Yesterday afternoon, I trundled into work to find a helicopter sitting on the lawn outside the building. One of our Omaha helicopters had just finished a mission, and the crew decided to drop by company headquarters. Upon spotting the aircraft, I burst into delighted squeals like a teenager girl meeting Justin Bieber. My brother, who had come along for the ride, obligingly snapped a few pictures as I clambered inside the helicopter, grinning like a fool.
This particular rotor wing is an A-Star which means the interior is about as big as what you'll find inside a Volkswagon. I am sitting behind the pilot seat (where the nurse would sit) and besides me is a seat for the medic. To the left of the pilot's seat is the patient's gurney. Needless to say, this is not a job for the overly tall or big-boned: I met the medic and he was maybe my height, if not shorter, and no heavier than 140lb with a brick in both hands. How they manage to get four people inside this A-Star is beyond me, but somehow it works!
Next step: getting to ride in one of these things. My work has a "ride along" program where I would go to the closest base and hang out with the crew for a shift. If they get a flight, I get to ride along. Hopefully in the next few months I can do this!
This week, my goal is to finish a final run-through of Steam on the Horizon in preparation for turning it over to a band of trusted friends to edit it for me. I know there are spelling errors, slightly confusing sentences, extra spaces, and little things scattered here and there which need correcting. In all reality, I could easily spend the next six months fiddling with areas, adding in extra details, and seeking the advice of others, but there comes a point when a piece of writing needs to be released from further tampering. When I taught writing, I advised my students, "A piece of writing is never truly finished: you can always do something more to it, so you just eventually need to let it go." I have gotten some wonderful feedback and assistance from people and have truly appreciated all the phenomenal people who have helped me. At this point, I feel like more assistance or advice would start moving the story out of my control, so it has come time to publish.
I am sure that in five years and several more books, I will look back on this first one and think, "Oh geeze, what was I thinking?" Writing is such a developmental process that I am interested in seeing what I will put together in ten years and how much my writing style will change. However, for my first book, I am pleasantly pleased with it and hope that others enjoy reading it.
Another task for this week is finalizing the summary and my bio. I have chosen this picture from the talented Guy Rish to accompany my bio. Guy and I did a photoshoot at Joslyn Castle several months ago: this is a wonderful Victorian mansion in Omaha. You can see more pictures from this shoot on Guy's Flickr page.
So, the publishing date is drawing to a close, and I am becoming quite excited! The e-book will be relatively easy to put together: Amazon has a fairly simple layout for the e-book version that I should have no problem completing. The print book, however, has much more rigorous standards, and I will probably pay Amazon to format the book for me. Amazon's CreateSpace has several different packages for self-published authors, and the more you pay them the more work they will do for you. Since formatting the print book will be such a tricky process, I think it is worth the time and money to have Amazon do it for me.
It will be a momentous occasion when I finally hold a copy of Steam on the Horizon in my hands. However, I am cognizant that this is only half the battle and the next task of self-promotion will begin. In my work with my Indiegogo campaign, I discovered that Facebook ads worked the best. Using a variety of factors, I had a Facebook ad with a target audience of eight million people. For this next Facebook ad, I am thinking that a graphic picture of the Horizon and the tagline "99 cent steampunk novel!" would grab attention.
I also plan on doing a couple book signings around Omaha and will be canvasing independent bookstores to see if they will be willing to carry the book. Fairy Tale Costumes is one of our Omaha costumes stores that is quite popular with the steampunk group is open to holding a book signing, and it helps that I know Linda the owner. I have a general plan in mind for marketing, but for now my main focus is on getting the book done. Then, I figure out how to get people to buy it!