Notice anything?

Yep, shamelessly pointing out my cover! I love it. Tonight, I am researching how best to use it to my best advantage. I have posted the banner I ordered as the cover photo on Twitter and Facebook along with this page. Another new thing you may notice, links to social media on my page. I freely admit when I set this up, I chose the theme with the eenie meenie miney mo, method. (Dara, is my theme.) I learned tonight that the help feature really does…you know…help. Who knew? I opened the help page’s handy-dandy instructions in a different window to reference often. There are still some tweaks I want to make, but, for tonight, I’m tapping out.

Now, let’s talk about what went kitchy the last few days, shall we? Damonza sent my formatted ebook files AKA MOBI (for kindles) and epub (for ereaders). They also provided a link to download an ereader. I had a little difficulty getting the mobi file to work. The crew at Damonza worked with me to fix the issue, but it ultimately led to me setting up my KDP account earlier than I planned in order to utilize their ereader. Now, friends, this was a stressful day. There were tantrums, tossed up hands, and enough cursing to pinken the cheeks of the hardest criminal type. In the end, though, the process went as well as could be expected. KDP gives step-by-step instructions and it was more exciting than I knew to expect to see my book in kindle format. Such a small thing. And I was even reading it in kindle mode on my laptop, didn’t dim the excitement at all.

One of the things I had to do was set up a date of publication. Know that if you choose a May 24th publication date, KDP requires your final manuscript to be uploaded by the 20th, so be aware of that. Damonza was also kind enough to split my final bill so I could have the ebook cover and content for upload instead of leaving it as a draft with no cover and no visibility until they put the finishing touches on the paper back and hardback.

So, my book is up and available for pre-order. The look inside option is, I’m told, something that will automatically happen within a week or so of the actual release date on the 24th. Friends, I am having terrible anxiety at the thought that there is no content. That the Mobi file is still hinky, I hadn’t done something right with the KDP ereader after all and the ebook will be unreadable! Ugh. I want to use the look inside option now, so I will know for sure. I want to see the text I wrote and know it’s not a blank page or wingdings.

Thank you for listening!

Goodnight, Friends.

Cover experience, part 1

Okay all, here’s my experience so far with Damonza. First, I’d thought to make this one big description of what I learned as well as a mini-review of the company. However, I think that was wishful thinking or perhaps unrealistic expectations on my part. (I often find myself engaged in expectations which are, in fact, unrealistic.)

Biggest lesson thus far: Specificity, friends. Be very clear and very specific about what you want. Leave no room for interpretation or misunderstanding if you know exactly what you want. Why do I say this, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I have a habit of beating around the bush, if you will, with regards to anything that could at all be construed as criticism. Even if no criticism was intended. I add in “nice” words and phrases, or the occasional emoji should the situation allow it, to soften what may be read as harsh, even if it could be interpreted as harsh in the wrong light. I am so very, very fearful of hurting someone’s feelings, especially when it comes to an artistic pursuit. I think it’s because I understand that what we put out there as creatives is a part of us and rejecting or finding fault in our work is like finding fault in us. (have I mentioned I am an over-thinker?)

Beating around the bush, as it were, is not a feelings-sparing activity in an instance such as this. All it did was require more emails to correct the misunderstandings I allowed to bloom because of my own fears. It cost not only me, but the artist more time, which as we know equates to money. So, in trying to spare feelings, I may have cost him/her money and possibly delayed another artist their service. Bad, bad, me. So, again, specificity.

Next, allow time for the process. I thought, “three weeks, tops.” *insert naïve eye-roll emoji here* I submitted my application and paid the down payment to the site on 3/30. No one has been slacking. Both Damonza and I have been working on this project and it is taking time. The lesson: be realistic about time frames. Granted, I had no idea what I wanted on the cover aside from saying “something with a butterfly? too cheesy?” helpful, I know. This may have extended the amount of time it took to get the proposals, but maybe not. The site says to allow 2 weeks and they got it back to me just under that time-frame. *side note: they took that vague non-answer I gave them and a description of my book and came up with a cover I love.

Final lesson to this point: Research! I plan to publish through KDP (CreateSpace is now with Amazon). I thought I could get my book printed as a hardback through this forum and ordered dustjackets from Damonza. I paid for dustjackets. KDP does NOT print hardback books at this time. Ingram Spark does, but it’s looking like I can’t have my literary cake and hardback too. I have more research on this, though and will update you as soon as I know or learn another lesson the hard way.

Thanks for reading,

J.D. Caren

Through the Darkness: A Grim Delights Novel, Coming Soon!

I hit submit…

I did it. I chose the cover designer. Damonza. After the entire process with them, I’ll give you a little review of how it went. I also purchased ISBN numbers today. I did this because I feel that since I have decided to self-publish, I want as much of this to be all mine as possible with as many opportunities as possible. If you only want to use Amazon publishing exclusively forever and ever amen, then a free ISBN through them is the way to go. However, if you dream big like me and hope to one day add your books to library shelves or local bookstores, you’ll need your own ISBN.

It is my understanding that should you publish with KDP/CreateSpace, for example, then you notice a promo or retailer on Smashwords or Draft2Digital you’d like to try, you may not be able to do so because you have to use the avenues allotted by the holder of the ISBN. I want to be the holder. Me. Mine. All the power…uh, sorry, I got carried away for a bit.

Keep in mind, this is my maiden voyage into the self-publishing waters, so do a lot of additional research and find what works best for you! I have found to be an extremely helpful website. It is in my favorites tab. Speaking of which, have a favorites list. Seriously, it will save so much trouble. If you’re like me, you will not remember that website, nor where you wrote down that website no matter what you tell yourself. One more thing on ISBNs, I bought 10 for $295.00. The one for your ebook is different than for print. So one book, 2 ISBN numbers if you intend to do print as well as ebook. is the site I used.

I will do a more thorough “this is what I did” post after Damonza gets back to me with news about my cover. Hopefully their feedback will allow me to tell y’all, “well, I did it like this and they thought I was the biggest dummy ever, so do not seek that treasure.” Or, “success. Gold. It worked.”

Thanks for listening!

Through The Darkness: A Grim Delights Novel** coming soon!

**I cant decide between ‘A Grim Delights Novel’ and ‘A Tale of Grim Delights’

Now what…?

I wrote a book. I. Wrote. A. Book. It’s an amazing feeling and a hard-fought accomplishment. This 450 page monster I purged from my imagination was time from my husband, my family, my pets, the sun, it was time from the world buzzing around me. I didn’t mind, though, because as any writer or fellow daydreamer will tell you, I spent my time in a world unexplored by those living out their days oblivious to the battle I just watched my protagonist leave bleeding but alive. Victorious. I want to share this world with all of you, so now what?

I researched. “Get a social media presence,” they said. Okay, Twitter here I come. I created a Facebook page just for this persona. I slowly began to gain followers. I also discovered resources in writer’s groups and the #writingcommunity. “If nothing else, pay for an editor.” Okay. “If nothing else, pay to have a professional cover.” Two must-haves, so declare those who have swam these waters before me. I searched the writer’s groups and found an editor. (I have to insert here that I was very, very fortunate to find her. Shameless plug for the infinitely patient

I watched my book become more polished and professional. And, oh my goodness me did it make my little heart flutter in my chest when I got to say “my editor.” I found a way to work it into conversation to an embarrassing degree, but let’s move along. The cover. The other most important thing. The thing that sells your book. But, wait…the blurb on the back. What if I pay for this amazing cover designed to lure in the most reluctant of browsers and then they read the blurb only to put it down? The cover got them. They looked, they took the time to read the blurb and decided against. All of the sudden, this 450 book, this chunk of my life, this baby I have birthed into this world pared down to 250 words, a measly 250 words became my undoing.

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m a bit of an overthinker. Just a smidgen. The anxiety I felt over that blurb, it was crippling. Every single time I sat down to type it out, I froze. Nothing but thoughts of the ruination of this book came to mind and my fingers stalled. That amazing editor I spoke about? She messaged me one morning. We’d finished, job complete, but she still messaged me to see how things were progressing. I think I fell for her a little that morning (my apologies to Mr. Tanyaedits). She said, “send me what you’ve got. I’ll help you.” I could’ve cried.

I have a blurb. Now to choose a cover designer. Next problem, I haven’t the foggiest idea of what I want. I exasperate myself at times, y’all, I know. It’s a dark paranormal romance with light fantasy elements. I’ve scoured covers in these genres. I’ve found a few things that caught my eye and saved the image as suggested to present to the artist. I asked the twitter writing community to suggest cover designers and they did not fail. I think I’ve made the choice as to who, but still fuzzy on the what. I do not envy these people the job of dealing with my anxious, over-thinking, indecisive self. Sorry.

This company offers 3D renderings, I had no idea what this was. I had to look it up. Do I need a banner? A bookmark? What are the benefits of these things? How do I even save all this stuff to upload? What if while fumbling through how to save or upload I hit a button and completely dismantle the cover art? Is paying them to format my book a necessity? I doubt my ability to do it on my own, but people are doing it everyday, right?

This would probably be a good time to mention I am not tech savvy. I have questions (and you guessed it, anxiety) I feel everyone but me knows the answers to. I have a fear of looking stupid, but I have to get these questions answered to move forward. I will ask them because this is important to me. Writing. This is my home. My child. My everything.

As I get answers to my “stupid” questions, I will post them here in hopes that someone else who feels the same will sound like a pro when they have to speak with the “must-have” people. Also, if you’re reading this and in the same boat, you are most certainly not alone. We will get it done, though. After all, we wrote a book, created whole worlds, people, creatures, pets, etc. from nothing and that’s much bigger than the anxieties of inexperience.

Thanks for listening.

Through the Darkness: A Tale of Grim Delights coming soon!