for the Kindle version to appear on Amazon. Since we have to do all the formatting ourselves now, did I mess up somehow? I’m hoping that with the new staff people, things are just backed up. I’m quite happy with the paperback.
After a summer of home repairs and a drastic kitchen remodel, the final draft of the third book in my series, Deliver Us From Evil, is done, a lot later than I planned. This one’s darker than the others:
Kidnapped during an assignment in Afghanistan, photographer Niall O’Sullivan and journalist Philip Korda are hostages in a remote underground bunker outside war-torn Kandahar. Will they be ransomed before their captors run out of patience? Starved and beaten, they despair of ever seeing their loved ones again.
As if that weren’t enough, Niall’s ex-brother-in-law, Conor, wants him dead and will stop at nothing to make sure that happens.
I had a rather grim cover in mind, showing a prisoner locked in an underground cell, the title in stark, gritty-looking manual Smith Corona type. I had a very specific picture in mind, and it wasn’t something I could order from the Amazon cover service that did my last two covers. I couldn’t find any stock photos that would fit, either.
Next, I thought of a night image with a silhouetted man on a gritty city street gazing up at the stars. I started taking photos of alleys and stuff.
Then I got interrupted (I’m not complaining) — I had put in for a kitchen remodel back in January. I had fought with a dilapidated kitchen for 15 years and it was way beyond time. The contractor was ready to start. I learned about cabinets, countertops, subway tiles, sinks, and faucets, and it was glorious.
I took a few days off from kitchen decisions to go to the Willamette Writers Conference. I cannot recommend this enough. To be in a big hotel where everyone you meet is a writer… writing is a solitary, sometimes lonely business and it’s like a gigantic gathering of your own tribe. Not to mention how much I learned this time around. Full of new ideas, I rewrote Deliver Us From Evil all over again after the conference.
Lee Moyer, a book cover artist, was there providing free advice. I brought photos of the first two books in my series. He said Amazon did a great job and that my next cover needs to have the same elements so people will recognize it as belonging to the series; namely the title font, a glowing background, and a darker foreground. Oh. Time to start over.
I found stock photos of Afghan children like the kids in Niall’s photographs that could be adapted, but when I was about to buy them, I found that they can’t be used for fictional book covers. In despair, I googled stock photos for book covers and found the most generic stuff you could imagine, the same photos we had to pick from when I wrote online for Demand Media.
Hours later, I happened on a site with images to die, or in my case, sign your life away for because they have only a three-year license. I’m trying to find out whether I can change the cover later on without having to change the whole book and ISBN numbers, or whether I will have to keep renewing that not-cheap license every three years.
Happily, the cover for my next book, Zen Flowers, will be a lot easier.
A Shack On the Outskirts of Heaven is finally done, available here. Getting a book out had a steep learning curve, I found, and I messed up along the way. I had gone over the novel through multiple drafts in Scrivener and reread the converted manuscript again in Microsoft Word. I was confident there were no more typos when I uploaded the book to Amazon.
The book proof looked very different from the Word document. Beautifully formatted, it looked like a real book. I was thrilled… until I read it once again and found yet more mistakes. The biggest one was misspelling one of my main character’s names! “No way I did that!” I yelled at the computer screen. I found the original page in Scrivener, and there it was. How I managed to miss it is beyond me, but getting it fixed delayed the whole process.
I also messed up when it came to uploading an author photo. I have to say, the Amazon CreateSpace people were incredibly kind and helpful.
I’m working on the sequel to Shack.
I was overwhelmed. There’s a lot involved in getting a book out, but it’s all coming together. I just received the cover image for my new book. I’m thrilled with the way it came out, and now I can finally talk about it. I’ve spent the last couple of years writing a series of four books. The series begins with Eileen…
Sculptor Eileen Gordon is at the breaking point. Her mind-numbing day job is crushing her, and her loneliness feels overwhelming. Then there’s her fiercely independent daughter, Celeste, who returns from travels in Ireland to discover she is pregnant. Mother and daughter decide to team up, take life by the horns, and rescue themselves by opening an art gallery. But their plan to “take life in big bites” threatens to backfire when past relationships resurface and present seemingly endless complications.
It’ll be available soon.
Yesterday morning, I received the epub file proof of my upcoming book, Playing in the Apocalypse. I side-loaded it onto my Nook reader and am reading the whole thing, inspecting for formatting errors. So far, it looks fantastic except for the title page… ugh. The title is so small I can barely read it, and it doesn’t match the much larger font in the rest of the book. I really hope they can fix that before it goes out to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the other booksellers I didn’t know about.
Everything about self-publishing is new to me. It’s not just all the formatting headaches—and there were a lot as I had to paste 14 separate chapters into a single Word document and do a lot of reformatting. I read Brooke Warner’s What’s Your Book? about the different publishing options and signed up for a webinar about social media. I’m on Twitter now, and I have a brand-new author page on Facebook, here.
It’s a lot of fun reading all my favorite authors’ tweets and finding new authors on Twitter. I have downloaded five intriguing, self-published ebooks written by my new friends—I have to stop now until I’ve finished reading them all… then I’ll buy a bunch more.
I have about 100 more pages of proofreading to go, so I’d better get back at it.