Final Edits, Cover Art and Self Publishing Stress: May in Review

May Posts
1. April in Review + Farwell Camp NaNoWriMo!
2. Author in Training- Real Advice from Real Indie Authors- The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast
3. Infinity War Reviewed
4. Author-in-Training- How I Used Reedsy to Find Editors for my Indie Novel
5. Roundtable: Villains Have The Most Fun — Speculative Chic
6. Author in Training: On High Volume Publishing
7. Sound Off! Deadpool 2 — Speculative Chic
8. Magic, Steel, Power: A Review of Born to the Blade, Season 1 — Speculative Chic

Damn, where has the time gone? I feel like I was just typing up my end of the month post for April. This month, I passed my six month anniversary at my day job, and they didn’t fire me at my review! Yes, that was highly unlikely, but I sometimes find it hard not to stress about even the tiniest chance of complete and utter failure. Now that I’m out of the probation zone, I have access to things like vacation time (I’ve scheduled one for July!), as well as a bountiful amount of sick time that I will likely barely touch.

Outside of work, I’ve spent a whole bunch of time on spring cleaning, which is equally parts frustrating and satisfying. Trust me, I’m the last person to gets excited over dusting/scrubbing something I haven’t touched in months, but I’m not going to deny that the place look nice when done. I only have a few things left on my list (including some work that will require a landscaping company, which I’m sure won’t be cheap). Is there a chance that I’ll actually finish my spring cleaning before summer rolls around? Only time can tell. On the less boring/adult side of things, I’ve put plenty of hours into playing the second Banjo-Kazooie game, Banjo-Tooie. I’ve found it to be plenty of fun, albeit not as satisfying as the first, which is admittedly a childhood favorite of mine.

 

On the writing front, May was a bit of a transition month. After two rounds of edits with my proofreader, I’ve fixed the last comma and formatted the final ellipses, meaning that Red and Black is officially doooone (!!!). Of course, there are plenty of steps left to follow before I can press the “publish” button. Cover art and formatting is a big part of that, two topics that also took up a lot of my mental space over the past month. On the cover front, I’ve done a bunch of research into potential artists, finding the most interesting candidates on Reedsy and the e-book cover design awards (although 99designs looks like a neat idea too). I’m not a particularly visual person, so I’ve known from the start that cover art is something that I was going to need a professional for.

Formatting, on the other hand, is something that I was looking to DIY. And after struggling for a little bit with it, I think I’m going to end up going with the Reedsy book editor. This is a free book formatter, where you basically copy and paste your manuscript in and get an epub/pdf at the end. It has its quirks-and a somewhat rigid structure-but I ultimately found out how to make it work for me. If you’re looking for a free formatter,  I’d encourage you to give it a try using this link, which will credit me with $25 if you decide to use some of Reedsy’s paid services (the book editor itself is free).

By the end of the month, I also figured out what I wanted to do about my cover art. To be honest, the process end up being a bit harder than I thought it would be. This, of course, wasn’t the artist’s fault, but my own limitations. As previously mentioned, I am not a visual person. Sure, I can look at a piece of art and go “I like that!” or “that fits in my genre” but actually mentally piecing together my own cover was a bit of a challege. Fortunately, the artist was super nice about the whole thing. If all goes to plan, I should be receiving the final cover art in just a few weeks.

At the end of May, with Red and Black officially hitting final draft stage, and my mind on cover art, it’s really hit me that I might actually do this. Actually publish my first novel. And while that’s exciting, it is also fucking terrifying. Because remember what I at the beginning of this post? How it’s hard not to stress over even the tiniest chance of complete and utter failure? Well guess what, there’s more than a tiny chance of that level of failure here. Let’s be serious. What’s the likelihood that my book attracts any attention beyond my close family and friends? That all of this money and time I’ve invested into this project will end up amounting to nothing?

I know that stressing over this is the opposite of healthy. That it will result in sleepless nights and stress eating, which do nothing towards getting me towards my goals. Instead, I try to focus on the process, like writing the best book to my ability. Commissioning fantastic cover art. Pricing the book fairly. Writing an intriguing blurb. Contacting reviewers who are open to accepting eARCs. And working on the next book. Those things are within my power and, to be honest, take up plenty of mental energy.

But even though I know that these are the right steps to take, I still feel that doubt creeping in from time to time. And I have a feeling that as we get closer to the publication date (still aiming for this summer!) that shaking off doubt is going to get more and more challenging.

Monthly Goals
I did well on my May goals. As previously mentioned, I did the final edits on Red and Black, selected a cover artist, and dug into ebook formatting. I also made nine blog entries (if you include this one) over the course of the month. So what are my goals for June?

  1. Writing– Spend 30 hours editing the sequel to Red and Black.
  2. Publishing– Complete cover art for Red and Black
  3. Publishing- Finalize the back of the book blurb
  4. Publishing– Compile a list of blogs that look like they might be willing to review an eARC of Red and Black, or be a stop on a short blog tour
  5. Blogging– Publish at least eight entries

That’s right, editing-not drafting-the sequel to Red and Black. I’ve already put quite a lot of effort into book two, and I hope to continue to make some headway this month. Let’s see how I can juggle two writing projects! I’ve also been toying with the idea of redesigning this blog, but am not sure if I’ll have the time for it.

So that was my May! I hope that everyone enjoyed their month. Don’t forget to get out there and appreciate that beautiful spring weather while it lasts! Before you know it, we’ll be sweating through summer.

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