Monday, December 30, 2013

Section-Breaks, Page-Breaks, Headers, Footers, Fonts and Trim!

Yikes! Formatting a book for print presents a complex array of questions and answers combined with a set of choices and requirements that make the phrase do-it-yourself almost laughable. When I quizzed a friend about how he managed to get a print version of his book online with Amazon, he simply said he hired someone. My husband has a favorite phrase I'm adopting to make myself feel a bit better. It goes, "Never try to do part-time what someone else does full-time!"

I'm sure I could mush through all that needs to be accomplished to produce a finished, neatly bound paperback, but is that really how I need to spend my time right now? After reading a manual on what to do and how to do it to get my books into print, I've decided to forget it and instead to market, market, market and query, query, query!

My time needs to be spent writing the two companion books for the Arrowstar series I have planned for 2014. I think I might be able to throw in some marketing for the e-books while I'm writing, and even send off a few query letters to likely agents. My fondest hope is that some kindly agent will seek out a publisher who will snap up my books and handle the print processing they do so well.

Today's wisdom: Daunted, but not defeated; onward I go with "pen" in hand to once again conquer the blank page.

BOLO: A Trail Robber's Tale and The Storm Women coming in 2014!

I hope all your "troubles melt like lemon drops" on New Year's Eve!

Write on!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Do It Yourself E-Books

Having finished writing Charade, I'm now in the process of updating Arrowstar with the material my former e-publisher forgot to include like the dedication, acknowledgements and copyright! If you're a writer and want an e-book on Amazon Kindle, try uploading it yourself. I paid $200 to have Arrowstar uploaded for me, and the results were not what I had hoped. Now I do it myself to make sure it's done right.

There is a little booklet you can get on Amazon for free called Building Your Book for Kindle. This little gem will give you step-by-step detailed instructions on how to prepare your book for upload and also walk you through the whole process when you're ready.

My next learning challenge will be to attempt using Amazon's Create Space, so I can get some hard copies of my e-books for an author recognition at my church in February. I'll let you know how I get along and report on the time frame it takes to have copies in hand.

There are many readers out there who are not fond of reading e-books or have not yet bought an e-reader. I'm excited I might finally be able to answer the demand for "real" books for that audience. It will also be a "rush" to actually see my name on the covers of my books and place them on my bookshelf.

Today's Wish: May the love and magic of Christmas stay around all year!

Write on!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Charade Ready to Read on Your Kindle!

The easiest way to find Charade for Kindle is to search on using this phrase: Cheryl Thomas Kindle. When you search this way, you will see all three of my books pop up at the top of the search page. As of today, Charade has not been added to my author page on Amazon, but the request has been made, so it should show up there shortly. (I hope!)

Yesterday I continued slugging away editing and coding Charade after working on implementing copy editing and content changes suggested by my trustworthy editors for the past couple of weeks. Finally around four o'clock, I pushed the save and publish button on Friday the 13th!

When I woke up this morning, I picked up my Kindle first thing and searched for Charade. It popped right up, and I bought a copy for Frank's Kindle Fire. I've discovered that the book is formatted the best on the "Fire." The cover looks sufficiently spooky in black and white, and be sure to check out the acknowledgements because your name might appear there! Of course, I've probably missed some people I should have remembered, but if I did, just give a "holler."

I'm feeling very good about this story, and I hope you enjoy it as much as my editors said they did while working with it. Maybe after completing three novels, I'm hitting my stride. I'd love your feedback, so please email me at or comment on Facebook, Twitter, or the Blog. If you would write a review on Amazon as well that would mean a lot to me.

The characters from Arrowstar have become like friends to me, and the town of Mineral City seems real as well. I'm loving spending so much time inside this little "kingdom" I've created.

The editing process proved to be just as much fun as I'd predicted. Adding a few paragraphs here and there certainly was more fun and easier than thinking up what to write next.

It amazes me how many of the elements of the book came together in ways I hadn't anticipated while I was writing. Some things in the beginning of the book turned out to dovetail nicely with others that popped up later as if by magic. During the editing process, I was able to expand on these connections and make them integral parts of the story.

The unconscious mind is a magnificent machine humming along behind the scenes and giving cues to the conscious writing process. I'm convinced of this phenomenon because I can see the results as I read the finished manuscript. It's like putting together a puzzle, getting finished, and sitting back to enjoy seeing the complete picture. It never fails to surprise and delight me.

Today's Thought: Magic happens if you just believe it will.

Write on!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tightrope to Launch

I've delivered Charade into the capable hands of three very reliable friends: a content editor, a grammar genius, and a typical reader of novels. Hopefully, when I have implemented their suggestions along with the other steps I mention below, it will be in time to launch 
Charade before the end of December.

Right now I'm putting together the dedication, copyright, and disclaimer pages. After an edit of content and grammar based on the feedback from the famous three mentioned above, I'll begin coding the novel for upload to Amazon for Kindle e-readers. It's been a whole year since I uploaded Honor Bound in Kindle format, so I'll need to brush up on that process before I begin.

Then, of course, there's the matter of an appropriate cover for the book. I begin with photos my husband and I have taken. I've chosen one that works well, but I still need to decide on a funky font for the title and author text. Already brewing are two artsy versions of the cover I've slapped on the manuscripts for the "typical reader" and the "grammar genius." The content editor received a quickie digital version sans art.

Once I've created a cover that satisfies me, I'll need to be sure I size it properly for display on the Kindle. Getting all the pieces I've mentioned together isn't something I relish, but I need to wade into it while the manuscript remains in other hands. When I begin the upload process, I'll need to have all the pieces where I can grab them during the step-by-step process required by Amazon.

Marketing comes next, and it's not something I've totally figured out yet. I've made business cards, a website, and this blog as a foray into marketing. However, there are many avenues I've yet to investigate when it comes to promoting what I've written. Even though I've only got my little toe in the marketing and promotions bathtub, I'm hopeful that one day I'll be able to splash around with abandon.

You can easily see that there's more to this novel-writing gig than "writing." Personally, "I'd rather be writing." Maybe I should get a bumper sticker.

I'm excited about writing the companion book to Charade. If I had an agent I'm assuming I could farm out all this other "monkey business" and have the luxury of digging into my next project right away.

Tidbit: Launching a novel is like walking a tightrope.

Reaching for balance,