Looking Back…

Hello, everyone, and hello 2014!

Here is my first post of the new year, and it’s only right that I thank you guys for such an awesome year! I invite you to look back at 2013 with me…

Note: this walk down memory lane contains important information for independent authors that are new to the business of publishing. Deleted scene for 200 Facebook likes will be up a few minutes after this post. Thank you guys! :D

 

So, 2013 started out a little rocky since remnants of 2012 were washing over, which was a total disaster of a year for me. 2013 was improving from the get-go, though. I was still new at my job, which had started out pretty bad and I was set on quitting after I had raised the money for an editor for my book and a couple of promotional items (which would make it around a thousand dollars), but even then I was thinking that wasn’t going to happen. I was ready to get out and find a new job pronto. Things quickly turned around, though, and the people that had been rude to me, even whispering angrily about me within earshot,  were turning kind and understanding toward me! I couldn’t believe it!  Now I am so glad that I decided not to quit when I had planned and gave the place a second chance. Now I have been there for over a year! (Yaaay!)

Don’t get me wrong, 2013 wasn’t a perfect year…

So, back in 2012 I had someone helping me proof my book, and almost as soon as 2013 rolled around, I quickly abandoned the “hire an editor for an obscene amount of money” idea, and decided on asking friends and family to help me proof and give their opinion, essentially acting as editors for me. There’s a problem when you ask someone to do something for free, and when they already have their hands full with their job, family, etc….naturally, your project gets pushed to the back more often than not. I thought “Ice” was never going to finish getting edited. I had gone over it countless times, of course, but I knew I was still missing things…and I needed to know if I should change any scenes in the book! Pretty quickly it became just one person helping me edit the whole (the person who was helping me before), and I would have to take my concerns about certain parts of my book to one other person who was known for being brutally honest about my work and have her read just those sections one at a time and give me her input as we went. Even that became hard to do! (I still couldn’t get her to until right before publishing!) It was like nobody had time for “Ice” and I had finished it over a year ago! I was getting fed-up and ready to publish it as-is, but I knew that would be a mistake and I would never be able to live with myself if I did. But, how else was I ever going to get it published?

So, my full time “editor” quickly became part-time…and then once-in-a while-time…and then “Ice” didn’t get touched for 3 months at one point (by this time we are in January of 2013). I had gone from extremely depressed, to extremely frustrated. I had politely reminded my “editor” periodically throughout the three months and nothing had been done. So I went to her and I reminded her of our talk in the beginning about how often we expected work to get done. I told her if she couldn’t do it, just let me know. She insisted she could do it. Thing didn’t change, though, until one day I told her she didn’t need to worry about working on “Ice” anymore, because I had decided to publish it.

That did it! She started an aggressive schedule, and we were able to work on it every single night. We had it done by June, and then all I had to do was just edit the formatting!

Here’s my advice to fellow independent authors who cannot afford, or simply do not want to pay ridiculous fees for an editor: do not be afraid to be honest with your “editor”! I let things drag out too long! If you do not hear anything back in a couple of weeks, give them the “You don’t have to worry about it anymore, I’m publishing it now. Thanks for all of your help!” thing.

If that doesn’t work, and they are just like, “Okay,” then they didn’t really care, because they know it was their responsibility, and they failed. And then don’t hesitate to look for other people who love to read; they would probably love to have the opportunity to proof a novel! I remember back when I was a teenager, one of my friends asked me to proof, or “BETA” as we called it then, a fan fiction of theirs. I enjoyed it, because I loved to read! Even if someone is not really crazy about the subject matter, they will be curious simply because they like to read, and that the novel is going to be published will further intrigue them, and if they know you, then they’re going to want to read what you’ve been working on for so long, anyway! You do need to ask them how often they will be able to work on it, and when they have an estimate for you, make a schedule to meet with them periodically so you can address the changes, any questions they might have, and then you don’t have to worry about time slipping away from them as easily as it did for my editor. I didn’t hold us to a schedule, and that was my first and probably biggest mistake. Also, give the “editor” your phone number and e-mail address, so if they need to contact you before you meet, they will be able to. That will help things move along faster, too. And most of all, which probably goes without saying, DO NOT FORGET TO THANK THEM! You would not be able to publish your novel without their help! You should probably give them a free copy, too, so they can see the finished work you guys spent so much time on. That’s what I did. :)

 

Everything regarding “Ice” improved from there. I set out on foot putting up flyers around town, talking to shop owners about anyone that might be interested in selling a book by a local author, or simply interested in letting me put up a flyer. A lot of people couldn’t help me, but there was some valuable advice, too. Kelli of the Okie Crowe helped me tremendously! Her wonderful, darling shop is located on South Boston in the Philcade Building. She is really nice, her store that is full of unique things, as well. I love the shops in Downtown Tulsa! Everyone is selling either locally made items, and/or novelty treasures I haven’t seen anywhere else! I remember I bought a beer fizzing bath bomb from her, and it actually looked like beer! It even had foam on top! There are a lot of cute gifts in her store. I have been meaning to go back ever since. Kelli told me about William, and his store Decopolis, and how he was looking to work with local authors!

I set out to Decopolis from there. I remember I was too scared to ask if they wanted to sell my book, so I asked them if they would be interested in letting me put a flyer in their window, told them I was a local author, and if they knew of any shops that might let me advertise in their window. William said yes, and told me about some other shops, and as I started to walk away, he called out to me and told me he would like to sell my book, if I was interested. That was the start of a beautiful friendship! :)

Thank you, Kelli!

(By the way, I will have links to the stores mentioned at the bottom of this post.)

I had two book signings in 2013! I got my first royalty payment! (Yaaay again!)

No, I did not get a car in 2013 like I wanted, which I think must annoy some people I know, because a few people have really given me a hard time about it, going so far as to try to embarrass me in a room full of people. My book always came first, so I have no regrets. I am a writer, first and foremost, so that is how it will always be, and I will only have regrets if I don’t prioritize that way. You might think it irritates the people who drive me to work. But it doesn’t. They tell me the same thing: your book comes first. If I lived my life any other way, THAT would irritate them.

Publishing a book has a lot of unexpected expenses, which a lot of people don’t understand. Here’s my advice to you: if you are going to publish a book, it really does have to come first and other things are going to have to wait, otherwise, you will never get published! For example, I had used my parents computer to write most of “Ice” (I started it on a little Netbook which became the victim of a clever virus), and when it came down to the formatting business, their computer crashed. I had to suddenly buy a laptop, an expense I hadn’t been planning on. I purposely bought a Windows, because I was familiar with Microsoft Word. Well, I was in for a surprise: Windows computers no longer come with Microsoft Word, so I had to pay $110 for it! Then there was virus protection, since the free trial only lasts so long, a website…the list goes on and on.

In 2013, I made new friends and reconnected with old friends.

In 2013, I lost people dear to me, including my Aunt Billie, one of the people “Ice” is dedicated to. I often wonder what she would think of the book. Really think of it, not just what she would tell me because she loved me. She was always so excited to read it. I tell myself she would probably genuinely love it, just because it was by someone she loved, and that she would be proud of me no matter what my book was about, because that’s the type of wonderful, caring person she was.

Now that “Ice” is done, and 2013 is done, I can focus on the sequel, plan for future projects, and finally get that car! :D

I am so excited for the new year, and what it will bring for all of us! I look forward to hearing from you guys, and THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Happy New Year!

-Elissa

The Okie Crowe’s Facebook page is here, and the Okie Crowe’s website is here. Here is the link to Decopolis’ website, and here is the link to Decopolis’ Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me, and who has read “Ice”!

 

New Cover, Trailer, and Another Book Signing!

Hello, everyone!

A lot has happened since we last spoke…or rather, since I last typed at you. It’s been crazy and exciting. Remember me teasing a new cover for Ice and going on for months about making a trailer for it? And did I mention a book signing? I know I did on my Facebook page (shameful plug not-so-cleverly inserted there). Those are some of the things I am going to talk about in this blog post, then I am getting to work on the Secret Lives of Characters series again, and of course, the sequel to Ice.

 

Book Cover:

Ice cover Ice back.

Ta-dah! Photographer Micheal Lowther (Remember her?) assisted me on the new back cover, which is something I could not do without her expertise. We private messaged on Facebook back and forth until we got it just right. I am so happy with the new cover! The snowy image she selected for the back fits the story perfectly, don’t you think? If you would like to reach out to Misha, here’s her website, where you can see more of her great pieces of work and pricing. I highly recommend her. Note to Tulsa authors: she is very interested in working with you! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Which brings me to the trailer that features the new cover! Ta-dah again!

I know, it’s quick and short, but that’s what I wanted. Hopefully a longer trailer with actors will be coming in the near future. It’s definitely something I want to do and have discussed with someone on how this might be possible for my small budget. I hope this tease trailer is simple and straight to the point and intrigues one enough to check it out.

 

2nd Ice Book Signing at Decopolis:

decopolis

On November 30th, which I discovered that very morning was this new thing (well, new to me anyway) called “Small Business Saturday,” I had a book signing at Decopolis in the afternoon and into the evening. The guys there are so cool. They let me set the hours for the signings, so I am welcome to stay as long as I like. And they really do make you feel welcome. And did I mention the store is SO COOL? Some time I will have to ask them if it’s okay to shoot a video of the place and post it on here and my YouTube channel for you guys. (Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those now. Here’s the link. FYI, I am most likely going to neglect my Google+ account, because I only created it so I could have a YouTube channel.) It was another great book signing where I met some interesting and lovely people. Decopolis is doing more book signings with local authors now, so if you are in the Tulsa area check out their Facebook and their website, DecopolisStudios.com, for information about when they are having book signings. By the way, William, one of the owners, is an AMAZING artist and has designed some awesome Christmas cards you can buy. So check. It. Out.

william's christmas cards

Jeez, I’m so bossy! ;)

Also, Ice was featured on the local news!

2013-12-02 01.13.18

Decopolis had a great turn out that day. Some people said they came out just to support local businesses. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Decopolis. And thank you to Channel 2 News for inserting my little novel into your broadcast.

 

I think that covers everything, so talk to you later!

 

-EL

Book Signing and the Latest News on You-Know-Who

Hello, all.

I know it’s been a while since my last post (not that I’ve ever been very fast at this), but a lot has happened. As you know, I had a book signing on September 14th. (Yaaay!) Not to mention the birthday party I attended the day before, and the day after the signing was equally busy, filled with random errands, a new haircut, and lots of Rock Band 3 in which I did an emo rendition of “Shout” that my sister tried to record 3 times, but I couldn’t keep from laughing.

Yeah, I’ve been real busy. Note the sarcasm.

But seriously. I have. As you know, I have another job outside of the world of writing.

You know, when I put it that way, it makes it sound like I have a corny secret identity, but you get my drift.

And now I’m sick! D8

DUN-DUN-DUNNN!

I’ve been sick for 3 days now. Not fun. I sounded like a man on day 1, during the entire time I was at work. I told my sister that evening, “I hope I’m not sick. Only my throat hurts, and it’s messing with my voice.” I then asked her if her daughter’s been sick.

She said, “She’s been coughing, sneezing, and had a runny nose all day, but I think it’s just allergies.”

I laughed awkwardly at my sister’s response, and said, “Uh, every time you say it’s ‘just allergies,’ she ends up running a fever in 1-2 days.”

And that is the truth. However, since I have been MIA for 3 days, I don’t know if she’s been running a fever. I do hope she has only a case of nasty allergies, and that nobody catches my cold. How I got it, I’m not sure. But I really don’t care about that. I just want to get better, fast.

I hate just lying still all day, though. I feel like I need to do something, even though I don’t have the energy to, so I decided to tell you guys all about the book signing at Decopolis! (Finally!)

So I got to Decopolis at 11. William, the owner, set up a nice desk for me with an old typewrite as a display and had my books arranged in a neat way. He put up signs around the store and filled me in on the promotion he was doing that day if someone buys one of my books. It was really nice. The desk was right in front of a window by the entrance, so I had a great view of the band outside the store. The bands were really good. There was this all-girl high school band called “The Sirens” who were freakin’ amazing. The crowd loved them, as did I.

Although most people who came in passed by me without buying a book, some showed interest, and some showed only rejection. I expected the worst kind of rejection, but never expected being accused of plagiarism.

Now, if you are an aspiring writer, or are starting out as an author like I am, then I feel that you must read this part. I think it is a good way to prepare yourself for this kind of rejection, accusation, whatever you want to call it (I’m still not sure what it is, actually). Hopefully I acted as a good example of how to handle that sort of…statement. I honestly did not let it bother me while I was there. I brushed it off as just some weirdo being a weirdo. Later it dawned on me just how rude and crazy the accusation was.

Here’s what happened: One of the very first people who walked in Decopolis was a woman who I will only describe as that, because I am not looking to slander her name, or cause her any trouble. I greeted her with a smile and asked her how she was.

She asked me if there was a book signing, and I told her there was. I asked her if she would like me to sign one for her.

She acted surprised by my statement and asked if I was the author, and if those were my books. I said yes, smiling.

She then asked me what my book was about, to which I answered that it was about a girl who meets a boy who can shape-shift into a wolf. (It is way too hard to explain right off that he’s a Husky-wolf hybrid.)

“Have you read the Twilight books?” she asks me.

It’s a common question I get, seeing as I wrote a young adult fantasy/supernatural novel. I could be writing about any number if supernatural creatures and Twilight would still come up, because it has left such a huge impact on the world of literature. If I were writing about witches or wizards, or anyone with magical powers, I would be asked if I have read Harry Potter. So, her question did not offend me at all. Remember not to let those questions offend you, either. This is not what was rude, though. It gets worse.

I replied, “Oh, yeah. I read the series when I was in high school.”

“You know, there are these websites online where people communicate with each other…like a community,” she told me, struggling to explain it. “They talk about books they read and ask each other for ideas about how to write a book like that—based off of that. They do that until they have a whole book written about the other book…I don’t remember what it’s called. But they do that until they have their own book written, and then they put it on the Internet and get it published.”

I finally thought I understood what the woman was talking about. “Like fan fictions?”

Her eyes widened in recognition. “Yes, I think that’s it.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh, those are websites for fan fictions. I read a few of those a long time ago. Sadly, most of them are horrible, but there are a few good writers on there. It made me wish those weren’t fan fictions then so they could be published.” I laughed again because I couldn’t believe I was talking about fan fictions with a total stranger. It was a hilarious scenario until her next words.

The lady wasn’t laughing with me. She looked me directly in the eye except to occasionally look at my book on the table in front of her. “You know, E. L. James did that. Fifty Shades of Grey was based off of Twilight. It was a fan fiction of Twilight. She wrote it based off of Twilight…and now you’ve written this book based off of it, too.”

I was stunned. Needless to say, I wasn’t laughing anymore. I was shocked enough that she assumed I knew who E. L. James was and that I had read Fifty Shades of Grey. But to accuse me of being a copycat, as if it’s impossible for me to think for myself…?!

But I just laughed again. The whole thing was so surreal, I couldn’t help but find it funny. “Oh, no. My book isn’t based off of Twilight. I came up with the idea for it one night when I couldn’t sleep and I was listening to a song called, ‘Dogs Unleashed’. I wasn’t thinking about Twilight at all.”

She just nodded and uttered a non-committal sound and started to walk away. I bade her a nice day and she bade me good luck with my book as she walked out of the store.

I’m glad that I did find it so funny in the moment, otherwise I may have handled the situation badly. I think the best thing to do when accused of plagiarism is to just laugh it off like they’re crazy. Because they are. That’s my humble opinion, anyway.

Some people had really good things to say about my book, too. More than one person was genuinely intrigued, but I remember one woman in particular. She picked up my book and said, “Huh…I think I’ll buy one.”

She rejoined her friend, who looked at my book in her hand. “You’re going to buy one?” her friend asked, surprised.

She replied seriously, “Yeah. I think it sounds interesting.”

A couple of girls who appeared to be about my age asked what my book was about. When I told them it was about a group of shape-shifters in a small town in Alaska, she said, “That’s the perfect place for shape-shifters!”

Over all, it was a really cool experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. By the way, those two girls each bought a book and wanted their picture taken with me. I was shocked. I thought, “No way! This isn’t happening!”

And, all six books the store ordered sold by 5 o’clock! I had 3 with me just in case things went well, which I sold to William that day. Two of those books sold by 6. William jokingly asked me, “Got any more of those in your bag?”

He then asked for an order of six more, which I’m currently waiting on in the mail. Shortly after 7, the last book sold, which was actually when I was planning to leave. Everything worked out so well, I still can’t believe it. I am so blessed. I didn’t think I’d even sell 2. When I was purchasing my Alice in Wonderland mug just before I left, William said he wanted me to do another book signing, possibly on Black Friday when the Pop-Up shops open. So I will keep you guys posted on the next book signing! :)

I’m going to try to post pictures in this post. If it doesn’t work, the pictures are on my Facebook page.

And don’t worry guys; I have not forgotten the series of posts I planned to do! I have actually been working on the ones about each character and am working on the first trailer for Ice. Also, I am still writing the sequel to Ice, and have been working on a manuscript for a different book! I hope to publish the sequel and the other book shortly after the start of the new year. I will be starting college then, so I can’t give an exact date at this point, only a goal. As always, I will keep updating you guys, even if it take me a little while to write a post.

 

Until next time!

-E

Pictures will hopefully appear here:

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Correction on Promo and BOOK SIGNING!

Okay, first off I have a correction to make on the numbers of the free promo: Ice was actually downloaded 246 times! I had forgotten to check the sales from the Amazon sites of other countries. It’s a mistake I’ll never make again, lol!

 

Now, my upcoming book signing: On September 14th, in Downtown Tulsa (that’s in Oklahoma, for those of you who don’t know), there’s going to be this cool festival going on called “Chalk Fest”. Not only will there be chalk artists, but there will be bands playing. During all this, I will be having a book signing in Decopolis. It’s a unique store on the corner of 6th and Boston. It’s so cool. It doesn’t just carry books; there’s paintings, and other miscellaneous items. It really is awesome, and the owners are really nice, too. (THEY SELL A DISAPPEARING TARDIS MUG! I swear, my inner Doctor Who fan/child died and went to heaven when I saw it.)

 

Okay, here I was going to talk about some stuff in my personal life, but I felt like it didn’t really fit with everything else, so I’m going to end this post here. If you want to read my random ramblings, just click on to the next post.

 

Bye for now!

Elissa