RANDOMS: Jena’s Adventures in Writing a Novel: Part V

Good LAWD! Was August 2012 REALLY my last Adventures in Writing a Novel update??? It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, let’s fix that, shall we. Buckle up, children. This is going to be a long one.

Branded version 2

With my last update, I had just finished writing Burning, my series prequel. Oh, and that post was also my cover reveal for the first cover Burning had. I have had two covers since then. Yes, you read that right. Two. Here’s the evolution of the Burning cover:

Burning Comparison

The last one is a gigantic step up from that first cover, huh?

Burning was published on October 2, 2012. Since I never intended on writing Burning in the first place, I wanted it to be a free ebook. That was a joy to make happen (can you feel the sarcasm in my words?). With all of those free books on Amazon, the thing that no one tells you is the only way to make that happen is to make it free somewhere else, then submit the link over and over and over again to Amazon so they will price match it. This took me a good 2 months to make happen, but now it is free. Finally.

Following the release of Burning, I dove right back into writing The Devil You Know. Then my world came crumbling down. My husband and I split, and the split left me in a bad place mentally. I halted production on the story, and it sat stagnant on my computer for a good 6 months. It’s probably for the best, because with the frame of mind I was in, The Devil You Know would have been the end of my series all together as I probably would have killed off all my characters in a horrible, fiery, gruesome death.

Luckily, I waited, and when I returned to it, I was in a much better frame of mind. I finished The Devil You Know in mid-June 2013, and published it on July 30, 2013.

The reception to the book was far better than I ever expected. It spent its first 9 weeks on the Amazon Bestseller List for its genre, and to this day is still below the 50,000 mark, which is fantastic considering there are literally millions of books on Amazon.

The Devil You Know also went through a makeover just prior to being published. I ended up connecting with R.A. Mizer of ShoutLines Design. She had designed the cover for Everlasting Hunger, a book by Pure Textuality reviewer Brandy Dorsch.

everlastinghunger_100dpi

I saw Brandy’s cover and instantly demanded to know who her artist was. She hooked me up with ShoutLines Design, and here is the result:

TDYK Comparison

Still the same overall concept, but MUCH better looking, for sure!

A couple of weeks after the release of The Devil You Know, I had my first book signing at the Stamford Author Event in Stamford CT. I helped organize the event and got to work with a LOT of really great authors because of it. One thing I can tell you is if you’re looking to self-publish, there’s an AMAZING support system of indies out there who are willing to help you out in many different ways – pimping your material, recommending editors, proofreading for you, or even just giving an ear to listen when something’s got you frustrated to the point of wanting to quit. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your fellow writers. Are there some out there that see you as nothing but competition, and don’t have any sort of help/support to offer? ABSOLUTELY. Just know that they are there, and when you recognize one, just cut your losses and walk away. Don’t talk smack. Don’t give in to the drama. Just walk away. It’s the classy thing to do, and no one wants to be THAT author.

Following the Stamford Author Event, I went back to writing, and that has been a winding road in itself. First, I started on Speak of the Devil. Then in October, an idea struck me for a dirty little smut novel (which I do not normally write), and I started working on that. I wrote about 2,700 words in that to get the idea started, and then a friend of mine offered some great words of wisdom (one idea at a time) and got me back on track. I went back to writing for the Demon Legacy series, shelving the untitled little smut novel with its undecided future (I am still not sure I am going to do anything with it).

With the start of November came the start of NaNoWriMo. I decided to use NaNoWriMo to get Speak of the Devil finished. If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it is a organized personal challenge, meaning a whole bunch of writers do the same challenge all at the same time – write 50,000 words between November 1st and 30th. I figured why not use it to get my ass in gear and get the book finished?

Well, today marks the day that I am throwing in the NaNo towel. I am not shelving the book by any means. I will still be writing with every spare minute I have. I just realized that I was sacrificing quality for getting in my word count. Last week, I had to go back and delete a chapter because it was mucking up the whole book. I did a massive rewrite on it and now things are flowing smoothly again. I am hoping to have Speak of the Devil done by mid to late December. At that point, it will go off to the editor for the first round of edits. Once I get that back, and see how much work I have ahead of me, I will then decide on a release date. As of right now, I have it expected to be released in the Fall 2014, but I can tell you it is going to be a whole lot sooner than that.

Oh! And Speak of the Devil has a new cover from ShoutLines as well! Here’s the before and after:

SotD Comparison

Then there’s the other Demon Legacy project. Because I didn’t already have enough on my plate, a few months ago I decided to organize an anthology. The anthology is called The Stroke of Midnight, and the common theme is all of the stories are urban fantasy and they all take place on New Year’s Eve. The anthology is short stories from 16 different authors (myself included), and we have a GREAT roster of talent for this! (The cover of The Stroke of Midnight was ALSO done by ShoutLines Design.)

StrokeofMidnight_forAmazon

The short story that I wrote for the anthology is called Suffering, and it takes place in between The Devil You Know (#1) and Speak of the Devil (#2). I have had a few pre-release reads done on it and the reaction has been really good!

The Stroke of Midnight is scheduled to be released on the Pure Textuality Public Relations website on December 26th and it will be FREE for everyone. It’s a purely promotional release, so none of the authors are making a dime off of it. This is not going to be put up on Amazon because I don’t want to have that gap of time where people can’t get it for free. You will also be able to find it on the websites of all of the participating authors. They are either going to load it to their sites for download or they will have a link back to the PTPR site for download. Either way, everyone will have access to it on that date, and it will be available in PDF, MOBI and EPUB formats, so regardless of the type of eReader you have, you will be able to read the book. I have already read a few of the stories out of it and they’re soooooo good!!!!

Well, that brings us up to date! Things are busy, busy, busy, and I am loving every minute of it. I already have my story for Demon Legacy #3 mapped out, and the second Speak of the Devil is finished, I will start production on the next book.

Thanks for following along on the journey! I will post another update with some news I have coming in January. There are still some wrinkles to be ironed out, so I don’t want to reveal it yet.

Feel free to comment with questions about writing/publishing, or comment with your own stories and experiences from publishing.

jena new 2

Links for the mentions in this article:
Pure Textuality Public Relations
Author Brandy Dorsch
ShoutLines Design
Burning on Kindle – Free
The Devil You Know on Kindle – $0.99
Everlasting Hunger on Kindle – $2.99

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