Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Final Steps to epublishing

So, we're now into May, how's THE TRAZ coming along?  Well, I thought I had it all wrapped up when I discovered I'd forgotten to get some pithy "blurbs" to promote the story and decorate the cover.

cover by http://designs.sapphiredreams.org/
"These blurbs should be written by authors who have a bigger name than yours," Cheryl K Tardif, (http://www.cherylktardif.com/) my Book Marketing Coach, advised.   Since Schuh only has 5 letters, I figured it would be an easy task to find authors with bigger names.

That wasn't what Cheryl meant, though.  What I needed to do was ask successful authors, perhaps ones with several published books, perhaps ones whose books had sat for a few weeks on the Best Seller's List, perhaps authors who had won awards.  That was a bit intimidating--kind of like asking a brain surgeon to take a quick look at the mole on your toe. 

But authors are generally very supportive of each other's endeavours and it wasn't long before I was sending out my first official ARC (Advance Reading Copy) to these illustrious authors to peruse and then blurb about.  It was tense. 

Today I got my first blurbs back and they are wonderful and I'm all happy again.

Late last week I got feedback from my young beta readers.  One was concerned about the amount of swearing in the book. 

"You ought to address this concern," Cheryl said.  "If a youngster is concerned about the coarse langauge, you can bet adults will be.  It could cut into your sales."

To me, writing a book about drug dealers and biker gangs without using any cuss words, seemed an impossible task.  After throwing a few ceramic pots against the crystal table top, I buckled down and did a search for the 'f' word.  When I reached page 7 and had already topped 25 occurances, I decided my young reader had a valid point.  Although bikers may talk that way, I didn't have to repeat their conversations word for word.  After all, bikers also go to the bathroom and perhaps pick their noses and I'd mentioned none of that.

My daughter, who was beta reading for me as well, said she didn't notice the language but suggested it wouldn't change the story or the characters if I  deleted the swear words or at least toned down the language.  After all, she said, the bikers' brutality was readily apparent in their beady eyes, their abusive relationships, and their evil motives.  If they said "hell" after torturing a young lad instead of "f", it wouldn't make them appear any nicer.

It didn't take long, thanks to "find and replace", to overcome that last minute hurdle.  In fact, I rather grew fond of the 'bloody hell' and "Sheeeet!" replacement phrases.  I emailed back my young beta reader to thank her for her feedback and advise that I had taken her concerns to heart and cleaned up the language (well, most of it.)

I also added the issue of swearing to THE TRAZ discussion and teaching guide--asking my readers to consider why people swear (to intimidate, to cover up fear, to belong, etc.) and to contemplate their reactions to incidents of swearing that might occur in their own lives.

Having got the "f-ing" under control, I went back to my inbox and opened an email notice from Crime Writers of Canada--a group of which I'm a member--reminding me that May is National Crime Writing Month. Alison Bruce was offering member authors the chance to post a blog on the NCWM site about our literary bad boys and demonic dames.  I put my name in to blog about THE TRAZ bikers and was accepted.  Sometime this month, you will be introduced to Pepper, Zed, Gator, Stack, and Shrug--the vilest of  evil criminals. http://nationalcrimewritingmonth.blogspot.com/

This week is also the week that Kelly Komm http://www.kellykomm.com/ begins working on my trailer--a short video flick to promote THE TRAZ.  I will need to forward her the blurbs I receive.

Also, once I receive all blurbs I will find out where to put them in the ms and that should be the last thing I have to do before shipping THE TRAZ out to get formated for Amazon and Smashwords.

At least I think that is what will happen.  It seems there's an unending stream of unexpected chores that keeps rippling past me.  But hey, I'm up for it.  I'm learning.  Got my rubber boots and life vest on.

For those who are terrified to face these hassles, there is always Cheryl Tardif's publishing company, ImajinBooks http://www.imajinbooks.com/ which is accepting submissions.   If Cheryl likes your novel, she'll take care of these issues for you in exchange for a percentage of royalties from the sale of your books.

I thought about using ImaginBooks but this publisher wasn't accepting submissions when I first decided to epublish.  As well, I subsequently decided that since my goal is to use THE TRAZ to attract the interest of top-agents/big-publishers, it would be best if I self-publish.  That way, I keep all publishing rights and if say, DoubleDay, wants to buy both the print and epublishing rights to THE TRAZ, those rights will be mine to sell.

Many things to consider when self-publishing.  Many things to do.  Then...just when I think I'm almost done, my lovely coach casually mentions something about "...when you bring THE TRAZ out in print...."

Do you think she has another project in mind for me?

Don't forget to visit my website http://www.eileenschuh.com/did-you-know for some interesting trivia contributed by my author friends.  Each time you leave a comment below a contest trivia posting, you'll be entered to win one of many books.  I'll be posting some of my own trivia about bikers and gangs and THE TRAZ in the coming weeks--you won't want to miss it!

Photo by Dave Brosha Photography

Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer http://www.eileenschuh.com/


Cheryl Tardif said...

LOL! Eileen, your posts are always so candid, refreshing and entertaining. Thank you so much for the plugs, and I'm glad I could help you take care of your f'ing issue.


Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling author & publisher

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks for visiting, Cheryl. Cheryl knows just how thin that line is between my humourous words and my reality. There may not have been a real crystal table, but don't count out the ceramic pots!

Lynne said...

I know it's my hang-up, but commenting on a writer's blog makes me nervous about grammar. So quickly without re-reading - your blogs are always so entertaining, can't wait to read your books, congratulations and I'm so proud of you.

Jenny Milchman said...

Congrats on coming to this point in the journey, Eileen! I wish you much success--clean language or not :)

Eileen Schuh: said...

Ha, ha, Lynne! You're so silly. Thanks for visiting and overcoming your phobia just for little old me. I've already received 2 emails pointing out MY typos on this page, so you ought not to worry. Your comments are always loved.

Thanks for visiting, Jenny. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement.