by Denise Domning
Following is the second in a series of Denise Domning’s journey in self-publishing (here’s Part 1.) Read on – not only is the journey facinating and educational, this is entertaining stuff. How many writers do you know trying to get on The Howard Stern Show?
Take it away, Denise:
Well, the snail marches on. That’s publishing, even when you’re doing it on your own. Everything just seems to take too lo-o-o-o-ng.
First, we had a talk with our agent Katie Kotchman of the Denise Marcil and Don Congdon Literary Agencies. Katie’s been our book’s biggest supporter from the the first nineteen pages I sent her by email; she’s very much looking forward to seeing the book(s) in print.
She laughed when we told her we’d renamed the first book, which is a little more than half the book she was originally pitching, to “Men-ipulation”. She laughed harder when we told her the name of the second book, which is the last third plus more of the original book: “Men-sturbation”. It fits. While the first book is Monica’s recovery from drug addiction, the second is the chronicle of Monica skirting sex addiction. I’m thanking Katie here again for all her time and effort on our behalf.
We have a cover that’s as edgy, sexy and provocative as we wanted. Monica is now the only bona fide troop in The Men Wars.
What we need now is someone to do our PR. Last week we spoke with Annie Jennings of Annie Jennings PR and Book Promotion. Her firm was the one we included in our original book proposal, but in this second conversation with her she warned us that PR doesn’t guarantee book sales. That’s not news to me. But PR does bring attention and we need attention.
I also sensed that Annie was having a little trouble with the tenor of this version of the book, so I sent her the working manuscript and asked her to read it before sending us the contract. If she doesn’t love what we’re doing, she won’t be worth hiring.
My idea to put out a teaser book was nixed by Amazon. Apparently only the biggest publishers are allowed to put out free books on Kindle. Hmm. No problem. I’ll just make those chapters available on our new TheMenWars.com website (not viable yet but coming soon).
I have now conquered both Nook and LuLu/iBook formatting. It was too easy.
- For Nook I downloaded Google’s free epub program, Sigil.
- I converted my original Kindle html files to xhtml (that’s a “save as” in Dreamweaver or you can copy and paste the right formatting information into the header of your web page. )
- The hardest part was breaking my single large book file into individual chapters and making sure they stayed in order when I inputted them into Sigil.
- Nook appears to require the ncx file that Kindle makes optional, but I’d already written one for the Kindle so all I needed to do was move it into the right directory.
- As for using Lulu.com (I gave my old MAC to my niece and you can’t make your own iBook on a PC), it simply uploaded my Nook epub file and said “Thank you very much”.
- Then it asked me to make a cover. It took longer to figure out that page than it did to upload the book.
Back to The Men Wars and getting this book into the hands of readers. We now have our social media contest gifts: an iPad, a Kindle and a Nook. What else? We want people to read the book. That’s why I’m making our website and any promotional sites prominently display the PC apps for Kindle, Nook and iBooks.
Note: You knew you could download a free app and read on your computer, right?
Now it was time to find reviewers. Sometimes I hate the Web. No, I do not want to buy your eBook to learn how to reach reviewers. Not that your book wouldn’t be incredibly informative. No, I do not want to join your newsletter list so I can get your amazing words of wisdom about publishing, which I’m sure will be most illuminating. It’s just that you’ll send me your words on a daily basis and my inbox is already overflowing with other people’s words of wisdom (most of which I don’t read anyway).
I miss my local library and the reference librarian. That’s how I’m used to doing my research. The Web is crowded with repetitive information, which means I spend way too much time sifting through the dross trying to find that one gold nugget I need. However, I did finally find list of reviewers, including what they want to review…and, miracle of miracles, someone has already said yes!
The copyright is almost filed—it’s just waiting for the finished manuscript to be uploaded. Although the system is definitely not user-friendly, it only costs me $35 to file. I’ve also bought us the ISBN number, including a widget for “See Inside”, which I have yet to figure out. I’m wondering if I even need it. I got Amazon’s information on “See Inside” and my eyes crossed while I was reading it. I figured this had to be easier.
There’s still the interior artwork to be designed, but the edits are done, up to the final chapter which I’m writing right now, or would be if I weren’t typing this. Only another sixteen to twenty pages and this project will be officially written.
Ack! I know I’m forgetting something.
We still haven’t heard back from Annie Jennings. I’m afraid this will be a no-go with her. But without her, how in the world are we going to get Monica onto Howard Stern?
How is your self-publishing journey progressing? Post questions for Monica, and she’ll do her best to check back (in all her spare time!) and answer them.
REMINDER: On Friday, Writers In The Storm will be hosting the quick-change artist, Sue Grimshaw – who went into a phone booth a buyer from Borders, and emerged as an acquiring editor for Random House’s new Loveswept line!
Thank you for taking the time to fill folks in on your publishing adventures. You address integral aspects of making a book a reality coupled with a healthy and helpful dose of humor. The new world of publishing is a fascinating and sometimes frightening place–we all benefit when we can learn from one another!
Thanks, I’d have to do something drastic (drink cheap wine?) if I couldn’t step back and take a look askance at how strange the publishing world is.
Denise, you are a busy girl! I’ve had Darlin’ Druid out since early last November and still haven’t put it on Lulu. However, I’m looking into sending it to smashwords. If I can get into their catalogue they will place it with several different e-retailers. Meeting all of smashwords’ formatting requirements is what scares me. I’ve hear their “meatgrinder” tosses back many offerings.
Do you know any html at all? If so, the coding process is really very easy. If you know the code for creating paragraphs and headings, and for setting anchors you’re really good to go. If it’s kosher with these blog folks I’ll happily put up a coded page for you to use as a sample,
Blog admin folks?
Sure, Denise. Send us some code and we’ll either find a way to get it up here or we’ll add it to the next blog you send if you think that will work better. I’ll have to take a screen shot of it and save it as a JPG file to keep the code from “working.” 🙂
Fantastic information, Denise…especially the part on saving to Lulu! Thanks a bunch…I love following your journey. Good luck on Howard Stern!
Thanks re: Howard. We’re pulling out all the stops and plundering every contact we can think of.
An Update on this post. Annie Jennings is now comfortable with the tone and tenor of the book. After much back and forth-ing, we decided Annie best suited our path even though she refuses to place speakers on Howard Stern as a matter of principle. We’re going to pursue him on our own.
This is all fascinating, Denise. But also cautionary for those of us not so hip to all the code talk–as in not at all. LOL Frankly, I’m amazed y’all had trouble getting someone to pick up the book. Monica is an amazing role model. Isn’t that what everyone is looking for? Someone who’s pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (to use the old cliche) and realize if they could do…(whatever) we can to. Best of luck to you both. I look forward to reading your book on my nook. Marsha
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