Tag Archives: children’s books

MM unleashed!

This time last week, I was just a couple of hours away from my online Facebook launch of Magical Masquerade, which, despite being quite a last-minute thing, went really well. I had to wait until I knew the book would be live on Amazon for people to actually buy before I went ahead with it, hence the short notice, but it all worked out well in the end, as I got to release the book into the world on April 30 – bang on target with my chosen publication date after all…

Abi 1

Book competition winner Abi Martin.

Facebook book launches are a relatively new phenomenon (they are to me anyway), and I know that most of those who took part in mine last week hadn’t experienced one before. So, it was great to see so many friends and family joining in! I also did a giveaway and my two prize-winners looked very happy to receive their books this week!

Orders have been coming in for both the e-book and paperback since then, which is great, if not a bit surreal, and photos have been popping up on Facebook of friends who have received their copies in the post. All of this is very exciting – I’m just hoping the feedback once everyone reads the book is just as positive!

You could get a bit obsessed with tracking sales, but aside from the first few days, I’ve been quite good at not checking that too much. I will be keeping tabs on it all but the main thing right now is just letting people know that Magical Masquerade exists and getting the word out there.

Harry Cullen

Comp winner Harry Cullen.

 

With that in mind, I’ve been busy with a bit of promo this week, as well as doing a few bookish deliveries. I also had an ‘interesting’ experience with a UK-based company mid-week when I finally got around to ordering my bookmarks for the launch (I’ll be blogging about that next week by the way). I’m very pleased with the final results but there was a lot more to-ing and fro-ing than I’d anticipated!

All of these little things take time – and always more time than you think – but are well worth doing in my opinion. Again, it’s just another example of something a self-published author has to take responsibility for themselves, where a traditional publisher would normally have this sort of thing covered.

 

Louise Brogan

Louise Brogan showing off her copy of Magical Masquerade!

I like the process of deciding how to market my book however, though you do have to be careful with how much doing all of this sort of stuff eats into the working day…

 

Anyway, it’s been great to see the support from everyone so far for Magical Masquerade (which, in case you missed it, is available to buy NOW from Amazon! 🙂 Just click this link to order: http://amzn.to/2qFyayv ).

In the meantime, I thank everyone who has purchased a copy so far, and I look forward to hearing your feedback about it!

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Online book launch

Since my last post, I’m very pleased to say that everything with the book has stayed on track and … I’ve finally approved Magical Masquerade for publication! It will be available to buy from tomorrow (Sunday, April 30) so it looks like I made my publishing deadline after all. 🙂

To celebrate, I’ve decided to have an online book launch over on my author Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ClaireSavageAuthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

FullSizeRender (20)I’ll also be tweeting throughout the day and I’ll be giving away free copies of the book on both Twitter and Facebook, so if you’re online watch out for that and please do say hello!

The Facebook launch will take place from 12pm-2pm (UK time) and details of that are all over on my author page, so if you want to join in the chat and help me celebrate, then please feel free. I’ll also be having an offline launch in Belfast in the near future too, but you’ll have to wait another week for more details about that…

Meanwhile, I also did another interview this week about the book for local press, but it won’t be coming out until the offline book launch news has been announced, so I’ll post a pic once it’s published. And, there’s another radio interview in the pipeline too, so it’s all go!

The work doesn’t stop once the book is actually published, but I’m enjoying the marketing side of things at the moment, though I’m also keen to get writing again… Ideas are snapping at my heels, but one thing at a time…

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From proofs to publication…

If you follow my author Facebook page (Claire Savage – Author) then you’ll know that my proof copies of Magical Masquerade finally arrived on Good Friday! I watched the delivery van pull up with an immense sigh of relief, as the proofs were more than two weeks overdue, which has set me back those two weeks in terms of my publication date.

IMG_1277Although I was trying to be patient and play it cool with the original order, once it got to 12 days beyond the agreed delivery date (which was March 30), I contacted CreateSpace to see what was what. As I’m based in the UK, this meant having to wait 24 hours for a reply, what with the time difference, but they got back to me quickly and sent me the tracking details of the original order… which seemed to show that they were delivered on the evening of March 29! Yes, I was a little confused as well, given that I work from home and was readily available to spy couriers approaching the house…

Thankfully, despite this ‘evidence’ of proofs delivered, CreateSpace believed me when I said they hadn’t arrived and sent me another batch, which arrived three days later, on April 14. I still don’t know what happened with the first batch, but credit is due to CreateSpace for their speedy resolution of the problem. On Good Friday I had my proofs, and I was very happy…

So – what of the books themselves? Well, after all of the drama surrounding their delivery, I was delighted to see that they didn’t disappoint with their appearance in any way. Simply put – I think they look brilliant and I’m very pleased with the quality of the paperback in every way.IMG_1276

I chose a matt cover and it looks and feels fantastic. The cardboard is a little thinner than the cover of a traditionally published paperback, but I knew that beforehand and I still think it works very well. As it’s a children’s book, the font is a bit bigger than it would be for an adult novel but I checked it against recently published children’s books for the same age-group that I have at home and it seems to match up well so, thankfully, I don’t need to make any changes to this, which is music to my ears.

That being said, the point of a proof is to allow you to go through the book with a fine toothcomb now that it’s in bound book form, to catch any outstanding errors that might have been missed in the final manuscript proofing stages. What could possibly have been missed after countless edits, you might ask? Well, you’d be surprised. We’ve all seen the odd typo, punctuation error or otherwise in published books which are scoured by multiple editors, proofreaders and publishers, so something is always bound to slip through. However, going through the proof at this stage again seeks to weed out the most obvious of these and yes – something generally always needs fixed.

boojksFor me, the main thing to amend is a bit of my back matter, as the text on one of the final pages starts too far down the page, so that needs to be pulled back to the top. Other than that, I’m midway through reading the book again and have noted a few words which have caps when they shouldn’t, a few words I want to change, and a few small spacing errors between words. Small things, but things which will make the book better once fixed.

So, what does all this mean for my April publication date..? Well, if it wasn’t for the two weeks past waiting for proofs which never came, then I would be firmly on track with my chosen publication date. That being said, this hasn’t put me too far off that, so all is good. The e-book will still be released on April 29 and I hope that by next weekend I will be hitting ‘publish’ on the paperback. However, as I’ve said before, once I approve the book for publication, it can take two weeks or so for it to appear on Amazon, so it could be the first week or two in May before you’ll actually be able to buy it.

And guess what…? I’m not stressing about that.FullSizeRender

I’ve waited a long time to get my book ‘out there’ and there’s no point rushing things at this final stage only for errors to slip through the net. A couple of weeks overdue is fine – I get to decide my publication date and, well, sometimes these things just happen. Proofs get lost in transit and things get delayed, but we get there in the end. In the traditional publishing world, once an author gets their proofs it’s generally still a few months more until the book is published, as that time is used to whip the book into the best shape it can be in. So, my extra few weeks is nothing – and a stage no writer can really afford to skip.

So, my timeline leading up to publication is now as follows:

  • Finish reading Magical Masquerade today and note any further edits required.
  • Make all final changes to the manuscript tomorrow (Easter Monday); convert to PDF and upload final-ever version to CreateSpace once again.
  • Wait 24 hours for CreateSpace to approve the uploaded manuscript (checking it’s formatted correctly for them to print). In the meantime, make the same changes I made to the paperback to the e-book and re-upload the final version of that to KDP.
  • Wednesday: The book should be approved on CreateSpace and ready for me to order another proof if I so wish. I do wish. Why? Because I’m a paranoid sort of a writer and I need to see the final version is what I want it to be! I will choose fastest-ever shipping though, so the book will be with me by next weekend. (Fingers crossed it doesn’t go AWOL like before!!).
  • Next weekend: Receive my shiny new proof copy from the courier (who now knows where I live, so there’s no excuse) and check over it before hitting ‘publish’.
  • Wait one, two or three weeks (who knows?!) until the book appears on Amazon for sale and then let you all know about it. 🙂
  • Celebrate publication day (when the book is live on Amazon to purchase) with a day of social media shenanigans – I will be tweeting and Facebooking all the day long my friends … you have been warned!

So, that’s my schedule ahead of publication. I also have the four proof copies from Friday to deliver to a few people who need to see them for various reasons. It irks me slightly that I’m giving these over with the final changes not yet made, but that’s just the way of it!

Incubator Journal interview

IncubatorIn other news… I was also recently interviewed about my writing and about Magical Masquerade by Kelly Creighton of the Incubator Journal, which was published yesterday, so if you want to have a read of that you can do so here: https://issuu.com/theincubatorjournal/docs/the_incubator._issue_12

I love the cover of this and what’s more, it was designed with a nod to MM, which was a lovely thing to do!

Anyway, that’s my updates for now. More as I have it!

Pre-order the Magical Masquerade e-book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQ2GF27

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Pre-orders open for MM e-book!

Can there be a more exciting email subject line to land in your inbox than this – ‘Proof shipped: Magical Masquerade…’ ? Not really, no! Yes, Magical Masquerade is currently winging its way to me from the States so you may or may not see a photo of me clutching it with a big grin on my face in the next blog post – depending on how quickly it travels.

In the meantime, I have more exciting news (exciting to me anyway lol):

The Magical Masquerade e-book is now available to pre-order!

Just click this link: http://amzn.to/2mF6YK6 dfw-cs-mm-cover-ebook

I didn’t actually realise you could do this … if I had, I would have mentioned it in the Northern Woman magazine article … The main thing, however, is that it is doable, so if you have a Kindle and want to give it a go, it’ll only cost you a couple of dollars. 🙂

I’ve set the e-book release date as April 29, because I want it to be available at the same time as the paperback (which, by the way, I don’t have an exact release date for yet, other than April. This is because it can take a week or two to appear on Amazon after I hit ‘publish’ and I still need to approve those proofs…) It basically gives me enough leeway to ensure that the e-book won’t be out before the paperback and, if all is well with my print proofs, then I might be able to move the publication date forward. I.e. You might get it earlier than April 29. I will keep you informed! And no – you can’t pre-order the paperback version, as this is only an option for the e-books currently.

As I mentioned before, I just couldn’t face doing the e-book formatting in the end, after tackling the paperback, so a big thank you to the ever-helpful Averill Buchanan for assisting with this! She’s done a great job and it certainly wouldn’t have been uploaded as quickly if I had been at it!

Bookstore update

As well as sorting out the e-book, I also took some time this week to contact a couple of NI’s leading bookstores re stocking the paperback. Now, as a self-publishing author, I realise that online sales are the focus for my book. Indeed, the general advice is not to try getting into bricks and mortar stores because it’s just too expensive for the author – you end up having to bulk-buy the books yourself and/or go through a distributor, which could end up costing you thousands … (Not a good plan unless you have money to burn!) Also, some stores won’t take SP books anyway, though it’s always worth asking if you’re keen to get into one.

However, I’m not trying to get the book everywhere offline and I was interested to see what the response would be. Feedback was that the paperback may have a chance of getting into one of my local bookstores but nothing is as yet confirmed and it may be they can just buy in enough books for an author event. I’d be happy with that, so we’ll see how it goes.

I also have a few independent stores who are willing to take the book so I’ll keep you updated on this too.

Other than that, I will be on the air waves again once Magical Masquerade is published, so I’ll let you know when and on which radio station that will be happening once all is confirmed.

Other bookish stuff

I will certainly be watching eagerly for my postman over the next 10 days, as not only am I looking forward to receiving my proofs, I’m also expecting my first-ever FairyLoot box, which also happens to be their first anniversary box. (So it’ll be extra-special I hear …)

If you haven’t heard of FairyLoot, I’ve linked to it a couple of lines back but essentially, it’s a YA (Young Adult) subscription box of bookish treasure, including a new release YA hardcover and an assortment of bookish gifts every month. Quite frankly, it looks brilliant from what I see online.

February’s box has the theme Myths & Monsters, while April’s theme is Dreams & Wishes (yes, I’ve already ordered the April box without receiving my first box, such is my faith that it will be great!). I should point out that I’m not affiliated to FairyLoot in any way – it just seems like a really cool bookish brand and if you like YA fantasy books then I recommend you check them out!

Anyway, those are all my updates for the week! Now, back to waiting for that postman …

PS Don’t forget – if you want to pre-order the Magical Masquerade e-book for Kindle, you can do so here! https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XQ2GF27 🙂

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Bookish updates

Publishing a book is not as easy as it looks and if you doubt me, then have a go at book formatting and you’ll soon find out the challenges! With the day job keeping me busy during the week, I’ve spent the past couple of weekends getting to grips with formatting Magical Masquerade so I can finally upload it to CreateSpace and send off for my proof copies. From there, it’s just a few short weeks to hitting that ‘publish’ button and releasing it to the world…reuben-roses

For now, however, formatting has been keeping me well and truly on my toes. I was always determined to do this bit by myself, and after doing it all wrong last weekend, I might just have managed to get it sorted this weekend. I’m sending it to a trusted friend who knows exactly what’s what in this department however, so she’ll soon let me know if it needs more work. I don’t really want to waste time uploading a manuscript which needs further formatting afterwards, so I want to get it checked before it goes to CreateSpace – just to be sure…

Anyway, besides that (and forgetting for the moment that e-book formatting awaits!), over the past couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed lots of bookish things – both MM related and otherwise.

Radio interview

First up, the lovely Denis McNeill interviewed me about the book on Q Radio – North Coast last week, and you can listen back to that below if you like!

Magical Masquerade page

I also created a Magical Masquerade page here on the blog, which will keep things like press coverage and so on all in the one place, and will include any updates on events etc.

 

The Ghastlingghastling

The Ghastling journal also flew in the door as well, so I got my hands at last on book five of this, which is packed full of spooky tales (my own included) and is just really well put together. Well worth a read!

 

Waterstones poetry competition

I was also delighted to hear that one of my poems was chosen by Waterstones Coleraine as one of 12 winners in their Women Aloud NI Poetry Competition.waterstones-wani

The poems are now on display in the store to celebrate women writers and you can find out more about Women Aloud NI’s 2017 events (happening this week!) by clicking the linked name above (in blue).

Women Aloud NI 2017

This week will be full of literary treats, as I’m taking part in a Women Aloud NI reading event in Derry on Wednesday evening. I’m also heading into Waterstones on Thursday to get photographed with the other winning poets, and then Saturday is the Women Aloud  NI trip to Dublin – #WomenXBorders. This will include an in-train recital from Belfast to Dublin, along with a readathon and panel discussions at the Irish Writers’ Centre when we get there, plus a mass reading to finish up. So, it will be a busy day for women writers in NI and the ROI!

women-aloud-events

So, all in all, there’s a lot going on, but it’s all good, it’s all on track, and I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

PS Thanks to the lovely Anna Macaulay, who gave me the beautiful yellow roses that the fullsizerender-16pup is inspecting at the top of this post … and to Liza Rae, for the gorgeous gem earrings and card. These weren’t expected at all, but are much appreciated pre-publication book gifts!

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BOOK TRAILER REVEAL!

I’m delighted to be able to share my book trailer for Magical Masquerade this week, which has been created by my talented cousin, Laura Crossett, over at Blurbox Media and Design.

Book trailers are a relatively new thing, I think, and can be done in all sorts of ways. Some authors like them, some don’t. It’s like everything I guess – each to their own. Personally, I think they’re another fun way to create awareness about your book – especially for children’s books – and I prefer trailers which are kept short and simple, and without any spoilers of course.

Anyway, I asked Laura to help me out with a trailer for Magical Masquerade and after we’d discussed our ideas, sourced the music and she put it all together in an animation, this is the final result! I love it – and I hope you do too.

Newspaper coverage

I was also very pleased to have last week’s school visit to Kilross Primary featured in the Mid Ulster Mail newspaper. You can read the story here if you wish. I’ve also been interviewed for another publication this week, with pics taken of both me and the pup, so stay tuned for more details on that!

Radio interview

I’m also looking forward to chatting with Denis McNeill about Magical Masquerade over on Q Radio this Thursday (February 23), which will be airing at about 11.25am to be precise and will last for about four minutes. Wish me luck!

Magical Masquerade book trailer

 

Credits

Animation: Laura Crossett from Blurbox Media & Design

Book cover design: Andrew Brown from Design for Writers

Book trailer soundtrack: Music from 3KTrack-Exclusive, purchased from Envato Market

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Bookish bits and bobs….

Well, it’s almost the end of the month and I’m looking forward to seeing The Ghastling journal in the flesh pretty soon, especially as they’ve had my story very beautifully illustrated by this issue’s featured artist, Anouk van der Meer. Here’s a little teaser of what that looks like!

ghastling-1

Aside from this, I’ve been working with my book cover designer to get things wrapped up that end, as I’m hoping to reveal what Magical Masquerade will actually look like in my next post…. Quotes are being added onto that as we speak (from professional authors that I am very excited about), so next time we meet, I fully intend to be able to show this to you at last!

I’m also working on some more promo content for MM – nothing too flashy as I’m on a very tight budget – but hopefully there’ll be a little extra something to help with the online promotion of that in the run-up to publication day. I’ll keep you updated on that one but enough for now because – spoilers. 🙂

Women Aloud NI

Things are also progressing nicely with the Women Aloud NI events in March and while full details of these will be announced in February, I can share this lovely image below, which the Irish Writers’ Centre has created to promote the Dublin event. (The link to that is here: http://irishwriterscentre.ie/collections/frontpage/products/international-womens-day-women-aloud-ni )

international_women_s_day_-_women_aloud_ni_1024x1024

I’m really looking forward to this – not least because I’ve never actually visited the Irish Writers’ Centre before (geography does tend to get in the way….) and it’s doing lots of great things for Irish writers north and south of the border.

Literary Salon

fullsizerender-14

Some of the literary salon writers.

This week I also attended the inaugural Literary Salon at the Thinking Cup Café in Belfast.

The idea of this is to connect local writers and run regular monthly events – I’m not quite sure how it’s going to proceed, as the original organiser has since moved on to pastures new, but the group seems willing to connect and create a community, so we’ll see what happens.

It was a great evening of writing chat anyway and I got to meet some new faces, which is always nice, as well as catching up with some I already know.

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With fellow writer, Erin Burnett.

 

Anyway, I think that’s my lot for now. Things are definitely progressing with the book (which is still with the copyeditor and expected back soon!), so I need to go back and reassess my list of things to do, as things ticked off are generally quickly replaced by new things hitherto forgotten or unthought of…

img_0861

Lovely artwork at the Thinking Cup Café.

Yesterday morning, for example, was spent on the chilly north coast getting some new author photos taken, so I can have them ready for marketing and promo purposes as needs be (she says hopefully!). For things like this, I’m very grateful to friends and family for pitching in and assisting. It does come in handy when you have a professional photographer in the family….

More as I have it!

 

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Readings and launches…

With Magical Masquerade having flown the nest once again and returned to the editor for copy-editing, this week has been peppered with all sorts of other book-related things, including making plans for its official launch.

While I can’t release details of this just yet, I’m very happy to say that I’ve had a meeting to discuss it and the particulars are being ironed out as we speak! I find it quite surreal to actually be talking about my book launch at all, but am thrilled to be getting the opportunity to (a) have one and (b) to have support in hosting it. Stay tuned and … consider yourselves all invited. 🙂women-aloud-2017

In other news, International Women’s Day looms on the horizon and March 8 looks set to be another great day for women writers in Northern Ireland, as Women Aloud NI is organising a whole host of events again this year. These will include readings up north on the 8th, as well as something else very special in Dublin – both of which I’m looking forward to taking part in. Full details will be released about these in February, so look out for those!

What else?

Well, I’ve confirmed my first school visit to chat about Magical Masquerade – in February – so that will be my first public reading of it (!), followed by the Women Aloud events, by which time I hope to have my proofs ready, so I can read from a physical book (as opposed to a manuscript). AND … I have also received two very wonderful reviews from a couple of authors that I greatly admire, which I’m going to be putting on my book cover. I’m over the moon that they agreed to read Magical Masquerade and then gave me such lovely comments about it. I’m itching to share these with you, but … all in good time. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m going through my to-do list of other bits and bobs that need to be done with regards marketing etc., as time slips by rather quickly while great plans are being laid and all that. I.e. I need to be on the ball.

So, that’s what’s been happening in my writing world this week. I also enjoyed a catch-up with two fellow writing friends (I hope I didn’t go on TOO much about MM!), so it was great to hear what they’ve been up to as well.

More as I have it …

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Magical Masquerade

ink-316909_1280So … it’s the start of a new year and I’m happy to report that, aside from taking a few days off over Christmas to celebrate the season, I spent most of my time editing The Book. What’s more, my winter whittling shaved off a further 16,000 or so words from that, which I consider a definite result.

My book is aimed at what would be termed middle-grade readers, and is a fantasy story which, my research shows, provides more scope for length. Fantasy novels for any age just tend to be that bit longer, what with all the world-building and so on, so I think I’m on track, though there’s still time for more snipping before publication if needs be. My beta readers also said that when reading a fantasy book, they preferred something chunkier, which signified a story they could really get stuck into. So, we’ll see.

Introductions, please…. 

Before I go any further however, I thought I’d share something which probably should have been shared a little while ago now. Yes, that’s right – it’s maybe time now for a title??

In truth, my title has been in place more or less since I started hand-writing The Book quite a few years ago. It did undergo a complete revision at one stage, but I ended up reverting back to the original because I just felt it fitted what the story is all about and well, because I’m also an alliteration addict….

I’m still holding back on sharing the cover, as I need to get a further wee thing added onto that and would rather it was in its final form before I make it public (maybe I’m being precious about this but that’s just how I want to do it! Also, if any of you good people subsequently feel inclined to share it when I do put it’ out there’ [here’s hoping!], then at least the right version will be floating about the internet.)

Anyway, I hope I haven’t built this up too much, and if you’re an eagle-eyed sort of a person, then you’ll know the title already, as it’s also the title of this week’s blog post. Yep, you’ve guessed it. My book is called:

Magical Masquerade

I hope you like it.

If you don’t, then apologies, but that’s what it is. 🙂

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CreateSpace

Back to the business of book-making…. I’ve been re-reading my self-publishing manual over the holidays and New Year (which is Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard, for those of you who are interested), and it’s been great. Again. Although there’s A LOT of work to be done in formatting the e-book and POD (print on demand) paperback once the manuscript is good to go, knowing what the things are that need to be done is better than not knowing (or forgetting), which just makes the process seem scary and impossible all over again.

So, thank you again Catherine for (A) blogging about all this stuff in the first place and (B) self-publishing a pretty cool book about it.

One thing I did forget though, was that Self-Printed isn’t written in the order that you’ll necessarily be doing things (which Catherine does make clear at the start). So, there’s some stuff in the final section for example, which is all about selling SP books, which you need to be aware of early on, as you’ve got to get certain things in place re promo etc., rather than waiting until the book is live on Amazon. This is why I read the book last year, but I forget things, hence the re-reads…

That said, I think I’m pretty much on track with most of the prep work, though much still needs to be done. I’m someone who likes to have lists and lists and yet more lists when doing pretty much anything in life – it’s just ordering them into a chronology that will ensure everything happens in a timely fashion which sometimes complicates things!

For example, while I’m going to wait until the finished book is uploaded to CreateSpace and I can order proof copies for myself and hopefully, some reviewers, if I want to get a quote for the cover, then an ARC (advanced reader copy) would be ideal. The book still needs to be in a near-final form to do this, however, so one has to think ahead for that. Have I got someone who’s actually agreed to do this…? Stay tuned my friends, and I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

The copy-edit

clockAs we speak, Magical Masquerade is back in the inbox of my editor, who will be working on the final copy-edit throughout January. After that I will take a couple of weeks to work through her feedback again and make the required changes. Then, once I’m happy the book is worthy of publication (!) I will format and upload the e-book and paperback interiors (and order my proof paperbacks), wait up to a week for these to be approved and then wait a further week or two for my proofs to arrive in the post.

After that, I’ll be happily spending a few more weeks poring over the paperback and once that’s finally cleared for publication, I’ll hopefully get, at last, to hit that ‘approve proof’ button on CreateSpace and release it into the world. (Though it’ll then still take a week or two to actually appear on the Amazon site).

This is the timeline, and I’m aiming for an April release of Magical Masquerade, BUT, I know plans are all very well, but things don’t often go to plan. The holidays are over and I’ve still got a copywriting business to run, while there’s bound to be some sort of hiccup when it comes to formatting the different book versions. (I just know there will be – I’m not a technical whizz!)

However, I do now actually have a CreateSpace account and have filled out my tax details and completed the required tax questionnaire for that. I’ve also got my trim size confirmed (i.e. the size of the paperback) and have downloaded my interior files template (which I’ll copy my manuscript text onto for formatting later), so it’s all getting more real by the second.

Oh – and I now have an ISBN, so it’s official. The Book is really real. 😉

What’s next?Q

Good question. A lot of stuff, but I’ll need to consult my ever-lengthening list and get back to you on that one. More details are definitely coming soon about my self-publishing journey though and … perhaps also a little snippet about the official launch? Well, maybe, maybe not. Suffice it to say, there will definitely be a launch, but details are under wraps for the moment, though discussions are ongoing, so I’ll share about that when I can!

In short story news, The Ghastling journal should be out this month, so I’ll post a pic of that when I have it. (I’ve got a story in it, in case you didn’t read my last post).

That’s all for now!

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Bookish day out in Dublin

This time last week, I was in Dublin, having made the journey down to meet my editor and chat face-to-face about the feedback she sent about my book. I know that in this day and age with the internet, such meetings aren’t necessary – you can conduct entire business transactions and editorial relationships without ever actually shaking the other person’s hand, but I do like to meet people where I can and with Dublin just a couple of train rides away, I thought, why not?

img_0523My editor, by the way, is Emma Dunne – former managing editor of New Island – and it was great to get the opportunity to talk things over with her in person.

For me, getting an editor’s feedback is utterly welcomed and embraced – it reminds me of being at school and reading the comments in the margins of your English essay. Maybe I stand alone in this, but I always loved reading what my English teacher had to say about my writing – the good points and the constructive criticism. After all, if we can’t take on board comments designed to help make us better writers, then I really don’t know why you would bother asking someone to review your work.

Perhaps because of this, and because as a journalist and copywriter I know the value of editing your work, I’m really enjoying working with a professional editor, which is the first time I’ve done so with my prose writing. I want those red flags to be held up for me; I want the fact that I’ve created a fair amount of magical portals in my book pointed out because, guess what – I hadn’t even noticed. And yet – it’s clear as crystal to the professional reading the book. (Of course it is – this is why you need an editor!!)

img_0571I was at a writing event on Saturday in Belfast which was put together by Words Ireland. The focus was on how best to sustain your career as a creative writer, with a panel contributing to the discussions (poet Moyra Donaldson, publisher Patsy Horton, children’s author Sheena Wilkinson and author Ian Sansom). I chatted briefly with Sheena afterwards and when I mentioned I was working with an editor on my book, she looked relieved and said she was very glad to hear it. Her reaction, of course, was because so many self-published authors still think they can publish a book without hiring an editor. And, well, they can, practically speaking, but it will just never be as polished and professionally presented as an edited book. That’s just the way it is. I make a point of mentioning the editing process when I speak about my book now, as I want to make it clear that I am not one of those writers who dismiss editors. Yes, they cost money, but if you’re expecting people to buy your book (and you want to give self-published authors a good reputation), then they’re just necessary.

Anyway, I digress.

 

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Unicorns at The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas.

Back to Dublin, and myself and Emma spent a couple of hours chatting about those beta readers, plotlines, scenes that could be cut, and scenes which could be kept. I think we’ve agreed that if the passage the betas loved is given  more of a reason to be there and moves the story on better than it currently does, then it could stay.

 

We also discussed some of the changes I’d already made in the week since I’d received her report, as I’ve tightened up on certain elements of the story and made the rules of my magical kingdom a little more clear.

Reviewers also popped up in the conversation. I’d be interested to find out more about anyone who professionally reviews self-published children’s books, and also, anyone who runs a blog dedicated to this. Self-publishing is gaining a better reputation, I find, but there are still barriers to getting your work in front of people and one of the problems in someone not hiring an editor is that many reviewers understandably aren’t prepared to read a book that hasn’t been professionally produced. We’ll see what happens on that one anyway.

img_0536I also had time to pop into one of the local independent bookstores while I was in the city, and they’ve agreed to stock a few copies of my book, which is great. Another shop up north has agreed the same, so that’s all very positive. I haven’t really been doing the rounds in that regard yet with retailers, but when I find myself in a store and there’s the opportunity to ask, well, I do. 🙂

Since getting back home, I’ve been doing rewrites and whatnot, and am keen to get more time for this over Christmas, though I’m trying to fit it in where I can up until then.

Some other good news, is that one of the short stories I submitted to a journal recently has just been accepted for publication in their next issue. It’s based in Wales and they haven’t announced the contributors yet, so I’ll post more details on that soon.

 

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A cosy nook at The Winding Stair bookstore.

All in all, it’s been a busy week or so and it’s set to stay the same, as I want to get the manuscript reworked in time for the New Year. I’ve also finalised my blurb, which I’d been rewriting, so I hope it does its job… (To be honest, I will probably always think I want to change bits of it, but there comes a time when you have to just make a decision and let it go!).

 

So, that’s what’s been happening with The Book and I. Now, back to work and then, back to book work… 🙂

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