Just a short update today. I've a date from my proof editor for the last half of the novel to be returned to me on 2nd September. I'm unlikely to surface for a while once that happens.
No word from the distributor yet though I know the person I spoke to has sent my details on to the relevant department. That was Monday. I'm checking the e-mails several times a day in anticipation.
The waiting is killing me. Still flipping from psychotic excitement to manic depression throughout the day. Every now and then I want to go "aaaaarrrrggggghhhhh." sometimes I do, sometimes it's not so appropriate, so I try very hard to hold it in.
Received the revised front cover back (does that make sense?) from Gary Bonn and I must say it's looking brilliant. All the original elements, which I wanted to keep, are still it in including the scenery and characters, but it's looking much slicker. It has a much cleaner look on the font and colours. I've shown it to several people and they have all gone "Wow!" Can't get a better result than that. OK I had to shell out more money but you have to weigh up the arguments.
I could have left it alone and ran the risk of a very amateur product and no sales, but I'm worth more than that, and so is Jim who did the original illustrations. Both he and I want this to look good. In fact I note he commented earlier and even offered to assist in the re-design which was very sweet of him. However it is his first time (and mine) at producing a book so I had to bow to someone with a greater amount of knowledge and experience. I bow to the good and great Gary Bonn.
Where am I in the publication saga? The final half is being proof edited as I type. That will return shortly and I will begin the process of reviewing all the numerous changes and suggestions. I'm hoping I can get that done in a week when it returns. It will then go to the Formatter, who is waiting.
After that I'll send it to the printers for book proof copies and if I'm happy with those, the print run sometime in the beginning of October.
I'm back to having those ultra high excitable moments followed closely by those terrified, OMG am I doing the right thing moments.
Good news is the local library has contacted me and requested I do a bigger session than just book signing. They would like me to give a short talk as well at their main branch in Margate! I guess a lot of you out there would say "and...?" That's enough for me at the moment, I'm still at the "I'll believe it when it's in my trembling little hands."
So now we come to the formatting. A writing acquaintance, fellow author and Founder of Firedance books has offered to do my book formatting.
He is a bone-fide author with books like; The Evil and the Fear, Day of Demons, Expect Civilian Casualities, Muffy College Cambridge & Curses Foiled, to name but a few.
See - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815636.Gary_Bonn
I nearly fainted when he offered, because Gary is always so busy. The least I can do is mention his work, so if you like fantasy fiction follow the link above by copying it and pasting it into your search box.
Anyway we were discussing my novel, and I was pathetically dribbling on about the trials and tribulations I've been going through. (See earlier blogs) When we got round to the cover format. He offered to give it the once over prior to printing which was lovely of him.
The long and short of it is ( yes second cliché I know), its not fit for printing. Something to do with bleed over areas and fonts covering the images and shadows being in the wrong direction. He gave me a long list of issues and I quailed. I really do want the novel to be professional and I want to be taken seriously so it was either back to the drawing board (it's a cliché night) or find an expensive front cover designer. Gary has offered to help by giving a new spin on the cover and then I'll decide. It means more money but the cover is everything. I want people to pick it up not walk past it.
STOP PRESS - As well as going for the launch at WS on Halloween, I'm also doing signings in November at Westgate Library and Quex Barn Birchington.
This book publishing game is not for the weak-hearted!
After bending my hubby's ear for an hour on my quandary regarding the pending publication I went to speak to the manager at Westwood Cross's Waterstones. She is marvellous and completely understood my dilemma. After a reassuring chat I came home to formulate a new plan, as she suggested, based on the financial costings.
There are two routes I can go, either through Waterstones (WS) via one of their four, wholesale suppler/distributors or, go it alone via any independent bookshops (they are rarer than finding diamonds in your knickers.) and book signing deals I can wangle. It was clear I needed to work out my costs and how much I could afford to lose.
My maths IS NOT good and I finally arrived at an (incorrect) conclusion that the more books I sold the more in debt I'd become. Don't ask me how I came to that result but I did. Needless to say by the time my hubby arrived home later that evening I was in a right state. He looked at my figures, ignored them and started again. That was a relief! Tip - ask someone who is good with numbers to do your costings.
The long and short of it is, I need to sell 650 copies before a penny comes my way. Can I sell 350 copies let alone 650 on my own, whilst working full-time and setting up a new Soroptimist club in Thanet? To be honest, maybe in three years based on the number of folk commenting on my blog here. Could I afford to be short of money for a while? Well lets say the NHS, and one Trust in particular, are probably gnashing their teeth in angst. (that's a good word)
I've taken the plunge and jumped for Waterstones. The model they use is: you sell your book to their suppliers, who then sell it on to WS. The first distributors wasn't helpful (I won't name and shame). You'd think I was trying to locate the key to their chastity belts for all their avoidance tactics. I completed the Independent Traders form except for the part about money. There's a space, then it says %RRP. OK, I'm savvy enough to know RRP = Recommended Retail Price, but %? Was it the % I was to pay them or the % they would leave me.
For example; If I wrote in '20%' it might mean they want 20% so I keep 80%, or it might mean they get 80% (yeah right!) and I get the 20%. So I phoned them to ask. At first no one could answer the question. I had already Googled to check other writing forums and 65% had been bandied about, but the staff wouldn't confirm it. When the final person I spoke to told me to write " as per.............'s contracts" I was stunned. I asked him if he would complete and sign a form not knowing what money was exchanging hands. I can't deal with tight-lipped, ego-centric folk (apart from me) so I put the phone down.
I rang the second distributor and spoke to a lovely, "can do" man who advised me what to send and told me he'd send my application on to the correct department in his organisation on his return from leave. He even told me apologetically, their current rate is 55%. I'd budgeted for 50% (based on the earlier, haven't a clue method) This means I'd need to sell more copies than I planned, but with WS on board it might be doable.
I missed being able to update folks on my writing progress. I did think my holiday might relax and envigourate me, but these last few days have proved that the work of 14 days can be undone in an hour.
I stupidly sent the wrong segment of writing for proof editing whilst I was away. Thankfully my wonderful PE did not tell me at the start of the hols but at the end, for which I thank him profusely.
Unfortunately the error has put the deadline back and I'm now worried I won't make the deadline for Halloween. No word from my formatter - maybe he is on hols too - so thats stressing me somewhat. I'm planning to go talk to the manager at Waterstones Westwood, as even with their offer to do my book launch I'm not sure I can financially afford it.
Planning to review the previous sgement of proofing tonight. I've been improving the format and adding illustrations as the PE is completed. Will chase up formatter tonight.
Tomorrow I'm off to a new writers group, been asked to attend to support the new venture etc. It's at the cafe at Tescos Westwood. Will go to Waterwstones from there. Saturday is Inspirations writing group too.
I've also got to write two pieces for the local press. The first, regarding the Soroptimist International Event at St Augustines Westgate on Saturday 19th September at 2pm (no small amount of a plug there! All welcome - please come). The second for the book release.
Why do I keep floating between despair, terror and elation? Before you comment - its not alcohol.