Posted in author, Book Reviews, Bookaholic, Books, business advice, NaNoWriMo, promotion, Reading, sale, updates, Writing, Writing Advice

It’s a… book!

After a year and a half of hard labor, my book baby is nearly ready to greet the world! (The Beta Reader edition)

I “burned the midnight oil” last night. I completed the final edits to the manuscript and uploaded it to Amazon and Kindle around 2 am. It’ll take them up to 72 hours to review the e-book version and a little longer for the print addition. During the review process, they’ll be making sure that the manuscript and cover formatting meet their publishing guidelines. The main thing is to make sure that none of text will be cut off at the edge of the page during the binding process.

Since I created this novel on a shoestring budget (and I’m self-publishing it), I couldn’t afford to hire publishing help. As a result, I wore many hats: writer, editor, cover designer, manuscript formatter, and eventually book promoter.

Editing your own work is incredibly challenging! Part of the problem is that you’re too close to it. It’s hard to see the holes in your own story. It can be difficult to spot your own typos and other mistakes. For instance, I’m bad about reversing the order of letters when I’m typing. Spell check will help find some of these mistakes, but if the letters still form a real word then they get missed (for example: form and from). The novel has gone through more than a dozen revisions over the past year and a half. Yet, during every read through, I find at least 1 mistake that I missed.

Realizing that I could use some help, I decided to release a Beta Reader edition. I included a letter in the novel encouraging readers to contact me with their comments (or if they spot any missed mistakes!). My current plan is to release the Beta Reader edition into the world while I work on the rough draft of another novel then return to it once I’ve received some reader feedback.

My regular blog followers may have noticed that I changed the title of the book. During all but the last two drafts, I had been called it “Timelines.” I liked that title and how smoothly in rolled off the tongue. It also looked awesome on the cover– simple and concise. But… the title didn’t really fit the contents of the book.

The word “timelines” implies time travel while my story involves alternative realities/parallel worlds. The problem was that when I decided to change the title, my first 15 or so choices were already taken. I’ve made the mistake in the past of using a too generic title. As a result, my book was lost in a sea of others with similar titles and subject matters.

Some of the titles that I considered that were already in use: Parallel Lives, Alternative Lives, Parallel Worlds, Parallels (one of my favorites!), and title variations using “Multiverse” including “Glimpsing the Multiverse”…

I finally settled on “Alternatives” since it implies choices. There are other published books that include the word but not as a stand alone title. I also liked that it was a single word. For some reason, a simple title seemed right for this particular project.

My little blue marble…

I also went through many different computer generated book covers before settling on one. You’ve all probably heard the famous quote from Carl Sagan about the Earth being our little blue marble. Years ago, I purchased a blue marble with the continents painted on it. (Side note: I have to hide it in a jewelry box to keep my cats from stealing it!) I decided to photograph the marble and work it into the cover design. I also played with the lens effects in Adobe Photograph in my attempt to create a very sci-fi looking cover. I’m not completely satisfied with it though, so I may make additional changes. What I do like is that the current cover art hints at the contents of the book. There are two Earths traveling parallel to each other through space.

Anyway… I’m seriously sleep deprived, so please forgive me if I rambled on in this blog post. I was just so excited to share this update with my readers and writing friends. I’ll update the blog again once the novel is available on Amazon and include the links where you can purchase it. The Beta Reader edition of the e-book is only $3.99. Technically, the print edition will be available as well, but I would recommend waiting to purchase the print version until after I’ve made the final edits. I can guarantee that there will be more changes once I’ve received some feedback!

A little teaser from the back cover of the book:

According to theory, there are countless versions of reality running in parallel with each other. What if you were given a glimpse into your alternative lives? What version of yourself would you see? How would it effect your future decisions?

Francis Marino’s quiet life on the Oregon coast was interrupted when two military officers showed up on her doorstep with a bizarre story and urged her to come with them. Curious– and figuring that she had nothing to lose– she agreed. Thus began an unexpected adventure that forced her to leave her comfort zone and confront many of her beliefs about the world we live in.

As the commander of a highly classified military facility, Colonel Dominic Davis was dedicated to his job. But, after being exposed to an alien device, he is given visions of two alternative realities. Dom realizes that he needs to make changes– both personal and professional.

Life on Earth hangs in the balance…

Stay tuned! And, as always, thank you for subscribing to my blog. I really appreciate the support!

~ H. S. Contino


I'm a combination writer and crafter. My books include "Shipwrecks of Coos County" (Arcadia Publishing, 2011), “Shipwrecks of Curry County” (Arcadia Publishing, 2017), and "Paw Prints" (Create Space, 2013). I'm also the owner of "Reprieve's Corner: Handmade Crafts" ( I live on the southern Oregon coast.

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