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Publishing Process Stuff… :D

Over on TeacherWriter, Running1 asked me whether I had self-published or traditionally published, and what process I used to get my book into production.

I self-published A Life Less Ordinary, mainly because I didn’t want the hassle of trying to get it published through a traditional publisher.  (At the time, my patience for jumping through hoops was at an all-time low.)

My first step (after writing the thing, of course – 😀 ) was to edit.  And edit.  And then edit some more.  I shared it with friends and strangers, and corrected the errors they caught.  And then I edited it again.  Editing Hell is, well, hell.  Ugh.

There comes a time, though, when you have say something’s done and you move on to the next step.

When I was nearing the end of Editing Hell, I incorporated a company (Love of Words Publishing Inc.).  A Life Less Ordinary was and is my guinea pig to figure out my business processes.  I want to eventually publish other people’s work as well, but first I have to figure out how all of this is done.  At the time I started, I had no clue what it would take to get the book uploaded onto Amazon, or how (or if!) I could get it ready for printing at CreateSpace.

Thanks to my previous day job, I have a basic understanding of the publishing process, from copyright, editing, graphic design, desktop publishing and contracts, to some very basic knowledge about printing.  I even, if push comes to shove, know people in all of those areas who can give me a hand.  What I didn’t (and still don’t!) have is a very good knowledge of marketing and distribution.  Only the two most important pieces.  *cough*

Now, I did things a bit awkwardly this first go-round.  I created the first cover myself…and it was…oh my God –AW-FUL!!!  It’s still floating around out there in cyberspace and it’s truly horrible.  I didn’t get the current cover until March, after I commissioned it through a site called CrowdSpring (linked through CreateSpace).  I also published the e-book first (in December) and then the print book in March.  I tied myself to an exclusive agreement with Amazon for three months and so the book wasn’t released on Smashwords until late April.  I didn’t start making arrangements for the blog tours until March (when I knew I’d also have a print copy available).

In terms of marketing, I have the two blog tours; I had a free giveaway for five days in December through Amazon (the exclusive agreement I mentioned), and I also did a free giveaway on LibraryThing.  In all, there are almost a thousand free copies floating around in the world, which I hope will translate into sales for the next book.  ;D  I also have a lot of ideas…but very little money at the moment, so some of those ideas will have to wait for a bit.

As I write this out, it all seems very mundane and boring.  So it seems very odd to me that I’ve been having a blast!  With all of it!  Even the really boring stuff – LOL.

The business side of things is very different from the writing side of things.  I write in a very free-flow kind of way.  Whenever I try to describe it, I keep imagining myself skipping through a meadow, strewing words in every direction…which sounds far more disturbing than it is!!  The business side of things is far more structured and linear; I guess it pleases that part of me that’s very Type-A…

So, to make a long story short, I’ve learned a lot about the publishing process with this first book.  Which means the next one will be much smoother, as will the one after that, and the one after that – 😀 .  I’ve also enjoyed every minute of it (even those minutes that annoyed me (formatting the Smashwords version – OMG!!!))

I’m not sure if this is what you, Running1, was hoping to learn about; just drop me a comment if you have questions or if I’ve totally missed the boat!!  😀

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Posted by on June 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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When in worry, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout – Random Update

Ugh.

Just so it’s official:  I hate looking for work.  Yes, in a case of life imitating art, I really did quit my job and cash out my pension.  No road trip or Zeke, though…damn it!  😦

Let me repeat:  I HATE LOOKING FOR WORK!!!  I just don’t know how to sell myself, and I always end up thinking “oh my god – I have no skills!  I’ll be living on the street soon – or worse:  with one of my siblings!  I’ll have to eat the cats just to stay alive!”  Okay.  Maybe not the last bit – *groans and laughs*.

I don’t know why I get so stressed out about it.  I’m reasonably intelligent, reasonably competent and reasonably skilled.  I’m willing to learn new things and actually like being in a new environment (most of the time).  And I know I’ll get something – as I’ve told several people:  I’ve scrubbed toilets before, I can do it again.  I just really can’t deal with the stress of cover letters and assessing whether I can do the work described in the job ad.  *rocks in the corner*

Sigh.

Okay.  Enough of that.  I’m going to go watch more Get Smart (almost finished Season 2!) and work on something that has nothing to do with employment!!  On a lighter note, I do have an original fic niggling in my brain:  a romantic comedy “starring” Nathan Fillion and Michelle Rodriguez…not sure yet how much of a comedy it’ll be, actually, but the characters are definitely starting to gel in my head.  Unfortunately, at the moment, Nathan’s character is a bit too much like Castle but that will likely change as I write the thing.  LOL

I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad about this new fic; I SHOULD be writing the sequel to A Life Less Ordinary (not to mention fic for the BigBang I have looming on the horizon), but the actors are adorable!!!  How can I resist writing about them?!?!  ;P  I’ll post a plot synopsis once I’ve actually articulated it in my own head – LOL.

Oooh – and there will be two new Blog stops tomorrow for my blog tours!!  Yaaaayyyy!!!

Have a great rest of the weekend everybody!

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Talkin’ ’bout the F-word (Fanfiction)

Yes – I’m going there!  LOL

I know there are some pretty (strong) mixed emotions about fanfic out there and I just wanted to go on record as a huge, huge fan of it – and not just because I also write it.  🙂

For those who may not know what fanfic is, it’s when someone takes the characters/universe of a movie, TV show, book or whatever, and writes their own stories about/with those characters/universe.  They’re usually romance stories and the pairings (or triplings or quadruplings or, well, orgies, I guess) are basically anyone with everyone.  LOL  There’s a strong preponderance of slash (i.e., Male/Male romance stories) but there’s basically something for everyone.

I know many people/writers/etc. are firmly against fanfic and I’ve seen a lot of criticism/statements such as “it’s lazy”; “create your own characters/universe dammit”, etc. 

Like I said, I’ve read a lot of it, and there’s nothing lazy about it (which isn’t to say some of it isn’t so bad it makes my eyelashes bleed).  But, good or bad, we don’t take an aired episode, for example, and simply transcribe it and then change a word or two.  We create our own storyline/scenarios for the characters we love.  (If you don’t believe me, take a look at this fic I wrote for Star Trek 2009:  http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9069138/1/Clementine under my “real life” screen name).

Now, that said, if you’re an artist and you don’t want people to write fanfic about your creations, that’s your right and I respect that, and I make it a point to write only in those fandoms that have either explicitly given permission or have remained silent on the issue.  I personally hope someone will write fanfic about my characters (although I’ll never read it until I’m finished writing about them myself) because it’s a sign of investment and engagement on the part of the fans.  Seriously:  the amount of time it takes to write a well-crafted, well-written fanfic is huge, and it means somebody loves what’s been created so much, they’re willing to invest their own time – without pay! – to play in my particular sandbox.  I think that’s awesome – and I’d probably squeal so loudly the whole world will wonder what the hell just happened – LOL.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Proper Author Etiquette??

I’m so confused.  Which – granted – isn’t anything new.

As the title of this post says, I’m confused about proper author etiquette – but first, I think a little background is in order.

I’ve spent the last *mumblemumble* years working in the area of government procurement.  This means writing and managing the Request for Proposals/Information/Quotations/whatever processes and dealing with vendors.  The majority of my work was in the acquisition of services, so writers, developers, consultants, etc., and working with a lot of individuals as opposed to major corporations (although I dealt with my fair share of those as well).

Yeah…a thrill-a-minute, I know.

Anyway.  When you’re doing government procurement, you have to maintain a very strict distance between yourself and the vendors so there is no implication of favoritism, influence or unfair practices.  Which often boils down to “knowing when to shut the hell up” – which is not to say I didn’t get into my fair share of snarky e-mails – or friendly e-mails, for that matter.

So, how is this related to my confusion about author etiquette?  Well, I ran a couple of giveaways on LibraryThing (one for the paperback and one for the electronic version) and reviews are beginning to be posted.  Is it proper author etiquette to thank each person for their review? And I mean regardless of whether the review was good or bad (although the reviews have all been good so far (knocks on wood and crosses fingers)).  Or is it more appropriate to maintain a professional distance and silence, so there’s no implication of undue influence/expectations/pressure/etc. from the author on the reviewer?  Does it even matter so long as you’re polite and have a thick skin when the bad reviews arrive (because of course they will)?  (My similar concerns over following blogs, especially those that review my book(s), may be a subject for another day…)

I have a couple of virtual book tours beginning in May as well (the schedule will be posted as soon as I can figure out iCalendar and/or receive confirmation of all the stops) and I know that in that context, it’s expected and appropriate for an author to comment on blog posts and reviews.  Whether it’s appropriate in all cases is really the question – and I’ve seen differing opinions all over the web.

Aaarrrggghhh!!!!  😦  (And yes, some days I just worry way too much…)

So, any advice???

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Of Pseudonyms and Things

Welcome to my blog!

As the title of this post says, I’m going to ramble a little bit about pseudonyms and things…

“Victoria Bernadine” is a pseudonym.  I chose to publish under a pen name for several reasons, but the main one was an attempt to keep my writing life and my “day job life” separate.  In my past day job, I dealt with the public a lot and my name was the official contact name for many years.  The result is that my real name brings up a lot of hits on the web.  I didn’t want my writing life to get lost in the clutter and so – “Victoria Bernadine” was born.

What I hadn’t counted on was the conflicting emotions I feel as I attempt to build an online presence for my pen name.  I’ve never posted online as anyone other than myself (meaning my real name or a variation thereof).  Posting under this name feels…very…bizarre to me – like I’m trying to “put one over” on people.

Which is stupid. I know.  I get it!  It’s no different than making up a screen name to post on IMDB or on any of the other bajillion sites on the Internet.  It still feels very weird to me.

I’m sure it’ll get easier with time and I’m going to post as “me” and not create a different backstory for Victoria – like Stephen King did for Richard Bachman – but I think it’s going to take some time for me to get used to it.

Ah, well.  Posting on a blog will definitely  help me practice anyway!  😀

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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