Jeanne: What Do You Look for in an Editor?

EditingMy journey toward publication has been loaded with new learning opportunities. One of the biggest was choosing a content, or developmental, editor. This is both because this selection has the most impact on the quality of the book(s) I will put out, and because it’s the single biggest expense in the self-publishing journey.

The problem was, I didn’t really understand what a content editor would do. I knew they weren’t the same as a copy editor, who would look for problems with grammar and wording. Content editors work at a more macro level—they’re concerned with characters and plot.

But I still didn’t understand exactly what that meant.

Were they just a glorified (and paid) version of the critique group I’d had for so long? Or something more? What should I expect? How would I even begin to tell a good one from mediocre one or even a bad one? Continue reading

Jeanne: Bloody, but Unbowed

Sailboat

On Sunday, Justine posted about her decision to publish independently.  One of the factors, she said, was watching me win the 2015 Golden Heart® for Paranormal Romance, only to fall short on getting a publishing contract.

Just for the record, I have to confess that I sent out a grand total of 12 queries. That included two requests for full manuscripts that I received via contests I entered in preparation for entering the Golden Heart®. From conversations with other GH finalists, I gather 12 queries constitutes a pretty lame effort. One of the 2015 group told me she made over 400 queries and/or pitches before she secured a contract.

Four. Hundred. Attempts.

By that standard, I gave up without a struggle. Continue reading

Jeanne: May Progress Report

Sometime last month, I realized I completely skipped my April progress report, so this update will stand in for both.

Goals for April:

  • Write 15,000 words on The Demon Wore Stilettos.

That manuscript is currently sitting at 11,275, so even now, two months later, I haven’t hit that goal. There’s a reason for that, which is that I got distracted cleaning up my Contemporary romance, Girl’s Best Friend. It’s currently about a week’s work away from being ready for my beta readers.

Being ADD (undiagnosed) does not help in meeting project deadlines.

  • Prep my first-ever newsletter to go out May 1. (If you’re interested in receiving it, you can sign up here.)

Okay, so that didn’t happen either. It would have gone out June 1, but when I looked at my MailChimp account, I realized it included my home address. And while I realize that anyone can Google my name and find my address, just sending it out felt like a bad idea. So I arranged with another local author to split a PO Box. Continue reading

The Weird World of ISBN’s

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the identifier you see on the backs of books. It ISBNallows each edition of a book to be uniquely identified.

If you’re traditionally published, the publisher takes care of this for you, but if you choose to self-publish, you have to handle it yourself.

Since I plan to start releasing books this summer, it’s time for me to acquire the necessary ISBN’s. In the U.S., there’s only one place that sells ISBN’s, an organization called Bowker.

So that makes it easy, right?

Not so fast. Here is the pricing structure for ISBNs:

Quantity:   1      Price: $   125.00

Quantity: 10      Price: $   295.00

Quantity 100:    Price: $   575.00

Quantity 1000:  Price: $ 1000.00

I know what you’re thinking, because it’s exactly what I thought: huh? Continue reading

Jeanne: Your Empathy Quotient

Emotions Revealed coverI’ve always figured the trait a writer needs the most in order to craft compelling, believable characters is empathy.

Dictionary.com defines empathy as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

We’ve all known highly empathetic people in our lives, people who seem to have a knack for reading other people’s faces/body language/tone of voice and knowing what those people are feeling without having to be told.

I’ve never been one of them.  Continue reading

Jeanne: The Swag Decision

Basket of applesA couple of weeks ago I did a post on swag–the items authors make available to potential readers to lure them into checking out our books. The post generated a lot of discussion among the Eight Ladies in the comments, debating the pros and cons of rival items.

After sifting through all the great suggestions, I’ve decided to put out bookmarks with QR codes linking to the first three chapters of The Demon Always Wins. Those chapters give a good flavor of what the book is like, so if people read those, they’ll either decide to buy the book, or decide that they’re not my audience, which is okay, too.

Another suggestion that bubbled up during those discussions was the idea of setting out a basket of apples to get people’s attention. Apples, as you may remember, are part of my branding. There’s a lot of junk food available at Nationals, but not a lot of healthy stuff, so it’s good on that score, too. Continue reading

Jeanne: To KU or Not to KU?

Years ago, when I started journalism classes at Indiana University, our professor told us this joke as a metaphor for interviews:Kindle Unlimited

A tourist asks a professional gambler if there’s a roulette wheel in town.

“There’s one at the casino,” says the gambler, “but it’s crooked.”

“If it’s crooked, why do you play?” asks the tourist.

“It’s the only wheel in town,” says the gambler.

For self-published, debut authors with no established readership, Kindle Unlimited feels like it could be that roulette wheel. Continue reading