My third book in the College Fae series is scheduled to launch September 15th and it’s been like Santa’s workshop around here this last week! I thought I’d share a sneak peek behind the scenes on what is going on with the book and how all the writing magic happens.
Feedback – readers love this book!
The feedback from readers and my editor is very encouraging! Everyone feels this is the best book of the series. I think this is because Bane of Hounds deals more with the personal relationships between Logan and Brigit, and also that of their families.
Brigit ran away from home because of her controlling parents, and to learn ways to help her dying trees (see Never Date a Siren). Her mother, Queen Elixia, loves playacting and making drama. While her father still sees her as a child who needs protecting.
Logan’s mother who first appeared in the story Granny Starseed (see Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other fairytales), is someone with a narrow world view of what she considers acceptable. While a controlling parent, she also dotes on her only child.
Bane of Hounds brings these two parents face-to-face and shows us what their children think of them. I’ve billed these books for Young Adults and New College because it was always my intention that the characters deal with the problem of becoming independent from their families.
How is this book different than others in the College Fae series?
Bane of Hounds is the longest of the three books. With more space, I can tell you more about the world, how it works, and the different relationships between the characters.
For example, Bane gives a lot more details about how the Perilous Realm operates. Not in a confusing way. It just builds on what readers have discovered in the other books.
Look for more in-depth analysis of the Perilous Realm and fae creatures coming here in the blog. Such as an earlier blog about the structure of the fairy land that will interest fans.
The adventure in Bane is also more dangerous than what Logan and Brigit has confronted in the other two books. The ending of Bane changes our heroes forever, although some of those changes won’t be apparent until book four.
Logan and Brigit are also growing up, evolving into adults. Brigit isn’t jumping into danger as quickly with her headstrong, thoughtless behavior. Logan is realizing that being passive doesn’t always get him what he wants (or needs).
Brigit’s dryad powers expand due to the what happens to her in Bane as does Logan’s bard powers. For the last adventure they both will need clear heads on their shoulders and all the magic they can muster.
The writing and editing process of Bane of Hounds
I’ve developed a certain process in how I write, edit, and get a book ready to print. The longest amount of time (about two to four months) is spent writing and editing the first draft before it goes to Beta Readers.
Readers may want me to publish quickly, but the experience with Bane shows I need more time with my longer books. Four months on writing is preferred for books of 60,000 words or more.
The Beta Reading process takes anywhere from two to four weeks.
It seems to work best for me to have about 10 Beta Readers. This gives me enough opinions without being overwhelming. Some have been with me from the beginning, but I’m always adding new people who show a sincere interest in reading and helping with the book.
During the Beta Reading process, I continue making changes and adjustments. This may include writing new chapters (Never Date a Siren) or splitting chapters so they are not as big or involved which slows reading and comprehension (A Study in Spirits and Bane of Hounds).
After Beta Reading and making needed editorial changes, I go through the entire book line-by-line for a deep check. I’ve done this before, but this time I took longer and went slower.
I questioned every line, every paragraph. Surprisingly enough this didn’t result in big changes. It was more about tweaking things to make sure the action stayed congruent but I think it made a much better finished draft.
Afterward the book goes off to the editor. This last book had the smoothest editing process of all my books.
Why the smoother experience?
- I spent six months on writing this book versus four months on Never Date a Siren and A Study in Spirits. More time spent, meant a bigger book. It is the largest of the three books in the series.
- Using Beta Readers before sending the book to the editor (something I did with A Study in Spirits), makes for a cleaner draft for the editor to review. In the past I rushed things and sent off the manuscript while also working with Beta Readers. That was a hot mess! LOL.
- I’ve changed my own editing process. After Beta Readers, I go through every chapter, reviewing each paragraph for continuity issues. Looking for small things, for example, a character is holding a book, but the next paragraph he is empty handed.
- I have more experience. The more I do, the better I get.
While the book is undergoing writing and editing, other, technical things get done. The book cover gets designed, the ISBN number which identifies the book in the store is assigned, and the Library of Congress information is filed. Once the book is in a final draft status, the copyright is filed.
Formatting the book
After all the editing changes, the next big hurdle to get the book ready is to start the formatting process. This process converts the draft in my word processor to the format you can read on your Kindle, Nook, or other mobile device, as well as the pdf needed to make a print book.
With the mobi (Kindle) and epub (Nook, etc.) format, I make decisions on the front materials such as copyright, dedication, chapter headings, and in the back, put together a glossary for those who want more explanations (this has the biggest glossary yet!). I also write up Author Notes and Acknowledgements, items that are in the back of the ebook and print book.
I use a program called Scrivener, so overall this goes pretty fast. The ebooks were done in about two days. The print book in about four to five days. But it takes a lot of attention to detail and can be exhausting!
Around this time ARC (advanced reader copies) are sent out.
Print books are slower to release. Why?
The ebook version of Bane of Hounds will go live on September 15th on Amazon. Since it is a pre-release, I actually upload the ebook about 10 days before the release date (as required by Amazon).
You probably won’t see the print book release on the same day and there are a couple or reasons why that happens.
- To get a book cover made for a print book I need to know the exact number of pages as this determines the spine size. Until the book is produced into a pdf format (after final editing) I won’t know this exact number.
- Once I know the exact number (even 5 pages can throw off the spine art), I send this info to my book cover artist. She finishes the final artwork which takes a few days.
- Because I work on such tight deadlines and turnaround, I don’t have the pdf for the print book done until about two weeks before release. But I like to have a proof copy in hand before releasing it to the general reader. That takes Amazon about a week to ten days to get to me after I order it.
- Once I get the printed proof book copy, I release the print book on Amazon and Ingram Spark (a service that goes to Barnes and Noble and other outlets).
While you are waiting on the last book in the College Fae series, I’ll be releasing more sweet fairytale novellas to keep you happy. And I have a new fan experience I’m working on for readers – information coming soon!