Tara Neale

April 21, 2012

My Personal Journey Into This Brave New World

Filed under: erotic romance,erotica,romance — Tara Neale @ 9:14 am
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I know that I said last week that I would review Savvy Author PJ Sharon’s Young Adult novel Savage Cinderella. But several things have happened this week…bad and great. I felt that I simply could not do justice to the review. So taking my creative license (who issues these things anyway?), I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly of my own Indie publishing road this week.

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. The one time I got into serious trouble at school was because I was writing a fairy tale for my baby cousin…in math class. In high school, I took Creative Writing class…twice. And I even placed in a regional poetry contest.

But then life…two marriages and six children happened. And writing got put on hold. But writing is something that kept raising its head and just would not die. In 2008, I began to write again…erotica for a free website. I won a contest there in 2009 and thought…here we go. I tried submitting a few things to publishers, but while they liked the ideas they felt my writing was lacking (and when I read most of it…they were right).

In 2010, I started to take online classes at Savvy Authors and have taken dozens in the past couple of years. But again I got side-tracked with real life. But this time, I never completely gave up the writing thing, producing a few more short stories in the next year or so. Then in fall of 2011, we had to take my young daughter, Emily, out of school for health reasons. I became a full-time homeschool mom and carer for a special needs child. It is exhausting work in itself.

But I did not want to give up work completely. So I decided that with the advent of e-readers and the explosion in self-publishing that I would give this writing dream a real go. Writer became my job. I took more classes. I developed writing habits…getting up early to write before my daughter wakes. Still something kept me from taking that final step…from actually publishing something. Perfectionism? Fear of failure? Fear of success?

This month I am taking a few more classes at Savvy, one of them is…E-Publishing with Suzanne Rock. One of the assignments was to get all of our stuff up-to-date; stuff being email signatures, blogs and websites. As I did that I kept saying…Tara is a homeschool mom and aspiring indie writer. ‘Aspiring got on my nerves. Here I am preaching at all of you about this ‘brave new world’ of e-publishing…and hopefully helping other amazing writers make their dreams come true. But I was still…aspiring…waiting on the side-lines.

I decided NO MORE. I had written a short story that turned into a novella for Literotica (the site I mentioned earlier) Earth Day contest. It was doing pretty well. So brilliant me decided to edit this novella, do a cover, format it and put it on Smashwords as a free read to start building my back list.

The story was fairly clean, but I still worked on edits and adding a few bits that made it even better. I started in by downloading the Style Guide for Smashwords…which is NOT as bad as it seems. BUT then I got to the cover. So I have basic skills is design from my old job as fundraising manager.  I found some license free photos that I liked for the cover so it was a matter of merging those and adding text. Simple enough?

NOT! The trouble came in that I do not have any software other than Paint and Word so I could not do the things I wanted to do. I could not really afford to go with getting someone else to do it since I would not be making any money off this one. So I tried downloading some software…and got more than I bargained for. Something besides just the software got on my computer. I ended up having to wipe the whole thing.

Thankfully I have learned from previous mistakes and had all my files saved to disk so I did not lose any of my work. Then it get betters…I had to re-purchase Microsoft Office because my old product key did not work…and the download took forever. I also had to make several calls to their support center for help…that will appear on my phone bill too. Total cost of this book is around £100 or $150 and counting.

Lesson learned…if you are going to do this thing, you can’t afford to be ignorant. You have to be prepared to be a jack of all trades…graphic designer and computer security expert. So I made another  decision…I have enrolled in a design course at the end of this month that will teach me Adobe Photoshop and will purchase that respected brand of software (no more free downloads…they aren’t free).

But after all that…I DID IT! I finished the 3rd round of edits on Thursday morning…and since I was not sure if I had formatting correct I tried the meat grinder at Smashwords. In less than five minutes, my book was available to readers as a free read. I am now published. No more ‘aspiring.’ And it feels amazing. So far in three days, I have almost 100 downloads…and my book has not even completed the review process for inclusion in other catalogues…like Kindle/Amazon.

Now I have taken that jump…I have a new respect for everything that these amazing writers do to give us these books. Their blood, sweat, tears and life goes not just into the writing but the covers, the formatting and all that promoting. So as one indie writer to all the rest of you…THANK YOU for all you do to bring us stories and characters that we might otherwise never have.

And next week…I promise I will get back to the reviews…with PJ Sharon’s Savage Cinderella.

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3 Comments »

  1. Tara, congratulations on publishing! Feels great, doesn’t it? I’m so happy for you, and I’m going to pop over to Smashwords and download my own copy of Mother Earth Murders. Oh, a thought on Photoshop: it is so horridly expensive, I started with Photoshop Elements. Far less money and still quite powerful for creating covers.

    Comment by Lucy Francis — April 21, 2012 @ 3:35 pm | Reply

  2. Congrats, Tara! Whe I first published my novels with kidle/Amazon I felt like the character Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote (played by Angela Landsbury) in the first few episodes where she wishes her nephew hadn’t sent her novel to a publisher 🙂 But this feeling passes and then you are happy, again, to be published.

    Comment by Gaynor — April 21, 2012 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  3. Congrats on taking the plunge! Be aware that currently Smashwords does not distribute to Amazon although you can download a mobi file that is compatable with Kindle. They will however distribute to Sony, I-pad, Diesel, Kobo, B&N, etc.To get you book up on Amazon, you need to upload directly to Kindle Direct publishing (KDP). Best of luck!

    Comment by PJ Sharon — April 26, 2012 @ 2:57 am | Reply


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