Monday Bon Mots: Toxic Ash

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.

DreamingAsh

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…

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When To Pay, When NOT To Pay: Book Baby Update

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.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

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.

Book Interior Formatting: Dotting Your I’s and Crossing Your T’s – Final Checklist

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:

And as always – if there’s anything I’ve neglected to cover that you want to know, just ask in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help.

Draft2Digital

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.

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