Archive for December, 2012


The WestchesterPress says Happy New Year

Happy New Year from The Westchester Press!

Every day I work on my computer… including weekends. Not just for my work self publishing a book, but for everything electronic that I do.

  • Every day I have to enter a password.
  • I’m supposed to change those passwords every 60 to 90 days!
  • And not forget them.
  • They are all supposed to be different… a different password for every portal demanding a password.

I find this overwhelming.

Then it occurred to me the requirement of typing some short phrase over and over again was a great opportunity to practice my powers of positive thinking.

I began to use my passwords as daily affirmations. So now, every day, I type in something encouraging… complimentary… positive… goal affirming.

  • I made a list of daily affirmations tailored to my goals and dreams.
  • I shortened them into 6 – 10 characters. One way to do this was to take the first letter of each word, like – Great Day became GD… (hehehe, which is also an acronym for something less positive, but gots to have my fun!)
  • I included symbols and numbers
  • I added a symbol, number, or letter that I would know referred to a specific service – like GML for gmail. (I don’t use that in my gmail password, so I can offer it as an example)
  • I made a note in my calendar to redo this regularly, which also works for re-tailoring my daily affirmations to keep up with my stellar progress towards my goals and dreams.

Now my daily password chore is very uplifting. As a self publisher, and as an author, I often need daily affirmations to keep going, and using my passwords as an opportunity to make daily affirmations is a great boost.

The key… (that’s a pun… key = password = access)… is to stay positive. I truly believe in the power of positive thinking. New affirmations for a New Year!

 

Horned Lizard and The Westchester Press

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing is researching How To Turn A Blog Into A Book. How to make a blook. Horned Lizards want to know.

So I am testing each of the blog to book methods I can find to add “How To Turn A blog Into A Book” to my “How To Self Publish A Book” series.

I am investigating this topic because our blogs contain super-awesome-mega content and breathtaking photos, and turning them into books is a great idea. Making a blook!

My standards for the process are high.

  • I want a nice looking book, but I don’t want to have to spend hours formatting it, because I could do that manually, the same way I usually make books.
  • I want the photos to look good, and that’s going to be a challenge because while 72 dpi looks great on screen, it doesn’t look great in print.
  • The book probably needs to be in color, because of all the effort I’ve put into the photos, and color print books are expensive to produce… but, ebooks!  It could be an ebook (future posts on ebooks coming soon)
  • And I want to be able to access the book file. For cut and paste, for other uses of my materials. I want to create a file that I can take anywhere, print anywhere.

Blurb.com has the lion’s share of Google’s keyword hits, and so I started with them.

They advertise a blog to book method and they offer color books – hardcover or soft. They claim they can slurp my blog and drop it into a book, which I can then order for myself and sell online from their service.

First I set up an account, which was easy. Then I went to “Make Books And More” where I found “Blog Book”, and then was instructed to download their software, Blurb Booksmart. Which I did.

Ah soooo… the software resides on my computer, and therefore so do all my book projects, until I am ready to order a copy of the book. This way, I don’t take up their server space – clever ducks.

The software was free. There was no charge at all, actually, until I was ready to order the printed book. So that’s good.

There are seven book size options, and two of them are my preferred book sizes… 6×9 or 5×8. But there is only one blog-to-book layout option – which has the picture in a small square, and the text in a shorter column to the right.

If I want a different layout, I have to go into some heavy manual formatting while learning their Booksmart software… only to find that my low res pictures are looking very bad in my chosen layout.
Wah.
Hmmmm.

The process supports four kinds of blog platforms: blogger, live journal, typepad, and wordpress.com. Which is great, unless you’ve moved your wordpress blog to self hosting, like I have. In which case, this process will not work. Game over for all my blogs except one.

Okay, forward I go with my Blogger.com blog, which has more than 100 posts and gets slurped into Blurb’s program without a hiccup. Where it looks like crap. And where I can’t do anything with it except print it out through Blurb.com. Hmmm.

My blook was 256 pages, and not all of the posts were properly separated, so it would have been even more pages. It is very easy to price the potential book using Blurb.com’s buttons, so I could see right away – before doing any more formatting – that my 6×9 softcover color print book would cost $37.95 per copy.
Ummm… oh dear. That’s not exactly the base cost I was looking for. 

If I gave up color, then my book would cost $12.95 per copy… but, but, I have to have color!

In summary, Blurb.com has a very nice system to capture a hard copy book of a blog as a novelty or one time gift.

It will take time to format it nicely, and unless you posted gigantic pictures on your blog, your images will be either tiny or blurry – your choice. I don’t consider this a commercially viable option for making a book out of my blog. And it doesn’t give me an electronic document to have my way with.

But it sure is a nice piece of software… which makes a nice, pretty, pricey book.

I will keep looking. This is not How To Turn A Book Into A Blog. Not in my blook.

 

 

 

 

The Westchester Press and How To Self Publish A Book

This was my favorite view from our property in New Mexico while I was writing Just A Couple Of Chickens. It looks west, to Oregon, where we now live.

Since my celebration of Christmas and New Year’s is a reflection on the past year and setting goals for a new year, I thought I’d apply it to how to self publish a book, and spin out some self publishing advice to myself – and everyone!

If I could ghost back to each year’s Christmas Eve in the past, what would I tell myself about self publishing a book?

First of all, I’d make more of an effort not to scare the wiggles out of myself by popping up unannounced than ghosts of Christmas past usually do.

Then I’d congratulate my poor wigged-out self on having a book out there in the world, rather than unfinished in a drawer.

I would tell myself that

  • self publishing a book will not make me rich in cash (yet!) but that more self published authors are getting rich every year
  • the skills that I will learn along the way are valued in the working world and will give me options
  • the amazing coolness of having a person email me to say that they enjoyed my book is amazingly cool – and might be worth it all right there
  • I will spend more time working on the self publishing business and marketing than I will in writing, hmm.. eh?
  • self publishing a book feels better than submitting a book for traditional publishing, but I should continue to do both to make all things possible
  • I must keep writing, even if I am writing about self publishing
  • I’m still learning by doing and learning things the hard way, and all of our future selves have agreed to just accept that as our personal motto

And then I would break all time-travel and ghost-past laws by sneaking myself a copy of my soon to be ready series on How To Self Publish A Book, which includes things like How To Set Up A Small Business and How To Design A Book and How To Market A Book, and more… because by having that book in hand, which I’ve written based on all the things I’ve had to do to learn how to self publish, then I will rocket forward in life.

Actually, if I’m going to break the time travel rules, I might go big and give myself a list of stocks to buy, flight dates to avoid, and a headsup on not choosing the IMAX 3D theater option for any of the Avenger movies.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

 

Silver Laced Polish in Just A Couple Of Chickens

Silver Laced Polish Chickens enjoy heat lamps in the winter… and I learned to hang them high enough to clear their head feathers! But now I have to watchit for teflon-coated heat lamps as well!

I used red heat lamps extensively both when I was brooding my 100 poultry chicks, and each winter of their lives, to keep them comfortable.

Other than the Polish Chickens burning their head feathers on the hot bulb, I had no problem… but that was more than two years ago and there’s a new technology out there resulting in red heat lamps that are coated with teflon.

And teflon is extremely toxic to birds when heated… teflon fumes = dead chicks. The teflon makes the bulbs shatterproof, and these bulbs are intended for food warming, but this new development makes it important that backyard poultry farmers be very careful when choosing the right heat lamp bulb.

In another new technology development, there are energy efficient, ceramic heat lamps available that don’t put out any light… and have no teflon threat, and Rocio Crespo, DVM, MS, DVSc, Dip ACPV suggests that we use them for our brooders and not risk the red heat lamps.

Dr. Crespo presented a talk to the Pacific Northwest Poultry Association (PNPA) in November this year, and I was very happy to be able to hear her speak. For one thing, I totally would have used heat lamps for my birds – and potentially gassed them all to death, and for another thing, she had many other valuable pieces of information. I learned a huge amount!

Rocio Crespo is the Branch Director, Associate Professor at the Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Puyallup, WA. Her knowledge of chicken keeping, and her availability as a knowledge resource is amazing. People contact her with chicken health mysteries they cannot solve, and this is how she learned of the teflon danger. An entire brooder of new chicks expired one night, and Dr. Crespo narrowed down the clues until a light bulb moment appeared overhead. A red teflon light bulb.

I had kept my chicks in constant light, thinking that was better for them, and for me (checking on them in the night), but the lightless heat of the creamic bulb gives the chicks a chance to learn the cycles of day and night, which Dr. Crespo says is better.

SO!  good to know… no more red bulbs for me for poultry. And no more overheating my teflon frying pans… if it isn’t good for chickens it probably isn’t good for children. (Oops.)

Thank you Dr. Crespo and the PNPA!

 

Self Publishing A Book Is Not Like Secretariat At ALL

Self publishing a book is not at all like Secretariat winning the triple crown.

In the business of Do It Your Self publishing, which is different from the business of self publishing only in the way that you Do It Yourself,
The prize is in finishing – at all – not so much in finishing with style.

This process of self publishing a book is difficult or expensive. If we want to get help in producing a book, then we have to be able to pay. If we don’t want to pay, or don’t have the funds, then we have to do it ourselves… and while it is do-able, it isn’t always easy. It can be time consuming, sometimes confusing, and a lot of work.

So I’m sharing one of my personal standards, in case it helps… on those late evenings when the to do list is just too long, and the month’s sales tally is just too short.

Once upon a time, there were two racehorses.

One was an equine prince, by anyone’s standard. His name was Secretariat, and he was perfect. Perfect proportions, perfect coat, perfect stride. In 1973, he won the Triple Crown, and was awarded Horse Of The Year. Secretariat was glamorous and made winning look effortless. I do not relate well to Secretariat, much as I admire him.

The other racehorse was Seabiscuit. He was not perfect, and he did not win the triple crown. But he was voted Horse Of The Year in 1938 because he won just about everything else. He was not a beauty, and his racing style was not glamorous. The only reason racing fans weren’t wincing when he crossed the finish line is because he was crossing it first.  He was known for his hard work and his fierce racing spirit. He never gave up.

And so my self publishing advice today is that it doesn’t matter if you finish your checklist in style and surrounded by cheering fans.
It is only important that you finish it.

Any way you can, my seabiscuits.

 

 

 

The Cabo Blanco Fishing Club and Col. C. J. Tippett

That is Col. Cloyce Joseph Tippett on the right, shaking hands with Alfred C. Glassell, Jr at the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club in Peru… on April 20th, 1958. Oh, and the fish are… really big.

On April 20th, 1958, the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club hosted their First Annual North American Big Four Match at their clubhouse in Peru.
Peru is in South America, but the Big Four were North American fishing teams, and this was the first tournament, so maybe they were still working on the event title.

The tournament was a big game fishing event, and the fishing  (blue-fin tuna and black marlin, in this case) was extraordinary and made history, as did the members of the club.

There were teams representing the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Coast, and The Club, comprised both of members and guests, many of whom were big names in sportfishing history.

The Club team consisted of Colonel Cloyce Joseph Tippett, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., and S. Kip Farrington, Jr.

And they won!
Their two catches, one 270 pound blue-fin tuna, and one 398 pound black marlin, won the big cup that day.

Tip is the tall guy on the right in the photo, shaking hands with Alfred C. Glassell, who is also tall. The other teams are in the background along with the fish.

Tip wrote about his time with the Club at Cabo Blanco and the book is getting closer to being ready… please sign up if you want to be notified when it comes out.

At the same time that Tip and the team won the tournament, another kind of “fishing” had started, but this time, Tip was the intended catch, and the angler was… a woman!

 

 

 

Jodi McDonald supplied the Button Quail for Just a Couple of Chickens

My Button Quail came from Jodi McDonald who has written “A Closer Look At Button Quail” which is the best Button Quail book out there!

Jodi McDonald was the quail breeder in my book whom I called when I needed a girl quail to go with my boy quail, which I bought thinking he was a girl quail who would lay lots of quail eggs… and she was the person who taught me all the things I should have known before I got any quail.

She breeds, raises, and sells Button Quail from her Bracken Ridge Ranch in California.

A couple of years ago, Jodi came out with her book about Button Quail, and it is the absolute resource for everything there is to know about this little bird. It’s the best button quail book I’ve ever read!

The Button Quail is a borderline pet in the US today, but it is also a true quail and needs all the things that poultry need, and a few things more.

Jodi builds and sells a cage specifically designed for Button Quail success. It copes with their bonking issues, their escape plans, and their egg laying production. I tried to handle all of those quail-isms myself and in addition to Jodi’s book, I’d use Jodi’s cages next time.

Button Quail eggs are the size of a penny, and so delightful. They are in great demand in egg art. Button Quail chicks are literally the size of bumblebees – so cute, so tiny. My quail hens, which were Jodi’s quail hens until I bought them and she shipped them to me in perfect health and comfort, laid so many eggs that I am still selling them on www.TheFeatheredEgg.com.

If it’s about Button Quail, which, as Jodi says, is actually the Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, then Jodi is the one to ask.

Quail Queen… Jodi rocks.

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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