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Friday, December 11, 2009

Thankful to be an author: Yvonne Perry

I first e-met Yvonne Perry* a couple of years ago when she inspired me to participate in the "30 articles in 30 days" challenge. I learned so much from that experience, and have been following her work ever since. Most recently Yvonne has written The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children and is v-touring with it this month. Lucky me, I'm today's host of her visit. Being that this is a "gratitude" blog, I asked Yvonne to share with us what it is she is grateful for in the world of writing and publishing...

Having My Book Published by Lightning Source

When I think of things I’m thankful for, the first thing that comes to mind is my relationships with my family and friends. I think the interaction and love we share with others is the most wonderful part of life. The time I spend with my husband, children, grandchildren, and family of origin are special no matter what time of year, but especially during the holidays.

I don’t always have the ability to visit with my friends in person, but thanks to the Internet, I am able to stay in touch by email, Twitter, or Facebook on a daily basis. Some of the friends I consider most important are the folks I’ve met and corresponded with online. Many of them I’ve never met in person—I never will—but that doesn’t matter. We have a spiritual or business connection that transcends the distance between us.

Speaking of business brings to mind another thing I am very thankful for—my writing and editing talent. I am blessed to have a job that I can work from the comfort of home. Operating my own business (Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services) is a joy; and my clients add spice, laughter, and a bit of challenge to my life. Even though I sit in front of the computer day after day, there’s never a dull moment. I’m either enthralled in the pages of a client’s book that I’m editing, or I’m answering a question from a new author, or researching a topic that I didn’t know much about.

This year, I have four very special reasons to be thankful: four new grandsons! Having Lochlan, Liam, Jonas, and Payton born in 2009 means I now have ten grandkids/step-grandkids. What a blessing! I figured since I have a whole new batch of babies, I’d better finish a project I started when my first biological grandson, Sidney, was a baby. Now that he’s almost nine years old, I have finally self-published the book I wrote for and about him.

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children features 12 fully-illustrated stories that present subtle messages to build self-esteem, increase environmental awareness, teach children to care for their bodies, make good decisions, be honest, and help others. I’m looking forward to sharing these stories with my newest grandsons as soon as they get old enough not to drool on the pages! The audience for these stories is children ages 2 to 5 years.

Publishing the book was a little more difficult than I first imagined. I did a lot of research and decided to skip the middle person (the publisher) and go straight to Lightning Source (LS) since this is the printer most all publishers use anyway. Why pay a publisher when you can be one, right? I already had a batch of ISBNs from a previous book I self-published, so I figured how hard can it be to slap one of those barcodes on the back cover and send my files to LS and have them print my book. That was in August. It took me until October 28 to get it right. I ended up having to hire someone to lay out the book for me because LS’s specs were so complicated that I didn’t have the knowledge or the software program to create files they would accept. However, I had an incredible opportunity to work with some very nice and talented people in the process. Hayley John is a 15-year-old high school student who provided illustration for four books and the art for the cover. I also worked with James Ville to illustrate two of the books. Rick Chappell did a fabulous job of creating the interior design and the cover. I just sent him a mock up in a Word document so he could see how I hoped to have the book look. I sent a separate file with the jpgs, and he did the rest. Even though he followed the specs from LS to the tee, we were both surprised when the proof copy of The Sid Series came back with line turns out of place, words hyphenated where they should not have been, and photos on the wrong page! I’m not sure how we missed that during our proofreading. It took another few days to get the errors fixed and the book re-uploaded (LS charged an additional $40 fee).

I thought we had crossed the finish line and I would be able to start sending people to to purchase the book. My rep at LS was extremely helpful and courteous, but I was disappointed when she told me it would take another 4 to 6 weeks to get the title listed in the catalogs. I could have cried. I had already begun to organize my book tour and didn’t even know if the book would be ready for purchase by November 20. My word to those who want to self-publish or use a publish-on-demand company’s service is to start earlier than you think you should and plan to have the book available about two months after you send the final files in. Hopefully, my sharing this will help someone avoid an inconvenience or missed marketing opportunity.

* Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and editor, award-winning bestselling author, podcast host, blogger extraordinaire, newsletter publisher, Internet marketing guru, and an outstanding keynote speaker. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics.