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Self Publishing 3

This summer I had the opportunity to read several books. Some of the e-books I chose to read were free on Kindle, by long published authors and new authors taking advantage of the self publishing boom.

I have an eye for spotting errors in what I read, probably because I have practiced editing and proofreading my manuscripts for many years. I’ve gotten so that I can spot an error in anyone’s book, at least one error, ninety-five percent of the time. I am okay with, or can tolerate, up to four errors per book, but after that I am annoyed and most psychology books will say that being annoyed leads to anger.

Yes, I became angry with a new author, who could write, but had errors in her book. It wasn’t misspelled words that got my attention, but words that didn’t belong in the sentence, like someone used auto correct. Another common error in this book was leaving out a word in a sentence. Writers can leave out a word and miss it in the editing process because our minds know what we meant to say and so we think it’s there. It happens to the best of us, that’s why we need another set of eyes on our manuscript. Actually, more than one pair.

Today the trend is to hire a professional editor to go over a book before self publishing. An editor is someone who prepares the final version of the manuscript, helping the writer determine the length and the order of events and scenes, character development, etc. Yet, I believe the author mentioned above needed a professional proofreader more than an editor. A proofreader goes line by line and marks corrections in grammar, spelling, omitted words, etc.

Presently, some of the best marketing opportunities are asking for books with four and five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. They want proven books, reviewed by average folks, not your author buddies. So, basically, the writer needs a proofreader and an editor, whether you hire someone or not. Don’t trust your eye as the only proofreader you need because it is quite likely you will miss something. The goal is to present your best work to the world, so don’t be in a hurry and get the help you need.

 

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Are You Ready for Indie Publishing, Part II

A Haunting in Trillium Falls_Mary Vine.jpgYou can find Are You Ready For Indie Publishing, Part 1 here:

http://gemstatewriters.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/are-you-ready-for-indie-publishing-part-i/

I’ve written and edited a book, asked other writers to read it and then I made changes. So, now I’m ready to start the steps to indie publishing. Yes, I wallowed with whether I should try to submit this baby to a publisher, but only sent it to one who rejected it. After some disappointment, I reminded myself that with three published books to my credit, this is the one I’d chosen to branch out with.

To be sure, I talked with other authors about the self-pub business. Many found success and encouraged me to do the same. An indie author referred me to Indieromanceink, an email loop for those who are, or plan to be, an indie author. It is a large group of writers that ask questions, or answer them, and there’s quite a bit of knowledge to be gained from this site.

An incredible amount of work to self-publish is necessary and it can be downright scary. First, you need to hire an editor to do a line-by-line edit, especially for a first time author. Some suggest two editors. It takes hours of time to read about marketing to prepare for launching out on your own.

There are two things I just don’t know how to do, and don’t have the time or inclination to learn. Number one is: Cover art. There are many indie writers out there doing it all, including the cover art and some a very eye-catching. I am lucky to have a designer, graphic production, multimedia, digital artist guy in the family to do mine.

Number two is to publish the e-book and send it to various outlets. I chose Wildflowers Books, a division of The Wild Rose Press to self-publish and distribute my book, A Haunting in Trillium Falls. The cost totaled $199 and the package includes a digital ISBN, conversion of the book into various formats, and distribution to the following retailers and partners:
Amazon Kindle
All Romance
Bookstrand
iTunes (iBookstore)
Sony
Kobo
Barnes & Noble Nook
Overdrive Content Reserve (distributes to libraries and various retailers)

Whether you are published first or not, marketing your book(s) takes time and scheduling time to write is the one thing most authors struggle with. It’s like going to school to be a special education teacher and when you get the job find out you are overwhelmed with so much paperwork that you have little time to work with the students that fascinate you so much. Yet, going the indie route with an e-mail loop has helped me learn volumes about the book publishing business which seems to change every day. And to top it off, you will earn more money on your own for that book you’ve created after hours of hard work.

http://www.maryvine.com

 

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Writing Everyday

I was flipping through the June 2013 edition of Woman’s Day magazine the other day and saw a short article called, Team Support by Debbie Dehler. She says, “You don’t go from couch potato to completing a race in a day. It’s regularly setting small, realistic goals that gets you to the finish line.” Sure this is all about diet and exercise, but it also applies to other goals as well. In my case, writing goals.

This month I participated in NEW/100. As far as I know, NEW/100 started in a writing group I belong to. NEW means No Excuses Writing, and the 100 stands for at least 100 new words per day. At the end of the day (or when you can) the word count is posted on the loop with NEW/100 in the subject line so that those who aren’t interested can delete the email if they choose.

Yes, in NEW/100, others are expecting us to get our word count in, which gives us the motivation to get those 100 words done and posted. Being accountable to another has helped me start or continue my writing project and for me it’s starting small and continuing until I reach my goal. For me 100 words a day is doable. 100 words is better than writing nothing at all and the words add up. This month I totaled 7,045 new words.

I know that there are additional online supports out there as well. I’ve seen 100 words in 100 days and you can only miss one day. I’ve seen 200 and 500 words sites as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 1k words a day competition.
One of these challenges just may work for you. Slow and steady wins the race.

http://www.maryvine.com

 

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Memorial Day

As a writer, I cannot help but put important events in my life down on paper. Just recently, I lost my in-laws, so I am honoring their lives here.

My mother-in-law was a lesson in being frugal. She taught me that one can get by without the frills in life and still be content. She didn’t hang on to a lot of stuff, only what she needed. What she had was used readily and appreciated. I always enjoyed how she would get a new gift and tell me how she was so happy with the product, whether it was new sheets for her bed or a timer for her eye drops. Once she realized the convenience or comfort, heartfelt thankfulness was in her tone of voice. She appreciated her flowers and nature and taught me to see beauty in a barren tree in the dead of winter. My husband looked forward to talking with her on the phone nearly every week, and I will miss sitting in the background with an ear to their conversations. She appeared to hang on his every word. Who else will care so much about what he is doing with his life?

And who didn’t love my father-in-law? He had a gifted sense of humor and always had a smile. He continued to smile right up to the end of his life. He (and his parents) taught my husband a good work ethic, and to go out and help the neighbors. He had his kids shoveling snow off walkways for those who needed it and he did his share of helping over the years, too. I can’t imagine him not being there when someone needed him, if he was able to help. The most profound thing I had ever heard him say came from a conversation he was having with my husband about a year or two ago. My father-in-law had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t worry about finding the right words in conversation any more, that he had to just let it go. He told my husband that he would probably have to do the same thing at times as regards to his multiple sclerosis. During WWII, he served in the Battle of the Bulge, a well-known battle in France, where the courage and fortitude of the American Soldier was tested against great adversity.

After many years in the Wenatchee area, my in-laws moved to the Spokane Valley to help their daughter care for her family with a new disabled baby. Likewise, they looked out for their neighbors and helped an elderly woman who lived next to them for many years. We were there the day their house sold and the neighbors from literally every side of their home came over to ask about them as they’d grown to care about them so much over the years. And personally, they treated me like I was a gift from heaven for their son, which I so appreciated early on.

They were married sixty-six years and attended Church together most of those years. They passed away less than two weeks from each other. For me, their deaths give new meaning to the expression; see you on the other side. When my time comes, I look forward to hugging them again.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in biography, Blogs, Boise, Family, Idaho, Memorial Day, values

 

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Ask A Busy Person To Do It

For years I’d dreamed of working part-time so I’d have more time to write. In 2010, I got the chance when I retired from a school district in Oregon, but then decided I wanted to work after I moved to Idaho. I was hired for eighteen hours a week. I worked the eighteen hours in two and a half days. That left two and a half days during the week to write, in addition to the weekend. What could be more perfect than being able to do two things I love?

I could imagine myself up at 6:00 am on my days off, seated at the computer. In reality it meant I could sleep in a little longer and have breakfast at 8:00 or so. Then I’d listen to music, take a leisurely bath, and then fix my hair and face. 10:30 rolls around and I sit down to check my emails, or TV. Lunch time is next, but I tell myself I can write in the afternoon, until I realize I’d better get that shopping done before school starts again.  In the evenings, after dinner, I cuddle up with my husband and watch prime time television.

You know the story, don’t you? If not your week day, then your weekend can look this way. Anyway, I still have a book ready to go every other year, just the same as when I was working full-time. For those of you who want to quit your day job to write, I’m sorry I’m crushing your aspirations.

Jump forward two years or so, and I find that a different school district has an opportunity for me. Five dollars more an hour, you say? More benefits? So I’m back to working full-time until the end of the school year.

After two years off from the fast paced grind, my body is complaining, big time. Backache or arthritis is my constant friend (enemy) as I start the first couple of months. Perhaps I’m getting too old to work, I tell myself. How did I ever get anything done, let alone writing, after working this many hours in the past?

Yet, it is amazing how the body adapts. After two months or so, my back no longer hurts and I find that I can pack my bag a little fuller each day as I lug it from school to school. Further, I’m able to remember what’s needed for the kiddos I work with at all five schools. Now I’m no longer quite so exhausted when I get home and have been busy researching online marketing for my book coming out in June (plug here).

So, as the body adapts to being busier, does it adapt in reverse as well? Or, because we have the extra time, is it a matter of laziness or procrastination? I don’t know, but I’ve learned from a handful of successful authors that writing is a business. Eight to five, butt in chair, or something similar. Probably all of us know successful authors who work full-time, as well.  There is a saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

For me to crank out a book more often than every other year, I basically need a gun at my back or a time card. But I’ve come to terms with my pace whether full or part-time.  I’m going to worry about something else instead. After all, it’s my journey, and that’s fine with me.

www.maryvine.com

 
 

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Another Reason to Buy an E-book

Recently, my husband said I should get a new Kindle Fire, the one with the larger screen and the capability to be online anywhere with a reasonable distance to a cell tower. I knew phones could do that, of course, but I didn’t know a tablet could, so in a few days I held one in my hand. The 4G Kindle Fire takes a little time to get used to, at least for me, but once I have it figured out I should be able to do just about anything with it.

At work, I looked for some vocabulary curriculum that I could use with my high school students, and came across a reading comprehension sheet from Read Theory, LLC. The paper didn’t have a title or a mention of the author who wrote it, but it was about books becoming relics, and how e-readers are superior. Obviously it was a persuasion essay, and I’m not here to tell you to throw away your books. I will always love an actual book I can hold in my hand, too.

I have heard several of the author’s arguments before, but one thing really opened my eyes. E-books are environmentally friendly. Of course they are, I have no argument with that. Further he/she stated how many trees it took to print a book.

80,000 pieces of paper in a tree.

If your book is 300 pages long, printed 1000 times, it will take 4 trees.

If your book is a bestseller, selling 20,000 copies a week, it will take over 300 trees per month.

If you are J.K Rowling, with the Harry Potter series, you have sold 450 million copies and have used 2 million trees to print your books.

So, here is another reason to buy E-books. I, personally, love trees and am rethinking the value of a book held in my hand.

http://www.maryvine.com

 
16 Comments

Posted by on March 19, 2013 in 4G Kindle Fire, books, ebook, readers, reading, values

 

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A Kindle Way of Life

012Christmas before last, my husband gave me a Kindle Fire. Sure, I had thought about having an e-reader one day, but I was quite happy with having an actual book in my lap. My dream was always to write a book I could hold in my hands. I’m grateful I got to have just that before we all turn electronic one day.

After making my New Year’s resolution to exercise last year, I noticed that I could multi-task by using my exercise bike and utilize Facebook at the same time. Once I finished checking in, I could read email or an e-book while cycling away. I also use my Kindle to look for information on the internet.  Sometimes, I get quicker results than on my computer.

This past year I had some major editing to do on a manuscript, so I looked for a couple of craft books for inspiration. The two books I chose were available in e-book format, so I opted for the electronic version mainly because of the cheaper price. A nice surprise was that I could lay my small kindle next to my computer instead of two books. I’d zip through the pages of the reader as I worked and my husband got tired of hearing about how convenient this arrangement was.

Several authors have free or discounted e-books so I download them on my Kindle. I get excellent buys on 013books and easily store them on my Kindle, verses filling my already full bookcase or end tables. I like that my books are more affordable as e-books, too.

I look at my pile of magazines and think that I will start ordering them in e-book format, so I won’t have them lying around, and will be at hand on the Kindle I have in my bag when I’m out and about, or travelling to see my family. When I do travel my Kindle is smaller and lighter than my computer, and it is WiFi accessible.

Just before Christmas break, I worked with a high school student who likes to read but struggles with vocabulary/hard words. To help her understand, we looked at the other words in the sentence before and after to help her understand the meaning of the word. Her eyes lit up when I told her that on a Kindle you can touch the word on the page and the meaning comes up.

I love to read to my grandchildren. I started thinking that if I could have my favorite children’s e-books on hand where ever I am, then I’ll always have the opportunity to read to them while not having to carry the copies around.

I found some free and inexpensive children’s e-books. This past Christmas I got a chance to read them to my grandchildren. I did read hard cover books to them while they were here, and it was perfect just before bedtime. Yet, in the living room, I noticed how easy it was to pull the kids into my lap when they were fussing, getting bored, or tired, and open the Kindle Fire and read. The kids and I enjoyed the color pictures and how they slid across the screen. In my opinion, at that moment, they enjoyed the e-book version as much as the hard cover books.

It took me a little while to understand the value of my husband’s gift, but now I consider it to be a gift that keeps on giving.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Blogs, Boise, books, ebook, Family, Idaho, readers, reading, travel

 

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