Thursday, March 20, 2008

MY Self-Publishing Challenges

Well I'm sitting here looking at what I believe to be the final product of the cover for my third book and decided to put down some of my thoughts...

I'm finding that although the writing process is quite a journey, the PRODUCTION process is an event to be remembered as well!

I publish through AuthorHouse. Once they receive my manuscript, they set an appt to have a design meeting, where I talk to someone about what I want in the galley (the guts of the book, like what type of picture I want behind the chapter headings, the font type, etc). Then we talk about the cover. They ask what I want on it ... I tell them key points of the story, and then they give it to their graphic artists to hopefully come up with what's in my imagination.


I told them for "Dragon's Tear", I want a dark body of water, like a lake, at night with a full moon rising in the sky and reflecting on the water. I want a large, white, ghostly dragon as the main picture, and a SAPPHIRE BLUE tear-shaped gem in place of the "o" in the title word "Dragon's". I think they did a good job with the water and the moon, but their first dragon was NOT white and was just plain UGLY!! (A picture of their first attempt is currently in my myspace account .. .. go into the "pics" link, then "author pics" to see all the covers of my books). Their gem is also kinda purpley, and don't get me wrong, I LOVE the color purple, but it's supposed to be stinking BLUE!! I guess the way it is now it's mostly blue and the purple highlights the cuts in the stone ....

The deal with AuthorHouse is they'll design a cover for you... if you don't like it, they'll take one more stab at it for free. BUT!!! If you DON'T like their second attempt, they will charge you for each future attempt. When I rejected the first cover, I knew that this next one had to count...

And I got lucky, because personally I LOVE it! I think out of all 3 covers (again, all pics are currently on myspace if you follow the path above), this one is definitely the BEST!!
So now, I'm waiting to sign off on the cover, and I also have to see (someday ... whistling impatiently here) the galley (guts) of the book. Once I see it, I’m really hoping the galley will be fine and I will sign off on that, too. From that point, I'll have to set the price for the book, and THEN... and THEN... in about 10 days, the book should go LIVE on the AuthorHouse website!!!

In the contract I have with them for this book, I will receive 30 free copies of the book from them. Once I approve the cover and galley, I'm going to go through a company called to get about 300 copies printed, so I'll have them onhand to sell at schools etc. Can the clock move ANY slower????

For me, the writing is a challenge at times (I suffer from writer's speedbumps just like every other writer I know), and the marketing is definitely challenging and never-ending, but one of the hardest yet most satisfying parts of the production process is the time in between approving the cover & galley and finally getting that VERY FIRST book in my hands. It seems to take decades but in actuality is really only a matter of weeks. And it's not like I don't have a bazillion other things on my plate to keep me busy, but it is what it is. I know I have fans out there who are just as anxious to get a copy of the book as I am, although their reason is slightly different from mine... and I'm learning that one of the most satisfying feelings is being able to give them what they want...

Can someone move the hands on the clock forward about 300 rotations, please?

Anxiously awaiting the next step,
YA Fantasy Author

Sunday, March 16, 2008

LIVE interview for YA Fantasy Author MJ Allaire!

Hi all!!

Friday night, 3/14/08, I had the opportunity to be interviewed LIVE by a group of wonderful people who put on a local cable show every two weeks called Planet Access. I worked a full day at my "day job", then drove just over an hour to get to this place (for the record, I didn’t get home till midnight!!!).

From the moment I got there I was VERY comfortable talking to Catherine, one of the hosts of the show, and then Matt, the other host, showed up and I was just as comfortable talking to him as well. I had a GREAT time while I was there and really enjoyed talking to them. As soon as they edit the interview and post it on YouTube, I’ll post the link on here for any of you who want to take a gander.

The BAD news about Friday night is that, while I was there, I lost my wallet. I’m pretty sure I lost it in the studio and by the time I realized it and got back there to see if anyone was there, they had closed up shop for the night. I’m hoping that someone tucked it away for safe keeping and I’ll find out maybe on Monday or Tuesday that they have it. I called the studio and left a voice mail on Friday eve about my predicament and one of the guys called me back Saturday morning and said that he couldn’t see it. But because it was the weekend I’m hoping that someone has it and they are just unreachable until tomorrow. What a pain in the butt! It had all my credit cards in it (for 4 separate accounts, which is another story), my license (of course), my medical card, gift cards to home depot AND walmart (OH, DISCORDIA!!) and about $100 in cash, among other things that I’m sure I’ll remember over the next few days ..... Ayeeeeeee!!!
Anyway, below is what Matt posted on their blog this morning ( and below that is what I posted as a comment... Enjoy!

MJ Allaire, author of the Denicalis Dragon Chronicles, visits our show!

Yes, on Friday March 15th (Einstein’s Birthday!), we had writer MJ Allaire as a guest on our show. She is the writer of Dragon’s Blood and The Prisoner, the first two books in her Denicalis Dragon Chronicles. We talked about the book series which is a fantasy series directed at 8-15 year olds. Of course, there are no age limits to the books as we had much fun reading them. :)
We also discussed self publishing. MJ had some great insight into the process. She talked about her situation and the freedom self publishing gave her. It is hard work promoting a book on your own, but MJ has come a far way in getting her series out there.

Although I stumbled quite a bit, and we had our usual technical difficulties (LOL) we all had a good time. The Record Journal even stopped by and got photos for an article they did on us! Clips of the show will be up as soon as we get them edited.

Thank you again MJ for stopping by and making for a great evening. If any of our viewers are interested in learning more about MJ and her books (including how to purchase them), please check out:

Your Host,Matt

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Hi Matt! I just wanted to thank you, Catherine, and the entire crew for bringing me on your show Friday night and giving me the opportunity to talk about my writing, my experiences, and most of all, my books. My books began as a single book, and since I began writing in 2005, it’s been QUITE a journey! In my heart I believe my books CAN make a difference for young adults and their joy of reading, because I’m providing them with believable characters, mystery, adventure... and if you like magic and dragons, that too!

Currently I have 2 books physically out in the series, "Dragon’s Blood" and "The Prisoner". Book 3 in the series, "Dragon’s Tear" is due out in April. I’m hoping to have book 4, "Dragon’s Breath" out by Thanksgiving/Christmas this year and book 5 (still unnamed) out by next summer. Right now plans are to have 5 books total in the series, but since I write a paragraph at a time, there are no guarantees as to how side-tracked I might get between here and there!
I had a BLAST while I was there... you guys were a bundle of fun and I would not hesitate to come back if I happened to be invited ;)

If anyone has any questions about my books, my writing, or would like to get a personally signed copy of one of my books, please don’t hesitate to contact me at! I’d LOVE to come visit schools to talk to kids, or go to libraries to talk to anyone interested in reading or the writing process!

Thank you again, and I’ll let you know when "Dragon’s Tear" is available!
Happy reading!MJ
As a side note, I went last week and had a mammogram and ultrasound and they found absolutely NOTHING wrong, so that's a biiiiiiiig weight off my shoulders!!!! Now if I could just find my wallet ......