Archive for September, 2012


Modern Game Bantam Chicken by Tom Anderson

Fairy Chickens! The Modern Game Bantam Club of America has fabulous pictures of these fabulous chickens.

My first chickens were standard, durable, off-the-shelf, “normal” (meaning non-heritage, though shouldn’t normal really mean heritage?)… chickens. They were Buff Orpingtons, which are a hardy, robust, egg-laying meat chicken with beautiful strawberry-blond feathers.

At the time, I didn’t know anything about chickens, and these were a great breed to start with since I was learning-by-doing-it-the-hard-way, which was one of the possible taglines for the book I wrote about my chicken adventures, “Just A Couple Of Chickens”.

My second chickens were a mix of “hatchery choice” and therefore had some rare-ish breeds, most of which were still pretty hardy, like the Blue Andalusian.

But then I reluctantly left my rural adventure and moved to the city. I joined the Urban Chicken Movement (although without any chickens at first). I started to attend regional chicken shows here in the Pacific Northwest and I finally realized that I hadn’t even scratched the comb on the top of the weirdest and most wonderful chicken breeds that exist.

Since city chickens are kept in smaller flocks than most rural chickens, and city chicken keepers tend to have more money to spend on their chickens than rural farmers, the results are “specialty” chickens scratching around elegant coops in urban professional’s back yards. And that means chicken awesomeness for anyone who digs weird chickens, like me.

I’m starting my list for my next chicken adventure. A small flock of three hens in my backyard. Landlord permission, check. Coop prepared, no go. Budget set and saved up for, not at all… so it’s going to be a while. But it will provide the happy ending I am planning for my soon-to-be-available sequel to my first chicken book,  soon-to-be-titled “Just A Couple More”, and if you are interested in being on the release announcement list, please drop me a note on my contact form.

Top of my list are what my friend, Michelle Koppe, calls “Fairy Chickens“, otherwise known as Modern Game Bantams. Also top of my list are Seramas, which are mini-chickens, proud and stunning and fabulous. And expensive.

This is a faboulous benefit of city chickens… the variety and elegance and exciting connections possible. I miss my chicken adventure very much, but I shall console myself with fairy chickens one day very soon.

 

(this post is a re-write re-post from 2011…)

As I near the end of writing my manuscript, I realize that the time has come to polish up the grammer, usage, punctuation,
and so I pull out my mammothly heavy copy of The Chicago Manual of Style.
Perhaps, you are thinking, I should have that book out all the time – before I near the end of my manuscript.
Well, I am going to ignore that kind of thinking and move forward.

I can’t pretend that I like The Chicago Manual of Style. I’ve spent too many hours trying to follow all the freakin’ rules and regulations.

Rules like how percentage has to be spelled out if it refers to human beings, but can be a symbol if it refers to anything else unless it is at the beginning of a sentence and depending how big of a number it is referring to.
This is the kind of rule that seems to love itself too much.

The T-Rex of Self Publishing, Chicago Manual of Style

This is how I feel about the Chicago Manual of Style, but I use it… and use it… and use it some more.

To be a rule simply to exist as a rule and not to help mankind in general.
Stop signs, good rule.
Percent rule,  not so much.

The manualfesto is produced by the University of Chicago Press – who is actually a publisher.
They have a section of their website with manuscript preparation guidelines that are a handy basic starting point for formatting a manuscript, even if it isn’t going to be submitted to them.

And I wondered why the University of Chicago got to determine the final word on usage of the English Language… wikilore says it is because they did it first, and they did it most, and they’ve continued to do it.

It started in 1906 with the first edition and is now in a 16th edition and is considered a guide for the proper use of everything in American English.

If I sound a little negative, it’s only because I don’t write right and I have to spend many many hours creeping through the Chicago Manual of Style to put out a decent manuscript.
Their rules of English usage are not obvious to me despite my fluency in the language.

It is also because I decided not to sign up online because if I bought the durn book, then I’d have it and not have to pay again every year. How often would they put out a new edition?  I’d be set for decades.
The very next year, they put out the new edition. All newest editions are automatically accessible in the online subscription, which is also, naturally, searchable online.

If I had the online version, I could be searching the proper usage of the word “Dammit” right now.

Cloyce Joseph Tippett certifies in the T-bird T-33 Jet Trainer

This photo looks about half this good when printed in the actual book. It will be better when I boost the contrast.

You can add line drawings and black & white photos, or other sorts of images, to the body text if you are self publishing a book. Simply include the graphics in your layout before you create your pdf. But there are limits to how good the images will look, and these five tips will help:

1. Make the photos look the best they can – with good contrast and sharpness. While you can put color photos in your electronic file, they will print in black and white unless you are creating a color photo book. Making your photos or images look nice in black and white before you paste them into your document will ensure they look the best they can in the book. The book printing process tends to flatten them out, so tend towards contrast – but not to the point where you lose detail.

2. Make them big enough. At least a third of the page if the image is a photo with a caption, and at least one inch high if it is a graphic at the beginning of a chapter. If your graphic is a page decoration, you can make it any size you want. Actually, you can make all of them any size you want as long as you stay within the print margins of your book size. Full bleed graphics are a different issue and I have no current experience with those. Generally, I try not to bleed.

3. Downsample your PDF to 300 dpi. Or you could make them 300 dip to begin with. This is a standard pdf recommendation. My soon-to-be-available “How To Self Publish A Book” book will have printed samples with different DPI tests so you can see what happens, but it isn’t ready yet. In the meantime, 300 dpi is a good general guideline. This does not apply to line drawings.

4. Include captions that cover the 5 W’s of good writing – What, Who, Where, When, Why. Actually, the fifth should be “how” but that doesn’t start with a W so I use Why. Readers will always read captions, and the captions of the photos you include in your text may be some of the first text your reader scans… especially when flipping through the book with a mind to buy, so make the best of that opportunity. Avoid describing things that are obvious in the photo and use the caption to add value and interest to your project.

5. Order a proof of your book with all of your photos in the text before you go much further with the project. The only way you will be able to tell for sure how your photos will look is to test them. Get your writing into your book design, insert the photos and size them to your taste, then go ahead with the proof. It’s not expensive to order a proof and it can save you a lot of headache later in your project. Once you know how your exact photos or images are going to translate to the medium you are working with, you can adapt your materials so that they show well.

Line drawings look really good in the current state-of-the-art print-on-demand books that you can produce as a self publisher. Photographs print surprisingly well, depending on how good they were to begin with. But if you have really stunning photographs or images that are the heart of your book project, you may want to look into producing a photo book. The only drawback is the production cost, which is the reason coffee table books have such a high list price… they have a high production cost. The technology is easily available, it’s just an issue of profit and loss.

I have included over 100 photographs in my grandfather’s biography, working titled “CJT, A Biography” and they look good enough to be exciting, but I am considering a color photo book as a future project. Many of the images in my grandfather’s archive are museum quality and contain celebrities and world leaders, so the book would not only be marketable, but would also be an important archive.

 

 

 

 

 

how to self publish a book using lulu

A feather of self publishing advice regarding Lulu.com

I recently printed a draft of my soon-to-be-available step by step “how-to” manual on self publishing through Lulu.com to see how Lulu compares other services I’ve tried.

www.Lulu.com is one of many online companies that offers a range of publishing solutions to anyone with a project.

To start, before I sign up for any online company, I do a “suck search” to see if anyone has gotten angry enough at that company to rant off about it. I found a really huge number of people who were pissed off at Lulu.com. Almost as many as are pissed off at PayPal.

So I was cautious and read all the fine print and submitted a live email query to lulu.com’s customer support to test the system. It took a week for customer support to respond, but when they did, it was a live person and the answer was relevant to my question, and I was satisfied. So I got busy setting up an account and putting my project together.

I liked the fact that I could make a project that was “private” for viewing right from the start. And that I could change that setting later. Private publishing. Taking self publishing to a whole new level; the self reading level.

Lulu is free. That was good, because the other services I’ve tried are also free to get started. The only charge I paid was when I was ready to order a copy of my book to proof it. Then I paid for my book and the shipping. The book fee was based on the size and page count, and the shipping was both reasonably priced, and fast. The book fee was reasonable too.

I would have to pay Lulu.com fees once I was ready to publish my book, but if I stayed in this new world of totally private publishing, I’d only ever pay when I wanted a copy of my book. Self audience!

I was able to make a cover for free, which is a service also available on other services. While I seriously recommend you hire a professional to make your final cover, it is handy to use the free service to make a draft cover. Lulu had fewer options than other services I’ve used, but I need fewer options on something like that. I’ve lost too many hours playing with covers that should never see the light of day.

When I was ready to order a proof, I did not have to put in my ISBN number. Nor did Lulu require me to take one of theirs. They would require the ISBN number when I was ready to publish, but not to order a proof, and I liked that very much.

Lulu’s system was pretty easy to use… the only troubles I had were specific to my formatting, and so overall, I was satisfied, but when I came to the steps involved with actually publishing my book with Lulu, I was no longer satisfied. The costs and process of self-publishing through Lulu were a no-go for me. Their fee to get my book on Amazon.com and beyond, and how they structure their royalties and pricing put me off. It is cheaper and easier to control on other services.  CreateSpace, where I self published “Just a Couple of Chickens”,  will put my self-published book on Amazon.com with no fee. They only charge once I start to access expanded distribution. (…disclosure….I have an affiliate link to CreateSpace on my sidebar because I am pleased with their service, but no link in the text of this post…. and I would affilate lulu.com because of their ease of printing a book, but not for their publishing portion…)

In summary, Lulu.com is very useful for printing a proof or a casual copy of a book I don’t intent to market.

It’s easy to use and the service was good. The print and cover quality was fine. I can use Lulu to print a proof of my project, or I can pay them to produce my whole book, or I can use my own ISBN number and self-publish my book through their company. But I wouldn’t. And many of these publishing issues were the root of the rantations I found in my search.

I would use CreateSpace over Lulu for self publishing… although I haven’t yet tried Lightning Source or Blurb.com. (Have you?)

Lulu’s proof printing ease makes it pretty fun to whip up book versions of some of my projects-in-waiting. To see them in book form instead of in manuscript form or only on screen. Lulu.com is great for that purpose. I’ve got so many projects that I could take self publishing to the ultimate of ultimate level… self library!

 

Self Publishing Advice Butterflies

The Three Butterflies of Writing Advice

As I build my series on Step by Step Self Publishing, I keep trying to start at the beginning… with Write The Book… but current life and topics keep popping up.
Because this is blogging.
It’s more spontaneous, closer to live action, more like real life.
Not disorganized. No way!

For authors, publishing starts after we think we are finished.
So for authors, self publishing advice includes the topic of writing the book. And my advice for authors considering self publishing is to write another book and publish it as well. Don’t stop with just one book – use the time, effort, and self education to put out more books! But first, we have to write it.

Out of the millions of ways to write a book, I can think of three:

1)            Do something and write about it

2)            
Find someone who did something and write about them

3)            Make something up completely from scratch and write about it

I started with number one. I did something, and I wrote about it…  my memoir about raising poultry and a family in hard times, titled  “Just a Couple of Chickens”

Now I’m almost finished with my second book, using approach number 2. I’ve found someone who did something, and I’m writing about him. My grandfather, Col. C. J. Tippett, did several very interesting things in aviation history as well as being a fascinating person in an extraordinary time.

Number 3 seems the hardest. To make something up completely from scratch and write about it. I do have my secret manuscript just like every other writer, my blockbuster sci-fi space opera, bodice-ripper… (space-suit ripper?) but in the meantime, I’m going back to methods 1 and 2 and writing sequels to my first two books.

Because if Write It is the first step in self publishing, then Write a Sequel and Do It All Over Again is the last… that’s just good publishing advice.

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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