This is a question I have struggled with, and I still struggle with it. Actually, the problem isn't even really the names, because changing them does not change giving away who it is if the reader knows you and the character you are trying to disguise. I thought about leaving out all details about other people's lives, but sometimes the details of other people affected my life and my choices. Everyone I talk about in my memoir was included because they played a role in my story. I really hope I painted everyone in a good light, but the truth is, no one is perfect. I do not want to make enemies with my book, I just want to tell my story. We are shaped my many factors such as homelife, religion, level of education etc. I truly believe that to an extent we are shaped by the people we choose to spend time with also. Everyone in this memoir played a very positive role in my current life, because they helped lead me to Pablo and the creation of my family. I am grateful to every single person I mentioned in the book...even the ones that may seem the "villian" in the story. There are no villians in this story, life is to short for villians, it is full of people we react to and people we learn from. How we react and the lessons we focus in on are up to us. Now that being said, I do realize that just as people have affected my life, my book has the potential to affect the lives of those who are in it. I hope that I did not reveal anything too private or anything that will negatively affect any of my "characters." What do you think about talking about other people in a memoir?
The short answer is no, I do not recommend using the pre-purchase order. The reason to use it is to build hype and offer discounts for early purchase. I was able to do this, but the discounts were confusing, and Smashwords does not actually allow you people to purchase the book during the pre-purchase phase (the book can only be purchased through 3rd party retailers such as iBooks or Nook). The other idea behind pre-purchase is that it will increase your first day sales...Today is my official release date, and I am showing that I have pre-purchase sales, and they are still not showing up as actual sales. Also, many people have been very confused by the pre-purchase, and have said, "I guess I will just wait." Now I have to re-introduce the book, because two weeks have passed and the hype has come and gone without a lot of actual pre-purchase sales. So, maybe I am not doing something right because I am just a rookie, but I do not recommend using the pre-purchase option on Smashwords.com.
On Saturday I thought I would quickly finish my publishing journey...I thought wrong. First I had a few simple mistakes that the autovetter picked up. I didn't even know what an autovetter was until Saturday! I quickly figured it out and fixed some simple source issues and crossed my fingers. Then a red box popped up. My cover image was not acceptable (it was not the correct pixel size). I had no idea how to fix that, but I explored the MacBook until I found a quality imaging program. I assured my impatient husband that I was on my last step, and then two hours later I really thought I was done. I waited, this time with my fingers and toes crossed. No messages popped up. I figured out where to find my progress and it said my book was accepted by Smashwords, but pending acceptance from the big retails, such as Apple and Barnes and Noble. I had to let it go for the time being, since there was nothing more I could do.
The next day I searched on and off all day. Finally, late in the afternoon I had a message. Imagine my disappointment when I saw another red box. I had three errors...one was simple; I used my middle name in one place and not in another -my name had to match. The second issue was relatively simple, I had to reformat my table of contents because there were a couple of links that were not working correctly. I got this done and resubmitted, and chose to ignore the third error for the time being, because I had no clue what it meant.
The following day I was very pleased to see that my revisions were accepted, but the third error remained like a raincloud that lingers overhead. It said I had extra links in my NCX. What in the world is an NCX???? Well, I did some investigative work and found out that NCX means "Naviation Control file for XML. Ok, what is XML? I still don't know, but somehow I figured out that I had left some footnotes in (I guess you cannot use footnotes in the tradtional sense for ebooks) and they were appearing as weird links at the end of my document. I still do't know how, but I fixed it and resubmitted. I did find a few font issues (diary entries, regular text, letters and emails should all be different fonts), but I am going to let them go for now and fix them as soon as I start summer break.
Today I was overjoyed to find that my book was accepted for the premium catalogue, meaning it will be available (pending further approval) at major ebook retailers. I am hoping they will be truly available within the next couple of days. But anyway, I am a published author, so cheers for me!
Here is the link to buy my book directly from Smashwords (or search for "chuchoque" at www.smashwords.com) You can use coupon code FU84E for $2 off from now until June 12.
Let me know what you think, I welcome reader feedback. Thanks!
I am well on my way to publish my book...I know I say that everytime. This time I really feel like I am getting somewhere. I found I just had to make a choice and try it. I may find out I did not make a wise choice and I will re-publish later on, but for now I am going to self-publish using Smashwords. So far it has been easy, but cumbersome. I am going to share the steps in my process thus far, and hopefully it will help someone in the future who finds themselves in my shoes.
Step 1: Create a Smashords Account.
This was very quick and easy, and it is FREE. There were a few similar sites that offered something similar, but after reading reviews, looking at fees and percentages, and looking at ease of use, I decided that this seemed the best route for someone who has never done this before.
Step 2: Format Using the Smashwords Style Guide.
This is a free book available for download. It has been very helpful, but the formatting is taking me forever, because I did not do it correctly to start with. This will be one-hundred times easier for my next book, because I will format correctly from the start. It really isn't difficult this time, but it is time consuming. I actually thought it would be good to go, I am pretty tech savvy, and I have used Microsoft word for years for countless documents. I am learning a lot from the style guide, such as "do not use tab to create paragraph indents." Microsoft actually has a way to set the tabs to automatically format, pretty cool for next time around -not so cool this time when I had to undo three hundred pages of tabs. I am not actually done with this step yet. I worked on it for an entire day. I am currently at page 213 of 308 in the style guide, so hopefully I will be done soon.
Step 3: Type in Your Title.
I have chosen the title :Pura Vida: A Memoir about International Love and Growing Up.
Step 4: Set a Release Date.
You can choose between immediately and pre-order. From what I have read it is better to offer a pre-order. You can generate sales before it is released, making it seem as if you have higher first day sales, which in turn increases your popularity, thus increasing future sales.
Step 5: Create a Short and Long Description of your book.
This is super important! This is what will convince readers to buy your book!
Step 6: Set Your Sale Price and Sampling Percentage.
I struggled on this one. I want my book to be affordable and for more people to buy it, but I think setting a very low price will send the message that it is not that great of a book. On the other hand, setting a higher price may not be smart since I really have no writing credentials yet.
The sampling percentage is the percentage of the book that readers can have for free before buying your book. Smashwords recommends at least 15% for longer books.
Step 6: Choose a Category for Your Books
I am categorizing my book as nonfiction: biography: personal memoir. I am also choosing a secondary categorization of nonfiction: travel
That is as far as I have gotten, but I know I still have to create tags and upload my book. My understanding is that after I upload I don't have to do anything -unless you count marketing.
So, the anser is, yes, self-publishing is a lot of work. I am doing it anyway. I do not want to spend money on a book that may or may not sell and I think it will be very satisfying to actually have a book that I created and published from start to finish on my own. What do you think? Is it better to self-publish or to hire a publisher?
Tuesday night it finally happened -I finished my book, my memoir! It is now 11 years, and 20 days in the making. I felt a rush of pride and elation, then I felt a slight letdown (it's done, I no longer have it to work on and relive) and finally I felt an immense sense of being overwhelmed.
I do not want to focus on being overwhelmed because the benefits of writing this book have already been so plentiful. I cannot wait to share our love story with others -I hope it both entertains and inspires. I am so proud for having stuck with something for so long -and it was hard work! I am in love with my husband all over again after reliving our story. I have a family legacy to someday leave behind to my own children. I have a renewed desire for travel and adventure. And the list goes on.
I say the book is "done," but there are still a few lingering questions/decisions I need to make before publishing. There are a few letters and a few memories that I am still unsure if I feel comfortable publishing -this is after all, very personal. I am still unsure of the title. I have changed it several times and it still doesn't feel quite right. I also need to work on the cover art a bit more -I have an idea for it, I just need to do it. Once I tweak these things, I will really be ready to publish!
Oh, to publish...this is the source of my sense of being overwhelmed. I do not know where to start. I am afraid of making the wrong publishing choices and dooming my book. It is not that I lack confidence in the book itself -How can you go wrong with a love story, a coming of age story, an immigration story, and a travel story all woven into one and set on the backdrop of beautiful Costa Rica?! The story is one that people will want to read, this I know...but how do I go about getting it into their hands, or on their devices?
I just spent the afternoon investigating "Kickstarter," which is a social investment platform. People choose to "back" my work and earn rewards in the process. I could earn money to have professionals help me publish. I looked over several projects, and I think my book has what it takes to be a successful project. It does look to be daunting to get started though. I am not afraid of hard work, but anyone who has ever worked in public education knows that the month of may is often the most difficult. I always compare it to being in a race and seeing the finish line, and then you fall and just don't know if you can get up again. So anyway, the month of may is tough without adding an investment campaign to my plate...but as you will see in my book I do not give up, so be on the lookout because my work is soon coming to a publisher near you!
I am still waiting, and waiting, and waiting for my first children's book to be published on iBooks...I cannot do anything to speed it along, and that is frustrating! What I can do is work on something else. So I vowed to myself that I would work on my memoir every night. My cousin finished her round of editing for me and I need to go through her suggestions, questions and corrections. I have added a few new sections that I need to write, taken out a few things and tweaked many things, but I still have a lot of work before I am ready to send it into a professional editor. I worked really hard Monday and Tuesday night. Wednesday night is church night, so I was too tired by the time I finally got home. Thursday is my PLC (Professional Learning Community) night at work, and then after supper and bedtime routines were done I sat down to get a couple of things done from my work to-do list...needless to say I pretty much worked about fourteen hours yesterday! Now it is Friday and I am too tired out to do ANYTHING. Tomorrow we are going to the other side of the state so, if I finish the five things on my work to-do list I may get some work time in the car.
I really hope I do not sound like I am complaining...or making excuses (I know I am doing both, but I am feeling better already.) The good thing is that I think I will actually start the week without a to-do list, there is some awesome learning going on in my class, and I can always write tomorrow.
I promise, someday I really will publish, and when I make a promise, I NEVER break it!
I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the Macul 2014 technology conference for the past two days; it by far surpassed all of my expectations! There were over 4,500 motivated, intelligent, fired up people in attendance. I was able to hear two great keynote speakers, attend seven beneficial break-out sessions, network with awesome co-workers, and learn all about technology and education. I went in with two goals in mind: 1) Learn how to better integrate technology in my classroom, and 2) Learn more about publishing electronically. I left not only satisfied in the area of my two goals, but I left with so much more. I left with motivation, empowerment, and ideas.
I kept hearing a few themes repeated; Don't be afraid to try something new, model creativity, allow students to create, create with students...and the list goes on. I am challenging myself to continue working on my ebooks, but also to allow my students the same opportunity. I saw that kindergarteners can produce ebooks. They can blog! Really! I do not have to manage a whole screen full of practice apps...they can create. So hear is to writing with a purpose no matter your age!
On a side note, my book is still "authenticating."
Who knew it would be so much hard work to become an author?! I thought the hard part would be writing the books (it's not easy.) Now I am ready to take the next step and let others read my work, but I don't know how to get it to them. I was planning on publishing through iBooks, but I'm not sure that I want to only publish through them, as not everyone has a device that supports iBooks. Next I googled some of the better known e-publishers (Smashwords and BookBaby) and found mixed reviews. Next I looked at Kindle and Nook publishers....my head is spinning! I feel like I am spending so much time investigating the publishing process that I am not dedicating enough time to improve my writing. My fear was that I would publish and no one would read it or they would make fun of it. I now have new fears -1.)I will never actually publish, 2.)I will publish using the wrong platform and no one will ever read it. Why don't I just happen to know a world renowned publisher who happened to fall in love with my work. I guess that would be too easy. So, for tonight this is all I will write, I need to get busy finding a publisher.
My Writing Journey