What Are You Waiting For?

Line art representation of a Quill

Line art representation of a Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, it’s a good news/bad news kind of thing.

The bad news:  no one has been posting and our poor little blog looks downright neglected.

The good news:  we haven’t been posting because we’ve been busy with other writing work.

Some of us are even stupefyingly close to that terrifying step.  The p-word.  Publishing.

It’s a saturation point basically.  When you finally finish that first draft, that piece that you know is a bona fide, honest-to-goodness, real writerly work; you’ve hit a milestone.  But it’s only one milestone on a many mile journey.

You have to rewrite it.  Maybe more than once.  You need to give it a line editing pass and get somebody else to line edit it as well.  Then you need to make those changes and maybe just give it another polishing draft.  Eventually, you have to decide if you’re going to stay in the comfy confines of endless reworking, or take the plunge and publish.

I decided to publish.

But here’s the thing, publishing and writing aren’t the same thing.  They’re intertwined, sure, but you quickly realize there are even more miles to go.  And you thought you were so close!

Don’t despair.  Help is out there.

With all the opportunities that epublishing offers, getting your work out there is pretty close to DIY.  You’re taking on a lot of the tasks that a publishing house would handle in the old model, but I think that’s a good thing.  You have way more control of how your final product and brand come out.  Who wouldn’t want that kind of power?  But there’s no question it’s also intimidating.  What to do?

Get help of course.

Jeff Moriarty, the guy that runs this blog, has quite a few different irons in the fire.  One of those irons is ePublish Unum that he started with Evo Terra.  Last summer I attended one of their live seminars that gave sort of a broad overview of how digital publishing works.  It was great stuff, but the real powerhouse is The Quick and The Read.

This is a web-based, six week course for writers to take you from finished work to published author on Amazon.com.  Yes that is challenging, but it is also totally doable.  It’s online, so you’re not limited by location, but you still get a live class/lecture once a week (How does that work?  Hey, these guys know their digital stuff).  You learn what to do, why to do it, and most importantly, how to do it.  They give step-by-step breakdowns on formatting, cover design, sales copy, and that all important publish button.

I took the course and can’t recommend it enough.  A lot of this was new territory for me, truly starting from zero.  But, as promised, I went from a final draft that I wasn’t sure what to do with, to a real live eBook.  I’ve been taking some time to set up a digital support system for when the book comes out.  My own blog, a website, that sort of thing.  I’m on track to publish the first week of June.  Watch for West of Dead:  A Nathaniel Caine Adventure on Amazon!  Hey, might as well give myself a plug while I’m at it.

So, take the plunge.  You can publish you’re writing.  Don’t say “just one more draft”.  Don’t say “it’s not long enough”, or “it’s not good enough”.  Above all, don’t say “I don’t know how”.  That’s just not an excuse anymore.

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The New Kindle 3

I love books. And, normally I’m one of those late adopters when it comes to new products, especially electronics.  For me any new invention or innovation has be tested, used, abused and given a certain length of time to discover any life threatening properties before I’ll try it.  That’s why it’s a bit surprising that I was one of the first to get the new Kindle 3 – the slim delicate one that lets you read outside. 

What I like

  • The battery seems to run forever without needing a charge. You don’t even need to bring the charger along with you on a trip which is very impressive.
  • It’s small enough to slip into a purse without adding any bulk or weight.  That makes traveling with Kindle much simpler except on a plane.  When going through security, Kindles are treated like electronics and the flight attendants make you turn it off during take-off and landing.
  • You can find hundreds of classics from Amazon for less than a dollar.  It’s so easy to fill your Kindle library by downloading for ten dollars recently published books, and everything else costs even less.  There are other ways of finding pre-1922 books, but it takes quite a bit of searching to find the best edition, and more software to remember and manage.

 What I miss

  • It just doesn’t feel right.  That visceral sense of reading a book is completely lost.  With Kindle there’s no physical perception of how long, how important, or how old the ‘book’ is.  Sure, there’s a numerical sizing system with Kindle, but how long is a 10,000 unit book?  With Kindle, the books are imaginary just like the characters and story.
  • There’s really not much need to go to a bookstore or a library anymore.  Wandering the bookshelves and picking through the discount table appeals to me as a reader.  It’s as though I think something serendipitous will happen and just the right book with jump out at me, demanding to be read.

After I finish the stack of paper books I’ve already got, I suspect I’ll be mostly a confirmed Kindle reader.  I just wonder if in ten years time they’ll discover that the electromagnetic waves emanating from the Kindle alters the structure of your brain or ruins your eyes.  I guess that’s the price of progress.

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