Random but handy…

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It’s already been two weeks since the launch of my debut novel, Ashes Swept. Looking back, I can’t help but take stock of the entire process–what worked, what didn’t, and what to do another way next time. Here are five (totally random) things that I’ll definitely remember when I’m ready to do it again…

  1. Archer Farms Instant Coffee
    Really, Target’s brand of instant coffee is actually pretty good. It’s also two dollars cheaper than Starbucks Via, but just as good. When you go through as much coffee as I do while writing (and editing, and publishing), that makes a huge difference. Even if you don’t have Target, it’s still worth looking around to see if you can find another off-brand version of Via. Three minutes to a hot cup of coffee and much-needed caffeine boost, no waste. Can’t beat that!
  2. Pandora
    Okay, I’ve know about Pandora for a long time, but it came in especially handy while I was working on Ashes Swept. Even while editing–or maybe especially while editing–I wanted music that was relaxing, futuristic, and preferably without lyrics. I started a Washed Out channel on Pandora, which led me to Tycho, FM-84, and many others. It was perfect for keeping me relaxed and in the right head space while editing.
  3. Master Lists for Writers and The Emotion Thesaurus
    While I was editing, I would sometimes come to a gesture, facial expression, or some other descriptor that I was relying on too much. Most of the time I could think of an alternative, but when I couldn’t, Bryn Donovan’s Master Lists for Writers, and The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, were incredibly handy. I keep them both on my desk for quick reference.
  4. My Amazing Cover Artist
    It’s entirely possible to self-publish a novel without spending a ton of money, but the one place you can’t afford to skimp is on your book cover. Yes–people do judge a book by its cover, and I received so many compliments on the cover for Ashes Swept, I’m fully convinced it was instrumental in helping me sell so many copies. Covers can be expensive, I know, but I’m here to tell you it’s well worth it. Plus, if you really spend some time looking around, you’ll find many talented artists with affordable prices.
  5. Pressbooks
    SERIOUSLY! I don’t know that Ashes Swept would exist without Pressbooks. The prospect of formatting my novel was something that filled me with near-paralyzing anxiety. My publishing optimism deflated every time I set eyes on my folder full of bookmarked formatting guides. Then my CP, Shannon, discovered Pressbooks, and I could tell right away it was going to help me do what I didn’t think I could. The web site works great, there are many nice themes to choose from, the customer service is stellar, and it was much more affordable than hiring someone to format it for me. I am really grateful that Pressbooks exists!

So that’s that! The five (completely random) things that helped me publish Ashes Swept. As random as they all are, they all made the publishing process (and everything leading up to it) go much more smoothly for me. I hope something here will help you, too!

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