Ranting about perfection

I’ve always been driven. Even as a kid, I always tried harder. The problem isn’t that I need to try harder, the problem is that I want perfection. I stare at the scene I’ve written and shake my head in despair. Absolute garbage! Delete button, here I go.

I found this article by Joe Bunting titled The Myth of Perfection on The Write Practice. It was actually really helpful because he starts by saying: you’re never going to be perfect. For me, that was great news because it set me free. I can accept it and try to do a good job, not a perfect job.

When I look forward, I get overwhelmed. I think of the odds against me and they seem insurmountable. It helps if I look back. Once, I didn’t speak English. I wrote and didn’t believe I’d ever get published. I’ve written a book, I have another on the works.

Maybe I need to embrace Good Enough and kick Perfection in the butt.

calvin-and-hobbes-2

Marketing…

I loved Mishka Jenkins‘ post this week on Marketing because I could relate so well to what she said. I too don’t like to market my book. In fact, I have to admit I haven’t actually done any real marketing for my book–except for the posts on this blog.

I know for independent writers it’s a necessity but… I still don’t like it. It feels like shameless self-promotion. Mishka puts it so well.

“… I don’t like shoving myself in people’s faces shouting, ‘Buy my books they’re awesome!’ 😀 And no matter how inventively I try to do my marketing, it always feels like that’s what I’m doing.”

That’s it. Exactly.

Infinitefreetime just published his first book. He promoted it using his unique brand of humour. His plugs came across as funny and endearing. I know if I tried that approach, I’d come across as icky and strange. Anything but funny.

Mishka is a pretty smart lady. I bet she’ll come up with her own unique way. In the interim, I should probably figure out a way to start doing some promos. Or at least think about the entire thing in a more positive light. Maybe I should look at it as another aspect of the job of being an author.

Any tips? Got any ideas on marketing that don’t make the author sound icky?

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An absolute favourite

Nora Roberts has often been called a ‘publishing phenomenon’. With so many published books under her name, I believe it. But, let’s look at the numbers and see:

* Nora has written 184 New York Times bestsellers including 33 as J. D. Robb and one written together with J. D. Robb.

* 55 of her books have debuted at the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

* There are more than 400 million copies of her books in print worldwide (as of 9/1/09)

* Over the last 30 years an average of 27 Nora Roberts books were sold every minute.

(copied from her website: noraroberts.com)

The numbers in fact, go on and on. Her writing style has been copied but, to this day, no one has achieved her success. It’s unparalleled.

One of many, I also love her books. She’s, of course, on my automatic-buy list. But there are some of her books that touched my heart more than others. One series in particular stands out. The Chesapeake Bay series. It consists of four books: Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbour and Chesapeake Blue. It’s the story of four brothers and how they dealt with their father’s death. It’s also the story of how they all found love. And it’s absolutely wonderful.

Among her many talents, Nora Roberts knows men. The Quinn brothers act like real men. They’re not the typical heroes who are described as ‘quiet and mysterious’ but suddenly explain their entire life story to the distraught heroine. They stay true to character and (this is where Nora Roberts is magical) we love them in spite of their faults.

One more bonus, the ladies in the stories are awesome, fully formed women who I’d love to have as friends, who take no crap from anyone and still manage to be vulnerable.

But the best part, no hands down, is the writing. I love Nora Roberts’ style. I love to just read it. I love to become submerged in it.

If you haven’t tried her, I hope you do. She’s absolutely amazing. If writing had their Wonders of the World, Nora Roberts would be in the top 3. If not top 2. Or one. 🙂

(credit:overstock.com)

(credit:overstock.com)

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.

(credit:blog.smashwords.com)

(credit:blog.smashwords.com)

Choices

So I’m trying to get Olivia’s Choice (my book) to be free because I love free stuff. But I have a choice to make. Right now, my book is in Amazon for $2.99. It’s the lowest price in KDP and I had to enrol in it to self-publish.

So, I checked with Amazon and they would allow my book to be free (for only 4 days!) but I would have to keep it in KDP for 90 days. That means I can’t publish it anywhere else for free or lower that $2.99 price.

On the other hand, I could publish it on Smashwords, make it free there and ask Amazon to price match. They may or may not do that and they would take months to consider the idea. Meanwhile, it would be free on Smashwords but not on Amazon.

I need input. What do you think is the best idea? Any thoughts?

(credit:icanhas.cheezburger.com)

(credit:icanhas.cheezburger.com)

Great site for writers

This site is awesome. It has so many resources for writers! It’s is getting an immediate bookmark in my computer.

From author platforms to free advice to great links for writers, this site has it all. But don’t take my word for it, it won the Writer’s Digest best Site for Writers Award and Alliance of Independent Authors Award.

http://janefriedman.com

I thought I’d pass it on. We authors need all the friends and help we can get!