Revisions and Building a Website

While the manuscript is away for editing, my role turns to purchasing ISBNs and obtaining a Library of Congress number for the book.  Buying the ISBNs in bulk costs more upfront but saves money on future publications – assuming there will be future publications! Each format of the book – hardback, softcover, and digital – requires its own ISBN. The Library of Congress requires an account set up and then approval of the account prior to getting the number.  In late May 2020, the approval process took a few days, which seemed to be longer than usual and most likely due to COVID.

I need a web-based landing site for the book, so it is time to establish a website. After much thought, I chose to name my self-publishing company Lemon Drop Press and to stick with that name for the website. The name is appealing to me because it is short, easy to pronounce, easy to spell and lemon drops are a delicious treat! During this period of time I purchase the domain name, file for an LLC, and begin to build the website . 

I receive Marcy’s initial edits and begin to revise based on her feedback. We are using Google Docs, so once the document is shared it is easy to edit and respond to comments as they appear. Most of the edits were minor, but we went back and forth over a scene near the end. This was an important practice for me, clearly illustrating the need to have a fresh set of eyes reading the manuscript. 

After several rounds of editing and revisions, the manuscript is in a good place. I am ready to begin working with an illustrator.

First Draft

Staring at a blank computer screen and wondering which words will to use to start the story has, so far, been the most daunting part of this journey.  Many ideas swirl in my mind, but how to get started stumps me! I want to draw the reader into the story and also be authentic. I’m writing a quiet book, but it is also about an evening playing and exploring at the Lake Superior. I want an active opening.

Knowing I have a deadline prompts me to stay in my chair and just type.  From previous experience, I know that having something to react to and revise is better than having nothing at all, so I focus on merely starting.  Over the next two weeks, I work on the manuscript every day—mornings and evenings after my day job and on and off throughout the weekend. I continually write and revise. Sending the draft off to be edited feels both freeing and painful.  Will the story make sense?  Is it too long?

My second meeting with my coach is at the end of week two, and most of the discussion centers around the business of self-publishing.  We discuss the pros and cons of setting up an L.L.C. We discuss the process of publishing on Amazon and the importance of reviews. The book should include a website for readers ‘to learn more’ about me. At this point, such a site does not exist!  

My tasks now focus on establishing and building the website, along with other administrative functions that are necessary for publication.  Marcy, who, in addition to coaching me, is editing the book promises to be in touch with suggestions over the next few days.

Self-publishing journey: Introduction

As a way to document my journey in self publishing, I will be writing a series about the experience. This is the first post of the series.

Although this is my first experience with self-publishing, writing has always been important in my life. For instance, one of my favorite high-school projects was writing a children’s book. Hannah’s Haunted House was written and illustrated – by a very gifted middle-school classmate – in 1989, the spring of my eighth-grade year. The idea for Hannah’s Haunted House was formed from a dilapidated house we passed every day on our way to school. I recall writing and revising and holding my breath as the dot-matrix printer churned out the final product. Cutting the pages and binding them in the heavy card stock was a memorable process.

A middle school masterpiece

Over the past several years, I have consumed an enormous amount of content around side hustles.  Many piqued my interest, but when I heard Marcy Pusey talk about self-publishing children’s books, I took to action.  Several ideas for children’s books floated through my imagination, and hiring a coach spoke to my drive for efficiency. As the dark days of March 2020 wore on – daily bad news about cancelations, illnesses, the stock market – I was seeking a positive, creative outlet.  My evenings and weekends were now freed up and looked to be a clear opportunity to get started.

I contacted Marcy and we set up a coaching agreement. Our first call focused on the landscape of self-publishing and narrowing my many ideas down to one.  By the end of our first meeting, I had decided to write a ‘quiet’ book about Lake Superior.  I spent many summers exploring the area as a child and have brought my own children to Superior several times. The book will include some facts about the area, which appealed to my analytical side.

We set a 2-week deadline for a first draft. 

Next up: weeks 1-2. Where to begin?