Saturday, August 20, 2011

SPJA, week three

Now we're live - I'm writing this post at the end of week three. SPJA = self pub journey acronym

During this week I made a momentous (and very late) decision. I was playing around with the new ebook covers and I decided to see what they'd look like with a portion of Dion Hamill's Hal Spacejock from the cover of Hal 3. I snipped out just Hal's head and shoulders, with Jasmin standing next to him, and ... wow! It looked fantastic. (I can't share it because it's a rough hack job and the artist probably wouldn't appreciate me doing this to his work.) What I can do is show you the original cover (left) and the new cover (right) and you can sort of picture the middle third of the original cut out and expanded to cover the black background in the new cover. (Ignore the WASFF award pasted all over the front...)

Anyway, five minutes later I tracked down Dion's email, told him about the re-releases, and asked if he was interested in doing new covers. Impulsive, moi? I also asked about professional cover art for Hal Junior.

Dion is a traditional artist - pencil sketch first, then - I believe - acrylic on board. You can see examples of his work on his website.

Dion wrote back, and let's just say we're organising things. Because Hal Junior is slated for October (ebook and print), it turns out we'll need to do that cover first. Dion was very keen, and he's already got an idea which he's working on as I type this.

Proofing is always an issue for self-published works, but I had a cunning plan. I offer review copies of the first book through my site, and when I send them out I offer the next in the series as a freebie if you find a typo. One eagle-eyed reader scored all four, one after the other, and as a bonus I've offered them a signed copy when the first book is available in print. I uploaded replacement ebook versions of Hal 1 and 2 right away.

While that was happening starting work on DOC versions for Smashwords. Kindle is a given if you want to sell ebooks, thanks to its dominance, but I've read varying opinions on Smashwords. My take on it? Smashwords = distribution to the places Amazon cannot reach, like iTunes and other 3rd parties. Can't be a bad thing, and it's only a few hours work to prepare the file for upload.

I finished that last night, and during the day I also worked on Hal Spacejock 5. I know where this book is going now, and all the Hal activity has rekindled my passion. It's just so awe-inspiring to know the whole process is in my hands: I can finish Hal 5 by Christmas and publish it in January or February if I work hard enough. That's optimistic, but you don't get anywhere without deadlines.

To round off week three, this morning I had an email from a Hal Junior first reader (She's a fan of the adult series.) We hooked up on Skype to discuss her findings: She really enjoyed the book but found a bunch of typos and had a few questions. I ended up with two pages of things to look at, which is great. I also sent her an e-copy of Hal 4, and will send a signed Hal Jnr when I get my first copies.

All in all, three frantic weeks. There are now 20 reviews for Hal Spacejock book one on Amazon, and they're all four and five stars. That's great until someone thinks 'hah - I'll soon fix THAT'.

I'm sure I've missed a lot of stuff but the Freemind map is keeping me sane.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


Amy P. Reed said...

Simon, I've found your SPJA blog informative. I've been trying to decide between self-publishing and the 'traditional' route. I'm bookmarking your SPJA blog pages, by the way.

Oh, and if you ever need a vict... umm I mean a proof-reader, I'm your gal. I've found typos and misused words after the editor finished with a submission. My friend was very glad she'd sent me a copy of the 'final' draft before sending it to her publisher. LOL

I'm looking forward to finally being able to read all of the Hal and Hal Jr. books. I live in the U.S.A. So the books haven't been as easy to get here.

Well, shoot. For a comment, this has turned into a long bit of text. Bowing out for now. Keep up the good work, and ... Happy writing!

Simon Haynes said...

Thanks for the comment. Self-pub does throw all the organising onto the author, but as I said in one of today's posts, funds permitting you can hire the same people the publishers do.

All my books will be available in print editions in the US and UK (at last), although it's going to be a battle getting the word out.

I will be chasing proofreaders when the editing & humour draft are both done. Thanks for the offer - your name is in the list.