Wow, but this last week has been crazy. I thought once we got the editing done there would be a bit of a break - but no! Of course, it hasn't helped that Mateo has been kind of sick, so that's added another layer of stress to everything. ;/
This is going to be a bit of a long post. If you just came here for the Book FAQ's, then scroll down to the very bottom of this post, OR check out the dedicated FAQ page over at GeekHausPress. :)
Secondly - if you are just following me on the blog, you are getting posts once or twice a week. However I do post more regularly on Facebook, so please do feel free to follow me there! (Link is in the sidebar). At this point I don't friend anyone I don't personally know because otherwise it gets too hard to manage my real life friends when I'm doing personal parties and stuff, however I love chatting book and geek stuff with fellow-minded folk so feel free to chime in on the posts once you start following and I'll do my best to respond! :)
Anyhow, last Tuesday we finished up the edits on "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" and sent it to our formatter, Jansina of Rivershore books. She and I traded notes over the next few days, tweaking margins and fonts and page numbers and opacity. Janny has been a long-time friend and writing companion (we have had dozens of coffee shop dates over the course of this book), but I've never worked with her in her professional capacity before and it was really cool to get to see what she does for a living. I have a new appreciation for her abilities now!
Another friend for whom I have new appreciation is my friend Anthony. Many of you may remember him as "Fish" in our movie version of "The Shadow of the Bear," but you probably don't know that he is also a very talented photographer. He agreed to do my author photos, and although I knew they would be good, I didn't realize just how far he had progressed from our last photoshoot and I am just so excited about the photos I've seen so far! We're still narrowing down to our final pick, but I'll be showing them to you very soon! (He does do professional photography now and I'll include his contact details when I release the official photo).
I also finally got my sister to be my personal stylist for this photoshoot - but more about that in another post!
Of course, the other part of self-publishing is handling the marketing. This means that I had to get some promotional materials for "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" made up. I originally planned to do bookmarks, but when researching the cost, I realized that it would just not be worth it at this point in the game (I will have some later when I have more books in the series out). So this time I went the good old Vistaprint route and made some business cards for the book. They haven't arrived yet, but based on the digital rendering Vistaprint sent me, they're looking pretty cute!!!
It was also time for me to make up some official author business cards. Up until now I've only had my seamstress confession cards. I'd been holding off on the author cards until I had a book release date. Well, that time is here!
For half a minute I was going to go with a premade Vistaprint design, then I remembered that my plan was totally to use my blog header. So. Duh. But then I realized that I had a cat on it... when now Mateo is my little writing buddy! (I do have a cat, but she lives with my parents cuz she is old, has spent her whole life there, and she can live outside and catch mice when she wants to there). So I found a photo of Mateo and inked in his profile.
Also, yes, I have an email devoted to my writing endeavors now. So if you want to contact me about anything book or blog related. send a message to ElizabethAHajek(at)gmail(dot)com. (Wondering why I don't just spell it out? Spam bots. Seriously.)
My final vistaprint item was a signature stamp. Since my fibromyalgia affects my hands more than any other part of my body, I have found that I can only handwrite a few lines before my fingers cramp up (weirdly, drawing is different, as long as I use brush markers). So I made up a special stamp with my author signature (must be different than legal signature) and a little note. If you order a book from me and ask for an inscription, I will try to add that as well, but for any events I do, I probably won't be able to guarentee that. However I will have my special autograph stamp, and I promise that only I will ever use it - I won't even delegate to Nathan.
So. Marketing materials? Check. Interior of the book? Almost check. I have uploaded the cover and interior and am about to order the proof. After that arrives we will probably have a few more tweaks to make before I'm done. Janny also has to format the ebook version.
I have also sent out digital ARCs to some bloggers who are going to write up reviews of the book and possibly do some interviews with me as well! I will link back here with the blog tour posts when they are up. Pretty exciting! I've been getting comments back from the fastest readers and it's been really fun to see what they think!
My application for a Library of Congress Catalog Number is in. The first part of the process went smoothly, and I should know in a week what the official number is for "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" unless there is a major backlog. I'll write more about that process once it is complete!
I need to add more to GeekHausPress.com and I'm open to suggestions. What info would you like to see on that site? This blog will still be my main hub, but I need to flesh out the publisher website somewhat.
Okay! Book FAQ's! Here are the answers to some questions I've gotten so far, or expect to get soon. If you have any that are not addressed here, please leave them in the comments, on Facebook, or email them to me at ElizabethAHajek(at)Gmail(dot)com.
Please note that this is my first time going through this process and any of these answers could change at any time. I hope to set up an actual FAQ page soon, but would like to get more solid answers first. Right now these are just my best guesses.
Will this be a digital book or an actual paper book?
Will I be able to buy the book on Amazon?
Yes! The ebook may be exclusive to Amazon at least while I give Amazon Unlimited a try, simply because I think the book borrowing idea is cool. But that could change based on how I like it, and whether there is demand for another format.
The PRINT version will be for sale on Amazon and on GeekHausPress.com. If you order from me at GeekHausPress you will pay a higher shipping rate, but you will also get a signed copy and a bookmark. If you have Amazon Prime, you should be able to order from there with free shipping, but won't get the inscription or bookmark. It's up to you, really. I get paid a bit more if you order from me, but it's also more hassle for me and more cost for you, so I don't honestly care which you do. Whichever you prefer!
How big is the book?
The answer to this keeps changing somewhat as we go through the formatting process! The trim size will be 6x9 (the same size as the Fairy Tale Novels for those of you who own them and want a reference), and right now we are at 338 pages with fairly tight margins. The latest wordcount is just over 127,000 words.
Will I be able to buy the book from my bookstore?
At this point, unlikely. It is difficult to publish independantly and get into a big bookstore like Barnes and Noble. Smaller bookstores (particularly Catholic ones) may choose to carry the book if they get request from readers - (that's you!) - but right now my book probably won't be carried in any publishing catalogs so bookstores won't know about me unless you tell them! And even then I may not be able to offer them a good enough wholesale price for it to be lucrative for them. For now, I am focusing on online marketing and in person appearances. (If you own a bookstore and would like to discuss wholesale terms, please contact me at ElizabethAHajek(at)Gmail(dot)com.)
Will I be able to get the book from my library?
If you request the book, they may decide to carry it. I am applying for a Library of Congress Catalog Number, which will be useful for this aspect. Once the Amazon page is up, it should have all the relevant info for you to request the book from your library. I am very willing to give a discount to any libraries interested in carrying my books. (Contact me at ElizabethAHajek(at)Gmail(dot)com).
Okay, so how much will the book cost?
I'm still nailing down the cost, so I can't say this definitively yet. My hope is to keep it under $15 for the print version and under $4 for the ebook, pre-taxes and shipping.
Will there be a hardcover version?
Not unless there is a LOT of interest. It's more work to pull together, and costs significantly more. I'd do it if there was interest down the line, but it is currently low on my priority list.
Will there be an audiobook?
Honestly, I'm surprised that I've gotten this question, but I have. It's so early in the game that right now I have no plans whatsoever to even think about doing an audiobook. It is a very expensive process, and since I'm deaf, it is not something that I personally can exert much control over, so I am very reluctant to imagine it happening. On the other hand, I know a lot of people in my life love audiobooks, so if the right mix came together, I am not opposed to it. It's just very unlikely.
Are you going to do book signings? Talks? Conferences?
God willing! I certainly intend to do as many venues as I can, as it is a key part of marketing, but right now so much depends on my very unpredictable health. As of right now, I can't schedule anything because there is only a 50% chance that my health would allow me to make it. I'm hosting a launch party for family and friends and that is the biggest commitment I can make right now.
I am, however, very interested in doing blog visits. So if you have a blog and would like to interview me or host a guest post, please contact me and let me know! I would love to discuss ideas with you! I wish I could visit podcasts, but since I am deaf, there are some logistical issues there. ;) Please send me an email at ElizabethAHajek(at)gmail(dot)com if you'd like to talk about visiting your blog!
Is this a series? Will there be more books coming? Are you still connected to that series at Chesterton Press?
Yes, it is a series! "The Song of the Fay" is the official title, and I currently have two novels and a novella planned for sure! (The first draft of the novella is half written). None of these are at all connected to the Chesterton Press series - we connected my book completely from that and I'm now writing in my own universe. This is good because it means you are finally getting to read this book, and it should also mean that the next books in the series come out faster because I'm only coordinating with myself, and not multiple authors.
I definitely still love Chesterton Press and everyone there, and highly recommend their works if you're looking for Catholic Fiction (and of course I recommend the Fairy Tale Novels to anyone and everyone all the time, haha). Everything is very amicable between us all. :) I owe them a big debt for getting me started on this story in the first place, and they continue to be lovely mentors. :)
The book is still Catholic, right?
Yes, it is! It's a little weirder for me now, since I'm no longer writing this series for a Catholic press, but I wrote "The Mermaid and the Unicorn" as a love letter to my wonderful friends at the Fairy Tale Novel Forum, and I'm sticking to that. Also, I find Catholicism easier to portray in print than Protestantism. I've contemplated doing a spin-off series in this world featuring Protestant characters, but there's nothing fixed about that right now, just ideas.
Either way, my goal is to portray my characters accurately, and to tell a good story with human truths that resonate regardless of religious affiliation. I think writing characters of all beliefs is a good way to grow as a writer. I just wrote a Star Wars scene with a friend where I had to write a character who was working for the Empire, which was really bizarre, but also made me think really hard about motivation and development. And that, in turn, grows my abilities as a writer.)
Okay, that's all for now, folks! Thank you for reading and please let me know if there are any questions I missed/you want answered.