I humbly apologise for neglecting you guys visiting my website for a few weeks…

In my defence I’ve been CRAZY BUSY and I have amazing and wonderous news!  🙂

First up, the big news about…

BOOM!

It. Is. Done.

Officially.

I’ve edited it to the best of my ability.
My Wifey has read it twice and given her edits and feedback.
Andy read it twice and gave his edits and feedback.
Chell read it and gave her edits and feedback.
And poor Nikki has read it at least twice and edited it to within an inch of it’s life.
It’s also been through the crucible of the anonymous Beta-Reader (as you would have seen in the last News post!)

The Ballad of the Songbird Book 1 HUNTERS is now as close to done as it’s ever going to be, and I’m SUPER happy with it.

So, now we’re in the home stretch. We’re aiming for a March release now, the 17th hopefully. (St Patricks Day!!)
Preparation work is now underway for that date, and it’s a big list of things still to tackle…

The next steps to sort out:
ISBN numbers for all the variations of the book (Hardback, Paperback, Kindle etc).
Finalising the cover layout.
Cover blurb.
All the stuff that goes inside like the Authors bio, the acknowledgements etc

Phew!

And then there’s the whole matter of marketing the book… Where admittedly I’ve no clue what I’m doing.

But then, that’s been the journey I’ve been on. If I can’t figure it out myself, then I find someone who can help. I couldn’t have got this far without the help of Nikki (and her editing magic!), Marlena (and her artistic talents!) and now… KATIE!

For my marketing campaign moving forward I needed a trailer for the book. Enter Katie Hagaman. (click the link to find her on Twitter!)

This weekend I will unleash her amazing trailer for Hunters on Twitter and other social media. Here it is for your viewing pleasure…

I especially LOVE the tendrils on the back cover, and the embers floating aroung. When you read Hunters and experience GAyle Knightley, you’ll understand…

You may recognise these as the front and back of the cover I shared last week…

Which I STILL adore and you can find more details about it, on my blog post…

Be Honest… We DO Judge A Book By It’s Cover!

But that’s not all! I have HUGE new regarding the sequel too…


LOOK at that pie chart! LOOK AT IT!!!!

Blood to Earth has now passed into the Edit Stage in it’s totality. This is where I now pass it off to all those people I talked about above and get their feedback and edits.

Next step…the dark green circle of FINAL DRAFT! EEEEEKK!

I’m REALLY loving where B2E takes the characters coming out of Hunters. It has the characters dealing with the fall out of the events of Hunters in some pretty emotional ways. It also throws in some new mysteries, new characters, and brings back some characters from Hunters you may not expect… hehe!

I’ve also had a rough sketch from Marlena for the cover art, and thus far I’m LOVING it. I can’t wait to see the final thing and share it with you all. 😀

Stay tuned for that!


Only a quick on to report on Book 3… PLOTTING IS UNDER WAY!!

EEEK! I’m populating the Spreadsheet of Doom™ and have about a third of the Chapter Synopses in place now. It’s really quite exciting rounding out the story for the next book in line and I’m VERY excited by where it’s going so far.

Hopefully I’ll have more information on this on a future update.


That’s all for this week. Until next time folks…

Love & Books

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17 Comments

  1. Wabi_Sabi

    Reply

    Great video, Jon. Your level of “I can’t believe this is happening” must be pretty darn high right now, especially after seeing your book on YouTube, smartphone and tablet screens!

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      Oh my, God, you have no idea! LOL
      Seeing this REALLY makes it seem so much more real. To actually have the cover and the trailer and a release date… Phew!
      It’s like it’s all ACTUALLY going to happen now! LOL
      Thanks for your support Wabi!

  2. Amilia

    Reply

    Oh my! What a great update! Fantastic news all around. I loved the trailer! Katie is amazing as is Marlene! You’re working with some very talented people! I can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day!
    Yahoo on the progress of book 2!!!

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      LOL I was talking to Nikki about it the other day, and I said I have all kinds of beings from myth and folklore, but no Leprechauns, which might have been a great tie in for St Patrick’s Day!
      Seriously though, I’m really looking forward to it too.

      • Amilia

        Reply

        Well Jon I am almost 100% Irish so that would be cool (leprechaun). Somehow if you put that into a book, ha! Good luck with that.
        I read your comment about a new book every 5 months. That’s impressive! I sure hope you can do it.

  3. Suese

    Reply

    Wow, book three is already hitting the spreadsheet of doom! That’s impressive. You are really pushing through. That is good though, wouldn’t want to make your fans wait too long in between books! Great job Jon!

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      That’s the plan. I want all 7 books out there to be read as soon as possible. The current plan is no more than 5 months or so between books. Which is CRAZY ambitious, but that’s what I’m shooting for!
      Thanks, Suese. 🙂

  4. Flashyf

    Reply

    Wow!! That YouTube video is amazing! How did you do it? I would love to know.
    It certainly gets viewers wanting to know more.
    The graphics are stunning. Did you get a professional in to create it?

  5. Demelza

    Reply

    I agree, Flashy, that YouTube video is amazing.
    If you read the comments in red above it, you will find that it was done by Katie Hagaman.
    She is obviously a VERY talented designer!

  6. Writer101

    Reply

    Hi Jon
    I’m writing because I’m curious to know how you are going to market Songbird, after all the effort you have put into writing it.
    I’m asking as I am a hopeful writer myself. I also have a friend who has written some awesome Young Adult fiction, but is struggling to get her work “out there.” Any tips on what to do? I mean even Twitter, Facebook etc is limited until people know about your work.
    Good luck!
    Writer101

    • Nikki Anderson

      Reply

      Hi, Writer101, and welcome to Jon’s site! I hope you don’t mind that I’m jumping in here to answer your question. Jon and I are working together to release our books within about a month of each other, and I’ve been in charge of the marketing aspect of the process.
      There are many things to consider when marketing a book, especially for a new author, but here’s a quick list to give you a place to start:
      – Build your social media presence and be sure to interact often with your followers/friends
      – Read articles/take a couple seminars on keywords and prep your list
      – Create an author profile on sites such as Bookbub, Goodreads, Smashwords, and of course, Amazon
      – Make absolutely certain that your blurb is catchy
      – Plan your advertising budget
      A Google search of book marketing will hand you a zillion results, and it’s definitely worth taking some time to read through anything that catches your eye, but it’s also a confusing rabbit hole in which you could get lost for damn near eternity. So, don’t let it overwhelm you.
      You’re going to have to do a lot of legwork, but your efforts will be rewarded as you see a solid plan begin to form. Best of luck to you and your friend! 🙂

  7. Writer101

    Reply

    Hi Nikki!
    Thanks for the advice, it is tremendously appreciated.

    I will take on board what you say about Goodreads, Amazon, Bookbub and Smashwords. ( I wasn’t aware of these last two, but they look interesting. )

    May I ask if you are also going down the independent route? And if so, what was your experience with the traditional publishers? Did they give any constructive feedback, or were they unhelpful?

    I am just wondering what it takes to get the traditional publishers to take notice. Do you think that it is originality? Or is it the opposite, as in fitting into a tried and tested niche? Or is it maybe helpful to have a good agent? I hear that only publish around 1% of new authors, so what does it take to “filter through?”

    Sorry that I have more question than answers. And to yourself and Jon… Merry Christmas!

    • Nikki Anderson

      Reply

      So sorry I didn’t see this sooner, Writer101. The holidays got the best of me and our darling Jon didn’t tell me you had replied. (Yes, I just threw him under the bus. Lol)

      I’ve been intent on indie publishing from the start. It’s always been my philosophy that *if* my work has any merit, I will be able to find some modicum of success in the indie world. For any indie published authors out there who say they’ve written a masterpiece and they can’t find any recognition, my response is, quite frankly, they aren’t trying hard enough.

      Make no mistake – I’m not saying my work is a masterpiece by any stretch. But a good writer with the right marketing plan and an endless supply of motivation should be able to grab some attention on their own.

      That said, I did pitch my first book during the Twitter #KissPitch event last Valentine’s Day, and to my immense surprise, I got a hit from a large publishing house in NYC. I can’t say what would or would not have happened with it since a few weeks later they had to lay off two thirds of their staff and implement a major cutback strategy on their publishing plan for the year. Would they have offered me a deal? Would it have been desirable enough for me to take it? No idea.

      I’ll admit that for the first couple months of the pandemic, I still had stars in my eyes and I planned on reaching out to them when things got better, but I have since changed my tune. I don’t want to sell this book for $5,000 to a publishing house that will put it on the ‘new release’ table at B&N for a week before it gets kicked to the bargain aisle. I also don’t want to give up most of my creative control for that week of B&N glory. It’s not worth it to me.

      Of course, I don’t fault anyone who does attempt the traditional route. If it’s what you really want, I say go for it and will wish you the best of luck. As for what they’re looking for, it really depends on the agents/publishing houses. Almost all of them have lists detailing their criteria. Some of them want to find a book that is comparable to another one that’s already found success. Others want originality. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it from one agency to another. I spent a couple of months last year helping Jon query every week and he can tell you what a mish-mosh of confusing information it is! The only thing you can do is research the individual agents and make a list of the ones who might be a good fit.

      I do hope you and your family had a lovely holiday season! I’m always happy to answer questions (if I can), so ask away and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. 🙂

  8. Flashyf

    Reply

    Hi all, I have just been reading the very interesting blog by Emma Lombard ( I am referring to emmalombardauthor.com as recommended by Jon.)

    In particular, what interested me the most was her post on Traditional v Indie publishing. I was astounded to read this –

    “Unless your book sales rank up there with those of J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, don’t expect your publisher to do much, if any, marketing for you. In addition, you’ll likely have to ask their permission regarding your website design and any marketing you would like to do yourself. ”

    So I must ask, if the publisher does not carry out any marketing, and you are a unknown author, how on Earth will anyone know about your book, let alone buy it? And what can you do yourself, or invest in, to remedy this, if you are lucky enough to strike a deal with a publisher?

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      Well, didn’t you just ask the difficult question, Flashy! LOL

      To be honest, that’s the very next thing I’ve got to wrap my head around. More and more it’s starting to feel like the easy part was writing the book. The last few weeks myself and Nikki have been trying to wrap our heads around the formatting ready for print and eBook – and it’s NOT as easy as you’d think. I honestly believed orignally that it would be a case of submitting a word doc, a jpg of the cover and maybe a PDF for the eBook and jobs a good’un. But nope!

      Everything has to be formatted ‘just so’ and THAT has been the bane of my life for the past month. But now that’s done.

      Next up, is how to approach the launch of the book come March. How to let people know that it’s there and for sale. And for that I need to dive back into the research. Keep your eyes open for a blog post in the future about it. 😀

  9. Flashyf

    Reply

    Thanks for the reply, Jon. I must be naive, because I also thought that a Word document and a jpg would do the trick. I also thought that a publisher that bothered to select an author from all the rest of the hopefuls, would at least invest something into promotion. It just doesn’t make any sense to me that they would not. After all, success for the author equals success for the publisher.
    Therefore I wait with bated breath for your blog post, and I hope that the research unearths some good ideas!

    • Jon Ford

      Reply

      The blog post is written, I’m just waiting for some feedback from my partner-in-prose NT Anderson (the estemmed @Nikki_Twisted) to put her input into it. We’ve very much been on this path together, so I feel it would be really useful to share what we learned with everyone.

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