Almost There

A Gateway to Hope has helped fulfill my overwhelming desire to fashion the lives of others through writing. I have come to love the characters as if they were a part of my own family.

Before the manuscript was sent to the formatter, I purchased the services of independent contractors on Fiverr. First, I wanted the book blurb read on a book trailer. Okay, you may ask, who makes book trailers with a voice-over of a book blurb? A legitimate question.

Second, I envisioned chapter one narrated in a video highlighting the protagonists.

After listening to various voice-over recordings and poring over many book trailers, I chose three Fiverr contractors Actress Ellen, Mocha Gypsy, and Mcgully, full names are never disclosed, to bring my vision to life. If you haven’t viewed the book trailer and video, please do so here or on my Facebook author page.

YouTube remains an available option as well, both for the book trailer and the chapter one video. Now the book’s description is available and the mood is set, but ensuring those videos get viewed by booklovers everywhere has puzzled me.

Though sometimes technically challenged, I am learning to navigate through the previously mentioned avenues more easily than expected. Yes, uploading the book trailer and video to my social sites has been relatively simple. Drawing potential readers to view them is a different matter.

Days away from the e-book version being published, and approximately ten days away from the print version that will follow, I’m praying to make the right moves going forward. Actually, I’m asking everyone to pray for me.

After rounds of edits and much-needed author services, the marketing budget is limited. Yet promotion places the book in front of its intended audience and is therefore necessary.

Lots of people effortlessly handle multiple social media accounts. I applaud their flexibility and expertise. Wish I could join them. With another standalone book following the same hope theme waiting to be penned, I can only handle two sites at a time. Especially since I have a full-time job.

Because a decision must be made pronto, I will sign up for a book giveaway with Standoutbooks, once the paperback and e-book are published. Then I plan to blitz the book and take a book-blog tour around the Internet. Now the question is with whom.

One blog that came highly recommended revealed its integrity by not allowing me to waste any money. The owner explained that her company saw greater results with young and new adult books. It seems that they don’t have a very large number of tour hosts who read the adult genre. Though I appreciated the honesty, it left a hole in my plans.

The search is on for multiple avenues to place A Gateway to Hope in the hands of booklovers everywhere.

Next up: The e-book is available online!

Moving Forward

Okay, so I wrote the end. Then it was time for the next steps.

Of course, finding an editor to correct the misspelled words and punctuation was a top priority. Editing 93k words should take them less than two weeks. Right? Wrong.

Jeni Chappelle squelched those dreams. My excursion into the unknown lasted eight months. The same timespan spent fashioning my tome from beginning to end.

It was on. Going to bed late and rising early, existing on nothing but willpower. Did I mention spending ten hours away from home each day, five days a week, to pay the bills?

At least once a month, my body rebelled from lack of sleep when my fingers simply refused to type another word. How could they? My brain refused to send the signal.

And forget resting. All downtime was utilized, delving further into the self-publishing maze. Studying its intricacies, I quickly discovered that finding a good editor was just the beginning. Who knew a manuscript needed to be formatted before uploading it to a distributor? Much help was needed.

Do all roads lead to the Internet? For this research, they did. And the information underscored the need to seek out professional help.

Enter, Formatting Experts. Starting in July 2014, the company’s team waited patiently on the sidelines while customer support provided lots of useful information. On the Internet, there are multiple answers to each question asked.

Once the formatting problem was solved, another one cropped up. While attending a writer’s club meeting, I was reminded that books require covers. Oh yeah, I had actually forgotten those images that drew me into reading the book blurb on the back cover.

Weeks later, that problem was solved in an unexpected way. During a writing lesson, the instructor revealed the name of her book-cover designer. Instead of going to bed at ten o’clock like I’d promised myself I would, I searched the web in hot pursuit. Eventually I found her: author Lynnette Bonner of Indie Cover Design, and she created the book cover I love.

All done? Not quite. For I remembered viewing a self-publishing roundtable on YouTube that had advised against writing your own book blurb. It had recommended always hiring a professional. But wasn’t I a professional writer? Surely one year of intense revisions branded me a writer. Or did that little fact indicate I wasn’t a professional? Yet.

Still, I combed through author services until I stumbled across StandOutBooks. And one of the co-founders not only provided the book blurb, but set up my Facebook author page, synchronized it to my website, and made my website functional.

And then I discovered the consensus among people in the know that authors should have a different editor proof the final copy. They wrote that fresh eyes would be necessary after multiple revisions.

That brought in Amber Barry. The last line of defense. Ready to polish the manuscript before sending it to the formatter, which had been waiting nine months in the wings.

The target date for sending off to the formatter? May 11, 2015.

Now for that sabbatical. Wait! No one can purchase a book they don’t know exists.

Coming soon. Marketing is not for the faint of heart.