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The New Site is LIVE!

22 May

The new site is live! I won’t promise there’s no more tweaking to happen. There will be once I have the new books and the Big News up in 1.5 weeks. And I need to figure some more fun stuff out (like that darn Spotify).

It’s my first site that is more than just a blog, so a whole new thing to learn. Which means, I’d love your advice.

This site will be coming down at the end of the week, so make sure if you want to keep talking about publishing, you follow us over to www.caitiequinn.com to check it out.

I’ll still be talking about self-publishing and how it’s going. My year-end wrap-up will still happen next month. I’ll still be talking about writing and my books… BUT, I’ll also be sharing more about some other stuff. You know I have an agent I work with under another name…. well, stay tuned because I’ll be talking more about that also ūüôā

~~Caitie~~

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What It Looks Like From The Inside

27 Mar

There’s a weird thing about writing — or more, about being an author. Very few people know what your writing life really looks like.

Sure, your close friends know your process and cycle, but everyone else… probably not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of writers talk daily on twitter or their blogs about where they are and how things are going, etc.

It doesn’t work for most writers. Outside of people who can do it with wit (think: Victoria Dahl) it’s too easy to come off whiny. Let’s be honest, writing can be hard. It can wear you down.¬†If you’re smart (and not clever about how to share) you probably look like you’re doing stuff the for only two months before a book comes out.

I know, right? The rest of the time you’re just living in dreamland. Um, suuuuure.

But, writers know that’s not true. I thought I’d give you a tiny look into my last few week so¬†you can see what else I’ve done besides “write words down.”

This week I’ve:

  • Did book edits from¬†my CP’s notes
  • Reviewed FOUR of my full manuscripts for Super Secret Project (SSP)(tons of fun rereading & making notes)
  • Discussed new projects with potential genre specific editors
  • Tried to get the next 2 Theories in Love books packaged for my editor
  • Researched genre specific covers
  • Researched about 15 cover artists
  • Basically beg, pleaded, and bribed the cover artist I wanted for the SSP
  • Realized I need a tax/business structure
  • Researched LLCs¬†and Sole Proprietorship (and am still confused)
  • Made note to call the SBA about LLCs¬†and Sole Proprietorship
  • Did content read for someone else
  • Started researching ISBNs for paper and e-books
  • Made my To Do list for this week

Oh yeah, and went to the Day Job and pretended I have a life.

I’ve always been honest with you guys that I write under another name also and that it typically takes most of my writing time, but all this business stuff? That’s just one week ramping up to a release that isn’t coming till mid-JUNE!

I look at that, and the writer heart in me dies a little. I know that once I have a team in place for this new genre, the next books will go more smoothly to set p. But, really, we all know that saying, “A writer writes.” Well, if you go indie, it’s “A writer writes….and everything else, too.”

And, being committed to creating the best product for readers AND running the business side as well, means doing things right. And doing things right sometimes means saying, “Stop. Let’s build the foundation so going forward we have a structure to get things out, better, faster, stronger… wait. That’s Kanye. Not a fan, but okay. We’ll go with it.

So, for everyone who was curious what goes on behind the curtain – and why sometimes the curtain is closed for long periods of time – there’s a little glimpse.

Now, I’m off to the Day Job so I can go home and finish edits tonight… that’s the whole point, right?

~~Caitie~~

Covers… Or, what were they thinking?

8 Jul

Let’s be honest, the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is tossed around for a reason.

And who doesn’t? We all do. You pick a book up because of is cover. Sometimes you put it down because of the cover. Even a great blurb often can’t get a reader past a really bad cover.

Now, as an indie writer, I think that holds true even more.

How often has a NY published friend cried over her cover to you (or maybe you’ve been the one in tears)… and there was nothing either of you could do? Maybe it’s ugly or doesn’t represent the book, or looks like a different genre, or the model is tall and blond when the heroine is a short, voluptuous, red-head… So many ways a cover can go wrong.

And so, when I see bad (ugly, cheap looking, hard to read, doesn’t match genre, etc) covers of indie books I want to scream, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?????

YOU had 100% of the decision-making power over what cover goes on your book. YOU. When I see a bad cover, I wonder if the writer skimped everywhere: writing, storytelling, editing…where else am I going to cringe.

Before I picked out the cover for KISS, I looked at a whole bunch of Rom Com covers. Let me show you a few that I loved and seemed to sum up the Rom Com genre done well to me:

If you’ve been on my Goodreads page, you’ll notice some of my 5-star books aren’t represented here. It’s not that those books don’t have great covers, but the ones I loved seemed to have some common themes:

  • Couples
  • No faces
  • Everyone is dressed

No, really. Everyone is dressed. One of the things I’ve noticed is that with NYC covers, Rom Coms typically equal everyone is dressed. In Indie, not so much. I found that I’d passed over a whole heck of a lot of Rom Coms because I’d assumed they were erotica (or really steamy) based on the 1/2 naked couple about to get it on on the cover.

That may happen in your books, but the reader of Rom Coms has been programmed by NYC covers… the ones that typically don’t have 1/2 naked people on them. Don’t ignore the programming.

Here are some I loved that didn’t it my theme, but they definitely reinforced the “feel” I wanted:

And, let’s add Courtney Milan’s new Indie Pub:

Obviously, this isn’t my genre, but she’s done everything right. It feels like a Courtney Milan book. It looks like what her readers have come to expect from her covers. It’s plain old gorgeous. It has that little key to go with the title, great add. The fonts are easy to read and balanced.

So, after looking at great examples, figuring out what I liked, deciding what best represented Rom Coms to me,  I went in search of a cover.

And couldn’t find one.

It was disheartening, but I put off publishing KISS because I couldn’t find a cover that I was willing to have represent the story.

I was going to make one (yeah, this has¬†DISASTER written allllll over it) – I got friends to say they’d be models. I got the Irish pub down the street to let me take pictures, I was ready to go. And then, as if by divine intervention, a cover popped onto my radar. (points left)

I’m amazingly happy with it and the adds that Razzle Dazzle did. I’m pleased that it has the right feel, it represents the story, it looks professional, and it says (to me), “Yes. The writer put actually thought and work into this publication.”

And so, if you’re looking to Indie Pub, I challenge you — Do NOT publish something quick and fast with a cover that doesn’t say to the reader exactly what you want it to. They will look past it, misinterpret it or just plain make fun of it (thank goodness for that make-my-own-cover-disaster being diverted) – Just like your writing, put your best foot forward.

Start with research. End with a great cover.

~C~

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!