Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now we wait

Everything for AFTER has been sent, now I wait. Wait for what you may ask. Wait for the funds to clear in my paypal account, that's what. It takes 3-5 days for funds to transfer from my bank account. Until then, all work on the ebook temporarily halts. I've been in communication with the formatter and he seems like he'll do a good job. I'm using: I know, it sounds like an ebook grinding mill, but actually, the main focus of the man in charge, Chris, is editing. This is an added bonus, because he'll fix things if he catches mistakes while he's formatting. He's also assigning the ISBN and filling out all the registration for me. Now, all I have to do is market and promotion, which as I said before I have already begun. You'll start to see little snippets of AFTER here and there throughout the dozens of writer sites that I'm on.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is it ever really finished.

I know. I know. In my last post I said AFTER was finished. But then last night I received feedback from a woman on the opening chapter. She said that it was great except for a few miniscule details, like one sentence in the wrong tense and changing a word. I wouldn't have taken the advice so seriously except that this woman was a bona fide LITERARY AGENT and she gave this advice free and willingly on her own time. Obviously by the detail of the critique she had spent some time on it, even though she said outright that she doesn't handle YA or middle grade. How nice. I can't emphasis enough how joining these online groups have helped my writing. She read my stuff through a Shelfari post. So, now I send the absolutely completed file to my formatter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Done and Done... Finally and forever.

That's it. AFTER is finished! I've contacted the formatter and I am waiting for his reply. I'm going to get the ISBN but not the bar code, since this will be an ebook and only available hard copy through Create Space. The ISBN will allow the book to be distributed worldwide. I've begun very simple marketing and promo by mentioning AFTER in two new blog interviews that I've done. Here's that info:

July 30th--Sylvia L. Ramsey: Thoughtful Reflections Blog-- Morrow; Book Promotion & Social Media Marketing for Authors

Date not yet scheduled: Teresa Morrow of Key Book Promotions

I've also begun mentioning the book on the Kindle forums, but just a little. I plane the release of After in about three weeks, just in time for the summer reading season. I'm going to set the price at $2.99. I'm also begining to think about getting stickers made and plastering them everywhere since I think the cover for AFTER is so bitching cool. You can check it out in my blog log. Now, on to my current novel while I await the formatter's response.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's hard to say goodbye to the book

Now that I've finished with AFTER except for final, tiny fixes in the first chapter, I begin the process of letting go. This feeling of euphoria and depression happens everytime I send a book off to a publisher knowing I will never be able to change the manuscript again. Even if I get an idea for a change, which happens rarely once I've let go, but it does happen, I can't do a damn thing about it. Sometimes I'll be leafing through one of my published books and I'll come across a scene that I feel I could have written better. But I have to tell myself that these characters and scenes are complete. On to the next imaginary world. Always forward never back.

But, I digress. Though it is hard to let go of a project I've spent eleven years of my life working off and on, I know that it is time. I've got too many other books that need attention, plus I'm nearly finished with my first serious YA novel about a gang of drug addicted teens called WASTED. So, as I do the absolute final read of the first chapter of AFTER bright and early tomorrow morning, I will also be saying goodbye to a piece of me and a world I'd spent a lot of time in.

On an up note, I can't wait!!!!! for the ebook to be complete and I can begin uploading the files to the various markets. Then promotion begins!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Final read complete

I finished what I consider the absolute final read of AFTER before I send it to the formatter. This was no easy task. This book is eleven years in the making. It has been through many stages based on what editors and publishers have said and critiqued. AFTER did make the NY publishing rounds a few years ago when I had my agent. It got very close to being published as either a graphic novel, comic book or published work. There was interest in all three routes and the book was even read by Jim Thomas head of Random House YA division in 2008. To quote him exactly from the response to my agent's submission:

"Thanks for the look at AFTER. There's a lot I like about it. It's quite inventive, with ideas I haven't seen before. I was compelled to read through the entire manuscript. But I fear it may be too...gruesome? If not for the YA market, then for my own sensibilities. Still, I was glad to read it."

As you can imagine I took out most of the gruesomeness (if that's a word) and replaced it with more paranormal action. Now, all I have to do is make the first chapter as compelling and gripping as I can. That's tomorrows project. I'm making changes based on comments from readers and publishers; but mostly readers. I've been posting the chapter on many of my online groups and getting awesome responses. I highly recomment this for anyone who desires straightforward, honest feedback. It's like having your own private critique group. Awesome.

Back to writing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Here's what I've found with e-book formatters

I've gottten responses from quite a few formatters. All seem nice. Basically, there's a few ways to go about this. Some formatters will literally create the book for you and upload it to all the major POD devices. Some will even run their business like a publisher and take royalties for each book sold. I'm not going that route. Some will do it for real cheap, basically running it through a program and sending you back the file. But this can have dire consequences if something screws up. I've even found a site that will convert your word file to Kindle specs for a mere $0.99. That's right $0.99! Here's the site if anyone is willing to trust their baby to that:

Right now I'm torn between two people. One charges $130 and guarantees the file will be downloadable to all devices. He seems a little pushy. The second offers the same thing plus a Bowker ISBN assignment for $175. I'm leaning toward the $175 just because of the old motto, you get what you pay for. I want to do this right.

The next two days will be spent reading AFTER one more time just so I can say it is truly done. Will make my final decision on formatting when I'm finished.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

manufacturing the ebook from scratch

Today I approved the final galley for the cover. It looks awesome. We tried a few different variations but finally found one that I think will blow away the competition (hopefully) I asked my cover artist for a recomendation for someone to format the manuscript appropriate for all the POD devices. I'm waiting to hear back from her before I begin my own blind search. I'd much rather use her resources since I'm so satisfied with the cover. Should have an answer soon, then it's time to purchase the ISBN. Starting next week I'm going to begin the buzz of the book on the Kindle social networks. Hopefully I'll stir a lot of interest before the book comes out so when it does sales will soar.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Got the cover--awesome

Just received the galley for the book cover of AFTER. It's great! Wish I could show you but it's not allowing me to paste.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The cover sells the book

I sent this summmary off to the woman who is designing my cover for AFTER.

Swept up by dark adventure, Nick learns the devil has caused global war in the mortal world. The devil intends to collect billions of souls and then turn them into a massive zombie army to take over creation. Spirits intent on stopping the apocalypse insert Nick’s soul into the human body of a prominent, young army commander who lives in the future. Thrust into the center of a historic battle, he takes on almost limitless enemy forces using skills learned from this other person’s life; only to die a second time and come face to face with the ultimate adversary.

We'll see what she comes up with. She said all she needed was a summary. Very exciting to take publishing my work into my own hands.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Here's a great new site I stumbled upon. It's a good way for Indie writers to get their stuff noticed. And, it's all free. I signed on and in ten minutes my books and all the sales info were live on the site. Give it a shot if you've got books to sell.

Friday, April 8, 2011

To ISBN or not ISBN? That is the Question.

If you want to be in all the online catalogs and bookstores you must get an ISBN. It’s a relatively simple process of filling out a form, paying the fee, and then assigning the title of the book to the ISBN. Sure, I can do that. But here’s the thing. The price in acquiring an ISBN vary widely, as I’ve discovered, just like most things associated with creating the e-book. So far I’ve done only research and spent nothing on this project. Once I’ve gotten everything in order I will give a breakdown of what I’ve spent.

Now, I’ve seen single ISBN’s going for as little as $25 from third party sources, but according to what I read the absolute best route to go is buying through Bowker. They sell for $125 for a single and $235 for ten. I think I’ll do the ten because I plan to publish lots of books. Do not be swayed by cheaper offers.

Here is a paragraph from the website to prove this point.

Beware: Do not buy a single ISBN through any third party. Buy only through Bowker. If you see an offer for a single ISBN that is less than $125 and is sold from a third party, don’t buy it. The problem with those “single” ISBNs purchased from third parties is that they come from a “clearing house.” Frequently those ISBN prefixes start with a 615, and when an author puts one of these third-party-purchased ISBNs in his or her book, the ISBN is not associated with the author (or the author’s publishing company name), but rather is associated with the third-party company that sold them the ISBN initially. This can get messy.

Next up: To bar code or not to bar code?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Okay, so I spent some time researching formatters. There also is a big difference in price when it comes to these. Some people charge a flat fee anywhere from $30-$200. There are also people who work hourly at @$25 an hour. Only problem with that is how do you know for real how many hours this person has put in? I know there are computer programs that will convert books automatically in almost no time. The big drawback to these programs is that they don’t often catch every format error. I’ve been told that a real live human being is the best way to format.

There are also services that charge a flat rate @ $150-$400 to put the entire book together and have it available for all PDA’s. I’ve also thought about going this route, but I feel like having a little more control over things. More of a learning experience for me. It’s also much cheaper to do it yourself. I’ll give my format contacts a few days to get back to me and then let you know which route I’m taking.

Next up, assigning an ISBN.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Here we go with my first e-book

My First E-Book From Scratch

Mark today March 6th as the day I set in motion a new venture in my writing career. The production of my e-book. Since most people judge a book by its cover I’ve decided to hire a professional cover designer. I spent some time researching and came up with prices ranging anywhere from $25 to more than a thousand for a custom artist. After much soul-searching and checking my budget I decided to go with a woman who charges $100 flat fee. But for that money I get as many revisions as I want. I looked at her portfolio and really liked her stuff. I think this is a good decision to invest in the cover like this. Next up is deciding whether I want a professional to format my book or if I should do it. I’ll be researching formatters next.


So, I’ve decide to publish my first totally electronic book. Now, I know that many of you are old hands at this, but for me this is something new. See, up until recently I was staunchly opposed to e-books and what they have done to the publishing industry. After all, how could I accept this change? I spent most of the last two decades painfully querying agents and publishers and then sending out the requested partials and occasional manuscript. Thousands of hours spent in libraries scanning the LMP (for those of you that don’t know the LMP or Literary Marketplace was the bible for authors trying to find an agent), standing in line at the post office, and buying ink cartridges for my printer. Twenty years of marketing myself and my books just to get a shot at the big time. Fortunately, for me it paid off.

Sort of.

I did get a major NY agent with a good reputation for selling and a track record that gave me butterflies. I got the phone calls that publishers were interested in my books, and I even got close to an actual offer… but then IT happened. The electronic revolution. I’m not saying the internet and all its wonders aren’t great, I’m just saying it killed my writing career. Or did it?

Since leaving my agent I decided to self-publish my own stuff and market it myself. I’ve gone the POD route and been happily satisfied with the results and even had a fair amount of sales. And then KINDLE came along and changed the game yet again. Now authors have the opportunity to publish and sell their own stuff through the KINDLE store. But that’s not the best part. You can set your own price and keep a huge percentage of the royalties. Now, I’m not going to go into the Amanda Hocking rant of selling tens of thousands of copies through KINDLE and nothing less will satisfy me… but… nothing less will satisfy me.

Just kidding.

So, what I’m getting at is that I am going to blog about my experience putting together an e-book for KINDLE from scratch. Maybe this will help someone out there make an informed decision of which publishing route to follow, I don’t know. If you’d like to read about this process of my putting the book together from scratch and then promo and marketing it you can follow at:

My blog:

My website at:

Or follow me at Twitter: @Neilostroff

I’ve decided to publish my tween paranormal AFTER. Stay tuned.

-- Description:

There is continuing existence after death and seventeen-year-old Nick just entered the afterlife. It’s nothing like he’d ever imagined. Things are sorted and structured and incoming souls are placed on various Realmlevels according to how they lived by the Rules of the Source while mortal. There’s only one problem. Someone erased all record of Nick’s human experiences.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making Millions

How jealous are you of the people from Albany that won the lottery?


One of the hardest things most writers face is figuring out just what kind of a book they have written? For some hard-core genre writers the answer is easy; crime, suspense, romance… but for most of us our novels are a combination of genres, maybe part love story with a vampire police force or a YA adventure with magic and time travel. So what do you do when the inevitable question of genre is asked?

For me, I make up my own. Well, not exactly. I call my books gritty noir thrillers, which isn’t exactly an original category but one I’ve rarely seen used. Why use this unique tag? Well, if you read my books you’ll know why. Here’s a quick synopsis of just three of my books now available everywhere in print and electronically.

PULP- A clairvoyant prostitute, a psychotic soldier, a broke newspaper writer, and a dismembered body; what could go wrong?

Amazon link:

DEGENERATES- Each degenerate overcomes incredible obstacles working in a restaurant named City Café, until a psychotic co-worker changes everything about their lives.

Amazon link:

FROSTPROOF- Niles Goodman is on a weeklong trip into madness as his best friend kills indiscriminately and then explains the philosophy behind his actions.

Amazon link:

Of course, longer descriptions and sample pages are available at my website:

So when it comes to figuring your books’ place in the writing community I suggest taking the main plots and coming up with something unique. Say, supernatural cyber-punk, or historical paranormal love story. With the new wave of Indie publishing and writers taking control of their own destinies, why not twist the meaning of genre and come up with something unique?