Thursday, June 18, 2015

Timeline for my Self-Publishing process...


I know I'm not on here much with just general writing stuff, but I had written this up for someone in my local writing group and was encouraged to post it on my blog, too.

I don't think it's a secret for most of you here that I self-publish. With the release of LANCE, that was my eleventh self-published release. And I've discovered that there's a certain method/timeline that I have to work with after I've finished that first draft (which honestly is about the only fun step of this process...LOL...that, and getting that first print copy in my hands.)

So here is MY timeline for all the steps needed after I finish my first draft.

NOTE...this is my process, but tons of other people do it differently. This is just what I've found works for me so that I get the best, most polished novel I can into readers' hands.

Timeline for Publishing...

Disclaimer...this is entirely from my experience self-publishing. I’m about to publish my 12th book, my 11th one self-published. This is DEFiNITELY NOT the only way to go through the process. It’s just the way I go through it.

Steps in publishing:
1.     Alpha reader...ideally this happens while you are writing the first draft of the book. An alpha reader reads as you write and gives feedback about what’s working and what’s not. This is a huge benefit, because you know if the story is working well or not. Ideally this person should be a writer too, so they understand the nuances of writing and weaving story lines. The other added benefit is that if your story is really good this person will push you daily to write faster so they can read more of the story.
2.     1st Draft done... you need to walk away...at least for 2 weeks or more so that you can get some separation from your story and not be so emotionally attached.
3.     Rewrite time... One week to a month or more...First thing you need to do is read your book as a reader....and take copious notes about what needs to be fixed. Then you need to set about fixes. Honestly, through this process you will need to read your book at least 10 times. It’s a painful, painstaking process of fixing your book.
4.     Betas... When it’s as polished as you can get it, now you need to send your book to betas. You need to plan them to have it for a minimum of two weeks. Ask for specific and general feedback. The more feedback you get, the better your book will be. But I’ll be honest here...this isn’t going to be as harsh as you need it to be. No one likes to be mean.
5.     Rewrite time #2...plan on a week or two to go in and fix the things that the betas pointed out.
6.     Reread the entire book again as a reader...and polish even more.
7.     Developmental Editing...this is the first editing pass. You should plan on the editor taking a minimum of 2 weeks to a month to get your book back to you. It’s going to be painful...I mean like curl up in a ball and swear you will never call yourself a writer again kind of painful. For me, I have to let these edits simmer 2-3 days before I can mentally handle taking them on after I read them.
8.     Apply 1st round edits...And then it will take me a week or two to apply them all (for an 85k book).
9.     Reread and do final prep for second editing pass. At this point you may want to hit up more beta readers to see if the story is working if you had big developmental editing changes.
10. Final edits...plan two weeks for the editor to have it and then another few days to a week to apply those changes.
11. Reread one final time. You’re down to the wire now and this is when everything should be looking super-polished. If it’s not, then you have more work.
12. Proofreading...this needs to be done by someone who’s anal and has NEVER read the story before. If they’ve read it, they will skim. It can’t be helped. Plan for this person to have your book 3 days or longer depending on their real life and reading speed.
13. Final fixes. This should take an hour or less. See #11
14. Formatting for print and ebook. I do this myself so I only have myself to determine how long it takes, but if you send it off, again, plan on a week or more for someone else to fit you into their schedule.

All told, I plan a minimum of two months for this process from the time I finish my first draft...and that’s if I feel like the book is fairly polished and ready. It’s much longer and much more difficult if it’s not. Also the longer the book, the longer all these steps take.


I also like to have EVERY part of it complete at least three weeks before my release date so I have time to get it into reviewers’ hands and upload it for pre-order (which has to be done at least 10 days out.)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Did you know? Snowcroft details...


Here are some things that you may not know about Snowcroft...

1. The Snowcroft series is a spin-off from my When the Mission Ends series. The fourth book in that series, When Love Intrudes, had the hero and heroine on the run with a 17 yo gay teenager. They ran to Snowcroft, where the hero, Brian, had access to some friends cabin. 

Those friends were Rand and Hudson. Rand owns a motorcycle shop in San Antonio. Hudson is a chef from Austin. They're both gay, but just friends. We'll find out more about the why's of that later when Rand gets his book. Again, this story will go back to Brian and a certain car that made an appearance in that book...intrigue. ;)

Also Trevor and Jamie were introduced in When Love Intrudes. Brian, the hero, wanted Jamie to talk to a very confused teenager, Nathan. Nathan has made an appearance in both Snowcroft books since and will also eventually have his own book in the series. I think his will be last in the series, but that's still a ways off. (We have to give him a few years to get a bit older.)

2. Snowcroft is based upon a real town in the southern New Mexico mountains. We lived there for three years and my twenty year old son was born during that time. Now, my parents have retired there. 

It's funny because I had a reviewer that made a comment about finding it odd that this New Mexico town is made up of people with ties to Texas. I have to laugh. For us Texans, that little mountain town is heaven. At 9200 feet elevation, it's a haven of cool when it's 105-110 degrees in Texas.  And yes, almost EVERYONE who lives in the town has ties to Texas, because it's not that far away. That's the way the town has always been. In the winter the population is 750 people. In the summer it swells to 2000-2500 with all the transplanted Texans who move in for the summer. 

3. Most people know this by now, but I originally planned for Law's book to be next. That's still the plan...at least for the full length male/male romantic suspense aspect of the series.

BUT there is another book coming before his...Intertwined Hearts.

The idea for this book came from one of my beta readers, Lee Murphy. She suggested that Leigh, Jamie's sister, needed to become a surrogate and have Jamie and Trevor's baby. I liked the idea, especially as I got to know Leigh better. (and can you believe, I didn't even think about the fact they have the same name until I started reading back over this blog post...LOL...no wonder Lee liked fictional Leigh so much.)

I'm writing Intertwined Hearts right now and foresee it probably coming out in September. It's a little different for the series. I'm planning it to be a 50,000 word novella and it will be an m/m/f without any of the suspense that the rest of the series normally features. (I think...remember, I'm writing it still and my characters tend to go their own way, so we'll see.) 

You all have met two of the main characters in it...Leigh (Jamie's sister) and Hudson (Jamie's former friends with benefits friend). Yep, you heard that right and NEVER would I have guessed they'd go together, but there's another guy, David, coming on the scene and the three of them just work...even if they don't see it quite yet.

Is anyone interested in reading the blurb?? I'm really super-excited about this one, so I'm going to share even if you don't care yet. hehe. I should also have a cover reveal coming in the next couple of months.

Intertwined Hearts

Three people who’ve given up on love...

Hudson:
After a brutal, late-night attack in his restaurant left Chef Hudson Richmond too traumatized to even enter his restaurant again, he escaped to Snowcroft. Now he’s trying to find a new normal when the reality of his world is a man’s touch makes him sick and his dream has become his nightmare.

Leigh:
Leigh Vaughn lives in a man’s world running Vaughn Construction with her brother, Jamie. She’s tried to be feminine and failed over and over again. Growing up with only her brother, father, and construction crews to guide her, Leigh has no idea what a feminine wile is, much less how to deploy them. But when Jamie and Trevor begin to research finding a surrogate to carry their baby, she knows this is something she can do. Hell, it’s not like those parts are getting used for anything else.

David:
When this small town came looking for a new police chief, David Warner jumped at the chance. After too many years spent working vice in the city, he’s burnt out and jaded. And his love life has been even more depressing than his work life. He’s made one true connection in the last five years, but she disappeared without a trace the next morning.

Three people who have given up on love, may just find a new beginning where they least expect it...in Snowcroft. But love is only supposed to happen in twos. How can they make it work with three intertwined hearts?