Talking About My Next Book: More On Whizzers

Talking About My Next Book: More On Whizzers

Talking or writing about your new book is always unnerving for an author. Well, for this author, anyway. I can’t really speak for anyone else.

Back in November, fellow author Jay Lemming conducted an author interview with me for about 45 minutes. We spoke about a variety of topics, and it wasn’t until late in the interview that he asked about Whizzers, my next book.

It’s a funny thing: the more I talk (or write) about this project, the worse I feel about doing so. I’m not sure if that’s about “giving away my fire,” as they say. It could be that I feel better working on the book than discussing it.

There’s another possibility, though: this novel is so close to my heart, so emotional for me, that I feel unusually vulnerable discussing it. I think that would explain the feeling.

 

I Heard It Call My Name

 

The genesis of Whizzers actually goes all the way back to about the year 2000. I can’t say for sure, because I saved multiple copies as new documents. I knew it was going to be more than a short story—I had 20-30 pages—but that was it. I only had those 20-30 pages.

So it went for the next 15, 16 years. I had a writing career, and anyway, I also had another novel to complete: Miles of Files, which was about 2/3 finished. Unfortunately, I got hung up on a plot point with Miles, and kept going back through it over a period of years. And I mean years!

When I finally finished Miles of Files, I was so focused on putting out all three of my completed novels, I back-burnered Whizzers even more firmly. After all, I had maybe 60 pages by then, but no end game in sight. All I knew was that I had a publishing company to run, and Whizzers would have to wait.

 

It’s Not Just Business; It’s Personal

 

Naturally, there came a point where I had to get back to writing the novel. And though I already knew it was the most personal work I’ve ever done, I was surprised by how it evolved as I progressed from 30 pages to 130 pages.

I got sober in 1989, almost exactly 30 years ago. This novel delves into that in some fashion, as a fictional version of the author travels in time back to various eras, mainly to give comfort to others – who also happen to be alcoholics or addicts.

When I started writing the book, years ago, I had only a hazy idea of what this project entailed. Now that I’m right in the middle of it—and I mean fully in it, so that the world around me does not completely engage me like it normally would—I’m discovering a world within a world in my own psyche.

It’s semi-autobiographical, but more importantly, I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done. It’s spiritual, it’s emotional, it’s dramatic—and at times it’s terrifying. But no matter how it turns out, it’s still fiction in the end. I won’t die from writing it. And I’m excited to finish and publish it this year. I’m truly looking forward to sharing this story with the world.

If you’d like to get more updates as the publication date gets closer, please email me to sign up for my monthly newsletter. You can also fill out the contact form here to sign up. I’ll be doing giveaways, sharing exclusive content, and all manner of cool stuff! Feel free to check in with me. And of course, thanks for reading.

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7 Things to Check Before You Publish That Book

7 Things to Check Before You Publish That Book

This year, I’m pleased to announce I’m going to be publishing my fifth work of fiction, Whizzers. Hard to believe, because it seems like just yesterday when I launched my first novel, Brothers’ Hand, into an unsuspecting world.

I still remember some of the reactions from folks who didn’t know that I’d started this book all the way back in the 1990s. “Wait, Mike, you mean this guy gets dosed with LSD at a party and then his hand gets chopped off by a speeding locomotive? Jeez!” Ah, those were the days.

Well, some of my blog readers are writers, and some aren’t, but I know you’re all curious about today’s topic – whether you’re just interested as a reader or you’ve got a first book coming out. It takes a village, as they say. So here are 7 things to check one last time before you pull the trigger and publish.

  1. Editing – Editing seems like a no-brainer, but I can tell you from my own experience: it ain’t easy. I edited my work over and over before I sent it to my editor, and then I had to reckon with all my editor’s suggested changes. Some were great – I really had to get better about breaking up larger paragraphs into smaller ones – but some were, uh, just not a good fit for me. Once I made the changes I could get on board with, I still had more work to do. And that work was…
  2. Proofreading – Yes, proofreading. Of course, I’d already proofread my work before editing. But now that I’d edited my editor, I had an entirely new book! It almost didn’t feel like my book (almost – I took about 70% of my editor’s suggestions, but one more change and it would have felt like my style was obliterated). Did you know that the average book gets published with at least 6-7 errors? I did my best to get that number closer to zero, and I probably still missed a couple.
  3. All the interior elements – Once your book has been converted to layout format, it’s going to look a lot different. Unfortunately, you can’t just transfer that Publishing Layout in MS-Word to a real publishing layout. So that means you have to do another round of proofing. For one, you need to make sure word breaks are correct. You also want to eyeball the book like a reader and check the top and bottom of each page for consistent spacing. A great interior designer will have all this fixed for you. But it’s best to make sure they’re great by checking every page. You also may have a dedication page, and most importantly, double or triple check everything on your copyright page – year, ISBN number, CIP data, and so on. 
  4. All the exterior elements – Again, sounds like a no-brainer, but you want to feel comfortable that your final copies will look final. An ebook version and a paper version are very different. Check all the basic exterior elements. That means the design, title, your name, and any other elements that will be on both front covers. On the print version, recheck the entire back cover, the spine elements, any blurbs, the bar code…everything.
  5. Links – So of course you’re selling your book online, right? Right? If you have a variety of distribution channels – mine include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart & Indiebound – you need to make sure those links are up and running. If you’re doing pre-orders (always a good option), see if you can find out whether the preorder buttons are working correctly. Which brings me to…
  6. Buy/preorder buttons – Again, sounds like a no-brainer, but stuff happens. Remember, you don’t have to actually go through the entire buying process on Amazon to get to the checkout lane. If you’re planning to buy copies of your own book to juice the numbers, forget it. You can only buy one ebook copy of your own book, and it’s not going to make your sales number go from 297,986 to, say, 11. You did the work. Let others do the buying. If you can check with folks you know who buy your book, find out whether their experience was seamless. It should be, but you never know.
  7. Self-care measures in place – Finally, a point that has nothing to do with scrutinizing your book and everything to do with checking in with yourself. The whole process of publishing a book is exciting and a bit scary for anyone, so you need to make sure it doesn’t make you sick! There’s a reason a lot of us say things like, “My books are my babies.” Once they’re launched into the world to be judged, dissected, or ignored, we have to let them go. Part of that process is taking extra good care of yourself before, during, and after launch time.

And that’s it for now. If you’d like to get on the mailing list to preorder Whizzers when it becomes available later this year, please email me directly at info@msahno.com. You’ll get updates, cool exclusive content, and you might even end up on the launch team!

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Another Monday Blog Post – And a Special Offer

Another Monday Blog Post – And a Special Offer

One of the great things about WordPress websites is the ability to schedule blog posts. So Happy Monday to you, but you’re probably reading this while I’m taking my wife to DisneyWorld!

Last week was “Happy New Year” time, so now we’re into good old regular blog posts. This week I want to write a little about my monthly newsletter, starting with a special thanks to all my subscribers.

There are only a limited number of benefits you can possibly get from subscribing to an author’s newsletter, but I try to deliver as many as possible. The first and most obvious is that you can get news and info from an author newsletter before anyone else, so that’s a nice benefit. As the author, I can also send out content to my subscribers that’s not available anywhere else.

That exclusivity aspect is something that appeals to me, so I’ve decided to do something that’s about the biggest thing I could deliver: a free book.

How Free Is Free?

Here’s the thing about giving away a book. Typically, there’s a catch. You have to buy something or subscribe to something, etc., etc.

This exclusive offer for my newsletter subscribers doesn’t have any more of a “catch” than that – just for subscribing to my newsletter, you will get an exclusive free download of my ebook-only short story collection, Rides From Strangers.

The book is not available anywhere else, free or otherwise. And of course, the caveat on email addresses is that I have to promise not to do anything with your email other than send you my newsletter and maybe an occasional update about upcoming events. If you’re of the mind to subscribe, download the free book, and then unsubscribe – you can do that. No harm, no foul.

Now, I worked hard on those stories, so why give the book away? My answer is simple: I don’t want to be America’s best-kept secret. I want to be your friends’ and colleagues’ new favorite author. If I can give you something great for nothing, I hope you’ll be willing to read and review my novels – all of which are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and so on. Heck, you can even order them from Wal-Mart if you want.

To find out more about Rides From Strangers, check out my fellow author Jay Lemming’s review here. Don’t forget to check out Jay’s books, as well. If you like my work, I think you’ll like Billy Maddox Takes His Shot. He’s got a new book coming out this year, too, so watch for that.

To subscribe to the email newsletter, send a request to me at info@msahno.com.

Radio, Radio

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Happy New Year From Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

Happy New Year From Mike Sahno – Author. Speaker. Publisher.

Today was the last day of 2018, and it’s also my last blog post of the year.

I almost missed it. 

One of the only reasons I’ve had success as an author, speaker and publisher is because I’ve been both relentless and consistent. I used to think my natural, God-given talent would carry me through, but I was wrong.

It’s the people who outwork everyone else who succeed. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.”

Vonnegut was right. I’ve got talent in spades, and always knew that; what I didn’t have, for a long time, was the intestinal fortitude to do the work I had to do to succeed.

Today I have that, even though I’m getting older and, most likely, not getting any stronger. Still, I’m grateful because the novel I’m writing now is the deepest, most personal work I’ve ever done.

It’s a little like therapy, and while it’s doing some good things for me, it does two things to me: one, it tires me, and two, it makes me forget about everything else on my calendar – like this blog.

I once read a great thing from a fellow writer about how, when you’re deeply into a novel you’re writing, you become less emotionally available. It’s as if you’re looking at the world, and everyone in it, through a bowl of skim milk.

That’s where I am now as 2018 winds out, and I delve deeper into the psychological recesses of my own mind in the middle of this novel. I’m excited about it, but it’s also a little scary. And shouldn’t every deep, meaningful work be just those things?

Happy New Year!

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