Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: restless spirits (Page 1 of 2)

The craft room is finished! And the RESTLESS SPIRITS sequel is begun! Sort of.

Well, my friends, the cat room is a craft room once again.

I spent yesterday first sorting through my yarn and then emptying out the walk-in closet. The good news re: the yarn is that I had it stored in four different bags, only one of which got peed on, so the majority of my stash was just fine. The tee-shirt stash fared worse, but it still wasn’t as bad as I expected. Everything pee-scented went into the washer to soak overnight in vinegar and laundry soap (the yarn first went into pillow cases), and then this morning I ran that cycle, then ran it again with baking soda. After that, the shirts went in the dryer and the yarn went out on the back lawn to dry in the sun. The yarn is still drying outside, but the shirts passed the sniff-test, and are now folded and put away where those jerks sweet kitties can’t get to them.

As for the kitties, they’re much happier, and reluctant to leave the room, which is kind of nice. I fixed up the closet for them with their litter boxes and crates and plenty of places to hide and sleep and climb. Nibblet’s loving it, but so far Boudica prefers the top of what’s now the yarn and tee-shirt cabinet, a.k.a. my only work surface. I laid a fleece blanket up there for her to collect cat hair and protect the surface from her claws, and I can just move the blanket (and her) when I’m ready to get my craft on, so no big.

The only thing that’s missing in there is a good work surface. There’s a small table, but that’s wobbly, and the previously mentioned cabinet, but that’s not a large surface and it’s tall enough that I’ll have to stand. It’ll do for now, but some day I’d like to get a dedicated sewing table. A comfy chair for sitting and knitting would also be great. We’ve got an old rocking chair in there, but it’s not that comfortable, and I’d like to consign it to the back porch eventually.

I’m terrible about remembering to take pictures. If you want to see some, I’ll post some to my Instagram later.

I was hoping to be able to include a word count on the new novel in this post, but I’ve been kind of distracted all morning and couldn’t get my head in the right place for it. I guess I need to spend some time cleaning something else to give my brain a chance to develop the scene. Good thing I’m ready to straighten up the living room and bring out the fall decorations. Yes, I know it’s not technically fall yet, but the weather’s supposed to cool off later this week, and that’s good enough for me.

One thing I did do, though, writing-wise, is jotted down some notes on a proper sequel to Restless Spirits.  People have been bugging me (in the good way) about a sequel for years now, but I just haven’t been able to come up with the right story to justify one. But yesterday I streamed a few episodes of My Ghost Story while sorting through and detangling my yarn stash, and apparently these true haunting and paranormal investigator shows are my muse when it comes to this series (I guess it’s a series now), because something finally clicked. Now it’s going to be hard to make my brain focus on the Satanic Panic story instead of this. I wonder how insane I’d have to be to attempt writing two novels at once. We might be about to find out.

Book news, if Russia will let me share it

Well, that was a fun break from blogging. THANKS, RUSSIA! But now that we’re back (…for now), here’s some book news that I’ve been meaning to share.

  • Restless Spirits is now available in trade paperback. If anyone is interested in signed copies (…Bueller?), let me know, and I’ll figure out a way to make it happen. Just keep in mind that it would have to ship twice–once to me and then to you–so that would need to be reflected in the price.
  • Fragments & Fancies is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s 99 cents at both, because that’s the lowest price point those sites allow you to set. It’s still free on Smashwords, although I’m not sure how much longer it will stay that way.
  • Speaking of Smashwords, there are only three days left on their site-wide summer sale, during which you can get Restless Spirits for half off with coupon code SSW50. On August 1st it goes back up to $2.99.
  • Also, Restless Spirits got it’s first (totally unsolicited and by a total stranger) review on Amazon, and it was a good one. They gave it 5 stars and had this to say:

    This is an imaginative take on the traditional ghost story. Ghost hunters might think they’re smart and informed about hauntings, but as this story demonstrates, the reality just might be that they not only don’t know anything, they probably don’t even suspect anything. That’s what I liked about the story, as it gradually revealed the intricate secrets (that never make it into official accounts) of the lives and deaths of everyone who had ever lived in the tiny universe of a single address, and how the fate of the spirits who haunt it could inspire the lives of the living and the dead. The story is well told with creative character development, charming wit and ever-increasing suspense. It is as they say, "a ripping good yarn."

    To which I say: Squee!

I have another Indie Author Spotlight coming up soon, but I’m saving that until actually being able to post is more of a sure thing. Right now I have zero confidence that this will actually go through (as I’m currently on my 3rd 4th [I stopped counting] try). *crosses fingers* But here’s hopin’!

 

Look what I got today!

It’s just an uncorrected proof, but it’s so pretty and I can’t stop petting it.

A short while back I remembered that I still had a NaNoWriMo winner’s coupon to get a free proof copy of my manuscript from CreateSpace, so I used it for this. I wasn’t planning to release Restless Spirits in paperback, mainly because it’s under 60,000 words long, which I figured would amount to a thin enough book that even I wouldn’t be willing to shell out 7 to 10 bucks for it (which is what I’d need to mark it up to in order to make a profit). But now that I’ve actually seen it, it’s substantial enough that I would actually have no qualms about paying that much for a trade paperback of this size. And as I really have nothing to lose by offering it up as a trade paperback… well, why not?

Before I do, there are a few things I need to change. I forgot to replace all of my double-dashes with em-dashes, for one thing, and I also forgot to include cover photo credit. This is why it’s good to order a proof. I think I’ll also upgrade to a better quality of paper. That will eat into my profit margin a little, but it will make it look even more professional and “real,” which will be worth it.

Over all, I’m impressed with the quality of the book, and CreateSpace makes the whole process pretty simple. I’d still like to try LuLu some time for comparison, but for right now I’m thrilled with CreateSpace.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pet my book some more.

Lessons In Book Promotion

I don’t really have a plan for promoting Restless Spirits beyond simply telling everybody in my social circle about it. After all, it’s the vanguard, sent out to raise awareness of my name and writing and hopefully generate some good feeling toward both in time for Dominion of the Damned to take Amazon by storm, and if it made a little extra money in the process, that’s just butter on the toast (and so far it’s earned enough to buy us a large pizza. Ka-ching!). Since DotD is the book I’m currently pinning the majority of my hopes and dreams on, I was going to save all of my marketing energy for its release.

But that’s still a few months away, and it will be kind of hard for RS to win me any new readers if, y’know, nobody actually reads it.

So I’ve been trying to do at least one thing a day to get the word out about it. So far, this has mostly involved telling people I kinda-sorta know: here on LJ, on Twitter, on Facebook, on my other blog, etc. So far, this effort has managed to convince about one person a day to buy the book. That might sound like a pitifully small amount to you, but I’m just thrilled that it’s selling, period. It’s making me want to put in the work to get the word out to more people. And wouldn’t it be helpful to experiment with promotion techniques to see what works best and develop a solid plan for Dominion?

The problem is, I’m out of ideas. As I tweeted the other day, even though I don’t generally consider other writers that I follow on Twitter to be d-bags for constantly promoting their books on there, that doesn’t stop me from feeling like one if I mention mine more than a couple of times. Not just a couple times a day — a couple of times, period. Clearly, I need to get over this. I don’t have the time to set up a blog tour — essentially, soliciting book & writing blogs to either interview me or let me write guest posts promoting my book. I also don’t have time to participate regularly in forums, and I’m back to feeling like a total d-bag if I just pop into a forum I rarely-to-never post in just to drop a link to my book.

Pretty much, this “one promotion thing a day” model is all I can fit in with my various freelance jobs, attending my health issues and assuring my husband that I haven’t forgotten he’s alive. Oh, and the actual writing.

Part of me thinks I need to suck it up and figure something out–maybe at the very least hunt down the rare book review blog that deigns to review self-pubbed e-books and send them a free copy. But part of me thinks that the best “marketing” I can do is just to get more of my writing out there, and that I’m better off keeping my head down and writing as much as I can, as fast as I can.

I think it’s obvious that I have a lot to learn yet about the promotional end of being an indie author. And I’m not going to learn it by sitting around here blogging.

Restless Spirits Now Available on Amazon

Well, that didn’t take as long as long as I expected it to (although expect the corrected acknowledgements to take a couple more days to update): Restless Spirits is now available for purchase on Amazon.

It’s not quite the rush of walking into a bookstore and seeing your book on the shelves, but it still feels pretty good.

And if anybody who’s read it feels inclined to leave a review over there, that would make it even better. 🙂

Publishing Restless Spirits, and Acknowledgements

Restless Spirits is my first guinea pig in this whole self-publishing experiment, so I thought I’d share some of the things I learned about the process.

  • Formatting is easy and relatively painless. Smashwords has an excellent style guide, and after I prepared my manuscript according to their instructions, I only had to make a few very minor tweaks to get it ready for the Kindle.
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  • Publishing is also easy and painless. With Smashwords, you just upload your Word doc and they generate the various formats in under five minutes. They also distribute it to the Apple iStore, Barnes & Noble and other e-book retailers who aren’t Amazon, so that’s handy. For Amazon, which you have to publish to separately, you have to download and install Mobipocket Creator and use it to turn your HTML Word file into an EPUB file, but the software is free and the extra step only takes a few minutes.
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  • Don’t use Google Chrome when uploading your book to Amazon. I don’t know for certain whether this is just a coincidence, but I was using Chrome last night when I kept running into "Unknown error" messages every time I tried to upload my book. Today it occurred to me to try a different browser, so I uploaded it through Firefox and it worked fine. Which brings me to…
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  • Amazon is a little slow to process your book. I uploaded it about twenty minutes ago and was told that it takes a day or three to finish processing and become available for purchase.
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  • None of this cost me a dime. Of course, it helps to have a background in both graphic design and copy editing (as well as sharp-eyed beta readers), so I didn’t need to hire anybody to help me in those areas. I enjoy designing covers, and I enjoy editing when I haven’t looked at a story so many times it makes me go blind. They are time consuming, though, so maybe in the future, if this venture is successful, I’ll outsource those tasks, although it’s more likely that as I get better at it I’ll be trying to get people to outsource those tasks to ME. For now, though, this is a total DIY effort, and it’s comforting to know that if the book doesn’t sell, I won’t have lost any money on it.
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  • Nothing is set in stone. Unlike print books, with e-books, if you see something you’d like to change you can go ahead and change it. Which is good, because I just discovered that I misspelled my niece-in-law’s last name in the acknowledgments. Speaking of which, I’m posting them here so that those who have already read the book and given feedback won’t have to buy a copy to see what I wrote about them. And if you offered feedback to one of the older incarnations of this book and I left you out, first, I’m so sorry, and second, let me know and I’ll be sure to add you. Ditto if I botched your name.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS for Restless Spirits

A book never gets to the finish line on its own. Thank you to Erin Palette, Stevie Puckett, Angela Garniss, Julie Pavey, Jamie J. aka themournfulduck, Helen Gialidakis and anyone else I might have lost track of who has provided invaluable feedback since I first drafted this novella three years ago. Big thanks are also owed my BFF, Tessy Smith, for being my biggest cheerleader and favorite reader. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to David Michael for inspiring me to try my hand at e-publishing in the first place. And of course to Matt, for putting up with my writerly quirks, for endless encouragement, and for showing me the kind of love that transcends this mortal coil: there is not enough gratitude in the world.

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