Archive for December, 2015

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I’ve never heard of the Liebster Award before, but I’d like to thank Bridgett Morigna for nominating me. It was very unexpected to be nominated for anything, especially on a Tuesday.

The reason for this award is for new bloggers to promote each other. It’s given to bloggers with less than 1,000 followers by other bloggers.

The Rules:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator gave you.
  3. Tag 11 bloggers with less than 1,000 readers.
  4. Think of 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated.
  5. Let them know you have nominated them through social media or their blog.

Here are Bridgett’s questions and my answers

1) What music gets you in the mood for writing?

I prefer music that doesn’t have lyrics. I am a singer as well as a writer and lyrics distract me. I particularly like songs written for movies and video games because they suite the mood of my stories.

2) In your opinion what is the best thing you’ve written so far?

The best thing I’ve ever written is a poem I wrote for my grandmother after she passed away.

3)Have you accomplished your goals for 2015?

Yes! I set out to publish Book One of my trilogy and I did that.

4)What is one thing you want to see happen in 2016?

I’m hoping to stay on track to publish Books Two and Three next year.

5)What is your favorite book you read this year?

I’m going to have to say Storming by K. M. Weiland is topping the charts for my reads this year.

6)Coffee or tea?

Tea usually, but sometimes coffee is good, too.

7)Have you visited anywhere exciting in the past year? Where?

I’ve only visited imaginary places in 2015. I think The Commonwealth in Fallout 4 might be my favorite.

8)What is your favorite thing about blogging/writing?

I like making up new worlds and the characters that live in them.

9)What would you do if you won a million dollars?

I would buy a reasonably priced house and then do some traveling; maybe a castle tour of Europe.

10)What book would you like to see made into a movie?

I would actually really like to see the Disc World books made into a movie or television show. I think it’s such an in depth creation with a lot of memorable characters, plus it’s funny.

11)What is your current favorite tv show?

I’m actually really enjoying Elementary right now.

Now for my own nominations:

EJ Fisch

Susanne Valenti

J W Kurtz

Along the Barren Road

Bright Write Now

Okay, okay. I know that’s not 11 but I’m fairly new at this and I don’t know of more  people with less than 1,000 followers. (Hopefully the internet gods will not smote me for that.)

My Questions:
  1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
  2. What is one thing that inspires you?
  3. Do you have any other hobbies besides reading and writing?
  4. What was your favorite movie of 2015?
  5. If you could pick one song as your theme song, what would it be?
  6. Dogs or cats?
  7. What is your favorite fictional world?
  8. Would you rather go to the forest or the beach?
  9. What is the main thing that causes writer’s block?
  10. What is your favorite season?
  11. What is your favorite genre?
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Before I published two months ago, one of my biggest questions was: Is it worth it for a new author to sign up for KDP Select? It’s also a question I couldn’t find an answer to on the internet. There were arguments both for an against the program, but in all cases it was established authors or authors who had previously been enrolled. That left it up to me to decide for myself.

I saw both pros and cons to the idea of being exclusive to Amazon. The biggest pro was having my book eligible for Kindle Unlimited. I liked the idea that Darkness Falling would be free to anyone who was enrolled in the program, but I’d be paid for pages read. This is a big deal because as a new author it gives people the chance to read without having to risk anything but their time. If they read three pages and hate it, then I haven’t asked them to make a big contribution.

On the other hand, I’m a person of low means when it come to income. It would be nice to make some money on my book, and although the amount you get per pages read is something like half a cent, it’s better than nothing.

Of course, two months later only five-hundred pages have been read for free and all of them were on the same day: November 27th. According to the book’s page on Amazon for the digital version, it is 257 pages long. I’ve learned that if you borrow a book from Kindle Unlimited and then go offline with your Kindle, it won’t count the pages as you reconnect. Approximately two weeks prior to the 27th someone did borrow the book and read one page. That solitary page vanished on the 27th, which I assume means it belongs to the 500 page dump that appears on my graph. I’m guessing this was one borrower who read the book twice, or loaned it to someone.

Granted, I don’t have a large advertising budget. I don’t expect to loan out many books, just as I know my sales numbers have been small in comparison to those who have money for advertising. Despite that, I’m still really surprised that actual sales are 80% higher than borrowed books. I thought it would be the other way around.

This made me curious about borrowing. How many people really enroll in Kindle Unlimited? I decided to run a Twitter Poll to find out. I received exactly one response.

At this point I have one month left of being enrolled in KDP select. It does offer a few other pros, such as being able to have a free giveaway day. On Black Friday I gave away 30 books, which is a big number for me. My goal is to have my book read by as many people as possible, and that free day was a big boost.

The biggest con I have to staying enrolled is I know there are people who hate Amazon, which  means my book isn’t available to them in any format. I’d like to be able to reach those people, too.

I’d run another poll to ask my followers which platform they use to read, but right now I don’t think I’d get any data from it. If my borrowed books do not increase in the next month, and if my next free day doesn’t go as well as my first one, I most likely will be offering Book One on more platforms in February.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve had any advice on this matter, please feel free to leave a comment.

Editing is hard.

Writing can be hard, but that’s the fun part. You allow all of your ideas to spill out through your preferred method, – either by hand or through type, – and watch your story unfold. Once you’re done you then need to go back with an ax and hack away at the unnecessary growth and fix all of the errors that are found within your pages.

That is not an easy process and it’s no wonder that hiring a professional editor is often a necessary thing. Having someone else with unbiased eyes look at your work is important. However; the reality is, not everyone can afford an editor. Not everyone is lucky enough to have an editor among our family or friends, either.

Self-editing is frowned upon, I know it this. You see it in the advice given to self-publishing authors all the time to hire an editor. If you can afford it, do it. In my situation it’s not possible, leaving it up to me. I was lucky in that one of my beta readers offered to circle misspellings, typos, and fragments that I missed the first time around with a red pen. I was grateful for this help.

Hacking up my manuscript was up to me. Figuring out how to cut out the fluff was my job. This wasn’t painful because I had waited eleven years. This isn’t always going to be true. Fixing errors was painful because I was excited to get it done. While I went through this process I learned a few things that improved my ability to edit on my own and catch mistakes.

Give yourself an editing cushion

After completing each draft give yourself an amount of time to close the project and take a break. This reminds me of when you finish cooking meat and you let it “rest” a few minutes before you cut it. The story will still be simmering in your head, but when you come back you’ll be refreshed and able to look at it with fresh eyes.

Everyone’s time for this may differ. I prefer a couple of weeks but others may prefer more or less time.

Change the format in which you view your project

You’ve just spent weeks typing up a draft on a computer. Seeing things in the same way over and over makes it harder to see a problem. Print the story out or find a document reader for your phone or tablet. Read every page as if you were a reader, not a writer. You’ll be surprised how many surprise typos or weird sentences will suddenly appear.

While in your new format you may not be able to make changes right away, and I think this is a good thing. Mark your print out or make a list if you’re on your phone. Read in sections and take your time, then go back and fix the mistakes or make changes. With your word processing program you’ll have a Find feature. Use it to your advantage in finding the errors and fixing them.

Repeat the process

How many times should you repeat? As many times as you need, but don’t get caught in an editing circle of eternity. At least repeat once if you’re already a strong editor. If you’re not as strong two or three times may be necessary. Just remember that writers with editors through publishing houses have typos in their published work, some more glaring than others. If you feel you’ve done the best you can, it could just be time to give it to your beta readers or prepare for publishing.

Another thing to remember is if you’re publishing an eBook, it’s not a finite format. You can upload a new version if you discover there’s a problem and you’ve fixed it.

Thank you as always for reading. Do you have any editing tips you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

 

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It’s a common phenomenon for artists to believe they are completely brilliant or completely inept. We walk the line between an inflated ego and crippling self-doubt. This is why feedback can be so important. It’s not about being told you’re the best so much as a chance to ground yourself in reality and knowing you’re at least good enough.  

When I finished the rough manuscript of Darkness Falling in 2004, I was on the brilliance side of the spectrum. I knew it was going to need editing, but  believed that it would simple and minor. It was a huge accomplishment in my life. I was always viewed as the kind of person who starts thing but doesn’t finish them. When I was able to thunk down the 400 plus sheets of computer paper in front of my naysayers as proof of my skills, it was very vindicating.

One person read the original manuscript from start to finish, a person who I only knew for a very short time. He was a high school kid who belonged to the same martial arts school where I was training for exercise. He gave it a 99.9%, because nothing can be perfect.

In the years that followed, I fell into the despair of self-doubt. I searched out a means to publish my work with a limited income. I doubted myself more than I doubted the work. Growing up I was severely bullied long before being bullied was considered a serious problem for a person’s development. This meant I believed in my work but I didn’t believe in myself.

 

Coming back around to the story 11 years later, I try to keep myself closer to the middle of the spectrum, but it’s easy to slip towards self-doubt. Negativity is far easier at 36 than it was at 24.

With Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves being my first book, it means I’m completely unknown. People use words like “risk” when they talk about purchasing my book. I’m also self-published, which means there is a group of people who will judge all the more  harshly for circumventing the publishing house lottery system.

Despite that, I choose to remain positive. The goal of writing is just as much about fulfilling my dreams and leaving a legacy for my children as it is to actually start earning enough to write full time.

I also know I can’t fly around in the sky thinking I’m the greatest gift to literature. My feet must stay firmly on the road between brilliance and doubt to ensure that I publish a worthy product.

How has over confidence and self-doubt effected your work? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading as always!

Before launching Darkness Falling: Soldiers and Slaves, I made a post about reformatting my OpenOffice document for uploading as an eBook, specifically for Kindle. In that post I said I might do a tutorial on how to reformat with OpenOffice since all of the tutorials I found were for Word. In the end I ended up getting the free trial of Microsoft Office for Windows 10 to finish up the process.

I have used OpenOffice for a long time for my writing. I don’t have the money to run out and buy the Office software. Plus, it really isn’t that different. All of my projects up to this point, however; have never left my PC.

I’m not a programmer. I can’t tell you exactly why something works on a computer that I use every day. What I do know is that although OpenOffice seems to have the same functionality in the interface, there is something different going on in the programming that causes it to function differently.

It really wasn’t a difficult process in the reformatting within the document itself. It’s easy to set up the margins and indentations to the proper specifications. Everything would look great. Then I would convert it to html to look at it on the Kindle Previewer and Sigil. Although there was no reason for it in the formatting, extra space was added between every line every time.

I couldn’t figure it out. I searched on Google, learning I needed to add lines to the html. I tried to figure out how to add these lines in Sigil, which is a fine program but confuses me personally.

Besides working on my book, I work full time and I have my family. The whole thing started to be overwhelming. That was when I downloaded the free trial of Microsoft Office and discovered that once you set up all of your indentations and styles, that’s all you need to do. You don’t need to learn html. You don’t need to convert your files. You just need to upload your documents and preview it and you’re   done.

As I said, I don’t have the money to purchase the software, but they now have a program that allows you to “rent” it by the month. That’s what I’ve done.

Here is my final opinion:

If you already know how to work with html or have the time to properly learn, then using OpenOffice is perfectly fine for writing your eBook. If you’re not, then Word is the better option and it’s worth it to rent it to make your life easier.

Thank you as usual for reading. Let me know your experiences with formating in the comments!