A Big Day

First Novel Release - The Ups, and the Downs!


Today is the Big Day: the release of my debut novel, Queen of Broken Dreams. Currently, it is available only on Amazon - I have tried getting it listed on B&N and iTunes, but more on that later.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a writer. Other than having a few poems published in local zines and winning some local poetry contests, I had not yet accomplished the goal of being An Official Published Writer - until today. (Granted, I didn't attempt to write any novels until a few months ago!) It feels like a solid accomplishment, even though I chose to self publish (which takes more work than you might think - more on that as well, keep reading!). I worked hard, I made art, I worked hard to make the art better (with help), and I shared it with the world. Ta da!

If you're curious why I chose self-publishing, this article is the best explanation I can share. I couldn't hire professionals in my process, but I was extremely fortunate to have professional help essentially for free. Friends and family were my beta readers. (You know who you are - thank you and I love you!!) A friend in our local writing community, who I admire greatly, was an especially thorough beta reader and gave me an incredible amount of helpful feedback that really improved the novel. (Thank you, Lynn!) Then when it came time to find someone to proofread, I began to get quotes - and quickly discovered I didn't have the extra funds. Lynn came through again, connecting me with another Arizona writer, who writes scifi/fantasy. He is retired and generously volunteered to proofread, for free. (Thank you again and again, Dave!)

As far as cover design, I have an artistic eye but no real graphic design / tech art skills. So I came up with the concept, and my incredibly talented niece who is amazing with Photoshop ran with it and made it five times better than my "rough draft."

Eventually, the book piece of the equation was finished! Then it was time for the marketing aspect - because when you self publish, you're on your own for marketing, obviously. I built a website (thanks for being here!), created social media accounts for my "business," got head shots done (again, with donated time and talent - thanks to my sister and my niece). I also purchased ISBN numbers and read up on all of the legal and technical pieces of the journey. I set a publishing date of many weeks out, so I would have time to accomplish all of the above.

I initially wanted to publish the ebook through KDP (Amazon's self publishing), B&N, and on i-Tunes. The paperback would only be available through KDP though. Setting up the ebook with KDP was a breeze, and it was up for pre-sale in no time. I attempted to do the same with B&N, but still haven't been able to finish that process. There is a hang up with them claiming that my bank and info tax info doesn't match - BUT IT DOES! I have emailed them multiple times and never received any response, so I am at a dead end right now. If anyone knows how to move forward with this, I am all ears! i-Tunes has been an issue of a different sort, and I still hope to make that work, but haven't had enough time to dedicate to it.

So, I proceeded with KDP for the time being. While you can list an ebook for pre-sale, you cannot list a paperback for pre-sale. When you are setting up the paperback info and linking it to the ebook, it states that you cannot set a publishing date in the future. In other words, when I press publish, the paperback listing goes live. So if I want the ebook and paperback to be out on the same day, I have to wait to press publish until the chosen publication date. In the mean time, I made sure everything was ready to go with that set up; Amazon's program had accepted it all and given the thumbs up. Last night, finally, I clicked publish - and was informed that they would need to review it and it would take "up to 72 hours." (They do state this in the terms, I just missed it. But how in the world can you then attempt to publish a paperback on the exact same day as the ebook publishing date?) This morning, 12/9, I got an email from KDP saying there was something wrong with the file for my cover. (Uploading an "acceptable" cover had been a headache throughout the entire process, because for some reason the dimension specifications kept changing, and then also there was bleed settings, trim size, etc.)

Soooo I attempted to edit the file to the new specifications. The set up program would not accept that new file and requested the old dimensions. So I uploaded the old one and resubmitted, crossing my fingers. It is now again "in review" for up to 72 hours. I finally get in a live chat with a KDP person (thanks to my niece for helping me find the help, lol). The live chat support person says there is still a problem with the cover and explained it much more specifically than the initial email. Ok, great, I can fix that specific thing. But since it is "in review," I can't edit anything. I asked the tech support person if she could get it out of "review" so I could fix it, and the answer was no. I have to wait until Amazon either accepts it or sends another email asking me to correct the problem. So, now I wait, again... up to 72 hours, for them to email me about the cover. At which point I will go upload a new corrected file, and have to wait - again - up to 72 hours.

The good news is that it took them 10 hours to send the email the first time, so hopefully I can get this resolved within a day or two. The bad news is, no paperback available for purchase on my official publishing date TODAY.

Although self-publishing has been a bit of a headache in some ways, I still think it's the way to go for new writers with no huge following or platform. I wanted to share the process not to complain, but to hopefully help someone else who is considering self publishing. With that said, if I can get enough sales and good reviews on this first book, I may attempt to submit my second book to some of the smaller publishing houses. The royalties would be lower and I wouldn't have as much creative control, but it would also be someone else's job to take care of editing, cover design, marketing, publishing dates/deadlines, etc. And at this moment, that sounds like a writer's paradise!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy my newly published book Queen of Broken Dreams. Once I can order some author copies of the paperback, I will be doing more sales and giveaways, so stay tuned for that!