Featuring information for independent authors looking for guidance on marketing, editing and publishing their works; including tips on how best to use free resources and maintain motivation as you take your writing from hobby to profession.
While I was stuck in bed away from my working computer and basically miserable, I couldn’t help but think of writing. Specifically synopsis and what really makes a good one. One that’s interesting, draws you right in but though it doesn’t lie and clearly mentions key point’s also doesn’t give anything away. Brief without feeling like an ad, in short: nothing if not distilled awesome.
In my head if it’s got to be short, sweet and sassy it’s got to be this brief description of the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.
Written Rick Polito for a 1998 TV Guide, this little gem has made the rounds of the internet meme scene for years and it’s entirely true and ridiculously intriguing for a modern audience (on the off chance that there’s someone alive who hasn’t seen the Wizard of Oz) all within the scope of one sentence.
In my fevered state of course I had to try my hand at a few similar snippets for one of my books as well.
Ash of Ambitions
Innocent woman gets caught up in the sinister machinations of a murderous family’s plots.
Sweet loner has unwanted guests suddenly heaped upon her. Body count rises.
Well that was fun. Got any sassy little blurbs of your own to share? Go ahead and post ‘em in the comments.
Ah weather. Last week there were ice storms bad enough to knock the power down in my area for three days of frozen hell and today it’s scheduled to be in the 80′s. That’s going to be hell on my herb garden.
Anywho, enough of my domestic misery – I’ve got a present to make up for all the downtime! On Friday, I’ll be giving away copies of my first novel, “The Uncertainty of Death,” for free on Amazon.
Death… it is the most frightening unknown to us all. For centuries people have personified and anticipated the horror and majesty of this unavoidable reality. We even invent legends to avoid it.
Unfortunately, sheis someone we cannot escape.
No one expects a harried, overworked, and socially awkward business woman to become the deliverer of their fate. Death has never been good at games of skill or chance and is keenly self-conscious, always going the extra mile to make others comfortable. But in The Uncertainty of Death, two mortals, Leo Kaylor and Jules Harper are about to meet Death for the first time, and she is not what they imagined in. Together, Leo and Jules embark upon a chaotic journey that will test the very meaning of life and friendship in the first of this apocalyptic Four Horsemen series.
I honestly have no idea what I’m going to do with it or if it really has anything to do with my writing and should therefore be brought up here. Probably not. Though I did notice a lot of villain love going on on Tumblr, which is why I made the account (all of my characters could be called villains, even the nice ones, no really) but I’m not sure what to do with it beyond that except enjoy basking in the love of really questionable men and women with my people.
If you’ve got a villain related Tumblr feel free to post in the comments! I’m desperately looking for more villainy to follow. Especially female villains. So far my Tumblr is almost entirely Hannibal, not that the well mannered cannibal isn’t an awesome villain – I just live for variety.
Tomorrow I’m giving away free copies of “Toxic Ash” on Amazon. It’s a rare chance to nab copies of the second novel of the series for freeso I hope you jump on the chance
When you dance with the Devil – there’s Hell to pay…
Somehow Ash survived Nevada but now it’s time to clean up the mess she made in the process. Her contract is up for review and if she wants to avoid a fatal cancellation, she’s going to have to do something to prove her usefulness to The Company and delve deeper into a world of madness in the process.
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I’ve decided to shake my posting schedule up a bit and was thinking of posting story excerpts on Mondays.These lovely little writing samples can range from a sentence to a page and will be from novels and shorts, sometimes with pictures but probably far more often without. Just a little taste for the readers of my blog who are, well, readers and not interested in all the blech and blargle of being an novelist. Luckily for me, this idea also happened to coincide with my birthday and a lovely bit of fan art from one of my readers!
So I’ll be kicking the Monday Bon Mots off with an extra special bang.
As she slipped into sleep that last image, something she had not seen but somehow had, seemed to color her dreams. If ‘dream’ was even the word for the terrible lucid journey she seemed thrown into.
Only a moment seemed to pass from the memory of the shadow and then Ash was rising from her bed, wearing not the usual comfy shirt but some far more lengthy nightgown. Slipping forth on bare feet, Ash rushed from her rooms – not into the half familiar hallway but into another room entirely. Onward her feet carried her, slipping not from room to hallway but from room to room, some of them tucked into the others in odd ways only reachable through doorways hidden in plain view; this one was behind a large oil painting, to get to that one Ash had to open a giant grandfather clock and dodge the pendulum, and the next was simply a wall with a hidden catch that swung open on a pivot and revealed not one other room but two…
I’ve previously mentioned BookBaby here in the “you’d have to be crazy to pay these prices for this ‘service’ which you could do just as well yourself for free,” column of my When To Pay, When NOT to Pay series. Things have changed though so I suppose it’s worth a quick update.
The primary sticking point for me with BookBaby in the past was their paid ebook formatting and publishing options, all of which any ebook author should be able to do for themselves. Far as I’m concerned knowing how to properly format your own ebook and upload it to the sites of your choosing is as essential as knowing how to change a flat tire and any site that preys on people who haven’t yet figured out how easy it is for authors to do for themselves – is bad news. Now that BookBaby is offering to let authors do these things for themselves, for free, has my opinion of the site changed along with their policy?
Not really no.
There are already a lot of great ways to aggregate your ebook on the various ereader sites, most of which have always been free for authors to use (any cost comes out of the ebook’s price, authors pay nothing up front). Then there’s the various ereader sites themselves for which multiple formatting might be a bit of a pain but it ‘costs’ authors even less than going through an aggregate site. Most of those aren’t mostly in the business of trying to push additional services on Indie Authors (don’t get me wrong, some do offer ‘extras’ like cover design etc. it’s just never been their main money making focus) while BookBaby has always been about selling authors a bill of goods first and selling the authors books second.
That’s just not a great way to get my business or my endorsement.
It’s almost that time of year again. Somewhere between when I’ve finished writing my latest novel and before I stop fretting over it like a fussy hen and start writing my next novel. Into this no-mans land falls several events, MLK day, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
In something like 26 days, all kinds of authors are going to be scrambling for a chance on a very small list that promises to get only smaller as each wrung of the competition goes on. This year I’m contemplating throwing my hat into the ring, if for no better reason than ‘why not.’
Though I’d really like to hear what other Indies think of the contest. Was it worth the effort? Would you do it again? How big was the ulcer you grew from worrying and did it necessitate surgery? You know, that kind of thing.
So leave a note in the comments and tell me your thoughts! Or if you’re a reader and you just want me to tell you when my next book is going to hit Amazon, consider signing up for email alerts.
Formatting. Every time I finish a book and start the process of formatting it for print, I have to run around and look at at a thousand different pages trying to remember everything I know about formatting. Every time, I end up looking up half a dozen new pages because I’ve lost or misplaced my bookmarks. Every time, I feel like pulling out my hair because it’s a lot to juggle while distilling it all down to the vital bits. This time I’m writing it all down as I go, so there will be a handy guide for next time and so other indie authors have a useful one stop shop for all their info.
At this point I’m almost done formatting my second paperback book, so it’s time to go back over the whole and make sure I’m not making any glaring errors that would make all the hoops I’ve gone through so far, to save money and appear professional, a waste.
Odd numbered pages appear on the right (During the hell of formatting page numbers, double checking them, fixing them, etc; you might notice that you’ve got everything perfect and working, except – all the even numbered pages appear on the right side of your book. Yes it’s worthwhile to go back and fix it as it’s the #1 amateur mistake noticed by book designers and readers alike.)
Copyright page (Yes, some indie publishers don’t bother to include one in their paperbacks and the lack of one is a clear give away of an amateur operation.)
No page numbers on Chapter pages and other front and back matter and/or appropriate roman numbering for those pages that need it. (First page of a chapter – shouldn’t have numbers on it, you can have numbers on a index page or prologue but they should be roman numerals.)
If you’ve got those three covered – congrats! You should be able to print a passably professional looking (at least from a distance, if you squint and don’t know too much about book design) paperback novel!
Be sure to check out the other steps on formatting your paperbacks interiors with Microsoft Word:
By now if you’re an indie publisher, author or hoping to pursue independent publishing in one way or another – you’ve probably heard of Draft2Digital. But just in case you haven’t, Draft2Digital.com is a publishing platform like Smashwords’ infamous meat grinder in that Draft2Digital (D2D) lets you take your unpublished manuscript, format it for various stores.
What makes D2D different from all the other publishing platforms? You get access to all the markets at once! That means you can publish on the Kindle, Apple devices, Nook, various other ebook readers and even Createspace from one simple website. Not even Smashwords allows you to publish paperback books at the same time as your ebook and Smashwords’ method of taking your carefully crafted manuscript and placing it on all those platforms is, to be horribly frank, nothing short of putting your work in a mangler and hoping it comes out the other end in a legible format.