Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Second Run for it, and LAUNCH!!

It's a strange thing about this process. At times it feels as though everything's standing still, driving me nuts - and then suddenly the wheel lurches forward a whole stretch!

I'm into the second print run. Was naughty and overhauled the second storm. There wasn't anything wrong with it but now it's such a lot better! Riana the Sweetie fixed the book cover to make space for that ISBN bar code and Stephan from Business Print was still available at 5pm to receive the files. Author Leslie Noble (Tabika, Regina) is looking over the SW for errors in the English, it's the "fresh eyes" I so desperately needed... and he assures me that so far so good, he doesn't see a problem! I did exchange a whole lot of "all in all" and "to and fro" and "on the whole" and similar that the spellcheck points out as cliche's, with more acceptable wording. We don't have to be "momparras" about the language.

Whew! I hope Biz Print will be ready within 10 days? Tomorrow the signing of the proofs. After that hopefully, the second print will be available really soon? I mean, if I sit at Alkantrant Library at my own launch with 23 copies (that's all that's left of the first run), and they all get signed and sold - what next? Take down orders?

Ok with 73 copies the chance is less that I'll get stuck, but it's still not impossible that I sell out (I HOPE I will sell out!) I guess then orders it is.

Here's my new action list:

  • Book launch 10 October
  • book signings every 2 weeks
  • recruiting agents for commission for out-of-hand sales
  • advertizing (still have to advertize for the 10th!)
  • in: newspapers (start with record)
  • Mags
  • radio
  • posters
  • bookmarks
  • email campaign
  • Ron wassisname
  • blog
  • schools and libraries
  • 1000+ copies sold by Christmas!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ni editor...

Both my author friends feel that getting an editor for the Solar Wind is probably not what I want - I'm looking at someone who can pick out the semantic and grammatical hitches with fresh eyes. One has had rather disappointing experiences with editors whereas the other is skeptical of them. I can only agree. I don't want to be corrected on the way the Tzigan abuses English, or Rhine Gold's deliberate Germanisms.

So the new improved plan is to find that person who is good with English, to smooth over the book in a technical way... NOT for R15 000!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The editor, the editor!

So my partner in P'Kaboo comes back to me about the editor - she feels that I'm crooking people by selling them a book that isn't professionally edited.

Does she get it - R15 000? I have to raise that money somehow before I can pay for it! That's exactly the deadlock a self-published author is in, without heaps of spending money!

There are other concerns I have about that editor. Sure, every book can do with a proof editor who makes sure there are no typos, who smooths out the grammar and punctuation where necessary, knows the grammar rules and can point out glaring logical inconsistencies. The best time to have a classic editor though is during writing - when you get seriously stuck as to what's wrong with this part - it just doesn't read well!. Gosh did I yearn for an editor in some of the chapters! What I had, was two critical lay editors - both avid readers of good books; both versed in English; one a writer herself and the other of Irish origin, with English as his mother tongue, a background in the navy, and a very sharp ear for logic. Between the two I felt I was fairly safe. I didn't go and publish First Draft either, for the love of revision!!

Of course every writer feels that their book is good enough not to need an editor (correction - this writer yearned for an editor! Where are they when you need them most??). But that statement alone tells me that I had better, and after all that guy is on the plan - but my partner feels I shouldn't be selling any copies at all without first having it edited! So how the heck am I supposed to raise those R15000? Which "other" way?

Without wanting to sound ultra, G-D cynical, it reminds me of that ex-colleague long ago who recommended when I was still struggling to get on my feet, paying my way in a lift club and paying down a study loan, that I "should really get" a car!

Better healthy and wealthy, right?

I don't feel that I'm crooking them if they read the story before it's been proofed. Point is, it's a jolly good story! Point is too that most of the grammar, punctuation and spelling is correct - and better than in a lot of novels today that have been proofed! It would take another writer, an editor or a compulsive nit-picker to find all those faults and let them bother them!

This is not a blog about writing techniques and styles, but about my self-published journey and all the potholes. But this attitude attack is part of the journey. Let me give you an example of a crit someone gave me (a fellow author for that matter). I used the term "passed-out parties" to describe some of the scenes in a certain place.

An oxymoron? Or creative use of language to describe effectively and from a fresh angle, people that were quite obviously on some sort of drug, or so full of alcohol they were stretched out on the ground? If language can't be used in new, innovative ways, who is ever going to break out of the old clichees?

Will the "mustard after the meal" professional editor make me change such fresh ways of describing something, into the old weather-beaten tracks everyone uses? Will that editor tell me I ought to rewrite the whole dang novel in present tense, or in first person, or both? (Both are "modern" writing schools - both having been around since the middle ages!) Will the editor try to change my style or my content? We're in South Africa. Will that editor be more at home in English than my English-raised husband, or will he steer me towards split infinitives and make me change the way my Tzigan speaks? I really only want someone to find the grammar and spelling errors, smooth the punctuation (where necessary) and point out logical discrepancies. The rest I'll do myself!

Which leads me in a circular line back to the starting point - how to get my hands on that money?

Maybe I should point out to people that this is the pre-proofed version. They won't buy then though, and I might as well pack it in.

Sheesh the last time I had an attitude fit like this was when that bookstore supplier told me to pack it in!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A stepwise plan (another one!)

I'm looking at that pile on my table and counting up, and 25 copies are gone, gone gone!!

That is amazing. But here are the milestones anyway:

Someone told me the difference between vanity publishing and self publishing is this: In vanity publishing the author pays up to see his name in print. In self-publishing the idea is to make money selling books.

Milestone 1: Already achieved!! - to make back the money of the print run from sales.
  • Selling off most of 25 copies has replenished the amount necessary for the next print run of 50. I could do it today; but for fixing up a few nit-picking errata, and the bar code being printed on the back cover pls.
Milestone 2: Selling more than 100.
  • This is an important one because this puts us into the top 3rd of books published in 2008 (technically the Solar Wind was published then, on Lulu and Bookhabit.)
Milestone 3: 300 copies
  • That would technically enable us to do a litho print run of a 1000 copies. The cost per copy comes down dramatically and there is enough material to offer the books to the book stores - but wait, I wouldn't do it quite yet.
Milestone 4: 400 copies
  • This enables us to do a litho print run as well as having the book edited professionally (by offering an editor a deal) and also some spending money for promotions (radio, newspapers, magazines). This is the point at which I'd do a litho print run, unless we can't find an editor, in which case I'd wait and sell
Milestone 5: 500 copies
  • definitely enough money to pay that editor. Also 500 copies are halfway to my original 1000 mark.
Milestone 6: 1000 copies
  • Someone quoted me this as the magic number needed to attract the interest of publishers. Who knows, but it's worth a shot, but in any case by that time the book will be generating some money.
Milestone 7: 3000 copies
  • A book is officially a bestseller in SA when it's sold 3000 copies. By then hopefully the international Big Boys will look up and take note. And possibly the local film companies too.

.....milestone of the future: 100 000 copies
  • That would officially make the Solar Wind an international bestseller. I'd have to sell internationally of course to get that right. Clearly there are some milestones missing between!

Where is that list of target marketing groups we wanted to target with presentations? Let's see, there are yachting and sailing clubs, outdoors clubs, pirate fan clubs, teen organizations...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

publicity and professionalism

I got a professional for the cover, and for the print and binding...
It makes sense to hire a professional for the marketing too??

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The 'orse's rear

...must get in gear!

This is enough self-pity for now, thank you. The 12th is moving closer.

  • I also think I should advertize the readings in the Record, but first set the dates with Alkantrant. The Record is a good idea - distribution across all of Pretoria East, and reasonable ad space for small ads (which people do compulsively read). It has to be well-designed.
  • Sharon will be in town for 1 week, I need to find out from her when her book club meets again so I can set up a book signing there.
  • I must ask Riana how much she'd charge for 1) bookmarks and 2) fridge magnet bizcards. (Why not? Those get seen about 10 000 times per week! That's branding and subliminal advertizing!) She needs to design me nice ones.
  • And: Inger! Of course! I have to get to Natalie and give Inger her copy so her dad can hopefully read and love it... possibly even write a little review for me...
Keep the ball rolling, Riana said. Time to shake myself out of my lethargy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

in limbo

ok the fuut is out of me altogether. Waiting around for Saturday 12th when I can finally do a reading at Alkantrant library. Who knows maybe a few sales? A book signing? Still have to organize it. Sharon's on leave she's in Holland currently. When she comes back then we can look at me talking to her book club. Not entirely sure how I should go about it... she'll need to introduce me and build my posture and I'll build her posture right back. Complimenting each other. It's how it works. I ought to reread Patricia Fripp "Make it so you don't have to fake it", after having read Helen Nicholson's "Networking". I need business cards and bookmarks. My bizcard ought to be a bookmark! Remember memorable formats! Are the ones that are the wrong shape! Anyway if they put it to its intended use they'll think of the Solar Wind whenever they read any book! So maybe of all the marketing tools bookmarks are my most important. I ought to tell Riana. I want a certain amount of bookmarks for bizcards. They can even fold double, with magnet... but should they? then they lose their unique "uncomfortable" shape and become just another piece of jetsam in a handbag or wallet! Ni. Will keep original bookmark shape. I wants a hundred. If payable.

And soon! Before I go ahead and read to people!