AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Round Two?

 

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.

There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

I’m about to start round two…or is it three…or four? I’ve almost lost count. I have been trying different ebook formatting software, but none seem to be giving me the results I’m looking for.

And even though I have a brand new computer, my internet connection is still pretty basic so I’m running into problems trying to download Kindles ebook software. And every time I try to convert my manuscript into an ebook, the sentences get all messed up…breaking apart into some weird formation…and the end result is more like a scrambled jigsaw puzzle instead of an actual readable story.

So, here I am…still in the fight…with a few more bumps and bruises…but still fighting…

Wonder what this next round will bring? Say a little prayer for me, will ya?

Cuz, I’m diving in once again to this indie author publishing process…

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Diane Kress Hower

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. I’ve made many friends over the years through this writing community, including my next guest blogger…

Picture Books: Too Sweet Or Magically Delicious?
By Diane Kress Hower

 

Writing picture books is great fun and a good deal of hard work. I often suggest to my readers and TV audience to visit my Book Wisdom by Diane blog to think of choosing books like picking a cereal for your child. What do you want for your child? What’s in their best long-term interest? Thank you, Donna for giving me the opportunity to share this analogy with your readers.

Where on the cereal isle do you see your most recent picture book manuscript? How does your story stack up? What makes a picture book desirable food for the young child? I am sure you have ideas about this. We know what sells. However, what does the child need?

When was the last time you walked down a cereal isle and looked at all the options? It’s mind-boggling. There are the classics. Oatmeal, Original Shredded Wheat, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, and Corn Flakes have stood the test of time. Will your writing do the same?

There are the sweet treats. Life, Raisin Bran, Honey Bunches of Oats, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Honey Nut Cheerios have some sweetness but still provide basic nutrition. What level of sweetness does your story bring to a child?

The poppin’ group flashes eat me from the shelf. Honey Smacks, Frosted Flakes, Captain Crunch, Froot Loops, and Lucky Charms are packaged with inviting labels and colors. They also make the top 10 list of the worst cereals for kids. Is your story all flash and color? Is it lacking something?

At the end of the isle, the small granola group is shelved, a more recent arrival providing alternatives to classics and the poppin’ varieties. Granola, Kashi Strawberry Fields, Barbara’s Blueberry Mini Wheats aim to provide the sustenance and kid appeal for discerning consumers. How does your story sustain?

Options and variety abound on the cereal isle and in the genre of picture books. Do you place limits on your writing based on fitting-in and selling? Do you write with the child in mind?

 

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Diane Kress Hower is an author/illustrator who loves picture books. Her professional background of nearly 25 years is in education, counseling, and art. Currently, she is teaching part-time remedial reading at the middle school level in the area of special education while immersed in writing/illustrating/and photography. In her spare time, Diane reviews children’s literature on her blog http://www.bookwisdombydiane.blogspot.com, serves as local area coordinator for the West Slope of Colorado RMC, SCBWI, and is a commissioner for the City of Grand Junction, on the Arts and Culture Commission. You can find out more about her on  her website, www.dkhower.com,  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/dkhower),  and Twitter (https://twitter.com/dkhower),

 

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Are You A Floater Or A Sinker?

 

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Come on everybody…sing it with me:

We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine…

That is, we all do if we call ourselves a writer. But it’s what we do while ON that boat that determines just what type of writer we can call ourselves…

 

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We can be a Floater…

A Floater plays it safe. Hanging near the surface, they chose simple plots with no depth and hope the surface ripples will trick readers into thinking there’s more below the surface. Writers who choose to float throughout their writing career will always keep land in sight because the fear of the unknown keeps them tethered to their safe place.

Or we can be a Sinker…

 

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Sinkers don’t let the safe current keep them stationary. They take that chance, diving deeper into unknown waters and taking risks with their visions in the hopes they will come up with a treasure to share with the world.

In my heart, I’m a Sinker. Though I fear the depths at times, life beneath the surface calls to me. There is an energy there that I can build my stories upon. A place where I can go to discover the other Sinker spirits around me. Which are you? Where will your yellow submarine take you today?

 

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BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Anna Dewdney

 

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Title: Roly Poly Pangolin
Author/Illustrator: Anna Dewdney
Publisher: Penguin Group
Ages: 2 to 5

 

Synopsis:

 

Toddlers and very young readers will delight in the adventures of Roly Poly as he explores the big world around him. Things seem awfully scary to the little Pangolin but he soon finds out what seems strange at first might turn into a pleasant surprise if he would just open his eyes to the possibility.

 

Why you should read it:

 

The bright colors and adorable illustrations of Roly Poly provided by Ms. Dewdney’s book caught my attention from the start. Beyond the cute cover, this is a story with universal appeal for the very young. The world can be a scary place to a toddler but it can also be filled with new friends and fun experiences. With a new school year just around the corner, ROLY POLY PANGOLIN could help pre-schoolers adjust to the new school routine and maybe even discover new friends. This would be a great addition to any home library.

Like-O-Meter Rating: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!
4 out of 5…think about it.
3 out of 5…take or leave it.
2 out of 5…maybe not for you.
1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

 

 

AN INDIE AUTHOR’S JOURNEY: Cracked, But Not Broken

 

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I’m delving into the world of indie publishing. Some authors go the quicker route and use a source like CreateSpace or Kindle Direct to immediately get their books out there.
There’s nothing wrong going that route, but I’ve decided to take a different path.

First of all, I need to apologize for the fact my Monday post is dragging in on the coattails of my Tuesday post. I have so many plates spinning in the air right now I should have joined the circus.

Adding to all the spinning plates is the fact I sent a formatted file to be converted to an ePub and Mobi file but as soon as I hit the send button, I watched as my file shifted just slightly…but just enough for me to realize the formatting will be off by a line or two.

I call the company, hoping they could kick the file back to me so I could make the corrections and resend.

No such luck.

I’m told, sure they can fix the file…FOR $50 PER HOUR PER LINE! What that boils down to is the formatted file slid out of line on page one, line two, which in turn kicked each and every line after that initial line down a notch out of sync…for the next 382 pages. And they can fix it for about $4000. Definitely NOT within this poor gal’s budget. Then they sent me the ebook file I now can not use.

So I shopped around and came across an ebook software program called Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/). It’s free to download but has a learning curve. I’m running out of time so I’m scrambling to try and learn this program. Cross your fingers and wish me luck!

If anyone out there knows of a free software program who can convert my formatted manuscript into an ePub and MOBI format for ebooks, please let me know in the comments. I’ve got about ten days to hit my deadline and trying not to panic. Right now my indie journey is slightly cracked, but not broken…lol…

 

 

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

 

FLASH FICTION TUESDAY: On The Wrong Track

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Now on Tuesdays…at least for the foreseeable future…welcome to Flash Fiction Tuesday. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is, it is an extremely short story (sometimes created in 100 words or less) with a beginning, middle, and an ending.
But in my case, I write flash fiction with an open ending. I allow my readers to draw their own conclusion as to what happens next to the characters of each story. This week we stumble…on the wrong track…

 

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Stuart didn’t know if it was the cold metal pressing against his back or the far off whistle of the train bringing him back to his senses. His eyes were still closed against the light and he wanted to shake his head to clear the drugged cobwebs away, but it hurt too much to attempt it. Was he near some train tracks? Stuart opened his eyes just as another whistle echoed into the distance. A sharp jolt of adrenaline shot through his body and Stuart’s eyes widened as he realized he wasn’t just near some railroad tracks but on them!

There wasn’t time to wonder how he got there. He could just make out the dark shape of the locomotive, it’s headlight cutting through the early morning mist as he struggled against the ropes binding him to the steel tracks. His eyes stung from sweat as corded muscles strained to break free. Could that conductor see there was someone lying in the shadows on the tracks? Would he be able to stop the train in time? Stuart wanted to scream but his throat constricted in terror. Time seemed to slow down as he watched the oncoming train racing toward him.

Another whistle pierced the air, much closer this time, and the tracks shook wildly beneath him as Stuart wondered if there would be pain or would he just suddenly cease to exist. If only he had more time. Time to hug his wife and young daughter once more. Time to eat that juicy steak he wanted last night instead of settling for a salad. Time to laugh and love and drink in all the life he can until he can hold no more. If only he had more time.

What was the use of fighting the inevitable? Stuart closed his eyes and said a prayer as the last screech of the train’s whistle ran over him and then…nothing. Nothing but the roaring clickety-clack of the cars rushing past him on the other track leading up the mountain. It wasn’t until the silence settled back into the valley that Stuart dared to open his eyes. His body shook, not from the cool morning air, as his mind tried to grasp the fact he was still alive. Now if he could just figure out how to get free before the next whistle blew…

 

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What happens next? Share your imagination with others by leaving a comment below!

 

donna

 

International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.

WRITERLY WISDOM: Alison Hertz

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Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week’s guest blogger is Alison Hertz, another lovely author I met through Tara Lazar’s Storystorm years ago…

 

Weathering the Brainstorm: Tips for Creating a List of Picture Book Concepts
By: Alison Hertz

 

First of all, Donna, thank you for having me on your blog.

For those who don’t know me, I write and illustrate books for children. While I dabble in chapter books and mid grade novels, I write mostly picture books – a lot of them. I am often asked by writer friends and non writer friends how I come up with soo many different ideas for picture books and my answer is simple. Brainstorm.

Okay, I know that brainstorming can even be intimidating for some. You may be thinking, brainstorm what? People tell me that they enjoy writing for kids but they simply don’t know what to write about when starting to work on a new manuscript. Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to sit down and come up with a list of 25 picture book story concepts off the top of your head. Here are my tips:

1. Go to a playground or Chuck E Cheese or the play area at McDonalds and other places that children like to hang out. Go sit in the waiting area of a children’s dentist or pediatrician. Go to a children’s museum, an aquarium, or a planetarium. Watch how children behave, listen to what they are interested in or worried about. Just don’t take pictures of anyone or they might think you are some kind of creep. Take your own kids with you or your nieces or nephews or grandchildren – watch and listen.

2. Now that you are thinking about those places that children go (they don’t have to like all of these places), make a list of as many as you can think of. Here, I’ll start it for you:

Playground
Restaurant
Doctor
A friend’s house
Grandma’s house
Their own backyard
(Now you add at least ten more places.)

3. Now make a separate list of events in a child’s life. Think about the age you want to write for 0-3, 3-5, 5-8 and what events are specific to that age. Write down as many events as you can. I’ll start it for you:

Losing a tooth
Getting a pet
First sleep over
Birthday parties
Taking the bus to school for the first time
Making his or her own breakfast or lunch
(Now you add at least ten more events.)

4. Here comes the fun part, combine your lists. Take an event from list 2 and have it occur at a place on list 1. There are no wrong answers here. Kids can have nearly anything happen anywhere. Make a list of combinations. For this step, I’m going to add “What If” to the beginning. Here are a few to start you off:

What if a child lost his/her tooth at a museum?
What if a child has his/her birthday party at Grandma’s house?
What if a child has a play date at the beach?

5. You might think that you have a list of picture book concepts and we are done. You have weathered the brainstorm. Sorry but, right now, your list of story ideas are not yet picture book worthy. To turn this list into fun, page turners, we need to throw a wrench in the machine (so to speak). Next to your list of ideas, write something devastating or amazing that could happen during that event. Remember to think of what would be great or horrible for a child (not an adult). For example:

What if a child lost his/her a tooth at a museum – and the tooth dropped into an exhibit?
What if a child had his/her birthday party at Grandma’s house and Grandma drops the cake?
What if a child has a play date at the beach and they find a hermit crab together – who will get to bring it home?

These additions to your events and locations turn your idea into a story. Now, go weather the brainstorm and have fun coming up with ideas.

 

flap(Weaving Dreams Publishing 2012)

 

When Max and Katie decide to teach their little sister to fly, they quickly learn that telling her to flap, just isn’t enough.
Page by page, the siblings get more and more inventive in an effort to help their little sister soar through the air.

 

Alison

 

Alison Hertz is a writer, illustrator, teacher, toy designer, juggler, and former summer camp director. Her picture book, FLAP, released in November of 2012 and is available in stores and online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and her website.

To learn more about Alison Hertz:
Website: www.AlisonHertz.com
Blog: www.AlisonHertz.blogspot.com
Twitter: @AlisonHertz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlisonHertzAuthor