e-Publishing Adventures, Part I

Since childhood I’ve been intrigued with The Twilight Zone, the TV series hosted by Rod Serling.  In it, sci-fi, fantasy, ghost story, and social commentary merged and blended, tossing the characters into a different dimension.

That’s how I’ve felt since late June, ever since I stepped through the door of the NYC Marriott Marquis.  It’s as if I’ve moved into Serling’s land “of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.”  I feel as if I’ve just crossed over into a 21st century Twilight Zone.

E-publishing by author has been around for a few years.  Amazon launched the first generation e-reader in late 2007.  In 2008, Mark Coker launched Smashwords.

Writers began not only to write and edit their books, but also to format and self-publish them electronically, thus reaping the lion’s share of the royalties.  They began to shout out their success at conferences, workshops and on social media – blogs, FaceBook, Twitter.  Others took notice.  Over the past year, these matters in publishing have reached critical mass.

RWA’s 2011 National Conference in New York City buzzed with electric energy about e-publishing.  e-Energy I’ll call it.

Before the conference I mostly ignored it all.  Arrogantly.  Naively.  But I couldn’t ignore the buzz at this year’s RWA National.  Nor the stories of folks like Joe Konrath, Courtney Milan, and others.   Writer friends like Mary Stella (and others) have stepped up to self-publish their out-of-print books.   Multi-pub authors are turning down NY offers in favor of author e-publishing.  Eyes open, they launched books and are generously sharing their experiences.

After I came home I talked about the RWA e-Energy buzz with my family.  They encouraged me to go forward, to put some of my work out now, to learn about the process.  To keep the project a manageable size that could be accomplished quickly, I pulled a selection of favorite musing type essays from this blog, Stringing Beads, enriching and updating as needed.  I created my own cover, edited the small book and formatted it according to specifications.

And thus, Stringing Beads – Musings of A Romance Writer was conceived, and born.  This 15,800+ word e-book is the first child in what will be a large blended family.  If you are interested, the e-book is available on Amazon or Smashwords.  I’m keeping the initial price low.  If you don’t own an e-reader, did you know Amazon has a Kindle e-reader you can download on your PC – free?

In my next post I’ll write about the steps I’ve taken as an author e-pub, and what I’m learning along the way.  As others have before me, I’ll post regular updates of my progress.

Keep writing, dear friends, and keep reading.  Can’t have one without the other.   ♥

The Will to Write

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. — Vince Lombardi

Legendary Green Bay Packers’ Coach Vince Lombardi understood success and he understood what it took to achieve it.  It takes willpower to coach a team to the SuperBowl and win – twice.  Willpower, and always keeping an eye on the ultimate goal.

It also takes willpower to write and publish a book then another, and another.  Raw, butt-breaking, stick-to-it willpower.   Best-selling author Madeline Hunter once said that she had never seen a writer who persevered not eventually publish. Since then, I have observed others and seen first-hand the truth of her words.  Writers who persevere do eventually publish.

When I think on my experiences in writing my first book, I’m awed that I ever finished it. It was a daunting job, even with the assistance of a decent critique group.  My second book came easier.  My third, written in only eight months, seemed even simpler, although the middle is still mush.  Perhaps if I had pushed myself harder to polish and actually sell those early efforts, I would have had more success with those that followed.  But, somewhere along the way I let life intrude.  Again, again and yet again. 😦

About a year ago I received a medical wake-up call.  It made me examine my life and where I was headed.  I started eating healthier. Over the next several months, I lost a whole lot of weight, and gained a whole new wardrobe. 😀   My husband and I had long talked about a dream trip.  In October we flew to Paris.  But where is my writing in all of this?  It can’t just sit idle.

I’ve had this innate need to write for too long to let it just fade into oblivion.  I won’t allow my obituary to say “An amateur writer, she wrote several novels that were never published.”  I ache to churn out characters and stories that will not just lie buried in some computer file, but will be read and enjoyed by many.

So I’m writing again, daily.  My newly created characters are talking to me.  They’re taking actions that reveal who they are.  They’re getting into trouble.  Forcing me to plot just how I’m going to get them to the point where they finally declare their love.  Just now I’d be thrilled if they’d even talk to each other in a civil manner.  Regardless of the grief they cause, I am writing about their lives and will continue until their story is told.

I will finish this book.   Writers who persevere do eventually publish.