The culmination of a total of 440 days of work has finally come to an end.  The write, edit, and publish journey has come to an end.  What started way back on March 5th of 2013 has finally come to a close as of this morning.

I’m fully published on Amazon, iBooks and Barnes & Noble as of this morning.  You can find the links to those specific providers on the A Sour Chord page.

What took so long? I’m glad you asked.

The first draft took me 17 days (looking back at my daily word counts is sort of astounding. I wrote just shy of 80,000 words in just over two weeks). I wrote another thousand words after reading the first draft over a few times, then handed it off to my buddy Austin for a first pass edit.

That process took close to three months to complete, at which point I hired Lauren to do my real edit.  That took way longer than both of us anticipated, and we didn’t get that complete until mid-February.

At that point, I contracted Scott Pond to do the artwork for the cover artwork.  After a few rounds of back and forth and a handful of iterations, we had the final artwork done last week.

Then the process of compiling the eBook, formatting to the specific publisher’s specifications and getting it through their review process took exactly a week (I submitted it to all 3 of the publishing platforms last Monday morning). And here we are, 440 days later.

I told my first copy last night through Barnes & Noble, and I’ve never in my life been more proud to make a $2.65 commission.

If you buy a copy — even if you hate it — please review a review on whatever service you bought from.  That’d be appreciated immensely!

Phase one is now over.  Phase two is marketing, selling, and re-marketing.  And then I’ll get back to My Last Days and go through this whole thing again.  Once I get some sleep.  Thanks for coming along on this journey with me, dear reader.  Without you this wouldn’t be worth it.

After what felt like forever of no progress, things are finally moving in the right direction with A Sour Chord.

I got artwork back from the graphic designer who implemented all of the changes I requested and it looked amazing.  To make sure I was really in love with it, I compiled the book into Kindle and iPad format with the artwork and put it on all of my devices.  I then stared at it for a good three or four hours to make sure it really said what I want it to say.

Turns out, it didn’t.  The concept was the same, but we’re changing a bit of the minor details and should have it finalized by this weekend.  Which means I’m one step closer to publishing.

Since I’m getting so close to publishing, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to two important pieces:

  1. The price point.  I’ve read almost every suggestion on the internet about how much you should charge for a self-published first time novel, and there’s really no right or wrong answer.  I think that’ll come to me in the spur of the moment and I’ll just pick something, wait a couple of weeks and see how it goes.
  2. The description of the book.  All three of the systems I’ll be selling through (Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble) allow you to provide a description of the book to help people know what it’s about.  Writing that — without spoiling the book itself — is proving challenging.  I’ve written four or five so far and will gather feedback from those that have read the book before picking one.

It’s really interested to me to learn that the hardest part of this whole book writing process isn’t writing the book itself.  The book just flew out of me, word after wild word, flowing from my fingers faster than my brain could process what I was writing.  The first draft was finished in roughly four weeks back in April of 2013.

Ever since then, I’ve been working on the harder parts; the editing, the artwork, the setup of the online services.  I had no idea that so much went into this process, but I’m glad I’m learning.  If this goes well and I go back to working on the second book, I’ll be a lot more educated on how this all works.

I’m hopeful that this’ll all tie together in the end and I’ll have something to show for all of my hard work (and money spent) in the next month or so! I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey as much as I have!

There’s been some discussion over what the “best” music is to listen to when you write — or if you should listen to music at all.

I don’t have the right answer as to whether or not you should listen to music, I can only say that I do.  Though I find myself listening to things that I can completely ignore, but still enjoy.

Most commonly, I listen to movie scores. Not soundtracks, as those can be distracting — I mean, how many more times can I burst into song and sing along with “Let It Go” again? — but instrumental scores from film.  I’ve got an iTunes playlist that comprises of a number of scores from some of my favorite movies.  The Braveheart score is one of the top played, along with Inception.

The melodies inspire creativity in my feeble attempts at creating something that people will enjoy, while not distracting me from the task at hand.  I’ve found that if I’m listening to something with lyrics — regardless of what those lyrics are — I get distracted.  My brain can’t ignore the lyrics and I find myself singing along, not getting anything done as I should be.

What’s right for you to write with is up to you, when the cards fall. There’s no right or wrong thing. Whatever inspires you, whatever helps you be creative, and whatever makes your brain fire on the right cylinders — that’s what’s right for you.

Over the last week, I’ve spent a good amount of time being social.  Not in real life, but on Twitter.  During the week, I’ve learned one very important thing: the independent writing community is fully of amazing, wonderful, and supportive people.

No one’s judging you for wanting to write a book. No one’s trying to pressure you into doing what they did and had luck with. Everyone’s just supportive of one another — offering advice, friendship, asking questions.  It’s been a great experience.  I’m extremely happy with the folks I’ve met through Twitter in the last week. If you’re following me there, thanks!

As for the book – I think I’m done.  I ran through all of Lauren’s edits and finished a week ago.  I then spent hours reading the book as it was, with all of the edits and re-writes and changes, to make sure that I still liked it.  That when I get to the end, I still felt the same way that I felt when I read it the first time.

Since I’m not ready to publish it yet, I’m going to read it once more. I think there’s still a little bit of work that I can do in the early chapters to set the scene a little more appropriately.  I’m still at the mercy of the designer that’s working on the cover art, so I’ve got time before he’ll be ready. (I’m lookin’ at you, Scott!)

All in all, it’s been a pretty inspired week.  Seeing the “final” pages on my iPad and being able to flip through them has been pretty great.  It’s no secret that I was really losing interest in this quest back towards the end of last year when everything sort of came to a screeching halt, but I can honestly say that I’m reinvigorated now by everything that’s happened.

I don’t care if I don’t make any money selling the book — hell, I may even give it away for a while, at first — I just want people to read it.  Though, to be honest, I’m terrified that I’m going to lose my mind at the first negative review I see on Amazon.  I suppose I’ll have to mentally prepare myself for that moment.

The progress continues and I’m inching closer and closer to having this thing be done and on digital shelves through Amazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble soon.

Total days elapsed since I started writing: 353.

Victory!

Victory!

That’s how I feel right now. Victorious. As of approximately 2 hours ago, I’m completely done with all of the editing that came back on the 3rd.

I have to say, the entire editing process was extremely daunting.  I had no idea when I started this thing that it’d be such a chore to read through redline edits and re-incorporate them into my story.  But here we are, approximately 49 weeks after I wrote the first words on March 5th of last year — done.

Well, not fully done.  Done editing.  I have seven chapters that I’m going to rework and add to over the weekend.  Not major edits, but sprucing up a few of the bits within the scenes of those chapters.

If you’ve been following along on my blog here, you know what a monumental day this is for me.  Over the last five or six months I’ve felt somewhat defeated, I ever considered not finishing the book.  But I pressed through, showed patience, and continued to push myself mentally to make sure I finished this thing.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal if you’ve never written a book before, but I can assure you that it’s quite an intense process.  If you’re a ready, I’d suggest thanking your favorite authors — keep buying their books, keep supporting what they love to do.

I thought, a year ago when I started, it’d be so easy to do this.  Just jot some words down on a few pages, click a few buttons, add in some cover art, and call it a day.

If it were that easy, I’d have finished so long ago.

I think, on some level, I actually enjoyed the feedback I got from people about the book — not just my friends and family that read it, but from my editor(s), too.  The hardest bits of constructive criticism to swallow, for me, is trying to figure out why someone doesn’t like one of your characters or plot points.

After spending hours contemplating something so simple — such as the mannerisms of one of your characters — to then have someone tell you that they hate that trait you specifically wrote out in that manner? That’s heartbreaking.  But it’s a good heartbreak. It makes you think of how you could do something better and how you can make that character jump off the page more than he or she already did.

There’s still a long road ahead with this whole thing, but I’m excited to get back on the road.  I don’t anticipate selling millions of copies (heck, I’d be happy selling a hundred). I don’t expect to be on Ellen talking about the book, or have Oprah pick it for book club.  I don’t expect a film to be made. I guess I don’t have any expectations, which means that whatever happens from this point on will have to be viewed in a positive light.

If you’ve been following along here — thanks for coming on this journey with me.  Even though you’ve done nothing but read a blog, it means a lot to me.  Now if I can squeeze a couple of bucks out of you when the book comes out, I’ll be a happy guy.

Stay tuned — we’re almost there!