Daughter of Madness: logistics edition

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve posted directly here. For those keeping track, we’re a little over halfway through the blog tour. I’ll be officially back here with your weekly Friday post in July. July 27th to be exact. But since I had some thoughts to share, I thought I’d check in to do a quick rundown of the publishing process for Daughter of Madness.

dfw-am-dom-cover-3d-nologo.jpg

So first, let’s outline the normal process in a traditional publishing house.

  1. Finish a first draft.
  2. Finishing rewrites.
  3. Sell the book to a house.*
  4. Cover design.
  5. Final edits.
  6. Formatting.
  7. Proofing.
  8. Printing/Publication.

*For a sequel, you typically sell the series first so this would be step #1.

This is not exactly how things flowed for this book, but this is the process you’re most likely to see for a book through a publishing house, with some wiggling. I also have to note there’s a huge marketing piece of publishing a book as well that is very difficult to juggle and deserves some examination, but for now we’re just going to focus on publication, not marketing. This is only what it takes to make the book, not to get people to buy it.

The process for Daughter of Madness was a little out of order from the above. It looked something like this:

  1. Cover design.
  2. Finish a first draft.
  3. Finish rewrites.
  4. Final edits.
  5. Proofing.
  6. Formatting.
  7. Ebook publication.
  8. Cover revisions (print version).
  9. Print publication.

First, let’s talk about the things that went great. This was my first time doing Kindle Preorders. That was excellent. It gave me a hard release date to work towards and market around. I sold some books before I had even finished polishing, though not as many as I would have liked. The downside of the preorder was that I set it up before I was done with step #3 up there, so I was really scrambling at the end and lost a lot of sleep, as one might imagine. That said, overall the ebook launch went off without a hitch.

The print book launch had some glitches.

First, I did my print book launch through CreateSpace, not through Amazon. I made this choice because, for me, it is better to maintain distribution flexibility by using CreateSpace. Many bookstores, libraries, etc, will not buy direct from Amazon. There are other POD services that can be used that I will be investigating for the next book, because CreateSpace is really not competitive in terms of its functionality. It really feels a bit like it’s being intentionally lampooned, actually. I

With the print book, I could not set a preorder date. That means that I couldn’t go through the review process and then be sure my book would show up for order on Amazon at a set time. I could and did publish to CreateSpace pretty quickly, but the rollout to other distribution channels can take up to 8 weeks for some markets, which is insane. Combine that with other glitches that were totally on my end, and I just received personal copies of the print book this Tuesday and just saw it listed on Amazon this Wednesday.

As far as the formatting process, I really enjoyed formatting with Scrivener this time through. My last two releases were formatted in Word. I had planned to do the same this time because it is what I was more familiar with, but my license for Microsoft Office expired about a month ago and I was too cheap to renew. Instead, I used Scrivener, which I have had for a couple of years now but have had a mixed relationship with. I’m now a full cheerleader for this product. It allowed me to easily produce .epub files for giveaways and to make changes to my formatting within minutes. I now have my own free files I can use for promotion, which I didn’t have for my last two books, and I love the interior of Daughter of Madness. The new formatting maintains some of the aesthetic of Mother of Creation but is far more reader-friendly. I will probably see how much I can fiddle with the formatting of Mother of Creation in the next few weeks, but we’ll see.

Each publication has left me learning more and more about publishing, and that’s a good thing. By the time I have a complete series to promote, I’m going to be an expert! There is one more book in the series, and there are relatively few things I would do differently next time around. My cover artist continues to be a joy to work with and overall I’m very pleased about the look and feel of this book.

If there’s something in particular you’d like to see a future post about, please drop me an email or leave a comment below. I’m happy to share what bits of knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years.

See you here again in July, and until then please do check into the blog tour for giveaway links!


Want to support this blog? Buy books, make a Paypal donation, or subscribe to my Patreon.

 

 

 

The best thing I learned at MystiCon

I go to conventions to spread the word about my existence, sure, but I also go to conventions to learn. (And to meet awesome people, but that is a side benefit to the utility, even if it is a very important one.) This year, I had a number of great experiences – being on an all woman panel was one, I enjoyed that immensely – but the most meaningful learning I did was as moderator on the very last panel of my time there, Epic Scale Fiction.

As might be imagined, I focused most of my questions on the “scale” piece of this topic – that is, how to expand a story. And the most obvious method of expanding a story that’s already out there is to write a new story (or a continuation of a story) in the same world. I’ll admit my bias – writing a sequel has been a totally different affair for me than writing an original story, with a whole new set of skills that I needed to acquire. Check on any of my posts which contain progress updates on Daughter of Madness and you will see what I’m talking about. But I didn’t have the language to articulate what, exactly, I’d done wrong with my second book in the Creation Saga the first time around, and what, exactly, I was doing right with the rewrites.

(As an aside, I have gotten deep into edits and heard back from beta readers and guys, I am very confident that you are going to love Daughter of Madness. I’m also very hopeful to have an official release date soon.)

I now have that language, thanks to the panelists. A sequel still involves changing the status quo. You sequel starts in that shift, just as your original novel did. It’s not just a continuation of the prior story. Something must change for each of your characters. So:

  • Change the status quo
  • Your sequel is not a continuation of the old story, it’s something new
  • Each book should be a story unto itself

When I started writing Daughter of Madness, I was trying to continue the story that I was telling in Mother of Creation. This is where I went wrong, and this is why two thirds of the book got chopped and rewritten. I had a solid thread on Liana’s story, with drastic changes to her new normal in the offing, but I just expected the other characters to keep doing what they had been doing and honestly? I was bored. I was bored writing it, and it showed, and it didn’t make any sense at all. Everything was bad.

Then I listened to Kameron Hurley talking about the need to throw out part of her book on her Twitter. I realized I could do that. And I started over. I started telling a new kind of story for each of my characters. One where the setting was more or less the same, often, but the stakes had changed, either internally or externally. I muddled towards the answer that the panelists so concisely gave me.

Everyone approaches sequels differently. The level of backstory required, the way that you orient the reader to the characters, changes from person to person. I very much want people to read the first book before they read the second. They are installments in the same broad arc. But they still should be able to stand on their own enough that if I as a reader came back to this series after a long time, I would be able to orient myself and still be engaged. And the only way that can happen is if the story in the second book is just as gripping and engaging, in its own way, as the story in the first. It can’t be a repetition of what has gone before, though some of the same themes and conflicts may be present.

In a way, I’m glad I had to learn things the hard way. Even if I had heard someone say those very words before, I don’t know that I would have recognized it in application to my own work. Even if I had, I don’t know that the book I would have written would have been as truthful as this one, because if I had finished Daughter of Madness sooner I would have lacked the experiences I needed to make it sing. But I am glad I know the lesson now, and I wanted to pass it on to you, in case you ever find yourself in the same boat.


Want to support my writing, including appearances like this one? Please consider buying me a coffee or signing up for my Patreon!