1. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK

    Brindy's Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Brindy, Apr 27, 2016.

    Goodness, finding the right way to start this is almost as daunting as finding the right way to start a story!

    Here goes. I started blogging several years ago when I moved to Spain and found it easy to keep my family and friends up to date with our goings with one post every few days with accompanying photos, rather than individual emails. A few months after we moved there my Dad died, and my ongoing blogging was my way of continuing my chats with my Dad. Friends often said I should write a book about our experiences in Spain, but I felt there were already plenty out there.

    Fast forward a few years, a return to the UK and missing things to write about on my blog, I returned to my original blog following the life of my two dogs. A few friends and even more bottles of wine and an idea was born.

    Fast forward 3 years, and I find myself on the verge of self-publishing a children's novel of time travelling dogs. I don't have a record of my journey to this point so a progress journal seems a good way to correct that failing. Maybe some of you will enjoy that journey with me as I recap on progress so far and then stay with me over the next few months as I get the final manuscript published and out into big, bad world.
     
    Viridian and ToDandy like this.
  2. DeadMoon
    Offline

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    Messages:
    756
    Likes Received:
    441
    Location:
    fargo, ND
    Good Luck, It sounds like an interesting idea.
     
  3. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Thank you.

    Having had the idea, I needed a time zone for them to travel back to. I needed to decide whether I wanted a conflict, a disaster or a calm time in history. For reasons revealed in the book, I decided to take them back to the 17th century. I started researching the events of that time and looked for the event that would put adventure and drama into my story. It took a lot of time on Google and reading through articles suggested, but I struggled to find anything to stop the story being boring. Finally,after 3 months I read a one line comment in an article and I knew I had my story's adventure. I remember it was about 2am and there was no one around for me to tell about my breakthrough.

    Writing can be a lonely task!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2016
  4. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    April 2013 to June 2013... research complete. A brand new A3 artists book serves as my notepad. The timescale of the historical event is 14 months, too long for a story involving time-travelling dogs, so I need to pick a more realistic timescale to plan the story around. This is where the organiser/planner in me kicks into action. I draw a long line, plan out the months, drop in the various events and find the critical few weeks. Many cups of coffee later, a variety of coloured highlighter pens used and I have my section of time.

    A nice clean page and I can expand my timeline to individual days. At this stage, I have only written two lines of my novel, the first two, one of which is 'Chapter One', but I can hear the whole of the first chapter in my head and I know the time has come to start to write. I wait for hubby to go to bed, settle myself at my desk, one dog either side of my chair and begin.

    Two hours later, 1,000 words are written and I have my first chapter done. Wow, it feels amazing. Once I started typing the words just flowed onto the screen. If this carries on I'll be done by Christmas...
     
  5. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    By the end of July 2013 chapters 2 through to 6 were complete and I had 12625 words. Progress was rapid as ideas flowed together. Sometimes I would come across a thought and need to spend an evening on Google trying to ensure my facts were right. My initial setting was in rainy weather, then I discovered that the year in question was one of the hottest drought summers ... back to the beginning and re-write.

    Then I needed a full moon to light the evenings walk, more googling... whatever did we do before Google. Yes, it's rhetorical, I also used to live in our local library scouring books for information before I could do it at whatever hour I desired from the comfort of my home and laptop.

    By the beginning of November, I was up to chapter 15, 28,357 words in, and still no sign of the story stalling. I decided it was time to start thinking book covers and self-publishing training. I had taken on 5 trusted friends/family to read each chapter as I wrote it to give me feedback. There was plenty, but they were positive about the story and encouraged me to continue.

    So, I set about finding a local illustrator and arranged a meeting.
     
  6. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Finding an illustrator wasn't easy. I looked at options on the internet, which had been recommended in an on-line writing course I had taken. I could see plenty of talented illustrators, but I felt I wanted a more personal involvement. I had an acquaintance through work who had expressed an interest in working with me, but that didn't work out either.

    Eventually, I found a local guy whose work I really liked, so I contacted him for a quote. I gave him a guideline of what I needed and waited. His reply came back the next day and the quote was half what I had expected, so we arranged a meeting to discuss things further. One of the key points I wanted was that I retained all rights to the artwork, a stumbling block with my acquaintance, as she was saying she would retain all rights... er, no, I don't think so.

    I can't explain why, but I was nervous about meeting with Richard. I think maybe because this was the first time I had spoken about my book to someone I didn't know, and I was frightened he may think my ideas stupid. After all, I'm an accountant by trade, what do I know about writing children's stories? Oh, and I don't have any children either!

    I needn't have worried, he was lovely, and thought my ideas for the illustration were good, would work and that he was happy to work with me, for said fee of course.

    We agreed on a timescale, and I left feeling quite relieved and a bit excited at my book starting to come to life.

    A week later I had my first proofs through of the front cover... it was good, but needed a few bits changing. All changes were included in the fee.Richard told me he work in layered sheets, so changing things just meant replacing a sheet, and wasn't an issue. A few days later I had my finished artwork for the front... and I loved it. I have it as my desktop picture on my laptop. It helps keep me focused on my end goal.

    Next, I needed the back cover so I set about writing the blurb and sorting a photo of the dogs to go on there. A week later and that was back too. There was a white square, towards the bottom of the print that looked odd, so I asked Richard why he'd left it? 'For the ISBN and barcode...' I think he could tell this was all new to me, fortunately, he had previous experience of designing book covers.

    My final 'oh my goodness, how little does she know' moment was when I asked where the artwork for the spine was. 'I can't do that until you finish writing the book,' says Richard. 'Why not?' asked I.

    'Because I don't know how wide to make it until we know how many pages there will be.' Pretty obvious when it's spelled out for you.

    By the end of the month I had my front and back cover artwork in several sizes to suit all online and printed sizes, on a disc and emailed. My novel was one stage closer.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
  7. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    44,670 words

    154 pages

    21 Chapters

    By February 2014 I was almost at the end. My big black book was keeping me on track and I was just 4 chapters away from a finished first draft, when life got in the way.

    Fast forward two year, it's February 2016. The previous two years have seen a massive change in my life and meant the book had not progressed. But now, life back on track, I feel ready to pick it up again. I read through the 21 chapters already completed, and even though I say so myself, I am still pleased with my work. The end of February sees the last sentence of chapter 25 written. I feel elated, I have finished. I can't quite believe it. There is still a lot of work to do to get it published, but time to think about planning that tomorrow.

    I have a completed first draft... all 54,500 words. And what finally spurred me on to get it done?

    Well, along with family and friends encouraging me, the one thing that really drove me to get to this stage was an advert on tv for a bank which featured a museum of procrastination... including a room dedicated to all the unfinished books, and I decided I did not want mine to be one of them.

    And now it won't be.
     
    Viridian and ToDandy like this.
  8. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    The last three weeks have seen me editing and proofreading my own work, not easy, but it has to be done. As I wrote each chapter I had five people reading it and giving me feedback, some of content and some of grammar. All that has been dealt with. I changed some, but some I kept as originally written. When I had a complete manuscript I sent it out to three more readers to read as a complete story. More feedback, more changes. Then the ultimate challenge, I have sent the first five chapters to three children who are in the 9 - 11 year age range, my target audience. Initial feedback is good, so I have my fingers and toes well and truly crossed, hopeful that this feedback remains positive.
     
  9. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    As hard as I found writing the story itself, it was an enjoyable task. It took me in completely at times, researching every aspect of life in 17th century London to make sure my story used correct lighting in streets, metals for the ornate ironworks, even down to whether there was really a full moon on a particular night. Some days I needed to be really firm with myself to make any progress, other days it flowed without effort.

    Oh, if only I could say the same of editing and proofreading. Goodness, it's a slog. I have not finished going through the pages, printed out as I cannot do this on screen. I need a page and a red pen!

    My task now is to update the computer document with all the red ink. I am currently up to page 58 of 200, and allowing myself to get distracted at every opportunity.

    I need focus...

    I need a day off work, with no one else at the house so I can be totally selfish with my time.

    Mmmmm... that sounds like a plan!
     
  10. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Plan executed!

    My work schedule this week meant I could take a day off without too much disruption in the office. I'm a little cog in a big wheel at my day job. I started the day well, I got up at the normal time, instead of having a lie in. Once I had the house to myself I set the laptop up, made a coffee and...

    Well, I thought I should empty the dishwasher from last night first, as that would only take a couple of minutes.

    Oh, and I may as well put a load of washing in.

    OK, time to settle at the laptop, manuscript open at the start of chapter 10 and...

    Doorbell rings.

    It's the man to clean out the guttering and clean the fascias. Didn't know he was due, but now he's here, he may as well get on and clean them.

    Boy, can he talk. Seems he left a voicemail on my partner's mobile, which my partner hasn't listened to. So, electric and water sorted he's on with cleaning and 20 minutes later, I'm back at my laptop.

    Then the cat comes in... and sits on my keyboard. Minutes pass as we 'negotiate' her moving, and she does, as far as my manuscript. Grrrrr.

    Finally, I get the cat settled on a nice cushion, gutter man is happily cleaning and I can start. I get a chapter done before gutter man needs a word or 5,000. Oh, and a cold drink, if it's no trouble.

    Another couple of chapters done and gutter man tells me he's done, and can I check his work and pay him. Please.

    Time to hang out the laundry.

    By now lunchtime is approaching. I decide to go out and grab a toastie and coffee, focused on starting with renewed energies on my return.

    Five more chapters done, the afternoon is going well. Only four more to go when first household member returns hours earlier than expected and wants to chat about their day.

    An hour later, with the world put to rights, I am again on my own to finish the final four chapters.

    Plan worked, job done!

    I now have a full manuscript, proofread, edited and ready for the next stage.
     
    Viridian likes this.
  11. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    For me, writing is a something I do alone. I cannot write when others are around the house, even when I am in a different room. I like to write in the middle of the night, which isn't easy when I work full-time.

    Now I am at the stage of formatting I thought that would be easier, but no. I still need that isolation, the same focus as before. Now, I am looking for double spaces between words instead of one. For orphan sentences alone at the top of the page. For anything that will make the pages look unbalanced. 200 pages takes a lot of concentration, but I find remarkably therapeutic.

    Next task is to write the page of acknowledgements, the lead in to the next book and then I will know my final page count for the illustrator to finish the spine for the printed version. The bank holiday weekend should be a good time to get that stage completed. The target is to apply for my ISBN by the end of May.

    And that feels scary.
     
  12. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Well, the end of May came and went, and still not finalised the page numbers. I cannot decide how much to write on my 'author's notes' at the end of the book, plus I still need to write the lead to the next book, but I think an element of me wonders if I will ever write book two, if book one gets a bad response, I wonder why I would bother. The jitters of being published and out there for all to comment is getting quite overwhelming.

    I have had 2 weeks on holiday where I was without my computer, I decided to have a break from everything to do with the book, thinking it would give me some clarity. It didn't. I found I was craving picking at it, yet, now I am home, I am finding anything to keep me from sitting at my laptop and focusing on the next step. The UK referendum is a real distraction but, in all honesty, it isn't as if I can change anything or help put the country back together, sp why am I letting it seep into my brain all the time.

    I know I need my final page count for two reasons. Firstly, my illustrator cannot finish the spine artwork until he knows how thick it will be, and secondly, I have to put the number of pages on my ISBN application. This is such a stressful time, and yet I thought the writing of the book would be the hard part.

    I cannot believe that a month ago I was at the same point in the process as I am now, I must find a way past this, it's worse than writer's block.

    Grrr!
     
  13. Viridian
    Offline

    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    303
    Likes Received:
    196
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Hey Brindy, just out of curiosity, what is an ISBN number?

    Your 'day to yourself' made me smile. Every weekend I say i'm gonna spend it writing and every weekend I just get this job done, oh and maybe that one and before I know it we're back at monday morning!!
     
    Brindy likes this.
  14. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    An ISBN number is the unique reference number each book has, it stands for International Standard Book Number. It's the one on the back cover with the bar code and identifies that book. Every printed book published has to have one.
     
    Viridian likes this.
  15. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    I have finally finished proofreading, editing, checking, re-checking my book. I've checked it for over-used words and removed or re-written a number of sections. I have spotted 6, I repeat 6, spelling mistakes that had previously slipped through, by running the whole book through a program to check the frequency of words used. It turns out that my 54,500-word book is actually made up of only 3,600 words. Seeing them all in a long list, taken totally away from logical sentences makes it really easy to spot spelling mistakes. I've checked the paragraph marks and formatting, how it looks on all the pages. I have a version saved for print and one for kindle.

    So, I am finally ready to do my additional pages. My copyright page, my acknowledgments, my author's notes and last, but not least, polish my lead in to book number two.

    At this stage, I have started researching book number two, but have not written anything. Why? Mainly, because if book number one doesn't do well enough to warrant book number two being written, I'm unsure whether I'll carry on with it, or start something completely different. Book number one is my baby, and it will be sufficient for my ambition to have that one printed and on my bookshelf. Anything more will be a bonus.
     
    nastyjman likes this.
  16. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    I have spent an entire evening researching 2 things.

    Firstly, what paper do I need to print my book on so that I can tell my illustrator how thick the spine artwork needs to be. Now that I know my page count is 260 pages, I can move the process on. So, I think I have settled on off-white book wove 80grm A5 paper. I feel that most interest will be for the e-book, but I do want some printed copies, mainly for friends and family who want a copy, but also for circulating to local schools and libraries. Although the book is aimed at 9-11 year olds, I have found that it is being enjoyed by adults too and have two more potential markets. One being dog-lovers, so book-signing/sales for at local dog shows, RSPCA events etc. Then, because of the historical setting of the book, I have been asked to speak to local historical societies, of course arriving with a small pile of books to sign and sell after talking to them is another potential outlet. I am looking for a company that does short print runs of about 50 books, so I have got enquiries out to a number of printers and will let you know what I get back. I intend to get a single book printed first, so I can be totally happy with how it looks and feels. I have decided to stay traditional with Times New Roman size 12.

    Secondly, do I go for a single ISBN at £99 incl vat or a batch of 10 at £149 incl vat. I have decided on the latter, on the basis that I will publish more than this one book. I have printed the form and information notes off and my task tomorrow is to read through them and get the application form completed.

    Once the ISBN application is submitted, my next task is to research barcode conversion to send to my illustrator.

    Today I set my publication date: Saturday 3rd September.

    Oh, and at some point, I have to decide on a price, as that also needs to go on my cover. I am thinking children's book, pocket money purchase... maybe £4.99 for the printed copy. I just need to make sure my printing costs are covered plus a bit. I was surprised recently when I found so many children's novels are selling for an average of £6.50 cover price. That seems too much, especially for a new author.

    So much to do when self-publishing!
     
    Viridian likes this.
  17. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Last night I completed my ISBN application.

    The first big decision was linked to who the publisher is. I am using a pseudonym, but not because I don't want people to know who I am. Having read the notes it clearly states that the publisher is the person(s) or organisation who would lose money if the book doesn't sell. That would be me. So, do I publish under my real name, my pseudonym or set up a publishing company. I could publish under my pseudonym, I have a website for my pen name, so that creates the identity required. Am I going to publish books for others? No. In the end, I decided it's easier just to use my real name, as an individual. So, decision made, I typed up the Title Verso page and moved on.

    Then, I had to state a price. Time for another decision.

    I had received quotes for printing 50 copies of my book, and that gave me a start price to work from. I decided to go for £5.99. I can always reduce the cover price, but I cannot increase.

    So, an hour later, completed form emailed, bank transfer done.

    I am beginning to feel like an author.
     
    ToDandy and Viridian like this.
  18. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    While I wait 2 weeks for my ISBNs to arrive, I thought it would be useful to have a To-Do List for the next 7 weeks up to my publishing day.
    Complete acknowledgments page
    Complete Author's Notes
    Check formatting for Kindle
    Upload to Kindle
    Check it all flows properly on Kindle
    Discuss website design with brother (my IT guru) to get my holding page sorted.
    Decide on content of pages for website.

    Doesn't look too much to do in 7 weeks. Oh, and carry on with the day job! I am finding it really difficult to concentrate on work at the moment, I am clock-watching until it's home-time and I can get back to working on my book.
     
    ToDandy likes this.
  19. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Three off my to do list today. To be fair, they were all connected. I have formatted my manuscript for Kindle. The hyperlinks are in place and working. The format is all checked for page breaks, extra spacing and bad alignment.

    Once I was happy everything was looks good I uploaded it to Kindle in draft more. It all went remarkably smoothly and before long it was telling me I could view the uploaded document.

    I clicked on the link and there it was. It looked good, the hyperlinks worked, when I changed text size it reflowed properly, as it did when I changed from viewing it as on a Kindle to an iPad.

    I know it's only a draft, but it's still really exciting to me.

    Hurry up ISBNs, I'm so keen to get my cover finished now.
     
  20. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Someone must have been listening to me, my ISBNs have all been emailed through today. They say it will take upto 10 days, but it's only taken 4. Glad I didn't pay extra to fast track. Tonight's task is to get it converted to a barcode and send through to my illustrator.

    I now need to confirm the final number of pages, not just the page count of the story. The printers will then confirm the spine width and my cover can be completed.

    It is all going too smoothly, I can't help but feel something is lurking around the corner to cause me chaos.

    Hopefully not.
     
  21. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Someone must have been listening to me, my ISBNs have all been emailed through today. They say it will take upto 10 days, but it's only taken 4. Glad I didn't pay extra to fast track. Tonight's task is to get it converted to a barcode and send through to my illustrator.

    I now need to confirm the final number of pages, not just the page count of the story. The printers will then confirm the spine width and my cover can be completed.

    It is all going too smoothly, I can't help but feel something is lurking around the corner to cause me chaos.

    Hopefully not.
     
  22. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    Someone must have been listening to me, my ISBNs have all been emailed through today. They say it will take upto 10 days, but it's only taken 4. Glad I didn't pay extra to fast track. Tonight's task is to get it converted to a barcode and send through to my illustrator.

    I now need to confirm the final number of pages, not just the page count of the story. The printers will then confirm the spine width and my cover can be completed.

    It is all going too smoothly, I can't help but feel something is lurking around the corner to cause me chaos.

    Hopefully not.

    Edited to add: Internet connections on trains are very annoying. Doesn't post and then posts multiples - grrr!
     
  23. BayView
    Offline

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    5,598
    Likes Received:
    5,082
    You may want to include some time for sending review copies out or otherwise soliciting reviews. I don't know how valuable this really is, but... I certainly don't think it hurts!
     
    Brindy likes this.
  24. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    The plan is to drop some free copies in at local schools as soon as they are back after the holidays, as well as the local brownie/guides/scout clubs. I'm also checking out the local libraries to see what reading groups they have for children. I'm also taking a couple of copies to the local children's hospital. That should hopefully give me some feedback while I wait for the online comments. I am ready for the ones who rip it to pieces (metaphorically), but I am really proud of it. If it doesn't sell I will still have achieved a lifetime ambition.
     
  25. Brindy
    Online

    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2016
    Messages:
    404
    Likes Received:
    394
    Location:
    Somerset, UK
    6 weeks from my publishing date, time to get the website holding page ready to go public.

    I am a wanna-be writer, who had this hair-brained idea I would self-publish and do the whole process myself. Just to see if I could. The thought process behind this was the desire to see a book I'd written sitting on a bookshelf. The writing process is only half the job. Getting it to a printed format and actually sitting on the shelf is a whole new learning curve I hadn't imagined. I didn't originally plan on marketing my book, it was for me. The usual lack of confidence in what I write was overwhelming in the early stages. People I knew started asking if they could read it. I agreed as it would be interesting to get some feedback. The comments were encouraging. I let more people read it and received more positive comments. And from that, it became a whole different project.

    I have a business background and, over a bottle of wine, (or two), with friends, I somehow ended up with the choice of spending two years trying to find an agent or publisher and deal with the rejection letters and maybe lose total interest in getting to the final goal of having that paperback in hand, or I could spend two years getting it there myself.

    The goal is getting the book on my bookshelf, and that of family members and friends. Anything more is going to be a bonus.

    But, just in case there is the slightest possibility of someone out there buying a copy, and liking it enough to tell a friend who also wants to buy a copy...

    Best to get a website sorted.
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.

Share This Page