iUniverse

Posts about my experience with the self-publishing powerhouse iUniverse.

Awesome news! Imminent Danger is officially available for purchase!

Today is probably the best day of my life, because I can officially announce that my debut novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It, is now for sale everywhere books are sold!

Imminent Danger_blog_soft cover

Woooooooo!

Right, calming down now. I suppose links might be helpful at this point, so let’s see what I can dig up …

Click here to buy a softcover from Amazon.com.

Click here to buy a softcover from Amazon.ca.

Click here to buy an ebook from Kindle (US).

Click here to buy an ebook from Kindle (CA).

Click here to visit my website and see the complete list of online retailer options.

I’m trying to think of witty things to say here, but I’m just too gosh-darned psyched that I can finally call myself a published author. Many thanks in advance to the people who decide to give my creation a shot, and many thanks also to everyone who has supported me through this whole publishing adventure. You guys rock my proverbial socks, and I can give no higher praise than that.

To Imminent Danger! To publishing! To VICTORY!!!!!!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 88 Comments

Vlog #5 — In which iUniverse attempts to design my cover! And succeeds! Huzzah!

You guys know the drill by now. Instead of working, I made a vlog. What else is new? Here it is for your viewing enjoyment:

Forgive the terrible lighting. A Hollywood-level film producer, I am not.

Unrelated images of the day:

Categories: Blog-related, iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Book cover reveal for my novel! Finally! Woo!

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally here. My cover, that is. It’s been quite the process, and a frustrating one at that. But all the silliness and incompetence is now behind me, so let’s focus on the important part — the book cover reveal!

I therefore present to you … the soft cover of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It!

Imminent Danger_blog_soft cover

Not too shabby, right? There are still little nitpicky things I would change, but overall I think it looks pretty good. I mean, ideally I would have liked to have a graphic designer create silhouettes of the actual characters, including all their unique physical characteristics and whatnot, but the silhouettes I ended up with are good enough.

Here’s the hard cover:

Imminent Danger_blog_hard cover

Aaaand here’s just the gorgeous front cover:

another final cover attempt

So that’s that. The cover is done, and the book files are now being whisked away to the printer to be … well, printed. That should take a couple of weeks, and then hypothetically the book will be available for sale. Yay!

Unrelated image of the day:

Since adorable baby Chewbacca went over so well, I have concluded that you people like cute things. Therefore, here is my gift to you:

D’awwwwwww! Wait, here’s another one:

And another …

Okay, I’m done now.

Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 83 Comments

New Book Trailer! (because I’m bored)

So instead of catching up with the work hours I still need to finish for December, I instead decided to spend the morning making a new book trailer for Imminent Danger!

I really need to get my priorities straightened out.

Anyway, here’s the new trailer! It’s considerably more chill than the last one, and while it sadly doesn’t feature a soundtrack reminiscent of an adult video, I feel it is still worth a watch.

Maybe if this whole author thing doesn’t work out I can pursue a career as a maker of extremely low-budget book trailers …

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Presenting … the first-ever excerpt from my novel!

I was originally going to write this post about my resolutions for the upcoming year, but then I thought, “Damn it, Michelle, your blogging compatriots deserve more! What are you, a man or a machete?” Since I am neither, I immediately dismissed that thought.

But then I had another thought. And that thought was to post an excerpt from Imminent Danger. Since my new thought didn’t involve any gender changes or sharp objects, I decided to roll with it. The novel will be published at some point in January, after all, so what better day to release the first-ever excerpt than New Year’s Day?

Therefore, without any further ado, I present to you Chapter 1 of Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It.

Fasten your seatbelts. And forgive the lack of indents, as WordPress formatting tools live to bewilder and perplex me.

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1

“Personally, I think the existence of extraterrestrial beings is a scientific improbability. Just because there’s life on Earth doesn’t mean there’s life on other planets. Until we find evidence that aliens do exist, I think we’re wasting time and energy searching for something that’s probably not even there.”

Folding her speaking notes closed, Eris stared out at her fellow students in the high school science classroom. If any of them had found her presentation particularly intriguing, it didn’t show. Most were too busy reviewing their own speaking notes in case Mr. Pingree decided to squeeze in one more presentation before the bell rang. The students who had already finished their presentations were staring out the window, texting under their desks, or sleeping.

Mr. Pingree crossed his arms and addressed the class. “Any thoughts? Eris raised some excellent points.”

He was met with silence.

“Come now,” the tweed-clad teacher cajoled, wiggling his eyebrows as if this lighthearted display could somehow inject life into his zombified audience. “Aliens, ladies and gentlemen! Little green men from Mars! UFOs! Someone must have an opinion.”

A boy in the back row raised his hand. “I don’t know about little green men,” he said, “but that blue chick from Avatar’s pretty hot.” His friends hooted their agreement and exchanged congratulatory high-fives.

Mr. Pingree apparently sensed that expecting intelligent class participation at such an early hour might be asking too much from his teenage students. “All right,” he sighed. “An excellent and thorough presentation, Eris. You may return to your seat.”

Eris smiled tightly at her teacher and hurried back to her desk. She disliked public speaking, especially when a misstep could make her the latest target of the formidable Barlow Collegiate gossip mill. Luckily for me, no one ever listens to class presentations, she thought.

She was out the door as soon as the bell rang, anxious to get back to her dorm and take the shower she had skipped that morning in favor of going over her presentation notes one last time. As she walked along one of the many pathways that crisscrossed the high school campus, she kept her head down and avoided all eye contact with her fellow students.

Once safely back in her dorm room, Eris finally started to relax. She spent a moment rummaging around for her toiletries and a towel and then locked her door and headed to the suite bathroom for a relaxing shower. But barely halfway through, the water switched from pleasantly warm to freezing cold. Eris frantically rinsed the conditioner from her long, dark brown hair. Then she wrenched off the faucet and jumped out of the shower.

Looking for her robe, Eris realized she had left it in her room. Silently berating herself, she took the towel she had brought to use as a turban for her wet hair and instead wrapped it around her body. Pressing the top of the towel firmly under her armpits, she gathered up her clothes and clutched them under one arm. With her soaking hair dripping down her back, she stepped out into the hallway.

A deep, male voice sounded from the common room, accompanied by female laughter. As Eris fumbled the key card from her bundle of clothes to unlock her door, she heard the voice say loudly, “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” This high-pitched voice with a slight British lilt belonged to Lisa Brightman, one of Eris’s roommates. Of the three girls who shared her suite, Eris found Lisa to be the most tolerable. The other two girls acted so vacuous that blonde jokes were remarkably close to doing them justice.

“The door,” said the young man. “Didn’t you say Mallory’s in class?”

“Well, she is …”

Heavy footsteps pounded on the floor as Lisa’s jock boyfriend, Josh Fisher, poked his head around the corner. “Yo, Mal, where were you last night? I thought we were gonna—whoa!”

Eris froze and blushed as the handsome rugby player gave her a once-over. His head jerked back toward the common room as he called out, “Babe! Who’s the naked chick?” Josh’s eyes returned to her towel-clad body.

The key card practically flew from Eris’s hand and plunged into the lock. Yanking the door open, she dove into the safety of her private room, the door slamming shut behind her.

“Lisa! You been holding out on me, babe?” Eris heard him yell, accompanied by the sound of receding footsteps. “Your roommate’s kinda hot!”

“So?” Lisa demanded.

“You said she was a nerd!”

Eris tried to glare daggers through the door. It didn’t work, of course. All it did was attract her attention to the full-length mirror attached to the back of the door. “How does being a nerd automatically make me unattractive?” she grumbled, eyeing her slim, admittedly less-than-luscious curves. “Maybe I don’t flaunt my body, but I’ve still got it where it counts.” She smoothed the towel down over her hips and sighed. “Keep telling yourself that, Eris.”

“I never said that!” Lisa’s shrill voice cried from the common room. “I said she never parties with us!”

And that makes me a nerd how? Eris thought.

“Fine, babe, whatever you say,” Josh said. Eris knew that the rugby player was right now raising his hands in surrender before her very persuasive roommate. Lisa was commonly referred to as “that smokin’ hot British chick,” and she generally got her way where boys were concerned.

Eris wished she had a fraction of Lisa’s natural good looks and poise. Growing up, Eris hadn’t been given the usual advice that other girls received from their mothers. Most mothers taught their daughters how to dress stylishly, how to wax their eyebrows, and how to wear makeup. But Ms. Miller, a divorced feminist entirely disillusioned with men, had always insisted that following fashion trends turned you into a mindless automaton, waxing was unnatural, and wearing makeup didn’t make you more attractive; it only made you look like you were wearing makeup.

Three years ago, when Eris had first set foot on the campus of Barlow Collegiate as a freshman, she’d had an unpleasant surprise. Not that middle school hadn’t been enough of an eye-opener, but in high school, looking good seemed to be an obsession—that, and getting drunk and high, but Eris’s mother had turned her off those as well. Eris had tried vodka at the only residence party she had ever attended but hadn’t liked the fuzzy-headed feeling it gave her. Drinking herself into a stupor had never struck Eris as particularly appealing.

It’s not that I mind not fitting in here, she reflected. Well, fine, of course I do. Who wouldn’t? But if fitting in means showing up to class stoned or going to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, I think I’ll pass.

She could still hear Josh and Lisa talking and laughing in the common room. To her dismay, Eris felt a familiar pang of longing. I wish someone would talk to me like that. He doesn’t have to be cool or handsome like Josh. Just a nice, sweet guy who would make me feel wanted.

She sighed. “Who am I kidding? I don’t have a chance, not with girls like Lisa around.” Eris grabbed the bottom edge of her towel, gave her mirror a practice curtsy, and then rolled her eyes. “Might as well wait for Prince Charming to appear out of thin air and sweep me off my feet, for all the good it’ll do me.”

She pulled on a pair of jeans, her favorite purple hoodie, and worn sneakers. Normally she had to wear the school uniform—a pleated green skirt and white shirt—but today was casual Friday. After a quick trip to the bathroom to brush her teeth and fix her long hair into a ponytail, Eris gathered up her books, put on a coat, and hurried from the suite. Josh and Lisa barely glanced at her as she passed by.

Eris decided to take the elevator down to the ground floor even though the plodding old contraption was long past its prime. Although that will mean missing this month’s “art exhibition,” she thought. Last month, the stairwell had been splattered crimson from top to bottom, thanks to three seniors, a bottle of tequila, and a can of red paint.

When the elevator doors finally grated open, Eris stepped inside and pressed the M button. “Hold it!” a familiar voice called as the doors lumbered shut. Josh barreled into the elevator, book bag flung over his shoulder.

Feeling very awkward, Eris stared at her school bag while the elevator descended, avoiding eye contact with Josh. She wasn’t used to being alone and so close to an attractive member of the opposite sex. When something touched her arm, she was so startled she yelped and jumped away.

“Sorry!” Josh exclaimed, giving her a weird look. “I was just being friendly. Chill.”

Eris flushed and rubbed her forehead. “No, sorry, it was my fault. I’m not used to people touching me. Strangers, I mean.” Thank God I stopped myself from saying “boys.”

Josh chuckled. “Considering that I just saw you half-naked, I wouldn’t call us strangers.”

Eris’s jaw dropped. “What would you call us, then?

“I’m sure I could think of something.”

“I’m not entirely sure you could.”

Before he could respond, the elevator doors opened on the main floor and Eris rushed out. She wanted to be far away from Josh in case he ever figured out what she had meant.

She had ten minutes to get to Calculus, so she set off along the bustling, tree-lined pathway that led to the science building. Eris found something comforting about being lost in the flow of students—it made her feel like she belonged, and that was something that didn’t happen very often.

Just as Eris was passing the thick row of pine trees that lined the path near the science building, she felt suddenly uneasy. She stopped and looked around but could see nothing out of the ordinary. “Stop being so paranoid,” Eris muttered. She hoisted the book bag farther up her shoulder and continued walking.

A flash of movement among the pine trees startled her, and she stopped again. “Watch it!” a girl snapped, almost running into Eris.

“Sorry,” Eris mumbled and quickly stepped off the path.

Convinced there was something moving behind the pine trees, Eris tried to peer through the dense screen of green needles, but the morning sunlight was filtered by thick gray clouds, making it too dim to see. Probably just some idiot getting high before class, she decided, turning to resume her journey.

Suddenly, a large, blue, scaly, clawed hand darted out from among the trees and closed around Eris’s wrist. The hand gave a single tug, and before she could open her mouth to scream, she was yanked backward into the pines.

Terrified, Eris flailed her limbs and attempted to shriek, but a second scaly hand closed over her mouth, muffling the sound. Her survival instinct kicked in, and she lashed out, trying to struggle free of her captor by elbowing and kicking. Then a third hand wrapped around her torso to trap her arms, and a fourth and fifth grabbed her legs. A gang attack? Eris thought incredulously. And they’re all wearing … scaly gloves? What the hell?

A sixth hand tilted her head back, and a vial of glowing blue liquid descended toward her lips. Eris clamped her mouth shut, but her jaw went slack the instant the vial touched her. She could feel a disgusting fluid trickling down her throat. Her terror doubled when she realized her arms and legs were going numb. Seconds later, she was completely paralyzed.

Eris’s captor hissed, and then she felt someone pull the book bag off her shoulder. She tried to see who was attacking her, but there wasn’t enough light. All she could make out were several huge figures, easily seven or eight feet tall. It seemed as if there were far too many arms for the number of bodies, but Eris assumed that was just a trick of the shadows.

Her books were soon tossed aside. Her laptop was discarded as well, flung at the wall of the science building, where she heard it shatter. Just as the space bar flew through the air and landed at Eris’s feet, she began to feel the world spinning. That stuff they made me drink … must have … The words blurred in her mind as she lost the ability to form a coherent thought.

One of her assailants poked Eris’s paralyzed body and emitted a sound like that of a decompressing balloon—phhh … phhh … phhh.

Eris’s world went black.

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So there you have it! Sweet, innocent little Eris has been dragged into the trees and abducted by strange, scaly, malicious personages with a suspiciously high number of limbs. Whatever will happen to her next?

You’ll have to read my book to find out!

Mwahahahahahahaha.

Categories: iUniverse, My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 70 Comments

Super Awesome News!

Before we get to the super awesome news, I want you to do two things for me:

  1. Find the latest version of your current WIP.
  2. Email it to yourself.

I ask this because I just read this post, in which my blogger friend explains that she lost her manuscript. Lost, as in, her computer crashed, the files have mysteriously disappeared from her flash drive, and the only hard copy she has is about ten revisions back from where she is now. That SUCKS. Seriously. Drop by her blog and wish her luck, because as you can imagine, she’s not exactly thrilled at the moment.

And now … the SUPER AWESOME NEWS!

Well, I think it’s super awesome — and it’s my blog, my rules, so get on the excitement train or get left behind in the dusty wastelands of … not excitement …

Anyway. Remember how I was all psyched and stuff because Imminent Danger won the Editor’s Choice award? Remember how I mentioned that the next award up for grabs is Rising Star? Well …

I WON IT! WOOOOOO!

But Michelle, you ask, what is Rising Star? To which I reply: beats the potatoes out of me. Let me look it up.

Aha! Click here for details.

Basically, I get a swanky cover design, they give me some sort of marketing direction, I get to stick the Rising Star award sticker on the back of my book, and — here’s the best part — the iUniverse reps will present my books to major retailers. Now, I’m not sure what this entails. I imagine the reps go to book fairs, shove my book into various people’s hands, and say “Look! Book!”. Presumably they will be more eloquent than that (although points to them for rhyming).

So this means they can finally get the book cover design going. I got my friend Paul to do up a cover for me back in May, which I sent to iUniverse. According to my “Publishing Services Associate (PSA)”, they really like the design, but will be basically re-making it with stock photography and something something something I don’t remember.

Anyway, I’m really psyched. So close to publication! Ahhh!

Unrelated videos of the day:

Japan, why you so crazy?

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

18 Marketing Ideas for the Self-Published Author

So yesterday afternoon I submitted my Rising Star Marketing Evaluation to iUniverse. Assuming they like my marketing plan, they’ll approve me for the Rising Star Award, which nets me a variety of benefits.

In the evaluation, they basically ask you how you plan to market your book. Easy enough, right? WRONG! I trawled the internet for hours, coming up with a list of marketing ideas that I’m now going to share with my awesome readers because that’s how much I love you guys.

Thus, my list of marketing ideas, in no particular order:

  1. Create a book trailer
  2. Hold a blog tour
  3. Press release for local newspapers
  4. Enter book into literary contests
  5. Include link to your website on every article you post, every email you send, etc.
  6. Connect with fellow self-published authors and ask for a book review exchange
  7. Donate books to the library, accompanied by a book reading and a press release
  8. Donate books to local middle and high schools, accompanied by a book reading or lecture on writing/self-publishing and a press release
  9. Free book giveaways hosted through blog/Facebook/Twitter
  10. Free bookplates (signed labels that you can paste into a book in lieu of an in-person author signature) for fans who’ve bought the book
  11. Sell themed merchandise (bags, mugs, t-shirts, etc.) on Zazzle.com
  12. Leave bookmarks and posters in key strategic locations – library, cafes, local stores, etc.
  13. Connect with other local self-published authors and set up an author’s panel/publicity event
  14. Set up an online newsletter to keep subscribers informed on upcoming events, special promotions, new releases, etc.
  15. Write guest posts on other blogs to build your following
  16. Create a “freebie” available exclusively on your website – e.g., a short story based on the book
  17. Release excerpts and snippets of upcoming works to build interest on blog/Facebook/Twitter
  18. Record an audio book version of the novel

Got more ideas? Tell me in the comments. We self-published types have to stick together!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/0AJpY

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Enter Vlog the Fourth! + MAJOR UPDATES!

I just spent way more time than I should have making this vlog:

To give you the overview, in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing, here are the MAJOR UPDATES I referred to in the title:

  1. Copy-edit is finished and manuscript is submitted to Editorial Review Board!
  2. Editorial Review Board has finished looking over the manuscript!
  3. I’m officially in the Editor’s Choice Program!
  4. Which means I qualify for Rising Star! See this link for details!
  5. Current publication date = January 2013!

That was an excessive use of exclamation marks. I really need to calm down and do something useful, like finish my project due tomorrow.

Le sigh.

Categories: Blog-related, iUniverse, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

9 Things I Learned From My Copy-Edit

I finished going over my copy-edit this evening. All the changes are made, the manuscript has been sent back to iUniverse so they can do God knows what with it (hopefully publish it, lol), and I officially have nothing more to do with the book until they send me cover proofs and final print proofs. Woo! Talk about a weight off your chest. Now I can focus on other things, like my job, and not living in a forest of cardboard boxes.

But you don’t care about that. You came here for the list!

9 Things I Learned From My Copy-Edit

1. The first paragraph at the start of a chapter is not indented. The same goes for the first paragraph after a scene break.

2. According to American publishing standard, when indicating possession, this — Chris’ — is not correct. This — Chris’s — is correct.

3. A list of adjectives do not require as many commas as you might think. This — fluffy, white hair — is not correct. This — fluffy white hair — is correct.

4. Once you’ve defined a foreign word in italics, you don’t have to italicize it any more. I’m given to understand that you can still italicize it if you want to, but it’s not necessary.

5. Instead of using italics to put emphasis on a certain word, try to let the sentence structure emphasize for you.

6. Ship names are italicized, but a class/type of ship is not italicized. E.g. The Enterprise v.s. Boeing 747.

7. The following dialogue tags — “she panicked”, “she laughed”, “she sighed”, “she smiled” — are not actually dialogue tags. They are verbs that should not be applied to dialogue.

8. Percentage should be written as XX percent — e.g., 97 percent.

9. The correct phrasing is “Far be it from me to say”, not “Far be it for me to say”.

Also, having finished reviewing the copy-edit, I can now officially pass judgement on my copy-editor. Ready?

Was the copy-edit worth $1900?

No. I definitely did not get $1900 worth of editing done to that manuscript. Not by a long shot. On the plus side, I did learn several things (see the above list), so it certainly wasn’t a complete waste of money.

How was the quality of the copy-editor?

He seemed fairly competent. I caught five mistakes overall — four typos, and one word that was randomly bolded. He had a weird obsession with semicolons that I didn’t agree with, and he also seemed to have a vendetta against commas, so I had to add a handful back in. He also failed to notice that some of the chapter titles were misaligned. To be fair, I didn’t notice that either, but still!

Overall judgement?

Not worth the money, but I did learn many new things, so we’ll call it a draw and move on.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 68 Comments

Yes, I’m still alive (more or less) + Copy-Edit news!

You may have noticed that I’ve been suspiciously absent from WordPress for the last fortnight. You may not have noticed. Either way, I’m back, and I’m psyched to be here. Specifically, I’m psyched not to be sitting in a freezing cold office highlighting endless paperwork. Anyhoo …

I spent the last three hours trying to catch up on all the blog posts I’ve missed over the last two weeks. Do you people have any idea how much you write? Good grief. I had to restrict myself to reading 1 out of every 6 posts, or I would still be scrolling through my Blogs I Follow list tomorrow morning. So if I missed a major update in anyone’s life due to my extreme skippery, I apologize.

My temp job is officially over, and I have about $1600 and no life to show for it. Still, an interesting experience was had, and I extracted several promises from my co-workers that they would buy my book when it comes out. So … call it a win?

Speaking of my book … nah, just messing with you. The Michelle Proulx Official Life Update isn’t over yet. Patience, my young padawans.

This month I also moved apartments, which I think I may have mentioned, and we’re officially settled into our new place. It’s smaller and cheaper than the last place, but the location is way better (right beside the mall), plus the heating is centrally controlled, so my mother can’t turn down the heat whenever she gets too hot. Muahahahahahaha.

Okay, now we’re actually going to speak about my book. The major news is that I got my Copy-Edit back! As I expected, the edits are all minor things — commas moved around, dashes added, etc. The editor seems to have some sort of weird addiction to semicolons, because he’s added about a dozen. Interesting. Right now I’m going through the edited manuscript — basically re-reading the book – to make sure the editor didn’t do anything crazy. He seems fairly sane thus far (Chapter 18, baby!), so I have high hopes.

Once I finish my review, the manuscript goes back to the editorial folks at iUniverse, and the design process begins. Woo! I’m really excited. I sent them cover design ideas a few weeks ago, but I haven’t heard anything back yet, so I have no idea what the design team has done with them. Hopefully something epic.

I really need to get dressed and unpack/review my book, so I think that’s all for now. I have great plans to make another vlog episode, which may or may not succeed depending on how my showering/unpacking/book reviewing goes.

Hope you’ve all had a great two weeks, and I look forward to reading about your lives/accomplishments on a more regular basis.

Oh yeah, and before I forget — I gave up on NaNo. No time + no energy + packing/moving/job/other job/copy-edit review = no NaNo. Le sigh.

Unrelated media of the day:

What if Aladdin always looked like that?

Hehehe. And here’s another ridiculous K-Pop video to brighten your day:

Categories: iUniverse, Random, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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