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.

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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!


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Queer representation through romance

Before Thanksgiving I mentioned the “queering beards” panel, which is not what it’s called but how I keep referring to it in my head. It’s got to be the internal rhymes.

Anyway, above is the link to the post last week. Suffice to say for new readers, I went to World Fantasy Convention and got to listen to a lot of cool thoughts about LGBTQIA+ representation from various industry professionals. So here I am, reporting back to you, my readers, who didn’t get to go listen to this awesome conversation.

One of the questions that came up in this panel was about how queer stories are marketed predominantly through romance. Typically, there is an idea that an adult story with a queer main character, of any orientation, needs to have a romantic or sexual subplot as a way to firmly establish their queerness. Audience members also expressed pressure they had felt in young adult and middle grade writing to include a coming out story, often dovetailing with a romantic or sexual plot element. The moderator, Sara Megibow, asked how this had impacted the current panelists and their thoughts on it. The panelists each had different lived experiences which they articulated. One panelist felt that he had been pigeonholed into these projects as a voice actor; another felt that marketing for her books was sometimes difficult because of her publisher’s reputation for romance, when she herself did not write romance. They agreed that this could be problematic for queer authors trying to tell stories that didn’t revolve around romantic or sexual subplots, though they didn’t use those words.

So I raised my hand and asked how they felt it impacted asexual and aromantic representation in books. The panel felt there was an impact, but it felt to me that they didn’t know how to speak to this issue since none of them identified as such. But when a Twitter mutual who is active in the ace and aro communities posted a thread, I was reminded of that conversation and chimed in.

 

We had a great discussion. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things about Twitter, the ability for me to constantly encounter people who have more experience than me and learn about their expertise.

One of the things the panel didn’t really explore in their answer to my question, and one of the things that I didn’t explicitly tease out, is that there is a difference between asexual and aromantic and that difference could result in differing challenges in the publishing industry. Claudie quickly corrected my thinking here, specifying that, while getting asexual stories published was still not easy, it was becoming more common than aromantic stories because romance-focused publishing houses were uninterested in aromanticism. After all, you don’t necessarily need sex to have a romance that can titillate readers.

I urge you to check out our conversation if you would like to. We kind of went in several branching directions, so you may need to flit about from tweet to tweet to find it all. You also might check out some of her work documenting and recommending asexual and aromantic stories. And you could always buy her a coffee.


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