Learn more about the Journey Saga and Self-Publishing

Latest

Delayed Progress

In spite of my best efforts I will not be able to maintain my initial deadline date to have Journey through Darkness published in April. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, self-publishing a novel is expensive and that often causes many delays. The book is currently caught up in the editing process, and many authors can agree that this process is often the most difficult part of publishing. It’s a series of back and forth correspondence: emails and phone calls at odd hours of the morning and evening. I have spent many weekends reading and analyzing the book… and of course finding more errors and problems.

I think what has been most frustrating is not having much time to write. I have spent the past six months networking to create a buzz around the book, but I rarely have time to sit down and just write. I usually spend a full day at work and my evenings are spent with my two-year old or school.

However, yesterday I wrote for five hours, the longest session I’ve had all year, and it was the greatest feeling. I was in the zone without any interruptions…just me, my computer, and a beautiful storm to set the right mood.  Writing the first chapter is always the hardest for me, but yesterday I accomplished that with Journey of the Damned. So… I guess I have made some progress.

Self-publishing is definitely teaching me new levels of patience.

Advertisements

Darkness Before the Light

I mentioned a few blogs ago that I was working on a soundtrack for Journey through Darkness, so I thought I might take a moment to share how I came about deciding to work on a soundtrack for my first novel.

First of all, I’ve always had a passion for music since I was a little girl. My dad bought me this really old Casio keyboard that I played daily. It was a tiny, ugly, heavy, white instrument with bulky keys and only ten instruments to choose from. But I loved the thing. It was my pride and joy. The light-up keys taught me how to play Beatle’s tunes and Disney theme songs. Eventually I graduated to a larger and more attractive Yamaha, but due to some personal family issues I lost it. As a result I stopped playing for about 15 years. I began concentrating more on my painting and writing.

Well, about two years ago I was browsing amazon.com where I found an inexpensive Yamaha very similar to the one I had as a teenager. I bought it for Christmas and started playing every day. But it was still somewhat of a toy instrument and I wanted the real thing so I got a Casio Workstation that I am completely in love with. 

To make a long story short…it was that Casio Workstation that inspired me to work out tracks for a soundtrack. I had almost forgotten how much I loved music and I realized that music would enhance my novel in the way it does movies and other forms of artistic expression. I didn’t know hardly any authors that had soundtracks to accompany their novels so I thought it was a nice idea.

Darkness Before the Light: The Journey through Darkness Soundtrack is now available for free listening at an all new networking site.

The Journey Saga

A new legacy of Dark Fantasy

http://journeysaga.ning.com

The cost of self-publishing

If you’re thinking of self-publishing let me warn you…it’s expensive. Very expensive, more so than I thought it would be when I first got started. This is a new booming business and print-on-demand companies are making a fortune off of aspiring authors-to-be. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to choose a publishing package under $400 but that’s nearly impossible to find now. Combine that with the cost of copyrights at $250 and additional add-ons such as editing, ebook format, returnability programs, etc. and you’ve already reached well over $1000. You haven’t even included the cost of cover art and purchasing your own books to sell. Don’t forget all of that promotional material like business cards, flyers, and newspaper ads…Be prepared to spend your tax-refunds, savings, financial aid, or whatever extra cash you have to cover these costs unless you have generous friends and family members to help you. I was not so lucky. I had to cover everything on my own.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from traveling down this path but it is a tough one. Do not be manipulated by the persuasive sales staff of these PODs. They will try to sell you everything in their catalog leaving you financially depleted. Purchase only what you need. Shop around and compare publishing companies. If you can, wait until the end of the year to publish a package and take advantage of those huge Christmas deals. That’s what I did and I got 50% off the original price.

From my research Lulu seems to be the least expensive with their basic package coming in under $400. Most basic packages seem to cost $500 (Author House and Createspace). Most companies will give you similar deals that include ebook option and author copies of your novel for review.

Some writers like a more hand’s-on approach with layout and formatting but I am not one of them. I’m a writer that values her precious allotted time to write. Do your research and ask LOTS of questions. Talk to other indie writers and learn from their experiences.

Also remember that the publishing company you choose must be worthy of your work. Once you publish with them they make a profit off of each book you sell. You become a part of their business and their success. Be frugal, cautious, and cunning… just like they will be with you.

Moving Forward

I admit that I have fallen behind in my blogging but I have had good reason. Over the last few weeks I’ve been hit hard with a lot of unfortunate mishaps and the kind of stress that would make most people throw in the towel. But I am getting through my struggles one day at a time and remaining optimistic.

The good news is that I managed to meet all of my deadlines, and Journey through Darkness is in production right now. Editing the novel was by far the most grueling task. I have read the book from start to finish at least four times in the past two weeks, and I will have to read it one more time to approve the final copy. But overall I am satisfied with the presentation and layout of the book. I will be excited to hold that first author’s copy in my hand…proof that I have accomplished a lifelong goal of mine.

I admit that I have some mixed emotions about this accomplishment. Like any new writer I wonder how well my novel will be received by the public. Will people enjoy it? Will they hate it? Will I wish that I’d kept that dusty manuscript in the back of the closet for another 10 years?

I know that my characters will remain apart of me forever. I have spent my entire adult life writing this saga. It has brought me much joy during some of the most troubling times of my life. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine life without writing. I hope that the muses will continue blessing me with ideas and motivation to move forward.

The Official Kandake Brockington Website http:/journeysaga.com

 

The Journey is Long X

I have had a lot happen over the past month. A sprained ankle combined with family drama resulted in a delay in revising the novel. I just completed the final chapter last night and now it is time for the hardest part of all…editing.

My husband read the last chapter and was completely shocked. “You’ve really changed things,” he told me.

I couldn’t tell if that was a good or bad thing. You see, he read the original Journey through Darkness draft back in 1999 and each draft leading up to the 8th book of the saga. So if he had his way I wouldn’t change a thing.  He would have me keep characters that I no longer had plots for, and storylines that gave me writer’s block. But I had to do what was necessary to keep my sanity.

Revising this novel was a very difficult task because it required plenty of research. In 1999 the information was fresh in my head because I was studying archaeology at the time. So while I researched for term papers I ended up killing two birds with one stone.

But it has been awhile since I’ve read up on hyenas, lions, leopards, elephants, and cobras. I had to go back through my books and learn the flora and fauna for the time period for which I was writing. I had to reread my collection of mythology books and study ancient Egyptian temples. It was information overload.

What really helped was going to the children’s section of the library. Not only do those books provide plenty of pictures, but they are very brief and to the point without all the fluff.  Children have short attention spans and I hate to say it  but so do I.

The Journey is Long IX

I think one of the greatest things about self-publishing is meeting kindred spirits on the same path.  Everyday I meet both experienced veterans and  rookies like myself. Initially I was stressed out over how to begin the process of publishing my novel.

The first thing I did was find cover art to bring the book to life. Then I worked on a website, a blog, flyers, and business cards. Once I had all of that done, I began doing my research online. I searched for websites that catered to my genre and found a gold-mine of fellow writers. Then I went to local libraries and bookstores to meet people to tell them about my upcoming book, ultimately putting my flyers and business cards to use.

But that is only the beginning of the process. It is ongoing and it never stops. That is one of the major differences between traditional and self-publishing, you always have to find time to promote yourself. You’ll face plenty of rejection, so much that you’ll wonder if it’s even worth it to continue. It is.

My two-cents? Lick your wounds and keep going–even when it feels like no one cares, or no one supports what you are trying to accomplish. You are doing this for yourself, so don’t let yourself down.

The good news is that with determination, perseverance, and even a little stubborness, you will eventually gain acceptance within the community that is right for you and you will accomplish your lifelong dream to become a published author. So keep at it!

As far as last week’s crisis…it’s over. For now. I managed to complete the chapter, and I am proud to say that I have 2 chapters left.

How did I get over that major hurdle?  First I read my outline. Yes, I use one of those–sometimes. For me it’s like a map. Though, it’s rare for me to stick to my outline word for word. I often detour from my original destination, but least I have some guidance to start with.

Second, I wrote the draft out in my journal, then typed it. Next I read it on screen but that got me no where. So I printed it out, scribbled notes on the draft, and asked myself questions. I had to work out the tough parts like a puzzle. In the end I decided that anything causing too much grief had to be cut, including plots and characters.

Maybe later I’ll revisit those ideas with a fresh perspective. But then again, maybe I won’t.

The Journey is Long VIII

The Journey is Long is my weekly editorial on the self-publishing process for my debut novel, Journey through Darkness.

Check out The Journey is Long I-VII and feel free to leave comments or observations from your own experiences regarding the writing process.

__________________________________________________

Writing has become almost painful. Before I decided to self-publish I used to write for fun, so I paid very little attention to what I wrote. Now I find myself analyzing every little paragraph while trying to remember all those grammar rules I learned back in English 106.

And finding the time to write has gotten a lot more challenging with a 22-month-old who wants all of my undivided attention. After working an 8-hour shift I usually spend the remaining five hours with my husband and daughter. By 10PM I’m ready to write. The problem is I’m usually exhausted. I’m staring at the computer screen or my pile of journals wishing that I could just go to sleep. However, my deadline to submit my manuscript is just 20 days away, so I can’t allow myself to give in to temptation. I must finish!

This week I kept rewriting the same scene over and over. I’ve been stuck on the same chapter for almost 3 weeks. What am I doing wrong here? What is missing? Should I give up the chapter altogether and just move on? Am I being lazy and not working hard enough on it?

At a time like this I think a writing group or a mentor would help a lot, but I have neither, so I’m going to keep working at it until I get it right. Wish me luck.