You Got a Book Contract, Now What?

Last night it really hit me that the process for getting The Exile’s Violin published is far from over. Over and over in my head I kept hearing myself say, “You got that contract. Now what?” I have a feeling that I’m not alone and many first-time authors are asking themselves that same question. So really, now what?

As a writer your job doesn’t end once the ink’s dry on the contract. It’s not all hookers and blow (that can come later if that’s your thing). You still have a lot of work left to do.

Usually what comes first is a round (or two or five) of content edits. Content edits are when an editor reads your manuscript and looks for problems with character development, pacing, plot, structure, names, and continuity. Usually things like spelling, grammar, and sentence structure are overlooked at this stage.

For the most part, this is where all the heavy lifting is done with rewrites and revisions. An editor will make you realize you spelled something one way in chapter two and three different ways in subsequent chapters. They’ll help make your characters more rounded and interesting. A good content edit can help turn a good book into a great book.

Great now that the revisions are done, your job as an author is done, right? Guess again Lazy McLazyperson! (See, a good editor would make a note that that’s not a very good character name) Now it’s onto copy edits and line edits.

I may not know all the semantics between copy edits and line edits, but I know that this stage is all about the words themselves. Now your editors go over your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. They look for spelling mistakes, grammar, sentence structure, and a whole host of other things you probably weren’t thinking about. I’m an author! I throw words on the page and it’s art! Yeah, not always. Sometimes what you think is a wonderful, poetic sentence is just a gurgling mess of adjectives and dangling participles.

Well now the book’s edited and ready to be printed. Time for hookers and blow? Nope! Unless you have a contract with one of the big six, chances are you’re going to have to do some–say it with me–marketing! You got blog tours to arrange, reviews to solicit, blog posts, interviews, press releases, and animal sacrifices to the Marketing Elder Gods to make. Plus you gotta get busy writing that sequel!

As an author you may think your job’s done once you write the book, but it’s really just begun. And that’s what kept me awake last night. But with the proper planning and hard work, this process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. (It can just be regular whelming) I need to remind myself of that. Then maybe figure out who actually celebrates with hookers and blow. That’s a thing big celebrities do, right?

Ten Silver Bullets Available Now!

So this is all rather sudden. Last week I found out my short story “Blood Moon” was accepted in the Ten Silver Bullets werewolf anthology by Adam Millard and Crowded Quarantine Publications! And now that same anthology is available online! Ten Silver Bullets is available for Kindle through Amazon, or you can find it on Smashwords.

“Blood Moon” tells the story of a private eye on the job in Prohibition-era New Orleans. Except he specializes in cases that aren’t quite…normal. You’ll have to read the story to find out more, but the werewolf theme should give you a hint of where the story might go.

Crowded Quarantine is a UK publisher, so this is doubly exciting for me. I’ve never been published across the pond so to speak. I also have an electronic copy available for review, so if you’re interested contact me.

The Kindle and Changing Reading Habits

While reports are all over the place about whether or not Amazon’s Kindle Fire sold well in Q4 2011, I can say without a doubt that Kindle and other e-readers are completely changing reading habits. At the very least, my Kindle Fire has changed my reading habits in just a few short weeks. But what does that mean for me as a reader and as an author?

Personally, I love my Kindle. It’s the best Christmas present I’ve received in a long time. With the ability to wirelessly download books pretty much anywhere, I’ve found I’m reading a lot more than I was in the last year. It saves me the hassle of having to either go to the library or a bookstore. Both libraries and bookstores suffer from physical limitations: not enough shelf space or not having certain products in stock. And ordering physical books online has its own drawbacks too: you have to wait for them to arrive and sometimes things get lost in the mail.

Since I got my Kindle, I’ve downloaded more books in just a little over a month than I’d purchased in probably the last six months. Because of that, I’ve also read more than I had in the last six months. I’m able to carry multiple books with me at one time. I can take it work and read on my breaks. I can take it with me to the tire store and read my multiple books while I wait for the mechanics to put new tires on my car. The Kindle is an amazing tool for helping me, as a reader, read more books and from a wider variety of authors. (I make a point to try and read books by indie authors along with bigger names).

But what does this all mean for me as an author? Well technically, I don’t know because I haven’t published a novel (yet). But with millions of people owning Kindles and other e-readers I can see the growing importance of ebooks. I used to be a staunch traditionalist. I swore I’d never give up buying paperbacks. Now my tune has changed a little bit. I still love physical media, but I can see the positives associated with ebooks and other digital media. And if I’m able to be swayed, I’m sure there are millions of other readers out there who feel the same way.

I used to only want to see my work appear in print, and not in digital formats, but that doesn’t make sense anymore. To ignore ebooks and e-readers would be a huge mistake, especially if you’re a first-time or indie author.