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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Breaking the Mold

If you are a writer, you know that there are standard formats for submitting articles and manuscripts for publication.  For manuscripts, it was always one-inch margins, double-spaced, header at the top with title, author, and page number.

Well, not only has the publishing world changed, but manuscipt formatting has also undergone a transformation. Finally, after schooling myself on the rapidly changing world of indie publishing, I've gotten to the point of formatting my novel St. Anne's Day for Smashwords, Kindle and CreateSpace.
I'm on Kindle!

The process was relatively painless--although I have been working with Microsoft Word forever.  For others not so familiar with word processing, it may seem a bit confusing.  However, Smashwords Style Guide was a great aid as was my "bible" Dollars and SenseThe Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success.  I thought the CreateSpace instructions were a bit vague, but perhaps that is to encourage you to buy their formatting services.  With a little adjustment, I was able to upload there without much trouble as well.  Now I'm waiting on my cover from my designer so I can "go public" on Amazon.

homeaccentstoday.com photo

One thing I will do differently now that I've been through this far of the process is ditch the manuscript format.  Headers, page numbers, etc. are useless when indie publishing.  Also, when it comes to indenting paragraphs, double spacing, and page breaks, I'm no longer going to include them, because when you convert the files, you end up taking them out anyway.

So for all of you embarking on prepping a new manuscript, it's time to break the manuscript format mold. 

**Look for the debut of St. Anne's Day on the July 26, St. Anne's Day.  Please sign up for my emails so I can keep you up-to-date on my progress.   I plan free downloads for those who sign up for the newsletter!

***One bright note.  Although the book is up on Kindle and Smashwords, I'm still reading through those versions to make sure everything converted right.  But today I got my first sale through Smashwords without even letting anyone know that it was there.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Quick Take on Indie-Publishing

Unlike some others, I've come a little late to the indie-publishing revolution.  I got a Kindle about 18 months ago and primarily read traditionally published books on it.   It took me a while to wean myself away from paper.  It's only in the last six months that I've branched out and have started to read some indie-published novels due to so many people offering free books.  And I've noticed a few things that I'd like to share with you. 

Creativity & Individuality

When I was shopping around my soon to-be-published novel, St. Anne's Day, (shooting for a late July availability date) to agents, I intuitively felt it wouldn't find a home with neither an agent nor a publisher because I had never read another traditionally published book similar to what I had written.  My novel is set in Pittsburgh, features a nurse and has some Catholic/Christian overtones, making it not an exact fit in any genre.  I read scads of writing manuals while drafting it, and they all said not to do certain things.  They said not to set your story in certain places, feature certain types of characters, or embrace certain issues.  

Well, I've just finished a novel set in Pittsburgh featuring a nurse, not one of the "approved cities and occupations" and liked it.  My sister just read a book featuring a rock star as the protagonist, and coincidentally, she found out a good friend had read it too.  They both liked it.  The writing experts said neither agents nor publishers would touch a book with "celebrity types" of characters.  I also read a "Catholic" fiction novel that advocated natural family planning.  I doubt a publisher would touch that sort of theme.  Most likely none of these books would have made it past the "gatekeepers" who rule the traditional publishing world.  

Storming the Gates

Well, I say who needs gatekeepers!   It is refreshing to read non-homogenous novels.  I like being my own gatekeeper.  If the story is good, to me, that's all that matters.  Sure, I've come across the occasional typo, but I've seen them in traditionally pubbed books too.  Sure, I downloaded one poorly written book, which I abandoned after a chapter, but because e-books are more reasonably priced, I have no guilt putting a clunker down.  However, when I pay more for a hardback and it stinks, I feel trapped into reading it to get my money's worth.  I have more freedom to choose what I like with indie-published books. 

 Indie-publishing enhances the symbiotic relationship between writer and reader, eliminating the middle man--and that's a good thing. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Six Sunday

Here is another brief selection from St. Anne's Day

Anne looked at the silver disc in her palm, the bas relief of a man holding a crucifix, a halo radiating about his head.  She noticed something small depicted near the bottom of the medal but couldn’t make it out. 

“They say in addition to his being the patron saint of expectant mothers that St. Gerard could also read the consciences of sinners,” Peg said. 

Anne moved toward the window where the light was brighter and squinted at the medal.  Then her breath caught as she made out the article on the medal--it was a small skull.  She felt her blood drain from her face as her peripheral vision narrowed and darkened to a tunnel of sight.