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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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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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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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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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Haunting Amazon

Many writers have already learned that there is more to the business than just writing. Marketing and/or getting your name out there is next on the docket after you get the call, so get ready. I’ve saved articles on how to market your book online and many of them are free. Free yes, but time consuming. Not only do you need time to write, but time to market online. It is crucial to getting your name out there.

I heard I should haunt Amazon, to watch the discussion forums and comment about my book if it applies to what someone wants. I set down to do just that last week. I looked for the topic, “Hot Cowboys,” so that I could promote A Place to Land. Here’s what happened:

In reply to your post, HJ Leonard says:

Why is it that self-promoters ALWAYS pull up dead threads to push their books?

Mary, please read and click on the links:

The following information is directed at authors or fans who mistakenly find their way to this forum in order to promote a certain book before finding out the rules.

So here are the rules according to AMAZON:

Self promotion is not permitted by Amazon, except in the Meet Our Authors forum.

A) Read the posting policy of what is and is not allowed
http://www.amazon.com/gp/forum/content/db-guidelines.html/ref=cm_cd_f_h_help

B) Read Amazon’s post (that appeared on all forums earlier this year) that specifically says they are cracking down on shameless self promotions:
http://www.amazon.com/forum/romance/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxM42D5QN2YZ1D&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx20TWTO4E05JYM

C) Visit the Meet Our Authors forum to self promote or learn about other authors books.
http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_topf_t?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S

Well, there you have it. This is how it’s done today.

Happy marketing!

www.maryvine.com

 
15 Comments

Posted by on November 22, 2012 in Blogs, Book Marketing, books, Idaho, readers, reading, writers, writing

 

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Smelling Roses

One of the good things about turning fifty is the chance to join AARP and receive the bi-monthly AARP Magazine. On a trip to see my in-laws, I had time to rest, at different intervals during the day, and read the October/November addition. Now, I don’t know if the editor meant to have a theme running through the issue, but I caught something important as I read.

Actor, writer, comedian, Tim Allen was featured on the cover. “Engage in life as much as you can,” says Allen. “It takes energy. But if you don’t find your center point, you end up sorta drifting through life sideways.”

Actress and singer, Bette Midler, appeared in the What’s New section of the magazine. Under the title, What I Know Now, she says, “When you have had your head down doing something – even something you love, love, love – and you finally pick your head up and see the world around you, it’s just so beautiful. It’s just…oh, my God, I’m so glad I lived! That’s when you realize you need balance. I seek that now all the time.”

In my free time, I do have my head down, doing mostly things relating to writing. As most of you are, I am in love with words on a page.

I’ve often found that the days go so fast, even faster now that I’m growing older. Just lately, I found myself wondering if I’ll ever get the chance to just sit and be. And if so, will I be happy after being busy for so long?

This weekend, my husband and I are visiting his parents in two, side-by-side, adult foster homes. His mother has grown stronger than she was one year ago. It’s nice to sit and talk with her, fill her in on our busy lives. She sits and smiles as she listens, and listens well as she’s lost most of her eye sight. Still, I catch her looking up toward her son as she has for many years.

Unlike my mother-in-law, my father-in-law hasn’t improved since we last saw him. His Alzheimer’s has progressed, his memory has failed him, and he can only say a three word phrase (on a good day). My husband said, “I don’t know what to say, so I guess I’ll just spend some time with my arm around his shoulder.” It was beautiful to watch.

Back to my magazine, under the section, Ponder This, I found this tidbit of information: 18 is the number of minutes in an average day that Americans ages 45 through 64 spend just relaxing and thinking.

“You don’t want the end to come and you say, “I wish I’d loved more, I wish I’d smelled more roses,” Allen says. “You have to do that now.”

www.maryvine.com

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Blogs, Boise, Family, Idaho, values

 

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