When I’m perfectly okay being rated and other publishing updates.

Last month I entered CURSE OF STARS in the BookLife Prize in Fiction put on by Publisher’s Weekly BookLife, their indie-focused information arm. The contest closed on the 30th. I think I got mine in on the 29th. I’m nothing if not punctual.

I stressed on the rating for maybe a day. I went through the various stages of Author, ranging from thinking my book is far better than what it actually is to OMG it’s a pile of dog shit I’m going to get a 2 if I’m lucky. Then, thanks to my previously concussed brain, I promptly forgot about it. So imagine my surprise when I’m waiting on another email in the same inbox and looking for THAT only to find this:

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Then I promptly freaked out.

RATE ME. ALL THE RATING ME. PLEASE.

That’s out of 10. To have this kind of validation from a publication like Publisher’s Weekly is freaking amazing. Like, speechless amazing. What do I say to this? Valid point on not building up New York enough in the beginning. Totally get that. But they said it’s “vividly imagined and deftly plotted.” My main character, my little Sabi, is “well-crafted” and “the reader will care what happens to her” regardless of my thin real world building. I got a NINE for originality. A NINE. And a NINE for prose. NINE. I HAZ WURDZ.

Freaking right the hell out. Not too damn shabby for my first objective review. Not sure if my score’s high enough to make it through to the next round, though. It’s right on the line based on those ahead of me I saw. People had the option to set their critiques to private so what was listed in the YA category were just those reports that people made public. I don’t know what else was out there. Next round’s announcement comes on Monday. Oh god.

Meanwhile, book stuff. I’m on the second third of copyedits for CURSE OF STARS and setting those changes through three different documents because I didn’t think that through too well. Oh well. I have three files: one for print, one for Smashwords, and one for Kindle. Once those edits are through I’m going to upload accordingly so I can create the files and start sending them out to people. Of course I can’t set a pre-order on Amazon until 90 days out, so November 19th. Kind of annoying there since it’s already available for pre-order on Kobo, BN, and Apple. Amazon’s gotta get with it, man.

And I just found out today I can’t set my print book to pre-order at all on Lulu. It’s published or . . . not. THAT is super annoying. And it’s turning out to be really expensive. My minimum list price for the print edition is $15.34. That’s expensive for a paperback. Like really expensive. Uncomfortably expensive. And that’s with me making a very small profit through Lulu and no profit through any other retailers. Bumping it up to $17.99 gets me at least a little bit of profit from external retailers. But that’s the price of a hardcover from a Big 5. Yes, I know they print run VERY  differently than POD, but if I’m having a hard time with that price then I know other people would.

Unfortunately, at this very moment, I’m running a giveaway on Goodreads for 10 signed copies of the book. Not that that’s bad, but timing-wise I don’t have enough time to scout another printer before the giveaway ends in a month. So I ordered a proof today so I can take a look at it. Hopefully it passes muster. If it does I’ll do the first run through there. In the meantime I’m going to look at IngramSpark, see what their retail pricing looks like. If it’s really that ridiculous then what I’ll do, if I’m good with the printing Lulu does, I’ll order author copies and mark them up a little bit and sell them through my website and things like that. At least that way I can price it at $10. I do know that ordering the same number of books, same size and printing type, through Ingram costs about $30 less than it does through Lulu. I don’t know. I have to vet these printers a little more. Lulu kept coming up at the top of the list no matter where I went but I can definitely see why self-published authors tend to only do eBooks. WAY more cost-effective.

Now I’m gathering up book bloggers that I’m going to contact for review, looking into blog tour hosts, swag, all that fun stuff. Some bloggers have really weird terms for submitting to them. Really weird and really strict. I get it, you want to only get those who are serious and read through guidelines and stuff. As a book blogger myself, I totally get that. Probably only about 2/3 of the review requests I receive actually fit my guidelines. But some people are strict down to the file name the book file needs to be called. It’s just very strange. And the page views don’t speak to that kind of exclusivity. Whatever. It’s their blog. If it works for them, it works for them. It just kind of makes me raise an eyebrow. Like, if you don’t want to review something, just say you don’t want to review it. A lot less effort that way.

Some of the swag I’m looking at it pretty neat. Got some super fitting pens (I don’t know about you but I love pens) in mind. I’m talking to my cover designer about bookmarks and bookplates. It’s not something he advertises that he does but considering he has all the images anyway, and he mentioned he’d design a bookmark before, I figured I’d funnel as much of that through him as well and just get it printed somewhere. I’m looking at some Etsy packages with keychains that I’d need to buy rights to for use of the cover. Neat little fact for those of you looking to have covers made. You pay for the cover design, but unless expressly stated in a contact, you don’t own commercial rights to it. You can use it on your book and for free promotion on websites and social media, but it’s a different ball game when you want to put it on swag. Just keep that in mind.

I also found some really neat bookmarks that don’t have anything to do with images that I want to look into. Super gorgeous and totally fitting for CURSE OF STARS. I need to contact the seller about maybe something of a commission. We shall see.

Until next time, be sure to enter my giveaway on Goodreads! Big ol’ link in the sidebar just to the right there. Click it. Do it.

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