I am stressed.
Why am I stressed? After all, I've written Book #2. I've revised it six times. I've had it developmentally edited. I've had it copyedited. I've had it proof-edited (proofread, but you understand the cute I was going for).
It's been to the formatter's (I learned from my Book #1 mistakes!) and it has just come back.
It is ready to go as a text document (and epub and mobi and and and...).
I'm second-guessing how I'm branding myself. Which translates to me second-guessing:
-My writing schedule
This doesn't seem like a lot, right? Only two things. But think of the domino effect I'm creating for myself. Covers: I've already put a book out there. I'm about to put out a second. I'm now thinking "Those pictures feel melancholy. True, there's a bit of sad in the books (as in 'Life happens, folks, but stay happy because this book is!') but the books have my Sydney Strand humor all throughout, on each page. (I hope.) These covers, while pretty, do not scream FUNNY IS INSIDE. NOT THREE STOOGES FUNNY, BUT I'VE GOT MAIL FUNNY WITH A BIT OF SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE SAD."
Wow. Just writing what I did above brought to mind the images for those two movies.
Then I looked and saw Meg's smiling in the YGM poster. So I turned to the still shots from the movie and sure enough, she's still smiling:
But guess what. She's not doing that so much in SIS:
But in my book, The Big Sad is not driving the story (like in SIS, where a new mom is needed because the first mom died). The Big Sad is something that's affecting the heroine's private life as she works through what happened. It doesn't have much to do with the hero.
So, if I change the idea behind the covers, that means (for just Books #1 and #2):
-Finding New Pictures (which I sorta kinda have, but they haven't been beta-tested like my other ones)
-Re-do cover for Book #1. Take the old one off Amazon and repost the new one.
-Take all visuals of Book #1 off the Interweb as best as possible: website, Facebook, Pinterest. Actually, not too bad a list. Oh, except for the bloggers who used it for their reviews in December. Oh well.
-Re-do cover for Book #2 (which HAD been good to go AND beta-tested).
-Take all visuals of Book #2 off (see above for Book #1).
-Contact bloggers now to switch out Cover #2 before February 10 hard launch.
So that's two books. The rest for the series are ones I want to have done sooner rather than later so that the series has a solid feel to it:
-Create Cover #3 for Spring 2014 novel
-Create Cover #4 for Wattpad Serial Novel
-Create Chapter-by-Chapter covers (12 in all) for Wattpad Serial Novel
-Create Cover #5 for Holiday Novella
-Create Cover #6 for Short Story Anthology
6 Covers + 12 Chapter-By-Chapters = 18 pictures that feel the same and EVOKE my brand
(And that's not even including the covers for the second series I'm launching this year too--same tone, same romance, but with a paranormal vibe. That brings the pictures to 21.)
Covers affect brand, which means my website and social media hangouts (where those covers will be AND where each setting needs to "feel" like those covers). So that means a rethink of the visuals there, too. (Can't have my "Stop Hunger Now!" pictures on Pinterest, for instance, if I'm going for light, funny escapism*, right?)
Hey...did I just come up with a tagline* for myself? I think I did!! YOINK! I'm so stealing from myself.
Moving on to the writing schedule. I had been thinking of starting a series that had a bit more angst, a bit more of that Sleepless and Seattle vibe.
But I don't think I write that way most of the time. I truly write this way most of the time:
In fact, this scene inspired a certain scene in Book #2.
I think I've lowered my stress right now. As I wrote this post, it helped unscramble the mess in my head. I now know:
1) I like The Funny. I sometimes include The Sad, but it isn't the defining propellant in my stories.
2) I only actually have two covers that are totally done. Redoing two at this point is no big deal.
3) I now have a tagline: Light, Funny Escapism That Won't Break the Bank.
4) I've refocused my writing schedule by reining in what was going a bit off track with my brand.
5) Self-publishing is awesome because it truly is never too late to do anything in this field.*
*Another tagline! It's mine. No touchies. ;o)
I feel awesome. You know what this means? I can now stop thinking about that bag of M&M's in the cupboard.
P.S. All those books and blogs about self-publishing (one great book: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, found here) weren't kidding about self-publishing being the equivalent of running a small business. I knew I'd need to put in time and energy to make this career a reality. But I had no idea that "small business" meant "if your small business was to oversee a space shuttle launch to the moon while planning a wedding."