannery O’Connor lamented it. You can lament it too: you will never live long enough. You can devote all the decades of your life to the craft you love and be ecstatic you did, but you will still die, like Albert Einstein, leaning out of bed with the last frail ounce of strength, grasping for a reproducable theorum of the divine.

“And you will know, as you lean, that you gave it your all, every day of your life: your passion and curiosity and love and devotion to this craft that means so much to so many but, especially, to you. And you will die grateful you had the chance, thanking heaven you stumbled on it while there was all that time to luxuriate in it … even if you became a writer only days before you died.

“It came to you–this extraordinary craft–as a free and unfettered gift, and you got to own it, for just a little while.”

Have A Great Week, Everybody!

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First …

Please forgive the distance between this post and my last one. I have been popping in through comments and tag surfing. But otherwise I’ve been so consumed with everything that’s going on, and with everything I’ve been learning, that the time hasn’t been available until this Saturday morning to sit down and write a post about what’s been going on and what I’ve been learning. I’m uncomfortable with this much space in between posts, and I’ll do my best not to go this long in the future.

So …

What’s Been Going on with Separation of Faith?

We’re still in the final proofing/revision stage, which is where we’ve been for about a month and a half now. The other editing stages moved along at a nice clip, but things have really slowed down to a frustrating pace at the moment. The change in momentum started when the proofreader at the publisher took a month instead of the quoted 2-3 weeks. I then had to review the proofreader’s recommendations and then accept or decline each one. In a book that will print at 300 pages, there were only 39 notations, almost half of which were formatting errors that happened when the manuscript was changed from a Word document into the publishing design. I declined five of the remaining issues, which were all semi-colon situations.

After completing that process, I had to go through the entire manuscript again because I was allowed up to 50 additional revisions/corrections, which could be as small as a punctuation mark or as large as adding a paragraph. I ended up with 48 changes, 99% of which were tiny-to-small issues, and there was only one big change where I added a paragraph to the Acknowledgments. In three cases, I added clarifying words to a sentence or reworked the wording. That entire process ate up several days.

Then I returned to the publisher the proofreader’s changes, my changes, and the required changes to the cover all in one email on June 28. The cover changes were done almost immediately, except for one error that’s currently being fixed. Yesterday (July 9, almost two weeks later) I was notified that the proofreader’s revisions had been implemented. But my 48 changes haven’t even been started yet.

There’s a big promotion through the publisher that lasts until July 30, which will enable me to purchase a large supply of my books (for submission to reviewers, contests, etc) with free shipping, a free extra 10% copies, plus substantial author discounts. But in order to take advantage of that promotion, Separation of Faith has to be live.

The editorial staff and everyone else at iUniverse as well has been unbelievably fabulous to this point, and I have every expectation that this little log jam will be unplugged come Monday. But I do admit to some frustration. This is amplified, I’m sure, by the fact that I’m going through breast reconstruction at the same time, so my patience is somewhat altered by the cement bowling balls currently attached to my chest wall … 🙂 … At least I’m getting a shape back, though. The only problem at the moment is that “they” don’t move, and if someone hugs me too hard, they get broken ribs. This situation will be rectified by my next surgery, hopefully in early September.

This sort of production issue (I’m referring to the novel again now … 🙂 …) happens all the time when a book is coming out, regardless of the publishing method. So no matter which path you’re considering (or that you’ve already selected) for your own publishing Journey, be prepared to be patient. Setting expectations levels in advance for a long gestation period is a good idea.

That said, my cover is absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait for you to see the gem. And reading through the beautiful proofed PDF, which is already in the book design format, does turn on the light at the end of the tunnel, even if the train has temporarily slowed to a crawl.

If all goes well this coming Monday and things get back on track, I could be holding my first copies of Separation of Faith in my hands by the end of this month. Considering how long we’ve been talking about that event in this blog, that is going to be one heck of a day! I will take pictures and post them here. 🙂

Once Again, Let Me Emphasize the Importance of Editing!

This sounds like a broken record, I know, but seeing the quality of my novel now, as compared to six months ago, I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that I was good enough to edit the book myself (or that any of my relatives were good enough). Professional editing makes more difference than you can imagine!

Separation of Faith has been through two editorial reviews, a copyedit, and a proofreading, each of those followed by at least one and usually two revisions cycles in which I incorporated recommendations from those edits. Yes, the steps have added months to the publishing process. And yes there was a financial investment involved along with the additional time. But when the novel is released, I will challenge any person in the traditional publishing world to tell me that this book would have been more beautifully edited coming out of a traditional house.

And because the do-it-yourself/self-publishing/print-on-demand world is so flooded with every level of book imaginable, a major key to rising about the pack and having a shot at getting noticed resides in the quality of both the writing and the editing. And some will say that the latter is more critical than the former. So even if you’re still pursuing the traditional route on your Journey, invest in having your manuscript edited before you ever start querying. The odds of getting anyone’s serious attention become slimmer by the minute without that investment.  

The Video Book Trailer for Separation of Faith

The more I study the importance of video book trailers, the more I wonder how anyone could consider publishing a book these days without a video as part of the promotion. If you’re at the stage where you’re trying to decide if one is necessary, the answer is yes. Again, this business is so competitive that trying to get attention for the book you’ve slaved over for months/years/decades is a batlle under the best of circumstances. So we all need to be automatically adding a video book trailer to our plans.

The video for Separation of Faith is about half finished. The fellow who’s helping me is a technical/video genius–but he also has a real job plus a wife and three children (ages 5, 3, and six months). So even though the video is only going to be 60-90 seconds long, we’re still only halfway there after three multiple hour sessions together and I-have-no-idea-how-many hours of individual time for both of us. I know I spent about six hours hunting down appropriate royalty free pictures to use along with others I’d already taken and collected during my initial research for the book.

The music on my video will be an original song by my tech genius, and the “script” (words across the screen) is something we’ve designed together (and is very much a work in progress still). But as this thing comes together, I literally get goosebumps on my arms thinking about this film promoting Separation of Faith being on YouTube and every other conceivable site.

There is a ton of information online to help you if you’re at the point where you need to start thinking about a video book trailer. Everyone seems to have a different formula, and the best one for you will undoubtedly be a combination of what you read, who you know, and what you can contribute yourself. But here are a few links to get you going:

Yes, there’s a lot of work involved–but boy is this part fun!

The Press Release Preparation

The actual publishing date of Separation of Faith will be the day my author copies are ready to send to me. But I will need to wait several weeks after that before officially launching my promotional campaign. That’s because of the time required for the novel to go live on all the online and traditional distribution sites.

Sending out press releases to get people excited about the book would not be a good idea if the book isn’t yet available for ordering everywhere. Even though this novel won’t actually be stocked on the shelves of book stores yet, once the title is live you’ll be able to go into any Barnes & Noble, and any other brick-and-mortar bookseller, and order a copy. And, of course, the title will be available on the major as well as minor online sites as well (not to mention my own book store on my Web site: www.SeparationOfFaith.com).

So I have some time to get all of my ducks in a row. And I’ve been studying up on press releases. Over and over again I’ve been reading that sending out a blanket press release–something identical that goes to bazillions of people–is a bad idea. Press releases need to be tailored and individualized. And since I do have a lot of categories of people/organizations to contact (see my blog post on June 18 https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/), I’ve begun the process of creating different versions. There are core pieces that will remain the same from one to another, but I really do see the importance of tailoring.

The press release that will go to my little local county newspapers, where I can be billed as a “local author” and already have some publicity history through my community service work, will be vastly different from a press release I’ll send to a potential reviewer. I’m not sure how many versions I’ll end up with. As many as it takes, I suppose.

Update on the Rising Star Application (also discussed in my June 18 post: https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/)

When I launched this blog last November 4, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly involved with this Journey. Well, I was not accepted into the Rising Star Program–yet. I’ve asked for more detail regarding what was missing from my marketing and promotion plans, and hopefully that information will be forthcoming. But the important point to note is that I will automatically be reconsidered for the program as soon as 250 retail copies of Separation of Faith have been sold.

I know that doesn’t sound like very many copies, if you haven’t been “out there” trying to sell your book yet. But keep this statistic in mind: More than 90% of all books published (whether they’re published via traditional or alternate paths) sell fewer than 1000 copies total throughout the life of the book!

So, as we all hear all the time, if we’re writing because we want to make money, we’re probably in the wrong business. A tiny group of us amidst the tens of millions reaching for the dream will end up earning a few dollars–and a handful of those will eventually earn enough to make a modest living–and a handful of those will do very well–and a couple of those will become celebrities.

Now, as I say to myself almost every day, after hours of all the stuff I’m summarizing in this post, I absolutely cannot believe I’m doing this voluntarily!

At any rate, once I sell 250 copies of the new novel through retail outlets, the Rising Star option will again become available. Getting into that group would raise the realm of possibilities up a bit within the tens of millions of other dreamers on the Journey.

What’s Been Going on with the Reduction Edit for The Truth About Cinnamon?

Substantial progress is finally being made on this element of the Journey’s Plan. For those who are here for the first time, The Truth About Cinnamon was my first novel. And in preparation for the release of Separation of Faith, I’m re-editing Cinnamon, cleaning things up a bit (because I didn’t have someone hammering the editing advice into my head seven years ago) and shortening the length (all without my many Cinnamon fans knowing that anything is missiing … 🙂 …).

But this is a long novel (as first novels often are), and the effort has been huge. Plus, this part of the Plan has been secondary to getting Separation of Faith as perfect as possible. (And things were set back even further through April and May after my breast cancer diagnosis … I’m doing great, by the way). However, I’m now in the midst of a hard copy edit, and as soon as I’m finished with that effort, I’ll key in the changes, do another proofreading, and then I’ll be finished at last! Yay!

The hope is that the 2nd Edition printing of Cinnamon will somewhat coiincide with the launch of Separation of Faith’s promotion.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out a free serialization of Cinnamon‘s original (1st Edition) ten chapters, you’ll find them at: http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/documents/24081497/

What’s Been Going on with My Other Writing (Articles, Short Stories …)

A new book is taking shape that chronicles my surgery and reconstruction. Obviously, until the physical process is complete, the book won’t be either. But I think this one might be a new slant on what’s become an epidemic event among women in this country. I’ll keep you posted.

If you’d like to check out the free reads on my other stuff, I recommend that you start with the short story Life at Bat, which is hundreds of times more popular than any of the other pieces, for some reason. You’ll find the story and all my other offerings at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32280899/Life-at-Bat.

Interesting Reading Links that I’ve Been Collecting to Share with You


  • This blog: 2809 (last posting 2669)
  • My Web site (www.cherilaser.com): 38,515 (last posting 38,017
  • Scribd: 1291 (This is the first time I’ve posted this stat, but it’s been a lot of fun to watch, so I’ll start tracking it here now.) Click on this link to get to my page–http://www.scribd.com/claser–and then click on Documents up at the top.)

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I’ll look forward to hearing from you, as always.

All the best–Cheri

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Journey Update–Production Just Around the Corner for Separation of Faith

Considering the length of the road traveled since this blog was launched last November 4 (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/), not to mention all the curves navigated in the process, this is a very exciting point! The proofreader at the publisher has completed his/her task, and the list (not very long) of recommended changes has been returned to me. My job now is to review those recommendations and either accept or reject them. They’re all pretty minor issues (a punctuation mark missing, or one on the wrong side of a parenthesis or quotation mark, etc.). I’ve already been through the list and accepted all but five. Each of those five addressed sentences with semi-colons–and I went with my interpretation rather than the recommendation.

Some of the issues highlighted by the proofreader were created by the design process itself, wherein the transfer of the manuscript into the publishing world’s book format resulted in some weird symbol showing up or some weird line spacing. But I have to tell you that there were several places where inadvertent errors were found that would have absolutely driven me nuts if they had ended up in the printed book. For example, in one of the revision cycles I changed a sentence, and somehow an extra verb was inserted:

  • The way the sentence is supposed to read–“I waited a long time before taking the plunge, until I was almost forty-four …”
  • The way the sentence appeared to the proofreader–“I waited a long time before taking the plunge, until I was almost was forty-four …”

Throughout the dozens of times I read the manuscript, my eyes went right over the extra “was.” And there were several other situations like this one that the proofreader found. So I cannot stress enough (as I’ve done so often before) the importance of submitting our manuscripts to rigorous, professional editing. After working as hard as we do to create these books, we need to ensure that what we’re putting out there is absolutely the highest quality possible. I know the precise “Oh $&$#!” reaction I would have had if those errors would have shown up in the printed book.

Even with all of this editorial diligence, though, I’m sure there will still be something that slips through, as we’ve all seen in books by even the most famous, prolific mainstream authors. But I’m now confident that the editorial quality of my novel will be on par with the best coming out of mainstream houses–and, for me, that sure beats the option of reading through my long-awaited book and finding errors that would have easily been caught by another pair of trained eyes.

In today’s ever-changing publishing climate, the editorial quality of a book can be as important, if not more so, than the writing. So please don’t shortcut (or overlook) the editorial process for your own creations, after you’ve already invested so much of your time and sweat equity.

Now that the proofreading is complete, I have one more opportunity to go through the manuscript and make any last-minute changes. That process should be wrapped up by the end of the week (and so far there aren’t many new things I want to add/change). Once I return everything to the publisher, signaling the end of this round, the proofed changes and any new things I add will be implemented, and I will then have a last sign-off review. Hopefully that turnaround won’t take more than a week. And then–at long last–the book will go into production. That means I’ll have my first copies of Separation of Faith in hand by the middle of July.

At that point, I’ll need to wait until the title has gone live on Amazon and all the other online retailers (a week or ten days after I receive my copies) before I start sending out the press release, posting the video book trailer, and othewise launching the promotional plan. But I can now see that launch point from where I’m standing, and the view is spectacular!

Domain Connections

This is a part of the Plan that I mentioned in an earlier post, but it’s one that will ultimately prove to be very important. I’m talking about domain names. You can secure domains very inexpensively now (like under $20 a year!), and you don’t need to have a product or a Web site in order to get a domain name. So I encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to get the domain for your own name (and/or your pen name), and for the title of your book(s), no matter what stage of your writing you’re in. (I’m using www.GoDaddy.com as my domain registry.)

And you don’t need to create a separate Web site for each domain name. You can link the domains to any existing site (Web site, blog, etc.) that you already have out there. Social media Neanderthal that I was until last fall, I created a separate Web site for www.TheTruthAboutCinnamon.com. But now that I know what I’m doing (sort of), I’m going to let the separate Cinnamon Web site expire and then link the domain to my primary site. That’s what I’ve done with the following domains, connecting them to the appropriate pages of my primary Web site (www.eWritersRUs.com).

I did have to ask the fellow who’s doing my video book trailer to show me how to do the linking–and it’s so easy that I did all the rest on my own. (I felt sort of stupid for asking, actually, once he showed me.) If you click on these links, you’ll see what I mean:

The minimal expense for domains is deductible, if you’re making your book(s) a business enterprise (which is what our books do become, if we want anyone to actually buy them … 🙂 …)

Life at Bat

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, part of the Plan/Journey involves publishing other examples of my writing online (free publishing/free downloads). Several of my short stories and articles are currently available at www.FiledBy.com, www.Scribd.com, and www.RedRoom.com. But universally, the short story titled “Life at Bat” ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/32280899/Life-at-Bat) has been getting the most traffic, which has been extremely interesting for me to observe.

The story is a humorous approach to a life message, and is universally applicable. But if you’re someone who attended Catholic school in the 1950’s and ’60’s, you might find an extra level of enjoyment through reading this story–in case you find yourself with a few free minutes where you have nothing else to do.


  • This blog–2669 (last update–2591)
  • Web site–38,017 (last update–37,689)

Speaking of www.TheTruthAboutCinnamon.com (which I was doing earlier), the stats at that Web site this morning show 3511. I haven’t really been focusing on that one, but the number is up by a couple of thousand since I last looked. So something is going on there.

Maybe people are checking in to see how the seemingly never-ending reduction edit for the 2nd Edition is coming along … 🙂 …  Answer: I’m finally making great progress. “This summer” is what I’m thinking now for the re-release. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks, as always, for checking in and for following along with this Journey. I love hearing and learning from you! 

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Book Expo America

In June 2004, a few months after my first novel (www.TheTruthAboutCinnamon.com) was released, I attended my first Book Expo America (BEA), which was held in Chicago that year from June 3-6. BEA is the book publishing industry’s annual trade show, and I remember the 2004 event distinctly for many reasons. One of those was the fact that the four days left me like the cliched deer-in-headlights with respect to the size, scope, and complexity of the industry in which so many of us have decided we want to play.

But I also remember the Saturday of that trip (June 5, 2004), which happened to be the day of the Belmont Stakes–the third leg of horse racing’s triple crown. And that year was the first possibility of a triple crown winner in a quarter century, with a horse named Smarty Jones having won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The story of that horse was both heart warming and heart-rending and had captured the attention as well as the emotions of the entire country.

I remember standing in the lobby bar of my Chicago hotel shortly before 6:30 pm (after a whole day of being at the convention) as the race got underway. There must have been 200 people in there, all watching the multiple television screens, screaming and yelling for Smarty Jones to win.

And we all thought that’s what was going to happen–until the last few seconds of the race when an upstart horse named Birdstone barely snuck by Smarty Jones to win the race and steal the triple crown from nation’s soul. You would have thought that someone had died in that hotel bar.

And I was so moved that I wrote an article about the whole thing (see topic of Scribd.com publishing later on this post). At any rate, that was the last time since then that there’s been a possibility of a triple crown. But there’s always hope, right? Because the races are run again every year. But I can’t imagine another triple crown season like 2004.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Smarty Jones story, I recommend your Googling him. You’ll have a real treat ahead of you.

But back to Book Expo America … I attended the annual convention every year after that, except for one–and except for this year. Most of the time the event is held in New York City, but there was one in Washington, D.C. in 2006, I think. This year’s event was in NYC, and I was all set to go until the breast cancer thing came up. (Hope my refund gets processed as promised … 🙂 …)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, though, on the different seminars, panels, and workshops that took place at this year’s BEA–and clearly one of the headliners was the whole subject of e-books. As I’m sure you know from your own reading, that seems to be the biggest hot topic in the industry. In case you’ve missed these articles/posts, here are a few that might be of interest to you as you plot your own direction toward the Dream:

Clearly, whether we’re pursuing the Dream via a traditional route or some version of Do It Yourself, the e-book factor is not going to be optional for any of us who are looking for even a small measure of success. My first novel (The Truth About Cinnamon) is now available on both Kindle and Sony Reader, and the new novel (Separation of Faith) will be as well. Last week I received a note from a fellow whose novel (The Aquarians by Eric Rankin) is one that I edited and that he published using iUniverse. He’s doing extremely well with his sales, and he recently received an e-book royalty check that, as he put it, was “not too shabby.” I’ve spoken with other authors who tell me that their e-book royalties are far exceeding those of their hard covers and paperbacks. Why? Well, the royalty percentages are higher, for starters. So even on a less expensive book ($9.95 for a Kindle title), 50% royalty is higher than a 10 or 20 percent royalty on a $20 hard or soft cover.

No matter which approach you’re taking toward the publishing of your work, please take time to educate yourselves on all the elements of the e-book revolution.

And I highly recommend attending the 2011 Book Expo America, which will be held in New York City again in May. Especially if you’ve never been before, the event will be unbelievable for you. And the day before the convention opens, there will be a DIY Authors Conference. You can find out more by going to the Book Expo site–http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/Press-Information/Press-Releases/BEA-Moves-To-NYC/–and you can be sure that I’ll be there in 2011!


This free publishing site (www.Scribd.com), which is available to all of us, is where I published the serialization of The Truth About Cinnamon‘s first ten chapters. And this weekend I’m going to publish a number of articles and short stories there as well–things I’ve been keeping to myself, for some reason. One of the articles was mentioned above in the Smarty Jones scenario. I wrote the piece on the train home to New Jersey from Chicago, still emotionally drained from the devastating race the night before.

I’ll do a quick post with the link to all that stuff as soon as everything has been uploaded. Meanwhile, I highly recommend your checking the site out yourselves, if you haven’t already.

Update on the Journey

Separation of Faith is now in the hands of a professional proofreader at the publisher. This is all part of the mandatory element of this Journey that requires a quality book at all levels (development, writing, and editing) in order for the mission of this blog (see November 4 Blog Launch Posting) to stand a prayer of succeeding.

Once the proofreading is complete, I’ll receive what’s called the “galley” and will have one more opportunity to put in my two cent’s worth/make any last minute changes.

The initial cover design is complete, and seeing that art work was incredibly exciting. The fact that this is actually going to be a book soon really starts hitting home when you see the cover. The first draft (not the official term, I’m sure) of the cover needs to have some changes made, but we won’t get to that part until the proofreader has finished. Everything happens through a fixed structure in the design process.

Concurrent with all of this, I’m working on my Rising Star application, which is a program I’m eligible for because Separation of Faith has earned the Editor’s Choice designation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, if I’m accepted into the Rising Star program, I will receive assistance with the book’s marketing and promotion. But in order to be accepted, I have to be extremely clear and detailed regarding the marketing and promotion plans I’m already envisioning/setting up.

In addition to all the standard tag lines, descriptions, bio, etc., here are some of the questions on the Rising Star application:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Specifically, how do you plan to market to your target audience?
  • Is there a local angle to your book? If yes, please explain.
  • What is the one unique thing about your book?
  • How many hours a week do you plan to spend marketing your book?
  • Name three other books that are comparable to your book.
  • What kind of research did you conduct when writing your book?
  • List the professional associations, writers groups, book clubs, fraternities/sororities, churches and/or community groups you are a member of:
  • How many people can you list on your personal contact mailing/email list?
  • Who are you approaching for endorsement quotes, a foreword or other testimonials?
  • List your media contacts (reporters and editors, radio/tv hosts, bloggers, Web site editors, etc.).
  • How many units of your book would you realistically like to sell based on your marketing plan?
  • List the dates and locations of all the promotional events you have scheduled.
  • List all of the outlets (media and otherwise) that you plan to pursue for publicity.

This represents about two thirds of the questions on the application. Fortunately, I’ve been given a deadline extension to June 11 due to my surgery, and I’ve been working each day to fill in all the blanks.

These are questions you might want to keep in mind with respect to your own Journey as well. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts and comments, traditional publishing houses no longer have budgets for marketing and promotion unless you’re a celebrity author. That leaves the majority of us carrying the marketing and promotional ball, even if we manage to find our way to a published book through the traditional path.

I will, of course, keep you updated on the progress of this application as well as the ultimate decision about whether or not I’m accepted. Everything I’m scheduling/planning/explaining will have to be done anyway, whether I’m accepted or not. But I sure would appreciate having a commissioned sales force helping me out by presenting Separation of Faith to elements of the industry that I don’t know how to reach–and that’s what the Rising Star program would do for me.

Social Media Integration: One thing that is already going to happen is that I’ll receive assistance integrating the release of Separation of Faith into all of the social media outlets in which I have a presence. I have a rudimentary idea of how to do this, but I will be happy to have folks who do that sort of thing all day lending their expertise.

There are so many pieces involved with a successful book launch that I’m exhausted after covering just these few. Certainly one of the keys is to focus only on what can be managed in a given day. If too much time is spent looking at the whole process at once, I’m guessing that “frozen in place” might become a possibility.

Sometimes, if I think too hard, I long for those days when I was simply mired in my tenth editing cycle … 🙂 … And I’m already fantasizing about those wonderful hours/weeks/months I’ll be spending in the research and writing of my third novel.

Honestly, we all must be totally insane to do this voluntarily …

One More Link for You

In the May/June 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest, there’s a big section on “101 Best Websites for Writers”–http://www.writersdigest.com/article/101-websites-2009. This is definitely one to keep close at hand, no matter what your goals are for the Journey or how far along you are.

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend

Hopefully, we’ll all take at least a moment to remember why we have this holiday, thanking and honoring those who have given their lives so we can live freely in this wonderful country, pursuing our dreams in a place where anything is possible.

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Back in the Saddle

Hi! I’m sorry for the 10-day hiatus in posts. My expectations for the early days of recovery were a little out of line with reality. I wish you could have seen the amount of work I took with me to the hospital. Pretty hysterical upon retrospect. The mini would have been sufficient since that little thing really did keep me connected.

This blog is all about the publishing Journey launched through my post on November 4, 2009, though, so I want to get back to that mission rather than chronicling the details of my surgery and reconstruction. However, if anyone out there is facing a similar health situation and would like to talk, ask questions, or share stories and support with me, please let me know. We can have those conversations separately.

Also, I’m keeping a journal of the experience, starting with the date of the diagnosis (April 1, 2010), and I’ll publish that journal on my www.FiledBy.com and www.Scribd.com sites once the process is complete (before the end of the year).

Update–Publishing Status for Separation of Faith

The novel is now in the design phase at the publisher. This is where the cover will come to life and the manuscript will become a book, and this is where I’m happy that I’ve chosen this particular avenue in the alternative publishing arena.

Full-blown self-publishers take on the responsibility of this design phase themselves, and I admire those who take that approach. But I’ve chosen www.iUniverse.com (a “supported self-publishing” company), where professionals who are skilled in the techical aspects of design and production take over these elements. Of course, there’s a trade-off. Full self-publishers keep more of the book’s eventual proceeds, but they still bear all of the expenses, marketing and promotional responsibilities, etc., in addition to figuring out how to produce, print, warehouse, and distribute a quality book that can compete on the same playing field with traditional publishing releases. And that is no easy task.

If you’re at the point where you’re exploring alternataive versus traditional publishing, I invite you to visit the iUniverse Web site (www.iUniverse.com). At a minimum, that one site will give you an in-depth overview of what’s involved with the publishing process, which might prove useful as you decide how you want to proceed with your book.

The mission of this blog is to prove the following: If I produce a high quality, well-written, meticulously (and professionally) edited novel, and then if I sell the heck of that novel in the first six months after release, I’ll attract the attention of someone in the traditional publishing business years faster than if I go the traditional route, starting with the query process. (You can read about the inspiration behind the mission, as well as many incredibly fascinating publishing statistics, etc., in my blog launch posting on November 4, 2009.)

Each step of this publishing Journey will be tracked through this blog. If my experiment works, we’ll all know why and how. And if things go the other way, we’ll be able to figure that out too–together.

Marketing/Promotion Plan–Separation of Faith 

This will be where my life will become planted for the foreseeable future. Because Separation of Faith has already earned the Editor’s Choice designation (all the steps to achieve that honor have been chronicled in earlier posts), I’m now eligible for something called the Rising Star Program. Acceptance into this program means that Separation of Faith will be presented by a commissioned sales force to national, regional, and local booksellers.

But acceptance into the program requires my outlining every detail of my marketing plan, beginning with pre-release activities such as approaching editors, authors, reporters, media hosts, bloggers, celebrities, etc. for endorsement quotes and other testimonials. And the work I’ve already done on establishing a social media presence will be an important element as well. The Rising Star Application needs to be completed by May 27 (they gave me an extension due to my surgery), and there’s a ton of work involved. Some of the application’s questions involve detail about the promotional events I’ll be scheduling right after release–and in order to answer those questions, I’ll need more definitive information from iUniverse about when the book will be released. Just saying “June 2010” won’t be enough anymore.

As I complete the application, I will post the details of the Marketing Plan in this blog for all of you to share, and your input and comments will be of great value.

This process might prove useful to those of you who have finished writing your book and are ready to pursue the publishing process, whether that might be via traditional or alternative routes. Keep in mind that no matter how we publish our books these days, the marketing and promotional efforts all fall on us–the authors. Traditional publishing houses no longer have marketing and promotional budgets for us, unless we’re celebrities or already have a bestselling book. That’s a hard bite to swallow, but a reality we need to accept. So hopefully my Journey will help you too, as we see what happens between the release of Separation of Faith and the end of the year. Some of my efforts will produce book sales, and others will not. And we’ll figure out why for each.

More Legitimacy Added to My Journey’s Plan

In case you haven’t already run across this article on other social media sites, I encourage you to read “Author Unbound–How the Digital Age is Making Self-Publishing Respectable,” published in the New York Times Magazine on May 2, 2010http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02FOB-medium-t.html).

That Old “Platform” Thing Again

Having a distinct and well articulated “platform” has become mandatory for any writer who is trying to get published. But as I’ve mentioned in several posts, this is an area where I’ve struggled.

If you’re writing non-fiction, there’s an easier connection to what you’re writing about and the qualifications/platform that attach credibility to you for your particular subject matter. But if you’re writing novels, coming up with a platform is more challenging.

Nonetheless, my platform has finally come into focus. My life has always been about pursuing dreams and accomplishing the impossible (even though I’ve missed the mark on a number of occasions). And then, after first becoming a cancer survivor in 1987, I began reinventing myself from the corporate marketing career woman I’d become into the writer/author/freelance editor I am now, the latter being my passion since I was a young girl. My public speaking of late (see earlier post on my first paid gig) has been on the subject of “Reinventing Yourself at Any Age.”

Combining all of this, my platform has emerged into “The Power and Possibilities behind Personal Reinvention.” My life is a testimony to this subject, and I am, indeed, an expert. Plus, I seem to have some measure of writing talent that has now produced two novels, which are direct products of my own reinvention. And within those novels is a common thread/theme of survival, the pursuit of dreams, and the importance of harnessing the passion in each of us.

I’m just beginning to come up with all verbiage that needs to accompany the platform. But getting this far is a huge relief!

Have a Great Weekend!

I promise to post again early next week with some details on my marketing/promotional plans for Separation of Faith–just as soon as I think of them … 🙂

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My review of the copyedit is complete, and I’ve been communicating with the editorial board at the publisher regarding a few questions (blond versus blonde being one). Now I have a few little things to clean up, and then I’ll submit the final copyedited manuscript back to the publisher, at which point the book will enter the production phase. The plan is for that to happen today! Yay!

I’ll keep you posted on each of the production steps as they unfold. The development of the book’s cover will be one of the most important tasks to happen first, I imagine. But I’ll let you know.


This issue has been driving me nuts, frankly. So here’s what the publisher’s editorial board said to me:

Regarding “blond” versus “blonde,” Merriam-Webster lists the two terms as variants of both the noun and adjective forms; however, “blond” generally refers to a male and “blonde” to a female. An excerpt from Merriam-Webster is below.
Main Entry: 1blond
Variant(s): or blonde \ˈbländ\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Anglo-French blunt, blound, masculine, blounde, feminine
Date: 15th century
1 : of a flaxen, golden, light auburn, or pale yellowish-brown color <blond hair>; also : having blond hair <a blond man> —spelled blond when used of a boy or man and often blonde when used of a girl or woman
2 a : of a light color b : of the color blond c : made light-colored by bleaching <blond wood table>
Main Entry: 2blond
Variant(s): or blonde
Function: noun
Date: 1822
1 : a person having blond hair —spelled blond when used of a boy or man and usually blonde when used of a girl or woman
2 : a light yellowish brown to dark grayish yellow
We recommend following the editor’s changes in all of the items you have listed in your e-mail.

So guess what? Because that Editor’s Choice designation is so critical to what I’m trying to accomplish here, I’ve complied with all but a small handful of the copyeditor’s recommendations. (See my original blog posting on November 4, 2009 for my initial outline of “The Journey” and the inspiration for the path I’ve decided to take.)

And I must tell you that, as I was going through the copyedit, I could actually see the transformation of my manuscript from something I had entered in my computer into a quality edited product typical of what we see coming out of traditional publishing houses. Believe me, this has not only been an immensely educational exercise but one that I’m very grateful I pursued!


If you’ve been to any/many writers’ conferences, you’ve probably heard some publishing professional (usually an author) say that writing the book is the easy part. And, of course, who would ever believe such a ridiculous comment? Well, I do.

In addition to planning the launch of Separation of Faith through all the social media outlets (and I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to do that yet), here are some of the other things on my “Book Promotion” to do list:

  • Primary Web site updates (including book store)
  • Create new Web site for Separation of Faith that links to my primary site and my book store
  • Keep this blog current and full of things for you to follow and learn along with me
  • Press Release(es)
  • Business cards, posters, flyers, newspaper ads
  • Book Launch Party (which will be at a hotel)
  • Finding willing and credible book reviewers (I already have one committed. Need at least five or six or more.)
  • Creating my video book trailer (I have a great fellow who will be helping me with this. The trailer will be uploaded to virtually every site where I have a presence plus YouTube, etc.)
  • Visiting every chain and independent bookseller in my area to garner interest
  • Schedule bookselling events wherever I can find a willing host.
  • Add information about my public speaking offering to every book promo element.
  • Seek/secure interviews on talk radio, local TV channel, local newspapers

In addition to all of this (and more that keeps popping into my head), I will still need to be involved with elements of the book’s production process–and oh, by the way, I also have to squeeze in my surgery on May 4. So “writing the book is the easy part” doesn’t seem so far-fetched now. Whoo boy. Where’s my nap?


If you are seriously pursuing this Journey of becoming a published author, securing domain names long before you have a finished book is critical. The first and most important domain name to secure is your own name. I registered for “cherilaser.com” after the pivotal conference last September, amazed that I hadn’t already done so when a speaker mentioned the issue in one of the conference sessions. I was really worried that someone else might have already taken that one (because we’re not the only ones in the world with our same names), but I was lucky.

Domain names are very inexpensive (like somewhere around $10 a year), and you don’t have to create Web sites to go with them until/unless you’re ready. But if you don’t secure the domains, creating the most effective Web sites down the road will become a challenge. In addition to “cherilaser.com,” I have also secured:

  • SeparationOfFaith.com
  • TheTruthAboutCinnamon.com (I have a Web site for this one that links into my primary Web site and book store.)
  • BeauBetweenTheLines.com (title for a potential book)
  • WhoMovedTheMeridian.com (title for a potential book)
  • ReinventingYourPossibilities.com
  • MakingYourWordsWork.com
  • ReinventingYourselfAtAnyAge.com

The last three of those relate to my editing business and to my speaking engagement plans (referenced in other posts on this blog). And when I come up with a title for my third novel, the first thing I’ll do is reserve that name.

There are lots of sites where you can secure domain names, but I’m using GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com).


For the past month or so, I’ve been worrying about the next book. Why, you ask, when I’m still so wrapped up in the second one?

Well, what if someone who pops up as a result of all that promotional work asks me what my next project is? Being stuck for an answer would not be very comfortable.

There is one project I’m considering–a memoir that I started a few years ago that I’m thinking about fictionalizing. And then there’s the possibility of a sequel to Separation of Faith. But whatever I’m going to do needs to take shape pretty quickly. I can’t dilly dally around and take any more six-year segments of time to write a book. I need to get this process down to a book every year (or maybe between one and two years, she said, trying to imagine the improbable 🙂 ).

A couple of things need to happen in order for me to finish book #3 in somewhere around a year:

  • The story needs to arrive in my head already in outline form, for the most part.
  • The setting needs to be here in the New York City area so I don’t need to travel beyond a normal commute distance to accomplish my research.

The two ideas I mentioned earlier didn’t meet either one of these criterion. So every trip I’ve made into Manhattan recently for this health/surgery situation has found me studying every person and situation crossing my path for a potential storyline. (I keep waiting for someone on the subway to say to me, “So what are you staring at?”) And I guess my subconscious must have been working on this more than I realized because last night I had a dream where I met my new protagonist (a man). He was so real and vivid that I remember everything about him, and I’m rarely able to remember details about my dreams. Then this morning the “outline form” of the story started showing up in my mind.

So I just finished taking an unscheduled hour to capture everything I was thinking into a new file on my computer. I had decided that I was ready to try a novel that included some sort of crime, but I didn’t want to do a murder. So this story has an interesting twist that feels comfortable to me. And I think this one could come together pretty quickly. I’ll post the story’s tag line as soon as I figure out what that is  … 🙂

That’s all for now. Have a fun and productive day! I hope I’ll run into you while tag surfing (planned for tomorrow morning).

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