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Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series: Focus on Melissa Foster

Posted by Lee Tyler on
Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series: Focus on Melissa Foster

Fostering Success

This is the first installment in a series I have entitled the Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series. In each interview, I will bring you the trendsetters in the new age of publishing for both traditional and self-published authors. My goal is to bring you those who are paving the way to educate authors in all sectors of the writing process from blank page to marketing.  Our focus today is on New York Times & USA Today bestselling  & award-winning author, Melissa Foster.

 

I had the distinct pleasure of discussing a number of issues that fall on writers these days with Melissa Foster via email. She has somehow managed to keep her fiction writing up, form an incredible support group called World Literary Cafe (renowned and respected), written her non-fiction book Fostering Success and pulled together a cadre of trusted format experts, editors and designers. She is also a delight to know.

Here is her philosophy and moral compass underlying all her enterprises:

My goal is always to help as many authors as I am able–and I take no compensation from either of my businesses, this is my way of giving back to the literary world. We are so very lucky to have the opportunity to bring our books to readers, but if we don’t understand how to publish, or the layers and processes behind book marketing, the gift we’ve been given will be meaningless.
The methodology she has developed helps authors from first draft to publishing and marketing:
I am asked on a daily basis basic, as well as complex, questions about all aspects of the self-publishing and book marketing arena. While I’ve tried to help authors with one-on-one consulting, I found that my window of writing time was becoming smaller and smaller, and I wasn’t able to help as many authors as were requesting my time. Fostering Success offers effective, easy to understand, answers along with real life, immediately usable solutions for self-publishing newbies to experienced traditional and non-traditional authors through self-guided courses that are available 24/7 with downloadable transcripts and multitudes of bonus materials that can be used over and over again–to breathe new life into old titles and to launch new titles as well. What pleases me the most, is that authors no longer have to flounder about in the industry. Between Fostering Success and the World Literary Cafe, authors are guided from pre-publication down their marketing path, so they can find their book’s success
About learning to compile your book:
My take on formatting a book -both paperback and ebooks, is that while you can learn them, the ease of doing so depends entirely on how computer savvy you are, and how much you value your writing and marketing time vs spending time formatting. I know how to format ebooks and paperbacks, but I have my staff do that for me (and I pay the same rate as everyone else to do so), because for me, writing and running my businesses are essential, and I believe in letting experts do their jobs. I can rely on my formatter and my cover designers, therefore, they save me money, and surely save me headaches of both time and money from improperly formatted files. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, of course.
After years and years of learning the “old system” of publishing, I took a year out to learn the new approach which is now de rigueur. That research has taken me away from my writing, and I’m sure you can relate to that frustration. Melissa has set up all of these options for other authors while continuing to publish. We all need to take a page from her book:
Author Melissa Foster
You can also chat with her here:

The Women’s Nest

forum

And please like her Fanpage on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @Melissa_Foster.

As always, commenting is free on this site. Sign up for newsletters and follow me on Twitter @LeeJTyler.

Bibliophile/cost-analysis/digital/ebook/publishing/self-publishing/tips/writers helping writers/writing

The Cost of Self-Publishing: POD Price Comparisons + Matchbook, NaNoWriMo & SWD PDQ

Posted by Lee Tyler on
The Cost of Self-Publishing: POD Price Comparisons + Matchbook, NaNoWriMo & SWD PDQ

copy-cropped-logoo-from-jack.png

Are you doing NaNoWriMo …now?…

Well, if so, I have some juicy things for you so keep reading.

If you aren’t doing it this year, then sit back and read at your leisure. There is plenty more where all of this comes from. (Terrible cliché, I know. And I ended the sentence with a proposition!)

As an aside to the indie series, here is a promised tidbit on print on demand services:

Writer’s Weekly has a whole host of articles on the cost of print on demand this week. But, as always, I want you to check your choices against sage advice from

  • your writing forums
  • LinkedIn boards
  • Google Plus Communities
  • and friends who have self-published.

Remember also to check for a top-dollar to be paid; ask your friends what they would consider the top-dollar to be for, in this case, POD.

I will bring you much more in the way of POD, beta-readers, editors, interior and exterior book cover designers and information for formatting your own novel or reputable organizations that can do this for you.

Right now, though, we have some fish to fry in the way of writing a novel in a month. (Breath in, and breath out.)

For your resources this NaNoWriMo, I will be giving you questionnaires that I have dug up throughout the years. We cannot be writing with two-dimensional characters in November or any month of the year.

Here are some great writing prompts for NaNoWriMo at The J Letters.

If you, by chance, haven’t started the outlines or research yet and are someone who prefers to write by “the seat of their pants”, also known in some circles as a pantsers*, then the following character cheat sheets should come in handy right about now.

First up is from Wikiversity with a wonderful character check list that goes beyond just a questionnaire. The “pocket contents” is my favorite.

Ebooks4Writers has a great universal sheet for your novel. It is your roadmap on this journey.

They also have a great post on getting your novel logistics right.

P.J. Sloan has a great character quiz which you can find here.

Now, if those don’t help, Angela Ackerman wrote a great post which is on The Bookshelf Muse site explaining her tricks to get inside the head (or desk drawer) of your character.

What is coming up, you ask?

I have plenty more to help you out throughout this month. These will be a good start for now. For those who follow this site and do not plan on being self-published, you will find in almost all of the posts information that will help you from conception to promotion. Feel free to ask for help if you do not find it in the existing posts.

And a reminder to all writers; we are a sensitive lot, we are the ones who step around the ant hill, amazed at its system of holes and transport tunnels. It is quite hard to be anything else but careful of life in general. But remember, your protagonist is not alive and to save his or her literary life, you must be mean to them. At every turn. Make every day the worst day of their lives. Make sure that there is no pair of socks that match for them to wear, and the coffee pot is broken, and they have no money for take out. The person knocking on the door is not their friendly neighbor, but the killer who wants to chop off their limbs. And you, the writer, has left the door UNLOCKED!!

Forget about Road Rage; You Want Writer’s Rage! Remember William Faulkner’s advice:

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

 

In publishing news:

 

We know that Amazon is a publisher as well as distributor/retailer/lending library et al. But did you know they are starting their own Literary Magazine? It’s called Day One

Your first 30 days are free, as in blog and other periodical publications

Caveat: You name and address will be given to the publisher. Not surprising as they say that for all periodicals. What is ironic is that this time, Amazon is the publisher.

As there are no Editorial Reviews yet, this is the content under the Editorial Review section:

Product Description

Day One is a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Each issue showcases one writer and poet and includes an introduction from the editor, an interview with the authors, and occasional bonus content. Day One features cover art commissioned from emerging artists and illustrators, and readers will learn more about the artist and the genesis of the cover each week.Kindle Magazines are fully downloaded onto your Kindle so you can read them even when you’re not wirelessly connected.
 “Sheila” seems to be getting a lot of buzz, but I’m sure all of the stories in this inaugural issue are fantastic.
The first issue is available now for download. A low-priced annual subscription for 52 weeks will run you $9.99. (Not an affiliate link.) Try it out.
 Amazon Matchbook is also relatively new. It is similar to the Amazon Audio offers you see when you purchase a Kindle edition of a book.However, instead of buying an audio edition of a book, this is retroactive and pairs up hard copy issues with Kindle editions. Amazon is taking a long-range approach to their offer. Any book that you purchased from Amazon since 1995 will get you the Kindle edition of the same publication for a lower price of the current Kindle version. This only applies to those publishers who have agreed to participate in the program.
Smashwords has something new and shiny as well, which you may check out in this document.
Some additional reading material as you take a break from your writing can be found in The Smashwords Style Guide written by Mark Coker himself, which you can find with this link or, if you have a Kindle, on Amazon’s site, or in this adorable, information packed Slideshare. 

 

Don’t worry your pretty little head about editors for your freshly completed manuscript since Mark Coker, Mr. Indefatigable, has a list of editors that are reputable and also kindly affordable. I will keep you updated on this so all you have to do is write your wonderful story into a full blown novel.
The delectable thing about Smashwords and NaNoWriMo is the following update from the Smashword site:

About the Smashwords/NaNoWriMo Promotion
Smashwords is opening up the Smashwords platform to allow all NaNoWriMo participants to publish, share, track and promote their works-in-progress.

All NaNo books will receive promotion via:

  1. A special catalog hosted at Smashwords.com
  2. A special catalog in the native catalog of Stanza, the #1 most downloaded (2.5 million +) e-reading app on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  3. A special catalog in the native catalog of Aldiko, the #1 most popular e-reading app for Android phones
  4. Promotion in the Smashwords blog, on Twitter, and elsewhere!

 

How to list your book as a NaNoWriMo title at Smashwords:

  1. Sign up for free with Smashwords (if you’re not already a member) http://www.smashwords.com/signup
    Between November 1 (12:00am PST) and November 30 (11:59pm PST), publish your NaNoWriMo novel:http://www.smashwords.com/upload/nanowrimo
  2. You can set the price of your book to FREE (recommended if you want to get the most readership), or you can set a price let readers pick their own price if you want friends, fans and family to financially support your month of writing madness. Free is better! If you do charge people to read your book, we suggest you donate your proceeds during November directly to NaNoWrimo to support their great program.
  3. During that same time period, whenever you feel like it, upload a new revision of your novel by going to your Dashboard and clicking “Upload new version” next to the title: http://www.smashwords.com/dashboard
    And yes! readers will always be able to fetch the latest version!
    A dynamic display of a bar graph and other statistics on your book’s public info page will help you and your fans follow your progress.
  4. Please note: Our word count may not match the official NaNoWriMo one!
    Send your friends, fans and family to Smashwords to read your novel, other NaNoWriMo novels, and to discover thousands of other great ebooks! http://www.smashwords.com/
  5. If you write 50,000 or more words by November 30th, you’ll see “Goal reached!” (If you finish after November, we’ll show your latest progress, but also point out that you eventually did reach the goal.)
  6. REMEMBER: Smashwords is providing a fun way to publish (and sell, if you want) your new novel. You still need to sign up for NaNoWriMo and submit your book there, too, to participate in the offical contest!http://www.nanowrimo.org/user/register

How to Promote your NaNoWriMo title at Smashwords:

  1. Use the social media links on your book page to share your book with friends, fans and family
  2. Encourage your friends, fans and family to share your work in progress with friends, using the social media links
  3. Celebrate your Nano entry by posting links to your Nano book at Smashwords, so fans can download your work-in-progress, readable in multiple DRM-free ebook formats!
  4. Review our free ebook, The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, for additional marketing tips. Smart book marketing begins before you release your finished book, so star now!

 

The Details

  • Since you cannot begin your novel until NaNoWriMo starts, you cannot add your book to Smashwords until then, either. (In other words, your book must have a “published” date at Smashwords within the month of November, or it won’t be listed on this page.)
  • The book must be within the Fiction category at Smashwords.
  • During the month of November, whenever you upload a new revision of your work, its NaNoWriMo word count will be updated automatically.
  • Your book’s participation in NaNoWriMo will be listed on the book’s info page at Smashwords, along with the latest word count we saw during November.
  • Even after NaNoWriMo is over, please keep updating your book at Smashwords. And when you finish your novel, remember to uncheck the Work in Progress setting for your book!
  • PLEASE NOTE: Smashwords does not send your book or word counts to the official NaNoWriMo site! To officially participate in the contest, be sure to sign up at NaNoWriMo.org and update your book there, too!
    Click here to register at NaNoWriMo.org >

 

After NaNoWriMo is Over

How to Publish Your Finished Book on Smashwords

When you finish writing your novel, and after you get it properly edited and proof-read (ALL books need many revisions and edits before they’re truly ready to publish), and after you have carefully formatted it per the requirements of the Smashwords Style Guide, you can return to your Smashwords Dashboard, upload the finished version, and uncheck the “Work in Progress” setting to make it ‘live’ on Smashwords and eligible for free, Premium distribution to major online retailers such as Barnes and Noble, Sony, and others to be announced soon. Learn more about how Smashwords can distribute your book on our Distribution Information Page.

 

Commenting is free on this site:

A gracious nod to all of the new subscribers. I would like to hear from you if you have left a comment and it didn’t show up. Please use the contact form or email me at info@thepointofthequill.com making sure that you write my name, Lee, somewhere. I am inundated by spam both on the site itself and through the contact form, and I have found that it is impossible to go through 400-600 spam per day and get anything else accomplished. If you have been caught up in the spam, I am truly sorry. I am working on making this a members site, looking at other commenting services (I’ve tried more than a few, including disks), or finding another way to make the process as smooth as possible. I appreciate your time in informing me how things are on your end. I give the second shoutout to those who have already written to me.

*From Plot and Pant mash up. Yeah, I’m not a fan of it, either.

digital/ebook/editing/editor/indie/self-publishing/writing

The Queen’s English and Proofreading Your Novel

Posted by Lee Tyler on
The Queen’s English and Proofreading Your Novel

Cottage Garden in Tissington, Derbyshire

or:

How do I proofread my book for overseas?

 

This will be rather short today, but it follows along the lines that I have stressed, which are hiring a great copy editor, line editor and proofreader. In doing my research for the self-publishing posts, I sent an email to someone in the UK concerning the use of “while” vs. “whilst” and “curb” vs. “kerb”. I had happened to be reading a book at the time from a British author who used all of the above, but “curb”. She was not following any of my advise for her story structure which fell apart half of the way through the manuscript. Not only did she not hire a proofreader, she was  inconsistent. An absolute “no-no”!!!
In my research for the self-publishing series, I wondered what is to become of authors that send their books overseas. Whether we are sending it “from here over to there
or “there over to here”, the question still stands as to what to do about the difference in spelling. Particularly “while” and “whilst” and “kerb” and “curb”.

Skipping the “how-do-you-dos”,here is Matt Male from Future-Perfect and his response to my inquiry:

Future Perfect is an English grammar consultancy, specialising in vetting companies’ written communications. English is often the only element of a document’s production without a top expert’s input. The design, colour, font, stock and message are all scrutinised by experts, yet the final copy is often not vetted beyond the level of the copywriter/proofreader or layman specifically for grammar, spelling, syntax and consistency. Working at an advanced level (usually after agencies, copywriters, proofreaders and legal experts), Future Perfect ensures that written communications are afforded specific technical and structural expertise in English, to complement the huge team effort which goes into all other elements of their production. Vetting will apply structure, without altering the intended style of a text, to achieve quality and consistency, creating the right impression – first time.

Matt is the founder of Future Perfect. I was horrified to find out that double spacing went out in the sixties. I thought it was the eighties. But I still can’t stop doing it. Though you will notice I didn’t use it in the paragraph.   Let’s try the BBC website and specifically, an episode of “The Grammar Police/Ask Tom” to see exactly how much nearly everyone goofs up one way or another. We are all in this together.

 

While it seems that Future Perfect doesn’t proofread novels, they do pretty much everything else!. So what is the answer to our quest? In this increasingly small world, it seems the best way is to hire an editor who writes and proofreads in both languages. In the coming resource post, I have some that I will share with you and their work is spot-on.

And an emphatic addendum to Word Geek Monday from The Urban Dictionary : The phrase is “for all intents and purposes”, and is NOT “for all intensive purposes”. I will dial emergency on this one if it is not drilled into every head that wishes to use this phrase. If you are speaking of the Intensive Care Ward at the local hospital and you wish to give them a large sum of money, then yes, by all means, use the mangled phrase. No money to give, you say? Well then, use the correct phrasing.

PLEASE SEE THE ORANGE HIGHLIGHT TO UNDERSTAND HOW UPSIDE DOWN THIS PHRASING IS WITHIN GRAMMAR HISTORY.
de facto: The phrase is a corruption of “for all intents and purposes” by persons who have heard the phrase, but have not read it in it’s proper form. It means “for all intents, and for all purposes.”de jure: Taken literally, the phrase means “for purposes which are intense. All purposes which are not intense are not included.” This is almost completely opposite to what is meant by most people, and is why it is imperative that persons use the proper phrase.

The Wise Geek weighs in on the matter:

The phrase for all intents and purposes or to all intents and purposes is often used in a variety of circumstances. It tends to mean under most usual circumstances, in most practical situations, or for purposes that are practical. Another interpretation could be in practical situations.

The phrase originated in legal language in the 1500s, and it may have been first used in court cases in England. The initial wording may have been “to all intents, constructions and purposes.” Some point out that pluralizing “intent” is unnecessary since the word can be singular or plural without an “s” at the end, such as “his intent” or “their intent.”

In the modern sense, this phrase could be used in the following example. A person is interviewing for a job, and the boss wants to hire him. She might say, “We still need to check your references, but for all intents and purposes, the job is yours.” Provided the applicants references are fine, he has landed the job and, under practical considerations, he can consider himself employed.
 
Unfortunately, the phrase has gotten a little more complicated because of the numerous misquotes or malapropisms that are used in its place. One common substitution is “for all intensive purposes.” This is very commonly used, and it means something almost directly opposite to the original phrase’s meaning of “for practical purposes.”

Phrases.org puts it squarely in history:

Origin

When researching the development of a phrase it is usually the origin that is difficult to determine; the spelling and the meaning are generally pretty well established. With ‘for (or to) all intents and purposes’ it is the other way about. The origin is unambiguous, as the first recorded use was in an Act of Parliament under Henry VIII, in 1546:

“to all intents, constructions, and purposes

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! (Do know I’m only stern on Mondays 😉 I hope everyone is taking just a few minutes to write down a bit more in your outline and manuscript. Keep up the good work!

Image credit:  JR P via Compfight

authors/book design/budget/cost-analysis/cover/digital/ebook/editing/editor/indie/marketing/platform/publicity/self-publishing/tips/writers helping writers/writing

APA Makes a Bold Move, One Format for All and Kittens, Too!!

Posted by Lee Tyler on

Yes, would you like to buy a book? Fergus Ray Murray via Compfight

An entertaining overview…

I’ve had this article in my research database since it was published in TechCrunch. It is truly one of the best articles that I have come across on the entire process of self-publishing. There are many details I will be highlighting in this series. Adding to the editing, formatting & book design, marketing, audio and foreign rights but for now this article serves as an excellent aid in the series, which will be ongoing. I will be drilling down on the programs and processes, tips and referrals that you will need.

I just have to say I love James Altucher’s no-nonsense approach to everything in this Publishing 3.0 world we are in. The research and marketing points are amazing. Here is the article for your education and entertainment.

Okay, here are your kittens

And to show you the changes that have transpired within the last two years, I am linking two articles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who runs a series called “The Business Rausch” detailing the changes in the industry and why she decided to go from traditional publishing to indie publishing. The first article was written just about two years ago, entitled Popcorn Kittens.The newest post was made at the advent of the “new” self-publishing era. And the follow up to that she published this week. The latest article shows how an author with a series yet to be written, a back-list to publish and audio and foreign rights to be handled, copes with such an onslaught of work. I am betting you will become just as addicted to reading her site, let alone her books, as I have become.

There is a treat in here that will be both symbolic and entertaining. You can find the article she wrote two years ago here and the one this past week here. Do you see why we are already in the  Publishing 3.0 era?

If only life was so easy…

And finally, though I doubt that Amazon and Kindle will jump on the bandwagon with this (think of cell phones and proprietary software.), there is a push by the American Publishers Association to move to EPub3 which would allow all e-books one format for cross-device reading. I am skeptical, but I would like to be proven wrong. This article is from one of my go-to favorites, Digital Book World, also known as DBW.