Launching a Book (Alternate title: Doing everything in the world)

As I'm getting ready to launch my first novel, I am learning all I can about publishing, promoting, and successfully debuting a book. There is a lifetime's worth of information out there, and sorting through it is daunting and time-consuming. It's sucking my life away and I couldn't love it more.

Since I've been doing this, I haven't really shared anything about this process, and I'm sorry that I've neglected that, blog readers! I've been asked frequently about it lately, and this shows me that it's something that I should digress (read: whine) about.

Where to start? Well, even before the progress began, there were a dozen things that I needed to do to my book to get it ready. First, an edit, a serious, slow edit - completely focused and without distraction. I had to set up the title page, the dedication, the thank you page, the author bio, copyright information and the back book cover. I needed an author photo before I could move forward with the cover. I was assigned an ISBN number and was FINALLY on my way.

The first step was signing forms. Forms, forms and more forms. Unlike every other thing I've signed in my life, I actually read all the fine print on each document. Royalties, foreign rights, film was a lot on information. And it took me a long time to sort through it all. Luckily, Amazon Publishing has made it pretty simple, and my publishing consultant answered each stupid question that I had. Of which there were a thousand.

Then there was the cover. I had a very specific vision for what I wanted for my cover, and therefore I chose NOT to use Amazon's cover service. I went instead to 99Designs, where hundreds of graphic designers bid for your graphic design project. I wrote a design brief covering what I wanted for the cover (clean, bright colors, flowers that were NOT roses or gerbera daisies, a fun and appealing cover that was simple) and what I didn't (skinny girls in wedding dresses on the cover, cartoon covers that are so popular in chick-lit, etc). The contest launched. The bids trickled in. I gave feedback as they went

There were some that were good... and some that were great.

I was blown away by the creativity of some of the designers. It's amazing how one concept can be interpreted so many different ways.

And then there were some that were not so great....

And some that were really bad. LIKE ZOMBIE BAD.

What the what???

I could tell immeidately who had read the design brief and who had not. There were a lot of covers that had a "Sexy vampire" vibe.

There is neither sex nor vampires in my book. There was one that had a girl in a prom dress on the cover. Remember when Elly was a teenage prom queen? No? Me either. There was a quite a few trainwrecks, but I eliminated those very early.

After the contest ran for 7 days and at the end I narrowed the covers down to five designers and designs from 157 designs and 31 designers. From there, I encouraged the remaining designers and gave feedback until it was time to pick one. I sort of always knew which one it would be, from the minute I saw their idea of the cover. It was so close to what I saw in mind that it was scary. What set them apart was that they had truly read the design brief and interpreted it so artisitically.

You'll have to wait to see it. I can't wait to show you once it's all ready!

Once I had the cover, then it was time for the interior review. This is the title page, headers, footers, font and chapter headings. The first one submitted I was deeply unhappy with. The font was the heavy and bulky, like balloon letters. The chapter headings were contemporary and modern, which would be cool if I was writing a contemporary or modern novel, instead of a chick-lit with Southern leanings. I talked with the publishing team and told them my concerns, and it was sent back. I received the new version on Friday night, after we returned from Erin's fabulous wedding, and I almost cried. It's beautiful, it's perfect, and I can't wait to show it to you...soon.

So, what's next? Well, now that the interior has been approved, my proof copy (a physical copy of the book) will be mailed to me for approval. At that point, I can choose to make up to 80 textual changes (that would be punctuation, spelling, sentence errors, etc.). I will then send in my changes, and the book will be finalized.

After that, it will be a 4 to 6 week wait for the physical copies to be released. The book will be published first on Kindle and will be avaliable for purchase there before anywhere else, as well as avalible for Kindle through libraries. I am thinking that the official release date will be late August/early Septemeber and yes, I am working with Sarah at Ever After Events to plan a book release party not just here in Colorado, but several other states as well. Amazon is helping with the promotion, so I'm glad to have that support behind me.

So that's what's happening! Right now, I'm reading through two books on how to promote my book, and sending out requests for book blurbs (which is the quotes about books that you see on book cover that say things like"A hilarious read!"

Here's the book blurbs I'm hoping for:
"Wow, this puts my books to shame! Harry Potter who?" - J.K Rowling
"I thought I understood epic imagination, but I was wrong!" - George R.R Martin
"The depths of her words moved me to tears. She is a master of complex plotting." - Audrey Niffenegger
"I was so moved by this book that I have decided to give her my entire fortune" - Stephanie Meyer

These blurbs will probably not be on my book, unfortunately. But here's hoping.

That's what's happening with the book!




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