Remember when Cinderella was all aflutter getting ready for the ball? Her fairy godmother shows up and poof! Cindy has a gorgeous gown, a carriage, and the sexiest pair of glass slippers. Next, she meets the prince, loses her slipper, gets it back, and marries the handsomest man in the land.
Then comes a reality check.
Cindy is a princess with a hundred and fifty room castle to manage, servants galore, royal obligations, and a demanding mother-in-law who canâ€™t wait to show her off at high teas.
First, she must learn how to be a princess.
Kinda like putting out a good book. Itâ€™s a lot of work. Period.
After my 30-day campaign with Kindle Scout for LOVE ME FOREVER, my Civil War time travel romance, being on and off the Hot and Trending list, then waiting to see if I made the cut, came my reality check.
Most writers would rather clean bathrooms for a week than open the Editorial Letter.
I was shaking in my slippers when mine came. I worked more than two years on â€œLOVE ME FOREVER,â€ getting the research right, the romance, settings. Not an easy task. My story is over 150,000 words.
Which brings me to one of my favorite things about Kindle Scout: the Kindle Press Team. With everyone jumping into the self-publishing arena, itâ€™s easy to want to write, write, write and get it out there. Do-it-yourself, especially if youâ€™ve been writing for a long time. I can wrap my head around a story pretty well. Iâ€™ve written several novels for trad publishers, non-fiction books, kidsâ€™ TV scripts, and plenty of magazine columns and stories.
But no writer is an island.
A good editor is as important as Cinderellaâ€™s fairy godmother. She/he can wave their magic wand and give you that extra spin on your book, make you dig deeper, cut excess. One thing that drew me to the Kindle Scout program was the idea of receiving editorial input.
I wasn’t disappointed. The editorial guidance at Kindle Scout/Kindle Press is awesome.
Iâ€™m thrilled to say that my editor at Kindle Press was thorough, gave excellent suggestions, made me think, and complimented me along the way when she particularly liked something. Sheâ€™s definitely one of the best editors Iâ€™ve ever had. The turnaround was quick: a week to complete the edits. I admit I hardly slept and I maxed out the balance on my Starbucks gold card, but the KP Team gave me a heads up three weeks before as to exactly what day to expect the email with the attached files and they delivered.
So here we are at a new juncture in my Kindle Scout experience. Edits done; book in production.
Preorder begins: July 13, 2015.
On Sale at Amazon: July 28, 2015.
Am I nervous? You bet I am. I put my heart and soul into this story, laughed and cried with my characters every step of the way. Iâ€™m anxious to get it out there. But the best part is, I feel confident that as part of the Kindle Scout program, LOVE ME FOREVER is the best it can be.
Next month: Part 4: what happens when my Kindle Scout book, LOVE ME FOREVER, goes on sale.
Note: Links to ALL my posts re: my Kindle Scout experience:
What is Kindle Scout? you ask. How does it work? Is it right for me?
The best way I can answer that is to tell you my story. Adding tips and observations along the way that I hope will help guide you, whether you’re a reader or a writer—so here we go!
Once upon a time I had a book of the heart, a story I loved like a comfy, fave pair of jeans. I just couldn’t throw them away…
That book is LOVE ME FOREVER, a Civil War time travel novel that takes place from 1862-1863. It’s a big, family saga with two feisty heroines and the military men they love, coming in at 140,000 words. But as everyone knows, trad pubs don’t want Civil War…no problem, I’ll self publish it, right?
Or, and here’s where temptation comes in, like circling the pastry case at Starbucks, should I try Kindle Scout? The Amazon publishing venture where readers pick the books they publish: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about
So I did…and for thirty days I was on a wild roller-coaster ride during my campaign for LOVE ME FOREVER. I’d check the “Hot and Trending” List all hours of the day and night on my cell phone, fretting when I wasn’t on the list and cheering when I was.
Bonus: if you nominate a book and it’s selected for publication, you receive a free advance copy before it’s published.
Here are some tips re: submitting to Kindle Scout:Format your book as if you’re going to self-pub it. I renamed my original .doc and then took out the copyright page and TOC, links to my other books, no header needed (you can add the copyright, links, and TOC back in later if you’re selected). I left in the page numbers (not needed for self-pub), but they don’t show up on the excerpt. If your book is selected, you’re ready to begin your final read-through. If not, you have your original .doc if you decide to self-publish your m/s.
All in all, I’m extremely happy with the professionalism at Kindle Scout. I submitted my package online (very easy to fill out and submit) and my book was accepted within 2 hours and went live 2 days later.
Here is the link to my Kindle ScoutWinner.
The selection process:
I was on the Hot list more than half the time during the 30-day campaign. I would get on the list, jump around for a few days from first to last (about 10 books average are on the list at any one time), drop off for a day or two, then pop back on.
I blogged, tweeted, etc. every day, which helped me get the message out on a consistent basis, but I believe support from good people like you was very important to staying on the Hot list. Again, thank you.
I’m not sure what other criteria KS uses to make their selection. I submitted the cleanest m/s I could. I spent a lot of time checking it after it was written and giving it a thorough copy edit before I submitted it, checked the timeline, looked for inconsistencies, etc. It’s vital to give them the best book you can.
The next step:
After my 30-day campaign ended, it took only two days for me to receive word my book was selected. My book cover was up on the KS header almost immediately along with the other selected books. I have 30 days to make any changes. I’m going over my manuscript again for content, punctuation, spacing, etc. I also print out a hard copy and give it a quick read-through. You’d be surprised what you see on paper that you don’t see on a computer screen.
Next, after you submit your Final m/s, your book receives a Kindle Press copyedit. I’ve heard fabulous things about the Kindle Press copy edit from KS authors, everyone is pleased about the entire process.
The contract becomes active as soon as you receive their email. It also indicated the accounting team will contact me. I’m already self-pubbed with Amazon, so I have an account with bank numbers, tax info, etc. in place, but I believe this may be a different entity. I’ll report back on that aspect.
What I would have done differently:
I wouldn’t have waited so long to reach out to groups for help and support. I’ve always been a shy kid and still suffer from good girl syndrome after attending numerous parochial schools, but I credit the Sisters of Mercy with teaching me good tradecraft re: writing. I can diagram a sentence with the best of them and thatâ€™s helped me as a writer.
That’s it for now. I’m here for questions about Kindle Scout and anything you’d like to ask about the process. I really enjoyed writing LOVE ME FOREVER, about two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, who are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.
The men they love.
Do they get their men?
Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost!
Thanks for stopping by and check out Kindle Scout!
She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to get it right. Any questions? Please ask!!
Yes, you read the title correctly. That’s the RWA Conference in Atlanta back in 2006.
Where did the time go? Several SPICE books, blogs, videos, Tweets and Facebook friends later, I’ve been thinking about all the wonderful things RWA and OCC/RWA offer its members.
Especially the annual conference. It’s always an exciting time. Here’s the official information about this year’s conference:
“RWA is proud to host its 30th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, July 28 – 31, 2010.
“Be sure to join us to enhance your writing and knowledge of the ins and outs of publishing at more than 100 workshops; get the inside track at panels and round-tables featuring publishing professionals; schedule a one-on-one pitch meeting with an acquiring editor or literary agent; attend parties and network with the stars of romance fiction; and be a part of RWA’s massive, 500-author strong “Readers for Life” charity book signing. And let’s not forget the 2010 RITA and Golden Heart Awards.” For more information go to the RWA website.
To everyone who is going, have a great time!
I’ll never forget my first RWA conference. (What girl ever forgets her first?)
So here is a video I made taking you back to July 2006 and the Romance Writers of America Conference in Atlanta.
From the Literacy Signing to the Spice Books workshop to the Harlequin party and the RITA Awards, re-live the conference in this fun video podcast.
Hard to believe that since then, The Blonde Geisha has been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish and two weeks ago it came out in the Czech Republic as “The Geisha with the Emerald Eyes.”
So sit back and relax and come with me as we go back to the RWA Conference in Atlanta in 2006!
The Blonde Samurai: â€œShe embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.â€
by Jina Bacarr
Was it only three years ago I did my first podcast for OCC/RWA? Check out the press release I wrote back then about podcasting at OCC:
What I find interesting about the state of podcasting since then is that most authors seem to prefer making book trailers. Book trailers are the new basic black for authors, but YouTube isn’t the only site where you can upload your trailers. TubeMogul.com allows you to upload your trailer to several sites at once.
If you want someone else to put together the book trailer for you, Circle of Seven Productions is the “go to” company for book trailers. You can check out their award-winning trailers and get information about the different book trailer packages they offer.
What if you want to make your own trailer?
With companies like iStockphoto.com/ to license photos and a plethora of podsafe music sites like Shockwavesound.com along with the free software like Windows Movie Maker, we can all be directors and let our characters tell the story. But is that enough? Readers love to connect with the author, find out more about her. You can only do that by getting up close and personal with a video or audio podcast.
Filmmaker Terry Kate with her Romance in the Back Seat author video podcasts is a new face on the horizon with her author interviews in the back seat of a car and, when possible, I interview our local OCC authors and guests at our local monthly OCC/RWA meeting.
All this makes me wonder: what is the future of podcasting for authors? That’s not an easy question to answer. With technology changing every day, I believe it will continue to evolve so more writers can take advantage of this great marketing tool.
I love shooting video and will continue to turn them into podcasts, but like all authors, the writing comes first. That doesn’t mean we can’t promote our work with podcasts, whether we use book trailers, upload video interviews or make slide shows of those great research photos we took in Ireland.
We can’t spend all our time in front of the computer, can we?
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jinabacarr
New: Cleopatra’s Perfume “One whiff and every man was her slave.”
Read Cleopatraâ€™s Perfume: The Prequel
Weimar Girls Gone Wild: The Berlin Sex Diary of Lady Eve Marlowe
Cleopatra’s Perfume, my new Spice release, is mentioned in Candyâ€™s Inside Books at FreshFiction.com)
by Jina Bacarr
I feel the holiday spirit in the air. Cold, windy days here at the beach. The smell of pine and cinnamon wafting in the supermarket. The sparkle of red and blue and green holiday lights evoking a warm, cheery feeling inside me down to my toes.
“Saint Nick, Cleopatra and me”
I also have a lot of writing to do. A lot. I just finished my author edits for my next Spice, Cleopatra’s Perfume (“One whiff and every man was her slaveâ€¦”) and I’m working on a new Spice as well as another project, both that require an immense amount of research. I’m not complaining. I’ve worked years to get to this point in my writing and every day when I sit down at my computer, I give thanks for all I have.
Yet this holiday season I won’t be able to make the OCC/RWA December meeting and see everyone and share holiday cheer. My deadlines are just too close and there’s so much writing to be done.
What does this have to do with podcasting?
When I was in the midst of recording my audio podcast for the December 13th meeting, I was also in the middle of doing author edits for my 460 page manuscript. I began to think “What if Saint Nick could do these edits for meâ€¦”
I was so inspired by that idea that in minutes I’d written my holiday poem and decided to record it. I posted the audio recording here on our blog page and I also put together a video podcast using pictures from previous podcasts I’ve done on various subjects.
The result is my Holiday Poem video about Saint Nick, Cleopatra and me. I hope you enjoy it. And you never know, Saint Nick might log in on your computer and help you with your writingâ€¦
Jina’s Podcast Tip:
You can use video editing software to make a fun, creative video with photos you’ve taken yourself or purchased from sites like istockphoto.com. Then add a voiceover, sweeten it with podsafe music, transitions, special effects, etc.
I used Power Director 7 from Cyberlink.com to make this video and had fun adding interesting holiday effects. This latest version from Cyberlink is a 2008 PC Magazine Editors’ Choice.
Coming in April 2009:
High in the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles, grisly murders are taking place.More info →
Will greed prevail, landing the Vitality Gem in the hands of an unpure soul or will Johnny Tanzer stand in his way with the wrath of the Gods?More info →