100th Post—Eyes of Light

P1030076Today is my 100th post! YEA! I remember starting this blog and trying so hard to get to 10 posts so that the WordPress ‘motivator’ would stop hounding me! Now look!

10 x 10 (Take THAT WordPress!)

In honor of this amazing day in history (just kidding), I thought I’d talk about my book coming out in the next week. It’s taken 3-1/2 years to get to this point…and I’m pretty excited.  [Yes! It really took that long. I’ve felt each and every one of those 3-1/2 years too.  Sigh.]

Eyes of Light began as a little seed in my mind when I was taking an online Creative Writing course.  I had to come up with a short story, and was having trouble.  I’ve always loved to write, but had convinced myself that I had no good plots in my head, and therefore no stories.  [sidenote: Don’t do that to yourself!]

Inspiration came in the form of a traveling artist named Suvi.  She knocked on my door one Sunday afternoon and showed me a few of her small canvases she was selling.  She and some other artists (who were out beating on doors too) were on their way to San Francisco to open an art gallery.

Suvi was this perky Israeli girl with auburn hair and a nose piercing.  I’m a little shy and stand-offish with strangers, but this girl found a way into my heart.  The proof is hanging on my wall.  She convinced me to buy one of her paintings.

P1030081This is it–“Street of Roses.”  Suvi painted this scene of a street in Tiberias, Israel overlooking the Sea of Galilee (there’s a great story behind it).

I couldn’t stop thinking about Suvi after that.  She was a cute character, and as I put her into my story scenes…BOOM! it all came together.  I sent it in, and my teacher liked it and asked me to write Chapter 1 for a novel based off it for my final project.  That was easy.  I had already written a trilogy in the month my teacher had been perusing my last portfolio.  The story wouldn’t rest in my mind.

P1030068I filled up 3 notebooks with my skeletal story of Suvi.  It happened to be at a time when I was sitting in my car A LOT…waiting.  Gas was expensive and my daughter’s soccer practices were across town.  So I sat in my car for 2 hours and wrote while she practiced.  The story was finished in a month, bringing me a sense of accomplishment I had never felt.

In short…I was hooked.

P1030070I haven’t been able to stop writing since.  The pictures to the left show my process:  1) from handwritten story in notebooks, 2) to pages of research about Guatemala and its crime, editing notes from friends, and outlines for story organization…3) to a few books printed from Lulu.com (with a cheesy title and horrendous cover) for people to edit who didn’t like to read on a computer.  I learned where the story and characters were weak, and then revised the story about 5 bajillion times (I’m not kidding.  It might have even been 5 bajillion and 3 times, but who’s counting?).

P1030073Finally, I reached a point where I felt the manuscript was presentable and sent off a query to one publisher and the full manuscript to another.  The waiting bugged me—4 months for one to answer; 8 months for the other. Ugh!

In the meantime, I bought a couple books I was disappointed by, especially after having paid full price for them.  Publishers say that self-published books are subpar, but I disagree.  I’ve read lots of published books that were crap, and several self-published books that were dang good.  With Amazon’s ebook preview, I can read a few chapters of a book for free and get a feel for whether the writing is good or not.

I started reading lots about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing.  In my plan, I would write a book and then let the publisher market it.  That’s what publishers were there for, right?

Wrong!  I found out that even if I found a publisher, I would still be in charge of self-promoting.  Ick!  Why have a publisher if they won’t do the distasteful part for me?

The kicker for me was when I listened to an author share her experience and found out how little authors receive per book via the traditional publishing route.  I was appalled.  I realized then I wasn’t going to make a lot even with a publisher…and the whole process of getting an agent/publisher left a sour taste in my throat and made me hate writing.  So I decided to bag the icky part.

I set about learning the ropes of self-publishing.  I’m a proofreader and knew I could edit my book well enough (and probably a lot better than some published books I’ve read).  Amazon has a nifty site called CreateSpace where you upload your files, see a digital proof, order a print proof, and WaLah! upload it onto Amazon when your book is ‘just perfect.’   And after doing all that, I still like writing, which is the most important thing.

P1030077It’s been a long process, because it’s all brand new to me, but here is the final product (new cover and title).  Eyes of Light (1st book in my series) will be available on Amazon by next week (I’ll post a link here and talk more about it when I finally hit the button that says it’s good to go).

Maybe someday I’ll post 100 Things I’ve learned about Self-Publishing…but not today.  Today, on my 100th blog post, I’m just happy to say…it’s ALMOST done!  For 3-1/2 years, I’ve experienced joy in the moments putting this trilogy together.  I’ve stopped counting the times I’ve read my story through.  My husband asked if I was bored one day as I was proofing it for the 5 bajillionth and 4th time, and I gasped and told him to bite his tongue.  It’s my baby!  How could I be bored with it?  If anything, I love it even more, because I know how it started (raw and undeveloped), and now it has matured and is the apple of my eye (just like my real kids).  Even if I sell only 100 copies, it has been worth all the effort.


28 thoughts on “100th Post—Eyes of Light

  1. Good for you Charissa, us self publishers have to stick together! Sounds like that painting was a great investment in more ways than one. Have you got it going on Kindle too? 🙂

    • Thanks, Michele. It’s been so fun to write, but I have to admit, I’m nervous about what others will think about it. I know writers have to have a thick skin when it comes to feedback from others…and mine’s not very thick.

    • Thanks, sis! It’s been so fun to have the proof book and hold it in my hands and slobber kisses all over it (just kidding).

  2. Loved this post! So thrilled you went Indie. You go girl! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! It’s beautiful. Did you design the cover? Very nice. The story sounds wonderful. I love how you described your journey through creating the book and deciding to Indie publish. Very well done!

    • Thanks, Gina. My boss at work designed my cover for me when she found out I had a book written. She did a great job. I like the cover because it’s simple (it is a scene from the book that comes in repeatedly). I could never find people I wanted on the cover that met my vision of my characters, so just went with the willow theme. I think the other 2 books will be tree themed too–just in different parts of the world (where the story takes place).

  3. I really have to get an e-reader! 🙂 It’s time I start researching which one would be best for me….

    Congratulations on the upcoming publication! There’s a part of me that still wants to try the traditional route when I finish the first book, but another agrees with everything you went through in your decision to e-publish. Why pay the publisher and agent all that money when the author still has to do 99.9% of the work?

    • If you can stand the pressure and time to go the traditional route, I think that’s a great way to go. I’m just not cut out for it. I dislike bureaucracy too much and having to meet the needs of a lot of other people before the book can get out the door. So go for the path you’ve chosen. From reading your posts, you are doing well at it!

  4. Congratulations, Char! How exciting. And I think everyone reading this can appreciate the hours and hours of hard work you devoted to this. Can’t wait to check it out on my IPad Kindle!

    • Thanks, Carrie. It is nice to be almost done and have it available for others to read. I know everyone won’t like it (Jennifer Eaton for one, because there are no bombs exploding in it), but hopefully with the free sneak peek on the ebook, people can peruse a few chapters to know if it’s anything they’re interested in or not.

  5. Definitely a day to celebrate! I love the cover and your title. I, like JM, am still going to clench my teeth and try the traditional route for my first novel–but I haven’t completely discounted self-publishing as a viable option. It’s good to hear from fellow writers who have had a positive experience with it.

    • Kate, if anyone can break through the traditional route, my bet would be on you. You are so motivated and disciplined. This way works for me, because it doesn’t stress the heck out of me and make me dislike everything about writing. I’m glad there are different choices now for writers to choose.

  6. I know people say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but your cover is beautiful! Did you design it yourself, or picked the image from a whole bunch of choices?

    I’d definitely want to hear more about self publishing. It seems a lot of people are going that route because publishers tend to poo poo everything that comes across their desks until they know the author can sell already.

    Congratulations on your BIG accomplishment and I can’t wait to hear how you promote the heck out of your book!

    • Yes, I designed the cover (if that means wading through picture sites and finding just the right willow and then having my boss at work do all the graphic work on it until I said “Yes, that’s IT!”). Thanks for liking it. I loved the simplicity of it too, but was afraid some people would find it too boring. It’s been a fun process.

      • I’ve done a lot of graphic design in my life and the picture is very pretty and attractive to the eye. It’s not boring and it’s a beautiful shade of green. It would definitely stand out on the shelves of a bookstore. I hope your book makes it there someday!

  7. I so enjoyed reading your tale of creation, because I had no idea what you were doing. I hope it brings you the success you want – whatever level that is. (Yeah, got to look into an e-reader, too, so I can check yours out- and some others.)
    I may have little choice but to go the indie route because my WIP just doesn’t fit the formula that is expected by agents and publishers. Anyway, congratulations.

    • Thanks, Carol. I’ve loved creating the story and putting in a form others can read it in, and that was all I was aiming for; now on to other stories. Good luck on your WIP! It is so fun following all you other writer’s to see what you are doing. And I’ve loved the e-reader, if for no other reason than to be able to check out about 20% of a book before I decide if I like it or not (does it grab my attention?).

  8. I’m so excited for you sis! You have worked hard and I loved it even when it was in the early stages!!! Can’t wait to read the final edition!

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  11. Once again Congrats!! Well Done U! Nice to hear some feedback about getting published… am encouraged to get going on my work-in-progress… thanks…

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