Saturday, August 29, 2009

It's All in the Details

I received the proof copy of my book on Thursday. Excitement dripping from every pore. I have been spending most of the day reading through it and making minor corrections here and there. I was pleased with how the book cover turned out. It was a little off center, which I corrected this morning.

The next task is to upload the corrected files and book cover, and order another proof. Hopefully this will be the last time, I think it is about as perfect as I can get it now. Looks like I'm on target for my mid September release.

I have 3 book signings lined up already. 2 are at the Apple Festival in my local town on Saturday, Oct 3rd. The 3rd is November 14th, also in my local town. The stores hold a Christmas open house that attracts a lot of people, and a gift store that is going to stock my book asked if I would do another signing. I was over the moon to be asked.

So far, I have 4 stores that will stock it for me and I am working on getting it into some book stores in a larger town about 30 miles away.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Publishing Journey

Once I had made the decision to self-publish, everything just seemed to fall into place after that. I started researching my options, of which there were plenty. I joined Create Space, a superb option for the self-publishing author. It is owned by Amazon and has a community of writers who freely give of their knowledge and experience to help all of us ‘newbies’ on our way.

My first decision was, do I use a free ISBN number that Create Space give you, or buy my own? I decided to buy my own, that way I have complete autonomy over my book and can sell it anywhere.

With buying my ISBN numbers came the decision to create a publishing company to allocate those ISBN’s to. My publishing company name is Laxsaro Publishing. I will tell you all where I came up with that name in another blog.

The conversion and uploading of the interior of the book was very simple. I just had to convert my word doc into a PDF file, then up load it.

Designing the cover was fun. My friend Andi is very creative and while I was buying my ISBN’s she was playing with images. We uploaded the template CS give you and the rest was easy. It only took a couple of hours to design a professional looking book cover. I hope you will all like it when the book is printed.

The next step is to upload that and wait to see if the formatting is accepted by CS. The cover came back as rejected because the format was wrong, so I played with it some more and tried again. I am now waiting to see it that worked.

The next step will be to order a proof and work my way through it for any last errors.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

To Self-publish or Not to Self-publish? That is the question?

The reason I decided to go the self-publishing route was not one that I took lightly. I had been sending out my query to agents, about 50 altogether. I had some interest, my full manuscript was requested 3 times and a partial was requested about the same amount.

I went through the excitement of maybe getting an offer of representation and through the disappointments of rejection. I know that eventually someone would take a chance on it, you only need one person to say yes, after all.

Through all of this time period (about 6 months) I began avidly reading agent blogs and anything I could read about the state of the publishing industry. Everyone’s consensus was that the outlook was bleak. Publishers were re-printing back listed titles from 10 years ago that sold well, and it became apparent that they were very apprehensive about taking on new, unknown authors.

This gave me plenty of time to think about what exactly I wanted to achieve with my writing. I love to write, it is a hobby, a passion. I write whenever I need to escape the doldrums of the real world and enter one of excitement and adventure. I want young people to feel the same way when they read my books, too. It was then I realized that if I suddenly had contracts and deadlines imposed on me, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much anymore. It would no longer be my escape, and my creativity would probably fly straight out of the window. That was the pivotal point that made me decide to self-publish.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Where do I get my inspiration? Inspiration for me comes from anywhere and everywhere. I love to get involved in the theatre and I am blessed to live in a small town that has its very own circa 1930’s theatre. It is run by a local board and along with bringing in outside entertainers, it also hosts three shows a year that are played by local volunteers, including myself.

I was struggling with the closing scene of my last book, The Amulet, during rehearsals for the Christmas show we were producing last year. One of the musicians in the show had a mandolin and during a break, instead of playing the Christmas songs he was doing in the show, he started playing some Celtic music. BAM just like that the whole scene for my final chapter erupted in my head. I sat and listened to him for as long as I could before I was next due to go on stage, and unbeknownst to him, he ended up in my book.

Another example; I went round a friend’s one day and her computer was on in the living room. The wallpaper was of beautiful photo a relative had taken of two young people playing chess beside the ethereal glow of a candle. There was a fire burning behind them and the young girl was holding what looked like it could have been a first edition leather bound copy of an Edgar Allen Poe novel. In that instant another scene erupted in my mind for the current book I am writing. As yet I’m not sure where it will go in the story but when I figure that out, I will probably have a whole chapter surrounding that one photo.

I was blessed to be born in a Medieval City in England. It boasts a castle and two cathedrals. Has the oldest cobbled street in the Country and buildings that are centuries old. Everywhere you turn there is inspiration just knocking on the door. My YA books are based in that area and in the medieval village where I grew up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Music and Writing

People sometimes ask me if music has any impact on my writing and to that I would have to answer with a resounding YES. I could be driving down the road listening to the radio and a song will play, and out of nowhere a whole scene explodes into my mind. Dialogue, action, descriptions all evolve as the song is being played. To the point where I can’t wait to get to my destination to write down the song title and the rough outline of what I just imagined, so I don’t forget it before I can get home and type it up.

I download the songs that inspire different scenes in my book and play them as I write. I create a playlist for each book. My favorite muses in music are Daughtry, Nickleback, Linkin Park, Staind, 3 doors down, David Cook, and Lady Ga Ga to name but a few.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Journey

I have written two books now and I am currently working on my third. The first book I wrote was more of an experiment than anything and I learned a huge amount from it. I originally wrote it in the first person and self-published it because it was really just a fun hobby.

After self-publishing it, I did sell several in the small town that I live in and had a great response to it. I took it “off the shelf” a year or so ago and am in the process of re-writing it, using the experience I have gained over the past three years. When I have finished the re-write my goal is to try and get it published “properly”.

The other book I have written is a young adult book in the urban paranormal genre. It was great fun to write and an adventure I wished I could have had as a teenager. I am currently working on the second book of what I am planning on being a trilogy when completed.

I have spent the last nine months on the “getting representation” journey but so far to no avail. The whole process is an extreme learning experience and also a very disheartening one. I have had manuscripts requested, which is always very exciting. But as yet no offers of representation. Although through my journey I have learned this is normal and par for the course.

I read agents blogs avidly and soak in any information I can about the publishing industry and unfortunately at the moment, it’s not good. It seems more and more that publishers are less than likely to take on new authors, even to the extent of re-printing back listed titles from years ago, that sold well.

With all of the information I have read and digested over the past nine months I think that for this series of books, at least, I will embark on the self-publishing route and try and market them myself. With the help of the internet, this blog and my facebook page.

I will keep you informed of my progress, wish me luck


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Everyone's Got To Start Somewhere

It's a funny old world, init (as some of us English folk say). My world on the outside is probably just as normal as the next person's. I have my trials and tribulations, like everyone else, but I've been blessed with a life of unforgettable experiences, both good and bad.

I have a knack with numbers, which has allowed me to earn a decent living as an accountant. I run my own business now doing just that. But I was born with an imagination that refused to dwindle with age. That and the fact I have become increasingly fed up with the real world over the years, prompted me to put fingers to keyboard and create my own, but who would inhabit it?

For some unknown reason, I love all things fae. The legend of fairies fascinates me. I collect them, I read about them, and now I write about them, too. And that my friends is how the Land of Azran was created, if only in my imagination.

My hope for this blog is to show you a little sneek peek inside a very peculiar mind that not many people see on the outside. Lord knows I don't think that all my clients would trust me with their finances if they new the inner workings of my brain, but until I make the ranks of bestselling author I have to stick to reality, if only for 8 hours of the day.

Thanks for reading