Saturday, December 15, 2012

OH HEY...look at what I just put onto my Kindle...

I'm in the final stage of the editing process, which is to read this thing like it's publication ready. I always do that on my Kindle. Take a look:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

84,759 words and counting

I will have a third book for you in no time.

I periodically update my progress on twitter:

twitter.com/cezaragoza

Enjoy!

-CZ

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sales are great, but...

Sales of Severance are actually exceeding my low expectations, so a huge thank you to everyone who purchased a copy. And...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some musings about my new book

So, I've done a really bad job publicizing the release of Severance. Oh yeah, btw, that's out now... My ambivalence comes from a couple places, and I have nothing to do and it's very hot outside, so I have time to blog about my feelings towards this book.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Publishing tomorrow

Woo!

But apparently, I suck at meeting deadlines, so don't get too excited. I mean, get excited enough that you'll double check this blog for updates. I plan on pressing the publish buttons tomorrow on Amazon and Nook, so expect this puppy on Tuesday-ish?

-CZ

Sunday, September 2, 2012

NOOK! I love ILoveYAFiction.com ...and I address the idea of buying reviews.

I'm apparently really bad at setting deadlines and keeping them because I don't have a sequel to offer you yet. There were some hiccups in the editing process and because of these interruptions I felt like there were issues that I needed to address before I was comfortable publishing. I think the moral of the story is to be confident in your creations from start to finish, and to think about what makes you happy versus what makes other people happy.

I guess I've been cryptic enough for one blog post and I would like to be very blunt when I announce that...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SORRRRRYYYYYY

I usually put a lot more thought into the content of my blog posts (you're like, "Seriously? She's kidding, right?") but I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that I've encountered some unforeseen delays in the publication of Severance. Hang tight. I'm working on it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Severance is DONE. And I have a title for my third book. Maybe. Call me maybe. Actually, don't call me; that's so creepy...

Well, I'm done with Severance. I will probably be publishing it...wait for the jump...yep, this is how I keep my number of hits up...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Prologues: Do they add anything? Waste of time? Is this title getting to be too long? Yeah, probably...

I write prologues.

There is some debate between writers (I'm using this term very loosely, meaning I apply it to anyone who comments on my writing forum) about the use of prologues. Some people think they take up space at the beginning of the book and prevent the reader from diving into the story. Others think that they provide information that readers would be unable to discern from the story. Others use them for temporal jumps. Others just throw them in because hey, it's just what you do when you're writing a novel.

Well, I write prologues. Here's why:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Page 19 of 186 - Severance in Edit: Why I Picked that Stupid Title

You know that I'm really serious about finishing up Severance when I pass up a chance to waste my money at a casino. At this very moment I could be foolishly inserting money into the Sex and the City penny slot (because yes, I only play penny slots) and crossing my fingers that I'll be lucky enough to land on the Mr. Big bonus wheel and profit 800 dollars.

But no, I'm chilling here in my bedroom and I'm editing my book.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Would you like a free copy of my book?

I have a love/hate relationship with Goodreads.com.

Goodreads is responsible for 90% of the publicity that my book receives. I honestly don't know where else I would be able to so shamelessly pimp my own book, other than this--my personal blog, or the deep dark abyss that is Twitter. I really cannot stress how grateful I am to have a fabulous site like Goodreads.

But I hate it. Goodreads will probably give me an ulcer one day. If for some reason I pass in a freak accident, Goodreads was probably at fault. Just kidding. Sort of .

Friday, June 8, 2012

THE COMPLEX IS IN PAPERBACK

Hello beautiful blog readers,

I am so so so (can you tell that I'm excited?) excited to tell you that The Complex is available in paperback form. So, for anyone who does not have an e-reader or hates the threatening demise of books, I offer you a version of my novel that caters to your old school needs.

ENJOY!

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

-CZ

Monday, May 28, 2012

Proofs of the Complex have arrived

Proofs galore. Print world, I'm coming for you. So excited to finally be available in paperback!

Monday, May 21, 2012

COVER REVEAL: Severance

It is with tremendous pride and excitement that I present to you the cover for Severance, the sequel to the Complex. I had a completely different plan in mind for the cover, but yesterday I spent all day photographing and editing and cropping and rescaling and tearing my hair out, and I ended up with something that I like:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

CreateSpace: a love story for the digital age

After one too many glasses (by glasses I mean cheap plastic cups) of wine, I awoke on Friday, May 11th with a throbbing Pinot headache that seemed to say, "you drank too much," "you drank too much," "you drank too much," with each pulse. Groggily, I fumbled with my Nalgene bottle and drank the last of my tap water and made the difficult decision to roll out of bed and pad barefoot over to the bathroom to get more water and beat the hangover. Hah. And my parents thought I lacked ambition...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is KDP Select worth it?

I'm a pretty pragmatic girl. I weigh factual pros and cons and tend to make most decisions that way. However, when it comes to KDP select I don't know how to be practical. Here's the deal with KDP Select:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April is the cruellest month: low sales and long term goals

My sales suck this month.

I've heard it all before from the "seasoned vet" self pub authors, that it takes time for your book to catch on. I believe that on some level, but a part of me worries that maybe my book will never catch on--and that's a scary thought.

One of my biggest gripes is self pub authors who pretend that they're successful. Honestly, who are you clowns kidding? For example:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to use Word to find mistakes in your book (Part 1)


You will never find all of the errors in your book. This is a fact. No matter how many times you read your book, something will slip through the cracks.

I am constantly editing The Complex, to the point where I now detest it and can probably recite a fair amount of it from memory. I find a new mistake every time and I fix it. I know it’s never going to be 100% perfect, but I like the idea that in some tiny way it gets better every time I update it.

I write on Microsoft Word. That’s just the way things are; I cannot afford a Mac and I like Windows. I know how to use Windows computers very well, and I don’t have any needs that aren’t being met by my fabulous little Asus laptop. I wish I could tell you how to do these things on a Mac, but I can’t. I use Word 2010. These things may not work for other Word versions, but it’s worth a shot.

Microsoft Word spell check only helps in some cases. Usually it doesn't. But before you get down on Word, take a minute to learn it's capabilities--it's actually a wonderful program.

When I was editing my book, I came up with a lot of Microsoft word tips to get me through the editing process. Here they are, use them as you like:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Misreads

The one thing you should avoid as an author is responding to reviews, good or bad. There's no point in being defensive about a book that you have made available to the general public. At some point in your life, you have gone onto Amazon or IMDB or any website with a reviews section, and you have expressed dislike for something. If you go onto Amazon and give Harry Potter a crappy review, J.K. Rowling isn't going to say anything. I mean, yeah, she's probably in her castle papier mache-ing Euros into busts of the Weasley family, but either way, busy or not, she's not going to respond.

There's an old adage I like to stick to:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How to write a blurb for your book

Easy, right? Just sum up your entire novel in a few sentences? Nbd.

Sarcasm abounds. Writing the blurb was one of the hardest parts of self-publishing my book, and I suppose I have to be honest: I didn't write mine.

After sitting around for an hour and trying to figure out what to write, I finally snapped and realized that I was the wrong person to do that. Here's the deal:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blurbs and working order

My book is back in working order. Yay! You can find The Complex on Amazon.com once again.

Look for my how-to on writing blurbs later this week!

-CZ

The Missing Link

Due to some bizarre technological malfunction, The Complex is not available (or even present) on Amazon.com. Sucks. But I have not unpublished, and according to Amazon it should be fixed within three days (I KNOW, RIGHT?).

I for one am not impressed by our robot overlords. Come on, Amazon. Be better.

-CZ

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to make a great ebook sample

This post probably sounds really strange. It probably sounds like I'm giving tips about something that doesn't really exist--a sample. Let's back up.

What is a sample?
Since I'm a registered Amazonophile, I'm speaking in terms of Amazon.com. A sample is the first 10% of your book. It's the small excerpt that online customers can download to their e-readers for free before they decided whether or not they want to purchase the book. This excerpt is also available on the product page. It's basically an author's pitch (along with covers and blurbs). We'll talk about blurbs another day.

Gone are the days when someone would decide whether or not to read a book after reading the last page--this is the age of the sample.

So I've recently taken up the hobby of reading the sample of any YA teen indie author who asks me to (I've limited the genre because if it were more flexible, I'd have enough samples to last me a lifetime. Literally). I've had about 4 dozen requests (and the offer still stands). And I've read through most of them. Here's the rundown:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Letting it be

Now that I have officially been published for two weeks, I can say that I am finding the experience surprisingly pleasant.

I'm a pretty private person and putting The Complex on KDP was stressful. Like anyone, I don't really want to be criticized or told that I'm bad at doing something that I love. Putting your novel out there is basically asking someone to focus entirely on you and your choice of words for an extended period of time. It's actually pretty intimate, in the least sexual way possible (unless you wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, amirite? Eh? No?...sorry).

I've gotten a couple reviews on Amazon and feedback has been positive. Of course, the book isn't exactly flying off the pixelated  shelves, but that's to be expected. It's been 14 days. Rome wasn't built in a day. Rome also was the product of a wolf-bred hellion and a long string of men in togas...I think I've lost my train of thought.

Now that I've gone through this, I realize that I never need to resent a famous author again. I feel stressed without any attention, and they have to present their work to hordes of cruel, bloodthirsty readers. Even J.K.Rowling has haters. I guess my point is, being a writer is really hard. I'm not indulgent enough to call myself a writer (I've only made enough money to take a one way train from campus to NYC) but the emotions of putting yourself out there are certainly not exclusive.

I've spent two weeks worrying and I'm just going to relax now. And that's just fine.

-CZ

Check out my novel, The Complex, on Amazon.com

P.S. My offer to read the Amazon sample of anyone indie YA author still stands...just ask. Ideally with the word "please" involved.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Indie writers

I've decided that a new undertaking of mine will be to read the Amazon sample of any YA author who asks me to. As one should do with a sample, I will buy the book if I enjoy the sample; if I don't enjoy the sample, I won't buy the book.

Please send me links to your book or friends' YA books. Thanks!

-CZ

Monday, March 5, 2012

One Week

Tomorrow marks a week since I published my first book and I must say, the whole experience has been extremely interesting.

First thing, is that it's really hard to get someone to buy your book. You blog, you tweet, you forum post, you goodreads, you shelfari...usually to no avail. It's really, really hard.

Secondly, no matter what, everyone who speaks to you is just trying to get you to buy their book. "Cool pic" and a twitter mention usually means that they want you to buy their book. They don't think your pictures are cool. Your picture probably isn't cool. Just accept it, we're all selling all the time.

Third, Kindle royalties are low. 35 percent or 70 percent. We're talking well below minimum wage standards here.

Fourth, getting seen is hard. It's like throwing a dot of red food coloring into the ocean. You're not going to turn it red. You're not even going to turn it purple. Not even lilac. It's really difficult.

Fifth, it's fun. There's nothing wrong with it. Unless you went overboard hiring editors and cover designers and buying ads, you've got nothing to lose (financial, at least).

Just don't quit your day job.

-CZ

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Amazon.com Author Central

My profile 

I just created a profile on Amazon. Now, it's linked to my book and everything is concise and wonderful.

-CZ

Re-Editing

Another reason why I love Amazon.com? Even if after your 5000000 hours of editing a mistake slips through the cracks, they let you re-upload and fix the error.

And that, my friends, is why I love ebooks.

-CZ


Thursday, March 1, 2012

And...we're live

My book is officially available for purchase on Amazon.com! I signed up for KDP so I'll be exclusively with Amazon for a few months, which is totally fine because, again, I am obsessed with Amazon. And I'm so happy.


Enjoy! Prime members can download for free. Even if you don't own a kindle, you can still read the book via iPhone Kindle app OR the kindle reader for PC and Mac (available for download on Amazon.com)...or basically for any electronic.

-CZ

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Published!

I just published my first book on Kindle. I'm waiting for it to go live...Happy Leap Day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to format an ebook for Amazon.com

This is your brain on regular books: *(^O^)*

This is your brain on ebooks: (X_X)

Formatting an ebook can seem really daunting at first, mainly because I imagine that most people who are dreamy and creative enough to write a book, do not have the patience to sit and weave through the complicated world of computer languages and coding. But, I assure you, it's not that hard. Like any skill, formatting takes a little time to get used to, but it ends up being easy and worth the effort.

Because of my own personal biases, I'm writing about formatting for Amazon.com. I'm obsessed with Amazon. Like, if I could marry a website, I would marry Amazon in a heartbeat. Let's start there.

First, figure out where you are in the process:

A) I have a great idea for a book!
B) I'm writing a great book!
C) I've written a great book!
D) I've written and edited a great book!
E) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account!
F) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account and I don't care about formatting!
G) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account and I care about formatting!

If you answered...

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to design your own book cover

A little known fact about me (and by "little known fact about me" I mean "weird thing I talk about all the time and wish people would talk about more often"): I love fonts.

I also love layout. What's layout? It's arranging fonts and photos and graphics to make publications (newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, word documents, charts...BOOK COVERS!!!!!! (<=UGH. I never use multiple exclamation points. I thought it would be quirky, but I now see that it's childish. Now I'm too frazzled to delete it. It stays.)).

So, let's back up a bit.

As I covered in my last post, you've got a beautiful novel written within a reasonable word count range, and now the next step is to make a book cover.

Actually, that's not the next step; the next step is to edit until your eyes burn and your fingers bleed, but I'll get to that another day.

Back to book covers. I think one of the wonderful quirks of the self publishing world is the strange assortment of book covers you see. Usually these are made by the author or a friend of the author; they're typically not professionally done, and this shows. Now, I'm not saying that they're THAT bad across the board. I'm just saying that they pale in comparison to the fabulous covers that you find in your local Barnes and Noble.

How does a self-publisher compete? Well, here's my advice, collected entirely from personal experience.

1. Look around at professional covers.
2. Download photo editing software.
3. Pick the right fonts.
4. Color.
5. Don't get crazy.
6. Think genre.
7. Show the cover to someone who has never read your book.

Take a deep breath; we're going to run through it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's the average word count for a young adult book?

I'm currently going through the editing process and I cannot help but have doubts about my word count. I admit, I tend to doubt everything about my life (including the flavor of K-cup that I stick into my Keurig every morning) and I often go through moments where I think the only answer to my problems is to make monumental changes.

Thus, my frantic attempt to delete 15,000 words from my novel last night wasn't as dramatic as you would think.

Let's back up.

I've been playing around with MobiPocket for a little while now (more on that one day) and I've been uploading my book to Kindle Previewer (more on that another day) just because there's something undeniably satisfying about staring at your book on every dimension of e-reader that Amazon has to offer. I highly recommend it; it's even better than listening to Ke$ha when you're hungover and need something to make you feel like you're not a total train wreck.

So anyway, I've been converting via MobiPocket and then transferring the book to my kindle via USB and reading it on the device so I can pinpoint any errors. By the way, editing the book in a different format than the one you used to write it is SO helpful. It's like being flashed with that device that wipes your memory in Men In Black--everything seems new all of a sudden.

Focus. So, I've been comparing my book to the others on the Kindle, and I have a near coronary when I see that my book has a TON of little dots under it...like, we're talking War and Peace dots here. If you don't have a Kindle, see below: