Tag Archives: self-publishing

I did it!

In case you somehow missed hearing the news elsewhere — in which case, I’m not being nearly obnoxious enough — my ebook is now available on Amazon. Go buy it! In fact, buy several copies and give them as gifts! And write a review!! And tell all your friends!!!

Sorry. Got a bit carried away.

It really is exciting, seeing my book over there looking all official. I sort of feel like Pinocchio, becoming a “real boy” after years of wistful dreaming. And telling lies making stuff up.

Here’s the link at Amazon:

How Did This Happen? Lunch with Imaginary Friends and other (mostly) True Stories

I hope it will also be available over at Barnes & Noble . . . someday. Maybe even one day soon. I’m currently in limbo there, waiting for approval. I can’t decide whether this means they have higher standards than Amazon or simply a more convoluted process. Or maybe they’ve already closed up shop for the holiday break and my book won’t get processed until after the New Year.

For those of you curious about the process, Amazon had it online in about two hours. Not that I’m impatient or anything.

UPDATE: My book is now also available for Nook at B&N: go HERE to buy it!

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This makes me SO happy!

I’ve always sort of thought it was a bit silly when writers got their cover art and gushed all over the place about it.

I was mistaken.

It’s an awesome feeling, well worth gushing about!

I LOVE this cover! It’s weird and quirky and irreverent and a perfect fit for my sense of humour. It is exactly what I wanted for this book. Jeroen ten Berge is amazing to work with and I’d recommend him to anyone.

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Filed under creativity, self-publishing

Spinning straw into… more straw

For those of you following along at home, here is an update on my progress with the self-pub ebook. First of all, thanks to a little help from my friends, I have a title:

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
Lunch with Imaginary Friends and Other (mostly) True Stories

I love it. The cover designer I hired is hard at work on a cover and I should have something to show you all in about a week. But I can tell you right now, this guy “gets” my sense of humour and I’m very excited about the concept we discussed and can’t wait to see the final product.

Which brings us to that dreaded necessity:  The Blurb.

A blurb (or product description) is not an easy thing. I’ve written a couple for friends and I tell you, it is damn near impossible to be persuasively concise about a 100,000-word story. But to summarize a book like this that doesn’t even have a plot, let alone a protagonist and antagonist? What is there to say? How do you convince people to even consider buying it?

I looked at descriptions of similar books for ideas. But I just can’t see how it would be helpful (or, you know, legal) for me to describe my book as:  “A delightful collection of essays from NYT Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline…”

And it’s not like I’m going to have reviews from Publishers Weekly or Library Journal to help me out. Or cover quotes from famous authors saying how much they loved it. Or… anything… else.

I figure all I’ve got going for me is my writing. And if that’s not enough, I’m doomed no matter what. So I sucked it up and wrote a blurb and coerced asked my daughter and five imaginary reader friends to give me feedback. And you know what? Every Single One of them said something different. All very helpful, mind you, but no overlap in opinion AT ALL.

This was daunting as hell.

So after much thought and even more brutal bloody cutting of words, this is what I’ve got:

This is the space where I’m supposed to tell you why you should buy this book. Honestly? I have no idea.

This book is a compilation of the best of several short essays I wrote over the course of the past five years. Mostly, they’re funny. A few are a bit more introspective. But ninety percent of this content is available over on my blog. Of course, it’s scattered among more than 200 other posts and you’d spend an awful lot of time sorting the wheat from the chaff over there.

So there’s one reason — I’ve already saved you at least five hours and a massive headache by gathering the best of them into a collection. Plus, there’s that ten percent no one has ever seen before. Which might be for the best, but still.

What’s that? You want another reason? Um… well… oh, I know! Pictures! This book has pictures. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Some of them hand-drawn by Yours Truly.

Oh, you want a compelling reason? Of course you do. Hmmm. Well, you get to meet the characters who populate my real life:  my son (DS) and my daughter (DD) and Quincy the Wonder Dog (QtWD) and the cat (the cat). Also, The Dog’s Favourite Person (to whom I am no longer married) (it’s okay, we’re friends now) and all of my awesome Imaginary Internet Friends (who are not as imaginary as my kids seem to think).

If that’s not compelling enough, maybe you’ll be convinced by early reaction from others, which has been… emphatic, if mixed:

“Woohoo! Hooray! About damn time you published something. We get free copies, right?” -My Imaginary Friends

“That’s lovely, dear. Is this going to be a real book? I’ve never read an ebook.” -My Mom

“Yay, mom! That is awesome. Wait. You are going to mention me in the acknowledgements, aren’t you?” – My Daughter

“Mom. I thought we agreed that you’re not allowed to talk about your blog in public.” -My Son

I should mention that there is mild profanity in this book, just as there is in my life. If that kind of thing offends you, please consider buying something else to read. Really.

Then again, you might decide a wee bit of profanity is to be expected when you’re telling (mostly) true stories. Like the one about the time my air conditioner died in the middle of an epic heat wave. And the time I woke up to find blood all over the kitchen floor. And there was the time I called the police when one of my Imaginary Friends went missing. Plus, OMG, BEARS!

But I guess you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself. Go click on that “sample” button over there and I’ll just sit here with my fingers crossed that you might end up wanting to read the entire thing. And maybe even want to share it with your imaginary friends. Or, you know, your mom.

So… tell me, would that make you want to buy this book? Or am I doomed.

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And now for something completely different

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-publishing. That’s hardly surprising. Everyone even slightly involved with publishing has been thinking about self-publishing. Some have been thinking more pleasant thoughts than others, but we all are thinking about it.

Where I keep getting bogged down is when I hear people talk about how hard it is. Because the next person goes on and on about how easy it is. There doesn’t seem to be a reliable consensus here. And when you’re a writer who is considering all her options, it’s extremely frustrating to have conflicting information. It’s impossible to decide what you want — and can we please stipulate that every writer wants slightly different things? — when you have no idea what’s involved with getting what you want.

This all came to a head last weekend when I finally made time to read the lengthy conversations between Jenny Crusie and Barbara Samuel that were posted on Argh Ink, waaaay back in early May. What? I’ve been busy.

Jenny Crusie is one of the smartest people I know and one point she made in the second post was how excited she is about the prospect of self-publishing non-traditional projects, things a publisher wouldn’t want. Not novels, other stuff. And then she said,

“But all of a sudden there’s a place for whatever weirdness I want to do.”

And I thought, Hmmm. I wish I could say I spent a great deal of time thinking about this, but sometimes when an idea clicks it just seems right and you don’t really need to agonize over it.

So I have decided to conduct an experiment. I’ve got a good deal of weirdness right here on this blog. Not Crusie-quality weirdness, but still. There are more than 200 posts written over a period of five years. The majority of them are unremarkable. Some of them are about writing and not appropriate for what I have in mind. Some of them are plain awful. But several of them are really not that bad. Several of them were well-received and evoked a favourable response from readers.

Obviously, a 30,000-word ebook of short essays already published on the internet by a completely unknown writer is not the sort of thing any publisher would be interested in acquiring. Unless, you know, it turns out to be a big hit. Then maybe.

But I don’t see any reason not to publish it myself. If it’s a huge flop and doesn’t sell more than 50 copies to friends and relatives, oh well. There will be one more thing out there with my name on it to make a small dent in obscurity. Who knows, maybe I’ll connect with a few new readers who like my writing and want more. But at least I’ll know exactly how easy or difficult this process is. Not for someone else, but for me.

I’ll choose the content and do the formatting and find a cover artist and write the blurb/product description and set the price and do the marketing myself. I hope I’ll have a wee bit of help with promotion, but I’m not counting on it. I’m even trying to figure out how to include pictures, because a couple posts really need the visuals and I’d hate to omit them, and everything I’ve read says you can include them. I’m just not sure how, exactly. Yet.

I’ve pretty much decided which posts to use, but I’m in the process of tracking down my former editor (a man I respect and for whom I wrote dozens of op/ed type newspaper columns, years ago) to solicit his editorial advice. It feels dishonest to edit or re-write the posts, so I won’t do that. Plus, I think they’re pretty clean. But there are other editorial things to consider.

I’ve studied the guidelines over at Amazon and have so far read most of Mark Coker’s excellent book Smashwords Style Guide. And I’ve watched the tutorials for Scrivener — I’ll tell you right now, they make this process sound ridiculously easy. I’m skeptically hopeful.

I have an idea for a title but it needs a subtitle (really, long titles are common for books like this) and I might need help with that. I want to call it: HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? (which was the title of my first blog post, when I accidentally ended up with a blog). For a subtitle, I thought maybe: Talking to Imaginary Friends about kids and pets and BEARS! Any feedback would be very much welcomed. Suggestions, anyone?

I have a very rough idea of what I want for a cover, but we all know I’m not an artist. And now that I know what a glyph is, I want one. Bad. So I’ll research that.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the past week or so. I’m surprised by how excited I am about this project. Also extremely nervous, but mostly excited.

Does this have implications for what I might do with my first* novel once I finish it? Well, yes, of course it does. How could it not? But a book of essays is not a novel. I’m looking at this as a learning experience. A necessary part of being a smart businessperson and gathering the tools I need to make informed decisions about my career. What I do with that knowledge will depend on what I learn. The entire process might turn out to be a complete pain in the ass, never to be repeated. Or it might not. But at least then I’ll know.

*Okay, I should clarify. Technically, this is not my first novel. It’s maybe the fourth. But it IS the first one to make it to the completed first draft stage and the first one that I think is good enough to be published.

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