Tag Archive: writing resources


Self Publishing Advice Busy Bees

The editors at Writer Beware Blogs have been busy bees gathering important information for us writers.

Every month or so, I take on this question again, because it is one of the most pressing issues in self publishing.

It can be very simple in some cases… do you have the skill and time to do it yourself?

If not, question answered. Set a budget and timeline and start to find a reputable self publishing company that will help you get your book out in the way you want it done. Check the “Writers Beware” site for scams, and make sure you get both a print and eBook .

If you do have the skill, and the time, I strongly encourage you to do it yourself. Software, if you don’t already have it, can be found on the Internet for free or very little money… you don’t have to have InDesign or Word. They make it easier but are not required.

My self publishing advice is slanted toward a specific way of Do It Your Self Publishing. Create your own publishing company, own your own ISBN, and create all the files (except for the cover) yourself. Hire out the editing and the cover, but forge ahead with your own hands otherwise.

And my advice is also skewed to eventually getting into traditional publishing by self publishing great books, building an audience, and continuing to submit to traditional publishers as your book sales grow.

Because doing the self publishing ourselves is a big job, and takes us away from the actual writing. But it gets our books out there, in readers hands, and I believe in that, with all my skill and all my time.

 

 

Col. C. J. Tippett Rio Party 1943Tip’s story, “When No One Else Would Fly” describes a complicatedly fascinating time in history, when great change provoked extraordinary action by both people and governments. A time when technology and politics deeply affected the personal lives of people in every class and economic level.

The writing of this story has taken place across a twenty- year span of time that has seen an astonishingly similar combination of technological, economic, and political change that has likewise affected the process of researching and producing it.

Colonel C. J.Tippett finished his manuscript in 1990 and I immediately began researching. While I used as much of the Internet as I could, my main resources were libraries, archives, and other books. As the years passed, my web searches yielded more and more valuable and accurate information until, in 2012, I was able to actually sit – by YouTube – in the cockpits of the planes my grandfather flew. I was able to find out things about the people he flew with, and fill in the details surrounding his achievements in ways were impossible even ten years earlier.

I participated in a stunning change in information access and publishing technology that significantly improved the way I could present Tip’s life story. And I’ve been living through an economic and political upheaval that bears some responsibilty for the fact that it took twenty years to produce a readable version.

Tip’s museum-quality archive formed the factual basis for this book and I thank him for both protecting it over the course of his travels and for making it available to me. I am also grateful to all of the people who researched, investigated, archived, organized, collated, posted, scanned, saved, studied, transcribed, listed, wrote, re-wrote, queried, answered posted, chatted, blogged, logged, snipped, photographed, conversed, read, re-read, memorialized, and preserved their knowledge and photographs.

“When No One Else Would Fly” is now available on Amazon.com.

I am delighted to be in the book marketing phase of my book project “When No One Else Would Fly“, the aviation pioneering biography of Colonel C. J. Tippett, which is now available on Amazon.com.

And as I pursue my to do list of book marketing actions, I am lining up my choices for my next writing project. I have sequels planned for both “When No One Else Would Fly” and “Just A Couple Of Chickens“, but I also have ideas for a fiction project. What to do next?

I mused on this issue at the beginning of my blog series and below is a mix of new material

When I am incubating an idea for a new writing project, I try to take some things into consideration...

When I am incubating an idea for a new writing project, I try to take some things into consideration…

and a re-post of that first blog – still current, even more current… as I approach that unique crossroad of choices.

Vision It… Write It

When my finger hovered over that final self-publishing button in my production of my book “Just a Couple of Chickens,” I hesitated. Once I released the book – I was going to lose control of the consequences. Since it was a memoir – chicken tale – urban chicken story… everyone would know my story. It had been my original intention, when I dreamed my life as a writer, that I would put out a blockbuster scifi book under a pen name. Instead, my real name would be associated with this book and everything in it, and since I planned to market the heck out of it in every way I could possibly think of… something was going to hatch from it.

And so I came to realize, at that late date, what kind of a commitment it was to produce a book. More than just writing it, I was going to be living with it, living it – up to my elbows, for years.

And that made an impression on me regarding future book projects I had in mind. Knowing that so long as I remained untouched by publishing contracts, monetary advances, and agent relationships, I retained my ability to write anything I pleased – answerable only to my own pocketbook to determine the marketability of my manifestos… I realized that I would also want to consider how it would be to forge a relationship with my subject matter for a very long time, and to take that into consideration when I was planning my next book project.

The June 2011 newsletter of the Portland, Oregon based Willamette Writers has an excellent article by Laura Whitcomb on this subject titled “Invite the Right One In,” and the whole issue is worth some careful thought. Thinking through the long term life of my writing project at the very beginning is pretty important, particularly in self publishing, because I won’t be handing the project off. I’ll be staying engaged with it for years.

The magic of “Just a Couple of Chickens” definitely endures. It captures a time of our life that was joy, as well as struggle. I’m really pleased to see it still selling and still finding a market – but not so pleased that one of the reasons it is still so attractive to readers is because our economic hard times continue to persist. It’s a joy to market the book – and the bright yellow cover is uplifting. It is a joy and a journey to write the sequel, currently in progress.

The topic of “When No One Else Would Fly” is limitless for me. Aviation history, biography, and my own grandfather’s life story… there’s no end to my interest in that project. It is a delight to market, a pleasure to talk about, and much less intimidating to pursue since it is HIS life story, not mine.

This kind of forethought is part of Vision It – the thinking that goes into a book before the writing does… while the writing does. Because throughout all this study of publishing and business, there is nothing if there is no good book, which will not write itself.

But once the good book exists, there is another whole world of follow up, networking, promotion, and in-depth subject matter delving that goes on afterwards – and that is worth taking into consideration up front, if we have the choice. I want to choose a topic that I will still be enthusiastic about years later, so that I can keep my project moving forward, through marketing and sequels. Something I enjoy talking about on promotional tours and interviews.

Best wishes with your writing project!

5 Ways to bring out the sun for your favorite author... for free!

5 Ways to bring out the sun for your favorite author… for free!

I like to support my favorite authors, and I’m on a tight budget like everyone else, so I needed FREE ways to support them – after having bought and enjoyed their book. Then I realized that sharing these free supportive activities would be a good idea, since I am an author too!

  1. Write a nice review on Amazon.com: It’s easy and very powerful for the author. You have to create an amazon account for yourself the first time, but after that – you can just go straight to leaving a review. These reader reviews right at the point of purchase site are the most powerful of all. Before I buy a book, I read as many as I have time for. It’s particularly helpful to say what you specifically liked about it – show your perspective. 
  2. Tell all your friends about the great book you just read: Word of mouth has been the key for a lot of authors in this new publishing landscape – so tell everyone if you liked it!  Unless it was something like 50 Shades of Gray. We all understand why you might want to keep that on the QT.
  3. Follow their social media: If you are into that, follow them on Twitter, like their Facebook page, sign up for their monthly newsletter. This is also a great way to be the first to hear when a new book is coming out, a special offer is going on, or the author is coming to your town for a signing or talk. 
  4. Mention the book on your own Facebook timeline: This is along the same lines as telling all your friends – but doing it through Facebook. Post about the book, including the title and author, and say that you enjoyed it. I particularly like it when my Facebook friends do this for books they enjoyed because I’m always looking for the next great read. 
  5. Suggest it for your book club reading list: Okay, this one is free because I say “suggest” it for your book club list… but if the suggestion is accepted, then everyone in the book club will either buy, borrow, or share a copy of the book – and while the “buying” part isn’t free, it is VERY supportive of your favorite author.

I have a long list of favorite authors, and there’s a wide range of activity among them. Some are very prolific and I’m in-like-flynn for buying every new book they produce (CJ Cherryh!). Some are very active online and some are not. But whenever I can support them, especially for free, I’m up for it!

 

 

Finishing up with your copyright obligation is just like a walk on the beach. A walk on an Oregon beach, which requires a warm jacket and an umbrella.

Finishing up with your copyright obligation is just like a walk on the beach. A walk on an Oregon beach, which requires a warm jacket and an umbrella.

While it is not legally required to register your copyright with the US Government, it is highly recommended. I register my copyrights once I have completed my manuscript – before I self publish.

This allows me to upload an electronic copy of my manuscript – which by then, I have formatted as a book – and costs me $35 (in 2013).

Once I self publish my book, I have to follow through with the copyright registration process by mailing two good copies of the book to the copyright office.

“Mandatory Deposit in Brief

• All works under copyright protection that are published in the United States are subject to the mandatory deposit provision of the copyright law.

• This law requires that two copies of the best edition of every copyrightable work published in the United States be sent to the Copyright Office within three months of publication.”

This requirement is beautifully described in Circular 7dMandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress.

I copied the quoted text from www.copyright.gov and I’m not sure of the copyright of that copyright info… so I’m trying hard to be clear about where I got that… but I’m the one who made “within three months of publication” bold, because I think that’s quite an important point.

These two copies become the property of the US Government and will not be returned. You also have to pack them nicely so that they don’t get blown up by Homeland Security on their way to the Library of Congress.

There is no additional fee for this step, other than the postage.

Not only does this step complete your copyright registration process, and protect your work for a couple hundred years (or less), it also ensures that YOUR book is one of the dozens – well, bizillions – of books on the shelf in a way-cool library. Or stacked in a basement somewhere; who knows.

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
Attn: 407 Deposits
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20559

 

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love "When No One Else Would Fly" and "Just A Couple Of Chickens" but they wonder about the LCCN.

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Love “When No One Else Would Fly” and “Just A Couple Of Chickens” but they wonder about the LCCN.

The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is not legally required for a self published book, but it is a mark of professionalism and it does have meta data (and other) advantages.

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) is the process through which you apply to get your LCCN, and all of this has to be done before you publish your book.

It can take several weeks to receive the LCCN for your book title, and so it should be part of your self publishing calendar as you plan.

The application process, and the assignment, is free. It is only available to self publishers who have created a business and the PCN office will determine if you are eligible for a LCCN.

Having a LCCN is one of the actions you take as a self publisher that makes you really more of an independent publisher or small press.

The entire point of having a LCCN is so that libraries can find, and therefore order, your book for their library collection.

On the one hand, there are @ 9,000 libraries in the USA and if they all ordered my book, I would be very pleased. On the other hand, if my book is in the library, then I am not selling more copies even though I am gaining more readers.

So why do I want the LCCN?  Because I absolutely love libraries and I want my book in the library because it’s part of my vision of being a writer. A vision of a print book on a library bookshelf – like all those thousands of books from the library shelves throughout my life, since the day I could read.

But besides visions and dreams, having my book in the Library of Congress database is part of the magic of SEO and keyword searchability that is an ongoing, slow process similar to the formation of a coral reef. One coral reeflet is lost in the wide ocean, but over time, the reef can grow until it gains the attention of everyone who passes. These small registry actions I take will accrete over time and make my name more findable, and my books more available.

Once you have your LCCN, it goes on the copyright page of your book. The formatting is described in the email or letter you get from the PCN office. There is a follow-up step required once you publish your book, and that is to send a copy of the book (a nice copy, not a proof or flawed one) to the Library of Congress. At the time of this writing, 2013, that address is below. Sending the copy for the LCCN is not the same as sending two copies for your copyright obligation.

          Library of Congress
          US & Publisher Liaison Division
          Cataloging in Publication Program
          101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
          Washington, DC 20540-4283

 

 

 

I can't give blookup.com a good review, but I can post a pretty picture of this butterfly.

I can’t give blookup.com a good review, but I can post a pretty picture of this butterfly.

Being able to turn a blog into a book is a great way to self publish a book. Not that every blog, in its natural form, would make a great book.

But being able to pull the posts and pictures into an ebook, or a fantastically expensive color print book, or a pdf, can be great.

Being able to pull it into a format that can be opened, and therefore managed, in MS Word can be even better.

I previously reviewed:

And so far, anthologize and fastpencil are the best – with anthologize being the only one to give a format use-able in MS Word.

I found some other sites that didn’t meet my requirments, and they are:

  • Blookup.com: I found blookup.com during my search, and decided to give it a try. It is a French site, so I had google translate it for me, and that was entertaining… but I gave up my effort as soon as I saw that I would have to enter my login and password for my WordPress blog. There was no other option, like pull a feed or upload a file. Some of the other methods also asked for my login and password, but they always offered another route. Blookup.com did not, so I didn’t continue. For me, it isn’t worth the risk. Blookup.com is also ONLY for WordPress blogs, either on wordpress.com or self hosted.
  • Feedfabrik.com went offline last year.
  • Blogbooker.com also seems to be offline.
  • Papyruseditor.com only lets me bring the latest post from my blog in. It’s a nice simple interface, but ….
  • Zinepal.com was simple, and can pull in posts from just a URL. It creates a simple ebook and offers to update it and keep sending it on schedule. It costs $5 and up.
  • ePubBud.com couldn’t digest my files, and is intended for children’s books, but it may be a good tool for other purposes.
  • eBookGlue.com was super fast and easy, but only picks up the first 29 or so posts. No login, no cost, just makes an ebook out of whatever URL I entered. Whether it was my own work or not. Yipers! (the ebook is ePub)
  • LeanPub.com can import blog posts. It involves dropbox, and a little time to learn. It was able to pull ALL my posts, from my feed, which was good, and the formats were ePub, Mobi, or PDF.

Somewhere in all these methods, there is your way.

Turning your blog into a book is a really good idea, and opens up new markets for your work. At the very least, it can collect your work and images into a portable, dependable, secured archive you can control.

 

 

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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