Looking Forward to 2018

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Last year, I accomplished some big things. I published my first novel to Amazon, A Call of Moonhart, I finished one draft and one rewrite of a book I’m calling Harmony in Three Voices, and I began the research for my next novel series.

It’s possible that I’ll get Harmony published in 2018. It’s pretty rough and a lot will depend on what my writing group says about the story. It would be great to have another novel out there but publication will depend, in large part, on my ability to split focus between researching, rewriting, and editing.

I would also like to do more on this blog. I have a new camera and have been taking pictures. I’d like to get some of them up on the site. I’d also like to get a different WordPress templated going. Neither of those  things — going through photos or updating WordPress — are simple tasks. Wish me luck!

I’ve written about that new series before and about my trip to France. The trip is on. I’ve bought the tickets and I’ve arranged lodging. I’m landing in Bordeaux and will travel across the south of France, checking out castles, medieval cities, monasteries and convents, and just getting a sense of the place until I fly home from Nice.

I have a number of goals for the trip. Research for the novels is the biggest aspect, but I’m hoping that the trip itself will lend itself to other writing goals while I’m there. One of those goals for the trip is a travelogue. I’ll used WordPress to get words and some photos up on the blog while I’m traveling. It will be limited only by what I can do with the app as I’m not taking a computer with me. Look for that to begin in early summer. Another goal is material for other sorts of travel writing. The notes I have on the trip itself could lend itself to articles in various publications. What and when will be a function of the adventure itself!

This is a business trip and I hope to get a number of “products” out of it. But it is also an adventure! I’m anxious and excited for that adventure to begin. It starts in just a few months and there are MILES to go before takeoff, in terms of research and my own education. These next months will fly by.

Stay tuned.

Adventures in Indie Publishing

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I must admit, I totally missed how many people still want to read print books. Apparently, I made the move to ebooks so decisively that I hadn’t realized I’d made it! So when I went to publish my first book, based on cost (to me) and cost (to the reader), I expected that making an ebook available would be the best approach and reach the most readers.

I was quickly disabused of that notion. Not just from my parents or that generation, for whom iPads and Kindle devices may still seem something of a new-fangled novelty. No, I heard from a wide range of folks that still prefer printed books to the electronic kind. “I like books,” a friend told me (ironically enough, using electronic messaging). “Real books.”

Well, okay then.

So I got to work creating a print version of the book. There are a number of steps needed to create a book that’s ready for the public. If I had managed to catch the eye of an agent, then other folks would have done the work of editing, cover design, interior design, registration, etc. In order to pay all of those people, my portion out of the cost of the book would have been less (far less) but my time to do other things — like more writing — would have been far greater.

I knew I needed to treat this part of the process like the business project it was. First thing I did was go in search of information that delineated for me the steps of the process. I found Bookplanner.com and rejoiced. It was exactly what I was looking for. It provides a project management focus to the work needed to publish and gave great information supporting each step of that process.

The downside to BookPlanner is that it is single focus. But I’m not doing only one thing, not even from a writing standpoint. At the same time I moved one book towards publication, I had another book in the initial writing stage (now in first rewrite) and another book in the research phase. This doesn’t even take into account my study of French as well as, you know, the rest of my life. I needed something bigger than a single-project tool.

I’ve been using ZenDone for awhile now. It using the “Get Things Done” (GTD) methodology and — best of all! — it integrates with Evernote. So now the work I’m doing on, say, writing an author bio, is checked off the list in ZenDone while the information itself is captured in Evernote for reference later.

That digression is just by way of getting to the fact that I learned that interior book design is a thing and it’s a thing I needed help on. There are professional book designers and I’ve heard of a good program for the Mac, but I don’t use a Mac. I found (most likely through BookPlanner as I think they are sibling companies) a company called Book Design Templates where they sell — you guessed it — templates to use towards interior design. They have created a large number of designs for a wide range of book types/moods/genres. When you purchase a design, you get Word, Pages, and InDesign templates with the guarantee that the style will work for both ebook and print. Port your text into one of those and start applying the styles provided.

I’m very familiar with Word styles and it wasn’t difficult (only tedious) to port from Scrivener to a Word file and then go through and clean it up, using the styles provided in the template. Even though I only planned on doing ebook now, print if called for, once I started hearing the calls for print I was half way there. I created a copy of my Word document so that I could modify things for the print edition, such as the new ISBN1 that goes with this different edition of the book.

In addition to the ISBN I needed an expanded cover, because the one I’d purchased originally was only the “front” of the ebook and I needed a full wrap cover. That and the purchase of an ISBN barcode so that it could be sold in actual, real bookstores.
The best part of this process is that, in working with CreateSpace to get the book ready to print, I’ll be able to review it in a different format and have an actual physical proof in hand to check over, playing the role of copy editor as well as author. Any issues I find I can correct for both physical and ebook format if necessary.

What this means is that I plan on having both an ebook and a print book ready for publication on May 15th.


  1. You can allow KDP or CreateSpace to provide you with an ISBN but I decided to purchase and manage my own. You get them from Bowker Identifier Services and the cost is significantly cheaper when you buy in bulk. They will happily sell you everything (and more) that you could need for self-publishing your book. 

That was fun! Book cover contest is complete

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Well. That was fun! I’ve just completed a contest, hosted by 99Designs to find the cover for my novel. The process was clear, there is a lot of help information available, and while not cheap, I’m thinking I’m getting a very good cover!

I have not officially selected a winner, so if any one wants to go to the final poll and vote, please do.

I had no idea what to expect of the process. It was more expensive than I had hoped, but reasonable as far as what I expected. And the designers were all very talented and willing to work with me. Alas, too many of them thought I had even the vaguest clue as to what I was looking for and kept trying to be too literal in their offerings. I kept trying to tell them that I was not a designer and I was looking for evocative and not literal. There were some designs that got so close, and then veered off in the last iterations into something that was not going to work.

One surprise was that I do not think I had any US designers. From what I could tell, English was not the first language of any of my designers. This presented only slight problems, none that the designers weren’t willing to work through or that I didn’t need to keep in mind. I once asked for something to have a “grittier” look and the query I got back was “you mean more dirt?”

Metaphor: not always a friend.

I’m planning on using 99Designs again. I have a map that would need to be in the print copy (if I ever create a print copy) and perhaps a logo would be a good thing. But for now, I’m getting an awesome cover and my self-publishing project can continue to move forward.

In the Final Rounds!

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There is a new poll up as I get further refinements of the cover designs. Slideshow of all four favorites are below. Clink on the link above or the title of this post to go to 99Designs. Please leave a comment here and/or once you’ve taken the poll. Vote on your favorite and tell  me why!

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It wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t even a nightmare. It was a call of her goddess that sends Rhia, hunter of Moonhart eknos, to leave all she knows and travel through the wilderness in hopes of rescuing her mother, taken by mysterious forces.

It was a nightmare. Dughal has been a player all of his life, freely traveling through the lowlands of Anacarra with his troupe of actors, dispensing news performing their plays from town to town. Now, all of that is changing and soon Dughal will be forced to choose.

For a new prophet is rising, and he has other plans for them both.

Cover Design Contest for A Call of Moonhart

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Let the games begin! A cover design contest is now open for the cover of my novel A Call of Moonhart. I first heard about the company 99Designs from Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn podcast. It sounded like a great approach for getting a number of design options for the cover. I may use them again for designing the Sylphan Media Group logo and my next couple of novels that I have in the self-pub pipeline.