FROM IDEA TO SELF-PUBLISHED NOVEL ~ STEP BY STEP!

Step One (1) – The Idea

Okay, lots of people have ideas… I have about 50 at any given moment, but that doesn’t mean any of them are worth a dime. They might be, but if you don’t get them down on paper (or computer) then how will you ever know? YOU WON’T! That’s my point. So you have an idea? Great – Go home sit down at a desk, table, couch, bed, or just a comfy corner and put your thoughts on paper. I started with just a few disorganized sentences – they turned into what I am proud to call Awaken, the first book in the Blood Angel series I am writing.

What are you waiting for – go try. You’ll never know if you can until you try. Okay, wait don’t go yet… read the rest of this article first. 🙂

Step Two (2) – The Outline

Not everyone writes an outline before jumping into their novel. Is that smart? I really don’t know one way or the other. I can tell you this – I skip this step. I don’t do an outline. When I write my characters just kinda speak to me and tell me where they want the story to go. They lead it – not me.

Okay, that sounds a little crazy – I don’t mean that I actually hear voices or anything… I just… I follow my gut. That’s what I do, I follow my gut.

That doesn’t mean I don’t keep track of where my story is going. Basically I write an outline (Excel is my friend) as I go. I keep track of family trees and chapter details in an excel spreadsheet as I go. That way if I need to move things around I have a quick glance as what has already happened. I can move full chapters or just sections whenever needed.

Step Three (3) – Writing

Like I said – I skip step two or at least do it with step three. WRITING is the key. Don’t focus on getting everything perfect at first. Just focus on getting your thoughts down on paper. Don’t focus on word count – seriously I think there is entirely too much hype about “word count”. How is a 80K word novel any better than a novel with only 69K words? The answer is that it isn’t any better. Honestly, if the book is just full of fluff it isn’t going to be good no matter how many words it has. So, my point – just focus on writing – get all your thoughts out there and then weed through them in the editing process. Trust me a lot hits the editing room floor in the end.

Step Four (4) – Editing

The all hated EDITING process. I can honestly say I have a love hate relationship with the editor of my first book. I hated the day my manuscript arrived in my email completely red-lined and torn to shreds with “constructive” criticism. It took me about two weeks before I was mentally and emotionally able to read through all of her notes without taking them personally. You know what? THAT IS A GOOD THING! Your book is your baby – you should be emotional about it, especially when someone is pulling it apart one page at a time. However, you also have to be able to get past that emotion – step back and realize that this person has an outside eye and that he/she is trying to help you. It won’t be easy, but in the end the editing process is what helps you get your novel to become the best reflection of your “idea” your “dream” your “creation” that it can be. So, find the best editor you can. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – it can be your husband, your wife, your best friend, even your mom. Just make sure whoever you pick is willing to tell you their true opinion. If they are just going to bullshit you and tell you, “it was great” “I loved it” “I wouldn’t change a thing” then they aren’t the right editor for you. GET SOMEONE ELSE.

Step Five (5) – Rewrites

Yes – rewrites come next. After the editing process you don’t just go back and fix a few small grammatical errors and BOOM you have a book. I wasn’t kidding when I said my manuscript came back from the editor completely red-lined. I will tell you there was literally only 3 or 4 pages that didn’t have notes covering the page. So, editing seriously led to rewrites that changed major story plots within my book. Don’t get scared – if you make it to this step then you have the drive it will take to make it through the rewrites. You’re already fully invested in the project – KEEP GOING!

Step Six (6) – ISBN

I’ve complained about this one already in another blog. When buying your ISBN number for your book keep in mind that you have to get an ISBN number for every format of the book. That means if you are going to have it printed and formated as an e-book then you need two ISBN numbers. In that case – you’ll need to buy the ten pack because its cheaper than just buying two individual ISBN numbers. This is CRAZY – What if all I plan to do is write one book? What do I do with the other ISBN numbers? Its like wasting if I don’t write more… Okay, sure I have two more books planned in the Blood Angel series, and I have a children’s series planned out, and another adult series… okay I’m gonna need more than ten, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs that many. Besides – I don’t need them right now – It’s going to take me years to use them all. Hello, I work full-time, I’m a mom, I’m a wife – I don’t have much time to write.

Step Seven (7) – Format and Cover Design

The cover really does sell the book. So, don’t go cheap here. find someone who designs book covers for a living and pay them to design your book and format the layout. A great book can sit on the book shelf untouched just because the cover isn’t eye catchy enough. In the same token a poorly written book can be gobbled up and sell out just because the sexy guy on the cover draws all the ladies eyes. You know what I mean! Make your cover POP!!!

Step Eight (8) – Self-Publish

Sure, we all want some publisher to hear about us, call our number (who knows how they get it – but they do), and tell us we are the next big thing and they have a million dollar contract for us to sign. What are the chances of that happening? NOT LIKELY. Okay, sure it happens, but for it to happen to someone who hasn’t published anything yet, or proven they have a fan base already – it just isn’t likely. So, stop waiting for that call and DO IT YOURSELF! If you want to be published, if that is one of your life’s dreams – then make it happen. There are literally tuns of self-publishing vehicles online these days. Find one that works for you and just do it. If your writing for the fame and money then you’re really not writing for the right reasons. If you’re writing for the love of your story then you’ll find a way to get yourself published! Good luck.

Step Nine (9) – Marketing and Promotion

Yeah, I got nothing! No, seriously I have no clue how to do the marketing and promotion for my book. I am still on Step 7 – Formating and Cover Design. That doesn’t mean I haven’t already started Step 8 because I have. I am researching all the self-publishing sites to figure out which one is best for me. And, I have even done the basics for Step 9 – you know contacted all my friends and family to give them a heads up about the book coming out. Other than that – I am using my blog, Facebook, and twitter accounts to publicize my soon to be released novel Awaken a Blood Angel novel.

So, do you know how to market and promote a new release e-book – from an unknown author? If you have suggestions please leave a comment and share them. There are lots of great authors out there that just aren’t getting read because they don’t know how to get seen. Please share, not just for me, but for all of them.

Have a creative day 🙂

Publishing…

Why is it so difficult? WHY? Seriously, it should be easy. Write a book, edit, re-write, edit, re-write, edit, re-write, edit, re-write and on and on for months (okay, so it was more like a year and a half). Then you should just be able to publish! That is my thought. I get that you can just format and publish online, but I don’t want to just self publish online. Okay, I do, but I don’t just want to self publish online.

I WANT A BOOK!!! A book to hold in my hand. One that has my photo on the back cover – you know, as proof that I actually spent time, sweat and blood giving all of my creativity to my book. I want to share that with my kids as they get older. Something to give them to show them mommy did something. You know – really did something.

I’m not a big time lawyer with her own law firm (like my sister). I’m not a teacher molding young minds (like my brother-in-law). I don’t work in the medical field (like both of my parents did before retiring). I’m not an amazing, could have gone pro golfer (like my husband). I’m just me – a could have been actress (who left Los Angeles just as my career was ready to blossom) – an artist who hasn’t had time to pick up a paint brush in years – a wife and a mother who would do anything for her family and to tell you the truth my family is my most important accomplishment. But, this book – this book was for me. I wanted this for me – to prove to myself that YES I CAN!

So, WHY IS IT SO HARD?????

* Deep Breath*

I wanted to be published by the end of last week. I had a plan – get the ISBN package. About that – Why do you have to buy them ten at a time? Not every author can commit to writing ten books. I get two at a time. I mean you are required to have different ISBN numbers for print books and electronic books. So, you know most people publish is both formats right? So, two makes sense, but TEN? Really? Come on! I mean, I’ve written two and a half books. Book two is still in the rewrite – edit – rewrite – edit phase, and book three is only half way done. I have a long way to go before I need ISBN numbers 3-10.

The real issue I have with all of this is that once I shell out the $$$ for the TEN ISBN numbers and pay the formatter to design the cover and format the book for both print and ebook… then what? Most self-publishers sell copies to their family and a few of their friends (not even all close friends ever really shell out the $2.99 – $9.99 to support their friends). WOW, come on people – it’s less than $10.00 you spend more at the local fast food place for a hamburger, fries, and a drink. Then after you do buy the book the author only gets like 10 cents for every dollar spent – The chances of a self-publisher ever making back the money they spend on self-publishing is slim to none.

Does that mean I’m not going to self-publish? HELL NO! I have to. Like I said this is something I need to do – for me. I have to prove to myself that I can. It just seems to be taking me more time than I had hoped. GOTTA SAVE THE MONEY. If only I could find a money tree.

Okay, that was my little rant – Sorry – I just needed to vent!

Have a great day!

Almost Published…

It’s been a while since I blogged about the book I’m writing, and I’m sorry for that. This whole blog was supposed to focus on the process of writing my book and what I’ve found is that its hard to sit down and type about typing a book. I’d rather just type the book. You know what I mean?

Anyway, I wanted to make it public – book one is done. All I have to do now is figure out if I need an ISBN number to publish an e-book, if I can use the same ISBN number for print and e-book formats and then I need to get the cover designed and the book formated into an e-book and for print. I already know who is going to do the formating and cover design. I plan to get that started today and should have the final project done in the next week or two.

Wish me luck!

WRITE… Write… write…

Okay… let me start by saying, I miss my husband! He recently started classes toward his masters program, and he attends classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening. I know what you’re thinking, “Tuesday and Thursday? Is that all?” and you’re right. It’s only two days a week, not bad at all. Yet, still… I miss him when he isn’t home with me and the kids. Although above even that I am incredibly proud of him! Going back for his masters isn’t going to be an easy road, by any stretch of the imagination, and the fact that he is doing it with a full-time job, two kids, and a sometimes needy wife, I commend him!

Now, as I sit here and sulk… I can do one of two things. I can literally eat the pan of brownies in the kitchen and watch television until he gets home – not a bad idea, or I can pull out my computer and get to work! I am choosing the second option. I am always struggling to find time to write, and now with him going back to school I have been given two evenings a week, after the kids are in bed of course, to do just that. So, take advantage of it I will.

My goal is to see significant progress by the end of this coming weekend… which is to say that I will finally get through chapter eleven!

I think that my creativity has maybe taken a brief vacation, and left me in somewhat of a stump or creative block. I shall hammer through it this week though, and come out victorious! lol… That actually sounded confident. This just may work. If not, I might just cry… I figure if I don’t get to work soon, then when I receive my editor’s notes next weekend I really will cry. I am expecting them to be detailed and extensive, because that is what everyone had told me editors like to do. I have mentally prepared, but who knows how much that will really help. Although, I do look forward to the suggestions. I am excited to get book one in the Blood Angel series ready for the publisher, and an editor is just one of the many steps so… BRING IT ON!!!

Behind Locked Doors – Lying in wait!

They found her there, lying in the large dark oak bed, black silk sheets flowing around her, her golden curls wet with passionate sweat, not a piece of clothing covering an inch of her milky smooth skin. She looked to be dead, no pulse, cold flesh, and not a breath to escape her open lips.

There was talk of bite marks, drained blood, tenth girl this week… The conversation went on. Little did they know this beauty was like no other. For she was merely lying in wait, under a spell, in a seductive trance, waiting for the right moment to…

For she gains her powers from those she feeds on, and giving them her blood gives her more pleasure than pain you see. Once she has been bitten she’s ready to fight, and at the right moment she leaps from the bed and in seconds is upon them. Four men down with just a turn of their necks on the last one she’ll feed for his bloods is clearly the most intoxicating. She could smell it the second he stepped into the room.

Warm and fresh she takes it all in, drops his lifeless body to the ground and turns to leave. As she walks out the door she grabs her long silk robe, and wrapping it around her body… it clings to her curves as she disappears into the night.

(c) Copyright Soden, Nina 2011

Two weeks and counting…

I have a two-week deadline looming overhead. By Saturday August 6th, I am to have book 2 to my editor, and although it is already written I have not yet gone back through it to do a final edit on my own, and the people I have reading it have not yet gotten back to me! AHHHHHH

I’m not dragging me feet, really I’m not. It’s just that with two kids, a husband, a full-time job, a part-time job, and a house to clean there really isn’t a whole lot of time on my plate to write. I try to squeeze in time whenever I can… kids weekend nap time (right now!!!), after the kids go to bed at night (when nothing good is on tv…), etc. But, still not a lot of time to devote just to my writing.

I am making myself a promise, here and now! I will pick up book two this weekend, and get through chapters one through ten! Okay, maybe that is a little ambitious considering when I do final edits I tend to rewrite large portions, insert completely new chapters, and/or delete large portions… Okay, I’m still going to aim for chapters one through ten, but I am not going to be too hard on myself if its more like one through five. LOL

Okay, today is almost over, with the babysitter soon to arrive, so… I better be off to work. Wish me luck and think of me often.

Dug In…

So… Following the advice of a good friend, I dug deeper! I actually spent the last eight days reading, reviewing, and editing my manuscript. My goal wasn’t to add fluff just to make it longer, but instead to add only content that would benefit and add to the story line. I think I succeeded, but only time will tell.

After completing the first version it went through multiple levels of editing; the first being myself reading and editing it many MANY times, the second being my close (in proximity) friends, the third being my distant (again proximity) relatives, and then finally my good friend out in California who finally gave me advise I could use. That advise was what lead me to ‘Dig Deeper’. Now that the digging is done, I have finally sent my manuscript off to my editor.

Now I sit, dug in, and wait… and wait… and wait!

I would love to say I’m not nervous, and party of me isn’t, but the other part… well it is. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that a professional editor is a MUST, and I truly believe that I have picked the right one for my project. I’m excited and scared, but I can take criticism as long as it’s constructive, as I’m sure it will be. Therefore I am eagerly awaiting her edits, thoughts, and recommendations, as I push forward and ‘digging deeper’ into manuscript number two!

Now I’m off to the trenches to write…

Hello world!

Welcome to ninasoden.wordpress.com where you can follow me through my journey of writing, editing, and cross your fingers… hopefully publishing my first young adult novel series ‘Blood Angel’.

If you have found me while I am just setting up the site, please be patient. I won’t start blogging until the site has been fully created. However, when it’s done you will want to come back often to hear about my trials and tribulations.

Special Bonus: Every now and then you will be able to take a look behind locked doors and into my mind, when I publish a mini-story in what I call a ‘Behind Locked Doors’ post.