Monday, April 28, 2014

Ready, Set, Copyright!

Well it is almost time to submit my final manuscript for copyright.

I say almost because before I submit, my manuscript has to be as close to perfect as I can get it.

This week I have been doing my final proof read so I can do just that and wouldn't you know it there are additional corrections and edits that still need to be made. So I guess reading my own book one thousand times is not enough to catch everything. One thousand and one times will hopefully do the trick.

Not to mention that I just decided to add an additional outtake to the end of the story retelling a pivotal chapter from our heroes point of view. Yes I am a genius, at least in my own mind .

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

Basically you go to and can submit your work digitally for a steal at $35 per work.

So as soon as I can finally get through this last (hopefully) edit, I will submit for copyright and then it is off to the races.

Like and Follow my Author Page on Facebook for Book and Author Recs and updates on my self publishing journey.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Covers and Pop

When I say Covers and Pop I am not referring to music, but to that which is one of if not the most important marketing tools for any book; the cover.

When I am looking for my next read and browsing the shelves at my local Barnes & Noble, my eyes focus in on one thing; the cover. This is what catches my eye and draws me in. This is what pulls me over to the self and causes me to pick up the book and read the jacket.

I am sure, positive even there are thousands of books out there that I might enjoy just as much as the book I pick up, but because the cover doesn't catch my eye, I will most likely never discover these gems.

The books that catch my eye usually contain an abstract or symbolic image and almost always have great color pop.

Now there are plenty of books on my shelves at home that feature a couple in an embrace, a landscape or even just a title, but those were found mostly because they were featured books on the shelf or because I was looking for a specific title or author.

The romance genre especially tends to showcase images of people of the book covers, whether it be contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal or any other variation. As a reader I would rather not have an image of the characters in my head, but instead form my own.

So for my cover what will I do?

I have about 4 or 5 different concepts for my cover that I am trying to decide between. All of which I hope will catch the eye. All will include some sort of color pop, but if I am going to include an image of a person, I think I will go more abstract. Either super close up or a distance shot so as to let my reader form their own images of the characters. Above is my first concept which features the profile of a woman close up. I love the color and if I decide to go with this concept, I will forward the image to a professional to create the actual cover. I am creating the concepts because I am a visual person and seeing them side by side will help me decide.

There are so many books on the shelf at the store or online and since I am just me, Jennifer Senhaji, writer and publisher of my first romance novel, I will need to stand out from the crowd. I will need to find an image that pulls in Jane Reader at a glance while she is browsing for her next read.

Because lets face it, even if all my friends and family buy a copy, that won't even get me to 100 copies sold.

So my cover is crucial.

I just need to make sure it pops.

Like and Follow my Author Page on Facebook for Book and Author Recs and updates on my self publishing journey.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hooks and Pitches

Hooks and Pitches, not fishing or garden tools, but marketing and publishing tools.

I've done a lot of research since starting my writing project and writing the book seems to be one of the easiest parts of the whole process. In addition to writing your book and editing and revising it to death, you also need to write a compelling synopsis which is usually about 3-5 pages that basically summarizes all the major plot points of your book including the resolution at the end. There is also the query letter, a 1 page introduction of yourself and your work to a prospective literary agent or publisher. It is hard enough to condense a 300 page book down to a 3-5 page synopsis let alone a 1 paragraph pitch in your query letter. And you also need a killer hook or pitch, which should be included in both the query and the synopsis.

For so many writers the query letter is the bane of their existence and now I can say I know why. How do you pitch your wonderful book with its interesting and amazing story to an agent in 1 paragraph? You can't just say "read this, you will love it". You have to make the pitch in your query letter so compelling that the agent, publisher or intern that reads it finds it different from the other thousands they receive. It has to identify the genre and general plot.

Not easy to do.

The synopsis needs to be interesting enough so that when and if your query letter gets a response from an agent or publisher and they want to hear more, you have a summary of the manuscript which they will ask for. They won't ask for the whole manuscript until they are interested enough to spend their valuable time reading yours.

Well, this process is just as important if not more so in my opinion when you start marketing. I found a great website and blog through networking on Twitter that hosts podcasts. The two websites are and One recent podcast was about this exact topic and was absolutely fascinating. Think for a moment about all the tag lines, hooks or pitches you know. Not sure what I mean, how about Nike, Just Do It. Ok, got it. There are so many brands and products out there that have tag lines, slogans, hooks, pitches, however you want to call them that we all remember. They are short, to the point and easy to remember.

How does this apply to me and my self publishing journey?

How do I get people to read my book?

Well, I need to sell them in the first 2 sentences. We are used to seeing these tag lines on TV when browsing for something to watch or more specifically on the book jacket in the bookstore or book description online we preview to decide if we want to buy. How do I know it is something I want to read? If I don't have a friend recommend it whose taste matches mine, how do I know the book will be good, entertaining, what I am looking for?

The hook.

I am working on mine and the goal is 2 sentences that grabs my target audience. Obviously someone who wants to read horror is not going to be interested in my contemporary romance. The goal is to create a hook that hooks my potential buyer into choosing my book as the next book they read out of all the other choices out there.

I'm working on it.

My hook(s) and/or pitches will become part of my brand, part of my facebook, part of my twitter and website, eventually on the back of my book jacket and part of the book description on Amazon, iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook.

So sooner rather than later you will see my hooks appear as I get closer to my publishing date. I want you to read my book, I want you to want to read my book, I want you to buy my book, I just have to hook you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Revise and Edit

This week I revised and edited and revised and edited and revised and... you get the picture. Now that I am planning on self publishing, I realize I will not have a big professional editor making sure my book is perfect before it hits the stands.

No, I am that person. I will be the one to make sure the spelling is correct, the punctuation is correct and most importantly (I think) the story is the best it can be.

Making sure the story flows for the reader; this can be really hard to do.

In my head, as I am reading it, everything flows perfectly. When I read my story it is like I am watching a movie in my head. I love my story, but I want and need to make sure that the reader does too.

How do you solve this problem?

Test readers; people I trust and respect that can read my manuscript and give me an honest opinion about my work.

So far my daughter has read almost every incarnation. Earlier on in my process I had 4 other test readers as well.

At this point I wonder if I will revise and edit until I have to force myself to stop or if I will get to a point where I know it is done.

I guess there is only one way to find out.