Sunday, August 23, 2009

The helpful Createspace Community, Twitter, among other things

Dear Reader,

How are you?

I've been continuing with my summer's "books made into movies" movie viewing trend that started with Julie & Julie, and I saw The Time Traveler's Wife with members of my book club. (Actually, the trend started with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, a couple of weeks earlier.)

We cried. But we didn't sob. Or run out of tissues. Or have runny mascara. To be honest, we teared up more during the previews of The Lovely Bones and something else with Sandra Bullock and a foster child who changes her life.

Regardless, though, how cool would it be to have your novel turned into a major motion picture? I remember that the movie rights were bought by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston's production company -- and I guess Brad Pitt got it in the divorce because he was listed as a producer or something in the credits.

Besides going to the movies, never fear -- I've been continuing my seemingly never-ending preparations to publish my first two books with Good Manners Kids Stuff Press. Sometimes it's just baby steps, but they are steps nonetheless.

I wrote and posted blogs on two of my other blog sites: Good Manners Mom Blog and Good Sport Bad Sport Blog. These posts/blogs support my main website Good Manners Kids Stuff and are also -- I hope -- going to be hugely instrumental in building excitement and networking for Good Manners Kids Stuff Press.

I then went onto the Createspace Discussion Boards, where I've been learning so much recently. The members are incredibly generous with their advice, and they're very talented, too! I don't think I could have found a better place for my launch.

From formatting help to setting up an estore to reviewing books to marketing suggestions to royalty questions to shipping and handling -- all the help and guidance I need can be found right there.

Later today I came across an article, "Five Industry Success Stories that Inspire," mentioning Laura Duksta, self-published author of "I love you more."

(I ran upstairs to route through my daughters books to see if we had it. We did.)

I logged onto her site to read more about her and the Children's Author Academy she runs to share the secrets of her self publishing success.

Unfortunately, I am working with a budget of, oh, about $0 -- so I won't be signing up for her next teleconference series.

Switching gears, right now the show Shark Tank is on ABC as I write this, and people are coming in to pitch their ideas. One was a woman with a book to help children alleviate their stress. She got a deal for an investment of $250,000 by giving up 50%of her ownership. It made my wheels spin wildly -- should I go on the show?

That lasted just a moment. Now I'm back to reality.

You know what? As I look back over what I've shared here with you, I think I actually have moved things ahead, even if they weren't the actual books.

I can't wait to have some real progress to report to you. Hang in there -- it'll get exciting soon!

In the meantime, I'm reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Too funny. (I just finished "Mr. Darcy, Vampire." Maybe I should be including some vampires or zombies in my books.

I'll think about it.


P.S. I forgot to say I've also been twittering. And, coming up with 140 characters is just about as hard as coming up these blog posts!
Follow me for random good and bad manners observations if you'd like -- GoodMannersMom

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Julie and Julia

Dear Reader,

I don't have much to update other than that I've been proofing my books. Again. I don't believe that you can proof something too much (although I hate doing it). There's always a typo that will become glaringly obvious as soon as it is in print. (Or posted on a blog site, hee hee.)

So that isn't very exciting to share. Necessary (sigh) but not very exciting.

The only other thing appropriate to share with you because it's related to books and publishing and blogging is that my mother and I went to see Julie and Julia.

We enjoyed it but I was also so completely filled with jealousy that I could barely stand it!

Spoiler alert: if you have seen it (or read Julie's book or (even) read her original blog -- I'm sure it's in those because it is the thing that every aspiring author would give everything in the world to hear), there's a scene where she comes home from work after an article about her and her blog appears in the New York Times. Her husband says that there are (I think) 54 or 63 messages on the answering machine. When she starts playing them, they are messages from editors at publishing houses and literary agents. Wow!

I got goosebumps -- I can't imagine how the real Julie felt. (The Amy Adams Julie was sure excited!) Oh, to get just one of those calls!

End of spoiler alert.

Then, the other thing I thought was, how did she get her audience? Now, the blogosphere is much more crowded than it was back in 2001 when she started. But I am posting and linking out the you-know-what -- with just a handful of loyal followers (and a few random hits now and then).

I haven't read the book yet (although I was tempted to buy it when I was in Barnes & Noble today, or at least page through it) but I did a Google search trying to see if she talked about it anywhere. (In the movie it seemed that she didn't do anything -- the followers just came.)

It's important I figure out how to get the exposure because a big part of my marketing strategy for the Good Manners Kids Stuff Press and books is via the web and I am in the process of building an infrastructure of websites and blogs to support it.

And no visitors means no book purchases!

So ... until I find out the magic answer, it's back to the e-drawing board and some more hit and miss attempts at traffic building and exposure.

If any of you have any advice, I hope you'll share. I'll be eternally grateful!

In the meantime, I'll try to find something else more interesting to blog about than my proofing!

Until then,

P.S. I'm looking forward to seeing The Time Traveler's Wife next week as I continue my chic flick movie viewing.
P.P.S. Haven't had my Missing Moments Harry Potter Fan Fiction reviewed yet over at What's up with that? Seems my publishing career is on hold in every direction!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Busy with book and writing projects

Dear Reader,

Since I last posted, I've had a busy weekend spilling over into this week with book and writing related projects!

I tidied-up and word-smithed and second-guessed myself but I managed to get my 10 page manuscript (and synopsis) into the mail for critique at the Fall Philly SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Hopefully I made it in time before all of the slots filled up!

I also tidied-up and word-smithed and second-guessed myself but managed to submit a Harry Potter fan fiction to Still waiting for it to be picked up by a Beta for review but I hope it will be available soon. (It's a missing moment between Ron and Hermione. My user name there is Mom4Stories if you ever want to check it out.)

I also tidied-up and word-smithed and second-guessed myself but managed to get some revisions to my artist, Kecia, for my book. I can't wait to see the next pdfs!

Then, after having done enough tidying-up and word-smithing and second-guessing, I spent some time on the CreateSpace site, reading forum discussions and getting my feet wet by starting to participate in one on Middle Grade Fantasy books.

I can't do much right now in terms of setting up my author's page or e-store until I upload my books but I'm making notes and picking up some great information about marketing and distribution. (My user name there is StoryMom.)

I'm trying to figure out how to connect this blog to my account there. I suspect I can't do it just yet -- I may have to wait until my books activate my presence there. I'm also trying to figure out the best strategy for linking this blog, my 2 other blogs and site, the Amazon site and my site (which is under construction, too) as part of my grand master plan.

So, while I've accomplished a lot, there's still much more to do.
I'm hoping to have just as productive a time next week (and the week after that, and so on -- you get the picture).

Oh, before I forget, here are a couple of little ISBN number tidbits before I leave you:

Apparently there was some sort of snafu recently with those authors who used the CreateSpace ISBN numbers (remember I mentioned in an earlier post that using the free CreateSpace ISBN number makes CreateSpace the publisher in addition to being the printer while using your own number makes you the publisher and gives you more control) -- there was something printed in their books about self-publishing (advertising the Breakthrough Novel Award) that upset some members because they didn't want it obvious on their books that they were self-published. I believe it has now been removed.

Then, it seems that some authors with their own isbn numbers publish on both CreateSpace to get into Amazon and and then use the identical ISBN number and book at another POD (print on demand) such as Lightning Source, which gives you access to Barnes & Noble and other distributors. Having control of the number as the owner/publisher lets you take it anywhere. CreateSpace is more affordable, so they see if their book has "legs" there and then take it elsewhere to expand its reach across the industry.

That's it for now. Happy Reading and Writing until I post again.