I don’t as a rule reblog but the flower shots on this blog cheered me so much, I wanted to share. Enjoy. Lovely work, Bruce.
Monthly Archives: February 2015
To Share or Not to Share?
I’m guest posting over on the Alliance of Independent Authors Self-Publishing Advice Blog today. My topic is the sometimes tricky issue of sharing our manuscripts with the significant others in our lives.
Please pop over and check it out. How to Share Your Manuscript with Your Partner.
Assisted Self-Publishing or Not–Final Thoughts
At the risk of being boring …. ah, well, I’ll take the chance. I’d like to share a couple of final thoughts on the whole re-release process for Disappearing in Plain Sight.
Reviews from the previous edition ….
I am pleased to report that all the wonderful four and five star reviews Disappearing in Plain Sight has received over the last two years have tagged along to the new edition and this has happened on all Amazon sites. The trick is to keep the exact title and author. As well, one must make no significant changes to the body of the work. I had worried that adding Crater Lake Series – Book One to the title might equal change but it didn’t. I was able to change publication date, ISBN and the publisher and still keep my precious reviews.
Like most things – the process was less painful than I anticipated ….
- The assisted self-publisher threw up no roadblocks when it came to letting me go.
- Preparing the final Word document/manuscript of Disappearing in Plain Sight for my e-formatter amounted to more than a few hours of work but I have some experience with what is required after having gone twice through the drill.
- Obtaining an ISBN in Canada is easy and free.
- When one has properly formatted mobi and ePub files, a cover than meets specifications and all other relevant information (ISBN, publisher name, book blurb, categories, tags, price) – putting the book up for sale on most sites is very quick.
Advantages of re-gaining control of the first book in the Crater Lake Series … Huge!
- I was able to make it clear that Disappearing in Plain Sight is the first book of a series.
- I included a sneak-peak preview of Chapter One of The Light Never Lies at the end of the e-book to push sales further down the line of the series.
- I can now track sales hourly (if I was so crazy as to try!) on all books rather than having to wait a month after any sale to see how Disappearing in Plain Sight was doing.
- I can set the price and I can change it if I so desire.
- When the Crater Lake Series is complete, I will have the option to release all the books as a boxed set. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without control of the first book in the series.
- My royalty is fifty cents more per e-book sale. That is significant on a product that sells for $3.99.
Work left to do ….
I am currently formatting for the softcover edition through CreateSpace. This is a time consuming task and I take it a bit at a time. We must redesign the cover to include the Huckleberry Haven Publishing logo and to indicate the book is part of the Crater Lake Series. I’m awaiting final approval to be entered into Smashwords Premium Catalogue which will mean the new edition of Disappearing in Plain Sight will be available for Nook readers and through the iTunes Store. A similar process is ongoing for entry into the Kobo Store. I’m slowly but surely rooting out non-working links to the old distribution channels on all social media sites and replacing them with the new links.
Final Word ….
Take the plunge. If you went the assisted self-publisher route and now feel the need to regain control – go for it. Hopefully, you’ll feel as I do at the end of the process – glad. And if you’re wavering about going it on your own or using an assisted self-publisher, I say take the leap over the cliff on your own. That way you won’t have to back track later.
5-Star Review of Disappearing in Plain Sight
As I revel in the re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight under my own author imprint (Huckleberry Haven Publishing), I wanted to share one of the first reviews I received for this book. As you can imagine, Sarah Stewart’s thoughtful 5-star review on Amazon.ca meant a lot to a newly published author!
I read upwards of ten books a month in my work as an editor (and my life as a book lover), and it’s quite rare for me to encounter a story that stays with me for months afterward. This book did just that rare thing for me. Though I read the book in the fall, one day recently I found myself wondering about a couple of its characters in the same way I wonder about old friends I haven’t heard from for a while. “How’s she doing?” I thought about Lisa Marie, one of the book’s protagonists.
I crave getting enveloped in a story, one that is entertaining and well-paced, but intelligent too. I love it when novels deal in equal measure with interpersonal relationships/ romances and more systemic issues such as bullying, trauma, and oppression. As such, I devoured this story, felt attached to the characters, and was sorry when it was over. Not to mention that her beautiful prose made me yearn for the rugged west coast that I’d moved from not long before I read it. These are all marks of a wonderful book for me. Disappearing in Plain Sight is well worth reading.
Please take a moment to visit an Amazon site of your choice and check out the re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight. So many little actions help a new listing on Amazon and a click through to view is always good.
I’ll leave you today with one of my favourite signs of spring. A delicate crocus poking out to the sun.
Re-Release Party for Disappearing in Plain Sight
The re-release of Disappearing in Plain Sight under the Huckleberry Haven Publishing imprint has rushed along faster than I anticipated.
You can help me celebrate today by popping over to visit Disappearing in Plain Sight on Amazon.com or Amazon UK or Amazon.ca and, if you’ve ever been curious to read one of my books but haven’t yet taken the plunge, now might be the time to load up Disappearing in Plain Sight on your Kindle. Even a visit over to the site is a big help.
If you’ve already read Disappearing in Plain Sight – and thanks so much!! – and haven’t yet reviewed, now would be a great time to place a review up for the re-released version. Same book – only change is a new imprint. A review doesn’t have to be lengthy – just saying.
The assisted self-publisher is scheduled to take their version down on Feb. 23rd, so I expect some confusion will reign for the next couple of days while the old and new floats out there in the Amazon world. I am hopeful that my 30-plus, four and five star reviews will eventually find their way to the page of the newly released version.
A big shout of thanks to e-book formatter Doug Heatherly over at Lighthouse24 for yet another smooth and easy trip from my Word file to mobi and ePub versions of Disappearing in Plain Sight.
Okay, I’m off to celebrate yet another step in the self-publishing journey – all my books in my own hands when it comes to pricing and distribution decisions. Feels good.
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring
Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet – Roger Miller
Well, it never rains but it pours and those words are certainly true around our house. We’ve come through a week of truly, tremendous downpours. And, as to managing the many hats of a self-published author, I am currently in a deluge.
All good things, all good things, as snowman Olaf from the Disney film, Frozen, would say.
One of my top priorities right now is the line-by-line editing of Chasing Down the Night. Exhilarating is how I would describe this process. When one has found a good editor, one has found treasure indeed.
The deluge feeling came about the other day when I received an email from the assisted self-publisher who handles distribution for Disappearing in Plain Sight. As stated in my contract – and I must have been aware of this because when I looked back at the contract, I had highlighted this bit – after two years the company will begin to charge a nominal fee in order to continue handling distribution. Well, those two years are nearly up. Despite my prior knowledge – as evidenced by that pesky highlighting – the whole thing came as a surprise. How the time flies when we are having fun.
Nominal fee is a subjective term. It amounts to $30.00 per ISBN, per year and Disappearing in Plain Sight has three ISBNs. Since I always planned to take the first book in the Crater Lake Series back from the assisted self-publisher and republish it under the Huckleberry Haven Publishing imprint, the time quite suddenly became now.
The process has me going back to the final Word document and tuning it up for my e-formatter, redoing the cover – those of you who love the original, don’t worry, we plan to get as close as possible – and eventually formatting the softcover for loading up to CreateSpace. The softcover formatting is the biggest hurdle for me as I handle that work myself. Bruce may have another opinion as he wrestles with the cover design for Chasing Down the Night and redoing Disappearing in Plain Sight.
There is a possibility I will lose my Amazon reviews when I put up the new version of Disappearing in Plain Sight. The idea of that makes me want to weep. Feedback on this issue is mixed. Some people tell me they’ve gone through three different publishing imprints with different ISBNs and their reviews always followed them. Others say the reviews will be lost. We’ll see.
This whole experience leads me to a valuable insight and some words from the wise – or at least someone who is struggling down the path. It is a huge amount of work to put a book out on your own, the learning curve is steep and it’s easy to be lured by the assisted self-publishing route. If I had to do it all again, I would bite the bullet and climb that steep curve from the start.
When all is said and done, I know I will be glad I am forced now to get on with the work of taking back my first novel. In this updated version of Disappearing in Plain Sight, I’ll be able to make clearer the connection to the rest of the books in the Crater Lake series. I can add chapter one of The Light Never Lies at the end of the e-book as a sneak peak. I will have control of all distribution.
As I said earlier, all good things, all good things. It’s raining, it’s pouring and I am far from snoring.
To Be Free or Not to Be Free
I had the great pleasure to read J.J. Marsh’s recent blog post this morning – I do not want your new free book. I urge all writers and readers alike to pop over to J.J’s blog and check out her thoughts on giving or getting books for free.
As I commented, on the post, I made my self-publishing debut in 2013 and soon learned – sometimes the hard way – that most of what I had read to prepare me to be a successful, self-published author was just plain false or woefully out dated. Offering one’s books up for free was a marketing strategy toted with a feverish zeal. I didn’t understand the sense of this dictum and because I had gone with an assisted self-publisher for my first book, I didn’t have the ability to give Disappearing in Plain Sight away for free. I’m glad now that was the case.
Striking out on my own with my book of short-stories and the second book in the Crater Lake Series, The Light Never Lies, I’ve had the option to offer them up for no cost. Like most self-published authors, I’ve dipped a toe in the waters. The results didn’t break any records. A free weekend of Strands of Sorrow, Threads of Hope garnered thirty downloads. If I could be assured thirty downloads meant thirty reads, I’d be more than happy with the whole endeavour. But, as J.J points out in her post, most free material ends up archived on someone’s Kindle never to be read or given a second thought. After all it was free.
Some might argue, little invested for little return about my efforts. Perhaps. The common wisdom out there is that you have to land a coveted and, let me add, expensive advertising spot if your free promotion is going to amount to anything. But the idea of spending money to give books away is so beyond-the-beyond to me, I don’t even want to dwell on it.
Writing is my passion and, at the end of the day, I’ll keep doing it even if I never make a penny beyond what I spend to allow my work to see the light of day. But I’m reminded of something my husband was told by a wise person when he first started his own business. If you devalue what you do, no one else is going to value it either.
A copy of an e-book sells for less than a fancy cup of coffee. For that low price a reader should expect a well-written, well-edited, well thought out book. A great cover and good blurb should be part of the package, too. If you don’t get all of the above, I urge you not to purchase the work of that author again. But given all of that, the price is not too much to ask for the time and effort that goes into writing a full-length novel – even if the author is an unknown quantity.
I add my small voice to that of other self-published authors who declare that we won’t offer our books for free. I’ll still do giveaways to friends, family, serious reviewers and charitable events.
There you have it. What are your thoughts on the whole free e-book issue?
Homemade Bread and the Writing Process
Homemade bread. Ah . . . the feelings those words evoke – everything from nostalgic images of Little House on the Prairie to mouth-watering memories of Grandma’s kitchen.
I’ve had various flirtations and more than a couple of long-term relationships with homemade bread over the years – all of them satisfying. More years ago than I want to admit, I received a gift copy of a book by Ellen Foscue Johnson entitled: The Garden Way Bread Book: A Baker’s Almanac. What a jewel of a cookbook. The book is sprinkled with black and white line drawings and filled with recipes time tested over the years to a level of perfection. Ellen Foscue Johnson and I have been through a lot!
My latest foray into the bread making world has me thinking about the parallels between making bread from scratch and the writing process.
I’ll say from the outset – there is nothing particularly difficult about making bread. No special talent is required beyond patience and a bit of elbow-grease when it comes to kneading. The similarities with the writing process begin when I think of the flow experience I have with each.
Between morning tasks of checking out social media, making coffee, starting the wood-burning stove and whatever else needs to be done, I’ll toss two cups of water, two tablespoons of sugar (or other types of sweetness – honey for example) and one tablespoon of yeast into a large bowl.
Sometime later, I’ll add oil, salt and some flour and whip that up for a couple of minutes with my hand-held mix-master. Most of the time, I toss a tea-towel over that sponge and go about other tasks. When I get back to it, I add more flour and knead for ten minutes.
We tried to get a decent photo of kneading but apparently I was moving too fast. Kneading can be a good work out and gives lots of time for thoughts to wander. I let the dough rise, punch it down, form it into whatever shape takes my fancy and let it rise again. Then it’s into the oven to bake. Easy-peasy as my granddaughters say.
Like bread making, the writing process requires patience and elbow grease. Imagination and fledgling ideas are the writer’s yeast. We sprinkle those ideas out on a warm and receptive surface and let them bubble. Later, we outline and storyboard, do research and take notes – we’re about adding our writing flour. We whip everything together. We wait and we think. Then comes more structure and planning as we work the whole mess into a smooth story – so similar to that neat ball of dough we get after kneading and kneading until we’re sure we can’t push that dough around the floured board for even one more turn. At some point we need to leave the story alone. Let it rise. We punch it down and rework it a few times, forming it as we go. We bake it up with editing and formatting and then we send it out into the world. Hopefully our efforts are met with the joy that accompanies that first bite into a fresh-baked loaf.
If you’re a writer, I suggest you bake some bread. Even if the process doesn’t match what you go through when writing, the results will be mouth-watering enough to make you forget any thorny, little writing problems you might be experiencing. And when the other people in your life take that first bite of hot-out-of-the-oven bread slathered with jam, they will forgive all the times you neglect them to be off in your own writing world.
Here’s the basic, white bread recipe from Johnson’s book – enjoy
(I used a half a cup of mixed, ground sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds in the loaves I baked today. Use any combination of flours you like – add an extra tsp. of yeast if you go heavy on the whole wheat.)