Monday, April 22, 2013

SCBWI Summer Conference & A Muddy Good Time!

I hope everyone's had a great weekend. I've had family in town for the past week, so it's been a little hectic...but definitely a blast. Last Thursday we made the short drive to Disneyland, which was my daughter's first time. She loved Astro Blasters and the churros (just like her mommy!). Then on Saturday we did a 5K mud run in Temecula (little Gwendolyn had to sit this one out). That showed me how out of shape I'm in. I survived, but I'm still sore. I'm not really a big fan of running, but a mud run makes it fun. You can see my after picture. I need to start training for a next one!

One the literary side of things, registration for the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators) summer conference began last Thursday.

Click on the picture to visit the webpage
This will be my third year going and I'm very much looking forward to it. They always have great speakers and break-out sessions. And the Hyatt Regency isn't too shabby, either. This year I've signed up to get a professional consultation. For a small extra fee (I hope it's worth it), I'll be submitting 10 pages ahead of time, which will be reviewed by a literary agent or editor. Then during the conference, I'll get one-on-one feedback from that agent or editor. I'm excited, but a little intimidated. Now all I have to do is start my new writing project so I have something to submit...but more about that later.

To those of you participating in the April A to Z challenge, good luck on the final leg! You're almost there! I haven't gotten around to many blogs over the past few weeks, but I'll try to do a better job of that this week. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

New SUSY Asylum Cover

I mentioned in my IWSG post last week that I was just about to order the proof copy for my second book, SUSY Asylum. Well, I did, and I got it yesterday. Can you say, "Happy dance?"The first time holding a new book that I've written is such a surreal experience. It's time for one more read through to catch a few more of those pesky typos and then it will be ready to release on Amazon.

I have been struggling with one thing since the Indie ReCon online conference. Is the cover that I directed appropriate for my book...and books (since I will be re-releasing Provex City shortly after SUSY Asylum goes on sale). I always envisioned my covers with full artwork like the Harry Potter books. So that's what I had created. But the Harry Potter books are technically middle grade. Looking at countless covers on Amazon, over ninety percent of the young adult books out there have graphic art covers. Am I sending the wrong message with my covers? I wrestled with the question for weeks and finally decided, yes, I am sending the wrong message to readers at a first glance. There is a good chance the first impressions of my covers are that they're for a younger audience than intended.

I believe that when you're ready, the right people will appear. And that was my experience here. I was intrigued by M. Pax's new covers, Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge and Boomtown Craze (maybe you've heard of them...wink wink), and saw that they were done by the same cover designer: Erin Dameron-Hill. You can visit her blog and see a bunch of her covers HERE. I emailed her...and I had a new cover less than a week later. I'm excited to finally show it to you...SUSY Asylum like you've never seen it before!

Now Erin is working on the new Provex City cover to match the look and feel of this one, and I can't wait to see it! She does great work, is really responsive, and has affordable prices. If you're looking for a cover designer, she's definitely someone to check out.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

IWSG: Interior Formatting

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday! Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I know many of you are already three days deep into the A-Z April Challenge. I survived it last year and wanted to do it again, but I feel like I've fallen so behind in my writing that I shouldn't be taking on more challenges at this time. Hopefully, I can find a better balance next year.

When I submitted Provex City to Createspace last year, I paid them to do everything. This time around, for my second book, SUSY Asylum, I am doing all the formatting myself, submitting to Createspace as a finished product. For a self publisher on a budget, this is a way I can save some money.

For last month's IWSG post, I talked about Indie ReCon and how much great information was in the posts for that online conference. One thing I found through the conference was The Book Designer, which has a wealth of information, resources, and advice for self published authors. One of the products offered on the site is a Microsoft Word template for formatting the interiors of POD books.

I was skeptical of buying a template for $100, but if it worked and I could do it myself, then it would save me $100 each time I published a new book through Createspace. So I looked at it as an investment. After playing with the template for a few days I got the interior of SUSY Asylum to a point that I thought looked professional, submitted it to Createspace, and received an email the next day that it had been approved.

On The Book Designer, there are currently six interior templates for POD books and ebooks, and since they're in Word, they are easy to customize (I haven't tried the ebook template yet). It's a great product and perfect for those of us publishing through Createspace, Lightning Source, Lulu, or other POD companies.

I will be ordering my proof copy of SUSY Asylum tomorrow and will hopefully receive it sometime next week. I can't wait to finally hold it in my hands! 

I hope your April projects are off to a great start, and as always, thank you for reading!
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