Elf Mastery Blog
The first proof has been checked and a second set ordered! I ordered more copies so I can get some to reviewers. Changes made from the first proof include lightening the cover, changing a few of the fonts (especially in the Table of Contents), a few typos, and several spots I decided to rephrase. Excited to see how the new one looks! Should be here Monday or Tuesday.
I also got a new promo at The Howling Turtle YA Blog, which can be found here:
Finally got the proof for the print version of Elf Mastery! If you are unaware, a proof is a printed version of the book made for inspection. I check the cover details, fonts, margins, etc and do a final edit before approving the proof for printing. Feels great to have a physical copy of the book in my hands, and I am finding it much easier to edit than the electronic versions!
Just had a new promo post posted here:
The full cover is complete for the paperback version of the book (which itself will be ready for sale after I check the proof). Here is an image of the full cover:
I just started a video blog on Youtube called Write and Wrong. In it I am going to discuss the process and things I learned during the writing/publishing process. Here is the link:
I've been working on my audio version of Elf Mastery again. If I happen to be under surveillance then someone is probably wondering why I keep disappearing into my clothes closet for long periods of time. It is the quietest place to record, and I have a little blanket fort in there as the cloth absorbs the sound to give me a cleaner recording.
Not much forward momentum on the fan base. It's a climb but a very slow one so far. I've been sending out more review requests to online blogs.
My sister had the idea of doing Youtube videos to advertise, and I thought it would be fun to have interviews of my fictional characters. I have been working on making Kyla in DAZ Studio, so I can lip sync her talking. Here it is, though I still need a few touch-ups
I have Mimic Pro so I can animate her speaking and do interviews with her. Might be fun to try, anyway. I do think I should get some sort of marketing going on Youtube.
I remember when I was younger and first writing stories I was afraid of letting people read them because I was worried they wouldn't like what I wrote. That is a realistic sentiment, as chances are no matter what you create some people aren't going to like it. However, it is also a crippling mindset. If you want to create and keep it to yourself, fine, but don't expect to make a living at it. If you want your art or writing to have meaning to someone else, you need to expose it, and exposing it means some people will like what they see and others won't.
I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I have read many articles by editors who say they have a problem with authors getting upset when they criticize their stories. Editors are usually trying to help. They want to sell what you have written. That's how they make money. I don't want to say their advice is necessarily good advice, or that you should take it, but you need to take criticism in a positive way. Even if you don't agree with it, at least you understand how some people are going to respond to it. And if many people keep telling you the same thing, maybe you have a problem.
When I was in university I took a creative writing class for fun. We would share our writing with everyone else in the class, and we had to sit and listen as everyone discussed it. We were not allowed to defend what we wrote because, as my professor said, if you publish something you aren't going to be there to explain things to the people who read your work. Sometimes the comments were positive, and sometimes negative, but I found it profound either way. There is something to be said about being able to take criticism and being able to use it to construct better work. It becomes a tool instead of a hindrance.
I mention this today because I was wondering how Harold Bloom would react to my book. If you don't know, Harold Bloom is a professor at Yale and also a literary critic. I read some of his work when I was in university. He hated Harry Potter, and was upset when Stephen King one a lifetime writing award. Harold Bloom feels that literature is being 'dumbed down' in modern generations. As a fan of the classics myself, but an author of YA Fantasy, I am dying to know what Harold Bloom would think of my book. I'm pretty sure he'd hate it, but for some reason I am drawn to wonder what his criticism might entail. I suppose I could email him, just for a lark. I don't expect a response, but then, I didn't expect one from Piers Anthony either. Maybe I'll do that now, and report if I hear back.
First of all, happy Star Wars day!
Second, I decided I wanted to make an audio book version of Elf Mastery. As I can't afford a voice actor, and I have always been told I have a good voice for narration, I decided to do it myself. I have a good microphone and am using Audacity, which is a free program. There is a bit of a learning curve, as there has been with each format. First is the recording environment. I needed a quiet area with no background/white noise. A friend recommended my clothes closet, which worked but for the hollow sound. What I ended up doing is sitting on a pile of laundry, on a carpeted closet floor, with clothes hanging in front of and behind me, and a blanket draped over the clothing pole (where the hangers are). It's basically a little fort. It works! The sound is coming out crisp and clear. Of course, I still need to run through and correct errors (if I make a pronunciation error I pause, re-say it, and go back later and delete the mistake.) Also I need to delete the mouse-clicks that register when I turn the pages as I read. Anyway just a little tip for any of you contemplating your own audio book.
I've decided to be a good neighbor and do some beta reading for other authors on Goodreads. Beta reading is a very useful service for feedback, and many people do it for free but commitment levels vary. For those of you who aren't in the know, a beta reader reads the book before it is released to give the feedback to the author, like those people who pre-screen movies. They are not editors - they point out technical errors if they spot them, but it isn't their job. They mostly look at plot, characters, pacing, etc and can point out issues in things like character development, plot holes, etc. Beta readers were very useful for me, though you probably want more than one because opinion vary and with more readers you can look for problems that are consistent with multiple viewpoints. Just be sure to accept some criticism, though - one complaint of beta readers/editors is that some authors don't take criticism well!
In my last post, I posted the review Piers Anthony gave my book in his Mayhem 2016 newsletter. I was really excited about it, but he did note something important in his email: he said 'Remember, it's just one opinion'. I had to realize that even an endorsement from a famous author isn't going to magically increase my sales. I don't want to downplay how appreciative and excited I am for the review, but I want to remember that each review I receive is equally valuable. The mother in West Virginia who got the book for her son, or the woman from the UK, each of whom recently gave me 5-star reviews, are equally valuable. When I started this book I committed myself to writing the whole series, even if only one person enjoyed the first book. I am holding to that. Giving a single person enjoyment - even if that single person is me - is a good enough reason to write a book.
I recently finished several years of employment with the Canadian government to pursue a Master's degree. My secret goal is to become a self-sustaining author. This blog is dedicated to the first book I have ever put on the market.