There are some fundamental things that you need in the production of a great book, besides the great book:
(1) Copy editor, (2) Editor, and (3) Cover Designer.
None of these elements guarantees success because getting exposure and marketing are whole different animals. Still, you get the point.
When I first produced The Long Walk, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. Now that I am producing Not Your Abuelita's Folktales, I have a copy editor and new cover designer. In fact, I would say that besides my last two freebies, the new cover for the collection best fits the genre.
Below is my redo of my first short pub, The Long Walk. The cover and the design are a lot better, but the cover doesn't quite say barrio zombies. It's a work in progress.
My point is that I'm doing things better, and right. I also have a great editor who is going to look at my novel The Harvest. That is a huge step forward for me.
The next thing may be hiring a professional cover designer, but we will see.
Keep doing better. #barrioblues
Copy editing: The unsexy part of writing. I have been copy editing my collection Not Your Abuelita’s Folktales almost every evening. Yes, I do have a copy editor, a fabulous copy editor, but I want to give the collection a really good pass before I send it to beta readers. (Watch out Mark K.)
After that, I input useful feedback. I read the manuscript again. Then, read it backwards, starting with the last sentence. Then, read it out loud. Then, read it for specific issues. Then, read it as an e-book. Once it’s done and published, I read the printed proof. As you can imagine, this is very tedious work. It is not sexy. Not fun. Not a killer pachanga like writing.
It’s the hangover.
It’s when you sober up because you don’t want to find pernicious typos in the printed version. Or, there goes your ethos, and some asshole reviews your story and points out the few typos in the manuscript. Never mind the other amazing 99% of the book.
This hangover could last a while, and there is no menudo to cure it.
I also decided not to write until I finish with corrections--there won’t' be any fun excursions as this work gets done--which is also difficult and takes discipline. This work takes patience.
Yes, I’m taking it to the next level.
For some people, this writing purgatory is the synopsis of their book. Some writers hate generating the covers letters for editors or crafting author bios. Don't get me started on what happens after the book is published. (Can you say, fear of public speaking? Well, not for me. I have a big mouth.)
Writers have different parts of the process they would rather not do. But, keep on.
Your work deserves to get out into the universe. You deserve to do better today than you did yesterday, regardless of your writing process challenge. Soon, very soon, you'll be able to do the fun stuff again.
I’m rooting for you. #barrioblues
Well, yesterday, I had my first-ever test virtual release party. Woo hoo!
I learned a great deal.
(1) The problems your foresee may not happen at all. I had no tech issues. Wait, that's not totally true. I couldn't get the printer driver to work on my new laptop, so I couldn't read the story off paper which is my forte.
(2) The problems you did not foresee should not drive you crazy (kids crying and photo bombing).
(3) What you think looks awful, isn't so bad.
All in all, I had a great time! You can see how that rolled out live on Facebook. I am also planning on doing short readings of my work because that got lost in the mix a bit. This Sunday, I will do a bit of a longer vlog and make sure the kids are not around!
I enjoyed the experiences so much I already set up the next event, which I shortened to 30 minutes. You can take the poll and tell me what kind of story you want me to write for the May 1 freebie. I hope to do those once a month on the first of the month, so I can have at least one virtual events scheduled.
My first-ever book release party of Not Your Abuelita's Folktales is still happening, ideally mid-April or after the semester is over after May 13th. I will post that event, after I work out all the kinks with Ingram.
Oh, and I finally got "Zona 5" on the Premium Smashwords catalogue, but I botched up an upload this morning because I was trying to fix "La Lechuza" which had link problems, pernicious hidden book marks. Ergo, when you have a bad headache, perhaps you should not upload important files. Still, the story is up, and hopefully all is well.
Last night, I started going over Not Your Abuelita's Folktales. It turns out the copy is pretty clean. I suppose through all of this hard work, I have forgotten how many times I have gone over it and proofread it. Still, I am going to do two more passes, going forwards and backwards, especially to make sure all the Spanish is translated in footnotes. Then, I'm going to read it out loud. Finally, I am going to read the ebook, and ONLY then send it to be copy edited. What I am NOT going to do is make any changes after the copy editor has gone over it.
I made that mistake with "Zona 5" and was angry I found three typos after I uploaded the file.
Enough wah! I want to thank all of your for supporting my work, especially for downloading and reviewing my books and stories. Last week, I got the kindest review from my author-sister, Carmen Baca on Goodreads:
Bruja in the Orchard is a fast but highly entertaining read. Señora Estrada drew me into the world of 5-year-old Mona, the little girl who sees what goes on around her without understanding some of it. Where did her brother Pancho go and why is her sister Christi so mean to her? She longs to escape her hurtful home, and in the end she finds escape in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
Estrada writes like I do, using our Spanish words for effect, reminding us of our own pasts because of what her characters go through, making us see the cruelty in some people and the justice they get at the hands of those who fight back. I highly recommend this book to those of you who like my own books.
Carmen Baca, author
You can visit my Goodreads page here.
Muchisimas gracias all of you!
Well, celebrate and celebrate some more. Your work adds to the goodness of the universe. #barrioblues
The story, "Zona 5", is live on Smashwords, and it turned out great because of the amazing feedback I got from beta readers and my new copy-editor, Ian Liston.
This evening's virtual release party is still on. I am going to read for about 10 minutes. You will need Facebook to watch the live stream, but try to make my virtual release party!
By attending, I want to give you the chance to win:
1. How to Promote Your Book (E-book)
2. Cuentos del Cañón (Print) by Carmen Baca
3. Jukebox Loser: An Owner's Manual for Idiot Desires (E-book) by Todd Heldt
Come celebrate with me and/or download the story from Smashwords and give it a positive review! I am also experimenting with having readers set the price for that novellete. I will report back on that experiment in a month!
Celebrate your awesomeness! #barrioblues