Join my Influencer Team!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family. We hosted my family Christmas this year in our new home and it was wonderful! The kids are all getting bigger and love to go play with their cousins in their rooms and play with the new toys they received, allowing us adults to kick back a little and enjoy each other’s company.

If you hadn’t heard, I released my third Maple Falls book Mary & Bright on Dec. 21st!! I love how this story turned out and can’t wait for you all to read Mary and Will’s story.

That being said, I’m looking to put together an influencer team to help me spread the word about this new book, and more books in the future!!

maryandbright-graupman-ebookweb

What is an influencer team?

An influencer team is a group of readers that will be assembled online in a private Facebook group to help spread the word and be my biggest cheerleaders for the book. You’ll be given specific tasks along the way in order to help get the word out about this book!

What role will you play?

Some examples of tasks will be the following:

  1. Posting reviews of the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc.
  2. Sharing the book on your social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc) and/or book clubs or small groups.
  3. Sharing the book and/or review on your blog (if applicable)
  4. Give feedback in our online discussions within the group
  5. Hang a giant flag in your front yard with the book cover on it
  6. Ok, so #5 isn’t a requirement, but how cool would that be!? I may have to look into that…

What is in it for you?

  1. A free kindle copy of Mary & Bright
  2. Exclusive access to a private Facebook group where all members of the influencer team will gather and exchange ideas, receive updates, and make new friends!
  3. Exclusive sneak peeks to my upcoming projects, contests, and more!

There will be a limited number of spots, so what are you waiting for?!?

The application process will be open until on Friday January 5th.

Click here to apply now!

Thank you, friends! I am so excited to share this new book with all of you and to help spread the word about it together.

Shannon

Book news and Giveaway WINNER!

First of all, THANK YOU so much to all who entered the giveaway!! I loved reading all of the vacation comments!! I don’t get a chance to travel very much, so reading about all of your adventures this summer or places you would love to go some day was so fun!

THANK YOU also to Melissa Tagg and Erynn Mangum for doing the giveaway with me, sharing it with your readers, and generously giving away a copy of one of your book! I’m so thankful for you both!

I chose the winner via random select this morning and the WINNER is….
** Laura J **

FullSizeRender

Laura, please check your email and reply with your contact info 🙂

In book news, I put out a fun photo for you all to guess the title of my upcoming novella and several people guessed it right!! I loved reading all of the guesses and might do it again for my next novel. Drumroll please….The new title of my novella is…

Falling For You Guess

I’m very excited because today I get my first proof of my new cover!! I should have the final proof by Wednesday this week and cannot wait to share it with you all. Paper and Sage designed my cover for Bake My Day and I loved it so much, that she is designing my cover for Falling For You also! If you are looking for an amazing cover designer, check out Christa’s work!

I’m hoping to release Falling For You in late September, early October. I’ll announce a release date once I get a little further in the process. I am working with some wonderful people again this round, but I’m changing up a few parts. I learned a lot with the last book, made some mistakes, and learned from them. With all things new, there are things to be learned.

I am also working on book 3, another full length novel. More about that soon!!

Have a wonderful week and Congrats again to Laura!

Shannon

 

Cover Proof Day!

Today was the day I have been waiting for!! About 3-4 weeks ago, I started setting up my book cover with my designer. I sent her the photo a couple of weeks ago and today was the day that she sent me my first proof of the Ebook cover and the Print cover. Let me tell you….I LOVE THEM! She designed them better than I could have hoped for and I have no changes to make.

Her communication has been phenomenal and she has been so helpful with all of my questions having never been through the process before. She usually emails back within a few hours and always has the answer. I have been following along with her premade covers for months now and I knew that I wanted her to design mine.

Over the weekend I purchased my ISBN number. I opted to buy the 10-pack vs only 1. The cost of two single numbers was the cost of a 10-pack, no brainer in my book. My designer offered to put my ISBN number on the back cover for me along with the barcode for no extra cost.

Once she places that on the back, I will be able to approve my final cover design and she will then be able to make my matching title page and chapter headers. Once I receive those, I will be able to forward them on to my formatter and she will be able to get started. Without those, she can’t do anything. Once she starts, both books (Ebook & Print) should be finished within 5 business days!!

I’m hoping both the cover and formatting will both be complete by the middle of next week so I can begin to upload it on Createspace. I believe I then will be able to order a proof copy and review it, making sure the spine, text, covers, etc all line up in the way they are supposed to.

I cannot wait until I get that book in my hands!! Holding it will be surreal I’m sure.

If you are looking for an amazing cover designer, check out Paper & Sage Designs.

I can’t wait to share my cover with all of you when I get the final copy!

Shannon

I have an editor!

Last week I decided it was finally time to move forward. I had been over and over my book a lot and I knew I just had to rip the band aid off and do it. I knew everything wasn’t perfect and I could have probably gone over it twenty more times but I decided not to.

I placed an ad for an editor on Upwork.com one night after the kids were in bed and in the first hour, I received 5 applicants. I thought that was a lot and was so excited to read their profiles. Within the next day or two, I had 32 applicants who wanted to edit my novel. Feeling completely overwhelmed on which one was the right one for me, I started with the pricing.

When you post an ad, you can post the amount of money you would like to pay for the services needed. I removed a few whose initial bids were well out of my price range. Not that their services weren’t worth the money, but it was not a price I could pay right now. Most of the applicants were bidding the exact cost of my request which made it hard to choose.

I then moved on to read their proposal written to me about why they wanted to work for me and some included samples of previous things they had edited. Most were written to me but some were just a generic post that they must copy and paste on everything they apply for. Those didn’t seem very personal to me and I really liked the ones who took the three minutes it probably took to address me as a specific client.

Next I was able to view their previous jobs, feedback from other people who had hired them, and scores of spelling and grammar tests they took through the website. After looking at all of these parts, I definitely learned A LOT!!

Here are a few things that turned me off from hiring the ones I chose to pass on. Hopefully this will help you if you ever post a job and will help you by pointing out several things to look for.

  • A professional photo: Some photos were a really disturbing selfie that I found to be very unprofessional. Judging a book by its cover, I know, but for what I am paying, I would like to work with a person who at least appears to be taking this job seriously.
  • Good grammar in their writing: I read one applicants bio and he used no spaces after commas and his grammar was terrible. If it is not written correctly on their end, I have a hard time trusting that they will edit my work well.
  • Good test scores: A few of the applicants scored very low on their spelling tests or English grammar tests. Both I feel are very important skills at least in this job I was asking for. Most were in the top 10% or so but several scored below average.
  • Read their entire query: One lady looked like a good fit at the beginning but as I read further, she told me that she was by no means an editor but loved to read books. Though I’m sure she could offer great feedback, I was looking for someone with editing experience.
  • Ask for a sample of their work: I looked at many samples and they varied greatly! One had added one comma near the top of the page and removed a comma near the bottom. Another had a full word by word edit, rearranging words, punctuations, spelling, through the entire article. Depending on what you are looking for, be sure to look into this. The one I hired had extremely thorough editing.

These are just a couple of the things that really helped me decide on who was right for me. I ended up narrowing it down to two people in the end. One was $100 over my bid, one was $50 under. Feeling both prices were still in my comfort zone, it came down to their experience and editing samples. I felt like one was more of what I was looking for and she had a very reasonable turnaround time so I wrote up the contract and she approved!!

She is scheduled to have the project completed in 3 weeks so I am eagerly sitting back waiting for what comes back. This is a huge part of the writing process and to have it started is very exciting for me!! Once this step is complete, the rest isn’t as stressful and I’m looking forward to seeing it through to the end!

For the next 3 weeks, my plan is to move forward on my outline for book 2. So far I have the characters and a couple ideas. Looking forward to getting some words on the page and see the next installment come to life!

Shannon

Draft 3 and Research

When I finished my last blog post, I was beginning the process of researching the next steps to getting published. There was a little more to it than I originally thought so I am very thankful I started early!

I began by taking a break from my WIP which was really nice. I was able to let the story sit for a week or so and be able to return to it with a fresh set of eyes and a few new ideas to add in the third draft. I am currently working on chapter 11 of 19 so I am making decent progress. Once this draft is finished, I will be comfortable enough with it to send it off to an editor. Once it returns, I will go through all of their suggestions and edits and it should be ready to go! Eeeeek! I cannot wait for that moment!

Before I started any research, I made a list of things I needed to find out or price out before being able to print my book. Here is a list I came up with:

  • Photographer (I was originally going to shoot my own cover)
  • Bakery (Prop for the cover shoot)
  • Stock Photos
  • Cover Designer
  • Editor
  • Copyright
  • ISBN Number
  • Print size for the book
  • Page color (cream vs. white)
  • Price points (Both print and digital)
  • Printing company
  • Business Cards
  • Formatting

Once I made the list, I’m not going to lie, it was a bit overwhelming!!! Being that I am self publishing, I am trying to keep my costs down, at least for the first book. I am most likely going to shoot my own covers for the next two books but after looking through what seemed like hundreds of stock photos, I think I have found the perfect one!! (insert happy dance). Once I decided to cut out the photographer and props, it will lessen my costs by roughly $150. To me, that seems to be the smart play.

With the same list as above, here is the breakdown for the costs of what it will most likely take to get my book to print:

  • Stock Photos: $10-$20 depending on the membership
  • Cover Designer: $70 for digital, additional $50 for full print layout
  • Editor: $200-$400, depending on which editor you hire
  • Copyright: $35
  • ISBN Number: 1-$125 or 10-$250. I plan to do 10 as I have 2 more WIP’s
  • Print size for the book: Thinking 8.5 x 5.5, based on personal preference
  • Page color (cream vs. white): I decided on cream
  • Price points (Both print and digital): Still working on this one!
  • Printing company: Createspace is so far my choice and user friendly
  • Business Cards: Had a coupon code, got 500 for $10!! Score!
  • Formatting: Unknown, still need to research this one further

With all of that above, estimating of course, is roughly $700. I know that there are very cheap ways to go about publishing a book but there are definitely corners I am not willing to cut. If I had to choose one of the above to spend your money on, it would be editor first, and cover design second. (Yes, I know that’s two, haha) One will make the inside look great, and the other will make the outside look great. Both are very important elements and neither should be taken lightly.

My plan is to make a “For Writers” page on my website with all of the links and companies I use to hopefully help anyone else looking into writing and publishing a book. I have found some wonderful ones on other author’s websites and I love how this writing community is so helpful towards one another. Please let me know if you have any questions, I am always here to help aspiring writers!

**Are you a writer or a reader? Or both? What is your preferred genre?

I’d love to hear from you!

Shannon