Publishing in a brave new world

So you have a manuscript and you want to publish it. Today, you may have more choices than ever before. You can publish it by the traditional route of getting an agent and getting a publishing contract or you can go the independent route. Like all really tough decisions, there are pros and cons to both venues. Since I’m so new to the entire process, I have a few posts that discuss them for us written by the pros.

* Claire Cook wrote this one on Jane Friedman’s blog. She used to be a traditionally published author…until bad things happened. She has a candid view on what can go wrong and what to look out for. I was stunned.

* The Passive Voice is a great site because it deals with the legal aspect of publishing for both indie and traditional authors. Check out this post on the pros and cons of both, Two Different Worlds or this one on indie authors making a living self-publishing.

* In this one, Nathan Bransford argues that there is no right way, there’s only your way and discusses pros and cons of each.

* In this one from , two authors discuss the pros and cons of each path to publishing bliss.

One final note, there are some traditionally published authors who are suddenly self-publishing their books. Something else to keep in mind when making that decision.

Maya Banks is self-publishing her Tangled Hearts trilogy.

Nalini Singh is coming out with a surprise ebook: Rock Addiction that’s a contemporary romance (completely new genre for her) in September.

The publishing industry is changing rapidly and so are the pros and cons of publishing. This brings us back to you. What do you think? Which way is better for you?

Note: Apparently, that was the printing press back in the day!

It’s here! Release day!!

A very talented writer, Mishka Jenkins deserves a huge round of applause today. She’s published not one but three books. A big congrats to Harliqueen!

A Writer's Life For Me.

This is it… This is really it!

My books are out there, they have been released into the world.

And I think I’m about ready to explode with excitement and nervousness all at the same time 😀 Months and months of work and there they are… out for sale!!

Before doing all the release links and things, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone of the blogging and writing community.

When I started this journey, I wanted to connect with others who are going through the same process. And I did, but I also found so many great people who are supportive and genuine in their want to help others succeed in this tough world of books and writing! Every time I’ve asked for help or advice, you guys have been there!

Thank you!

Queen'sJesterCoverThe Queen’s Jester
Fantasy romance.


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Tips for marketing

Tiana Warner had this great post about marketing in Jane Friedman‘s awesome site. I actually was almost reluctant to read it because I had heard all the hard-sales pitches before. I don’t like it when someone tries to sell me something. I make up neither does anyone else. Shouting out: Buy my book! Just doesn’t work–at least for me.

But Tiana surprised me because her approach was completely different. I loved when she said:

“Marketing is no longer about ads. It’s about adding value to peoples’ lives with content….Be generous without expecting or asking for anything in return. Generosity is the foundation of a strong following.”

I loved that because it sounded kind…and maybe because there was a bit of Zen in there. No?

Try this quote:

“We shouldn’t try to stand out of the crowd. The crowd will make us change who we are. The way to stand out is to avoid the crowd altogether.”

It’s definitely a different way to approach marketing and incredibly refreshing. These 7 ideas are exactly that, different and refreshing. What a great post! A big thanks to Tiana Warner for them!


Formatting for Smashwords

I was all set to get Olivia’s Choice formatted today. I got the computer out, stretched my fingers and got to work. 8am. Ready. Go.

I followed their Guide and tried to follow it to the letter. Not easy when my version of Word is not theirs but, hey! I formatted and formatted, editing tabs, indents, changing fonts, getting hyperlinks in and bookmarks and creating a lovely Table of Contents. I sent it in and got a message: error formatting paragraph styles.

Back to the drawing board I went. Hours later, I sent it in again. Same message. Back to work. Sent it in. Same message.

By now, I had taken out not only indents but returns, soft and hard, and just about any left or right justification. My book was starting to resemble a soup-like assortment of letters without any sense or rhyme.

Then, reason asserted itself. I read a great post by Gene’O on what to do on hard times, went for a run and meditated.

When I returned I got an email from Smashwords: it basically said the error message I had received was from December 6th and I should wait until a person read my manuscript before making any more changes.

Ah. (insert Spanish swear words here).

I thought I’d post this just in case there are others out there like me, trying to figure out what they’ve done wrong when the truth is there’s a delay in the error messages in Smashwords.

Formatting ups and downs.

I’m deep inside the world of formatting. The idea is to somehow meet the rules of the Smashwords Premium Catalogue and hopefully get the book on other publishers free. Excellent theory…the application is somewhat more turbulent.

I should explain that I’m not a computer genius. I would describe myself as mildly competent. For example, I don’t try to fix a type-o on my computer with white out, but I don’t know how to fix any real issues on my computer. And that includes formatting issues on my documents.

The Guide that Smashwords has for formatting is actually really helpful, friendly even. But trying this out by myself is pretty daunting. There are times when I stare at the screen and wonder what on earth they mean and the only one at my side is my faithful akita. She’s good in the snow but not so great with computers.

Simple things become monumental tasks in Formatting World. For example, you can’t change something as easy as the font by clicking on the font button. In fact, according to the Guide, this is a mistake you should never, ever do (never is in capital letters, then bolded and then repeated just in case you missed it the first few times). Basically, if you use the button provided by Word for that exact purpose, your manuscript will warp itself into something illegible for ebooks, it’ll never be admitted into the Premium Catalogue (the reason for this entire Formatting Nightmare) and all your worse fears will materialize.

Now that wouldn’t be an issue, if the Guide told me how to change the font properly. But there’s no second choice. Just a warning in dire letters of horrid consequences if you should risk touching the clearly labelled font button.

In spite of all this moaning on my part, I think I’m making some sort of progress. I’ve still got a long way to go. I’m certainly not close enough to even start making a table of contents, but I think I might have an idea on how to create a ‘style’. No, in our fun, Formatting World, style doesn’t mean clothing style or hip-style, it means writing style as in indents and bullets and so on. Don’t laugh but I had to figure that out too.

It’s a steep learning curve but, I figure, in a week or so, either I’ll have a perfectly formatted document so clean it’ll shine brighter than the Empire State Building or I’ll be talking to Ocean in doggie language.

Oh and I will definitely pass on anything worthwhile that I learn along the way…like how on earth to change that dratted font.