Archive | June, 2011

Off to RWA!

26 Jun

I’m off to RWA as my other-self… spending time with The Agent, meeting some editors, having a grand old time. I’ll also see if I can sneak down to the Courtny Milan Self-Publishing breakfast.

Her short Unlocked (which I read and loved) made it to Amazon’s Romance Bestsellers #1 slot. I’m sure there’s tons she can teach us!

I’ll report back when I return!

Have a great week everyone (shameless begging plug: check out It’s In His Kiss while I’m gone and let me know what you think! HERE.

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IT’S LIVE!!!!

25 Jun

So, this is an announcement AND a discussion post.

The announcement: It’s in His Kiss (finally) went live on Amazon today!

You can check it out HERE.

And here (again, cause I love it so darn much) is the cover:

And now the discussion part.

I began the posting process Tuesday. Nothing took more than 24 hours. I have seen some discussion on the Kindle Boards about things taking longer than that…. people reporting in that their 24 hour wait periods were sometimes as much as 4 days.

It was pointed out that weekends don’t count. I’m assuming nights don’t either since I never woke up to a finished segment.

I’ll admit, this seemed weird to me. Amazon feels like a 24/7 company. So the fact that getting products live is not a 24/7 deal seemed a bit counter-productive. On the flip-side, my $.99 short probably isn’t very high on Amazon’s list of things to-do.

So, here was the process as I experienced.

You may have seen Thursday’s post about my first snag. I hadn’t listed myself as a “contributor” as an author. To be honest, I thought having listed myself as the author was all I needed to do. It didn’t even blip my radar to add myself as a contributor. I was just too excited to slooooow down and consider that. But to be honest, I’m not sure I would have this first time either.

So, make sure you do this.

I hit “Save & Publish” and wait. It moved (or should have moved) to “In Review”

The first round took about 5 hours. Not bad. I went back in and it was listed again as “Draft” – I panicked. Did I hit “Save & Publish” or not????

I looked at the description of “Draft” in “Help” and it told me that’s where my manuscript lived until I hit “Save & Publish”…so I did.

Only to get an email from Amazon SIX hours later that I hadn’t added myself as a contributor.

So, I waited to get back to Draft again (the next day), added myself and hit “S&P” again…and waited another day.

So, we’re at the end of the day Thursday at this point.

Friday, I see the magic word….finally: LIVE. I’M LIVE! I’M LIVE!

I promptly sent my thank you emails to everyone who helped and tweeted like an insane woman… to all 12 of my followers. LOL

I had a giveaway for when I hit 25 followers (which surprisingly happened in like 15 mins… the power of the RT). I joked a lot about my standing at #24,842 and my desire to be #24,841 so my Amazon ranking at least  ENDED in 1.

I had a ball…and then I went to bed. I was shocked what happened overnight. I’m now  #8,160 – That makes me insanely curious how these numbers work. That’s a HUGE jump.

I’ve also made the Romance Anthology Bestsellers list. Which is exciting but, let’s admit, a little weird. In my mind, an anthology is a collection of shorts, not a short. But, I’m #63 on a bestsellers list, and I’m sure that’s not going to hurt me in anyway.

One last thing. I’d listed the people who did my cover as contributors (they’re also listed inside the short) but then when I was looking around, I noticed most people don’t. I’m wondering if this makes me look like an unproffessional newbie. I did go back in and (worrying about whether or not this would put me back another 24 hours) removed them.

It didn’t, but the book is “In Review” again while also being live on Amazon.

So, what I learned this week:

  1. Make sure you list you as a contributor
  2. Slow down. Amazon emails letting you know what’s going on come 3 to 7 days slower than what’s actually happening ON Amazon
  3. Give yourself PLENTY of time if you have a go-live date announced. You may need the entire week before
  4. Have fun

That’s all. I’m off to RWA Nationals next week and hoping to sit-in on Courtney Milan’s self-publishing breakfast. I’ll bring back notes!

Am I Published Yet? ….. How ’bout Now?

23 Jun

So, the cover is done. The formating was borrowed. The edits are in. Everything is ready to go.

Can I get a big WOOT?

Unfortunately, when I did all this Tuesday, I made a few newbie mistakes.

First, my paragraphs would not indent. A friend went in and fixed those. I need to learn how to do it for next time (next time! Exciting words!)

Secondly, I put myself through “Draft” three times. Yes. Three.

The first time was normal.

The second time, I couldn’t find anything wrong and assumed I hadn’t hit the right button. So I hit it…again.

Six hours later the email from Amazon came telling me that I hadn’t listed an author.

Really? 6 hours? So, I was back in draft for no reason.

Well, there was a reason, but I hadn’t known it early enough.

Annnnd another newbie mistake. I don’t know if I didn’t read closely enough or if it’s not stated. I’d listed myself as the author elsewhere, so I was a bit surprised I needed to do it under “contributors” also. There I’d only listed Razzle Dazzle designs as the cover people (Have I mentioned I love my cover? Check it out one post down!)

So, I listed myself yesterday and now…. I’m in Draft again.

Here’s hoping that goes through soon!

Surviving RWA 11

21 Jun

Next week RWA is having it’s yearly national conference in NYC. I’m excited for a heck of a lot of reasons (travel, friends, bright lights/big city, stalking local celbrities… ignore that last one)

But, as I get ready for all this excitement, there’s a couple lists I need to glance over to get ready and not forget anything.

List One: The Packing List (odds and ends)
Everyone knows they have to pack clothes and shoes, but what about things you might forget?

  • Band-aids
  • Safety Pins
  • double-sided Tap
  • Ibprofen
  • Breakfast Bars/Snack
  • Gum/Mints
  • Trash bag for dirty clothes
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Sunglasses
Not a bad start. But, have you considered what you’ll carry everyday?

Personally, I don’t use the conference tote. My first year at RWA someone grabbed mine by accident and it took a few hours to get my bag (not to mention wallet and cellphone) back.

If you’re going to carry the tote, it doesn’t hurt to bring something visible to attach to it… Something big enough so you can spot it easily. A great suggestion is to tie a small scarf around one handle. Or a bright luggage tag or ribbon.

But, what about what you put in your tote? This list looks long, but in truth, most of these things fit in little pockets if you carry your own bag. If not, bring a small makeup bag to throw a bunch of stuff in so it’s not floating around the bottom of your bag.

List Two: Your Tote. Trust me, with a little makeup bag or ziploc, this fits in easily.

  •  A sweater or wrap — it gets really cold or hot in there. Layers are your friend.
  •  A bottle of water – something you can refill easily
  • Chap stick – it’s dry
  •  Hand lotion – yeah, it’s dry
  • Eye drops if you get dry eyes…. did I mention it gets dry in there?
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Pens you don’t mind giving away as someone nearby will always ask if anyone has a pen
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Snack
  • Gum or Mints
  • Travel size deodorant – um, yeah. seriously.
  • Your pitch cards
  • Business cards
  • Your best friends cards – yes, i hand out more cards of other people than of my own
  • RWA workshop guide thingy 🙂

So, you’re there and things are all ready to go…but now what?

My first year going to nationals, I knew ONE person. Yes. One. I vaguely knew a couple of well-known writers from my home chapter, but of course you’re not going to be like, “Hello Famous Author. I don’t know anyone else, so can I tag along with you all week?”

Ok, you might. But I highly recommend not doing that.

There will be tons of people there alone. You’d be surprised. Last year I was early to meet a friend. One of the couch areas had three woman, all of them sitting alone. I sat down in the middle and introduced myself and then introduced them to one another. They were a ball. I got to have a meal with them later in the week… where I found out they were already sharing baby pictures, exchanging emails, and planning on trading pages when they got home.

BTW, I totally met one of my lifer bffs at a RWA conference.

Don’t be afraid. If someone else is alone, they’ll just be happy someone  is talking to them. If you don’t hit it off, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “It was great meeting you. I’ll keep an eye at for you this week.” And then it will be great to bump into someone you now know.

Also, I know you don’t want to miss anything… but get some sleep… even if it’s during a workshop 😉

Take advantage of the meals. They’re “free” (in a I-already-paid-for-them-anyway way) and they’re a great place to plop down with more people to get to know.

Don’t take it personally if the people on both sides of you are turned to talk to someone else. Remember, you could meet your next best friend and only get to see her once a year… at your NEXT nationals 😉

Do pre-plot out the workshops that are a must. Make sure you mark which ones aren’t being recorded. Most of them are, so if you miss something, you can always catch up later. And sometimes, getting to network is better than sitting in a class. Sometimes.

Do ENJOY YOURSELF – Yes, this is business. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in front of your boss (which is 100% of the time since you’re your boss) – but, it’s also a place to kickback and enjoy yourself while getting to know other writers. Don’t let yourself get so uptight that it flies by in a fit of anxiety.

Do trade cards… and write on the back who the person was. I write something to make me remember, maybe a descriptor and why we traded cards. Was it just a friendly chat, was it something one of us was going to follow-up on?

Do stay in touch! People always think other people don’t want to hear from them… but you do, right? So reach out and say hi. 99% of the time the other person will appreciate it.

Have a wonderful time…and if this is your first nationals, maybe I’ll be at that table you come sit at!

The Cover!

21 Jun

Ready for a peek at the cover for my It’s In His Kiss short coming out this week?

I’m absolutely in love with it. The couple is adorable and the workmanship is just so great. Plus, I’ve always loved blue. I know. But seriously, more stupid things have made us love a cover.

So, without further ado, here it is!

And, of course, what cover post would be complete without a blurb! Okay, the blurb-in-progress:

Jenna’s been letting life pass her by as she works on her career. But, when she needs to do some research of this kissing kind, things may get a little more heated than she expected.

Research has never been so fun.

WARNING: This 10k short has no vampires, shape shifter or scorching sex, but it might make you snort your diet Coke out your nose.

 So, what do you think? Totally adorable, right? (If not, please don’t break the happiness bubble I’m floating in today.)

A Conversation: Publishing & Music

18 Jun

I have a friend who is a musician. We met wayyyyy back and sometimes run into one another- which is obviously pretty common in Boston. He’s been in some successful indie bands.

Since I started writing a few years back (which he had been heavily in the, it’s about time you got your ass in gear contingency) we’ve had several conversations of quick coffees about the two industries we’ve found ourselves in.

His take always surprised me. It was refreshing because it wasn’t what I expected.

I expected the Woe Is Me, Music Is So Hard. You’ll Never Understand What It’s Like To Be A Struggling Artist line.

That’s not what I got. So, to protect the innocent (I’m sure he was innocent at some point in his life, maybe around 3-years-old) I’m keeping his name out of this, but sharing a bit about our conversation.

Music Guy and I have often discussed that there’s a lot the two industries have in common:

  • You have to be driven to do it…even if you’re a total slacker in the rest of your life
  • It’s a lot of hard work
  • You have to keep a focus on staying creative
  • People don’t like to admit it, but you need to have a bit of luck
  • You must keep evolving
  • The “gatekeepers” aren’t always right
  • Trends die
  • Trends are reborn
  • Trends suck…oh, wait… ignore that one… um, yeah.

But, as the years have brought on  epublishing in a larger capacity, our conversations have been even more interesting. As he’s learned from me (and out of his own curiosity) about the industry, he’s been just as surprised as the rest of us to watch publishing not keep up with technology.

He’s admitted that we’ve already seen this in the music world, but unlike others, he hasn’t jumped on the, “You need to learn from music” bandwagon since he believes the two industries are as much fundamentally the same as they are different.

So, there’s the conversation’s backstory.

One place I’ve always been jealous of musicians is the ability to stand up in front of an audience…whether it’s on a street corner, in a bar or even at a high school dance… and get to put their work out there to non-industry people. To the people who they want to get their music to.

There’s something intrinsically valuable in that — beyond an occasional paycheck. You learn at that moment what works, what doesn’t. You learn to shift and move your craft on the spot. You’re in front of the audience building your name, your product, your craft and your brand.

Writers don’t have anything like that. Writer’s are pushed to build all this without ever having the chance to stand in front of an audience and get that feedback. Writer’s have to face the gatekeepers again and again — with only the feedback of “not at this time” or “while I loved your voice and story, I don’t have a place on my list for something like this” or “loved the book, but this GENRE is a tough sell right now.”

Instead, musicians get to bring it out and public over and over and over…with wonderful opportunities to improve if they’re smart enough to learn from their experiences and audiences…even if that audience is just a group of drunk college kids in Harvard Square on a hot summer night.

This last time I ran into him, I said something I’d been mulling, but hadn’t really discussed with anyone.

“Hey, so I’m thinking that writer’s have that stage now — Self Publishing.”

I hear you all getting not-to-happy with me. I mean, saying that self-publishing is a training ground is a dangerous thing to say.

But wait, before you shoot off those angry emails.

If you compare it to the training grounds of music, there’s a lot of respect there. Playing live is huge, scary, and a great achievement. Learning from it is the training part.

Plus, how many writers do you know that talk old-school about their first book and refer to it as a training? So, first books anywhere can be a training ground… The only difference (and the similarity with music) is this is done without the big gatekeepers… this is done as an all around labor of love from the ground up.

He pushed on some questions, gave on others and brought up some similarities I hadn’t thought through yet, but when it was done, he was left encouraging me to get my butt in gear and learn as much from this experience as I could.

Yes, I have other projects burning elsewhere, but right now, I’m having a creative ball learning everything I can learn in this part of the publishing playground.

Second Big Step: Editing

15 Jun

I hate reading reviews of SP stories where people keep talking about how great the story was… and how bad the editing was.

It’s a bit scary.

Unfortunately, at this point (and for Short #1) I can’t afford an editor at this point. It just was not an option. But, with all my besties being writers and English teachers, it seemed like a great time to put them to work!

So, Short…with it’s new title IT’S IN HIS KISS… is back and ready to go. I had some great suggestions of little tweaks to make it smoother and pull the ending forward in its continuity a bit. Also, a bunch of line edit catches that my one line editing person did.

I’ll be honest, I wish I had time to have ONE more person look it over. I feel like after making those changes it would be fabu to get another sweep done, but I’m at the end of my resources, so here we are.

And now, the adventure continues. I have a couple days to finish my revisions on the other project for the Agent and then get this puppy formatted, the cover connected, the promo items order and ready to go!

I’m still 100% enjoying the process.

That was one of the big reasons I wanted to do this. Use the little story I had so much fun with to get to be creative in a new way. To just get to step away from the outside-influenced-revisions that I’d been caught in for a while and do something that involved a completely different way of thinking.

Here’s hoping it turns out ok!

So, stick around. The next thing you know I’ll be sharing that new cover!