2019 was all about visibility. I wanted to not only reach new readers, but be more visible to those already following me. I wanted to connect with those around me where I seemed to fail in the past.
what did I do?
I tried monthly blogging.
That didn’t yield results. I’d give away free things each blog if people would just comment. I’d share all over social media, and nothing would happen. So, after six straight months, I gave up.
I started back at book signings.
this was the best use of my word ever. I made new friends, created new partnerships, and overall just enjoyed being in a book obsessed setting.
I sent weekly newsletters.
While these were focused on recommendations, I usually had more - like a question, recipe and tons of giveaways. Did it work? Not really. My list of 2000 dropped down to about 1500 and I’d get maybe 2-3 engagement. Which, if it was you, I LOVED that!
I joined a boxset with new authors.
this improved my readership and my friendships as it launched the Hexed in New Orleans world AND hit the USA list, but it overall did not create the relationship with readers that I wanted. Do the books sell? Yes, but I’m after the engagement and fun more than the sales.
I posted daily on my business page.
Facebook algorithms are a pain. However, with over 10k followers I was certain if I posted daily, people would be interested in “hanging out”. Some days this worked, most it fell flat. I did giveaways, questions, fun things and more. Nothing stood out as working more than something else.
I tried to giveaway as many things as I could.
the goal? Entice someone to try something new. I never required more than a share to enter, and still, most went not entered.
What started on a high note as a key goal turned into a depression-like state after 7 months. Was Facebook causing some of it? Yes, but overall, it wasn’t. People didn’t seem to want to engage with me. Was it me as a person? Do my books sound shitty? Worse, do my books suck?
come November and December I slipped on deadlines and gave up pretty much everything. It’s not about fame or fortune for me, it’s about creating the communities I love as a reader. It became impossible to care because it feels (yes present tense), like no one needs the escape or wants the escape my stories bring. Writing grew tiresome, the characters didn’t stop talking, but I no longer cared if anyone ever knew their stories.
It’s not pretty, but it’s the truth. Without any indication my stories were enjoyed, it made no sense to keep pumping them out, no matter that I have 77 outlines waiting. And worse? If it wasn’t the stories no one wanted, it was me.
In my personal life, I’ve never cared if people don’t like or engage with me. I’m confident in myself. However, that disintegrates when my work is in question. It annoys me, but it’s what brings me to 2020’s word.
2020 is going to be about remembering why I started - to fulfill dreams. I am going to spend the year focusing on why I first picked up a pen in second grade to write a silly story about a snowflake.
I want to focus on the dream being the most important part - not on caring if people share my dream or believe in it.
2020 is about Lexi. It’s about the stories I want to tell, the worlds I want to share and to hell with caring if people don’t want them. I want them.
this is my call to action for you in 2020 - fight to love and live your dreams. ❤️❤️
Never judge a book by its cover ... but really, we all do. That’s not to say we’re bad people, simply that striking images get our attention. That’s okay!
As an author, it can be hard to find not the perfect cover, but the perfect cover artist. I, myself, have been so very fortunate to have stumbled upon some artists I rely on for premades (milktee designs, the write wrapping, book cover design by selfpub designs) , and others who I trust more than I can say with customs. I jokingly tell people I have three cover artists I go to whenever they will let me bug them - Dreams2Media, Fantasia Book Cover Designs, and The Illustrated Author. All three produce not only fantastic images that bring my idea to life, but also seamless processes that make you feel trusted and listened too - things I find integral when someone is bringing tour work to life.
If you've followed me since 2016, you know I completed a steampunk adventure novel, The Race. I created a cover based on the assets available at the time, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t want to give the project to anyone because I didn’t know I didn’t love it. Let’s take a peek, shall we?
It’s also not surprising that I consider those three ladies my friends. Melissa Stevens, from The Illustrated Author, and I talk regularly. I couldn’t tell you what we were talking about one day a few months ago, but it lead me to sharing that I had the above cover, but knew it didn’t fit the market any longer. Despite me not realizing she did steampunk, Melissa told me she could make a snazzy, current, cover. I was ready, but before I show you the reveal, I want to go behind the scenes so that fellow authors know what to look for when finding an artist, and so readers can see a peek into the world of creating just the right image.
Though brief, I hope this gives everyone a little behind the scenes fun!
It Starts with Questions
I cannot tell you how much I love answering questions. It forces me to delve into things I hadn’t thought of ... and if you’re me might have forgotten (sorry, Melissa, I know I threw the hair in last minute lol).
Bring on the Mockups!
One of my favorite parts of working with Melissa is the mock-up. I know she’s working. She knows she’s working, but I have NO idea what’s going on! Then boom! I’ll get an inbox with a pretty. She’s checking direction. She’s checking big picture. And most times, she’s putting a better twist on a cover than my stale, boring background idea. You haven’t seen them, but I can think of 4 covers she’s done this for 😂.
From there, sometimes I see a variety of images, sometimes I see nothing until the end when she’s asking if I see anything that needs changes. This time, there were a bit more, but I think it’s because she could tell how freaking nerdy I was waiting to see. I get this way with all steampunk covers.
So, let’s take a peek!
See those different versions? Let’s break them down!
1. The initial mock-up that made me squeal because they were inside a mother flipping airship!
2. A look at the full spread - likely shared bc I came undone at the ebook version.
3. Me going “oooo ummm he has pirate hair”
4. Melissa showing me the beauty of her hand-painted hair. Idk about you lovelies reading this, but goodness am I jealous of those full curls!!
5. The “last chance to look it over” image.
Nine times out of ten, I’ve got no revisions. That’s not artist dependent, that’s because I’ve learned to trust them and take a look at what I have. Of course, sometimes I’m a pain - as I bet all 3 ladies will agree too :D
so after randomly remembering my guy has “pirate hair”, and after Melissa went boss lady creating those FAB curls, I was all “umm can we do a more steampunk color than green?”
Not only did Melissa do this, she did it twice!
Two utterly stunning options. So much so, I drove myself to a local store known for steampunk novels, and browsed the shelves. I couldn’t decide. I almost jokingly asked Melissa if I could do both and just randomly change them out on amazon 😂😂
Needless to say, I picked one. One stood out as a fit without “disappearing” in with other titles in this genre. Are you ready to see which?
Ta Da!! The book cover process (in minor detail) all lead up to this glorious cover that is dripping with steampunk goodness.
I can’t thank Melissa enough for letting me know she did steampunk and that something much better could be done to capture the spirit of the novel! While I don’t know when it will release because I now have motivation to do self edits and find an editor, I couldn’t wait to share. Whether it’s my first release of 2021, or the end of 2020, I cant wait to head to the skies.
This past weekend I had the honor of attending Literary Love Savannah as an author. I held off writing this post because I wasn’t certain the direction it should take. Should it be about the prostitute who died in the bar who set my imagination whirling? Should it be silly about all the moments we had when we thought no one listened? Maybe it needed to be heartfelt for all those readers who snagged my books and made me feel like I did belong back at the convention scene.
Did I figure it out? Nope, but it’ll come to me as I go. It’ll be natural and organic and real.
Mike, Aidan and I piled into the car at 5 am on Wednesday to make the drive.
Thirteenish hours later, not only had I realized there was a thin line between romance and horror tropes, but we finally arrived in Savannah!
The weekend is both a reader and an author’s paradise. From seeing old friends for the first time in years, to meeting people I’ve connected with over social media to brand new friends, there was no shortage of amazing connections. We often forget how solitary the author life is, and when we come together, we’ll, we’re a lot of fun!
This weekend was about finding a piece of myself I didn’t know I’d lost since becoming a mom. Sure it was fantastic meals, epic parties, and soooo many books, but it was a time for me to enjoy being me. Over the past few years I’ve slipped into just being a “mom”. At LLS I was more. I was the author. I was the girl dashing through her first escape room. I was the woman struggling to find her “beauty” in time for a ball where I’d positioned myself to gain more than a few dirty looks if my sequined gown drew their eye and they deemed me unworthy. It was a place where a new shared world of stories was born and I was included simply because I was a friend.
I went to LLS because I wanted to find my footing in the author world - something I know I lost after choosing to part ways with my publisher. I got so much more.
Thank you to everyone. Thank you for the dirty stories during erotic trivia. Thank you for nights of chatting about nothing and everything. Thank you for entering my book worlds and staying for awhile. I’ll be seeing you, LLS, you haven’t seen the last of me yet.
If you'd have told me 5 years ago that I'd not only still be publishing, but thriving, I would have been shocked to say the least. Five-years-ago-me loved the stories I had to tell. She also believed she only had those few stories in her, that she would never reach her readers, and that she would fizzle and burn out - no matter how brightly she burned on day one - in a matter of years.
Only, she didn't. One series led to another ... and another ... and another ... and I think you get where I'm going from here. My greatest fear 5 years ago was not that I would fail to find my audience (though that is a struggle), but that I would run out of worlds to weave and stories to tell.
40 solo novels later (and a had full of anthology stories), and I can say that didn't happen. I'm here, I'm stronger. I have no intention of slowing down or stopping the race.
First grade me fell in love with reading stories. Second grade me fell in love with telling them. 31-year-old me hasn't changed a bit. Whether you're looking for swashbucklers, alpha males, heroic heroines, and even the occasional relateable villain (I'm looking at you, Seraphina), you can find them in my worlds.
Thank you to the cover artists who've worked to package my stories in spectacular bindings. Thank you to the editors who polished my work - and to the ones who didn't , thank you for teaching me to be stronger. Thank you to my publisher, though I am no longer a member of the house, you started a dream for a young writer. Thank you to my author friends who kick my butt into to gear, who help me through plot points, and who listen to the millions of ideas that I can't seem to contain in my head if I wish to work on a current project. Thank you to my family who's stood beside me, sharing, reading, and supporting my work. Thank you to my readers - without you, I'd just be a crazy lady with voices in her head.
Of course, what's a birthday without presents? Follow this link to grab a FREE ebook!
Until next time ....
This morning, my 39th solo novel released on Amazon. Thirty-nine. If you’d have asked me if I thought I’d have accomplished that many solo stories in July 2014 when my first novel released I never would have believed it.
Yet, here I am.
Each and every release is as exhilarating and terrifying as the last. There is no “getting used to it.” Every book is a little part of me, and sending it off into the world is scary. On the plus, I bet I’ll be fantastic at sending the kiddo off when he’s 18 after all this practice. Thankfully, he just turned 3 so I’ve got a ways to wait.
Once Hexed, Twice Shy actually began 2 years ago and was shelved due to other series and a lack of time as a brand new mom. Then, I had the opportunity to join a UF boxset and knew I had to finish it.
The problem? The story could only be 60k max and I was looking at 25k with just the first few chapters. Suddenly, Hexed and Dangerous was born and it utterly changed the dynamic of the Hexed in New Orleans series. My characters have a crazy backstory that I never imagined two years ago. But you’ll have to read the books to learn more because my lips are sealed!
Today, the first official book in the series released. To date, my releases are small quiet affairs. This time, I saw preorders that outdid my normal release day sales! The pressure was on but I loved every minute of it.
Get hexed with this teaser!
“I already have a ring,” Sam muttered, thinking about the carat solitaire diamond still sitting in a drawer upstairs. It belonged to his mother, and when she’d passed, she’d left it to him in her will.
Join the release party for a special giveaway. Plus! Every book is a BOGO! Just comment below with a photo of the book on your device (or head to the Facebook event and claim both you BOGO and your giveaway entry!
We all have that 1 "taboo" thing that we love. For me, it's serial killers. Don't ask me why, but it is. This post isn't about that though, it's about Pandora's Box. Want to know why .... just keep scrolling!
In my newest series, Pandora's box doesn't quite unleash sins - it alters DNA! The seven sins are reassigned to the supernatural world at large. Don't take my word on it though, here's a little teaser!
Some millennia ago, seven stupid humans opened the box and unleashed magic into the world. Instead of sins, the box actually created Supernaturals.
Want to know more? Well, you're in luck! Not only is this the start of my newest series - Hexed in New Orleans - but it's also OUT NOW in the Shadows and Sorcery Set. 20+ stories, 99¢ until Sunday, one-click today!
Now if you'll direct your attention away from the drool-worthy six packs (or the thick book he's holding ;)) I'll explain why this is important to an author. Reviews do so much more than give you a chance to voice your opinion - which is awesome anyway. They allow you to truly help an author. First and foremost (to me at least) is knowing that I've reached readers. Whether your review is talking about how much my books touched your heart or you're cursing me out for too much sex scenes, I love knowing that my books made it onto people's kindles and stirred a reaction in them. I will admit, I write because it's what it's my head and heart. However, without readers to enjoy my work, there's no point in pushing these ideas out from the space in my brain! Hearing from you in any fashion makes the dream so much better.
Of course, there is more than that. Reviews help with sales. When a review is posted on Amazon.com (or a blog) it reaches other readers. A great cover and a stirring blurb are wonderful, but people like opinions. Opinions good and bad help to sell books, which allows the author time and money to continue to write them! Always a plus, right?
It doesn't stop there though. Reviews are always required to help authors with promotion. Typically, it requires 10 with a 4.5 rating, but Amazon requires 50!!
Think it sounds easy? You're wrong.
I have a street team of 34 amazing people that review books early and most of my stories only have 4 reviews. Why? Because not everything will appeal to everyone of course! Sales could lead to more reviews, but it seems most readers don't know how important they are. I know I've sold more than 10 copies of each book ;). When a book hits 50 reviews on Amazon they start to include it to interested parties in emails, on your homepage as recommended and as suggested books on other pages. It's an important resource because not all readers live on Facebook or other social media platforms to see our ads.
Starting today (December 9th, 2015) if you leave a review of one of my books on any Amazon platform (does not include blogs or goodreads) and email the the link to it email@example.com I'll send you the next book in the series FREE!! Yes, you did read that properly. This will of course only apply once per series. Please note this is in no way seeking positive reviews. Review it however you want and all reviews count.
Guess that means there's only two things left to do - read and review!
Sometimes, as an author, part of the battle is staying ahead of the trends, not with them. Sometimes the battle is riding the trendy wave, and other times it's remaining 100% off trend and doing whatever crazy things your muse tells you. For me, I've always been blissfully off trend, doing the stories my muse comes up with. No, I'm not saying writing on trend means your heart isn't in it, just that mine seems to like to be an outlier :D
So, for me, I've accepted that I'll never be "marketable". I'll never be what the agents, and possibly even the readers are looking for when they're looking for it. I'm more a "stumble on to me" story teller with stories from paranromal romance to steampunk to Christmas. I don't fit in a box, and I'm cool with that.
As you may have already heard, I have a bad habit of lurking in cover groups and snagging beautiful premades - normally that I have no story for. June 1, 2018 was no exception. Little did I know what it would turn into for me. I happened to stumble on a premade cover in a contest. It was a blind contest, and only after the winner was selected were the artists revealed so you could bug them to buy the cover.
I fell in love with one, and the minute the artist was announced, I ran to message them. But who were they? Melissa Stevens from the Illustrated Author, of course. I bet you know where this is going already. Well, the cover was wanted by many and she wanted to be fair - so she told me a time the cover would be posted and the first person to comment would win it. I'm terrible at things of that nature because ... well ... toddler. Luckily for me, my other fantastic cover artist, was in my inboxing shouting at me to go!
And go I did.
With the cover purchased, my brain immediately started to weave the multi-book plot. Think the Mummy meets Laura Croft (which I've never seen but I assume this fits based on media knowledge) meets Indiana Jones. These would have some steampunk elements, but would be largely without the romantic elements you're used to from me. Yes, there was a love interest because it makes things more fun to be in love when you're on an adventure, but this series would be about action, adventure and saving the world.
Originally a 4 book series in my head, Melissa made the mistake of telling me about a show about hunting REAL relics - Destination Truth. Within 2 days I'd binged watched and had a problem, the series needed 3 more books. Due to that, the suspected publishing date of late 2019-2020 for the whole series got pushed back. I wanted to release them as close to back-to-back as possible, and that meant I needed more time to write, because I also had to keep writing my current works if I wanted the voices in my head to go away.
So, Melissa has slaved away for the last year making me the most stunning covers and an epic series logo. Five are completed thus far, and originally, the idea was to hold onto these bad boys until fall when all 7 would be done.
Remember I talked about trends? Well, imagine my shock last night while watching a show on CBS when my idea practically slammed into me on the television screen. A new show was coming (that sounds freaking epic might I add), Blood and Treasure. At first, I was simply excited the genre was coming back - since The Mummy is my favorite movie. Only, Melissa was working on cover 5, and that's when I realized something a little ... well, nerve wracking. The actors in the show looked exactly like the cover models Melissa selected a year ago!
Yup, my characters were practically staring at me, doing very similar things. On one hand, it feels amazing to be trendy AND the guy playing the male lead gave me all the goods if I needed inspiration for the already selected male lead in my series. On the other hand, I worried "what if it looks like I copied this?"
Now, I'm a fairly unknown author. That's a hard thing to admit, but it's true. The odds of someone seeing my covers revealed in fall or reading the books in 2021 and linking back to the show were slim to none. Yet, it could happen. When I brought it up to Melissa, her husband and mine both thought we knew about the show in some fashion beforehand.
So that leads me to right now, at 9:55 pm on a Saturday and this blog. I don't have all the covers. I don't have all the blurbs fleshed out, and I sure as heck don't have any idea of the release date, since this year is dedicated to my Hexed in New Orleans series which still has 2.5 books left to write. I do have the titles, the logo and 5 of the most amazing covers ever. Making the decision to share even any of this before I'm actually writing and release can in fact lead to ruin. It can lead to others selecting similar titles and ideas. So to protect myself and my cover artist, what will I show? The killer logo she created AND a shot of the covers that show off the models. I hope you'll understand and can be as excited to look at the pretties as I am!
Here we go, let's pull back the curtain and take a peek at my newest coming series Relics of the Lost Worlds.
I've already got these bad boys outlined, and while I'm a bit nervous to try to write them while juggling other projects, I can't wait to open the new world, the prophecy, and all the things living within it. Stay tuned for a release date - the journey will begin sometime in late 2020!
Branding is important. It's what people say about your business. It's the vibe your business gives off. Most importantly, it's what draws readers into your business.
As an author, my brand is more than just my books - though those are the bulk of it for sure! My brand is me. It's what I put forth into the world. If you've followed my page or friended me, there's a good chance you know a few things about me.
You also probably know there's not much in the romance genre I shy away from. From Christmas holidays to cancer-stricken heroines, I don't hold many punches. I bet you're reading this and thinking "Okay, so what's the point of this blog." It's to talk about author logos.
When I first started in 2014, a dear and amazing author friend made me a logo. She charged nothing, she asked for nothing in return. I loved it. Slowly, I added the worlds, attempting to bring my tagline in a bit more. From there the worlds became people, as I felt that better represented a romance author, feeling my tagline could do the heavy lifting to imply I take two different characters and mash them into one happily ever after.
Two years went by and I started to feel like I needed a bit of a revamp - something that said "author". I wasn't even sure where to start. So, I ended up buying a premade logo from a friend's site. It was fun, to me screamed author and had just the right amount of color.
Fast forward to a few months ago. Logos started to evolve. They were more than just something "generic". Which lead me down the dreaded path of "am I where I should be?" After months and months of seeing logos I realized, "no, you aren't where you should be." Cute little illustrated drawings had been around forever, but were slowing gaining traction. I saw one posted for a book cover that the artist was selling as a separate file and it hit me.
I needed one. I needed a little Chibi-Lexi to showoff my business. Unfortunately, the artist never responded. However, luckily for me I work with three amazing cover artists (not including the premades I buy when they speak to me). Of them, Melissa Stevens from the Illustrated Author had already done an amazing series logo for me for my Relics of the Lost Worlds Series. (Bet you're interested in that, but that's another blog post for another time.
I went to her, uncertain if she would even do the project. Like every zany cover idea I've brought to her in the past year, she happily told me she would! Now, if you've worked with Melissa you know you get a pretty epic questionnaire before beginning that gets you set on the path. I'm pretty sure if you asked her, the one for the logo project was a hot mess and "all over". I knew what I wanted - a Chibi with something author-like. Too bad that was all I could tell her. Nonetheless, she didn't hesitate to accept the project.
Now, something I find important about working with any artist is their willingness to trust what you want mingled with their personal and professional opinion to do what's best. Once, I asked Melissa for an oasis cover - she came back with a winter wonderland that is actually my favorite cover of ALL my books. I trust her, her process, and most importantly, her designs without question.
What followed next was a month of what felt like presents and torture as she showed me tidbits of pretties. (She was being amazing and squeezing me in between projects and her personal life). So how did we start? With these two amazing sketches!
I was hooked. Without question I knew that not only was Melissa the perfect person to do the logo, but that it was just what I needed. Guys, look at the subtle nod to 10 with that sexy trench coat. Look how luxurious she made my lifeless hair. Plus, come on, check out those stacks of books! This was just the beginning and to say I was hooked is an understatement.
Like all good things, they take time. I'm sure I knew at the point how much, but now I don't - because life. I got a message and it was filled with more pretties. This time, Melissa was really just showing me steps, because she already knew where she was going and was just testing new poses to see which one stuck. I must have a tiny bit of a design eye, because I agreed! (You'll have to keep reading to see with what).
Meanwhile I'm over here like "ooo is she running with books? Is she going to get an adorable little octopus baby in her hand" because I knew there was no way with what Melissa knew about me from our time as customer-client (and friends), that she was not going to give me an octopus after giving me 10's trench coat!
By this point, it's probably not hard to tell that I was beyond excited. What could come next? Well, let me tell you, I 100% did not see the next part coming. You guys, it turns out the next step was more than I dreamed for, with not 1, but 2 epic designs!
Like, seriously, she has me riding on a freaking Octopus you guys! Riding a Mother F*ing Octopus - which is the exact message I sent my husband along with the photo while I was at work. She mentioned there were little tweaks coming and of course, I needed a body, but we were almost done.
Giddy didn't begin to describe it. Even incomplete, I felt complete. Suddenly, I felt professional - like a real business. Yes, I'd been operating as an author since July 2014, but now it was as if I was suddenly a step above where I'd started. But it gets better, you know why? Because Melissa sent the final babies the next day!
Without further ado, take a peek at the new and improved Lexi Ostrow, Romance Author.
There aren't enough words on the planet to describe how I feel. Look, I can describe acts of sexual pleasure in great detail from the male and female POV - so forgive me for this.
Melissa took a simple request and gave me a logo that feels like me.
There's a nod to my business - books.
There's a nod to me personally - aka the physical stuff (minus the mom bod I'm now rocking IRL).
There's a nod to my favorite things - doctor who and octopodes.
There's a nod to one of my main (and favorite) genres - steampunk.
More importantly, it's what it doesn't do that I love. It doesn't look out of style - which I love the others, but they did. It doesn't scream "I know what she writes". It leaves mystery. My career largely has been built upon steampunk and paranormal romance, but the coming years will see a fun shift, one that you'll learn about pretty soon. To me, this logo says "This author has more to say." However, instead of rambling I'm just going to sum it up with: Melissa, you nailed this so hard. It's everything I wanted it to be and more.
Need a logo? Seriously, go hit up Melissa at The Illustrated Author right now! just make sure you tell her to do the rest of Lexi's covers first (jk, jk. I kid, I kid.)
Also, I wouldn't be me if I hadn't rushed out and done brand new swag - I mean - check out this website for example. I've been sitting on this amazing logo for a week and a half, with the only people who saw it besides my husband being my street team. Plus, if you've hung around this long, click the third photo to enlarge it, and whip out your phone and scan that QR code on my sexy new business card for a FREE read!
This is quite likely the second hardest blog post I will ever have to write - the first being if there's ever a day I announce I'll no longer continue my dream as an author. That being said, this is a difficult post. To help me push through it and keep it from being a downer to read, I'm going to fall to some of my favorite gifs to lighten the mood. Please don't think it means I'm not taking this seriously, it's merely a way to keep this blog post feeling a little lighter.
Editing is not my strong suit. I know the grammar rules - many thanks to a wonderful editor I had for a year who crammed them into my head - and when to apply them. Unfortunately, proofreading for me is an incredible challenge. I'm legally blind thanks to a combination of genetics and a few rough head strikes into the ground as a cheerleader for half my childhood. That makes editing on a screen considerably harder, because even with glasses, the characters have a nasty habit of blending together. I've known this, and did my best to print out stories when I could to ensure I was editing by hand. In addition, I struggle with dyslexic tendencies. It's harder for me to see typos, and to my husband's amusement, I sometimes even struggle to read words and pronounce them silly - like calling "broccoli" "bro-col-lie" and not realizing I'd done it.
I'm aware of it. I've worked to make my drafts as clean as possible. Only, they're not as clean as they should be. There's typos littered here and there, extra words and even accidentally dropped punctuation from typing at 83wpm. I didn't know this. For years I had no idea they were as riddled as they actually are. Editors never said anything too harsh, and I had no way of realizing the number of red marks for typos was out of the ordinary - mostly because some authors don't self-edit and editors are used to a high number of typos now (not my words).
My journey started on a rough note. I was 24 and still seeing the actual affects of my editing issues. I was with a publisher. Unfortunately, the editor was not one suited for editing someone with my issues, and many readers contacted me about editing issues as books were often edited the day or two before release. The publisher was wonderful and set me up with a fantastic editor. I don't want to call her out and embarrass her, but if she's reading this, she knows how much she means to me and my career.
I learned tricks to edit "cleaner." She taught me grammar rules I'd never heard of complete with ways to remember them so I never fall prey to "try and" do anything again. We worked to make my sentences stronger and my style sharper because my voice was already pretty firmed up. My confidence was restored because I was doing the best work I could and knew she had the skillset to catch the errors.
Fast-forward a year and a few months. Life took hold and my wonderful editor could no longer be my editor. I struggled with a choice to stay with my publisher or move onto self publishing where I could personally vet editors and find ones used to working with people like me - because no matter how hard I try, there's always going to be a bit less polish with my drafts.
I've bounced from editor-to-editor trying to find a good fit. Some simply proved they were "editors" because they thought they could be. Others cost upwards of $500 an edit. I grabbed programs, found beta readers and did what I could to eliminate issues before editors took on my stories. I thought everything was hunky dory. Each book got a self-edit, a content edit and a line edit. Then I read it again - sometimes on audio but not always since becoming a mom makes it harder to listen to audio since the kiddo is either awake and running around or asleep and I need to be quiet because he's a light sleeper like mom.
The last few books have been with the same editor. I found someone who I worked well with, had decent rates and turn times, and seemed to be a good match. Then the negative "edits" reviews came in. The hurtful kind where it talks about going back to school or letting someone else write my awesome ideas. I shrugged it off, so many people think they are perfect at editing, but in fact, don't have strong grasp on it.
A little bit ago I picked up a paperback and started to read. Low and behold I found typos. Not 1 or 2, but 10 - in two chapters. Now, this is my fault. I do not blame the editor in full. I am responsible for what I put out into the world. I am the one with final say. A few times I've tried to ask friends to proofread, but they never come back with anything because they end up reading the story, not looking at the details. So, I got complacent. I thought everything was fine. Yes, the editor should have paid more attention - it's what they're paid for - but it still falls on me when the day ends as a self-published author.
To start, I want to apologize for not realizing there were fundamental flaws with my work. There's no excuse and no apology eloquent enough for producing subpar work.
To all the reader who've stuck by my side and continued to read when the editing floundered, thank you. My dream was to touch readers with fantastical stories and I appreciate those of you who have continued to fall into them despite flaws.
So what does this mean, what is the point of this long, downer post? It means I'm going to be changing my editor and my release schedule. The books will be written, self-edited, editor edited and left alone. I'll be putting them into paperbacks (bc it's cheaper and less messy than printing 200+ pages) and editing them before releasing. Releases will be further apart because the process will take longer, but also the math behind it. A cover costs typically $250-$300. An editor will run me about $500. I make (wait for it) about $30 a book during release month and a few spare dollars here and there. So, if you've done the math, you can see I'm an author because I love it, not because it's raining in money. And I will continue on this path, at least for a little while longer.
I don't have an updated release schedule yet, but I will soon. For now, I'm going to take things slowly, one book at a time on released novels and then worry about releases moving forward. This doesn't affect anything for April or May, but may see an affect in June. Thank you all for standing by me, for reading this gigantic blog post, and for being awesome.
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