Today’s guest blogger is Ann Lee Miller. Ann earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix. Because Ann’s description of Indie publishing is too long for this blog, but all of it is important, I’m going to split it into two segments. Today, she’ll cover the work from the beginning through publication. the next segment will cover the business and marketing end of the process. So, here is Ann.
Jim asked me to lay out my indie publishing journey for those of you who are considering taking this road. To keep the myriad tasks straight, I recommend forming a reverse timeline. Choose the date your book will launch, list when each task must be completed by to meet that deadline, then construct a timeline which tells you what jobs need to be accomplished each day. If my husband hadn’t taken me through this process, my book launch would have languished in chaos.
1. I pray for God’s enabling each day before I begin my day. Then, I pray through each obstacle I encounter as I write.
- Robin Lee Hatcher inspired me to recruit friends who might be willing to pray for my writing and publishing long before I published.
- I update my prayer team with specific requests and keep them in the loop of my progress.
The cover is the single most important advertising element you have. Hiring a graphic artist to do your cover can cost $50-$1,000. Ask your friends for recommendations. I would be less concerned about whether they have done book covers in the past and more concerned about whether I liked their portfolio.
I used Robin Roberts at RedRedDesign.com and was very happy with the result. I sent Robin a synopsis, head shot of my heroine I had clipped from a magazine, photographs of the town where the book is set, detailed descriptions of each character, and a file of book covers I liked.
He did three rough sketches for me to choose from, or he was willing to start over if nothing caught me. Next came a detailed pencil sketch. I made suggestions. He painted an oil painting (which I get to keep!), and e-mailed me a photo of the cover with text. I told him I wanted more girly looking text. He wasn’t satisfied with the color of the ocean and fiddled with the painting. The next day he sent me a new shot of the cover. I approved the new cover and noted that the ocean really did look better. He had to let the oils dry for several days before the painting could be scanned and a final cover jpg e-mailed to me.
Edit: I felt like one of the most important things I could do to insure the success of my book was to hire a freelance editor. Editing prices range from $800 to $3,000. Every manuscript can benefit from line editing (grammar, punctuation, wording), and most need substantive (plotting, characterization, big picture issues) editing to some degree. Editors I have used are C.S. Lakin (LiveWriteThrive.com) and Christina Berry Tarabochia (ChristinaBerry.com). There are many other excellent freelance editors who can be found through AmericanChristianFictionWriters.com or by asking your writer friends for recommendations.
- Fix: I tend to make every change my critique partners and editors suggest, so I tried to weigh each comment carefully to determine whether it would improve the quality of my story.
- Proofread: After implementing the changes, I had my manuscript proofread. I didn’t want to risk typos in the final copy. Proofreading starts at $400.
- Add Additional Content:
- Endorsements—I asked a couple of writer friends if they would endorse my book because I wanted to make my book as much like a traditionally published book as possible.
- Statement that this is a work of fiction. (The events and characters described herein are imaginary, etc.)
- Copyright—copyright is established by inserting “Copyright © 2012 Author’s Name”
- Copyright statement—“This book remains the copyrighted property of the owner and may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical, without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.”
- Note from the Author, if you have one. Example from Kicking Eternity: “For you turtle enthusiasts—I am aware that fires are outlawed on the beach during turtle nesting season. I hope you will cut me some slack for burning imaginary fires in the middle of nesting season. I assure you, no turtles were harmed in the course of writing this book.”
- Author info—To learn more about [Author’s Name]’s books and what is coming next from this talented author, visit [Author’s website], Twitter [name], or Facebook Author Page at [Author’s page address].
- Dedication Page.
- Title Page.
- Acknowledgements—Not all authors write acknowledgements, but I read other authors’ acknowledgements with rapt attention, so I was thrilled to write my own. I placed them at the end of the book out of personal preference, but they often appear at the beginning.
- The following are usually placed at the end of the book. Author photo, brief bio, and other titles from this author. Because my books will be coming out within the next year, I added the release dates and short description of each book.
- Format: Smashwords.com gives detailed instructions on how to format a manuscript for e-publishing. It took me (actually, it was my fantastic husband) approximately four hours of work. For $100-$200, an expert can be hired to do the job.
- Upload: My husband uploaded my book to Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Each site walked him through the process. There are many more sites where you may upload your book for sale.
The next installment will cover Business and Marketing, both very important to the serious writer.
Anyone who leaves a reply with an e-mail address will receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. If you don’t want to leave an e-mail address, you may request your book at AnnLeeMiller.com.
Ann Lee Miller’s first book is Kicking Eternity. You can purchase it at:
Back Cover Copy:
Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.
The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
JRC: Sound good to me. You can be sure I’ll leave her a comment and then enjoy reading Kicking Eternity.