Sunday, February 27, 2011

"My Last Romance" for #Sample Sunday

It's #Sample Sunday when indie writer offer a sample from their work. This is a few paragraphs from my short story My Last Romance from my short story collection, My Last Romance and other passions. It is available in paperback or for Kindle.


Ruby is a former chanteuse with a Big Band now turning sixty who thinks she has a happy life until a chance find recalls a long-ago romance that broke her heart:


I was seventeen when I met Silvio. He and his band, The Silver Saints, were playing a three week gig at The Balinese Room down on the boardwalk. My girlfriend Miranda called. "Have you seen those guys?" she cooed. "Every one of them is dark and slick and hot."

I’d seen them. They sure were dark and slick and hot. "Come on," Miranda said, "this could be your big break."

Miranda was my number one fan back then. I started singing in our high school glee club but what I wanted was to be a torch singer, like Juliette Greco or Rosemary Clooney. I collected all the records—Jo Stafford and Peggy Lee. I practiced in front of my bedroom mirror for hours. It wasn’t enough to get the music right. I had to get the look and the shrug and the pout—the smoke. My Grandma never intended all those sewing lessons to result in the dancing dresses I made. She’d have tanned my hide if she saw the lipstick red, strapless gown I made for my big night. It hugged me right down to my thighs and then exploded in cascades of ruffles. In four inch heels I practiced till I got the wiggle that could set those ruffles swaying. I borrowed some fake ruby earrings from Miranda and I looked like sin itself strutting into the Balinese Room that night.

It worked. Silvio took one look at me and the next song the band played was "Ruby". That’s what he’s called me ever since. And the rest—as the saying goes—was history. Silvio was everything I wanted—tall, dark, handsome and ripe to fall in love—first with my body, then with my voice. Then with me.

By the time the band pulled out of town my sewing machine, my record collection, and my wardrobe were packed along with them. That was forty-two years ago.


I drive out the jetty past the bait shops and the boat rental shacks to the end of the fishing pier. Most of the shrimp boats are gone for the day. I hear them chugging out into the Gulf long before the sun comes up. I roll down the windows and the thick, sticky salt air washes in dampening my hair and cotton blouse. The gulls swoop overhead squawking loud enough to drown out the sound of the waves lapping at the pilings. Across the bay where the water flows toward the channel dolphins leap through the waves with little flashes of silver. In three weeks I’ll be sixty. Too old for the fire burning inside of me. This all started a week ago. Memories are crazy things, sort of like a piñata. You never know what’s inside and ready to come pouring out until it is too late to stop them. What cracked mine open was a copy of the band’s 1957 hit My Last Romance. I found it in a stuffy, drab little record shop off of Avenue L. I keep reminding myself that’s what I get for doing a good deed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: Tammie Clarke Gibbs

Tammie Clarke Gibbs lives in a small town in Georgia where you can still see the occasional tractor on the highway and from time to time cows and pigs escape their confines to frolic alongside the road.

Tammie is the author of RECIPES FOR ROMANCE FROM THE LEADING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF ROMANCE, featuring contributions from over sixty published romance authors (2001), THE EVERYDAY ROMANTIC: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ROMANTIC RENDEZVOUS, GIFTS, AND MORE, and various other non-fiction titles. ISLAND OF SECRETS, a Time Travel Romance is her debut novel(11/2010)and is the first in several yet to be titled upcoming releases.
Advice:
  • Be Realistic- Do your homework... Many unpublished authors set about to write a book without having any type of critique group or editorial feedback.  Enter a few contests or join a critique group.  At the very least query agents and use their feedback to help you analyze your work objectively.  Once you know that you are marketable you should hone your craft until your work is sharper than anything a NY Publisher would put out.
  • Forego the EXCUSES.  Writer's are really good at falling into ruts and finding excuses, very elaborate excuses for not finishing or not starting the work that they need to get done.  Don't let the Excuses rob you of your chance to succeed.
  • Don't Skimp. Once you know your book is polished and it sparkles like a fine diamond, you won't want to diminish it's appeal with an unprofessional cover.  If you've ever been told that cover's don't matter, you were told wrong.  Invest in a cover designer if you aren't gifted in layout yourself.  Spend for good artwork and by all means make sure you have the proper rights for your artwork.  As authors we should all respect the artists rights and support them as much as we want everyone to respect our rights.  Investing in your book, making sure it is edited and formatted properly is really an investment in you and your future.  Why would you ever want anyone to see your book in anything less than it's best?  

Links:
ISLAND OF SECRETS by Tammie Clarke Gibbs
A Time Travel-A Love Story filled with Suspense-A Mystery that will keep you guessing til the end...
Now Available for Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook 
Most E-Readers
Click Here to Read A Generous Excerpt
Click Here to View the Book Trailer

Friday, February 25, 2011

This week from seARTS...




valentineGetting to Know seARTS Members
Member Profile of the Week: Kathleen Valentine

What is your medium?
I'm a writer -- both a novelist and non-fiction writer. I currently have 2 novels, 2 collections of short stories, 1 book on knitting, and 1 cookbook/memoir in print.

How long have you been an artist?
I've been a writer for most of my adult life but began publishing regularly about seven years ago.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Probably the thing that interests me most is good people caught in impossible situations. That seems to be the dynamic that inspires most of my writing. I'm fascinated by people who are basically good, decent, honorable people who suddenly find themselves, often through no fault of their own, in absolutely impossible circumstances. Whenever a tale of that sort starts stirring in my brain I know sooner or later I'll have to write about it.

What else would you like us to know?
I think being a novelist is the highest calling of all the arts. Novelists, alone among artists, have changed the world. I heard a story that when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe he said, "So you're the little lady who started this great big war." Her novel changed this country -- like Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. That is heady company -- something to aspire to be worthy of.
Where can we find your work?
My books are available both in paperback and e-format from Amazon and in paperback from all other online booksellers. Just go to my web site of my blog for the links. My web site is www.KathleenValentine.com and my blog is www.ParlezMoiBlog.blogspot.com.
Thanks!

Part 5 – Marketing and Promotion

Probably the most challenging part of being an indie author/publisher is the marketing. Unlike trad-pub authors, indie authors are responsible for all their own marketing. At one time this meant slogging boxes of books around to book stores, trade shows, flea markets – wherever you thought you might be able to push a few books. Thanks to the internet, however, all that is unnecessary. Welcome to the world of Social Media and internet marketing.

Let's face it, self-promotion is difficult. Most of us hate it but, unless you have a publicist or a friend or family member who thinks marketing is fun, you are going to have to do your own marketing. This means spending a lot of time at your computer but, let me tell you, that is much easier than driving round with boxes of books in your car trying to talk bookstore owners to take a few to sell and perhaps even schedule a book signing for you.

Before you venture into cyber-land you are going to need:
  • a brief but informative biography, focusing on why you are qualified to write the book you wrote
  • an author's photo that you feel good about and that conveys a sense of who you are
  • 2 or 3 well-written descriptions of your book – one that is very brief, one that is a couple paragraphs, and one that is more detailed
  • JPEG images of your book's cover – one 150px wide (thumbnail) and one that is 300px wide. You may also want a larger one, at least 1000px wide, in case you re asked for it
  • a few blurbs (positive comments) about your book written by people who are credible to readers [optional]

If you have set your book up though a printer or service associated with Books-In-Print, they will automatically supply a cover image and description to most internet booksellers. However, some of these, like Amazon allow you to go into your book's page and add information to it. Amazon also gives you an Author's Page which will list all your books and links to them. Next you should consider:

Author's Web Site and/or Blog
if you only have one book available and don't plan to write another, you may use a URL dedicated to your book. But if you have more books or plan to write more books, set a web site up under your name. I always tell people to buy their name in a URL if it is available. I own KathleenValentine.com and plan to keep it as long as I can.

Your web site should have descriptions and pictures of your book(s) with to-buy links, sample chapters, author information, contact information, and links to other internet sits you are affiliated with. A blog can take the place of a web site, especially now that so many of them are so highly customizable. If you start a blog plan to blog at least 3 times a week. keeping content fresh will keep potential readers coming back.

Social Media
Social media is a phenomenon and it is free! Facebook and Twitter are musts for writers. They can be a challenge to use at fist but there tons of online tutorials to help you maximize their effectiveness. Other sites like LinkedIn, MySpace, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. can be useful as well depending on the time you have to put in to them but Facebook and Twitter are necessities.

YouTube can also be a huge asset if you want to promote your books with simple videos. You can make videos using programs like MovieMaker at low cost and they can be fun to do. I currently have 2 YouTube book videos, one for The Old Mermaid's Tale and one for The Mermaid Shawl and other beauties. I may make more when I have time.

Goodreads, Red Room, Author's Den, etc. etc. etc.
There are tons of web sites where authors can register. Some are free (good), some are not (don't bother). Explore a few, register for a couple (Goodreads is recommended) but don't get too involved. They can be terrible time-wasters.

Now, set about marketing. Visit other blogs and leave thoughtful, relevant comments. Join discussion groups and participate – don't just flog your book. Use your blog to swap guest author posts. Go to Amazon and find discussions that are of interest and participate. View the internet a a very big cocktail party where you have endless opportunity to sell yourself and your book.

About Reviews
Rule #1: NEVER pay for a review. Never, never, never – not even to Kirkus.
Rule #2: NEVER pay to enter a competition. No matter how prestigious they tell you it is, don't do it.
Rule #3: When you get emails saying your book has been specially selected for a review service or a contest, just mail a copy with a check to___, reread Rules #1 & 2.

One last thing, once your book is out in the big bad universe you will start getting reviews. Not all of them will be good. Some will be lame and some will be nasty. Often sites like Amazon and Goodreads will remove gratuitously nasty ones but you also have to learn to accept that not everyone is going to like your book. It hurts but it is part of the business. Everyone gets a few bad reviews. learn from them and move on.

And that is it. I plan to add another segment on ePublishing in a few days but I hope this helps. Please feel free to post Comments and ask questions. And, as always, Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rules for Aspiring Writers from Rafael Yglesias

This was posted on Writer's Digest's blog on Wednesday. It is such an excellent article I decided to post part of it here. To read the rest go to Rules for Aspiring Writers:

Cliches for Aspiring Writers
Posted by Jane

 

Today's guest post is from Rafael Yglesias. Rafael Yglesias is a master American storyteller whose career began with the publication of his first novel, 
Hide Fox, and All After, at seventeen. His fiction is distinguished by its clear-eyed realism and keen insight into human behavior. Follow him on Twitter, and see his books and more videos at Open Road Media.

--

“Always try the cliché first,” Roman Polanski said to me when I confessed I didn’t know how to approach a particular scene. “It usually works. That’s why it’s a cliché.”  

As is true of most aphorisms, especially the wittier ones, his advice is helpful in almost all situations, but when wrong it’s disastrous. That’s why Polanski included the clever exception, “It usually works.” 

Sadly, for those who are busy sawing off their feet to escape the trap of clichés, every story is chock full of them and sometimes depends on an especially hoary one. The solution, to borrow another aphorism, is to aim without aiming. What really makes a work original is you. It is the writer’s particular experience and sensibility that infuses a cliché with the oxygen rich blood of its original life.

The same caveat applies to the famous advice given to all neophyte writers, “Write what you know.” The implication is autobiography in some form: memoir, fiction in which you are the main character, stories about your family, your background, someone you know well. But the advice is too banal to be useful to a young writer without an obviously compelling story to tell.  

What if you are unlucky enough not to have endured the Holocaust, witnessed Apartheid, or been sexually abused by your father? What if you feel that the world you know, although thoroughly unpleasant, is also very dull?  Or has been written about so well by another that you have nothing to add?

Read the rest...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Promote, promote, promote...

I had every intention to finish up my series on independent publishing today with a section on marketing and promotion but my day sort of took off without me. I'll plan to post that tomorrow but, in the mean time, I got two bits of good news today that fall into the marketing and promotion category.


First, my book of short stories love, murder, etc.love, murder, etc. is the book of the day on Book Brouhaha Blog:
San Diego writer Alain Gomez writes Book Brouhaha. You can read the blog here: Book Brouhaha Blog


And second, my application to be a She Writes author was approved.
She Writes is a lovely site for women writers of quality fiction. When I get it set up my page will be here: Kathleen Valentine on She Writes.


So, two more bits of marketing accomplished. Come back tomorrow for more about getting your indie books out in the world!


Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Icebergs in Lake Michigan

Time to take a little break from all the writing-related stuff and take a look at something stunning. My friend Martin Ray sent these. They are icebergs formed in Lake Michigan this winter. In yesterday's #SampleSunday I included a sample from The Old Mermaid's Tale in which Sal, a former Great Lakes mariner, tells how he lost most of his fingers and toes in the Great Lakes during an ice storm. These pictures lend a lot of credibility to that tale! I remember walking across the harbor from downtown Erie to the Peninsula with my Uncle Buddy one time when I was a kid. I remember how deeply blue the ice was and how cold. Love the Great Lakes for their endless, strange mysteries.



Icebergs in Lake Michigan sometimes have stripes, formed by layers of snow that react to different conditions. Blue stripes are often created when a crevice in the ice sheet fills up with melt water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form. When an iceberg falls into the lake, a layer of water can freeze to the underside. If this is rich in algae, it can form a green stripe. Brown, black and yellow lines are caused by sediment, picked up when the ice sheet grinds downhill towards the lake.




 The water froze the instant the wave broke through the ice. That's what it is like in Lake Michigan where it is the coldest weather in decades. Water freezes the instant it comes in contact with the air... The temperature of the water is already some degrees below freezing.





Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Offerings for #Sample Sunday

One of the discussion groups I participate in has a tradition called #Sample Sunday in which writers offer samplings of their work. so these are my offerings for today:

JUST AN OLD-FASHIONED MURDER
I thought being a murderer would be somewhat more upsetting than it has proven to be. Actually, it’s rather exciting, like having this interesting secret that would shock the b’jesus out of everybody if you let it slip, so you keep it to yourself a little smugly. I must say there have been times when I have wanted to say to someone, ”You know, Larry Anderson didn’t really disappear ― not at all. He’s down in my basement under the new quilting frame.”
But that really wouldn’t be prudent.
Listen, the plain truth is that there are people in this world who just need killing. I’ve had my eye on Larry Anderson since he was in my ninth grade biology class. Any child who enjoyed killing frogs as much as he did bears watching. It's sad really, he came from a nice enough family but there was always something unsettling about the boy. For years there were stories about his mistreatment of Felicity Burroughs, his first wife, who left him to move to Florida where her elderly parents, she said, needed her. No one ever saw her in Pitts Crossing again and there was occasional speculation that Larry had done her in and successfully hidden her body but I never paid those stories any mind.
No, after Felicity left him, Larry went from unsettling to flat-out scary. Of course it wasn't obvious. He was always a clever liar. Good with the schmoozing and the sucking up. It's embarrassing to realize how many women there are in this world who fall for that nonsense. Sad, too.
To give the devil his due, Larry was always good-looking which was part of the problem. Personally I've always been a little mistrustful of men who had those kind of good-looks - fine-features, dark eyes, pouty mouth. He'd have made a pretty girl but I'm an old maid so what the hell do I know? Even in high school he got away with an unnecessary amount of bad behavior just because the silly women who taught him couldn't believe a boy that good-looking could be such a sniveling rat. It was the obsequiousness that they fell for, telling them how nice they looked, how much he enjoyed their class, how he never understood algebra or chemistry or the fall of the Roman Empire until they explained it. He could really lay it on and they sucked it right up.
He tried that malarkey on me but it didn't get him far. He flashed that smile of his but I saw the resentment behind it. Still, as I said before, none of that exactly inspired murderous thoughts.

From my short story collection love, murder, etc.love, murder, etc.

And...from The Old Mermaid's Tale



We crawled into a booth and from my spot next to the window I could just make out the front door of The Old Mermaid Inn. Gia brought us coffee and slabs of apple pie mounded with whipped cream but I was too interested in watching the customers to eat. It was mostly the same sort of men I had noticed at the Chinese restaurant, some of them with women who looked a little too made-up and a little too jaded to be their wives.

Hey,” Dante looked up with a grin and waved, “look who’s here.”
We all turned as the man coming through the door waved back.
That’s Sal Testaverde,” Dante said. “He’s Gia’s boyfriend’s brother.”
He owns Walks-in-the-Water,” I said.
That’s right.” Dante stood up as Sal helped himself to a steaming mug of black coffee and came over. He pulled a chair up to the end of our booth and sat down on it backwards, resting his arms on the back. He was a leathery, weathered guy who could have been any age between thirty and fifty. He looked tough and wiry with a couple of deep scars along the left side of his jaw and a cigarette tucked in the corner of his mouth. My impression was that at one time he might have been a handsome man but now he was sun-baked and windswept and as crusty as any of the old salts who populated my imaginary worlds. His grin was lopsided, possibly so as not to disturb his cigarette, and his teeth were chipped and in need of some attention. Buried in nests of wrinkles were two dark eyes that were keen and lively. I absolutely loved him.
They’re makin these seaport assholes dumber every friggin year,” he growled as he gulped the hot black liquid. “I couldn’t wait to get the hell off a barges cause of the shitheads and now I got my bar fulla them.”
Tough night?” Dante asked.
Fuck, yeah. Business sucks once the lake freezes in but at least I don’t got a new batch a shitheads every friggin week. Now we don’t just got the homegrown shitheads, we got the salty shitheads, too. What the hell you doin bringin girls down here?” He eyed Rosie and me.
Just for fun,” Dante said. “We had dinner at the Green Dragon and then walked up here. It’s their first time here—and their last, too, for that matter.”
You got a strange idea a fun.” He was looking directly at me and it made me twitchy. “You come to see the wild animals?” There was a twinkle in his eyes.
Yes,” I said. “Do you know where they keep them?”
He gave a laugh that was more like a cackle. “Just go down the street till you see a bar that looks like it belongs to a disgusted old fart with shit for brains and it’s full of em.”
I smiled at him. He smiled back. “Pio told me you used to work on the barges.”
He took another loud gulp of his coffee. “Pio did, huh? Well, Pio and that damn fool brother of mine should be getting a taste a why I quit right about now—them two smartasses had to give it a try. Can’t tell young pissants anything when they get their blood up.”
Would you tell what happened?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Oh, the young maid wants a story, does she? Not much to tell cept it was when you was in pig-tails, kiddo, and we was coming down through Lake Superior deep down with ore when a gale hit and loaded us up with fourteen hundred ton of ice in a couple hours. We was headed for the Soo but the old tub was listing so bad from all the ice we was out there with hatchets and blowtorches hanging off the sides like a pack a goddamned monkeys trying to cut through the white shit. The motherless whore started to roll and every damn one of us poor bastards went into the friggin, goddamned water. She righted herself but there was so much ice on the starboard side that they couldn’t launch the lifeboats and all but me and another guy bought it. Don’t know what saved me other than inborn pigheadedness but I left my ear, three fingers and most a my toes out there in Superior.”
He held up his left hand which had only a thumb and forefinger and pushed back his cap to show us what was left of his ear.
Oh my,” I said, horrified and thrilled at the same time. “That’s terrible. I’m so sorry.”
Don’t be. Brought me to my senses. Let’s hope those other two wise up in time.” He stood up and began to button up his jacket. “You take these girls someplace decent next time,” he said to Dante.
Just then Giovanna bounced up and hugged Sal around the middle. “Hi, handsome,” she squeaked. “Got your white horse out front? Gonna take me away from all this?”
Sal leaned down and kissed her on top of her head. “Wish I could, honey. Sure do wish I could.”

For/From Indie Authors: Alain Gomez

Alain Gomez lives in San Diego and has been writing since she was sixteen. She works in the field of music but has continued to pursue her passion for writing as an independent author. Though she generally sticks to writing shorter stories, Alain enjoys experimenting with a variety of genres including romance and thrillers.
Advice:
  • Don't quit your day job the moment you upload your first ebook.
  • Really think long and hard before paying for advertisements.  Often times there will be a free option that will be equal to, if not better than, the paying route.
  • Be open to feedback but always remember that your work is yours.  It's a bad sign if you don't actually enjoy reading what you wrote.
Links:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Numbers Game -- inspiration from writer J.A. Konrath

Thriller writer J.A. Konrath has done an incredible job as an indie author and publisher. In his blog today he crunches some numbers for us and the results will blow your mind:


The Numbers Game

So I just got off the phone with an acquaintance of mine. She's a writer whom I met last year at a conference, and she called me asking for advice.

First some background. She's hit the extended NYT list several times in both hardcover and mass market, and has a backlist of ten books. She was just offered a contract from one of the Big 6 for $200k a book, for a two book deal.

The royalties offered are industry standard 25% for ebooks on net.

She's thinking about releasing the book herself, and needed some help crunching the numbers. She's had several previous contracts for $200k a book, but so far none of her books have earned out their advance, even six years later. (This is common, by the way, even though she's had multiple printings. If I'd been paid $200k for Whiskey Sour or Afraid, I wouldn't have earned out either.)

Here's what I told her: Read the rest on his blog...

Friday, February 18, 2011

The times they are “e”-changing.

Book stores closing, ebooks exploding, what's going on? Yesterday author Anne Rice posted a link on her Facebook page to an article about the many Borders Book Stores across the country. This prompted a lively discussion with the majority of her followers expressing distress at the potential loss of sources for books. She has posted a number of links over the last few months about the increase in ebooks and decline of bookstores. In her post yesterday she also mentioned that “Authors are fighting for their lives too.” Well, Ms. Rice, the times they are a-changing and with them trad-pub (traditional publisher) authors are feeling the pain.

For a couple months now I have been participating in discussions on discussion boards for indie authors who are publishing electronically, and what I am seeing is blowing my mind. Some of these authors are selling a thousand or more books a month! Author J.A. Konrath, an indie author of thrillers in e-format, reported $40,000 in sales in January. If you go to the Kindle store on Amazon, or the Nook store on Barnes & Noble, you will find indie authors books in the top 100 bestsellers – especially in the genre sections. Romance, mystery, paranormal, horror, chick lit, etc. are exploding with record-breaking sales for these authors. These authors are writing at home, editing and designing with the help of a network of e-businesses, publishing themselves, promoting through blogs, online forums and social networking sites, and raking in most of the profits. How is this possible?

The ebook revolution is upon us. Barnes & Noble reported that they sold more ebooks in December than paper books. I can testify from my own explosion of sales on ebooks after Christmas that a lot of people seem to have gotten e-readers for Christmas. This is going to change the face of publishing permanently. Why?

  • Price: Traditional publishers simply cannot compete with indie publishers when it comes to sales price. I did a quick search on Kindle and most of Anne Rice's ebooks sell for between $6 and $10. The majority of indie publishers sell their ebooks for $.99 to $2.99. BUT because the overhead for indies is so much lower they actually receive more of a profit than the authors of trad-pub ebooks. I don't know how much Ms. Rice (or any other trad-pub) author receives from their ebook sales but the indies are profiting anywhere from $.37 to $2.03 per book (and more for higher priced books). Trad-pubs take their percentage before the author gets theirs and, with that cut eliminated, indies can charge less. My fiction sells for $2.99 in e-format and I still make as much profit as I do from the paperbacks that sell for $17. My knitting books retails for $20 in paperback of which I receive $2.71. In e-format it sells for $8.00 and I get $5.07!
  • Writing Quality: This is what people – myself included – always question about indie authors but there are two points to be considered. 1.) Many genre fans are not highly particular about writing style as long as it is acceptable and the story is good, and 2.) Most indie authors post generous samples of their work on their web sites and blogs. And most ebook sellers offer anywhere from 20% to 50% of stories for readers to browse before buying. You know in advance with most ebooks whether you want to read them. This is not what most trad-pubs offer.
  • Aesthetics: Many of the posters on Ms. Rice's board (and lots of other places) complain that they love the feel, smell, touch of “real” books and would never give that up. I sort of feel the same way except.... I'm starting to revise my opinion. For one thing e-readers have so many advantages: you can adjust the size of the type, you can adjust the light, you can carry hundreds of books with you everywhere you go, you can read newspapers and magazines and blogs, too. A 70-something friend of mine swore she would never give up real books ---- until her kids bought her a Kindle. She fell in love with it in no time. She said it is so much better at the beach because the pages don't blow around. She slips it in a plastic zipper bag to read in the bathtub or use in the kitchen. She keeps it in her purse for when she is stuck in doctor's offices or on the train. Paper books are lovely but e-readers grow on you.


So what lies ahead? Who knows? It is an exciting time to be a writer – or a reader. Trad-pub authors are going to have to readjust their expectations. And remember, us old dead-tree-book dinosaurs are going to die off and the new generation of e-kids are going to take our place with their preference for digital everything. The times they are “e”-changing. Get with it!

Thanks for reading

Thursday, February 17, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: Christopher Truscott

Christopher Truscott is a former journalist who now occasionally works as a political strategist. He’s a veteran of two dozen local, state and federal campaigns over the last 10 years. When he’s not obsessing about politics, he can usually be found watching the Minnesota Twins or telling people about his cats, Benny and Boo. He lives in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn., and can be reached by e-mail at chris.truscott@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/christruscott.  




Advice:
  • Just do it. Lots of people have a good story bouncing around in their head, but few take time to write it down. The e-book revolution means there are no more excuses. Anyone can write a book now and get it in front of readers, so take a shot.
  • Take your time. Just because you can publish whenever you want doesn't mean you have to. It's not a race. Enjoy the process, spend time editing and be certain you're 100 percent ready to roll when you hit "publish." I generally take a year from start to finish. Some people are a bit quicker, some a little slower. Find what works for you, set reasonable deadlines and make sure you've done the best you can.
  • Read indie authors. My Kindle is loaded with books by indies and by authors published by small presses. I've enjoyed everything I've read since getting Kindle and I hope I'm banking some good Karma in the process!

Links: 
Here's the info page for my novel, complete with blurb, links to sample chapters and links to where you can buy it: http://christophertruscott.blogspot.com/2010/12/stumbling-forward-free-samples.html

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For/From Indie Authors: Keryl Raist

Keryl Raist is a part-time writer, part-time blogger, part-time book reviewer, and full-time mom. When not balancing babies with books, she likes to sleep. She lives in Charleston, SC, with two little boys; the "Number One, All-Star, Son-In-Law Of The Year Champion" (according to a discerning panel of her mom and mom's best friends); and a remarkably unflusterable cat.

Advice:

  • Edit!  Edit!  And then do it one more time.  Then, figure out whatever your biggest writing weakness is (mine is comma use) and use the find function on Word and find it.  Go through each example and make sure it's right.  You might not have a perfect copy when you're done, but it will be better than it will without.
  • Keep learning.  Technology is the best friend an Indie ever had.  The more you know about formatting, creating electronic documents, how to manipulate pictures, the less dependent on other people you have to be.  
  • Ask questions before you pay money.  There's a huge number of scams out there, and a huge community of people who know how to do almost anything involving a book.  Especially if it's an expensive service, go somewhere that other Indies hang out and ask if it's a good price or if any of them can show you how to do it for yourself.  
Links:
Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble

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