Under Jupiter Plans For World Domination (on attempting Kindle Scout)

Okay, maybe that title is a bit extreme, but I like it! I’m working away through the fourth or so revision of Under Jupiter, and making pretty good progress. But once it’s ready, I’m not going to release it right away, as I did with the Black Depths titles. Instead, I’m going to try Kindle Scout.

What is Kindle Scout? you ask. Good question. Kindle Scout is Amazon’s on-going “competition”, where you mostly compete against yourself. Under Jupiter will be up for a 30 day compaign. During which readers can review the blurb, and the first 5,000 words of the book (around 3 chapters). Then, you can nominate the book, and if I ‘win’, (if Amazon selects to publish Under Jupiter with Kindle Press), then you get a free copy of the ebook.

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I want to try this to do something different. I think it will be a fun way to let more people know about Under Jupiter, and a good way to share part of the book. I’ll let you know when Under Jupiter is up, but until then, here’s a link to the Kindle Scout website in case you want to check out other books that are currently up for nomination.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/

JEH

Novel Title Reveal!

Alright, I’m finally ready to tell you all the title of my new project. This is a Young Adult Science Fiction Mystery the I’ll be releasing in Late April or Early May of 2017. I has a few rounds of rewrites to go through yet, but I look forward to sharing tidbits with you each week as the launch gets closer.

So, here’s a mock cover I did when I drafted the book a number a years ago (yes, years). The actual cover is still being worked on by the amazing Leah Keeler. But don’t worry, I reveal it sometime before the launch.

So for now, the title: Under Jupiter

It’s going to be awesome.

under-jupiter

JEH

Self-Publishing: Formatting E-Books

It’s been a while since I did a post on self-publishing. Most of you are probably here for the book discussions, but hopefully a few of you are interested in the writing and publishing process too.

Recently, I decided to make a pretty major investment. I bought Vellum. And it has changed my life! So what is Vellum, you ask? Vellum is an E-Book formatter, and it’s lovely. No longer do I have to spend hours working out my indentations and page breaks, section breaks, or chapter breaks. I can just import my Word file to Vellum and let it work it’s magic! So far, I’ve reformatted the first two Black Depths books, and I hope to do the others soon. The reformatting does take a bit of time, as my old files were formatted really strangely in order to get them to import onto Kindle and Smashwords correctly. So far, the Vellum files seems to import onto Kindle and Smashwords with ease, and I haven’t come across any problems.

Now, Vellum isn’t perfect. It doesn’t format paperbacks, which means I still have to do that myself. And there aren’t a ton of style options, but there are enough. At least for me. And there are pretty ornamental breaks, drop caps, and chapter headings.

Really, in Self-publishing, it’s nice to be able to save time wherever possible. And if I can save time formatting so that I can spend a bit more time marketing, drafting, or re-writing my next project, then I’m pretty happy. But like I mentioned, Vellum was an investment. But I think it was worth the hole it put in my purse.

JEH

Twisted Currents Cover Reveal

It’s finally here! I was hoping to launch the book prior to getting into NaNoWriMo, but I’m still waiting on the editor (which is my fault as I was slow in getting the book to them). But the cover is here and ready to go. It’s amazing! I would like to say a big thanks to the artist, Leah Keeler, whom you can find over on Deviant Art. This is my favourite cover so far and speaks of what’s to come! The book will be here very soon….

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JEH

Self-Publishing: Or Being Busier Than You’ve Ever Been Before

Well, I’ve finally finished my rewrites and edits on Twisted Currents, and am now waiting for editorial and cover art. Whew! *Take a big breath*

If you read the title of this post, then you already know I’m talking about how busy self-publishing is. The real work that goes on behind the scenes. If you’re a self-published author, you’ll know what I mean about being busier than ever before. Unless you’ve published and made millions (which is so, so rare), then you likely aren’t sitting on a beach in Mexico sipping drinks from coconuts. Instead, you’re probably huddled in a dark corner of your basement, hoping to squeeze in two more minutes of writing/editing/promo time.

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Where I’m Not

If you’re a reader of this blog, then you’ve probably noticed the slow down in blog posts over the past couple of weeks, the lack of book reviews, and the lack of posting in general. And that’s mostly do to those pesky rewrites I’ve been working on. Rewriting is the most difficult part of the writing process for me. It’s that time when I sit down and think: Does this part really make sense? What is the symbology of that? How would this character say it? It’s a lot of work. And it’s even more work when self-publishing because there is no one to help you out. Though, you can remedy that by finding beta-readers or hiring an editor, for me, part of self-publishing is doing it on my own and writing something that is nearly 100% mine, and not 50% mine and 25% feedback from beta reads and 25% changes made by an editor I may or may not know. The editing I pay for is generally typo/grammatical only, which means the creative part of my novels are all mine. But it makes me so busy!

So what takes up all my time?

  1. Writing the Draft – This takes me at least 40-60 hours of straight work for an 80K word novel. I’ve tried to do this all in one week before, but mentally it’s exhausting, so I usually spread that 40-60 hours out over a month or two.

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    And Then There’s Cat Distraction Time…
  2. Rewriting the Draft (at least once) – I rewrite at a speed of 10 pages per hour (on a good day), for an 80K word book, that’s around another 40 hours. Again, this is spread out because yes, I do have a day job, and yes, I prefer to write at night, making it my “night job”.
  3. Editing the Draft – This is slightly quicker, because at this point I’m only making small changes, but it still takes around 30 hours.
  4. Getting Someone Else to Edit the Draft )and making those edits into a Final) – Most hired editors will get an 80K words novel back to you in 1-2 weeks. So there is the waiting time (where you can at least do other things), and then the review of those edits, which takes about another 5 hours.
  5. Formatting – I hate formatting. This is probable the bane of my existence. This takes me anywhere from 1-10 hours (or maybe a million, I’m not sure, but it certain feels like FOREVER).
  6. Blog – This is just a constant process. And fun (I love blogging)
  7. Tweeting – I should really tweet more than I do (15 min per day)
  8. Facebook – I should definitely Facebook more than I do (15 min per day)
  9. Cover Art Design (hire out or do my own) – I currently hire out my cover designs, though I do the text myself. While my artist is working on the drawing, there is a feedback process to make sure the image is going in the direction I need. In total, cover art probably takes around 2-3 hours, and that’s because I don’t draw (if I did, I would love to do my own art but I imagine it would take me another 40 hours at least).
  10. Book Launch Planning – If you’re going this, look at spending 5-6 hours over the course of a month to choose the sections you want to read, what kind of treats you want to serve, sending out e-vites, preparing other promotional material, and practicing your reading.img_3874
  11. Readings/Arts Fairs/Public Events – This is similar to the launch, and a similar amount of time. IMG_0136

Writing a novel is a long, slow process. Writing a series is a slightly more fast-paced process that is just as much work. I have to admit, I’m glad to be concluding the Black Depths Series for the moment, because I need a breather. After a week of getting sampling edits back from potential editors so that I can find the right editor at the right price, I’m just about burnt out. But I’ve timed this perfectly, because now that the book is off to the chopping block, I have time to sit back, read, relax, and blog prior to starting NaNoWriMo in exactly one week.

Join me tomorrow when I post my first blog about my 2016 NaNoWriMo preparations.

Have you planned out  your novel yet?

JEH

 

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #6

Well, we’re back into fine weather here, and I’ve had a great week of meeting my writing goals. What’s really helped this week is that I’m pushing to finish rewrites to get Black Depths #5 out the door by Halloween (cover art and editing dependant). Here’s a look at the numbers for the past week:

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It looks fantastic, and as you can see, I’m well over my goal, so I’m thinking I might allow myself a mini-break once I finish this draft. Although, there is a short story I’m trying to finish up in order to enter it into the CBC Short Story Literary Awards Contest, and there is the fact that the point of this exercise is to write 1,000 WORDS A DAY FOR A WHOLE YEAR.

Yeah, that’s a lot tougher than it sounds. Speed wise, I can type out a thousand words in under half an hour. What’s tough is coming up with motivation. Take today for instance, I’m extremely tired because one of my little kittens did not let me sleep last night. All I want to do is nap but I pushed through anyway, and I’m even writing this blog post, though I was pretty sure I WASN’T going to do it. I think that means the writing has finally made it into my blood. It’s finally more habit and chore and hopefully from here things just get easier. I am looking forward to dropping back down to 1K a day though soon, once my currently project, Twisted Currents, is wrapped up. Self-publishing is never easy, but I’m pretty sure it’s most difficult as self-imposed deadlines approach.

Ah well, I’m sensing a celebration coming down the pipe… Probably in the form of cake, tea, and books…

 

JEH

Black Depths Book 4 Is Now Here

I had such a busy weekend preparing Doomed Seas for Release today! I’m so excited for this. Doomed Seas is Caesar’s story, and is kind of a jumping off point for Black Depths Series, which means, if you haven’t yet read the other books, it doesn’t matter. You can start right here (at least I think so, but maybe I’m wrong since I’m so ingrained in this world). I love the cover, I love my pirates, and I just love writing and self-publishing, since it means I’ve been able to control the Black Depths world from start to finish.

Doomed Seas is currently up on Smashwords and Amazon, and as soon as Smashwords finishing the checks, it should be up on Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. I’ve made Tales of a Redheaded Sea-Witch (Black Depths Book 1) permanently free on Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and iBooks. It isn’t free on Kindle yet, as I’m not allowed to set that, and I need someone to report they found a lower price elsewhere, so if any of you lovely readers feels like doing me a favour, I would greatly appreciate it.

Anyway, not that Doomed Seas is done, I can focus on the final push to finish Twisted Currents, Book 5, and the last book of this section of the Black Depths Universe (though possibly not the end, as I have a few more stories I would like to write, though it may take a long time for me to get around to them). I need to wrap up Black Depths before NaNoWriMo, because this year I have a marvellous fantasy planned that I can’t wait to write. As a writer, it’s always wonderful to be able to embark on something new, and I’m really looking forward to that.

I see that there are a few new reviews up for the books since the last time I checked. I love this! Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to put up a review for any or all of my books that you’ve read. I cannot say how much authors need and love and crave reviews! If I could give each of you a hug, I would!

Okay, later this afternoon I’ll finally have my review for Empire of Storms up. I finished it last week but just have no had enough time to put my thoughts together. If you haven’t read the latest in Sarah J. Maas series, you probably won’t want to read the post, even though I try not to get too spoiler-y. I just love talking about books.

JEH