Monday, June 28, 2010

100% Recycled Paper

When I was looking into a printer, I only thought about one thing: saving the most money I could. I didn't want to go overseas but would consider it if the price was significantly lower. In this case, USA had the best prices which was great. I then also looked into GREEN options and levels of recycled paper. Ultimately, I chose 100% recycled paper. The downsides: more expensive and it's non-archival (IE, it will last well over 100 years verse archival paper that will last over 800 years). The price difference is worth it so thats not a problem. I really like the look/feel of the paper so that's great. And the shelf life? Do I care? I will be dead by the time any of these books begin showing any slight signs of wear (if books still exist then). It's worth it and the right thing to do.

DUST JACKET AT 600dpi

I just finalized my printer (Malloy.com) and was notified they like their dust jacket templates at 600DPI. YIKES! Seeing how I've never needed to go beyond 300dpi, I need to re-work what I have. Not a big problem, the backgrounds are vectors I can re-place, the text will automatically scale up -- I just need to manage a few of the little things and rework it, so not much time loss in the upgrade. Let this be a warning for anyone working on their own cover or dust jacket... this is heavy duty professional products we are talking about, so I'd recommend 600dpi to begin with. It's very easy to scale down.

Finances, the joy

It's best to think about finances early on. I know I didn't. I put my book on hold for a long time after it was completed (not a final draft, but completed nonetheless). I didn't think about finances - I figured "I am making no money so why bother?" Well, there are always options. You can find an investor (family member or not) or apply for a business loan. Did you know there are FREE services that help you do these things? SCORE is a free consultation organization that matches you with people who want to offer their expertise. I realized these things way too late. Not that it's ever too late to learn something or that I failed in any way, but I really should have been on the ball when it came to finances.

Basically, I waited until I actually had a real salary and started paying for 100% of the expenses myself. BAD IDEA. If there is anything you should know about your own creative endeavors or projects (music, books, movies) is to never use your own money. Investors can screw you over too, telling you what to do, etc, which is what I wanted to avoid, (not like I could find a random investor). But I kept paying for things and soon enough realized... CRAP! While I covered most expenses, there is NO WAY I can afford to pay for the printing of my book! Why am I a couple months out from needing to pay for this and just now thinking about it? FINANCES. The best thing I can suggest is to create a business plan, mainly your expenses and estimated time-line of events.

There are cheap routes and expensive routes, either way - make sure you know what lies ahead. I figured I'd have everything covered and I was wrong. So now I am in the process of applying for a business loan and asking the parents for further investments.

Testimonials

I sent out my first wave of testimonials today. (Today being June 22nd). I just pushed my publishing back (again) another month and am determined to make this one stick this time. So with a firm deadline in mind, I have a month to get someone, two or three. Basically, it's a tough sell. They need to be famous enough to matter but not famous enough to not care. Overall, I think my chance of landing someone is about 5% but it's worth trying.

I am a non-established author and this book will not revolutionize the world, so why would someone established risk attaching their name to it? If you expect a famous person to LOAN you his or her name for your book, they have to get something out of it. Again, don't be delusional that you have the best thing ever. If a famous person loans you his or her name, they are basically your endorsement and their name is attached to it, which means a lot. They know all you want is their name, company or project stamped on the cover or back, so it's nothing personal, making it all business.

Any denies yet? YES! I don't want to name names because honestly, what would I do if I was an established name and I got one of these? (or 5 a month). I'd be hesitant for sure, so I don't blame anyone for passing. The trick is to get their attention- if you get a hold of anyone, that is the real success.

Register your business...NOW!

If you are working on a book, register your business...NOW! The last thing you want to to is register just when you think you "need" to (IE - your books comes out soon) and realize that you probably could benefit from having your business 'in business' for more than a few months.

I registered Blue World Publications in February of 2010 and now (June) I am feeling the itch that I should have done this a long time ago, back when I knew I was going down this road. Why? Applications, logistics, company stats. Basically, I just applied for a small business loan and wouldn't you know it, I was approved...and the DENIED. Why? Because my business has only been a business for technically 4 months.

If you are going to start your own business, do it now. Granted you should pick a name that is fitting: you like it, it doesn't already exist, and you can tell it to someone and not need to spell it. Register your DBA and open a business checking account. These are minimal costs and will save you in the long run. Do it now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Complete Manuscript

It's a great feeling to have a complete manuscript. Again with the delusion, it's a great feeling and you almost feel unstoppable. Not to say that once it's complete it is done. If you are still writing, just keep writing. The worst thing you can do while writing is nit-pick on grammar and style; it's important you have all your ideas down before you analyze everything to death.

I am glad I hit a financial SNAG in developing this book, because it would probably be less acceptable if I rushed it. You can see my progress below, 2008 was a pretty BAD year for my advances on this book. But just because I wasn't working on it doesn't mean I didn't benefit from not working on it. IF I rushed through with the production,it may have even been made through Authorhouse and sold 20 copies and already be dead. Once you are done, you have completed your first draft. You should go through many of these. The more the better. Below is a listing of all stages my manuscript went through, not that this timeline is correct or the right way to go:

PRE-FIRST-DRAFT - COMPLETED DECEMBER 2006
It's sort of done, but not complete. Lucas looked at this copy and gave me plenty of notes for draft 1. Adam, my brother, also looked at a variety of stories in this (not all) and gave a good amount of notes. Taking these notes in mind, I finished this to create draft 1.

DRAFT 1 - Completed July 2007

DRAFT 2 - Completed August 2007

DRAFT 3 - Completed December 2008

DRAFT 4 - Completed November 2009

This is the last draft that was modified only by myself and family/friends.

DRAFT 5 - Completed February 2010

After all of my editor's notes and comments

DRAFT 6 - Completed April 2010
Maybe not complete and perfect, but DONE.

Have friends and family take a look and give you insight on how to make improvements. Since you know your friends and family, you should be able to give them specific tasks. When developing my book, I told my dad to concentrate on grammar and my brother to concentrate on the narrative. You make the call. You will also find that re-reading your manuscript after taking a week or three away from it will give you a new insight and a helpful critical eye. Consider all comments and fix all spelling errors. Spelling and grammar are key to be correct. You could live forever and never have your manuscript 100% perfect, but there comes a time when its ready.

SELF PUBLISHING?

The term "self-publishing" is a dirty word. It implies that you are doing everything yourself, alone, unknowing and turning it in to some cheap printing option that will turn your Word doc into a pile of printed paper. I don't like this term. The actions of self-publishing aren't dirty, but the word is. People don't realize what it takes to make a book so when they think of getting a book out into the world, they seem to think that if you self-publish, you already failed.

"Why not get a publisher to do it?" They ask. Really? Why? I grew up fixated with movies, so that is where my entertainment and media knowledge stems from. If I have the means to make a movie, why waste my time trying to get DREAMWORKS to make it? I mean, that would be awesome, but why waste my time? Why would they hand over $10million to me? You think that is an option? Same thing with a publisher - why would they pay me up front and then invest $X to print and market this book? (especially if I am not famous, not a notable expert, and don't have a slew of books previously published?)

I don't use the word 'self-published' because it's a dirty word. I say I am publishing a book. "How?" People ask. "I started my own company." I reply. That sticks. That gets the message across. In a world where people believe things without knowing why, you have to find a means to not let them down and possibly impress them at the same time. If you make a movie on your own you don't say "I'm self-everything" doing this movie." NO! You tell them you are making a movie and their response is COOL! Same thing with a book - you are publishing a book!