Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing is Lonely. Publishing Takes a Village!

Writing a novel requires endless hours spent alone in front of my computer. When things go well, the time speeds by. When I'm stuck, I can spend hours procrastinating: getting another cup of coffee, checking Facebook, streaming yet another episode of Cake Boss. For me, writing is rewriting. I rarely speed through writing chapters and keep going. I write forwards and then go backwards; sometimes I jump ahead.

Publishing is a different story. I'm not a techno-geek, so I can't do it all myself. When the book is finished, writing becomes a collaborative effort. 

I usually work with an editor who can help me spot plot holes and who will offer advice to strengthen then story. After another rewrite or two, I ask fellow writers and readers to read the manuscript--usually I print it out, because I find reading on a printed page helps to spot typos. After I get feedback and make corrections, I may send it to a copy editor for proofing. It constantly amazes me that ten people can read a book, and typos still slip past.

Meanwhile, I send the manuscript to my cover artist, Jeroen ten Berge, so he can start getting ideas. Covers are extremely important, and Jeroen always does a great job. Making a cover work in thumbprint size is a challenge. Initially, Jeroen came up with a cover that you can see on this blog, but after receiving feedback from fellow writers like Blake Crouch (he told me the cover had to feature a dancer), Jeroen went back to the drawing board and came up with the current gem.

Finally, I send the book to my formatter, Terry Roy of TERyvisions. She's the person I torture most, because she has to deal with my nit-picky changes and corrections. Terry is close to a fact, she may truly be one! And she does a terrific job for eformatting and paper. 

Rosy presented additional challenges, because I decided to name each chapter for a song and link the chapter heading to an MP3 download of that song. First, I contacted Amazon to make sure that was okay. They gave me the green light, but after doing some research, and learning how litigious the music industry can be, I became nervous about being sued. I contacted several lawyers via the internet.

Kirschner Law advised me that lyrics are copyrighted, but song titles are not--they advised me to check each title for trademarks. Todd Mouser of Mouser Law was exceptionally helpful, giving me further advice regarding trademarks--not all of them are easy to determine. Todd advised me not to mention the artists in conjunction with the song titles, because that might be construed as an endorsement. Todd also advised me to delete all lyrics from the text, which I did. If you need advice regarding intellectual property, I highly recommend Todd Mouser. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

After determining that I would probably not be sued, Terry linked the Chapter Headings, and I downloaded Rosy: A Novel.

Then author, Mel Comley, who'd downloaded the book, was kind enough to let me know about a number of typos she'd discovered! 

So guess what? 

I had to bug Terry Roy again.

Early this morning, I downloaded the new file to Amazon. Hopefully, it will be published in time for the 3 day FREE promotion beginning December 21 (tomorrow) at midnight!

Writing may be a lonely process, but publishing is not!

Many thanks to everyone who's helped me!

Please pick up a copy of Rosy: A Novel. FREE on Amazon, December 21-23.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Free Books from Suzanne Typak

Today is a great day to fill up your new Kindle Fires and iPads with FREE books! Including my new novel, Rosy and my historical, Hetaera--suspense in ancient Athens. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Surprise Guest: Thea Atkinson

Please welcome one of my favorite writers: Thea Atkinson

I can't wait to read her new release!

Thea is always full of surprises, and this post is no exception. 
From Thea: 

I'm a history addict--so much so that my hubby has on occasion said to me when I grab the TV remote, "Oh, God, not another Egypt thing."

I'm also a big reader. And I LOVE Suzanne's books. Grabbed and read and LOVED Vestal Virgin and Hetaera. (Did I just write Love twice in one paragraph and cap it both times?)

So imagine my delight when Suzanne invited me to guest post. No. Really.  Imagine it--you wouldn't be far off if you believed I did a little jig--except you'd have to also imagine Elaine on Seinfeld to get it to something accurate. I'm a very poor dancer.

I considered using this opportunity to hock my wares--I have a new novella just released (Theron's Tale) but I thought how cheesy that would be when this gracious writer I admire offers me such a gift. So I'm not going to do that. Instead I'll mention the series that has recently captivated me.

Mankind: The Story of All of Us has production values that are out of this world. More than that, the images feed my habit in ways that speak to me as a writer.

You see, I've always been one to gravitate to odd bits of history. I love the underdog, so much so that I always loved the peculiar pieces of history that didn't get taught in school--or church.

I remember reading the King James Version of story of Judas's betrayal and saying to my mom--a devout Evangelical Christian, mind you--that I couldn't believe God would be so heartless that He'd condemn poor Judas when the poor disciple was obviously just doing his part in 'The Plan." That he was just obeying what the big J told him to do.

Phew. The tongue lashing.

Then about eleven years later I read about the Dead Sea Scrolls and all the Gnostic teachings and got this chilly sense of recognition.

What that has to do with how small bits of images form Mankind feed my writer essence is simple. It's these types of things: flashes of imagery, sound bytes of words that get the psyche-deep synapse-firing effect in me that forces me to narrative. I like to tell myself a story I'd like to read.

And I always fail.

Nothing I write ever comes close to the visceral response I get to the possibility of a story. It falls woefully short of the drive and potential I foresee. I get this sense of magnitude and emotion and satisfaction even before I've put pen to digital paper. It's when the potential is at its fullest bloat and I sense the power of the escape I want to create.

If only my talent and skill matched that quivering swell. Oh. The story I could tell.

And that's why I love Suzanne's work. It promises and delivers. You wouldn't be here reading my paltry words if you weren't too a fan. So I'd like to thank you for letting me have some of that time you would normally have reserved for her; I appreciate it more than you can know.

You could try out my work, I suppose, if you like. Some is plain and some is edgy. Depends on where the images or words took me. Just remember if you do that you'll find odd things in there everywhere, because nothing speaks to me quite so much as peculiar.