Friday, September 21, 2012

Indie woes...

There are quite a few downsides to being a self-published "indie" author. The least of these being the lack of representing, aka an agent who will make you big bucks with a big publishing house. Yes, it would be super-nice for someone to promote my book for me, arrange book signing tours and all that while I sit at home drinking coffee and typing away on my next novel.

Alas, when you're self-published you're it. Every little last detail falls on me. Which, in a way, is a good thing. I like it that I got the final say in what my cover looked like and how much I want to sell my book for. Or when I want to give it away for free. It's nice.

Now, like I said, the downside is that everything is my job. I thought it was bad when I had to sit down and format my book for its Kindle version. I downloaded a free Kindle book, ironically on how to build your book for Kindle, and had a crash course in formatting a Word doc. It's not that I'm completely computer illiterate, I did take a computer course in college (some ten year ago!), it's just that I don't know how to work all the finer points of it. So I was super proud with what I ended up with, the Kindle version of my book is perfect. Complete with a clickable table of contents (something you don't always see in self-published books.)

Besides Amazon KDP, which is the self-publishing e-book platform I'm using, Amazon also owns another site called CreateSpace. What KDP did for e-books, CreateSpace is doing for paperbacks. Basically it's a way to get my book printed and distributed in hard copy. I haven't done it before because I figured no one is going to pay six bucks plus shipping for a nobody. But at the end of the day I decided I would like to have a copy, and I may as well give it a shot.

Enter...formatting hell. Compared to formatting a book for Kindle, formatting for paperback is a complete nightmare. I think I started working on it Tuesday morning-ish, in between school lessons, when Elijah was doing busy work. Fast forward to now, I think I've spent at least twelve hours at the computer working on this bloody thing. Oh, and it's still not done! But almost.

The problem is, you've got to take your regular sized document (8x11?) and scale it down to whatever size you want your paperback to be. I chose 6x9. Sounds simple? No. You've got to adjust your margins PERFECTLY. This is what took me so long. First, CreateSpace is super unclear on what margins work best, I ended up trolling forums to find the settings I ended up with. And then once you upload your doc, you can review it, and it never shows up in the viewer the way it does in Word. If you get it wrong, and I did, about fifty times, it looks like this. Gah

And we haven't even talked about all the other settings, besides margins. Like headers, footers and the lot. Getting your headers to alternate between the book title and your name. Getting the page numbers to start on the first page of your book, not the title page. Seriously a nightmare. And yeah, maybe I am pretty Word incompetent. So basically I started with CS's template already formatted, and of course the margins were wrong, wrong, wrong, even with their pre-formatted template (maddening!). Then I have to painstakingly cut and paste my full novel into the template, chapter by chapter to make sure it doesn't screw up all my section breaks and junk like that. What happened to me yesterday was that I had re-formatted my entire document so many times, it was so screwed up there was no going back. So I had to start from scratch! And yeah, at that point I'd been working on it for at least ten hours or (not straight, of course.)

So I started over with a clean template, more insane problems ensued. I mean crazy crap like a whole paragraph sitting in the middle of the page for no rhyme or reason, stuff even Matthew couldn't figure out and he's a genius at Word. I ended up re-doing the entire half several times. But guess what? This is what I ended up with.


As you can see, that is a perfectly formatted book. I still have some minor things to work with on it, like entering in my table of contents, but that will be a walk in the park compared to what I already when through. And yeah, it was a total crash course, but at least when it comes time to do my print copy of Finding Sanctuary I'll know what I'm doing.

The best part? In a few weeks or so, after my book has gone through a reveille with a CreateSpace reviewer, I should have a printed copy of my book in my hands for the first time!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I have no idea what's going on with Sophia right now,  but her crabbiness has been of the charts lately. Right now I'm blaming all four of her two-year molars which are busting out. Combine that with all the "special attention" Elijah has been getting aka school, she has been ridiculous. Like, we can't seem to get a single thing done between her whining.

Cue solution: I have a strict no tv until after school policy. Alas, today I got desperate, Sophia's watching Sesame Street and Elijah's doing his math without distraction.

Win-win situation.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

No means no!

It's not a newsflash that my attempts in becoming conventionally  published were...well...abysmal. I think I sent less than a hundred queries, and didn't receive a single nibble, bite or whatever you might call an encouraging response.

On June first I self-published and never looked back, honestly. So I have to laugh when I get a rejection email, some EIGHT MONTHS after I sent it telling me (can you guess?) "it's not the right fit for him/her".

Shocker let me tell you.

And it's not like I'm having the last laugh or anything...really. But I have managed to get 1,383 copies downloaded so far!

And I really REALLY don't miss those awful rejection emails.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You know you've spent way too long editing...

and sitting at the computer, staring blankly at the screen when... you can't stop mentally debating the usage of "all right" and "alright". Darn you semantics!

Also, I just "painted" my nails with a Sharpie. SEND HELP!


When I tell people I homeschool a second grader, with a two year-old at home, I always get the same response, "How do you do that?"

Well, there are a few answers, most of them are only partly true. Here are the partly true reasons I'd like to give.

  • I'm awesome. (Must have inherited this from my mom, who started homeschooling my four year old brother when I was two. Went on to have a third baby when I was four. And homeschooled all three of us through highschool. My mom = awesome!)
  • My kids are awesome. Again, only partly true, ha ha! Elijah is a fantastic student, but he is a six year old-boy, and like all six year-old boys, can be frustrating. Sophia, well, she's Sophia. Perpetually the wild card.
  • I'm super-organized and super-dedicated to my role as a homeschool mom. Well, that one is mostly true. Errr. Most of the time

But in reality there's only one way I really manage to pull this off every single day, mostly with my sanity intact...and here it is...


My second cup of the day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goal Oriented

Like a lot of people, I seem to work best under a little pressure. *Cue panic attack about how I've promised to publish my second book by October, when it is only halfway through the initial editing process!*

Anyway, this year I've been super lazy with motivating myself to work out. And for whatever reason (I'd like to blame the stressful year I've had, or it could be the fact that I'm closing in on 30) I've had more trouble with my weight fluctuating this year. Not a lot, just three pounds up and down all year. In February I was three pounds below my healthy "low" weight. I over-corrected and ended up three pounds over my healthy "high" weight. Right now I'm somewhere around my health "high" weight, which is fine. But I so need to tone up and I need to do it now before it's too late!

I picked a really great time to do it too. A lot of people I know choose the beginning of the school year to re-evaluate their daily goals, so I've done the same. We started back to school last Monday, and since Elijah is now in the second grade, between him and Sophia, I'm literally teaching for five-six hours daily. On top of that I've got my regular household chores, plus my own personal goals...Usually writing, editing, working out and oh, showering! So it's a lot. I feel like every day is jam-packed, even if we don't leave the house. And we do, two days a week we have baseball and next week we start back to our church's mom's group once a week!

What was I saying? Oh yeah, working out! Everyone knows I swear by Jillian Michael's 30 day shred. But I'm getting a little bored. Today I improvised a little doing this ab workout I found on Pinterest, and a lot of the cardio and strength training moves on Jillian's DVD.

Oh and to compound my goal-oriented/anal-retentiveness I wrote down my entire workout as went. (Also, so I can do it again later this week, without a single DVD!)

Workout Pics 001 Yeah, so it looks like a lot, but it only took me forty minutes total! The main focus I had today was my abs (blah). That seems to be my main problem area lately. Especially now since I have diastasis recti, which means my stomach muscles are permanently split after my second pregnancy (thank you nine pound baby Sophia!) My midwife said mine is pretty severe, so the chances of repairing it without surgery by exercising is pretty slim, but a girl can try! And yes I feel like jell-o right now and I badly need a shower!

As far as my other goals, I make a daily list of things I need to accomplish and then check them off as I go through the day. Today they were: School! (Duh), change sheets, sweep kitchen, vacuum, workout (45 mins), edit (30 mins), write (30 minutes), and email the gazillion people I need to for all the various church events I'm organizing this year.

Fun stuff! The writing usually has to wait until mid-afternoon or after the kids go to bed. Last night I worked until 9:30, so yeah.