Published a novel. Now what?

2010.04.16 edinburgh31c
Lived in Orlando 13 years.
You’d think I’d have a photo of the Disney castle.

I’m going to Disney World! (No, not really.)

Fellow author Colin F. Barnes posted his thoughts in late November about the aftermath of publishing his first novel. Time to compare our experiences. Colin (in italics) wrote:

There’s a few things I’ve noticed over the last week or so since my book released.

  • Most people don’t really care—including family.
    Quite a few congratulations have come via email & Facebook. I haven’t heard from all 250+ FB friends, including extended family. Hm…are there evil FB algorithms at work here? There have been a few retweets of the announcement. Colleagues at work who’ve been tracking my progress also congratulated me. One even bought the book while I was sitting in her office. She didn’t need to do that! I encourage folks to read the sample pages at Amazon and B&N. It may not be the type of story you like. You may think I suck at writing. However, if you want to toss $4.99 at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you go right ahead. 🙂  I won’t stop you.
  • You’re just one of many millions of people trying to do the same thing.
    25,000+ new ebook releases in fiction on Amazon in the last 30 days. 645K to choose from. What more need I say?
  • Releasing a book that you’ve worked on for so long is a massive anti-climax.
    There is one terrifying moment when you hit the “publish” button. Actually, there are about 12 hours of those moments while you wait to see your book on Amazon. And days of waiting for Barnes & Noble to process it. Weeks of waiting for Smashwords distribution to the iBookstore, KOBO, and other venues. Once the book is online, you go back to look at it in disbelief a few times, then you get back to writing book number 2. Oprah doesn’t call. Hollywood, where are you? Life goes on. Work continues. Someone wants a report. Documentation needs to be completed. Self-evals must be written.
  • I don’t feel any different now that it is done.
    I do. The manuscript (or various pieces of it) has been shared over the last 3 years with 3 members of my writing group (all published authors & 2 of whom did a good bit of  editorial comment on the completed work); and various beta readers. But now it’s really out there for anyone and everyone.It’s hard not to wonder about how the book will be received by friends who read it. I guess that’s worse than wondering how a stranger perceives it. It’s like giving a presentation to your colleagues. Time – and reviews (always welcome, of course) – will tell.Bottom line: I feel massively relieved that it’s done.
  • Promoting is a biotch! It doesn’t come naturally to me.
    Ditto. I’ve announced the book release, and mention it at the end of some of my blog posts – this is called passive promoting. I’ll do a bit more when the book is ready for print. Maybe some giveaways, Amazon or B&N gift cards.Some novelists say write, write, and write more. Don’t worry about active promotion. Over time, with more published works available, readers will find you. Of course, it would help if all my works were within the same genre. HA! What a concept! (Have you noticed the name of my blog?)
  • One positive comment is enough to keep me going for days.
    You can say that again. 🙂 It’s hard to wipe the smile from your face when a reader says “you rock!” or “I couldn’t put it down” or notes that you’ve written “a very moving book.”
  • Reviewers still generally think self-publishers are scum.
    Colin is likely referring to New York Times or Publisher Weekly types. I imagine an indie-published book would need to be in Kindle’s or Nook’s top sellers to get the attention of those reviewers. The sad part of the whole reviewer thing is the valid reviews that Amazon has pulled.
  • Despite all the above, the buzz of seeing my book in print is awesome.
    I’m sure I’ll be saying that when my book is in print. It’s still pretty darn cool to see the e-book. I’m working on formatting for print now. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could could grab the Word .doc and upload it without a second thought? Formatting is a PAIN. But I’m getting closer…
  • I’ve received lots of unexpected help, which is super heart warming.
    Writers group, beta readers, ebook formatters, CreateSpace advisors – you folks are worth a million!

Writer friends – what was your experience like? Readers – any surprises? (I’d encourage you to read Colin’s post.)

Hope your week is off to a great start. Happy Monday, everyone.

Castles rock

NASIGers outside the Biltmore House
Biltmore House

Castle bagging. My friend in Scotland taught me that phrase last year. Sounds much more intriguing than castle visiting, doesn’t it?

I have always been fascinated by castles. And now, I can call myself a castle bagger. Woo-hoo!

I visited America’s largest ‘castle’ when I was kid. It’s not really a castle so I suppose that doesn’t count but I thought I’d mention it anyway. It’s Biltmore House,  a chateau-style mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Definitely a must-see-worth-the-cost kind of place.

Biltmore is wonderful but it doesn’t stir my emotions like the castles I visited, er bagged, in the United Kingdom. When I was  kid, castles meant knights and damsels in distress. Princesses, kings & queens – the flamboyance and romanticism of royalty. As my love of history grew, I saw them in a different light. I can’t help but think of the people who built them, who lived in them, and defended them. I can stand on the battlements and imagine a knight on horseback thundering down the road, dust kicked up in his wake. An army approaching. A carriage. Or a wagon laden with goods. How cool is it that some of these magnificent places were built hundreds of years before Europeans settled North America?

I hope you enjoy my pictures. I took these on 2 different trips to the UK and I wanted to stroll down memory lane because I couldn’t add to my bagging this year. Have you been to any of these castles? What other castles should I put on my “must-see” list?

Kenilworth Castle     Warwick Castle
Kenilworth and Warwick

Stirling CastleStirling

Kilchurn Castle   Castle Doune
Kilchurn and Doane (Monty Python, anyone?)

Conisbrough Castle
Conisbrough

around Edinburgh    Nottingham Castle
Edinburgh and Nottingham

Goodrich CastleGoodrich

Warwick Castle the Trebuchet handler

an archer and the man with the trebuchet at Warwick Castle