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Posts Tagged ‘How do I get published?’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Hi! Well, I’ve had one heck of a time getting onto this blog today as I promised I would. First, the wireless connection specifically set up for the conference had some “technical difficulties,” and won’t be live until tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 6 a.m. Then, the room where all the opening sessions were held this afternoon did not get 3G reception–and, of course, I have my new iPad with me, which operates on either 3G or wireless. Finally, there was a “tweet-up” at a club about a block away from the hotel from 7:30-10:00 were I was able to finally get a wireless connection, but for some unknown and highly irritating reason, the iPad wasn’t letting me key in anything except the post’s title (which I ended up publishing just to let you know that I was trying to get to you …)

Otherwise, this has been a great day! For those of you who are long-time followers, you know how significant the first Writer’s Digest Conference was for me in September 2009 (see my blog launch posting on November 4,2009). Consequently, I have been anxiously awaiting this second conference for the last year and a half–and I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed.

Since I couldn’t get online for the first three sessions, I took notes in the iPad Notes sections and will summarize those for you tomorrow. And hopefully I’ll be able to capture the rest of the sessions as they happen, as promised. Meanwhile, the big deal tomorrow afternoon will be the Pitch Slam where 55 agents will be arranged for us to each have three minutes with as many of them as we can squeeze in to pitch our books/manuscripts/ideas. I’m going to pitch Separation of Faith and will report on my immediate reactions and feedback.

Lots of eye-opening stuff has already been presented and discussed, with plenty of time allowed for our questions. (There are about 450 of us in attendance here.) The publishing industry is changing daily and is now ready to entertain just about any version of the Dream we want to pursue. And quality self-published books are now viewed as far more of a valuable commodity than even two years ago. POD (print on demand) is a business tool now being utilized by the remaining twelve major mainstream publishing houses for traditionally published books. And ebooks are the monster eating everything up at the moment. According to Richard Curtis–longtime literary agent and book publisher (he has his own ebook publishing company)–ebook piracy is poisoning the entire ebook business. He looks for government regulation and stiff penalties to start showing up in the near future. That little bit of information was sort of scary.

Logistically, the Sheraton where we’re staying is on the corner of 7th Avenue and 53rd Street in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately, the temperature is hovering around 10 degrees without the wind chill factored. Otherwise, I’d be out walking around this amazing city that I love so much.

Well, I’m going to sign off for the night and will keep my fingers crossed that the conference’s wireless connection is up and runnning by morning. I want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

If you’re a Twitter person, you can follow a lot of the dialogue through #wdc11. Talk to you soon.

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At Last! The Next Iteration of the Writer’s Conference that Changed Everything for Me! (http://www.writersdigestconference.com/)

If this is the first time you’ve stopped by this blog, I invite you to check out the November 4, 2009 blog launch posting (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/hello-world/). That original post (and the decision to start a blog in the first place) was a direct byproduct of my attending the first annual Writer’s Digest Conference held in New York City in September of last year (2009).

When I checked into the hotel on the first day of the conference, I had not yet finished my second novel (Separation of Faith, released last month, September 2010), nor did I have a clue about the realities of the publishing business/world today–a reality that changes almost moment-by-moment. Like so many other writers I’ve met over the years, I still believed that continuing to write and send out those “carefully crafted” query letters would eventually get me where I wanted to go on my publishing Journey.

But since I didn’t understand the new realities of the world I was trying to enter with my novels, I also didn’t understand what would be the best way for me to proceed with my second novel, given my personal goals and my stage in life. Well, the blog post on November 4, 2009 outlines the revelations and shifts in my Journey’s direction after I’d spent three days at that conference.

In a nutshell: 1) Everything I’d been thinking/planning changed, and 2) I was shot out of a cannon when I left the conference, with a clearer direction about what I wanted and needed to do than I’d had in decades. I reordered absolutely everything I was doing the day after I returned home.

This blog has followed every single step of those changes and the subsequent unfolding of the Plan, including the things that went smoothly and those that didn’t. In short, though, the second novel is not only finished and released, but there’s already been recognition for editorial excellence, which emerged  in the process of that conference as one of the keys–if not the key–to a successful book. Getting to that level of editorial quality took almost a year, but there wasn’t an option, as far as I was concerned. You can read all about that whole editing struggle, if you feel like perusing the posts in this blog since last November.

You’ll also read about how I started blogging in the first place, a process about which I knew absolutely nothing, but something else that wasn’t optional for me after that conference. The same was true for my entire approach to the whole social media thing in general. (Again, the November 4, 2009 post will lay everything out for youhttps://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/hello-world/.)

The New Conference–January 21-23, 2011  

Writer’s Digest did not have their second annual conference this year due to scheduling issues, much to my disappointment, but delayed the event until January 2011. I’ve been watching for registration to open for the last month–and needless to say, I’m already confirmed. (Not packed yet, but soon … 🙂 …)

After more than fifteen years of trying to find my way through the publishing morass, and after attending dozens of conferences, I can honestly tell you that this one is differentIf you’re a writer going after the same Dream we’re all chasing–and if you’re ready to hear/learn what it really takes to even have a shot (with an open mind to the realities that will quickly open your ears and eyes as wel)–this conference will leave you a changed person/writer at the end. And by this time next year, perhaps your own Journey will be a lot further along as a result.

If I had not attended the Writer’s Digest Conference in September 2009, none of this would be a reality for me right now:

  • This blog–www.cherilaser.wordpress.com
  • All of my social media connections (see the right hand column of the blog).
  • www.Amazon.com (Separation of Faith under Books)
  • Video Book Trailer for Separation of Faith: www.YouTube.com/cherilaser
  • By the end of October, we’ll also be releasing a Second Edition of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon (on Amazon.com too), because of what I learned about the importance of quality editing (as important, if not more so, than the quality of the writing) at the WD 2009 conference.  

If you want the conference experience of your writing life, check out the January 2011 Writer’s Digest Conference at: http://www.writersdigestconference.com/. If you decide to attend, please let me know! I’d really love to meet you there and have some great conversations in person!

Have a Great Weekend!

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A Great Place to Start Organizing Your Thoughts

This will be a quick note to share a post published by Jane Friedman (Writer’s Digest) this morning. If you’re just beginning to consider publishing options for your work, her piece is extremely helpful in organizing thoughts and direction.

There are several “sidebar” links that take you to sub-categories, and I highly recommend that you read each of those as well, in order to get the full picture of what she’s presenting. The link on self-publishing is of particular interest and really points out the realities quite succinctly.

If you’re trying to figure out which way to go on your Journey, or if you’ve already gone one way and would like to consider going another, spend a few minutes exploring Jane’s post in depth: “I Want to Publish My Book. Now what?” http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/10/05/IWantToPublishMyBookNowWhat.aspx

Hope your week is off to a good start!

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Book Launch Party–September 23, 2010

Thanks so much to everyone who took time from their busy lives to attend my Book Launch Party for Separation of Faith–available on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Separation-Faith-Novel-Cheri-Laser/dp/1450232191/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1286991323&sr=1-1), as well as all other online and traditional book retailerson Thursday evening. We had a great time, rolled out the novel in fine fashion, and had some fun raffles for T-shirts, book bags, lunch with me, and then a special 50-50 for my Rotary club’s scholarship fund.

I’m including a few highlight photos–setting up, mingling, signing, etc. You’ll also note one photo with an elderly gentleman and a small girl. That’s my father Jim (who will be 90 in February) and my granddaughter Natalia (who is three), representing the opposite ends of four generations in our family. Pretty amazing for me.

For those of you who are visiting this blog for the first time, the whole mission of the blog since the launch on November 4, 2009, was to follow the progess of Separation of Faith, through the last stages of the writing, through all of the editing and revision phases, through all of the publishing steps and missteps, and now into the promotional phase. Eventually, this blog will become a book too, chronicling the how’s and how-not-to’s of bringing a novel into the world. There are all sorts of tips and links throughout the postings that I’m told are proving helpful to other writers pursuing their own dreams. So if you’re visiting for the first time, I’d love to hear from you.

Amazon Stats–Separation of Faith

This has been sort of a kick so far. For a brief time yesterday morning (about five minutes), the paperback version of Separation of Faith was ranked 95,000 in Amazon. After checking the graphs I’m able to see as an author, I’m also noticing that the hard cover version is actually ranked higher than the soft cover version, which means that more people are opting to buy the hard cover (an absolutely beautiful product, if I do say so myself 🙂 …). Overall, both versions are consistently hovering in the 100,000s and 200,000s, creeping up higher periodically. The numbers have stayed well under 1 million to date, a range that at least keeps me on the playing field.

I don’t know (and won’t know until the end of next quarter) exactly how many copies this all translates into, and there are other factors involved with Amazon’s rankings, such as how well other books are doing that compete with Separation of Faith. But overall, I’m pretty excited about what’s happening up to this point. Now I just need to keep getting the word out. Thanks so much to all of you who’ve already taken a chance on the novel. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, although I would love to hear from you one way or another.

Cinnamon Update

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the final Cinnamon galley proofing should be completed this weekend. Hopefully that will mean the newly edited Second Edition version of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon, should be available for purchase sometime next month (October). I feel like I’ve been talking about this (and working on it) for a millenium, and I’ll be so very happy when it’s ready for you. You’ll know as soon as I do when that moment arrives. Meanwhile, the original version (which will soon become a First Edition) is still available on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/TRUTH-ABOUT-CINNAMON-Novel/dp/0595299733/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1285426568&sr=1-1).

Thank you all again for continuing to be a part of this Journey and for letting me be a part of yours. Have a wonderful weekend! 

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“It Was All So Different Before Everything Changed.”

Last night I was scanning through the posts written last spring and in the early summer. At that point, I was deeply focused on edits–doing them myself, waiting for the results of someone else doing them, blogging about the importance of submitting our work to professional editors, reviewing the edited proofs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera–for both Separation of Faith and the re-edited version of The Truth About Cinnamon (which is still in the final proofing stage, by the way). And my words were directed a few times to the fact that I was growing tired of that part of the writing process and feeling anxious to move on to the next stage.

Well, here I am, in that next stage. And with my book launch party less than a week away (Thursday, September 23), this is what I’ve been doing this week:

  • On Monday, I met with the printer about the T-shirts and shopping bags I’m having made for the book launch party and subsequent book events currently being scheduled in the area. The shopping/book bags (canvas) will have Separation of Faith‘s cover printed on one side. The T-shirts will have the cover on the front and the following excerpt on the back (except the paragraphs will be properly formatted, single spaced, indents on first line, no extra line space between paragraphs, none of which can be done in this blog format): 

… “Chronological order, huh? Well, that might not be as easy as you’d think. But I guess the front end musta been on Saturday, October 23, 1948.”

Isaiah put his fork down on his plate and studied Zeke’s face. “You remember the date and the day of the week?”

“That’s what I said. You got a hearing problem?”

“Is that when you met Abby?”

“Yup. Everybody’s got a fork-in-the-road story, you know. And that was mine. Got up that morning, just like always. Ate breakfast just like always too. Didn’t wear my overalls, though, ‘cause we was going into Charlotte. Put on my go-to-meeting jeans and a clean shirt that I even ironed. Guess I should a seen it coming, but I didn’t. All I know is that nothing ‘bout my life—and I mean nothing, not even the color of the damn sky—was ever the same after that day.”

  • The T-shirts and bags will be for sale at a very nominal fee, but I’ll also be giving a number of them away in raffles at the book launch party. And anyone who buys three or more books will automatically get a book bag. (I’ll also be giving away a lunch with me, so we’ll have to see whether or not that’s a particularly exciting prospect for anyone. 🙂 …)
  • At the local Party City store, I bought rolls of raffle/50-50 tickets. In addition to the T-shirt/book bag/lunch giveaways, I’ll also be holding a special 50-50 at my book launch party to benefit my Rotary club’s scholarship fund.
  • While at Party City, I picked up a helium canister to fill the 50 balloons that will be anchored at each table. So, of course, I also had to buy the balloons and balloon anchors. The anchors are sort of a sea blue, shiny with ribbon fringe on top. The balloons are powder blue, cobalt blue, and white, all of which coordinate with the book’s cover. Three balloons (one of each color and secured with white ribbon) will be tied to the anchors on the eleven round tables plus the reception table, the book sales table, the T-shirt/bag table, and the table where I’ll sign autographs. (There will also be a podium where I’ll do a couple of quick readings at some point.)
  • I picked up a big container of glitter too, to sprinkle over the white tablecloths. At the book launch party, which will be from 4:00-7:00 on the 23rd, we’ll be serving cocktail appetizers. There will be a cash bar, but every book purchase will get a free drink. The video book trailer (www.YouTube.com/cherilaser) will be playing in a loop on a huge laptop screen at the book sales table. There will be other music as well throughout the room. My current music phase is doo wop, but we’ll see how I’m feeling on the 23rd. 🙂 Pictures and videos of the event will be posted on this blog by the 25th or 26th.
  • About seven hours this week were spent sending out announcement emails containing links to the video trailer and this blog. Because I’ve lived and worked all over the country and have only been here in the New York Metro area of New Jersey for ten years, the majority of people that I know personally all live somewhere else. And they’re all getting their own announcement emails, because that’s what the “experts” suggest is the best and most appropriate approach (versus a blanket email that goes out to everyone at once). Guess we’ll learn eventually if that approach turns out to be the most effective. But I must admit that it’s been giving me an opportunity to say hi to lots of folks I don’t get to talk with very often.
  • Today I have to meet with a new client about an editing job (oh yeah, that make-a-living thing too) that I’ll be doing for her, and then I’ll come back to my home office to do more emails. I also need to make several signs and posters for the book launch party–and I want to make them generic enough to use at other book events. Then there will be a few phone calls to managers/proprietors of various local establishments where I want to hold events over the next month. And, finally, I’ll need to start booking my travel arrangements for the trip to San Francisco and Kettle Falls, Washington that I’ll be making in October (the first stop for an IBM reunion, and the second tied in for a book event, because Kettle Falls is a key locale in Separation of Faith).

So, last spring I’d grown itchy about moving on into the promotional elements of publishing a book, impatient with the seemingly endless process of shepherding a book through production and into print. But you know what? I haven’t even held my first event yet, and my next book is clamoring to get out of me.

True, as writers in this new age of publishing, we are all responsible for promoting our own books whether we publish traditionally or not. But, in the end, the process of writing–the nuts and bolts of our craft where we pull ideas from our imaginations and weave them into stories that bring hours of reading pleasure (hopefully) to those who take a chance on us–simply will not accept second billing beneath promotion for very long.

The next challenge will be figuring out how to create a balance than enables me to create a brand new book from scratch while selling another (actually, while selling two others) at the same time. And you’ll be in the front row while we see how all of that works out. 🙂

Have a terrific weekend!  

 

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New Posting on Scribd.com

As many of you know, I’ve been using Scribd.com for some time now to post my short stories, articles, and a serialized ten chapters of The Truth About Cinnamon (original version), all of which are available for free viewing and downloads. This is a terrific site for all writers to use to get their work “out there” and to get a feeling for how something you’ve written will be received, in a competely penalty-free environment. I encourage you to give the site a try.

Meanwhile, a few minutes ago I uploaded a pdf of the opening credits and the first chapter of Separation of Faith, for those of you who might be curious. Enjoy. http://www.scribd.com/doc/37208052/Separation-of-Faith-A-Novel-1st-Chapter-for-Free-Download.

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Getting Back on Track

The forty-eight changes submitted when we pulled the title back two weeks ago have now been reviewed and approved. I sent my “okay to go” email about thirty minutes ago. We still have to tweak the cover design slightly so the dust jacket will fit properly on the hard cover. But otherwise the final production steps should be moving forward very shortly.

As I was reviewing the interior changes, the thought occurred to me that you might find the specifics of that process interesting (for future reference, if nothing else). And given the emphasis in this blog on the importance of editing, I also thought you might like to see the painstaking detail involved with this last round of changes.

As I mentioned during that panicked weekend at the beginning of August (#57–Blip in Production), a couple of the issues I discovered were really serious, for example using one character’s name when another character was actually intended (called a content error and viewed as a major editorial slipup). A lot of the forty-eight changes submitted might be considered “nits” and yet, if uncorrected, would have affected the total editorial quality of the book. Some were word changes because there was a repetition issue where the same word was used in close proximity. (This type of issue is really hard to spot when reading your own work.) Other changes were things I learned as a result of the copyedit. One example is in dialogue where a character is interrupting someone who’s speaking. I had been ending the interrupted line of dialoge with ellipses, but the correct form is to end the line with an em dash.

Even though the changes might not make a lot of sense out of context, I thought you might be interested in seeing the actual proof form that I had to complete and submit. Someone in the production department at iUniverse then made the changes and returned a corrected pdf of the fully formatted book to me. Referencing my proof form, I then double checked to make sure the changes had been correctly implemented. (We’ve been through this process four times since I first submitted my manuscript last fall.)

In keeping with the mission of this blog to track every step of my publishing Journey, I’m attaching the latest proof form so you can see all the detail I’m referencing. Keep in mind that the issues listed on the form were still in the book following two editorial evaluations, a copyedit, six full-manuscript revision cycles, a proofreading, and one last revision cycle. For that very reason, traditional publishing houses typically assign five different people to edit and proofread galleys because you can’t have too many eyes examining a manuscript. And when we’re pursuing an alternate path on our publishing Journeys, we have to be extra diligent with respect to the editorial quality of what we’re putting “out there.”

I’m sure there are still going to be a few things that have slipped through in Separation of Faith, even after all the diligence (because I don’t think I’ve ever read even a traditionally published book that didn’t contain something that had been missed/overlooked). But I can honestly say that we’ve been as thorough as humanly possible with this particular novel.

Thanks so much again for your interest in what’s going on here. I’ll be back as soon as there are any new updates/developments.

RE-DO INTERIOR CHANGES.Proof Form (Click to see proof form.)

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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

Stats

  • 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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A Huge Exciting Discovery for Self-Promoters!

Hi and good morning! One of the key blogs that I follow is by Jane Friedman, strategic director of Writer’s Digest (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/). She published a post this morning about a site called Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), where anyone–writers, artists, you-name-it–can try to get backing on a project they’ve developed/are developing/are thinking about developing.

People pledge money (doesn’t have to be much) to back a project, but no one actually pays unless the project reaches its pledge goal within the prescribed time frame. Project creators seem to offer give-aways for backers that are appropriate/relevant to the project, and you can see how the pledges are doing and how much time is left. The whole thing is really fascinating and really caught my attention.

And this isn’t just for writers but for anyone who’s trying to get a dream off the ground.

Perhaps this will be another avenue of promotion for Separation of Faith …?

I did pledge to back one project–a woman in Boston who’s trying to start her own publishing business (http://kck.st/9NwlvH). We’ll see if she meets her goal.

Just thought some of you out there might find this of as much interest as I did.

Later …

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