Category Archives: Help Publishing Your Book

Summer is halfway over


When I got up this morning I said out loud that I hope to get some writing done. My grandmother heard what I said replied, the summer is almost over. I had to stop and think for a few minutes, she’s right, it’s the last day of June. I have at least a month and a half before I start another semester of college. I have two more semesters left until I received my Associates degree, then start working on my Bachelor’s.

I wanted to get some writing done this summer, but it turned out that didn’t happen…so far anyway. I have been kept busy working with my publisher on the final approval of my book, working with the illustrator on the final draft of the illustrations. I had sent my book back twice due to a misspelled word and to also correct some illustrations. I then began working with my marketing manager on ordering my book for my personal use, and not to mention promotional items such as posters, book marks, and business cards. Fixing up my personal business cards took me at least an hour. I was picky on how they should look. I went through several styles, then went through several fonts and coloring of the font, then should I add a picture, should I add my phone number. It was hard to make up my mind, but I finally came up with something that I truly liked.

Then I needed to prepare for upcoming events events (please check my upcoming events and book signings), do I have a table, who’s going to sit with me and help me with my events, what should I bring, all these questions needed answers and quick. I also began to promote my work, emailing everyone in my contacts about my book coming out. I became a member of the Bryant Chamber of Commerce, which is a huge way of promoting my work. I talked to the ladies in the office for at least a half hour on setting up a booth for local events, getting published, other authors in town, and adding myself to their website.

You can say that I’m finding out myself that there’s a lot of work involved to being an author. Not only do you take the time to sit down and write a manuscript then turn it in to a publisher, you also have to find the time to go out and promote your work. That is the most important part. Though I’m only promoting myself locally and through social media, my marketing manager helps promote my work through bookstores and news media. All and all it’s a busy process.

I also have been kept busy with my daughter who has three therapist that see her almost every day. It also turns out that my daughter may have Autism, she has many signs of Autism and has been working with a couple of therapist who specialize in that area. I’m truly blessed to work with them as well, as I learn how to react to my daughter’s meltdowns and also how to work with her on other things. Just working with my daughter daily keeps me busy in itself that I find it hard to take time to do anything else. I don’t put her in daycare during the summer because I want to spend time with her. There’s always so much to do during the summer.

This coming Thursday is the 4th of July and I haven’t even looked to see what festivities there’s going to be here in town. Usually I already know and have made plans, but this year it seems to have sprung up on me quickly. What are your plans for Independence Day?

Sharing the cover of my children’s book


As some of you may know, I have written a children’s book and sent it to a publisher last June. It was accepted to be published. I have been sharing on my blog here, the steps I have gone through in getting published, working with an illustrator, working with my editor, and also what I have heard from my publisher. It has been an exciting time and quite the learning experience.

Friday, I had checked my mail and found that they had sent me a ‘final proof’ of my book. Though the illustrator had emailed me, telling me that he sent me one. It took a whole day of waiting for it to get to me. 🙂

The computer could not do the illustrations justice. I thumb through the pages and I could see more detail in the drawings than I could on the computer. I LOVE it! It’s brightly colorful…if that is a thing. My daughter was just as excited to see it too, having read it at least four times….though she’s three, she mostly told the story as how she sees it, rather than reading the words off of the page (she cannot read…yet).

I shared the cover of my little book with everyone on my author page on facebook. Receiving nothing but positive comments and a lot of excited sharing from my close family members and friends.

I’m still waiting to receive a release date as I keep sending my book back for corrections. But without further ado, I shall share with you the cover art of my first published book. And if you happen to have a facebook, please go check out my author page. 🙂 Wishing everyone a blessed weekend!

If you click on the picture, it’ll take you to my author page on Facebook.

Image

Creating My Characters


Some authors say that they add a little bit of themselves into their work, I tend to agree with that as I myself do the same. A few of my characters have a little bit of myself as well as their own qualities. In a way I think this helps build that character because you the author know that specific quality as it is a part of yourself. One of my characters is an avid runner. Before I injured my back I was an avid runner. I use this specific quality not only because I know it well, but it also becomes an important part of who she becomes later on in the series (yes, I have at least 3 books that will be in this story-line).

Another character in my novel is a die-hard fan of classic movies. I took this quality from myself. I love classic movies, Cary Grant, John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart. I love Gene Kelly more than I do Fred Astaire. I have a huge collection of Humphrey Bogart movies and a huge crush too. I also have Bela Legosi’s Dracula and several other Dracula movies; I love old horror films. I could leave the TV on TCM all day and be completely satisfied, but our network doesn’t pick it up.

Not all of my characters have all or part of my qualities though. Most of my characters are their own uniqueness. I enjoy creating each one of them. At first I had to write a list to tell me who is who and who does what, but after a while I get to know them really well.

A little history on the town called Prattsville


I thought that I would share a little bit of historical knowledge about the town that I’m using for my novel. I spent an entire day at the Grant Count Museum in Sheridan, Arkansas, going through the museum and thumbing through many books looking for specific information. My parents still live in Prattsville, so I tend to ask my dad if he remembers this or if he can go visit that for me. Most of the time I make the road trip (45 minute drive) and do a scenic tour myself.

The town that I’m using for my novel is called Pratt. It is a real town, though it was called Pratt’s Ferry named after John Pratt. It had a very small population in the 1840’s. Later in 1857 a post office was built, officially naming the town Prattsville; the post office is still in operation today. Pratt’s Ferry was still used to cross the Saline River until a bridge was built in 1913. Prattsville today has a population of 282. It’s located on Highway 270 and 291.

Image

Prattsville school was built in 1930, closed in 1994, and torn down in 2002. My sisters and I were students at Prattsville until it closed. The students were split between the two closest towns, Poyen and Sheridan; two towns that I also use in my novel. I re-built the school for my novel as two of the characters are school age.

Another place that I use is the restaurant that is still located in Prattsville called The Whippet. It was named after the school mascot. In my novel I changed the name of the restaurant just to be safe. But if you ever decide to visit Prattsville, be sure to stop at The Whippet and ask for their bowl of mixed beans, they’re the best! The Whippet also has a lot of other great items on the menu and the staff is wonderful and really friendly. They have a guest book next to the register for everyone to sign. I’ve noticed people from all over the world have visited there.

Image

A few other places that I use are the city hall and a Sheriff’s station. Prattsville has a city hall, but does not have a Sheriff’s station. After doing some research from the surrounding towns, I’ve come to realize that small country towns can have Sheriff sub-stations and that’s what I’m using in my novel. The main Sheriff’s station is in Sheridan (actual fact, which I also added in my novel).

Part of what I’m writing about


Characters:

The novel I’m writing is a Fantasy Fiction, with supernatural characters such as Faeries, Weres, and Shifters. I’m sorry I don’t write about vampires, not my forte, though I have read some books about them. I am a huge fan of the supernatural and read a lot of fantasy fiction. It seems like almost everyone has a way of describing their characters in their own uniqueness, while some writer’s supernatural characters have the same qualities, looks, styles, and what have you as other writers. I myself like to come up with my own characters styles and make them different and unique.

Another thing I’m working into my novel is that these supernatural beings come from somewhere. I’m writing about portals, Faerie magic, and Faerie secret societies. I also talk about the difference between Weres and Shifters. I actually did a little research on these supernatural beings. I was curious where they came from, what they are, what the real stories say about them. It was more of a curiosity than me wanting to use this information as a reference.

Place:

The story starts out in a small town in Arkansas. Why did I pick that particular place and state? I’m familiar with it. I lived there for several years, so I’m more comfortable using it as a reference. To make it a little easier and mostly accurate, I went to the local museum and did my research on the town and the surrounding local cities; my dad went with me. I’m a history nut, so this was actually fun for me. Not to mention the curator was more than helpful. He walked me around the museum, pointing out certain things that may interest me, then he found several books for me to look at talking about the town I was writing about. My dad and I poured over these books, making copies of the more important pages. It was interesting reading about all the things that the town used to have, such as a tire store, to which my dad and I found the building still standing, but has been noticeably vacant for years.

Accuracy:

Call me picky, but I dislike reading a book and seeing something that is inaccurate, well, only if it’s major and not on purpose. There are a lot of books that have inaccuracies that are done on purpose, you can spot those instantly and see that they were done for a reason…those don’t bother me. I cannot think of any books right off hand, but I do remember a movie I saw that called sailors, soldiers. That irked me so much. I’m a sailor, not a soldier! I actually screamed that at the TV too. Sailors and soldiers are two different things and two different military branches.

There’s quite a bit in my novel that I didn’t know about, so I asked people I knew that would. For instance, I don’t hunt, so I wouldn’t know what type of gun would be used to shoot a deer. I have a few relatives that hunt, so I asked them. Since one of my characters is a Sheriff and there are a few murders in my book, I wanted to make sure that the tools that I use are up to date and also how I have my characters do things in a crime scene. I have a few relatives that were cops, and a sister in laws dad who is a cop, so I asked them to help me out.

I’m back at it again…


Now the rush of Christmas is over, oh yeah and the power is back on, I’m back to work on my manuscript…my young adult novel that I’ve been working on (see blog post https://jennnadams.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/the-next-big-thing/ ).

I was curious about my word count…again…and I’m a little short of 5K words from being 40K total. Well, almost 5K, I just rounded up…not sure if that’s a good idea in the writer’s world. However, I already knew it wasn’t finished before I did the word count. I’ve already completed a first draft and found out that I have to add some details here and there, cut a part off the ending, and lengthen the last chapter. I got in a rush and put everything in the last chapter; I just left out a lot of details…bad habit of mine that I’m trying hard to break. I’m getting close to breaking it though.

The part about being a good story teller is, to show people what you see, instead of telling your story like it is. Imagine a blind person going to an action movie without any way of knowing what’s going on; all they can hear is what’s being said and the sound effects from the big screen. If it were me, I would be asking every two seconds what the heck is happening, what was that, what’s going on?! Now I just have to take this into effect myself.

Tomorrow I’ll post where my information for my novel came from.

The Next Big Thing


Jae at http://litandscribbles.wordpress.com told me about writing The Next Big Thing blog chain post. It is to answer a few questions about the book that I am currently working on. By doing this, it gives some sort of insight on what my book is about…hopefully. So, if you have a question that isn’t listed here, please feel free to ask it and I will try to the best of my ability to answer it for you.

Thank you Jae for the help and for the idea!!

What is the working title of your book?

Into the Realm of the Supernatural: Chaos This is the first book in a series.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

I had a dream about it, then started writing the ideas down in a notebook and piecing them together. I think a lot of authors book ideas come from dreams, look at Stephen King.

As soon as I figured out how I wanted my story to begin, I start writing it. I use a large dry erase board to write down key information to help me write. Later I will add chapters that need attention on the dry erase board.

Whenever I am away from the computer I am always scribbling notes in my notebook. When I get home, I’ll type up my notes and piece the story together, adding to it as I go along.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Usually authors don’t have a say in who plays whom. I would pick Channing Tatum as the role for the Sheriff James Bailey. I think he would play a good uncle role for Anya and Noelle. As for Noelle, I would pick, Jennifer Lawrence. You might remember her from the lead role as Katniss from the Hunger Games. Noelle, is an independent, athletic young woman. She’s an avid runner and a great role model for her younger sister Anya. For Anya, I would pick, Scout-Taylor Compton. Anya tries to be a good teenager, but sometimes trouble finds her. She has a love for classic movies and even sneaks out late at night to watch a good black and white film at the cinema.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

(I honestly couldn’t think of a one sentence synopsis, so I came up with two short paragraphs)

Not much goes on in the little farming town of Pratt, Arkansas.  At least that’s what most of the 282 people who live here think.  Noelle Bailey, a local high school graduate, is one of those people who believe that nothing out of the ordinary or abnormal exists, especially in Pratt.  However, she soon learns that she is part of the abnormal.

James, Noelle’s uncle and Pratt’s sheriff, is trying to solve a chain of murders as a secret from his past begins to unravel.  His two nieces, Noelle and Anya, quickly notice changes in themselves as they get caught up in the events that occur, surrounding his investigation.  One thing leads to another as a doorway to their future opens, pulling them inside.  To complicate matters, the FBI arrive and request James’ to help in the unsolved mysteries.  He soon discovers that he has a more important unsolved mystery requiring specifically his attention most of all.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I will definitely use an agency. Self-publishing will be the last resort.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Almost three years. I’ll be starting on my second draft very soon.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I am not sure as most books are usually all vampires, or all werewolves, or all faeries, or a huge mix of all three. I don’t have any vampires in my book. I have a mix of mostly weres and shifters and a few faeries.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My Grandmother inspired me to keep working on this novel. I would put it down as I had to deal with real life and then she would ask if I was done with my book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I actually did my homework on particular things for the book; for example the sheriff’s job, Sheriff’s sub stations, forensics, types of hunting rifles, etc. I also used real towns, just renamed the businesses; I added a few buildings and rebuilt some old buildings that were once there, like the school. I kept most of the actual street names; though I added a few.

I find it important for the reader to see that the author knows what they’re writing about, instead of just adding words to a page.

Deadlines


One of the many things you’ll learn when being an author is deadlines. This is something I’m still becoming accustomed to, but honestly something I should be used to since I’m a college student. My Senior Editor recently sent me his edited copy of my children’s book to look at and make and corrections, if any. I was then to make a promotional to put on the back cover and then write a short bio to put on the back, inside sleeve. I had one week to do this and email it back to him.

The thing about deadlines is, if you don’t meet them, it messes everything up. I just emailed my corrections I just made back to him with four days to spare. If I had lingered passed the deadline date, I would be pushed back a month. I thought to myself, ‘I wouldn’t like that. I would like to see everything continue to roll as it is and have my book come out right no schedule.’

The next step is illustrations. I’ve already sent in pictures of my daughter as she’s going to be the model for my children’s book. I have a few weeks yet before they start to work on it, but I’m still excited in the whole process.

Getting published


It took me about a week to write the story for a children’s book. I had a friend proofread it for errors. I searched the internet and spent a lot of time browsing the shelves at the book stores. I would thumb through Writer’s Digest magazines, Self Help books, publishing books, how to publish books, whatever I could find to help me learn the process to get to my next step.

The next thing I needed to know was if I need to illustrate the pictures in my children’s book myself or will the publisher’s do that for me? This was also another thing I spent many exhaustive hours trying to find the answer to. Finally I found my Eureka moment. I didn’t need to draw the pictures myself, or hire anyone; the publisher’s had an illustrator that does that kind of work.

The next step, finding a publisher; this was another reason why I spent time in the book stores. I would flip the book to the inside cover to find the publisher’s name. I would then write the information down in my notebook. I would look them up online and see what all they had to offer, what Better Business Bureau said about them, then also, how many of their books did I see on the shelves?

After finding a publishing company of the genre I’m writing, I’ll pick one of the publisher’s and write down their names and email addresses. I also make sure the publisher is also interested in the genre that I’m writing about. Next would be to work on a query letter.

  • A query letter talks about your book and a little bit about yourself all on one page. Make sure your query letter is in Times New Roman, size 12 and submit it to the publisher. You don’t necessarily have to send to one publisher, you can send to more than one at a time.
  • When they accept your query letter and wish to read your manuscript, make sure it is in Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced, also your name, address, phone number, email address in the top left corner, then email it to that publisher. Sometimes they may request the first ten pages or the first chapter or the first three chapters. Each publisher is different.

I was lucky, I made a phone call and left a message on the publisher’s machine, she was on vacation at the time. The next day she called me and I told her that I was curious what all they had to offer, that I had a manuscript finished and was looking for a publisher. She told me a little about their company that wasn’t listed on their website. She told me some pricing information, also not listed on their website. She asked me how many words are in my story, I told her almost 700 words (children’s book requirements 24-40 pgs). Then she asked me if I would be willing to email her my manuscript so she could read it. I told her I would. The next morning, the phone rang really early in the morning; she had called to tell me she loved my story and wanted to publish it if I was willing to accept them (her company). I said sure!

Something about her company is that they don’t just accept everyone that sends query letters or manuscripts to them. So I was really lucky to be accepted.

She had sent an email and then the UPS had sent me a contract. My grandma and I went over the contract and I signed it. The next thing I had to do was break into my savings. It cost a nice chunk of change to get a book published, so be prepared. She had emailed me when they received my contract and then told me that I will be assigned an adviser. I then got an email from my adviser telling me what all I needed to do next.

She continues to email me every other week with tidbits of useful info about publishing and writing. Then she sends me the email to tell me when my book will begin production; which is in September. She told me that it’ll take 180 days to go through production. She also has sent me emails telling me what all to expect during that time and what I should do during my last month of production. I am really pleased with this company that I chose. How helpful they are. They are even most helpful in answering any questions that I have and I had many. I told the publisher that I would have many books after this one, as they are a series, she told me that she would offer me a discount, but if my books are popular I would get a much bigger discount.

I chose to go with this company because of the offers they give and the royalties are much greater than most of the companies out there. They also have a good standing record with BBB. I’ve also seen quite a lot of their books on shelves at bookstores and on amazon and not to mention, I met one of their authors during a book signing.

It was a dream of mine to finally become a published author. I have finished another book, a Young Adult novel and am in the editing process. I’m planning on finding a literary agent, hopefully this summer. I will let you know how the process of that goes as I did here with the publisher. I imagine it will be the same.

Novel in the works


I spent some time at the Grant County Museum Thursday, researching information and history on the town that I chose to use for my book. I’m a History nut, it’s what I’m going to school for, History.

I had fun Thursday, researching and I learned a lot about the surrounding towns as well. Most of the stuff in this town I used, but I changed names on purpose. My plans were to write a Foreword, something at the beginning, or a ‘Dear Reader’ at the end to explain the changes. I’ll also write a little history of the town as well, which is very interesting.

After two and a half years, I have finished writing the first draft of my novel. All I need to do now is go back and correct all of the mistakes. Hopefully I’ll think of something else to add to it somewhere as I had cut around two thousand words making my word count to almost 32K. Only several thousand more words to add to it in order to meet the minimum word count required for a young adult novel.

In a few weeks, I’ll be going back to school, full time. Which means having to either push my manuscript back to focus on school, or work on my manuscript whenever I can. When summer break arrives, I’ll start working on my manuscript full-time.