Nixing Covers, Shedding Words, Font Confusion . . . as Ripple spreads . . .

Hey there (peeking up from my [can’t say the brand because it annoys some readers] keyboard, coffee mug in hand, looking a little wild-eyed. It’s been a crazy-busy month, and I’ve loved almost every minute of it, with that confusing sort of loathing, glowing love-fear-hate that all new business owners feel at the outset of their respective professional ventures.

Hmmm, that sounds both pompous and intimidating, but it’s also accurate. To do it right, to turn out a well-heeled, smooth final product, a self-published writer must take the reigns, learn the ins and outs of all aspects of publishing, or as I keep muttering under my breath in times of stress, “We’re going ALL-IN, baby!!!”

I keep trying to write an organized summary of what I’ve been doing, but that’s crazy, because it’s been a whirlwind, a cyclonic-blending of associated pieces of the crashing-wave-puzzle that is self-publishing. So here are a few pieces of it . . .

I have a friend who is a graphic designer and many other things extraordinary, and we agreed that the cover should look Salvador Dali-esque. Many private messages and phone calls later, and after many purchases of stock photo licenses, we ended up with the following, and we declared it beautiful. So did many-fold Facebook friends and followers. But then I got a message from a dear friend, and with some trepidation, this writer-blogger friend let me know that the traditional publishing house that put out Wicked used the same model with a different background.412645_439962252736043_1898737517_o

“What?” chuckled my graphic designer, and so did I. “You mean a super-rich publishing house bought the exact same photo I did? No wonder traditional publishing houses are dying!”

Even though we weren’t violating any intellectual property laws, we agreed, without a split second of doubt, to nix the cover. The new one will be based on an actual friend rather than a stock photo. We’re not taking any chances this time. And it should be ready in the next day or so.

I’ve spent hours and hours talking, mostly on my main social media platform, Facebook, to friends and acquaintances. I devised as part of my marketing plan a legion of advance reviewers who will read mailed or e-mailed copies of a not-yet final version of Ripple. After helping me print pre-paid postage mailing labels from on pieces of white paper and taping them to bubble envelopes, my husband, chuckling, and a little tired of packing books, wondered how big “El’s Army” was going to get.

I like the term he coined. I love the grassroots feel of how I’m marketing this first novel of mine. So far, the feedback has been wonderful, and I’m hoping and praying this translates to buzz and increased sales. Even if it doesn’t . . . I’m giving it my all and enjoying every minute of it.

What I haven’t enjoyed so much, wait, okay, what I deplored and resorted to hair pulling, teeth-gnashing and much cussing over because of has been CreateSpace. Great company—don’t get me wrong. But for awhile there, I spoke of it between gritted teeth. I would upload a file (versions 7.1 through 8.3 and on and on) and then would wait for their file review process. Again and again, it came back with margin and font issues. I went through at least twenty uploads before I finally just ordered a hard copy. Once it arrived, I got out a ruler, measured the margins, and then applied the measurements to my latest working copy of my manuscript. And I chose a number of different fonts, from Cambria to Garamond to Calibri . . . and each font change messed up my italicized passages until I figured out how to use a template for italics.

Right. It’s boring to write about and your eyes are probably blurring up . . . unless you’re also thinking about self-publishing, and if so, please feel free to ask me what the hell I’m talking about. The way I see it is that if my meanderings into the sticky-icky world of CreateSpace can save you some trouble, then please let me help you!

So that’s about the size of it. I could write another 700 words about El’s Army and CreatePurgatoria, but my graphic designer is on the other line and there’s a note from Amazon’s Online Store that I must attend to . . . something about how pre-orders can begin in a couple of days, in advance of the actual 1/21 release of Ripple. And that’s worth a Snoopy Happy Dance or two or three.

53 Comments on “Nixing Covers, Shedding Words, Font Confusion . . . as Ripple spreads . . .

  1. Dear El … I can just imagine how excited you are with your book about to be released. I’m desperately trying to get it read and reviewed before that date but Christmas activity has left me so short of time. I’m about half-way through. My grand-daughter returns to me next week when her mom goes back to work, cutting my days even shorter for reading, let alone writing the review and getting my own book done! I’ve been grabbing the mornings to add a few more lines to my own book before I get out of bed or it’ll never get finished! Anyway, just want to give you the thumbs up: great and easy read so far. Characters emerging clearly. Plot line riveting. Look forward to reaching for it each night before bed. Just wish I could stay awake longer and get it finished faster LOL. Kudos and hugs. Bring on the pre-orders folks. You’ll love it <3

    • Dear Viga: thank you thank you for your kind words! And my gosh, I completely understand the Christmas craziness! I’m grateful for all of your help! And good on you for the work you’re doing on your own book!! xoxo el

  2. Congratulations for taking this step, El – and isn’t that too funny that the big guys used that stock photo?!! Something’s gotta shift in this wacky world of publishing – and you are among the pioneers making that shift happen. Kudos, really. I don’t know how you do it!
    Best of love and wishes and hopes and dreams for you! May 2013 bring all good things!

    • Thank you so much Sue! My gosh, it is funny! And I do think that we’re in the middle of a wacky shift–and I’d rather be a pioneer, a wave-rider, than get knocked down by the waves! I’m having a really good time with all of this, and I’m so hoping other friends and writers come join me! Much love and blessings back at you!!

  3. You are an inspiration to us all my friend. Your talent, creativity, heart of courage shines so beautifully. Congratulations! Happy New Year and best wishes to you and your family.

  4. Congratulations, El. It’s inspiring. Too bad about the cover though — I can’t wait to see the new one. And to read the book.

    • Aww thank you Elyse!! And I’m sure the new cover is going to look smashing–it’s karma, you know? I spend so much time talking about intellectual property and how to use it properly–I was destined to face this sort of issue. I’m so relieved we found out about it now as opposed to after the actual release!

  5. So mine should be here any day now? 😉 I think I may be coming out of my holiday coma. I cannot wait! I also have missed talking to you terribly!~ Xoxoxo

  6. Oh boy I just love watching this all unfold. And I’m honored to be one of your “advance” readers. You are where I was a year ago, but with an army 10-fold what I had. And that’s with an agent, mind you. Next time (and you’ve read and red-lined my “next time”) will be even more exciting than the first, now that I’m a wise-ol’ veteran. HA!

  7. I am just so proud of you sis. I also know that all these growing pains are going to make you a tremendous teacher one day…not that you already aren’t. You inspire and teach me daily and I LOVE you!!!! xo Ella

    • LOL, Red–pray do tell!! I sense that you bear a treasure trove of valuable information . . . in fact, my editor loved your post on editing and the different types of it. Now I’m trying to figure out pre-ordering on Amazon–apparently you can’t arrange for that unless you have an Amazon store. Hope you’re having a good night!!

      • Your next trip through CS, get with me and I will send you a cheat sheet which will get your things approved without the wait time. Mine turn around in 3 hours.

        Amazon and the stores are a monster. If you want to do pre-sales, do them here on your blog with PayPal. Far simpler…until you start ordering the books 😛

        Counting down and finishing touches on my new website. I an opening a publishing house on New Year’s Day. I am heading into 2013 with a new business with 11 books on the roster. It is like giving birth to a grandchild 😉

        • Yep, mine are rolling through in about 5-6 hours now–so we must be on the express team. Seriously? You are? You are my hero, not just because you’re friends with Val and are brilliant, but I’ve considered starting a self-publishing empire . . . am trying to build a team of editors and pioneer marketing magnates. I’m so excited to read about your endeavors!

          Ahhh the PayPal idea is brilliant–thank you. That’s much neater than messing with Amazon, especially since I already have one of those set up.

          I’m intrigued! In the meantime, congratulations to you and to your grand baby!

      • So cool! I can’t believe how close to your release date we are!!!! I finished your story. I am planning to work on a review this weekend. It was a harrowing tale of the aftermath of abuse, but what an amazing support system Helen and Phoebe found. 🙂

  8. That’s AWESOME, El! Congratulations!!! I have a feeling Ripple is going to make a huge splash (sorry… I’m not much of a writer… obviously… which is why folks with your gifts impress me all-the-more)!!!

  9. I love that I’m a member of El’s army! And if you do move forward in that publishing empire, count me in as an editing soldier. 🙂
    PS – this template/font issue you speak of in CreateSpace – I didn’t have this trouble. Are you uploading as a PDF and still having all these issues? UG. How frustrating!

    • Oh awesome!! I’d love to have a fellow soldier like you with me!
      In my space, now when I go over to CreateSpace, it takes me just a few minutes to get whatever I need accomplished. I finally figured out exactly how to do the margins . . . still haven’t figured *everything* out, but that’s when I throw my hands up and beg my editor to help me fix it. Yep, I use a PDF, and my margins have to be .75, except .9/.12 for the gutter/outside . . . and .5 I think for the header/footer area. My gosh, it’s easy now but there was a huge learning curve!!

  10. Can’t wait to receive my copy of Ripple! I have a pre-order sitting in my Amazon shopping cart. But if you manage to get the PAYPAL button set up on your site, I would prefer to purchase the book directly from you. It would be much more personal and meaningful!