I love the sound of deadlines whipping by

So, I seem to have completely missed my week.


Please note the clever use of dating on this post. I can imagine that I actually published it on the 23rd of November, not the first of December. I can pretend that I didn’t listen to the howling of the deadline as it passed me by.

Deadlines. Gods, I hate deadlines.

Love ’em too. They make me work. (See why I hate them? I’m lazy.)

We were supposed to have my book (Cherry Blossom Express) available on all formats and in shops. Well, there were file issues. So, the launch happened when it was supposed to on Amazon. (Do not even speak to me about how hard it is for me to say positive things about Amazon. Amazon is no one’s friend. But Bezos is a marketing and business God. Not the Oracle of Omaha by any stretch, but he is brilliant none-the-less.) It happened on our website. (Where you can get all of the formats you need. *hint* *hint*)

It did not happen with the major distributor who was going to make it available for bookshops and worldwide distribution, including Barnes and Nobel.

In fact it still hasn’t happened.

Right now, I’m hoping that it manages to actually happen a month later than it was supposed to.

Needless to say my marketing has been a *tiny* bit hamstrung by the fact that you can’t get it in most stores yet. Time for more hand-selling.

I’m also supposed to have 2 edits back to their authors this week. (Last week, this week… all the same right?)

So, I should be doing that, not trying to catch up on my blogging.

At least I’m in the right place for procrastination.

Please ignore the dancing woman behind the curtain…

cbe copies


Look at those beautiful little babies up there. I’m so proud of them (sniff sniff).

As an addendum to my last post, I have bested the gargantuan beast that is file creation. I am, again, the all conquering hero and lo, for generations we shall sing songs of tribute to my ample magics–

Okay. It got a little away from me. Whatever. I’m having one of those days where I feel unusually accomplished. It’ll pass when the system finds a way to kick something back at me. At this stage I can’t tell if I’m trigger-shy or paranoid, but they were both bound to happen sometime.

I was trying to come up with something to say about the publishing business (we used to talk about that here, I feel like that was a long time ago) but I suppose we’ve reached the stage where I’m too busy doing to talk much.

I do have something interesting and anecdotal to say about book marketing though. I was at a local unnamed bookstore today, doing a little pre-holiday shopping, and they had these lovely illustrated classics. Now they’re abridged, and cheap copies of books that are so far out of print it’s laughable. Still, they were cute and I got some for my son. The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Treasure Island. And then I walked around the table and blinked at the girls books for a minute. Heidi–alright, I can see that. Alice in Wonderland–alright, still a girl as the mc. The Wizard of Oz–okay, wait a minute. Sure, Dorothy’s a girl. How does that make that a girl book? And the more I stared at their display the more it bothered me. What do we take away from reading pools when we separate girl books and boy books? Are we saying Gulliver’s Travels has a different appeal than The Wizard of Oz just because the ‘main character’ is a guy? Are we really that shallow?

I suspect, sadly, that the short answer is yes. We are that shallow. Dorothy is a girl and she wears sparkly shoes and that, therefore, makes it a girl book.

I bought the Wizard of Oz anyway, I don’t care what color they make the cover, my kid can read whatever he wants to read.

End rant, and slightly off-topic post. If you haven’t done it yet you should totally order a copy of Cherry Blossom Express. If you leave a note on your order form Kate will even autograph it for you!

Watty says…

it’s my week again. We’re all just rivitingly excited for this, aren’t we?

Kate talked a little last week about the effort we’ve been putting in, trying to get our first couple of projects off the ground. And later this week I’ll come up with some kind of kick-butt inspirational post for all those people out there doing nano or whatever other writerly challenge you might be working on.

Today we’re going to do a top five list of lessons learned about file-formating and the early, pre-finish side of working with distribution channels.

Lesson #1: You aren’t paranoid, I thought it too.

There’s a point, about halfway through the process when whoever has kicked your properly formatted file (you think) back six times. And I can nearly promise when that happens, and it offers, again, in cheery little letters to do it for you for only the piddling price of your first-born child or possibly both of you kidneys, where you’re going to think it’s just kicking it back so you’ll pay to have it formatted.

I make no claims as to whether or not this is true, I say only that I am obstinate and cheap. I’ll spend seven hours recreating a file from the ground up before I pay you to do it for me.

Lesson #2: Worship the templates.

I know when you look at these they feel a little like the ‘let us do it for you’ option too. My best advice is to suck up that plucky, pioneer spirit and use it somewhere else. Learn to love the templates. Createspace particularly has some nice ones.

Lesson #3: KISS

If you know an engineer in literally any context you’ve probably heard this. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
I, like you, would love to have things wing their way from my code-happy fingertips (I lie, code and I hate each other) and look like perfectly formated books done by big New York Publishers. And then I remember that even perfectly formated books by big New York Publishers often don’t look like that any more, and I realize how difficult that pretty font is to get to embed properly in the pdf, and my child and my animals would like to be fed. Reality is a cruel, cruel mistress.

Lesson #4: The rising cost of health care suggests you take a break.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is no-ones boo. If you, like me, get sucked into hours and hours of making that stupid picture embed centered, set a timer and take a break once in a while. An ER doc somewhere will appreciate having one less stress-induced breakdown to deal with. And likely your wrists will thank you later too.

Lesson #5: Beware the dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketsup.

I know, at some point in this process, it’s going to occur to you to go to that lovely writing group on facebook, or XYZ message board, and ask for advice. I get it, I do. I felt it too. But that road is madness. It is a sad state of fact that most of the people who inhabit the online writing community don’t know any more or any better than you do. Much better to find an author or publisher who you trust to speak sense, and ask their advice.

And the one thing to grow on, that should probably finish out any list designed for creative type people? Don’t give up. You are the little blue train chugging up the hill. Visualise the train. Be the train.

I’ll see you at the top.

Whew! What a week!

I almost missed my week of posting here, what with running around like a proverbial headless chicken trying to hammer out the business details that come from signing contracts with different distribution channels.

CBE cover 3Luckily, being busy as Hell, means I wasn’t able to panic about my book being published. (Yeah, we’re publishing it, but it still went through the entire process from contract, to deadline, to editing, editing, editing.) That is a good thing. I can’t get cold feet on a file that’s already been processed right?

This whole process has allowed us to iron out the real timelines for things as well. Being overly-ambitious is all well and good. It’s the only way to really make a go of things. But you need tobe realistic so you don’t end up leaving authors in the lurch, abandoning projects half-done, or forgetting to pay the bills. You do *not* want to forget to pay the bills. That is a very bad, bad thing. (Double-checking the date to make sure the sales tax isn’t due yet…)

Cherry Blossom Express has gone rather smoothly all things told. It was our first experience with the Amazon & Ingrams distribution channels. We’re getting used to the requirements they have for different file types. So, we’re still fighting with a few of the file types and conversions. (How do you embed fonts into a pdf for example? Seriously. Google and I are spending too much time together.)

Everything we’ve learned on this book will make the next and the next even better.

Wee Tales was beautiful when it was done. (It is the first thing on our archiveshelf.)

I know that my printed books and the current files will be lovely. The to do list for this week has just been madness.

But I’m ending the week with a party. This is my first book, and the next few will come out without a party, but damn it, this is a huge goal for me. HUGE. I’ve been working at being a published novelist since high school. Now it’s happened.

I never had a major graduation party, so f’ it. I say PAR-TAY!

Now that you’ve listened to me kvetch about the business end, here’s the fun part.

These are the links to my book. And the goodreads page for it.

Amazon (for print and Kindle)

Golden Fleece Press (for print and all other electronic formats)

Barnes & Noble (Coming soon)


Trying to do anything in the first week of Nano is a fool’s errand.

You would think, after a decade, I would have learned that. That I’d have pre-written all my blog posts for the first week, and made sure all my other little duckies were in a row.

I’m sure more than a few of you have learned better of me by this point (author points negligently to the blog title hanging out up there above the text).

This week my contributions to this blog are going to be a little squished together, because I’m picky and I’ve said two posts a week and I’ll manage two posts a week. Really. I will. I’ll even manage two posts a week without one of them being a rehash of a pep-talk I wrote for Nano years ago (mostly because all the ones I could find on my system were from the last couple of years, which means they’re too new to be throwing out there again).

The thing that kills you about publishing deadlines is all the things you don’t expect.

I know how strange that sounds. If I’d expected them it wouldn’t have been extra hard-ship, right?

But that’s what it’s been, in my little corner of the publishing business the last couple of weeks. It’s a lot of determinedly reformatting things so they look right, even though it takes me 5 hours and makes me seriously consider just starting over from scratch. It’s a lot of internal head-butting over edits (because I’m not just a publisher and I’ve got more balls in the air than is strictly sane or advisable). It’s a lot of figuring out how to expand our layout department without drowning anyone. Figuratively or Literally. Or both.

I’m developing a chant. I think I might ask someone to carve it on my tombstone, when they erect the white marble shrine.

Forethought is for losers. Just do.

That’s what I’m telling myself anyway. And it’s very much a NaNoWriMo kind of motto, so there’s that too.