Thanks so much for coming! And if you've been a follower for a while, thanks also for your support and friendship. I love my followers. You guys rock!!
For your refreshment, I've provided an Ode to Cupcakes:
Cupcakes are for everyone--
They come in
They even come in PLAID!
They're good for lunch
They're good for De-ssert too!
& Bunnies love them!
As do Things 1&2.
So if you're feeling wild,
as parties make you do,
ENJOY THE LAUNCH
have some snacks
and drink some Mt. Dew! (All cupcake photos courtesty of Martha Stewart Living's Best Cupcakes of 2008 and 2009).
Did you get enough to eat? I have Diet Coke and hot chocolate too. Now, once you're nicely plump you'll want to sign the guest book below. Anyone who comments below will be entered to win a free signed copy of The Iron Bodkin. Winner will be decided by random drawing and announced on Friday.
Check back tomorrow for another chance to enter and more fun & games! And if you'd like to get your own copy of The Iron Bodkin, you can click the book cover in the upper right corner of the blog. It'll take you to your choice of vendors.
1. The Iron Bodkin went on sale yesterday at Createspace. It's so cool -- you can log into your Createspace account and see how many copies have sold. The stats update almost immediately. And no, I haven't been watching the numbers. (Ok, that's a lie, but I haven't been watching them that much.)
2. The Boise SCBWI regional conference will take place Sept. 10-11th. If you're interested, it's not too late to register. We'll have presentations by agent Jill Corcoran, author Chris Crutcher and editor Cheryl Klien of Arthur A. Levine, as well as workshops featuring local authors Sydney Salter & Kelly Milner Halls, and a debut author panel featuring Sarah Tregay, Laura Bingham and me. Sarah (a member of my critique group for six years) will talk about what it was like to have her book, Love & Leftovers (HarperCollins, 2012) at the heart of a big press bidding war. Laura will talk about life with a small press. And I'll talk about all the things I learned on the weird and wacky publishing journey of The Iron Bodkin.
3. As part of the conference, I'll be signing books at The Rediscovered Bookshop Friday, September 10th. All the authors will be there, so if you live near Boise, come by and visit. Pick up a few books and get them signed. Signed books make GREAT Christmas gifts. (Yes, I did use the C-word. It's not all that far away people!)
4. It's less than two months until the kick-off of the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. I've sent my full manuscript off to my mentor, Susan Hart Lindquist. I bought my plane ticket to Reno, where hopefully someone will pick me up and take me to Virginia City. I even have a roomie! I'm all ready to start work and see what ideas Ms. Lindquist has for my MG Magical-Realism book, Gods & Vultures.
5. Lastly,be sure to come back on Wednesday for the Virtual Launch party of The Iron Bodkin. We'll have LOTS of cupcakes and Mt. Dew, games & prizes and all kinds of fun!! Don't forget!
The official launch of The Iron Bodkin is Wednesday, but it's actually available NOW through Createspace. The profile page is HERE. And as a thanks to all you wonderful followers, I created an early-bird special: if you enter N26WSKW6 in the discount code area, you'll get $1.00 off.
There's been TOO much going on, what with the fair...
The 2nd Traditional 10-year old's hike to Leggit Lake (The Boy shown here with the original traditional ten year-old hiker, The Girl),
The first day of school,
And all the pre-launch work on my book...
I haven't been around the blogosphere at all! So if you're checking in and thinking, "What is that lazy woman doing?" or "How come she never visits my blog anymore?" -- I apologize. Life's just crazy right now!
The Boy goes back to school in six days. I cannot, cannot believe summer is over. We've been trying to make the most of the days we have left. Last week, we hit the toy store and spent his birthday money. Yesterday, we went to the park and rode the paddle boats, got a sno-cone and then went to the book store to pick up the fourth Leven Thumps book. Sadly, they did not have Catching Fire for me.
I'm ever-so-vainly going to repost this comment Amie left a couple topics ago. Amie won the advance copy of The Iron Bodkin. I shipped it off last week and, being a total angel, she read it right away then commented: "oh. my. gawsh! srsly. a great, great, story!! i loved Lux. i loved the voice. i loved the plot. if i could describe this book in one word, it would be this: BESTSELLER." [giggle] bestseller--oh how I wish!How awesome is she to say such nice things?! She is a chaos of awesomeness, that's how much! Totally. You should follow her here.
I shipped the manuscript of Gods & Vultures off to my mentor, Susan Hart Lindquist, and I bought my plane ticket to Virginia City for the Nevada SCBWI conference. The mentor program will kick off in Oct and run through April. I'm super excited!
In this kinda final episode, I'll try to explain how CreateSpace calculates royalties (ie, how much money you're going to make on each book) and a little about their standard distribution vs. the Expanded Distribution Channel.
How much you make on each book will be affected by the price you set, the cost to print the book and the percentage the 'store' takes.
The cost to print the book is spelled out clearly here under "fixed charges". For most middle-grade books (black & white interior), this will be $1.50 per book plus 2 cents per page. (This is valid for any book between 108 and 828 pages in length). If you decide to go with the Expanded Distribution Channel, that puts you into what CreateSpace calls a ProPlan. With the ProPlan, you pay $39 upfront and $5 each year after that, but your book costs go down and you have access to more sales outlets (more on that later). With the ProPlan, the cost for the same book outlined above would be 85 cents per book and 1.2 cents per page. For my book, the cost was $4.98 per book with the standard plan OR $2.94 per book with the ProPlan. I went with the ProPlan.
The percentage the store takes depends on the store. Amazon.com takes 40% of the list price. CreateSpace has an eStore that sells all the books it prints. The CreateSpace store takes only 20% of the list price. Entities on the Expanded Distribution Channel (bookstores, libraries, etc) take the standard 60% most bookstores take for traditionally published books.
So, the royalty for the sale of my book (which is priced at $9.99)...
at Amazon.com would be $9.99 - ($2.94 + 40% of $9.99) = $3.05 per book.
at CreateSpace would be $9.99 - ($2.94 + 20% of $9.99) = $5.05 per book.
at a bookstore would be $9.99 - ($2.94 + 60% of $9.99) = $1.05 per book.
I haven't been through the sales portion yet, but it appears that royalties are paid monthly and tracked on your CreateSpace user profile page.
I should say first, my understanding of book distribution is pretty thin. I do know that CreateSpace uses Lightning Source to print their books. Lightning Source is a print-on-demand company linked with Ingram, one of the fastest growing distributors in the publishing industry. Ingram is an established book distributor and Lightning Source's relationship with them makes your book available to retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, wholesalers and distributors....*if you pay for the ProPlan.
Distribution to stores, libraries, etc is only available with the Expanded Distribution Channel. Without the ProPlan, your sales channels are through CreateSpace's eStore and Amazon.com. The expanded distribution channel also gets your book listed in some wholesale catalogues. This is where I get a little lost, so I'm pasting the verbiage from the CreateSpace website below:
Most online retailers, bookstores, and libraries find books through purchasing relationships with large wholesalers. If your book is not listed with these wholesalers, some retailers may not be able to buy your book, even if a customer specifically requests your title. Through the EDC you can make your title available to these wholesalers who in turn make your title available to thousands of online retailers, bookstores, and libraries.
It seems to me, just getting listed in the wholesale catalogue isn't that great. I mean, you're stuck in there with thousands of other books with nothing to set you apart. But, it is good to be available to bookstores through Ingram in case someone asks a bookstore to order your book or if the shops in your town would like to keep a few in stock.
ONE LAST THING...
If you decide to self-publish, whether you use CreateSpace, Lulu, Xlibris, Lightning Source, etc, please get some help with your editing. Nothing says 'unprofessional' more than a book full of typos.
This wraps up my thoughts on self-publishing through CreateSpace. In case you missed the first episode on WHY, you can find it here, and the second episode on HOW is here. Have any of you self-published? If so, I'd like to hear more about your experience. Who did you use? What made you decide to go that route?
The CreateSpace website is extremely easy to use. (I've heard similar things about Lulu.) In this post, I'm going to break it down into steps and then follow-up with in-depth info on the starred items. The post was getting really long, so I broke out "Things to Watch For" and will post it next week. So, here we go...
SEVEN STEPS TO PUBLISHING WITH CREATESPACE:
Create a CreateSpace Account. This involves entering your name, email, country and creating a password.
Next, enter the book info: title, subtitle, description, ISBN*, imprint name, BISAC category*, reading level, date of publication and author/illustrator names.
Enter the physical properties: number of pages, interior type (black & white, or full color), trim size*, binding (hardback, paperback), paper color (white or cream).
Upload the files. You'll need a pdf for the entire text* and a pdf for the cover which will include the front cover, back cover and the spine*.
Once your files are uploaded, the folks at CreateSpace review everything to see if there are any issues. If there are, they let you know. I was alerted that my cover file had low dpi and that my pagination would result in a right-facing first page. I fixed that, uploaded new files and they reviewed it again.
Once the reviewers are happy with what's uploaded, you can order your proof. The cost is dependent on the length of the book, type of binding, color or b/w, etc, but I found it very reasonable. My 170 page, paperback book proof cost $2.89. Shipping* was another $4.
Review the proof. If you have more changes, you can make them and upload the revised files. The Createspace folks review it again and you order another proof. Once you're happy with the proof, you can go live and BOOM, you're selling books!
ISBN: If you don't mind the publisher of your book being listed as "CreateSpace", you can get a free International Standard Book Number or ISBN. If you want to have something else listed as the publisher (ie, if you don't want anyone to know you've self-published), you can buy your own ISBN and make up a publisher name. I used the free one -- I have a self-published book and I'm not pretending it's anything different. ISBN packages cost $125 or more through the Bowker Agency. You can learn more about them here. FYI, I didn't see 'CreateSpace' listed anywhere on my book, so even if you go with the free ISBN, it isn't immediately clear that your book was published by CreateSpace.
BISAC: stands for 'Book Industry Standards and Communications'. Categories are standard categories used by the book-selling industry to categorize books.
Trim Size: This is the final size of the book, or the size they 'trim' it too once it's put together. CreateSpace has a good selection of sizes available, but keep in mind that if you want to use CreateSpace's Expanded Distribution Channel (more on this next week), you'll need to go with an industry standard size. Again, there are a good number of choices. However, if you use cream paper for your interior instead of white, there are only three trim sizes to choose from. This chart gives a great explanation of sizes etc. I did want to use their Expanded Distribution Channel, and I used cream paper -- I chose 5.5"x8.5". I'm not thrilled about the proportions, but my kid tells me he couldn't care less what size the book is, so...
Text pdf: Most likely, your ms is typed on letter-size pages. You'll need to reformat the page size to your selected trim size. This will most likely give you a higher page count -- just make note of it so you can enter the correct number later. Make sure when you print your ms as a pdf for uploading, you have the paper selection set to 'custom' and enter the trim size for the custom paper size. In my case, that was 5.5"x8.5".
Cover: There is an 'easy' button (literally) that lets you create a cover on CreateSpace. I already had a fab cover thanks to my Wadmate Heidi, so I didn't go through that process. I'm sure it's easier and cheaper than having an artist create something for you, but keep in mind the cover is what sells books, so make sure whatever you have is killer! If you're creating your own artwork, be careful that the final size of your image includes their requirements for bleed area and that all pertinent info is located inside the safe zone. More info here.
Shipping: There are several options for shipping. I went with the cheapest option for my first proof. It arrived in ten days. For the second proof, I went with the second cheapest option so I could get it a little faster. Shipping on that was $9 instead of $4. They also have two day and overnight for a chaos of money.
The next installment in this blog series will point out some things to keep in mind and attempt to explain the royalty system and the Expanded Distribution Channel. I hope to have my book go live by September 1st, so a few months after that, I'll do a follow-up post to tell you how things are going and give a run-down of how the royalties, marketing and bookkeeping stack up.
I'm not really lost in CreateSpace. I just thought the title was clever (though some readers are probably too young to remember Lost In Space). For those of you who don't know, CreateSpace is the self-publishing arm of Amazon.com. It's a remarkably easy-to-navigate system which I'll talk more about in the days to come. But for this first episode, I wanted to explain my reasons for self-publishing. As a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, I've considered publishing my own books in the past and always decided against it. Self-published books (and writers) have had a bad reputation, at least until recently. Plus, I believed my books were strong enough to make it into print via the traditional route. So why my 180?
1. I really don't have any other option with this book. My lawyer has written to my previous publisher, stating we are reassuming the rights to my book and asking them to sign a release. We have not received the release (or a response of any kind) which would make another publisher chaos-ly skittish about taking this book on.
2. I also have a gazillion facebook/blog/family&friends asking me daily when the book is coming out. I don't want to explain the situation a hundred times over. After considering the options, it seemed easiest (emotionally) to self-publish the book so I could tell people, "The book is available HERE" and focus on my other writing.
That said, I've really enjoyed the process of getting the book print-ready. I'm even excited about the release, which I didn't expect. And these episodes of Lost In (Create)Space will keep me in blog topics for at least a week. [grin]
Check in Friday for a step-by-step explanation of how a book gets from a .doc file onto Amazon.com.
Yay! My 'two follower' contest worked out great! I have two new followers (Hi to Mohamed and Casey) and I have two folks entered into the giveaway for a pre-release copy of The Iron Bodkin.
I'm heading over to random.org right now to punch in the numbers. We'll make Mohamed (since he signed up first) the odd numbers and Amie (who recommended Casey to my blog) the even numbers in a 1-10 drawing.
*** ~~ ~~ ***
Ok, I'm back. And the winner is...
#6 which is even so
is the winner!
Yay! Amie, send your mailing address to me at amyacook(at)live(dot)com and I'll get your copy of The Iron Bodkin sent out.
Not just any chocolate either. FLAKE!! Eighteen of them!! How sweet is Nayuleska from Nayu's Realm to send my favorite candy bars all the way from the UK to ease my Great Sadness!? She is a chaos of sweetness! Once I finish all these Flake's, the next time you see me (and trust me--you'll see me!), I'll have a giant smile on my face.
Also -- don't forget about my eighty-follower giveaway! We just need one more follower to hit the goal! Check out the rules here and enter to win a pre-release copy of The Iron Bodkin!
Today the mailman brought my prize from Sharon's blog giveaway. It was a prize based on doughnuts, and since I couldn't pick just ONE doughnut as my favorite, I got lots of flavored stuff: Sunkist Fruit Gems, watermelon chapstick, Paul Frank Fried Ice Cream flavored lip gloss and a fortune stick that says: "A foreigner will enrich you." Oo la la, Baby! Can I request that fortune in small bills? Now? Like, now?
The Boy and I ate the fruit gems right away.
Thursday is The Boy's tenth birthday. He's having a camp-out with six boys featuring pizza, a water balloon fight and an outdoor showing of Ice Age 3.
The proof copy of The Iron Bodkin has been shipped and is winging it's way toward me. I am crazy excited to hold it in my hand. I get short of breath just thinking about it.
In honor of said excitement, I'm having an EIGHTY-FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY. Yes, I am two followers away from eighty. I *know* I can get two new followers this week. (Maybe I'm shooting low, but I like goals that are attainable.) So, here's the deal. Short & sweet --
Become a follower and you'll be entered in the giveaway. Just leave a comment below to let me know you're following!
Long-time friends, you can still play. Just recommend a follower and you'll be entered in the giveaway, too. Make sure the person you recommend lists your name in their comment though.
The winner gets a pre-release copy of The Iron Bodkin!
Need a reason to want a copy?
"The Iron Bodkin is quite simply a stellar first novel… A story of family, magic, destiny, and adventure, it’s a fully imagined book that I couldn’t put down."
-Lori Calabrese, Award winning author and National Children's Books Examiner
"A magical, charming book that will have you laughing one moment and biting your nails the next." -Tess Hilmo, author of A Name Like Love, 2011, Farrar Straus & Giroux
Need another reason? Hey, FREE BOOK. Contest closes this Friday at midnight, Eastern time. Winner will be announced Saturday.