things that come in the mail…

The time to squee is now. 🙂

the proof copy of my book

The proof of my book arrived in the mail! I did a quick check of it today and handed it over to friend Mary B. She’ll do a read-through to see if, during the adventure <insert major sarcasm here> of CreateSpace formatting, I created any typos, caused ellipses or em-dashes to wrap to the beginning of a new line, or accidentally wiped out a sentence or two. Fingers crossed. If all goes well, in another 10-14 days, Keeping the Family Peace will be available in print via Amazon.

I am giving up my regular Thursday Walks on the Blogside posting. I don’t think I’ve managed to ready a post for Thursdays in weeks. I haven’t noticed too much traffic linking out to the posts I’ve found informative, entertaining, or outrageous, but I’m going to continue to link to a few each Friday.

So on to the blog highlights:

Interesting figures reported: Amazon’s KDP Select Has Its Hooks In Me
I didn’t go KDP Select with my novel but after reading this, it sounds like I should do a bit more reading up on it. For non-writers, Select makes your published work an Amazon exclusive for 90 days, which means pulling it from all other distribution channels. I haven’t looked at my sales in the last 10 days, but prior to that, I can tell you that I’ve had 10 times the number of sales on Amazon as on B&N. So perhaps withholding B&N & Smashwords for 3 months isn’t such a big deal? Hey, writer friends, what’s your take on KDP Select?

A thought-provoking essay/review at Romance Novels for Feminists: The politics of M/M romance and Alex Beecroft’s BLESSED ISLE

How to Publish Your eBook from Word to Kindle in under Ten Minutes by Ed Ditto
Hm… Ed makes it sound easy but I bet it would take me a lot longer than 10 minutes, especially trying to figure out how to make and insert glorious chapter heads & scene breaks.

Speaking of which…

Jaye makes some excellent points and has some fantastic tips in Scene Breaks In Ebooks: Giving Readers A Clue. Jaye formatted my ebook and it looks spectacular. A question for readers: what bugs you about ebook formatting? What kind of scene breaks do you like?

* * *
or scene break

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Monday.

Walks on the Blog Side…

Conisbrough CastleOh look! It’s me over at Black Lilac Kitty! Thanks, Cindy, for inviting me over to meet your readers.

We’re taking a very short walk through the blogosphere this week. Does my photo from Conisbrough Castle make it look like I’m locked away? Well, close. *wipes brow* I’m slaving over the final edits to my novel. (Yes, still.) These 90,000+ words will be shipped to ebook formatting guru Jaye Manus by Monday. I’ve been pointing to Jaye’s wonderful posts for months and had planned to do the work myself. But, I’m exhausted, and I want it done right. Jaye will do a wonderful job, and I won’t be nearly so stressed.

How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps 
4 steps, eh? I think I’ve done a bit more than that. And guess what I’ve been doing for the last week. Do you know how long it takes to read 90,000 words out loud? Time for more tea with honey…

Promoting your book on your blog — how much is too much? « Michelle Proulx Official
Is there a fine line between drawing interest & blatant self-promotion?

Raji Singh has another fun & whimsical tale: No. 19: THE LINCOLN-DARWIN STUMP DEBATE OF FEBRUARY 12, 1809. PART I.  at Tales of the Fiction House

Have you read any good posts lately?

Thursday’s Walk on the blog side…

Where shall we wander this week? With last weekend’s wedding and craziness at work, I could use an ale. Join me in Nottingham!

 Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

I spent 3 weeks in Nottingham a couple of years ago. Had a few ales and a couple of meals at the Trip. (I highly recommend their sausage & mash.) Robin Hood himself served me an ale! He and the Lord Mayor, along with a few other officials and Private Derby, regimental ram of the Mercian Regiment, were part of a celebration to honor the Nottingham Freemen.

TO THE BLOGS

JW Manus is at it again! Another great post on ebook formatting: Boast Post: A New Way To Make Ebooks  http://ow.ly/eIzka

A sad state of affairs. Amazon is removing reviews in what appears to be a very indiscriminate process: Et tu, Amazon… http://ow.ly/eKrIG

C’mon – you know you want to be a writer! Admit it! Join the Coffin Hop 2012. Add a line to help create a story: And the story continues…  http://ow.ly/eKmiB

How many of your friends DON’T see your status updates?? Via Dangerous Minds, FACEBOOK: I WANT MY FRIENDS BACK http://ow.ly/eJLr5

What have you been reading?

Thursday’s Walk on the blog side… & Talking about the book…

Today’s Walk is a stroll around the grounds of Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. This was home to Robert Dudley, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. The photo is from my 2010 trip to the UK. Don’t you love the angle of the shot?

Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle

BLOG HIGHLIGHTS & MORE

The Hobbit – a new trailer! Are you excited? I am.

From Bottledworder: Six ways to become a more productive writer
On stress, mapping your writing persona, exploring, realistic goals, “good enough,”  & distance. Do you do any of the things he suggests?

Dean Wesley Smith talks about The New World of Publishing: Pricing 2013
Food for thought as I prepare my novel for its December debut.

Good advice from Nathan M. Farrugia: “Don’t let your plot hinge on the stupidity of your characters.”–from an interview on Chuck Wendig’s blog.

And something new this week!!

Talking About the Book
Valknut: The Binding

A tidbit about the author: Marie Loughin is a statistical consultant and was into online journals before it was cool as an editor for E-scape, a speculative fiction journal. She curls.

The scene that made you laugh out loud: Laugh? I know there were some scenes that made me laugh, but who needs laughs when you’re holding on to the seat of your pants on a roller coaster ride, with unexpected twists and turns?

This line did make me chuckle: “The small print on the welcome sign didn’t help: 40% Discount with Parole Card.”  Now you have to admit you’re intrigued, right? (Click on the book for the link to Amazon & Marie’s world of Norse Gods, hobos, & a young woman’s quest to find her father.)

The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room: I can’t tell you that because it would be a huge spoiler. Let’s just say somebody dies, and it’s just NOT right. Okay, okay. Marie needed to do it for the plot. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

A memorable line: “There are easier ways to kill me. I might even cooperate, as long as I don’t have to go through that again.”–Lennie Cook

A quote from someone about the topic of the book: As one reviewer writes, “Did I mention bad-ass hobos?” And another: “Yellow doesn’t just mean sunshine anymore!”

What’s in your feed reader?

E- and Print, That is the Question…

Dean Wesley Smith asks indie self-publishers to think about publishing their works in print. He reminds us that we’re ignoring 65-70% of the market (see shot #9), and has a cool graphic showing trends in book reading & buying.

garden - June 2006 Hey – I’m the first to admit that I love the feel and smell of a book in my hands. And there is nothing so thrilling as seeing your name on the cover (or in my case, in the tables of contents) of a real live book that you can hold. When one of my short stories appeared in print¹ in a mass-market edition back in the dark ages, er, the 90s, I went looking for it on the shelves. Did a little rearranging so the book cover faced out for passers-by to see. Ahem. 🙂 Opened up to the contents and stared at my name, sitting there along with Timothy Zahn and Michael A. Stackpole.

I’d decided to go electronic only with Keeping the Family Peace months ago when I’d heard of the expense involved in setting up print-on-demand services through Amazon. But last week, a colleague at work mentioned the DIY portion of CreateSpace. Guess what I’ll be investigating over the next couple months…

I know many people don’t own e-readers, but you can get Kindle for PC and Kindle for MAC – for free, folks – yes FREE – and read e-books on your computer. All right – I get it that you can’t curl up in bed with your computer but I do a darn good job of it with the Kindle app on my iPhone. And all one-handed! I’ve read more than 2 dozen books that way, including some that are 900+ pages.

So…e- and print? Smith’s argument is a bit too hard to ignore. But will a newbie novelist’s $4.99 e-book look more attractive to the buyer than a paperback priced a good bit higher? One writer commented on Dean’s blog that he produced both versions. He sold 3 copies of the print book – to relatives. 🙂

Dean tells me I’ll sell more books going E+P. Is he right? Oh my dear readers – which would you buy? I’ll be delighted to report sales of e- and print here and hope you can make them look halfway decent.²

Self-publishing indies out there – how are you handling this conundrum?

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¹From a kind Amazon reviewer: “A Certain Point of View-this is the third-best story because of the severely melancholy tone. Read it in a house with all the lights off on a rainy Saturday afternoon for the best effect. Stalemate. Excellent.”

²Reminder: Keeping the Family Peace is in the red-lining hands of my editors at the moment as I mentioned a week or so ago. I’ll be working on final – yes, final – revisions in October and November, and hope to be sending you off to Amazon & other retailers in December for your e- or print copy.