Indie-Vengeance Day

The other day, I took a trip to the Half Price Books near my house.  I wanted to talk to them about maybe selling a few copies of Cemetery Tours to their store (they agreed!).  Afterword, I got online to research more stores.  On the Half Price Books homepage, I noticed a link down at the bottom of the page. Image You can read more about it here:   http://tracyjamesjones.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/indie-vengeance-day-weekend-begins/ Needless to say, I decided right then and there that I had to attend.  I will confess, however, that I went to a party last night and was so tired, that for a short while I considered taking the day off today.  However, when I woke up this morning, bright, alert, and ready, I knew that I needed to go. I am so glad that I did. I had the most amazing time talking with these people who traveled from all over the world to greet readers and sign their books.  I expected to go, meet a few people, and maybe get some tips on marketing or any advice on making it as an independent author in general.  I thought, perhaps, I might buy a book or two. I ended up leaving with ten books, two ebooks, several business cards, and more respect for all of these wonderful authors than I ever could have imagined.  Of course, I already had a lot of respect for them, knowing all that they’ve accomplished just by writing and being published, but getting to talk to them about their books, their work, their interests, their backgrounds… they are all just amazing, fascinating, and wonderful people. Ever since I made the decision to self-publish, I’ve been wanting to make more connections in the Indie world.  That includes reading and reviewing their works.  I am thrilled to have so many new books to read.  Sadly, I couldn’t purchase all of them, but I did find most of them on GoodReads, so I thought I could at least share them here and then review them later. Image Scott Morgan is a professor at Collin County Community College and he has written several books on writing.  This one, I think, was written for his class that he teaches. http://www.write-hook.com Image Ben Ditmars was one of the first authors I met today.  I’m a downright lousy poet, so I’m really looking forward to reading his work! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5132689.Ben_Ditmars?from_search=true Image I didn’t get to talk to Amber Jerome-Norrgard for very long, but I very much look forward to reading her poetry! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815310.Amber_Jerome_Norrgard Image Lynn Hallbrooks was a sweet woman and the story of how she and David McKoy collaborated to write their novels was fascinating. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4950577.Lynn_Hallbrooks?from_search=true Image Tracy James Jones was absolutely one of the sweetest people I’ve had the privilege to meet.  I didn’t get to talk to her very much about her work, because she had several fans surrounding him, but her romance novel definitely sounds like a good read! http://tracyjamesjones.wordpress.com Image M.E. Franco was the first paranormal author I talked to at Half Price.  She was very enthusiastic about everything vampire, ghost, magic, etc…  This was the first book I purchased at the signing. She also penned a cowboy romance novel which, as a true blue Texas girl, I really want to read. 17343857 http://mefranco.com 18455717 Another paranormal/vampire novelist I met was Melissa Zaroski.  I purchased her novel too.  I actually haven’t read any vampire stories since the Twilight series.  I’m interested to see how these new paranormal books will compare. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255267.Melissa_Zaroski?from_search=true 18520901 I talked to Sydney native Ciara Ballintyne for a while.  She was absolutely delightful as she told me about her novella, Confronting the Demon, a combination of deep fantasy and paranormal.  We also had a lot of fun discussing other books we’d read. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6591156.Ciara_Ballintyne?from_search=true 13626269 I love dragons, so I picked this book up almost immediately.  I am really looking forward not only to reading this, but also its sequel.  Dionne Lister was so lovely and I think I’m really going to enjoy her work! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5824220.Dionne_Lister 13108920 18482365 Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson are Australian authors too.  I didn’t spend quite as long talking with them as I did others, but they were both lovely women and very funny.  They had with them selections of their works, mostly erotica.  I have nothing against the genre, but it’s not my favorite. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5307783.Melissa_Craig?from_search=true https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4506281.Charity_Parkerson 17559388 James Peercy was just a fun guy to talk to, and I’m especially curious to read his book, The Wall Outside, a work of fantasy set in modern-day Washington.  I love fairy tales and fantasy, so I’m really interested to see how it will work in our world. http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com 18366887 Sreya Bremtin is a photographer as well as a poet.  She had a book of photographs as well, but as someone who really struggles in the poetry department, I was a lot more curious to read this. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7233499.Sreya_Bremtin 15745432 Meeting M. A. Rogers and talking to him about zombies was a lot of fun.  I’ve probably mentioned before that I am a new Walking Dead fan and that zombies absolutely scare me out of my wits.  For some reason, that means I love watching them on television and reading about them in books.  I’m often told that I am loud and awkward, but M. A. Rogers told me that my enthusiasm made his whole day. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745432-chivalry-is-undead 13640184 Sandcastle is a collection of short stories by Justin Bog.  I haven’t read a book of short stories since about the eight grade, so I was more than eager to purchase his book.  A cool fact about this book is that his father painted the picture on the cover.  I thought that was so incredible! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832178.Justin_Bog 17451049 17885027 Julie Frayn is a Canadian author and I ended up purchasing both of her books.  Well, technically I purchased one on Kindle and she gave me a free download for the other.  Not only to both stories sound totally awesome, I absolutely love her cover designs. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6967128.Julie_Frayn 17166676 The last author I met was a poet named Susie Clevenger.  She was so sweet.  I had run out of cash by that point, but she handed me a copy and told me to write her a good, honest review, and I intend to do just that! http://www.susieclevenger.com Everyone I met today was so amazing and wonderful and I hope I’m lucky enough to connect with all of them in the future.

Hitting the Ground Running

Book Published: Check

People Reading: Check

Book Release Party: Check

Next Step: Marketing. 

Every time I stop and think, “Wow, I can’t believe it’s all over,” the little publishing bug in the back of mind laughs and says, “Not so fast, my silly human!  Just because you published a book, it doesn’t mean people are actually going to buy it!” 

So, that’s my next adventure.  Selling and advertising and marketing.   

This afternoon, I made my semi-monthly trip to the library.  As I was perusing the business aisle, I realized that starting up your own business is a lot like still being in college or graduate school.  You work to support yourself, you make frequent trips to the library, you do a lot of research, and you do a heck of a lot of writing.  You barely make any money, but that’s okay, because you’re working toward an even bigger goal and hopefully all of that work will eventually pay off.  I’ll keep you updated on what I learn. 

In other news, my best friend and I went to the State Fair yesterday.  I love going to the Fair.  It’s like a welcome to autumn and a prelude to Halloween.  I didn’t take that many pictures this year, but I’ll post if there are any I think are worth sharing.  

Finally, now that the whole party planning business if over (thank goodness!), I need to get back to clearing out the back room and putting my office together.  I also really need to clean out my closet to make way for cold weather!  I know, it’s absolutely riveting!  So glad I’m sharing all this with you.  

If anyone has any tips on marketing (or cleaning), please let me know!  Happy Monday!      

Cemetery Tours Release Party

Last night’s release party for Cemetery Tours was a huge success!  We sold all of the books, ate all of the cake, drank most of the wine (I still have one bottle left over for me!), and all in all, had a fantastic time.  I have so many people to thank for that, but mostly my mother.  She really helped me put it all together, thought of everything that I forgot, and hired a fantastic interior decorator to help set everything up!  My friends, Bill and Brittany, bought the most amazing cakes with the cover of the book printed in icing.  I’m guessing they were delicious.  I didn’t get to eat anything!  I did get two glasses of wine, though, and probably ended up making a total idiot of myself.  Oh well.  It was my party, I could drink if I wanted to.  And I did.

Here are a few of the pictures!

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I just love how the spine turned out!

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My family ❤

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The Wind Trail Publishing Team! Author and Graphic Designer, Benjamin Durham! I can not thank him enough for the amazing job he did on the cover design!

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Me and Jessica! One of my favorite people in the entire world!

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The cake! Isn’t it awesome?!

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High school friends and our band director! The tall guy with the dark hair is my author friend, Stephen Harrison. You can check out his book here: http://www.amazon.com/AcaPolitics-Novel-College-Cappella-ebook/dp/B00607KPD4/ref=la_B00699W1VC_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1380945238&sr=1-1

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Cemetery Tours Photo Album

In the last week since Cemetery Tours has been available, I’ve had several people send me pictures of their books, or of themselves with the book!  I thought I’d share a few, along with pictures from the websites, reviews, and so on!

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The very first copy!

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Spreading the word at Starbucks!

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The Amazon page! As shared by my high school’s Facbeook page. Proud to be an LHS alum!

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The first shipment. These are all gone now. 🙂

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Cemetery Tours sold alongside a Meg Cabot novel! I couldn’t be prouder!

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My friend sent me this photo! Check out her awesome nails!

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This is Cody. Legitimately one of the coolest guys I know. He’s an amazing actor and he’s also a writer! Check out his blog! http://ayearsabbatical.blogspot.com

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Cemetery Tours on KINDLE!

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First review!

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(Backwards) Cemetery Tours love from Texas Tech!

 

Brainspill Part II

I have a lot of stuff on my mind.  That can be a good thing.  I think I’d rather have too much to think about than absolutely nothing.  However, it does my brain a little muddled and distracted having all these different thoughts floating around.  All these thoughts are mostly combinations of things I need to do, things I want to do, and things that I want to share.  I also want to keep updating semi-regularly, because I feel like I’ve been doing a good job with that recently.  I also need to keep talking and spreading the word about…

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Subtlety at it’s finest.

1.  Today’s challenge has been converting Cemetery Tours into a file suitable for Kindle and other eBooks.  Now, the company I used will do that for you.  However, when I clicked the “read through” version, I noticed several things wrong.  The title, for example, was so huge, the word “Cemetery” didn’t fit into one line.  It ended up looking like this…

CEMETER

Y TOURS

Not gonna work.  It was also missing a table of contest and the ISBN number was wrong.  So, I had to go and reformat the entire things.  It wasn’t too difficult, unless you count creating that stupid table of contents.  That was torture.  But I’m not good with computers, so maybe it was just me.  Although I think the most difficult task is over, I will still be working on it for the rest of the weekend to make sure it’s ready for Tuesday.

2.  I really like LinkedIn.  However, I keep clicking on people’s profiles over and over again to scroll through their “connections” to see if I can find anyone else I know and I’m afraid it’s telling the people that I keep viewing their profiles over and over again and that they’ll think I’m a stalker.  So… any of my friends on LinkedIn who are reading this, I’m sorry.  I promise I’m not creeping on you (I save that for Facebook).

3.  I have to start getting serious about the release party.  I’ll probably have about three or four lists to make this weekend.  That’s okay though, because I like planning and I like making lists.  I would kind of rather be doing that than formatting for Kindle.  I’m telling you, formatting is my absolute least favorite part of the publishing process.  Seriously, it sucks.

4.  I need to order two books ASAP to send in to the Library of Congress.

5.  I need to start focusing on getting the sequel going.  I’m on Chapter 7 right now, but for as long as I’ve been writing, Chapter 7 has always been the bane of my existence.  I am not kidding.  Every single book I write, I always get stuck on Chapter 7 and it takes like, four times as long to finish it as it should.  Chapter 7 is obviously cursed.

6.  As much as I need to focus on the sequel, however, my muse is really wanting to work on my other stuff tonight.  I know a lot of writers say that you need to pick a book and stick with it.  However, you have to reward yourself sometime.  You always write the best stuff when you write what you want to write (Say that ten times fast.  Go!).

7.  I just know I’m going to forget something really crucial about this whole publishing process, which is why I feel compelled to write everything down.

8.  I need to start hanging up my little postcards on more community boards.  Here’s a picture of the ones that I hung up in Starbucks last week.

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9.  If you’ve written a book, please leave me a link in the comment section below!  I want to support you!!

Here are all my links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Cemetery_Tours

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18470430-cemetery-tours

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryTours

10.  If you have any marketing advice, words of wisdom on getting my book out there, please leave a comment of send me a message!  Any tips, experiences, or stories are so appreciated!  Thank you!

11.  I really want to watch The Count of Monte Cristo, but of course, I can’t find my DVD.

12.  I found out that Julianne Moore has been cast as the villainous President Coin in Mockingjay Parts I and II.  While I’m sure Ms. Moore will do a fantastic job, I’ll admit that I was hoping for Viola Davis to get the role.  For some reason, when I read the book, she is the one I envisioned.  She’s such a brilliant actress and she’s so beautiful!!!

Nerve-Wracking

I’ve always been a careful person, but never nit-picky enough to qualify as a “perfectionist.”  I’m not neat.  I’m not organized.  I’m convinced that if the mess in my bedroom can make itself, it should be able to clean itself up as well.  However, I’ve always been confident in my ability to do quality work, and especially in my ability to write (That being said, I really hope this post is grammatically correct or I might be something of a joke).  I was always eager for teachers and professors to read my term papers and essays, because I knew I had done a good job.

I am really, really, really excited for people to read Cemetery Tours.  I’m confident in my book, my story, my characters, all of it.  I was a little nervous when my teacher and my friend read it, but having passed the test as far as both of them are concerned, I’m ready to share it with the world.  I like it, and I really think readers will like it, too.  I wouldn’t be talking about it so much if I didn’t!  Trust me, I do not like being embarrassed.  I’d rather be in some kind of physical pain than be embarrassed.  And there are things that I’ve written that, yes, if they got out, I would be SO embarrassed.  Fortunately, Cemetery Tours is not one of them.  I am really, really proud of my book.

Turning the final version into my printing company, however, was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done in my life.  I just know that something’s going to be wrong with it, even though my editor edited it and my high school literature/English/grammar teacher edited it and my genius author/valedictorian/Summa Cum Laude/double major/law doctorate friend edited it and I myself read it through about a hundred bajillion million times.  I am still convinced that something is going to be wrong.

Apparently, this is normal.  All independent authors and publishers have talked about “polishing that manuscript.”  Well, this one has been polished, painted gold, spit-shined, and then polished again.  Still, there are no guarantees that there’s nothing wrong.  We are human, and to err is, unfortunately, human.  But I can’t edit forever.  No one can.  At some point, you have to take the editor’s cap off and replace it with the publisher’s bowler hat (For the record, I’m not sure publishers actually wear bowler hats).  You’ll never be able to move forward if you’re always second guessing not only yourself and your own abilities, but those around you whom you’ve trusted with one of the most personal and precious things to an author; your manuscript.  I never, ever thought I’d let anyone read something so personal.  If I was willing to take that step, I have to take the next and trust, once and for all, that Cemetery Tours is good enough and it is ready to be shared.  That goes for all manuscripts out there being primped for publication.

This is the home stretch, y’all.  I’ve been waiting for it for so long, and I can’t believe it’s finally here.  Thank you all for your support.  Please say a prayer, not only for me, but for all the indies out there.  We don’t ask for much.  As hokey as it sounds, we’re just trying to make our dreams come true.

I’m finally ready.

Anti-Spoilers

As we approach the seven day countdown to the release of Cemetery Tours, I thought I’d have a little fun and make up a list of anti-spoilers.  You know, stuff about the book that would be a spoilers if it wasn’t totally obvious.  

1.  There is a cemetery in the book. 

2.  There is a ghost in the book.  

3.  There is a kiss in the book.  (I’m a girl… of course there’s a little romance!)  

4.  There is another ghost in the book.

5.  There is a ghost hunter in the book.  

6.  There is dialogue in the book.

7.  There is character development in the book.  (At least, I hope that’s what it is.  Some readers may disagree, but I have my Masters and I’m pretty sure it’s character development.)

8.  There is a Starbucks in the book. 

9.  There is a library in the book.

10.  There is another ghost in the book.  

You’re welcome!