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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Progress Report

Things in Shawn’s writing world are hectic. After taking a little break to rest up this summer, I’m back at the keyboard.

Regarding previously published works:

All About Marilyn was on Amazon’s bestseller list for the second time in the Screenplay category a few weeks ago. The book looks like it could be overtaking Isis as my most successful title. Could it stay on Amazon’s bestseller list? I’m crossing my fingers and praying for a breakthrough.

On the promotion front, Marilyn’s press release has passed 920 plus hits. Looks like the press release will be headed towards 1000 hits soon!

Thanks to my promotional efforts, and the efforts of others out there, more people know about All About Marilyn than any of my other books. The word is getting out there!

The Cassandra Cookbook's  press release has passed 797hits and is headed towards 800 hits.

On the sales front, I’m gonna do a blog about Cassandra in the future. That poor book was on sale for $2.36 this summer on Amazon with no takers. When a great book with great reviews costs less than a pack of Oreos and no one wants it, it’s a failure. Chalking up Cassandra as a loss and moving on.

Isis still has a following, and is still well-received by readers.

I’m hard at work on the final production stages of Book #4, The Temptation of John Haynes. With the editing and page layouts finished (as best as I can), now I’m now onto the cover design stage. Cover design can be just as intense as writing; finding that one solitary image to tell a story is more challenging than typing up the words of the manuscript.

She's supposed to be going for that bow tie, but the hands I drew are crap. The face on John is OFF MODEL in this  one and That's  supposed to be a tux. 
I’m drawing pictures for the artist to work with for Temptation’s cover. Model sheets of characters, portraits, the whole nine. Studying the likeness of actors I based some of the characters on so I can draw them into the characters I imagined. Here’s a rough sketch for the concept of Temptation’s this cover:
This one captures more of what I want the cover to look like. Yeah, I know the hands are STILL crap. A lot wrong with this concept sketch, John is a little more on model, but E'steem's facial expression is supposed to be her going in for a kiss/bite. I'm trying to iron stuff out like composition and body placement. before contacting a professional artist to render the design for me!

These are more like doodles than a drawing, so bear with the crappiness of my art. Nothing is symmetrical; I’m trying to capture the spirit of the characters on the page. More crappy drawings to come!

I’m also pondering putting some type of design on the back behind the synopsis. I really liked how Marilyn’s back cover art worked out, and back covers are so underutilized in publishing. Books have to compete with DVDs and the Internet in retail spaces, so one of my goals is to design the back cover to be just as visually appealing as the front. Back covers are voids of empty space waiting for publishers to capitalize on!

Also checking out several artists and their work along with their rates. If I can get a good deal, I might ask the artist to pencil & ink some Isis stuff (I love that character) if I can afford it after paying for the cover. Always wanted to see what my characters would look like if they were rendered by a professional.

After the art is done, then I’ll secure the ISBN and fret and worry as I take that cool Photoshop stuff I teased last week and merge it with the JPEG of the artist’s cover when I get it in a couple of months. Fret and worry some more as I merge everything on a Lightning Source Template on the .EPS. (Encapsulated Post Script) Distill that .EPS with Acrobat Distiller and create the PDF (Portable Document Format) for the cover. Keep everything in the red and blue dotted lines of the template. Remember to delete the layer of dots of the template before submitting anything. Does any of that make sense? Anyway, I’m gonna drive myself crazy over the next couple of months. But it’s gonna be totally worth it for my growing audience of a dozen or so readers!

I’m doing my best to make sure the quality control on Temptation is better than on any of my previous books. I want to give readers the best quality reading experience possible.

On the promotion side, I’m working with scaled back plan. Way back than previous campaigns. Temptation is LONG (94,000 words) and close to 400 pages. So the printing costs are higher than on a smaller 220 page book like Marilyn.

To make this book’s initial print run cost out, I can only send out a handful of review copies. It may be as low as five or six this time as opposed to the dozen or so I sent out with The Cassandra Cookbook and All About Marilyn. In the past I’ve sent books out to book clubs for reviews and in a lot of cases (especially Marilyn’s) the book wasn’t read. I can’t afford to keep doing that. Books cost money, postage costs money, as does bus fare for trips to the post office. With me being out of work and Unemployment running out soon, I can’t afford to spend money like I did in previous promotional campaigns.

I also won’t be able to afford to offer free copies of Temptation to vendors. From now on, my promotion of titles will be mostly online with social media.

Long-term, my goal is to have Temptation released in early 2011, with Nikki’s series bible being released soon after. Did some research and I learned what I was writing is actually a TV series bible, something producers and screenwriters use to develop and design a Television series. It’s going to be a great companion piece to All About Marilyn, and a fun book for anyone who wants to learn something about writing TV scripts!

I’m still doing some page layout cleanups and ironing out some grammar issues on that book. But thankfully, the cover design is done for that one!

In other news:

Big news concerning this blog: Starting this week, it’ll update twice a week! I only posted a blog once a week so readers could catch up with their reading, but I’ve got so many great topics I want to write about material is backing up. Also want to see if more posts translates into more readers.

I’m thinking about having it update Thursday and Saturday Nights so readers can still catch up on stuff and give myself a window to work with. Still working out the content issues; Thursday’s blog would usually be something light while Saturday’s blog will remain something more substantive and political.

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