I received an early copy of Cold Heart! It’s exciting… I almost forgot about the book for a while. When you sign a book contract, the release date seems like a million years away.
Lots of people have asked me about getting a book published, so here’s your behind-the-scenes look!
A lot of things have to happen from the time you finish writing a book until it gets printed and available for people to read. I signed the contract for Cold Heart in mid-January, with a release date of December 3. That’s probably 6-8 weeks longer than average, because I asked for extra time. I had written about half of the book when I signed the contract.
I wrote the first draft in January and early February, and spent much more time revising it, double-checking sources, finding images, etc. I was having some health challenges at the time and wasn’t able to do much. Writing gave me a way to fill my time and something positive to focus on!
I sent the draft to my beta readers. Beta readers react to the manuscript, and tell you if something is missing, glossed over, or too detailed. Their feedback has a huge impact on the book and usually causes major changes, so it’s better to incorporate their feedback before sending the manuscript to the editor.
My beta readers were fantastic. Apart from Kristin Sherry, who is a best-selling author, they aren’t public people so I won’t list their full names here. I’ll just share one example. After reading the manuscript, my friend Furman said I needed to help readers connect with Ed Burdick, so they cared what happened to him. He was right. Ed was a complex man who is at the center of the story, and it’s important for readers to understand the kind of person he was. Based on Furman’s feedback, I included some letters between Ed and his estranged wife Alice in the manuscript. Looking back, I can say it’s one of the best things about the book.
Next, I sent the book to my editor, Beth Crosby. Beth is wonderful. She has a gift for storytelling–like a sculptor, she chips away the extra words and punctuation errors that litter my writing. A good editor clears the distractions and helps you present the story as powerfully as possible.
Beth asked me, in the kindest possible way, what the point of the first chapter was. She didn’t see how the first 30 pages of the book, which were devoted to the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, connected to the rest of the story. “It gives people the feel of the era,” I said.
It was a weak response. She was objectively right, and I didn’t want to cut it because I put so much work into it. Obviously, that’s not a good reason to leave it in, so I repurposed it into a post (The City of Light). Cold Heart is a better book because it jumps right into the action. You can learn more about Beth on her website.
Next, I submitted the book to the publisher, Reagan Rothe of Black Rose Writing. The publisher has to do a lot to get a book ready to be printed, most of which is invisible to me. In the meantime, I was thinking about the audiobook. I knew how I wanted it to sound, and Reagan let me be involved in the process of finding the narrator.
Eric Addo was selected to be the voice of Cold Heart and he is perfect for the job! You’ll see! Or hear, rather.
I gave some input on the cover and reviewed the formatting to finalize the book over the summer. Now, it’s October and the far-off release date is… not that far off!
The only thing left to do is promote the book before its release. I have some early reviewers lined up, and there’s a 15% discount off on the Black Rose Writing website for orders received before December 3 (promo code PREORDER2020).
I had a lot of help from my creative and photogenic friends and family to create a fun video for my first book. People loved it! I also made a short voiceover video. I’ll include them here. I’d like to do something new to promote this book, but I’m at a loss. If anyone has ideas, I’d love to hear them! And if you know of any good true stories from the early 1900s, please send them my way.
Once the book is released, it’s a great idea to create custom links to Amazon, so people can go straight from your website or social media, to the book’s page on Amazon. Cold Heart page on Amazon.
Fun promotion of The Poisoned Glass:
The Poisoned Glass Voiceover: