It’s Been Six Months Since…

…I published my first novel, HIGH.

Whenever I flip through the pages of HIGH, I still can’t believe I wrote those words. I was the one who spent hours, days, weeks, months—even years toiling over each word and each paragraph. I created that plot and made up those characters using my imagination. I wrote that story. For a good while, that story was my little secret. A secret I was afraid to share with anyone. Now it’s out there for the world to see.

I feel that no matter how many books I write and publish from now on, HIGH will always be the most important one. This book and I went through a lot of ups and downs together. In the process of writing and editing it—life happened. I got engaged, got married, got pregnant, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, became a parent, became a stay-at-home-mom, was diagnosed with a rare nerve disorder, had brain surgery—and through it all, I never gave up. Whenever I could, I kept writing. I wanted to finish my book. I wanted to achieve my goal despite the challenges that came my way. And I did it. It wasn’t easy. But I did it.

HIGH will always remind me of what I’ve been through and how strong I’ve become. It will always remind me of how hard I worked to chase a dream—no matter what. Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful HIGH may turn out to be—I will always be proud of it.

HIGH is available in paperback and eBook format on amazon.com.

Novel Update: Beta Readers and Their Feedback

After I sent my manuscript to my beta readers, I didn’t look at my story for about a month. It felt good to take a break from editing. It gave me time to work on other things that are still related to my book, like my book cover and editing my synopsis. I gave my beta readers 3 weeks to read and critique my work and within the 3 weeks, I slowly started getting feedback. Each critique was formatted differently and each one varied in length. The longer one took to get back to me, the longer their feedback seemed to be. I’m sure it was a coincidence.

The most gratifying feedback I got was they all liked my plot and characters. To me, this is the most important thing.

After going through all the comments/feedback from each beta reader, I noticed that there were only a few comments that were similar—about 4 to be exact. The rest were different from each other. My challenge now is studying each comment and figuring out which edits to make. Whatever change I end up doing has to work with my story and has to help strengthen my novel.

So far, I’ve looked at each critique and highlighted the changes I feel will help my story. I am currently applying the changes by going through each critique one at a time. For instance, today I’ll do beta reader A’s changes and tomorrow I’ll do beta reader B’s and so on. After applying all the necessary edits, I will be reading my manuscript a few more times until I feel it’s ready for my editor.

I am so thankful to my beta readers for giving me such honest and helpful feedback. This process has definitely helped me learn and grow as a writer.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Helpful Advice from Indie Authors

I saw an article today on Twitter that I thought I’d share with you.

If you’re in the process of publishing your book, like I am, or have published your book but could use some helpful tips on marketing and self-publishing, check out the link below.

What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

If you’re already a self-published author, what do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

Helpful Advice from Indie Authors

I saw an article today on Twitter that I thought I’d share with you.

If you’re in the process of publishing your book, like I am, or have published your book but could use some helpful tips on marketing and self-publishing, check out the link below.

What do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

If you’re already a self-published author, what do you wish you had known when you first started self-publishing?

10 Book Cover Designs for Inspiration

Although we say not to judge a book by its cover, we still do.

Book covers are like mini billboard ads. They need to be catchy and memorable. They also need to represent their genres and their stories effectively. With a strong title and a strong design, you can achieve an effective book cover that will make readers want to buy your book and read your story.

If you’re a self-published author getting ready to design or get your book cover designed, here are only a few examples of book covers you can use for inspiration. Pay attention to the elements of each book cover below. As you’ll see, not all successful book covers need to be busy and colorful. Some can be simple but still powerful.

Scroll down and let me know which one makes you stop and look closer.

 

Novel Update: Beta Readers

After editing my novel, HIGH, the last couple of months, I’ve decided it’s a good time to stop and let the Beta Readers take over. This morning, I took a deep breath and sent them my full manuscript.

As well all know getting feedback from others is an important part of the editing process. We can keep rewriting and editing our stories but until we let someone else read them, we will never know what works and what doesn’t.

So now that my manuscript is in the hands of my trusted beta readers, what’s next? Well, I will be focusing on getting my book cover done, and creating my marketing plan. I’m not quite sure how to begin, but regardless—I’m diving in.

Any tips?

 

Novel Update: Beta Readers

After editing my novel, HIGH, the last couple of months, I’ve decided it’s a good time to stop and let the Beta Readers take over. This morning, I took a deep breath and sent them my full manuscript.

As well all know getting feedback from others is an important part of the editing process. We can keep rewriting and editing our stories but until we let someone else read them, we will never know what works and what doesn’t.

So now that my manuscript is in the hands of my trusted beta readers, what’s next? Well, I will be focusing on getting my book cover done, and creating my marketing plan. I’m not quite sure how to begin, but regardless—I’m diving in.

Any tips?

 

Why We Need Beta Readers and Editors

I recently mentioned to a friend that I was self-publishing my first book this November as an e-book, as well as a printed book. I told him that after I edit on my own, I will be passing my manuscript to beta readers, possibly a proofreader and after that, edit it again and then it goes to an editor.

To which he replied: “The editing process is never ending anyway. With the technology now with e-books, why don’t you just eliminate the beta readers and editors and publish your book now and get the readers out there to give their feedback and then revise your book again based on the feedback you get, and then publish it again.

My head spun a little.  So I said, “What do you mean? Revise my book again, even after I’ve already published it?” A bit confused, I added, “Why would I want to do that?”

He said, “Yes, keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over based on the feedback you get from readers.”

I asked, “The same book?”

“Yes, the same book. The one you have now,” he confirmed.

My head spun again. “You mean, just print what I have now and let the readers read and judge it without having beta readers read it first?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “But once my book is published—that’s it. I’d like to be done with it so I can move on and start writing other stories. Why would I want to keep revising the same book and publishing it over and over again?”

Completely nonplussed, I asked my friend what the advantages are of doing it the way he’s suggesting. To be honest, I don’t even remember what he said because it probably didn’t make sense to me.

For me, it almost sounds like he’s saying:
“Why don’t you rush and publish your book now, even if you’re not satisfied with it and it hasn’t been read by others who can help you polish it. Who cares? You’ll get feedback from readers outside anyway. You can use the feedback to keep revising and keep publishing THE SAME book, over and over again.

To me, it also sounds like: Why don’t you just put a product out there that hasn’t been tested? Who cares if it doesn’t work? You can keep revising the product anyway?

But wouldn’t I be setting myself up for failure by doing it that way?

First of all, why would I risk my reputation as a first time author and publish a book that’s not polished? Just to get it out there because I can keep revising it anyway? It doesn’t make sense. Also, what happens to the printed pieces?

After researching, reading articles and posts from other writers over the last 6 months on self-publishing and e-books, and seeing the results of self-published authors, my friend’s comment didn’t make any sense to me. I can think of a hundred reasons why I do not think his idea is a good idea. For one, beta readers are there to help you. They will read your book and critique it and give you helpful feedback. If I rushed and published my book now and eliminated the beta readers and editors, I would probably get feedback, but none of which would tell me if I made a typo on page 40 and 180, or that I should rewrite a sentence or a paragraph because something is missing, etcetera. Regular readers won’t give the same feedback. They will give general feedback, but won’t go into specifics like beta readers and editors do.

There are many reasons why a lot of e-books fail and why some succeed. I’ve read a number of posts from self-published writers who all give the same advice:

  1. First, write a good book.
  2. Get people you trust who aren’t family to read it and give you honest feedback (example: beta readers) before you publish.
  3. Hire an editor.
  4. Create a great book cover.
  5. Have a marketing plan.
  6. Know your target audience.

I’m sure my friend meant well. Maybe all he was trying to say was take advantage of technology. But even then, some of the things he suggested didn’t make sense.

At the end of the day, I am still sticking to my plan. My manuscript will still be going to beta readers. I personally believe that having them read it and critique it will help me polish my book before it gets published.

Here are links to some posts that I’ve recently read on self-publishing and why beta readers are important:

http://crimefictioncollective.blogspot.ca/2012/08/three-mistakes-you-dont-want-to-make.html

http://jennymherrera.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/four-reasons-why-you-need-beta-readers/

http://saraflower.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/beta-readers/

What do think? Eliminate beta readers? Rush and publish and keep revising and publishing the same book over and over again?

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.

My First Novel

After spending the last 6 months trying to decide between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I have finally made up my mind.

I am going to self-publish my first book, HIGH.

Based on what I’ve learned and researched, self-publishing seems to be the perfect fit for me at this time.

My aim is to publish my novel by November of this year. I’m spending the next few weeks editing and by the last week of August, I will be sending my manuscript to a group of beta readers that I have carefully picked. By the third week of September, if not earlier, I will be editing again based on the feedback I receive from my beta readers and then it’s off to an editor. Whatever pockets of time I get in between editing will be dedicated to working on my book cover and working on a marketing plan.

Yes, I said marketing plan. I wrote a book, but it doesn’t end there. Since I am self-publishing, I have to be involved in every aspect. In a way, it’s like running a business. I have a product—my book, and my job after writing the book is to get it out there. It’ll be an exciting challenge that will probably involve a lot of sleepless nights, limited breaks, a good amount of caffeine, trial and error, and a lot of growing up to do as a writer and as a person. I am aware this journey won’t be an easy one, but I am willing to give it my all. Besides, it’s for my book—the reason why I am a writer and why soon, I will be an author.

I will be sharing the ups and downs of self-publishing and the lessons I learn along the way. More about the book, plus excerpts will be posted in the days to come, so check back soon.

I have no idea what the fate of my book will be, but I can’t wait to find out soon. All I know is I have spent a lot of time writing and rewriting HIGH. I gave birth to it and raised it. Now it’s time to set it free.