Tuesday, February 28, 2012

YA Lit Chat, here I come!

The fabulous non-profit organization YALitChat does a chat on Twitter every Wednesday, usually at 9pm EST./6pm PST, and this week, on Leap Day, Feburary 29, I'm one of the featured authors!  Woo hoo! And lucky me.

If you're on Twitter, just follow the #yalitchat hashtag at 6pm PST tomorrow to join in the conversation, ask questions, play word games, plus win books and other swag!

I've compiled a juicy little gift bag o' swag for one lucky winner. Details tomorrow. Since my book's not out till July and I don't have any Advanced Reader Copies yet, it'll be cool fun stuff in the theme of my book, Otherkin.

Other 2012 debut authors on the chat will be giving away copies of their books and related goodies as well.

It'll be a Leap Day full of tasty book goodness and flying tweets!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Otherkin - Latest Postings

Things are ramping up slowly, publication and publicity-wise.  I submitted an application to YAbookscentral.com (a wonderful site jam packed with cool YA books and reader reviews) and they just approved and posted it on their site! It's here. Woo hoo!

Also, Publisher's Weekly gave the book and the whole series a brief mention in their Fall 2012 Preview here. (Scroll down to Kensington/KTeen.)

It's weird how huge these things loom in my mind. I'm just one of hundreds or thousands on these sites. But for me this is BIG. It's all crazy and official-like. I don't know if I'll ever get used to this! I kind of hope not...

Friday, February 17, 2012

How Publication Works - The Copy Editing Stage

I have now officially gone through the copy editing stage of publication, and I have this to say - copy editors rock!

For those curious about publication, here's how my copy edit process worked.

1. You're done making the changes your editor asked you to make on your manuscript. Congratulations! You send it to your editor and she sends it off to the copy editor. My book went out as a Word file (NOT .docx, by the way, folks seem to hate that format) set up to mark all changes and add comments.  The file still showed all my editor's comments/changes and my edits thereafter.

2. Super Copy Editor goes over ever single word in the manuscript, using his/her Mind Boggling Grammar Knowledge and Special Punctuation Insight, making changes (which were marked in the Word file), asking questions about inconsistencies, and so on.

In my case, he/she also made something called a "style sheet" which listed the different kinds of marks used on the file and their meaning. The style sheet also contained all the unusual or unique terms I used in the book, alphabetically, along with queries about any inconsistencies, as well as a list of all the characters in the book, along with their distinguishing characteristics.  This list has become incredibly useful as I write Book 2 in the series.

Thank you, Super Copy Editor!

3. The copy editor sends the file back to my editor, who forwards it to me with instructions to make changes so that they are marked, and not to delete any other marks or comments.  Also, please save the file as .doc or as the earlier form of Word, not the most recent Word, which is the evil .docx.

4. I go over the manuscript on my computer, checking every change. As I soon realize that Super Copy Editor (hereafter referred to as SCE) fricking knows his/her business, I give up studying every added or deleted comma and concentrate on the queries.

In my case, because I'm writing fantasy, I made up a lot of terms to fit my world buillding.  For example, Otherkin contains an organization called the Tribunal. At some points I referred to it as a singular entity, at other times as a plural one. SCE asked me to choose.  Singular it is!

At other, awesome points in the file, SCE corrected my spelling of Pepe LePew (note that both the L and the P in his last name are capitalized), and asked me very politely if perhaps I'd like to choose a different word here because I'd used the same word in the previous sentence. Yes, please and thank you!

I also changed a couple of things in my acknowledgements, opined on where I'd like the epigraph to show up, and weighed in on whether or not I'd like a break in the text when a time break happened in the story. (Yes, please.)

Behold the fabulousness of the SCE! They respect your work enough to want to make it as correct, readable, and entertaining as possible, without intruding on your vision as a writer.

5. I also went over the style sheet, corrected one description of one character and answered several queries, highlighting those changes in yellow.  Then I sent the file back to my editor.

All of this was surprisingly fun. I know I'm a bit of a word nerd, but it was fascinating to look at my book from this kind of distance, to make sure the world inside it was as consistent and correct as I could possibly make it.

I have to say - I'm a little nervous about this post because it probably needs to be copy edited. Alas, when it comes to the blog, I'm on my own.

Hey, we all make mistakes...

The SCE gives you a chance to look like you're PERFECT.

Well, at least when it comes to spelling and grammar. The actual writing is all you. And if you're a writer, you know that "stuf" is never perfect. But making it as good as possible is part of the job. So the Super Copy Editor is your friend. Embrace him/her and your book will be all the better for it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cover Proofs of Otherkin!

Just got these gorgeous things in from my publisher...

I'm such a newbie that I had no idea what they are. They're folded, actually, with the complete back and front cover text. Inside the back cover is my bio, and inside the back front cover is KTeenbooks.com info.

I asked fellow KTeen author Brigid Kemmerer about them, and yes, it turns out they have a name: cover proofs.

It's weird how much cooler the cover is in the actual paper (Is it paper technically? Not quite cardboard, but thicker than paper - gah! Newbie-ness strikes!) than as just a jpeg. The lower part, where the black "grass" is in the image is shiny, and the grass as it pokes up is shiny. And the images of Dez, tiger, and moon, are all more matte.  So awesome! Every step of this process makes it seem more and more real.

Oh, and the back features a quote from the lovely Brigid Kemmerer as well. She was kind enough to read it and give me a blurb

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Otherkin Cover Now on Amazon!

Finally the Amazon bots have found my book's cover and put it up on its order page - here.

You can gaze in admiration or pre-order. Me, I'm just giggling with glee.

Tonight, I am this kitty: Woo hoo!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Take your children abroad...

(click on photo to enlarge)

...if you can afford it. I was seven when my parents took me to Europe for three months. It made me realize there are all kind of ways of being in the world, and they're all fascinating. It gave me a lifelong love of travel, exploring, learning languages, history, and art. I have a vivid memory of a Greek beach covered with chunks of white marble, and me wading forever out into clear, warm, turquoise water. And many other wonderful things.

Here we are in our favorite taverna in Naxos, Greece. We spent three weeks on that island with our friends, Tommy and Evie Davis and their three kids. Tom played basketball in Turkey (he was quite a celebrity there), so we met up with his family in Greece, then went on to stay with them in a wonderful place just outside Istanbul.

According to my Mom, during our stay in Naxos we went this taverna every day, sometimes twice a day, to eat or just to have a cup of coffee.  My Dad would play chess with John Stanley (at the center back of the photo) and Tom Davis, and drink beer, philosophizing and laughing.  We didn't speak Greek, and the owner and his wife (standing on the right) didn't speak English, but somehow we all became a kind of family. When we got on the boat weeks later, the owner's wife was at the dock, weeping as she waved goodbye.

From left to right: Paul "Doc" Berry (my dad), me, Jacqueline Berry (my Mom, with the great legs), little Tommy Davis, Jill Davis (the almost not visible towheaded girl), John Stanley, Beth Davis, Evie Davis, and the taverna owner and his wife. I don't know who the seated older man is on the extreme right, but I love him.

I wish I knew the names of our hosts in this photo. Thanks to Tom Davis for taking it (he's behind the camera) and for sending it to my parents recently. Now that it's digital, it'll last forever.