Freelancer, is finally up for the world to see via-preorder and the people that nominated it for publication all have their free copies. It's a significant milestone that I think it worth reflecting on. In fact, I think it's worth a retrospective on the entire publishing process. So, here we go from the beginning.
November is national writing month. I don't usually care one bit about all the fake national months/weeks/days but I had been wanting to write a book for a long time so I thought I would give it a serious try. I had spent a few months earlier that year trying to write an epic fantasy. After 90,000 words I gave up. It was long, boring and still needed months more of writing. So, in November I started over, working on an idea I had for a long time. Every day in November I wrote ~2,000 words. I even wrote on Thanksgiving. I was very pleased at the end of the month to have a finish novel.
I sent my new manuscript to my alpha reader (my little sister Jill). She had some great feedback. I realized the book needed a ton of work as my writing was poor and the story had some problems. I fixed those problems up over a few months and sent it to some more readers.
More readers had more great feedback. I realized there was EVEN more wrong with the book. At this point, I gave up on it. There was too much work left to do and I was confident it wasn't going to go anywhere.
My sister and my mom kept asking me about Freelancer, and what was going on with it. Their continued interest in the book made me believe in it again. I did another round of editing and sent it in to a local publisher. I figured they would blow my query letter off and that would be it. But to my surprise they asked for the full manuscript. This freaked me out. I knew the book had problems so I tried to hurry and fix them all with another major revision. I blasted through it in three days and didn't feel like I had time to edit my changes, so I submitted my full manuscript.
It had been a few months since I submitted my book to the publisher and I hadn't heard back from them. So, I looked in to it more and realized I had made a very un-tech-savy mistake. I had replied to a "doNotReply" email address. (Quick Side Bar: Why do these exist? What a horrible customer experience. Businesses should never have a DO NOT REPLY email address.) It was a terrible mistake but my fault. I frantically emailed them with the full manuscript, still filled with the errors from my rushed revision. It was promptly rejected.
It was only after I finished another novel that I realized that Freelancer, was actually pretty good work. In fact, I think it was really good. Despite being rejected by a published I started working on it again. I polished the draft a few more times. Then I had my friend Julia help me edit another time. It's then that I discovered Kindle Scout. It seemed like an awesome program that was flexible and innovative. I wanted to be a part of it so I submitted Freelancer.
February - March 2015
The Kindle Scout process was grueling. 30 days trying to scrounge up enough votes to stay hot and trending was very difficult. I asked my friends, family, coworkers, social media networks. And that was good for about one week. I had my students vote for it and even offered them a prize if they got more people to vote for my book. That bought me another week. Then things, got pretty desperate. I started posting youtube comments on videos, creating threads on reddit, submitting my self-designed cover to dribbble. I did everything I could think of for votes. 30 days is a long time. But, eventually it ended and I got the news that my book was selected from my buddy Tyler while I was playing video games with my brother-in-law Trent.
I edited the book myself one more time. Then I purchased a round of editing from some professionals. My writing is technically weak, so I really wanted some more eyes on it. A month after being selected I submitted my final draft to Kindle Press. They got back to me within a few days about the next steps in the process. Unfortunately, it was at this time that my sweet wife was diagnosed with Leukemia. I told Kindle Press that I wouldn't really be able to do much as I needed to focus on my family and they were completely understanding. They told me they would redesign my cover and get back to me.
After a few months of radio silence, mostly spent in the hospitals, Kindle Press got back to me with my new cover. It's the one on the book now that looks kind of like the matrix. I was pleased with it and told them I was ready for publication. They green lit the book and now it's up for pre-order.
So what happens now?
Since this is my first book I've ever published I'm not quite sure. As far as I can tell the name of the game is to rack up reviews and get as many sales as possible. Really though, I just want to know if people like the story. I put so much work and effort in to Freelancer, that it's not about the money. In fact, I wouldn't mind if it was listed as free and I never made a cent from it. I just want people to read my book and let me know what they think. So now, I nervously wait for reviews to come in, to discover whether people think all my effort was worth it or not.