Mid-March progress . . . going wide . . . The Years Between Us . . . series update

The Years Between Us and E-book Update

The Years Between Us

The tentative front cover for The Years Between Us. Tired of looking at it yet? 

Slowly but surely I’m making progress with The Years Between Us. I’ve been having Word read it to me to catch typos and concentrating to find discrepancies and inconsistencies. I’m trying not to get bogged down in little stupid things, and when I take out a comma then put it back in then take it back out, I can only assume my brain is tired of the story and it’s time to pass it on and publish already. I feel like I have been working on it longer than some of my other books, but only because I’ve dealt with so much while writing and editing it. Had I not had surgery and not had to deal with this crappy weather, I would have had it out long ago. But, in any case, I have a proofer lined up and rarin’ to go, and using Vellum and making a cover in Canva won’t take any time at all once the book is ready to be published. I was thinking of doing a pre-order, but there’s already been enough time between The Years Between Us and All of Nothing, so I’ll just put it up for sale. I don’t have any promos or marketing lined up at the moment. I’m reluctant to do that since all my ebooks are everywhere and nowhere. Going wide is a stupid waiting game that has been made even longer by the fact mistakes were made.

All of Nothing and Wherever He Goes are up on Kobo, and doing a bang up job with no promotion:

2019-03-12 That is as far as I’ve gotten so far. I should put them on Nook and iBooks, and Draft2Digital for the rest. Then I’ll have those two done at least, and do The Years Between Us when it’s released.  It will be a couple months before I can do my trilogy, but it is what it is.

Paperback Updates

Things are moving slowly with paperbacks. Ingram isn’t as hard to work with as everyone says they are, yet they present challenges in their own way.

One of the first things they dinged me for was having a price not match what was on the back cover. I put all my prices above the barcode. I think it looks professional, and I just like to do it. But, Ingram looks, and if your retail price does not match what you put on the cover, they won’t approve your files. So, note to self for future books–remain consistent. That’s a good policy to go by, anyway. You want to look professional, and you want your books to be the same across the board.

Consistency is key.

So after I received that warning, I thought, how do I want to price my books going forward? I redid all my paperback covers (tweaking them in Canva is really easy) and changed the prices on the back. I needed to price my books in a way I’ll remember, and I decided to price books in a series at $9.99, and stand-alones at $12.99. I don’t sell many paperbacks anyway, but I thought if someone were to want to buy them, buying a series shouldn’t break the bank, stand-alones can be priced a bit higher. After printing and distribution costs, Ingram barely pays you anyway, so I didn’t feel the need to worry about cost. I just needed something I could remember so when it comes to pricing books I remained consistent.

That holds true for covers, too. I had lightened up All of Nothing‘s paperback cover for printing reasons, and I uploaded that file to Ingram without changing the one in KDP Print. So, again, my covers looked a bit different. At one point, Ingram DID accept that file for my cover, but I didn’t order the proof. I wanted my books to look the same, no matter where someone ordered it, so I changed the brightness back to the original and resubmitted the cover file.

But after I resubmitted, they emailed me an error:

ingram errror email

Of course, I had no idea what this meant. When I read the GENERAL INTERIOR ISSUE I thought I had formatting issues. But that couldn’t be the case, since I formatted in Vellum, and that program is very very good. Then I saw that I didn’t own the SKU. That SKU is incorrect–the front part of the number is missing. So I had to chat with an Ingram Spark associate. It was quick and easy, but I still have to wait for my issue to be resolved:

ingram chat

I buy my ISBNs from Bowker. There’s no reason why my number should have been rejected. Especially since it had been accepted once before.

She was nice, but running into issues isn’t fun, and I can see where people would be intimidated by working with Ingram. It’s a benefit real people are behind the scenes working on your books and making sure all is well. But there is a certain simpleness when all you’re dealing with is an automated system like KDP Print. The automated system also allows for scammers to publish their books, so you have to take the good with the bad for each company.

Anyway, I want to get All of Nothing figured out and a proof ordered. I’m doing the covers in GIMP working with their template, and I want to make sure it will print well before I do the others. I’m hoping by spring this will all be over, and when I decided to go wide, I had no idea it would take so long or be such a pain in the ass.

Lessons learned so far:

  1. Be consistent. Prices, how your covers look. You want it all the same across the board. Not just for you and your readers, but because in the end, it’s just easier to deal with.
  2. Be patient. In the scheme of things, how much money am I losing not having my books for sale while I’m messing with Ingram? Not many. How many sales am I missing not having my e-books everywhere I want them to be? I don’t know. I’m waiting for my books to be where I want them to before I invest in any more promos. I’m losing sales, I’m losing sales. Once my books are wide I can concentrate on finding a readership on all the platforms. Will I miss KU money? Sure. But while this isn’t a debate on KU vs. Wide, I would never be comfortable trusting one source for all my royalties.  I already do that–it’s called my day job.
  3. Keep looking forward. I’m still working on The Years Between Us, and I’m looking forward to opening Jared and Leah’s file again and filling in some blanks. Besides blog posts, I haven’t written for a while, and I’m starting to get antsy. I did edit for someone, and she’s been going through them. After she makes the changes and does some rewriting, I’ll probably do a second sweep. That’s okay. I adore her, and I don’t mind at all helping her out.

I’m a bit closer to do some tutorials about doing a full paperback cover in Canva. I found a software for recording screen time I think that will work, and I’ve started watching tutorials on how to use it. I’ve been posting a couple covers I’ve made in a FB group dedicated to indie covers, and they’ve all said a tutorial would be helpful. My friend Aila said I should start selling them, but my range is very narrow, and for now I just prefer helping a friend here and there when I can, and practicing to make my own covers better.

losing her breath fake cover

Do you trust me fake cover

Mostly it’s finding a good photo in canstockphoto.com. I have fun, and I’m developing an eye. Now I only wish it were so easy to do my own covers.  Doing my cover for my series is going to give me hives.

What do I want to get done before March?

I’d like to have a proof of All of Nothing ordered through Ingram. I’d like to have The Years Between Us published. But we’ll see. When you are working with other people, you need to be flexible, and like I said, in the scheme of things, waiting isn’t going to make my whole career fall into shambles. I’d like to have Jared and Leah plumped up and maybe an editing pass completed. We’ll just have to see how things go. The weather here seems to be perking up a bit, with highs in the thirties all week. The sunshine will help. I just hope it doesn’t storm again. We’ve had enough snow.

What do you want to get done before March?

Let me know!

 

jared and leah for end of blog posts

 

 

 

Cabin Fever and 8 things you can do to survive it

Cabin fever is gross. You’re squirrely, you want to go outside, you feel fat. In my case, I feel like I’m suffocating because I haven’t let fresh air into my apartment since December.

Even though March is right around the corner, and with that, hopefully spring, it’s hard to keep faith when you wake up to temperatures like this:

instagram temperatures

 

I posted this on my Instagram account this morning. When will we get better temps? Maybe in four to five weeks.

But who’s counting?

seasons-of-the-year-1127760_1280

What can you do to battle dreariness of cabin fever?

  1. Go outside anyway. If you’re living in a region where you wake up to this for four months out of the year, then you’re used to it. Get dressed, bundle up, and take a walk. Get some air, appreciate the snow, if you can. Remember how hot it will be in August. Throw out some seed for the birds, buy some peanuts and feed the squirrels still making the best of it. I took a walk the other day when temperatures were above 0, and it was nice.snow trail goosberry
  2. If you don’t want to go to outside, at least go out. Grab coffee with a friend, or let your kids run around the mall (if you have a decent sized one). Find a coffee shop and do some writing. Getting out, even if it’s cold, is better than staying inside and eating your way through a bag of Doritos.
  3. Speaking of junk food, eat better. Right now our produce is slowly starting to return to normal prices (Six dollars for a pint of strawberries? You gotta be out of your mind!) and fruit is starting to taste like fruit. Summer bodies are made in the winter. Start now, eat better, maybe go to the gym if you have a membership. I have a Planet Fitness not two blocks from me, but I don’t have a membership. I prefer to go outside when I can, but this prevents me from being able to workout regularly. I should buy a membership–it’s not like I don’t have podcasts to listen to while I’m on a treadmill. And ration out those Girl Scout cookies you bought last week from the girl down the street. Yes. I’m looking at you.
  4. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a shower.  Look, I get it. This time of year is horrible. I suffered from depression for a long time. With the issues I’ve had this winter, it’s easy for those feelings to come back. I’ve had surgery, I’ve dealt with a sick cat (cleaning up after her, and paying for the vet was HARD AND STRESSFUL), I have car problems. My husband isn’t around anymore (okay, that’s more of a plus, but still) and I’m alone, taking care of my two kids. My daughter’s school has been closed due to severe cold and blizzards and has had late starts, too, and both have interfered with my work schedule. All the snow this year has made me need to shovel more than ever before–Note to self: Never have carpal tunnel surgery in the winter. And yes, that has made me down. The lack of sun, the lack of fresh air, sometimes you just wanna cry. Cry–in the shower. Get dressed. Getting dressed can make a world of difference. Put some makeup on. I’m not talking about real depression here. If you need real help, then go get it. Thinking about hurting yourself is NEVER okay. Seasonal depression, cabin fever, situational depression, a down feeling you can have but will go away, that’s what I’m talking about.
    seasonal depression

    For more information about seasonal depression, click here.

    situational depression

    For more information on situational depression, click here.

    I have really bad situational/seasonal depression right now. But things will perk up. I just have to push through until they do.

  5. Never underestimate the power of family. Spending time with your family can help. If you’re feeling down, the first thought is always to distance yourself. If you have family around you, spend time with them. I just scheduled a dinner and movie night with my sister. It might be -10 below by the time the movie is over and even after its 3rd car appointment tomorrow morning, my car may still be leaking oil, but I’m getting out there.
  6. Make progress in some way. Keep chipping away at your work in progress. If you have a different hobby, work on that. Schedule little goals for yourself and don’t forget to reward yourself for doing them.
  7. Help someone on a deadline. If you can beta read, or grab and ARC for a review, maybe that can help keep you accountable. Someone else is counting on you. I just took an editing job. She needs me to get it done–and I will.
  8. Take your vitamins. I’m not a doctor, and anyone who takes meds needs to consult theirs before adding anything to their daily routine. I take adult gummies. The B vitamins lift my mood and the Vitamin D probably helps too.

All you can do is tough it out. Spring will come, in some parts of the world sooner than others. In Northern Minnesota, we probably won’t see a true rise in temperatures until early April. But I have a few things to look forward to between now and then, namely a new book release that I am anticipating very much. I’m also doing busy work with putting my books wide. I’m trying to stay busy, and I hope that it works. swimsuit quote

Find some things to brighten your spirits. Even if it’s just buying a new winter coat for next year–they’re all on clearance right now, right? Just avoid the new display of swimsuits, because nothing will make you feel worse than trying one of those torture contraptions on.


If you suffer from depression, seasonal or otherwise, please get help. If you’re reading this, please know I care about you and want you to take care of yourself!

If anyone needs:

The depression hotline number is 1-866-233-3459. They have a website that includes other resources, and you can find it here: https://www.psychguides.com/guides/depression-hotline/

The suicide prevention hotline number is: 1-800-273-8255 and their website is
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

book with daisies

 

Hang in there!

Let me know what you do to combat the cold and crazy cabin fever!

I’m still working my way through my series . . . .

jared and leah for end of blog posts