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Self-Publishing 4

Do it yourself self-publishing can be a scary thought, but if you can write a book and get it ready to publish, then you do have enough skills to get that book out there. I took the plunge and so can you.

What made me change my attitude from scary to possible? Sure, I talked to others who had done it, but I was still hesitant, until I came across a book by Lucinda Moebius called Write Well Publish Right. First of all, I was interested in reading a book about writing from a high school and college teacher. Her book is what she teaches her students from beginning to the end at publishing. Mainly, I thought maybe I could implement some of her concepts into ideas for teaching language to small groups. Moreover, what I really took away from this book is that it is possible for me to self-publish a book.

Lucinda states that it is easy with the use of the formatting guides available through ePublishing platforms. She hired a formatter for the Kindle version of her science fiction books, but formatted the Smashwords version on her own. Also, she had help with her cover, hired an editor, and went through Amazon CreateSpace as her printer. Many times she states that it is up to you to do your own research and do what is best for you.

Yes, she inspired me, so I went to createspace.com and got started. There an author can put in the title and paste in your manuscript and cover. Remember you have to have an ISBN number for your e-book, another one for your print book and CreateSpace can provide them for you. I did have to hire help with the e-book, my son did the front cover work, then I hired Fiverr for the spine and back cover for which I paid a little extra. Instead of five dollars with Fiverr, it was ten dollars and I’m very happy with their work.

I learned that the CreateSpace process for me was somewhere between adding art and print to a Vistaprint writing advertisement to doing my own taxes (on an easier year).

Yesterday, I went to hear multi-published author, Joanne Pence, give a talk about self-publishing at my local writers group in the Boise area. After already using CreateSpace, I learned the following information:

For those of you that want to add a publishing name to their self-pubbed books, Joanne says that you can go through SBA.GOV for your assumed business name. Registering a name will cost you $25.00. For my writing business name of Melland Publishing, LLC, I went through the Secretary of Idaho and paid $100.

Joanne also says that off-white or cream is the paper color of most fiction books. The 6 x 9 inch book size is becoming the industry standard and costs less than a book sized 5 ½ x 8 1/2 inches. You can buy a cheaper, older version of Adobe Photoshop on eBay for making your own covers.

Finally, Joanne adds that, especially for multi-published authors, the value of going to kdp.amazon.com and using them exclusively to sell your e-book for your first 90 days can give you five free days on Amazon. It’s a way to get your name out there in hopes of readers choosing to buy and read your other books. After 90 days you can renew with them, or you can put your book into an .epub format and download it to other bookselling sites.

Yet, as Lucinda says, you need to do your own study and then decide what is best for you.

http://www.maryvine.com

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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:
https://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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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

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

 

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Inside School Walls

I’ve been around for awhile and I’ve seen a lot. Instead of being over the hill, I like to think of myself as stopping on the top and looking out at the view before I move down the hill. When I was a youngster, what really scared me was the witch from The Wizard of Oz. I lived through the killing of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The moments are still vivid in my mind, yet these incidents didn’t scare me as much as hearing about a twenty-four-year-old man doing the unthinkable in the 1960s.

The first mass random shooting in American history took place on August 1, 1966 at the University of Texas in Austin. From the tall observation deck of University Tower, a man killed 16 people and wounded dozens of others. This horrified me that this could actually happen somewhere in America.

I have worked in the school system since 1988, working with students with all types of disabilities, including mental disorders. I’ve worked with students from four to eighteen years old and have served at many schools. In elementary school, first grade was my favorite age because they seem so eager and ready to learn. Presently, in high school, I find I have a heart for students with emotional disorders, however, I worry about their future.

My first experience with schools and violence came when I was working at a high school in Oregon. This was after Columbine, making all of us in the school system aware that something could happen almost anywhere. I was lucky; our school only experienced bomb threats. But, they were scary enough when the whole school had to leave the building.

It’s a sad thing when you have to pray for your safety and for those around you each day before you go to work/school. Some thought bullying was involved, so we made sure our students knew bullying was not okay. But it is more than bullying and we practice lock downs often in our schools.

This week I am heartbroken that first graders are shot down, as well as school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary. Yes, I feel less safe at school, but I’m not frightened this time, but deeply, disturbingly, sad and grieving. Students of the age I have favored so dearly are leaving this world due to a person with an emotional or mental disorder, another type of student I care about.

This is the first time, I’ve really asked why. Besides the fact that we all have free choice in what we do, I can’t give you a precise answer, but I have learned something through watching.  I’ve learned that the whole nation is suffering, not only the victim’s families. So many of us would do anything to help when there is not much we can do but pray.  I’ve learned that in an era of complaining about schools not doing enough, Sandy Hook’s staff members have given their lives for their students, and our love for our students has been exposed.

As a youngster, I learned to have faith in a higher power and still today I realize I don’t know how to exist without finding comfort there, and finding solace that when I get down this hill I’m traveling and pass on, I will get to move through an often mentioned tunnel of light and see my loved ones waiting for me and some of them will be students.

 
 

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A Curse and a Blessing

I’ve been on a mini-vacation of sorts. Not a traditional vacation, mind you. You see, my computer kept working slower and slower until I had no choice but to take it to a repair shop. Now, the last time I had a computer in for fixing, I felt like I’d dropped off my child for two days. What would I do without my computer? What would I do during my down time now?  It’s amazing to me. How did I become so dependent on something I didn’t even grow up with?

Before taking my computer in, I’d been revising a manuscript and was at a good place to stop. I saved everything important and was ready to wait for the repair to take place. While I waited, I used my husband’s laptop to check my email and my blog site. On my Kindle Fire, I was able to check Facebook. So, I was hardly destitute.

By this time in my life, I’ve learned that there is always a silver lining in the difficult things that come my way. The silver lining came in realizing something important about myself. When I wasn’t at work, I was thinking about writing, or not writing, or figuring out when I could write. I looked at the calendar and wondered how much time an event would take and when I’d have enough time to start writing again.

With my newfound freedom, I went shopping with my sister. This was the first time in a while that I felt like I was free to enjoy myself because I couldn’t go home and write. There’s a freedom in this, you know.

This past year, I’d not read as many books as in years past. I used some spare time to read a few of my author friends’ books.

Sure, I feel a freedom of sorts after each manuscript is finished. I probably take a good month off from writing at that time. But it’s different, it’s not because I can’t write it’s because I’m at a place of transition.

My husband asked me how I felt now that my computer was fixed and back home. I believe he thought I would be relieved and as happy as I was the last time my computer had a tune up. But, I didn’t know how to answer him. I stammered, and couldn’t quite find the words to match my feeling. Of course it was good to have my computer back because I need it, and it’s in good shape now.

A writer is not like the person who comes home from work and forgets his job for the evening or the weekend. A writer is thinking about what lays ahead in the story, or the next one he will start. We have no freedom to do things with our time, without sacrificing the story we want to write. It is a balancing act to be sure, one most of us are not very good at. It’s a curse and a blessing. The blessing is that when we do write, we are at our happiest.

www.maryvine.com

 
 

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