After 30 years as a writer, I decided to self-publish! Of course, all self-publishing sites make it seem so easy, and give the impression you’ll be a rich and famous author with all the cards in your deck in no time at all. I am laughing only because this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Oh sure, you can go to one of those companies that does it ALL for you, spend a few thousand and, Voila! you have your book, but I am poor and on disability. I had NO money at all to spend on publishing. In my quest to be a self-published novelist, I made a LOT of mistakes (including thinking it would cost nothing to get my book published). Hopefully, you won’t make the same boo boos.
- Thinking I “knew it all.” No one knows it all. But, having spent so many years in traditional publishing, I was sure self-publishing would be a breeze and I would know what I was doing. Wrong! In the beginning, I didn’t even know where to go, much less what to do once I got there. Who to choose to publish your masterpiece is up to you. I eventually was led to Amazon Createspace (because I was accustomed to paperback publishing). And that led me to Kindle Direct.
- Formatting for self-publishing. In traditional publishing, it’s all the same; you format every manuscript you write in the same manner. All agents and editors expect your manuscript formatted in this way, whether you are printing or sending a digital copy. All of a sudden I found myself having to take my manuscripts and turn them into formatted books. This is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Back in the day when many of my manuscripts were written (but not published), it was necessary to place two spaces after every period, every sentence needed to be double spaced, using a 12 pt font of a common nature (like Times New Roman). I used Createspace’s template creator, removed the formatting, then had to copy, paste and reformat all over again. And of course I wanted it to look pretty, and professional, so I grabbed some traditionally published books by big names and learned. Again, much harder than one would imagine. E-books…fo’ge’abou’it! I could not for the longest time figure out how I was supposed to format an e-book, so I scraped up what cash I could and paid to have it done. I am finally learning, and now doing it myself, but still going about learning.
- Covers. This is an area where I was told over and over and over, through articles, other writers, designers and courses, get a professional! The thing is, I was creating e-book covers for authors since e-books first came out. Thus, I have always created my own covers. Yet, still I made mistakes in this area. Fortunately, I belong to a Facebook group full of professional designers. Though some were rather cruel on some of my first mistakes, most were quite helpful, and I paid attention. Another learning curve! Now, I create covers for indie authors on tight budgets, because I know what it’s like to be poor.
- Editors. Editors are extremely expensive! I did this myself as well, and when people read my books, they are amazed at the lack of grammatical mistakes. Don’t be… editing is an ability with which I was born! I was always an A+ student in English. As for editing for content, beta readers love to get free advanced copies of books from authors they read. They give me feedback, catch possible plot holes and keep me on track. My feedback, reviews and track records tell me that I am pretty darn good at doing this myself, but could still use a tad bit of “an editor’s eye.” I agree. But, once again, no money=no expensive editor.
- Marketing! This is the BIG one!! This is the area where I did everything wrong! I am still struggling with marketing. Of course, I thought I would get my book up on Amazon, tell a few people on social media, and Voila! Instant fame. Ummm… no! I maxed ALL of my credit cards and got nowhere. I planned to take ALL sales from my books and use it to market, all the while building my list of books. That’s not happening either. See, it’s a catch 22… if you have no money for marketing, then you can’t market. If you don’t market, you sell no books, and around and around it goes. And when LIFE interferes and suddenly you find ALL your royalties (as few as they are) need to go to an external source, rather than back into marketing, well…. Quite a dilemma occurs. So far, the only answer I have come up with is to WRITE more books, publish more and do what you can for marketing! Which, for me, is not much (even though I am on a time limit to make a LOT more money from my books before I can afford to use the excess royalties for marketing). Yeah, it’s complicated! Ok, pay attention, because I have spent FAR more money than I have to learn this: Book Tours are a GREAT way to get started. If you want to grab a fast audience, get yourself going on a cyber book tour with a giveaway, guest posts and GREAT descriptions of your books! The problem with tours and other such marketing ploys is they are only temporary. But, they can give you something with which to start! From there, however, you will need to learn to market SMART. This, I am still learning and will be for another post later on. HINT: Learn Facebook marketing!
Those are my 5 biggest mistakes and learns. I will elaborate more as I continue with my own lessons. If I make a faux pas, I will try to explain how you can avoid the same.
Oh…. and make sure you have a cat!! Cats are terrific muse-enhancers. Trust me! The BEST writers have cats.
Like something out of Stephen King’s novel, Pet Sematary, Bart the cat returned five days after he was “killed” by a car and buried.
Around January 20th, 2015 in Tampa, FL, Bart sustained extensive injuries when hit by a car. Thinking him dead, his owner, Ellis Hutson, and a neighbor buried him in his yard. But Bart was not dead. Seriously injured, he clawed his way out of the dirt and reemerged in the yard of neighbor Dusty Albritton.
Albritton says the cat was “dead in a pool of blood and stiff.” But the Humane Society, who are experienced in seeing cats “come back” from severe trauma, explain that most likely Bart was unconscious and then awoke and climbed his way to the surface of the shallow grave, hid for a few days until hunger drove him to seek food at a familiar location; the neighbor’s home. The myth of cats having nine lives ruminated from the cat’s incredible resiliency and ability to recover from serious injury. Bart suffered head trauma, a broken jaw and will lose his left eye. But he is very much alive and was never dead. Inexperienced in detecting vital signs in an animal, Bart’s owner and neighbor erroneous made an assumption that could have caused the cat’s demise even where the car did not.
Finish reading: http://www.examiner.com/article/cat-climbs-from-his-own-grave, for more info and photos, plus video.
They spend the majority of their lives on the road, touring through grueling schedules, sleeping in buses and hotels, living out of suitcases. Yet, still, they find time for cats! Even rock stars, regardless of their professional reputation, have and love those masters of relaxation. And who better to need the calming benefits of a purr than those with so much stress in their every day life?
For Great Photos and Info on Rock Stars and their cats, please visit, http://www.examiner.com/article/rock-stars-and-their-cats
Rock Stars Love Cats for a great slideshow!
If you love cats, fantasy and rock music, you may just love this book… https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beyond-Every-Mirror/435381586537350?fref=nf
Cats are actually better than dogs at adjusting their inner thermostat, but on very hot and humid days they can still become easily overheated. If your cat is outside, he or she will do little more than lie about in the shade and sleep. Indoors, your kitty will need you to keep the house regulated for optimal temperature. Many cats will go into basements and other areas that are cooler. Unlike dogs, cats don’t generally pant unless they are extremely over heated. Thus, if you see your cat panting, get her out of heat immediately. The following steps should help keep Puss comfy during the lazy hot days of summer:
- Make sure your cat(s) always have fresh, cool, clean water available, even if they are outdoors.
- Indoor cats should have access to a basement or cool darkened room if the home is not air conditioned.
- Don’t let your cat run around too much. Most cats won’t in hot weather, but kittens and young cats might not know better. Keep them calm.
- Provide dry food so they can have a nibble when needed.
- No special cool areas? Place ice packs under towels in your cat’s bed or create a bed using a cardboard box (cats love cardboard boxes), or use a hot water bottle with cold water for the cat to lie on. Remember to check on ice and cool water, as it will warm up quickly.
- Be careful not to close a cat into a hot room when going in and out of both indoor and outdoor rooms and buildings. Check before closing the door.
- This can’t be said enough… Do NOT leave a cat in a closed up car in hot weather, not even in the shade. People think of dogs mostly when it comes to hot cars, but if you travel with your cat, he or she will need the same consideration. Even in shade, cars become ovens within minutes on hot days.
- Tiles indoors can feel cool to a cat, so allow them into bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.
- If your cat is panting or can’t seem to find a cool location, mix rubbing alcohol and water and apply to ears and paw pads. The evaporation will cool the blood that circulates through the ears and reduce the overall body temperature.
- Groom your cat. Keep your cat groomed and get rid of mats! This is especially important in long haired cats. Mats will not allow the heat of the animals’ body to escape and they will overheat more quickly.
Read more…. http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/christine-church
If your cats are as much family to you as my cats are to me, and you’re writing a book, even a fiction novel, you can put your cats into your book as characters. Anne Rice put her dog Mojo in several of her vampire books as her character Lestat’s companion. George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) even wrote his turtles into one of his books. It’s not strange, nor is it corny. So, if you’re thinking about adding your favorite feline into a novel, go right ahead. I actually placed several of my cats, a dog who passed on and my horse into my latest novel, Beyond Every Mirror.
When I wrote the story (which began as a short story) in 1980 (yes, 1980)… I was a young teen in school. I sat in the back of the class and wrote many short stories. This one in particular, however, remained within my heart and was very special. It never left me, so 16 years later, I turned it into a novel. In the novel version, I wrote in my cat Sammy, my favorite cat at the time. I love all my cats, but sometimes one cat in particular holds a bit of a special place just above the others. For me this was my Sammy.
I also placed my Doberman at the time, Dillinger. I loved horses, so I added a horse, though back then I did not own a horse yet, so I made one up. I took one of my favorite breeds, an Andalusian (black rather than the typical white), and named him Camelot.
Unfortunately, the first few drafts of my novel went nowhere and the book ended up in a drawer (so to speak). I had pitched the novel at conferences I attended in the 1990’s and early 2000’s but the cross-genre (fantasy-romance) did not yet exist, and no one was willing to put their money on a newbie author in a genre that was not there.
Finally, after quite a few years, not only did the genre finally come into the marketplace, but it was growing by leaps and bounds. It was time to “dust off” Beyond Every Mirror and do a re-write, then try again. I attended a writer’s conference and spoke with an agent and an editor, who both showed quite a bit of interest in the book. But I wanted to re-work it first. It was so old and outdated and I needed to bring up to the times.
Enter Phase Three of this book’s life. I pretty much rewrote the entire book! My writing skills had grown massively during this time and I knew what I wanted to do to change the book around. By this time, both Sammy and Dillinger had long passed on, and I wanted to put my present kitties into the book, the last Doberman I had (who was extraordinarily unique) and of course, my horse!
I placed many cats, not just one, into the book. Sammy was still there, of course, but my kitten Lucy and several of my other precious felines made their way into the pages of this novel. Though I still kept Camelot in the book, I knew by this time that one horse is almost an impossibility (and to a herd animal, cruel in some ways), so I gave Camelot an elder horse friend… My 21 year old Paint, Kobeejo!
The book is finally complete, all animals accounted for, and I am doing a once-more read-over, then printing a B&W draft to send to friends, media and others in order to get blurbs and opinions before I send the manuscript off to the agent and editor who had asked for it originally. You can sometimes find adventures of the animals within the main character’s blog, Dane’s Dark Myst.
So, don’t be afraid to “write what you know” and add your pets to your books. It may help keep them immortalized.
LIKE the Facebook Page for this novel: Facebook
Read the Blog: Dane’s Dark Myst
I received a letter in the mail recently stating that Howell Book House, the publishing company that bought and published my book, House Cat How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound, sold off over a thousand of their titles. They sold them to Turner Publishing Company, and House Cat was one of those books. I am not sure yet what this means for the future of the book. Amazon no longer carries the Kindle edition, so I’m not sure if it will be re-released or not. I will keep updates here.
Check out these cats that got famous for their unusual markings. Have a cat with unique markings or look? Let me know.
Cat with Eyebrows:
Kitten with Heart:
Another cat with heart:
This cat has a monkey on its back:
Cat on cat:
Now doing Christmas Photo Shoots in Connecticut and southern MA! I also will make your personalized Christmas cards! I will come to you for a personalized Christmas Photo session with your pet, kids, horse, whatever. All photos are fully edited for optimal quality. No extra charge unless you want something special, such as a different backdrop, etc. (want your horse to be one of Santa’s Reindeer? I can do that!). Photos, portraits, etc. I will come to you. Northeastern/Northcentral CT and southern MA. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kj-photography-65/