#PROVECTUS has gone to press!

The other day I reviewed the final draft of my new thriller novel, PROVECTUS, Survival of the Fittest.

It looks amazing!

Fellow writers, I must warn you . . . you will NEVER find EVERY typo. So at some point you just need to let it go. I have a very keen eye. And I continue to find things even after scouring every sentence, word,  and punctuation mark.

I did, however, find a timeline issue very late in the game! It was something I didn’t see until I had the ARC in my hands. I just never noticed it on the digital versions I was using to proof it. Thankfully, it was a relatively easy fix. But wow. Next time I will pay to print a physical copy just for proofing. And I don’t mean an 8.5 x 11 printed version. I mean an ARC- sized version.

Maybe that’s just me.

So part of going to press with a hybrid publisher means I had to pay for the copies now even though my release date isn’t until the first week of October. Ouch!

However, I did get some orders from Barnes & Noble as well as a handful of independent bookstores. Yay! That’s one way She Writes Press really stands out. Their books are distributed by Ingram Publisher Services. Their sales force takes meetings with retailers and gets those retailers to stock/carry their titles. You don’t get THAT with self publishing!

My ARCs have arrived!

When I got home from work Thursday night, there was a box on my front porch. I didn’t think much of it. My husband likes to shop, so I thought, “Wonder what he got this time?”

To my surprise, he started to open it then stopped. “Hey!” he said. “This has your name on it!”

I told him I didn’t remember ordering anything and asked him to open the box.

To my utter surprise and pleasure, the advanced reader copies of my novel (aka, ARC) were inside!


What beauties! To finally hold my book in my hands literally gave me chills of excitement. To open the smooth cover and see my own words on the cream-colored pages inside was unreal.

With these ARCs I will solicit “blurbs” from other authors. Authors already famous. Authors I admire.

I will ask bookstores to carry my book. I will ask bloggers to review my book. Eventually, when I get the final version (not just the ARCs), I will ask readers to read my book. And hope that they enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

It takes courage . . . and no small amount of arrogance to be a writer I think. I have to present this work to the world and say, “Hey! Read this! It will be worth your time, I promise you.”

Hello world. I present to you my novel. My baby. My blood, sweat and tears.

My novel, PROVECTUS, Survival of the Fittest, has arrived.

PROVECTUS_final cover (draft) - trim


Looming Deadlines, or #amwriting

I’m pleased to say that things are moving along quite nicely with my novel! We’ve essentially finalized the cover art (looks amazing! I hope to share soon) and my manuscript should be moving into layout any day now. Meaning it will look like a real book, not just a ream of paper. It’s so exciting!

The challenge I’m facing at the moment is with my PR responsibilities. My PR firm, BookSparks, has been just wonderful. They have some fantastic ideas to promote my novel (and me) as a debut author. However, one of those ideas includes something they call “content strategy.” These are original pieces of content that will be used to promote my book to national media. They’re what you might call human interest stories.

Now, I wrote my novel because I had this story stuck in my head and I soon discovered I was the only one that could write it. It took four long years, but write it I did. I have other novels that seem to be taking me just as much time to write, but I know I’ll finish them. I have to or they won’t leave me alone. Actually, the fact that my first novel took me four years to write is one reason I chose to publish with She Writes Press. They’re not going to pester me with “What are you writing now? When’s your next novel? What about the one after that?” Kinda like when you get engaged and then everyone wants to know when you’re getting married. Then when are you having a kid. Then another kid. Augh!

Anyway, a writing career with SWP means I can move at my own pace. Within reason, of course. Once you submit your manuscript, they do expect you to work with them to edit it and get it to press within their deadlines. But as an author, being published is what you really want too, right?

Writing these content pieces is another type of challenge altogether.

While I like the ideas they gave me, I did not choose these topics. I’m not saying that I could come up with better topics. It’s just that it’s homework. I feel like I’m back in school again being told to write an essay or book report. This was just the kind of thing that made me think I hated writing.

These pieces are due Monday, April 4th. I may have to ask for more time. I hate doing that, but I also don’t want to give them drivel.

Oh, the dilemmas of a soon-to-be-published author!

I know, I know. So who ordered the whine….? Suck it up, Cupcake!

So I’m back at it this morning and the ideas are starting to dribble in. And I’ll gather the dribble until it starts to make sense. Then I’ll edit. Then I’ll edit them again until they shine.

Because that’s what real authors do.

Nine Months to Publication with @shewritespress . . . and Counting

For those interested, I’m going to chronicle my publication experience with She Writes Press, a hybrid publisher for women writers.

On November 7th, I signed with She Writes Press. Immediately, they welcomed me with a lovely email. The email also asked to fill out an information sheet about me and my novel. They needed my bio, a photo and a synopsis (actually two, the back-of-the-book copy and a full, true synopsis) for my story. On December 4th, I joined my first SWP Authors call. After the call (which included a webinar), I was sent a tip sheet to fill out (Yep! More homework already – just like you’d expect from a publisher). This requested even more information about my book such as keywords and the BISAC category (i.e., where people will find it on the shelves – both virtual and physical).

On December 15th I was sent my editorial schedule which told me me my publication date will be October 4, 2016. WOOT! Did you hear that? I said, “My publication date.” How I do love the sound of that phrase.

Anyway . . . I digress! I explicitly requested a publication date of October because it’s my favorite month.

October is the month that holds my birthday, my wedding anniversary (to the most amazing man ever), and my favorite holiday (Halloween). And now it will hold the birth of my debut novel! I couldn’t be happier.

This is one of the wonderful things about She Writes Press. Do you think any one of the “Big 5” book publishers would have taken my wishes regarding my publication month into consideration? I think not.

And thanks to my editorial schedule, I know what’s coming and when deliverables are due – both what I owe the publisher and what they owe me. For example, on December 11th I was sent the first concept for my book cover. (Even though they weren’t due to me until January.)

I loved it immediately!

My novel is a science-based thriller. The artist really captured the mystery of the story. It just needed a bit of tweaking to give it a more mainstream “thriller” vibe. I liked it so much I printed a 4 1/4″ x 7″ color copy of it and pasted it onto a book so I could see what it will look like on my bookshelf. (I created the spine too – it’s very realistic!) This is visualization at its finest, my friends.

After I’ve started working with my publicist, I’ll post images of all these things so you can see what I mean in full-color.

Speaking of publicists, I’ve elected to go with BookSparks. She Writes Press and BookSparks are both a part of the SparkPoint Studio family. I interviewed other publicists but none of them seemed to have the personal touch that BookSparks does. My contract with them begins in January.

My manuscript is due to the publisher on February 2nd. My husband generously offered to read it out loud to me. Thankfully, we both enjoyed the story and found no major plot problems. (Whew!) Thanks to his feedback, I spent three days on minor edits (mostly having to do with word choices, etc.). If he stumbled or stopped when reading an awkward sentence, that was my cue to fix things. It was an excellent experience. I’d advise other writers to do the same. Even if you have to pay someone!

Next up, I’m writing a bit for the end of the book where I’ll discuss the science behind the story in the tradition of Michael Crichton’s State of Fear or The Sixth Extinction by James Rollins. I’m hoping readers will want to know more about the science.

Because isn’t that why we love science-based thrillers?