Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Formatting for Print

I'm formatting for print today.  Fun fun fun.  

In case you weren't aware, I almost never use smaller than 11pt font in my print books.  I think I did 10pt once to try and keep the price reasonable, but that's it.  If I don't want to go blind trying to read tiny print, I'm sure as hell not going to subject you to that either.

It occurs to me that if I am going to venture into young adult, I probably shouldn't swear so much on my blog.  :shrug:  There are no swear words in SONG, except for the curses they use in that world.  Blast, blaze, etc.  Nothing you wouldn't want your kiddies reading in there.  Here?  Umm...  Parental Guidance is suggested for this blog - language, sometimes violence and adult themes.  No sex.

Chances are that the kids reading this particular book are old enough to have seen and heard many nasty words by this point in their lives.  Probably said a few, too.  Still, I didn't want that for this book, so it's not there.  I might've used damn... :shrug:

Anyway, I should be done with the print formatting and uploading today.  Then I have to wait for my proof copy to arrive and verify it's all good.  Then it'll be available for sale.  Right now, it's looking like it's going to be 424 pages.  Probably like $14-$17 a copy US and near to that elsewhere.  I try to keep them as cheap as I can and still make it worth my while to make print copies available.

Anyway... back at it.

What are you up to today?  How do you feel about print copy books?  Do you think I should try out Amazon's new 'hardcover' option?

Friday, March 25, 2022

Inspiration and Motivation

Inspiration:  This morning, Silver James did something special on her blog - she posted a music video and associated it with my new release: Song of Storm and Shroud.  It really hits the right spot for the story, and her doing that meant a lot to me.  Go check it out.  The gal in the video (the artist, really, playing a part) reminds me of one of the characters in the book, Fenwyn.  Totally awesome.

Motivation:  In other news, I got back to writing the sequel for SSS.  I'm about 2200 words in now.  Then last night as I was trying to sleep, I had a flood of ideas.  Three scenes worth.  I got up and wrote them down, so I'm definitely on a roll there.  Now I just need more people to buy the first book and give me the impetus to keep writing the second.  Book sales are incredibly motivating, doncha know.

Short post today.  Go read something.  ;o)

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

It's LIVE!

After spending most of yesterday on formatting, SONG OF STORM AND SHROUD went live on Amazon last night.  Of course... Amazon is the easiest to format and so it uploaded without a hitch.  Draft 2 Digital decided to be a picky bitch, but I finally got all the wrinkles hammered out and I uploaded the dratted thing everywhere before dinner last night.  

Today, I'll be formatting for print.  Woohoo.  So expect that to be available some time in the next couple of weeks.  (Takes time to get and approve the book for sale, doncha know.)

I did something with this book I've never done before.  I added graphics at the beginning of each chapter and a different graphic for the scene breaks.  I usually just laze out on the scene breaks and use some combination of symbols to denote a change of scenes, and I never do graphics for the chapter headings.  There's a little wyvern for the chapter breaks (looks like a dragon, but only two legs instead of four) and four little arrows for the scene breaks.  I'm pretty pleased.  All in all, the graphics added about 200,000 kilobytes to the file size, so I'll be losing a little bit of my royalties there, but it's worth it.  It's so SHINY.

Wouldn't you know it, though?  I was formatting and found a typo.  Aryl spelled Ayrl.  So, I went through the whole damn manuscript again.  And found a bunch more that I had missed AGAIN.  Aryl spelled wrong again, a couple other characters' names messed up, too.  Lucky for me, I had already added the names to my Word dictionary, so all the snafus had red squiggles underneath them.  The final draft was my SIXTH edit pass.  So, make it 7 passes on this sucker before it went live.  If there are errors now, they're masters of camouflage.  

You should've seen me yesterday, chain smoking cigarettes and talking to... err, yelling at... my computer.  D2D kept trying to put my wyvern at the end of the chapters instead of the beginnings.  I thought I had it fixed, but Chapter Two wouldn't behave.  Then I got Chapter Two fixed and all the other chapters went to hell.  I finally figured out it was trying to make my graphic be a Header instead of Normal.  I got that cleared up and it was then trying to put my chapter number on a different page entirely.  I had to switch it so the number came first and then the picture, which is a little odd, but hey, it works now, so I can deal with odd.  (The Amazon ebook has the pic first, so if you read it and have no idea what I'm talking about, you're on a Kindle.)

In the middle of the mess, I NEEDED a walk, so Hubs and I went for one.  I was burning off frustration, so the poor man kept having to tell me to slow down.  I hit the crest of that first hill panting like a sick dog, lemme tell ya.  But it burned the worst of it off, so when I got home, I went back at it and it worked FINALLY.  I probably spent 4 hours yesterday just on that annoying niggle.

Anyway, I'm toast.  If you're interested in epic fantasy, coming of age, action/adventure fiction, give the book a whirl.  It's $4.99, but that's not bad for a 110K word novel, eh?  And from what my beta readers told me, it's a fast read, too.  I hope you all enjoy it.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Checklist Time is a Comin'

The time is drawing nearer.  After a marathon weekend of proofreading, I only have 67 pages left.  I've already created a Goodreads listing.  Time to break out the checklists...

Formatting checklist 


1)  Type THE END

2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing

3)  Remove all Bookmarks.

4)  Create Bookmarks: START, TOC, END

5)  Make sure everything is 12 pt font, Cambria

6)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.

7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series

8)  Create title page

9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page

10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end

11)  Add in back matter.

12)  Create Table of Contents.

13)  Scan entire manuscript for continuity.

14)  Email book to Kindle and scan through again for continuity and formatting errors.

15)  Publish to Amazon

16)  Publish to D2D

17) Add ASIN to Goodreads listing before Amazon creates a duplicate listing


1)  Type THE END

2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing

3)  Remove all Bookmarks.

4)  Make sure everything is the font you’ve chosen for the book.

5)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.

6)  Apply print font for Headings to all.

7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series

8)  Create title page

9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page

10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end

11)  Add in back matter.

12)  Create Section Breaks after Acknowledgements and after THE END

13)  Add Pages Numbers to manuscript section centered bottom

14) Verify ‘Link to Previous’ is unchecked

15)  Format Page Numbers to chosen look

16)  Set to ‘Different First Page’ in manuscript section

17)  Delete page number from first page of manuscript section

18)  Verify no page numbers in front matter section or back matter section

19)  Set page size to 5.5” x 8.5”

20)  Set margins to Top .88”, Bottom .88”, Inside .75”, Outside .63”

21)  Make sure margins are ‘mirrored’

22)  Verify all chapters start on right hand page.

23)  Print a few pages to verify it will look how you want it to look.

24)  Upload to Amazon

Post publication checklist –

1)  Goodreads listing – add ASIN before the book goes live

Add book to your Amazon author page.

Verify book is on Amazon UK author page.

If in a series, add to series.

Update FB header.

Add book to all blog sidebars.

Update internal links inside book to Amazon

Post to the blogs

Post to FB pages

Post to Pinterest

Post to Twitter

Post to MEWE

Add book to appropriate Outside the Box book page

Update links on book page – US, UK, CA, AU

Bookmark Amazon pages – US, UK, CA, AU

Update back matter of all other books

Post to FB groups

Fall apart.


And that's how my life goes once I get the proofing done.  Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point.  Now, it's time to crawl back into those last 67 pages before I get Monday all over me.

If there's anything you think I might've missed on those lists, feel free to let me know.  

What's up in your lives these days?

Friday, March 18, 2022

Blurby McBlurberson

 Here's the blurb I came up with for SONG OF STORM AND SHROUD.  It sucks, but I think you get the general idea...

Before anyone who lives in these lands was born, the Great Lady created the Shrouds and locked away those beings who would bring harm to her children.  Since then the Lady sleeps and while she sleeps, the Shrouds decay, loosing monsters upon the innocents.  Their only hope lies with the mages.

Aryl never wanted to be a mage, but the Lady chose to gift him and when the King's envoy arrives seeking those with the gift, he has no choice but to comply.  Thrust into the Academy to train with other young folk like him, he longs only for his home and the twin he left behind. 

The Lady could grant both of his wishes, but the cost may be higher than he expected to pay.  With Lyra beside him, they will learn to use their combined magics to fight and win.  But when visions of a dragon and destruction tear them away from their training, their meager skills may not be enough to save their home, let alone sufficient to save the Shroudlands.   

Yeah, I know, but I am clueless when it comes to writing blurbs.  Especially this one.  Do your worst.  One way or another I have to have something to toss up as marketing copy when I upload the book.  

On another note, I found something in the manuscript last night that I think requires an explanation I hadn't provided before.  Derp.  I'm working on it now.  If I can stop the distractions, that is.  It's a very distracty-full morning.

I'm still hoping to have this live on or before April 1st.  I worked on it all morning yesterday, took the afternoon off, and got back at it after dinner.  I want all my books to be the best they can be, but this one especially.  And, if you haven't written fantasy, it's probably the hardest genre to nail.  I know it's the hardest book I've ever worked on.

Anyway, I should toddle off and see if I can't weave this thing in and make it seamless.    

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Illigetimis Non Carborundum

The other day, I happened to be at my local feed store.  The cashier hasn't been there too awfully long, but long enough that I had hoped she would remember me.  She explained that she doesn't remember faces really well, and well, neither do I, so it was all good.  Then I got an idea.  I asked her if she likes to read.  She does.  Yay.  So, I handed her a bookmark and started talking to her about my books.  I bet her that she wouldn't forget me again.  

During the course of our conversation, though, she mentioned that her daughter writes books, too.  So, once I'd finished talking about myself, I asked about her daughter's writing.  She's only finished one book, but her experience with a 'professional editor' has her so down that she may never write another.  Even though the people who've read her book loved it and even though those people want more of that world and even though they told her to ignore the editor.  Poor thing.  I wish I could give her a hug and tell her everything will be alright.

Apparently, this editor wanted her to make so many changes, the book would no longer be the book she wrote.  I was livid.  Not only no, but hell no.  Instead of dropping the idea of writing, she needs to drop that editor.  Perhaps drop kick the editor.  

I told the mom what I firmly believe - editors are there to provide suggestions, and if they're messing with your story, they're the wrong editor.  Take what you agree with and ditch the rest.  And if you find yourself disagreeing more than agreeing, ditch the editor.

I also told the mom to have her daughter email me.  Not sure if I can help, but even if she just wants to vent and gain a sympathetic ear, I'm here.  Hell, for all I know, she's the next Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.  (The book is fantasy.)  And all she needs is a little coaxing through this birthing process.  She could also be a true neophyte whose book needs a lot of work.  In either case, she probably doesn't deserve to have her dream stomped on.  New writers should all have wear the Label - Caution: Handle with Care.

Additionally, I told the mom that her daughter, pardon my language, needed to grow a set because this business requires it.  (Yes, I actually said 'pardon my language'.  I don't know this gal as well as I knew the last one.)  Because while new writers should be handled with care until their skin thickens, they also need to work on getting that skin as thick as they can make it - the sooner the better.  As most of you are aware, this writing thing will grind you into a fine powder, piss in the dust, and use the paste as grout - if you let it.

Anyway, I hope she does contact me.  If I can't help her, I can put her in touch with other writers, open the door to the community so maybe she can find someone who can help.  And like I said, I can at least commiserate.  

Lastly, I'll leave you all with these thoughts: 

"You must want to enough. Enough to take all the rejections, enough to pay the price of disappointment and discouragement while you are learning. Like any other artist, you are learning your craft -- then you can add all the genius you like." - Phyllis A. Whitney

"Writers must fortify themselves with pride and egotism as best they can. The process is analogous to using sandbags and loose timbers to protect a house against flood. Writers are vulnerable creatures like anyone else. For what do they have in reality? Not sandbags, not timbers. Just a flimsy reputation and a name." - Brian Adkiss

And... Illigetimis non carborundum.  Or 'don't let the bastards grind you down'.  ;o)

Monday, March 14, 2022

Opening the Tap

I sat myself down this weekend and had a long conversation about what I'm doing and what I'm going to do.  As a result, I did not get my edit notes done yesterday.  On the other hand, I did get 2259 words laid down on a new book.  Okay, not a new new book, but I wasn't that far along on the manuscript, so those words about doubled its length.  

Part of the impetus for picking this particular book was reader input.  As in someone I don't know contacted me filled with excitement about my books and she had asked for more of three different series.  Since I can't write four different books at once (those three plus the sequel to SSS), although lord knows I wish I could, I picked the first one she mentioned.

I also decided I need to be more business-like as a writer.  As in, I need to stop with the 'only writing when the mood strikes me' crap.  Like some precious flower who can only grow when the circumstances are right.  I need to be a dandelion and grow wherever and whenever.  

The world is going to hell and I can't control any of it.  But I can control this.  

So, to that end, I will be working more.  Edit and do business stuff during the day, write at night.  So basically, back to the way I used to work.  

As for the book I went back to working on, it's SCIU #4, tentatively called Justice Served.  If you're not familiar with the format of SCIU, these books don't hide who the villain is.  The story is in the actions of the villain and the heroes.  Who's going to die, how are they going to be stopped, who's going to stop them.  The tug and pull between the characters.  And the justice at the end.  There's always justice at the end.

Anyway, I will finish SSS and get it published by the end of the month.  I will also write subsequent books, but later.  Right now, if my gumption holds up and I keep whipping myself to work, the plan is to complete this book and get it out, then another Dennis Haggarty and another Duke Noble.  Can I do all that this year?  :shrug:  If I fail, I hope it's not due to lack of trying.  Although, I'd rather it was due to that then the world collapsing.  All I know is I'm gonna go out fighting one way or the other.

And now, I'll leave you with this quote: "If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write. Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow." - Louis L'Amour  

I'm going to keep the water flowing.  Open the tap and let it gush on out.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Time to Write the Cover Copy... Err, Maybe

It's time once again to create attractive and alluring cover copy that will encourage people to buy my book.  And once again, I am dreading it.

Or as I joked to Hubs a minute ago...

"So, you see, it's like this fantasy.  And there's a dude and a girl... well, they're twins, you see, and they have magic... Well, she doesn't, but he does... and they go to a school to train... but it's totally not like Hogwarts..." and this point I chortled and guffawed like an inbred idiot. 

Hey, he laughed.

But yeah, I feel like an inbred idiot every time I try to start writing this damn cover copy.  Is it too much to ask that people just see the title and the cover and go 'wow, I totally want to buy that'?  I mean, SONG OF STORM AND SHROUD totally says awesome fantasy novel.  Add that to this awesome cover...

And readers should already know it's gonna be good.  Right?  RIGHT?

Okay, maybe readers need more.  And I'll produce more.  Maybe not today, but definitely soon.  When I have it, you'll know.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Decisions, Decisions

Night before last, I started the sequel to Song of Storm and Shroud.  Last night, I got the last of my edit notes from the beta readers.  Needless to say, the new words are on hold so I can finish the edits and get this puppy ready to launch.  I also need to do a blurb.  Both of those together shouldn't take me too awfully long, so the question now is: Do I upload it and let it launch immediately?  Or do I upload it and set it for pre-order?  

I've heard pre-order can create buzz and interest in your book.  Not sure how that works versus actually having the book available for people to read.  Personally, I don't do pre-orders because I don't like things coming out of my bank account all willy-nilly.  And I don't like waiting.  If I order the book, I want the book now.  (For ebooks.  Obviously, I am capable of waiting on a print copy to arrive.)

Speaking of print, there will be one.  If I upload and set to order immediately, the print will probably be a bit behind that because I have to wait for a proof copy to be delivered and then approve that before I can set it for sale.  

Of course, if I set the ebook to pre-order, I could have the print stuff done and ready to go live when the ebook goes live.  Decisions decisions.

But, I lack patience.  So, this sucker may just go live when I upload it.  I want all of you to be able to read it as soon as humanly possible.  I'm so excited about this book.  I hope you will be, too.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Cue Hysterical Giggling

:cue hysterical giggling:

So, apparently yesterday, Brandon Sanderson decided to do a kickstarter for, I believe, four unpublished 'secret' novels of his.  He raised 14 million in one day.  Say it slow with me... FOURTEEN MILLION DOLLARS.  In one day.  And it's still rising.  (Go here to watch his $ counter and backer counter roll like the tote board at the Labor Day Telethon.  It's mesmerizing.)

A month before my own fantasy novel is set to go out into the world.

Now, there are people who would rejoice over a coincidence like that.  My name being Sanderson, after all, means people could get confused and one-click my book thinking it's HIS book.  I could reap the whirlwind there.  But I don't WANT to.  I've never ridden anyone else's coattails and I'm not about to start now.  

Besides, think about how pissed those of his readers would be when they realized this book was not his book.  I already got tagged once because of my name, where someone intimated, after WISH IN ONE HAND went live with that tragic first cover, that I was a hack trying to riff off the dude's name.  

And there are plenty of people out there who do exactly that.  Some chick decided to write romantic suspense under a name so very similar to a friend of mine (bestselling author of romantic suspense) that the similarity had to be on purpose to suck off her reader base.  I don't do that.  Even the implication that I would makes me nauseous.

The only thing worse would be if one of those books is in any way similar to my book.  Cover?  Title?  Premise?  No clue if they are because he's keeping all that a secret.  With my luck, everything about them is similar to SONG.  

The only thing I have going for me is that I already went live with the cover and title, so I couldn't possibly be riffing off his, which aren't public yet.  And my book is already in the hands of two people who could vouch for me that I didn't 'steal' from him.  

How could I steal from him?  I have purposely never read a single title of his.  And I was out in the world as B.E. Sanderson before I'd even heard of Brandon.  


I'm seriously considering changing my name.  For these books only.  I am proud to be a Sanderson, after all.  Hubs made me one and I am proud to be his wife.  But yeah, it's a liability right now.  I need to do some research, though, to see if I can legally use another name or if I have to go get a DBA (doing business as), which costs money.  And then I'd need to change the cover.  Which, thankfully, isn't that hard.


So, yeah, I'm over here giggling like a maniac.  The timing for his thing couldn't have been worse for me.  I mean, go him.  That's an incredible feat.  And his readers must really love him to be shelling out all that money to get all the goodies he's offering.  I wish I had half that love.  Hell, I'd be happy with a tenth.  But not at the cost of my integrity.  

Stay tuned.  This book will be published and it will go live on April First, barring unforeseen difficulties.  Whether it's as B.E. Sanderson or B.E. Meissner, who knows?  Would you buy Bes Anderson?  :shrug: