Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Month in the Life--April 2, 2010 Good Friday

When I woke up this morning, I really kind of wished I hadn't. Everything that hurt yesterday hurt twice as bad after a night on the couch. (The cats were rampaging through the house last night and keeping me awake.  I ended up closing the doors to every room but the living room and kitchen and moving the butcher block in front of the cabinets so I could remove the noisiest feline toys from their access.  The cats punished me by drinking all the water out of the fountain and discovering a new way to use dry cat food as cat toys all over the house.) At any rate, when I woke up I was already two hours behind schedule.  My husband had stayed home to take me to the doctor if I thought I should go.

I did think I should go.  For one thing, going to the emergency room would not only cost a fortune, but since I'm a chronic pain patient they (a) wouldn't give me anything for the pain, which kind of negates the idea of going to the ER in the first place and (b) would tell me to call my doctor.  I figured I'd be saving a step by going straight to him.

Totally forgot it was Good Freaking Friday.  You guessed it--no doctor, and no chance of a doctor until Monday.  So I had to reevaluate the situation--could I make it through the whole weekend?  In the end, we determined that--since the ER would only do x-rays and tell me to go to my doctor who (as is his right on a holiday weekend) wasn't there, we might as well stay home and wait until Monday.

So Shannon, after making sure I had everything in reach I could possibly need and giving me brand spanking new ice packs, went on to Columbus to salvage what was left of his day and I turned my mind to the scheduled activity of the day--mailing out review submissions.

I'm the Review Coordinator for Aspen Mountain Press, and every week I set aside time to send copies of our new releases out for review. Depending on the genre of each book, I submit AMP books to a core of about fifteen sites--adding a few different ones for genre novels (sci fi, fantasy, historical and so forth).  The majority of our releases are either romance or erotica.  The two books I submitted on Friday weren't our latest releases: they were the releases from the past two Fridays. (I like to send out in bulk) So knowing I would have two more books to submit later that day, I went ahead and sent these two out.  Both books were gay (m/m) erotic romances, so they would go to the same sites, and both books were ones I'd edited so I wanted to make sure they hit all the review sites possible.

I always block out about four hours for review submissions.  Not does AMP submit to a lot of sites, but each site has its own submissions requirements.  At some sites, I have to fill out a review request form and THEY let ME know when they want a book to review.  Others want the books emailed in advance--and then want different information: some want the ISBN, some want the length of the book, some want you to describe exactly what might be offensive to a reader.  At any rate, it's a long process.  Not a single review site lets you attach the book and send an email that says, "Yo--here's the books this week. Peace out."

But while working on that for my allotted four hours, I got a brainchild. And, as is normal, that brainchild involves more work for me.  I decided to volunteer myself (and my editor Lori because I'm nice like that) to create a blurb/tagline writing workshop for the AMP authors.  The tagline and blurb are the only chances writers have to hook a reviewer--and by extension a reader. It's the writer's chance to sell his or her book. But some writers (like me) suck at writing blurbs.  I'm good with other people's blurbs, but for some reason the ones I write for my own work blow.  A blurb is basically the back cover copy of a book.  Online, that blurb is used as the mini-synopsis of the book. It's what readers use to decide whether they're going to purchase the book or not--or, in the case of a reviewer, review the book.  Those reviews are the best promotional tool a new writer has.  Great reviews will not only give your book publicity, but will also convince readers to give you a shot for the first time.  So you can't undervalue their importance. 

A few emails later, and I added another block of work/time to my schedule. Lori and I are going to get together this weekend and work on putting together an online workshop as well as worksheets to go to AMP editors and writers.  More on that as it progresses.

Then I wrote a guest blog post for Raine Delight's website.  Raine and I have been friends for many years--she's an up and coming erotica writer out of Buffalo, NY.  I'd promised her this blog entry a couple of weeks ago, but had scheduled to write it today.  So, with a fresh ice pack (I don't think my ankle is supposed to be as big as my blown out knee. Just sayin'...) applied to my technicolored appendages, I wrote out a long blog post about the resurrection of Regency romance.  You can check it out on her website. Not too shabby if I say so myself.  So having gotten that in, I crossed it off my list.

I then sent Lena Austin, a wonderful author and all-around classy lady congratulations on the release of her book The God's Wife.  (If you love ancient Egypt and a story of female empowerment, you need to check this book out.  Here's the buy link: .) I'd edited the story for her.  The God's Wife  is the story of Hatchesput and how she rose from just one of Tutmoses II's wives to Pharaoh in her own right.  Lena had released a version of this story earlier with another publishing company, but wanted to explore the story in greater depth. (One of the great things about AMP is that there aren't any requirements a writer has to meet with their work. I had one company tell me they wouldn't publish my work unless I cut the majority of the plot and added three more sex scenes so I know whereof I speak.) So we'd worked together on it.  I let her explore the story to her heart's desire, only reining her in if she was headed out on a tangent. I can recognize those from how many tangents I write into my own work. Tangents are fun to write and easy to move off on, but they inevitably fall to the editor's pencil.  At any rate, I sent her a note letting her know how pleased and proud I was of her and the incredible story she'd written.  Always good to spread a little love toward your authors, and spreading love to Lena is not only easy, but a pleasure. She's such a doll!

Then it was time to work. *By this time, it was already past three* I'm getting the Aurora Regencies ready for first edits and waiting for one manuscript from AMP to finish up before then.  so on Friday, it was all about writing.  I got another 18k written on Defying the Covenants, working around review requests and email exchanges. I set up a couple of conferences for Monday--one with an author and another with the head of the art department at AMP to discuss the overall theme and look of the Aurora Regency line. 

Shannon came home at six and spent much of his evening being an absolute doll, helping me out by doing all my running back and forth for me and worrying more than he probably should.  When at eleven I finally settled down in bed to try and get some sleep, he finally relaxed enough to go to sleep himself.  But I stayed awake--not sure why.  I watched a movie on tv (W.--Oliver Stone's ridiculous film about George W. Bush) thinking it would put me to sleep. It didn't. It just made me mad.  So I pulled the laptop back out and worked for a couple of hours, outlining the fourth and fifth Mythos books and getting about 6k down on the Terella WIP.  Total word count for the day--24,809 over the course of 8 hours. World building/outlining time spent: One and a half hours. Time spent on business--about six hours all said and done.

All in all, a fairly satisfying day, if pain ridden and somewhat slower than usual, I still met all my goals.


Lena Austin said...

Hey, thanks for the compliments. Back atcha, hon. You're a joy to work with as an editor. You don't let stuff slide, and I was grateful for your tough stance. I'll be happy to work with you again, so try to heal up okay?

Celina Summers said...

Heh. I'll happily mark up people's manuscript with red ink regardless of how I feel--but it is a pleasure to do that to your manscripts. You're so pleasant about it that it's an absolute pleasure. :)