Spell/Sword Housekeeping and Editing Strategic Planning

This will probably be boring. This is one of those ‘announce publicly my rough schedule and plan so I feel obligated to stick to it’ sort of posts. It may be helpful to other writers or indie-publishers who want a window into the behind-the-scenes process, or if you’re just curious where my next book is on the assembly line.

  • Finish rough draft of The Riddle Box.   [COMPLETE.] – 9/24

  • Revamp of print and Kindle versions of Spell/Sword

  1. Contact and recruit Copy-editing Strike Forcebriton6
  2. Print/order copies of Spell/Sword for copy proofing.
  3. Distribute to CSF, then collect edits when complete
  4. Enter corrections into CreateSpace template, then submit to service for re-release and update of Spell/Sword.
  5. Print Version first, then Kindle, so there is always one version available for sale during review downtime by CreateSpace and KDP.
  • Contact prospective Beta Readers for The Riddle Box

  1. It will be nearly a month before The Riddle Box is ready for review, but some may need time to make sure they’ve read the published version of Spell/Sword.
  2. Also, consider inviting a Beta Reader who has not read Spell/Sword, to see how well the book plays without preamble.
  • All of previous steps must be complete before beginning to edit rough draft. [!]

  • Rough Draft Editing

  1. Print out paper copy and read with a brightly colored Sharpie in my hand.  Story edits, logic fixes, detail matching. Cut or add to draft based on this pass.
  2. Read updated draft and record audio. Listen to audio while editing. Major grammar problems, sonic issues, repetitive language, wonky rhythms, things that just sound stupid when said out loud. Cut or add to draft based on this pass.
  3. Depending on severity of changes, potentially re-record audio for new/fresh pass.
  • Cry for a little while. Quietly and softly.

  • Distribute to Beta Readers for review. (Give readers a deadline?)

  • Anxiety Demons Jamboree [!]

  • Contact illustrator and cover designer to begin work on new cover art and cover layout.

  • Respond to edits submitted by Beta Readers, update the draft.

  • Place Final Draft on CreateSpace template for print.

  • Distribute template to CSF [Copy-editing Strike Force] for Quality Control

  • Submit Final Print Edition to CreateSpace and KDP for review and publishing.

  • Promote launch of The Riddle Box.

  • Begin work on third book, Asteroid Made of Dragons

The Riddle Box is complete!

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Well, the first draft anyway. I’m flabbergasted, exhausted, and other adjectives.  I’ve written 62 pages in the past 11 days, and I freely admit there are some dodgy, dodgy bits in that last sprint to the end — but it’s all there. It’s a complete narrative, it works how I wanted it to, ends how i wanted it to. On Spell/Sword it took me longer to edit than to write, so I take comfort that I can take as long as I need to fix all of the fiddly bits. I’m tremendously proud of this one, I have no problem saying [believing] that this book is better than the first. I’m going to put in a drawer for a couple of weeks and let it cool down and come back fresh — I’m sure then I’ll be singing a different tune, but for now LOVE AND PEACE.

Here’s some crunchy numbers:

Spell/Sword

In published form: 52,000 words

 

The Riddle Box

Rough Draft: 65,000 words [21% longer!]

Started Writing: 4/26/2013

Finished Rough Draft: 9/24/2013

 

YEAH! Excited and a little exhausted. I’m going to unplug my brain and put it in a nice cool cup of yogurt for a while.

Results

So, I gave my book away on Kindle for five days, how’d that go?

This is mainly for the edification of other self-publishers, or folks who are just super nosy about my BIZZ.

Big Caveat, right off the top. I am a terrible and slap-dash marketer. There are many, many people on the internet who are much more consistent, pervasive, disciplined…and successful than I am at self promotion. So this was an experiment, with little leadup-or follow through. I knew I was going to attend DragonCon, that place is bursting at the seam with nerds, fish in a barrel, right?

So, here’s what I did to prepare.

  • I went through my Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard, and activated the days I wanted for the Free Promotion.  You are
    Promotional Card in the Wild
    Promotional Card in the Wild

    allowed 5 days per…quarter? I went ahead and set it to run over all of Labor Day Weekend, and then the Tuesday after. The rationale being, that if people find out about the sale, or pick up some of my promotional items, they can download the book when they get home.

  • Talked it up here on my blog, and also on my Facebook fanpage. [Become a fan, if you’re so inclined! There’s all sorts of randomness I drop on the fanpage, that doesn’t merit a full blog post. Button’s on the right hand side of the page.]
  • Made a post in a Free Ebook subreddit, to hopefully attract some folks to my blog.
  • Printed 1000 business cards to pass out at Dragon*Con, each with the cover art on one side, and a quick pithy description of the special and the book on the back, with a QR code that lead directly to Amazon. [This cost me about $50 bucks.]
  • Printed up some special shirts for my local friends who were attending the convention. [And also stuffed a few cards in their hands to pass out themselves.]
  • Quick pact with a lesser demon.

Things I Didn’t Do [and Probably Should Have]

  • There are tons of sites and twitter feeds that advertise Free Ebooks. I researched a few, but it all just seemed so sleazy and mechanical. I’m as desperate for readers as any other Level One Author, but I’m hoping to start this out with something a little more personable than a free Ebook spam. There probably are better venues out there that I didn’t find, but as usual, I ran out of time and decided not to worry about it.
  • Attend Lev Grossman’s panel and denounce him.
  • Throw some cards at Jim Butcher like ninja stars.
  • Make a lengthy pact with a major demon.

So, a fair amount of time invested, and a small amount of cash. How did it turn out!

 

Free Downloads of Spell/Sword: 315

 

315. Copies of my book. Out there in the world. Hopefully 315 copies that will be read and cherished and reviewed on Amazon or Goodreads. Spell/Sword is sold through two services on the Amazon platform, Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace for the paper version. Because of this it’s a little fuzzy on getting exact sales numbers, especially going back all the way to April when the book was released. Prior to this special, my lifetime sales of the book were somewhere between 125-175 copies.  That means in one weekend, I increased the number of copies of my book in the world by easily 200%.

I’m sure other authors have had more success than I, with much better planned promotional strategies. But I’m stoked, regardless! For the amount of time and money required, this thing was an excellent experiment.

As usual, I ramble. Let me know if you have any questions about any of these numbers or details, or about the processes used to make all of this happen.

Work Explosion

6587_akira_hd_wallpapersA heartfelt thanks to all of my friends and readers who helped make my free Ebook special such a success! I’m working on a big blog post discussing the results, with some nice crunchy data for other self-publishers out there — but my real world job has been on fire every day this week. No time for blogging or writing = ANXIETY DEMONS PICNIC ON MY SPLEEN.

But that’s okay — I think!

Back soon with something  more substantive.