Category Archives: E-books & E-publishing

I’m published!

noboundariescover-frontonly

 

Here’s a holiday selection

From my collection

(changed slightly to accommodate Thanksgiving)
**** 

Holiday Dinner

Chicken runs round the farm yard,

Wishes he was the duck.

Duck runs round the barn yard,

Wishes he was the pig.

Pig runs round the pig sty,

Wishes he was the horse.

Horse smiles, relaxes in stall.

Thanksgiving Eve, he’ll mourn them all.

****

My collection includes Family and Friends, God Bless Our Military, Limericks, Beautiful Earth, Art, Imagination, & Miscellany, Haiku, and My Funny Bone.

To order, go to “No Boundaries” at Amazon.

 

 

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The name my mother gave me

Hi. I'm Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Hi. I’m Karen. This beautiful woman with me in my Mommy.

Karen who?

I am going back to my maiden name – Sanderson.

Publishing

I will publish a collection of poetry (hopefully this year) with the name that Lois Jane Holmes Sanderson gave me – Karen R. Sanderson.

Karen Sanderson being silly...circa 1960-something.

Karen Sanderson being silly…circa 1960-something.

After the poetry, I plan on pubbing a book of historical/familial short stories, after that a collection of horror.

Realization

I realized I didn’t want my ex’s name on any of my work. Especially since he was no cheerleader or even tolerant of my dreams to write or publish or edit.

Six freaking months old...I'm on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Six freaking months old…I’m on the typewriter already! And I have an audience!

Same stuff, different name

The Word Shark blog will be the same, and the website will be the same. And FB, and LI, and Google+ plus, and Twitter, and email…

Except where you used to see Elliott, you will start to see Sanderson.

Moving forward

Over the next few weeks I’ll morph from Karen S. Elliott, The Word Shark, to Karen R. Sanderson, The Word Shark!

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A Brave New World, by Pamela S. Wight

the-cobbe-portrait-of-william-shakespeare-570x732[1]O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!

O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–205

Dare I quote Shakespeare while in the same sentence mention Indie Publishing, e-publishing, independent authors, self-published writers, Kindles, Nooks, I-pads, and more?

Darn right I dare.

Shakespeare was a daring writer, pushing convention, taunting enemies and hypocrites, creating love poems between lovers who should never ever be together.

Aldous Huxley used Shakespeare’s quote for his famous 1932 novel A Brave New World. Huxley was inspired by the novels of H.G. Wells (believe it or not, my favorite author when I was in middle school!) and Wells’ imaginings of the future, which tended to be positively gleeful of what was to come. Remember The Time Machine? War of the Worlds? The Invisible Man? Fabulous books for a young girl with an immense imagination.

Okay, yes, somehow I’m connecting the dots between Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Pamela Wight, self-publisher.

See my rueful smile here?world_on_fire_600400[1]

But we are living in a Brave New World right now. A century from now, readers and writers and publishers (if there still are any) will cite the beginning of the 21st century as a landmark time of changes in the way we read. In the choices of how and who we read.

As of 3:03 the afternoon of Tuesday, January 8, 2013, I became a published writer.

I didn’t use an agent. Nor a publisher.

I created my own publishing company – Near. Perfect. Press. (The company is very NEAR, in my own computer; the idea of creating and sharing with the world in my own time and my own space is PERFECT). And when I PRESS the keyboard, I can create words and characters and worlds and then, press, send it out to you and you and you.

A Brave New World

That’s not to say it’s easy, self-publishing, pushing the boundaries of the way things always have been, always were ‘meant to be.’

I toiled for years on my just-published book, The Right Wrong Man. My main character Meredith developed over the page (printed and digital) through verbs and nouns and metaphors; through research on the police station in St. Thomas and the biting habits of the tarantula; through reading endless articles throughout the U.S. about drug cartels and the illegal trafficking of meth. Oh, and through draft 2 and draft 22.

And now I’m ready to share my novel, my work of inspiration and imagination, my years-long affair with Meredith and Parker and Gregory and the story of The Right Wrong Man.

Please join me in mythCAPA27HA

brave  

new  

world,

which has such wondrous and beauteous people in it.

***

pamela wight The Right Wrong Man coverThe Right Wrong Man, a novel of romantic suspense. The story follows Meredith Powers, who despite a sedate life in Boston, suddenly becomes entangled in drug trafficking, kidnappings, murder, and romance in the Caribbean. pamela wight

Pamela Wight is a published writer and editor.  Her writing transformed when she shifted from technical, medical articles to novels full of suspense and romance. She fulfills her need to write often and to write well by teaching creative writing classes in Boston as well as the San Francisco Bay area, and has written/edited/published a Zine of short stories and poems.  Belonging to the Women’s National Book Association/SF and the California Writers Club keeps her connected with other writers crazy for their craft. Her novels include The Right Wrong Man and (soon-to-be-published) Twin Desires, and in progress, Life After Kids and The Inn of No Regrets. Pamela highlights her passion for writing and living in her blog, Rough Wighting.

Connect with Pamela S. Wight on her blog, Rough Wighting, on Twitter, and on her Facebook page. See Pamela’s Poetry Week guest post, Snow Falls.

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What’s the value of an e-book? With Lara Schiffbauer

Lara Schiffbauer

Lara Schiffbauer’s recent blog post about a fair price for an e-book struck several chords with me.

Here is Lara’s article, in full, re-posted with Lara’s permission.

By Lara Schiffbauer

Warning: Super long blog post ahead and it has qualities similar to that of a rant, so go forward with caution.

For quite a while now I’ve read the myriad discussions regarding what is a fair price for an e-book from the perspective of the writer.

Are self-pubbers the “bane?”

Many a blog post like this one by Melissa Foster on the Indie Reader question “Are Self-Pubbed Authors Killing the Publishing Industry?”  In the first sentence of the article, Ms. Foster states that self-pubbed authors devalue the written word with books priced low to gain attention. Later on in the article she gives the pronouncement that yes, self-pubbed authors are the bane of the publishing world because they “give away” their books for “less than a buck” and use other “gimmicks” to garner sales. Quite honestly, I found the whole article rather obnoxious, but didn’t really feel the need to evaluate why. I filed the article away under my “Opinions That – While Interesting – Don’t Really Seem Fair or Right” mental filing cabinet.

Are you taking the risk?

Risky business

I read a section of Writing on the Ether by Porter Anderson titled “Pivot: Jonny Geller, Enough to Go Around.”  In the section, Mr. Anderson relates several points Jonny Geller made in an article of his own regarding the state of the publishing industry, including this one, “Readers need to risk paying for books again.”

Mr. Anderson followed up the point made by Jonny Geller by saying,

“We can talk all day about the reader as a nearly holy figure in our business — seriously overlooked too long by the traditional publishers. But it’s also time for that reader to play his or her fiduciary role in the equation again, and prove the bargain basement prices of the fin-de-agency period to have been what they were, the dive for algorithmic leverage of amateurs flooding the market.”

Before I go any further, I need to say that Porter Anderson is a very intelligent, witty, and friendly guy. When I read Writing on the Ether, I often don’t understand exactly the points he makes, and I definitely am not being critical of the article. That being said, what the article did was force me to change my perspective from writer to reader and back again. Quite frankly, I thought “Whoa. Hold on there.”

Where is your price point?

Less than a buck?

First, as a soon to be self-published author, if I sell my book for something less than … Heck, I don’t even know what Melissa Foster or the other people who think a low price devalues a book think I should sell my book for. At what price do I show the world that I value my work? Can anyone tell me? Is $2.99 enough, or does it have to be higher? Should I match traditional publishing at $9.99? Do you honestly think I would sell any books if I did? And yet, if I price point my novel in order to get someone to take a risk and buy my book, I am accused of devaluing my work and undercutting authors everywhere, especially the “professionals.”  I am not sure who the professionals are, but it sounds suspiciously to me that they are those traditionally published.

The author/reader quandary

Second, as a reader, if I buy a $.99 priced novel by a self-published author, I am accused of not holding up my share of the author/reader bargain and shirking my duty of paying an author what they’re worth. What happens if I buy a $.99 priced novel by a famous author who is traditionally published and the publisher is running a sale? Am I still shirking my duty as a reader? And why is a sale (gimmick) by a traditional publisher all right, but by a self-published author it’s tacky and devaluing to the written word?

As a reader, when the price of paperbacks rose above $7.99, I quit buying so many books. Gasp, I know. I got really friendly with my neighborhood library. Then, after I became invested in some authors for FREE, I started buying their books. Let me ask you, did the fact that I read their novels for FREE mean that I devalued their work, their talent? No, it means I didn’t have a very lucrative cash flow and I still wanted to read.

How do you measure the value? 

I think part of the problem about the whole “devaluing” issue is the question of how you measure the value of your personal time and creativity. Someone I read said something like, “Writing books is art, selling books is a business.”

Throughout my twenties, I worked in the head offices of a retail chain as an assistant to the clothing buyers. I learned about mark-up. With clothing, the mark-up is basically double. You buy a t-shirt for $2.99, you sell it for $5.99. When a person self-publishes the need for mark-up is diminished. The book is going to be available digitally forever. If a person spends $1,000 for editing, cover, etc., they can afford to be patient with the first book being a lower price and baiting the hook for readers. It’s a career being built, not a get rich quick scheme.

Climbing the self-pub ladder

So, do you want to know the funny part of this post (if you’ve even made it this far).  The funny part is, I totally plan on selling Finding Meara for at least $2.99 or more, unless it’s enrolled in a special program like Kindle Select. I’d made that decision before I decided to self-publish. My reasons? When I am shopping on my Nook and I see a book listed for $.99, I don’t even really stop to look at it. I judge the book by its price point. However, the same is true for the other end of the monetary scale. Also, you can sell fewer books at a higher price point and make more money. Hard math there. Dean Wesley Smith taught me that. He’s got a great blog every self-publishing author should check out.

Does the question of a fair price for an e-book have an answer? I don’t know. I think it’s up to the person putting their book out there.

***

From Karen –

There are lots of comments on Lara’s e-book blog – pro, con, free, not free, $1.99 or $2.99?

I posted a comment on Lara’s blog. Here it is (I’ve edited the comment and added a few headers).

***

I’m might be free but only with a coupon!

Regarding my books (collections, if they ever get published) – I don’t want to give them away nor do I want to whore them out at 99 cents a copy. I don’t even want to go $1.99 or $2.99.

What it takes

I know what it takes to write one poem or one short story. I hired a great editor (Shawn MacKenzie). I work hard learning how to tell a story, how to mix the right adjectives, how to write scenes and dialog. I read about writing – blogs, articles, books. I read grammar and style manuals.

I’m an e-book John

But buying books? I’m a back-street John when it comes to acquiring new e-books. Since I got my Kindle last November, I consistently seek the free section. Pre-Kindle, I used to spend a couple hundred dollars every month on books; over the last year, about ten bucks a month. I’ll buy an e-book if Stephen King publishes something or if a friend publishes a new book (like Kathryn Magendie or Shawn MacKenzie).

Free book

Most e-books make me snore.

I’ll say it – most free books sort of suck. Out of a hundred free books I download to my Kindle, I delete about 70-80% after the first few pages because they are awful. The e-book explosion has enabled poor writers to publish a lot of garbage.

Make the decision

Don’t just decide to write – decide to write well and then learn how to write well.

***

Friends who write extremely well –

Kathryn Magendie

Shawn MacKenzie

See Lara Schiffbauer’s blog at Motivation for Creation.

What are your thoughts about the whole pricing issue with e-books?

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E-book Sales – Up and Up! By Vicki Lucas

Article by Vicki Lucas

It’s hard to give away something valuable. This is especially true when you are a self-published author. You believe you have created something out of sweat and tears that is going to bring you money. So, you boldly upload it to Kindle and wait for the whole world to buy.

But the book doesn’t “take off.” No one buys it. You’re happy for the $3.00 a month you’re making, but you need actual money to make a career out of it. You ask others for advice. The main thing people say is… “Give it away for free.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll resist the advice for several months. I have two words for you based on my experience.

Don’t resist.

Giving your book away for free goes against the grain. It’s difficult. There are all sorts of reasons not to give it away for free. Do any of these sound familiar? I spent two years working on Toxic. I deserve the money. It’s worth a whole more than I’m selling it for already. You’ve heard the excuses. You might have even made them.

On a whim, I decided to put it on Kindle for free for two days. Since it was a quick decision, I didn’t advertize it too much. I tweeted it. I put it on different places in Facebook. I contacted a handful of web pages that have sections for free e-books. That’s it. Looking back, I see so much more I could have done, but honestly I wasn’t expecting too much to happen with it. I thought I’d get about a thousand downloads and probably no sales.

Surprise!

No one was more surprised than I was when the tally rushed past 100 in the first hour! In fact, by the end of day two, I had 1,455 downloads! Yes, they are all free so that means I don’t get a penny (until they want the sequel, that is!). But something amazing happened after that. My sales have skyrocketed. I’ve gone from a very small trickle to a medium trickle. I am by no means rich, but I have enough earnings to buy a large pizza, and let me tell you, that pizza is going to taste awfully good. I’ve recently read that for every three you give away, you sell one. So be generous.

It’s been weeks since I offered Toxic for free, and the sales continue. They’ve slowed somewhat, but at least they are steady.

So, thank you so much to those who have supported Toxic and given it a try! I cannot say how much it means to me to see those numbers going up. God is good! I truly hope that you enjoy reading it. I’ll be watching the reviews to see what you have to say.

Oh, and another cool thing. I noticed that fifty-four of those copies went to people in the United Kingdom and four went to people in Germany. I am now an international author! And I’m dying to go for a book tour. If you’re interested in hosting me, email me and let’s chat!

Thanks again for the support. You guys are the best!

***

Have you given away an e-book? What was your experience with the give-away? How are sales now?

***

Vicki Lucas

I have always struggled with the question “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology…only to find myself with no desire to work in that field. I switched careers to Teaching English as a Second Language and obtained a Master’s from Seattle Pacific University. Thankfully, I found joy in the classroom. Teaching at universities and community colleges gave me eleven years of incredible experiences, remarkable coworkers, and unforgettable friends from many different countries. However, the distant mountains began to call, and I responded, not knowing where I was going or what my purpose was. After a year and a half of traveling through the quiet places that are left in the world, I settled in Montana with my husband and my dog. I have begun to write the stories I heard on the wind.

Connect with Vicki on her webpage, Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.

Opening photo by Murray Conrad.

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The working mom’s tricks for writing a novel in your free time, by Alina Adams

Got kids? Got a job? Got a life? Also got a burning need to write a novel?

Yeah. Me, too.

Got a problem? Yeah. Me, too.

In the two years prior to the birth of my oldest child, I’d published three romance novels, dozens of magazine articles, and a non-fiction book on figure skating, while working a full-time job. In the four years following the birth of my oldest child, I published one romance novel, one non-fiction book on figure skater Sarah Hughes, two soap opera tie-ins, and four mystery novels. By the time the third child came along, seven years after the first, I was down to one soap opera tie-in and one final, murder mystery.  And it was certainly no mystery to anyone why my output had dropped so precipitously.

It took a lot of trial and error (and crying over spilled breast-milk on a computer key-board) before I even began to figure out how to balance the mothering with the mystery, the toddler with the typing, and the wailing with the writing.

However, three kids in, I can honestly say that I’ve managed to work out a few “Working Mom Tricks For Writing a Novel in Your Free (!) Time,” which I am eager to share with those interested in forgoing trivial matters like eating, sleeping, and the facade of sanity all in order to indulge that elusive muse and squeeze a satisfying writing side-dish on to an already overflowing platter.

Trick #1: Think First: In Stanley Kubrick’s film, “The Shining,” aspiring writer Jack Nicholson goes ballistic when wife Shelley Duval interrupts him with the excuse, “I didn’t hear you typing, so I thought you weren’t working.”

“Just because you don’t hear me typing,” Jack roars back, “Doesn’t mean I’m not working.” (And then he goes on a killing spree. Just ignore that part.)

Because the homicidal lunatic has a point.

“Writing” is the act of actually sitting at a keyboard and tapping keys to produce words that might one day form sentences and then actual, coherent thoughts. “Writing,” is an act that can and often is interrupted by someone wanting to sit on your lap and visit, “Noggin.com, please!” (hopefully your child and not your boss), as well as by someone asking you to watch their phone while they pop out to lunch with their latest girl-friend (hopefully a co-worker and not your husband).

“Working” on the other hand, consists merely of thinking about what you’re going to write, and thus can be done while driving, washing dishes, doing laundry, making beds, giving baths, standing in line at the grocery store, packing lunches, showering, breast-feeding, pushing a carriage, standing on a subway platform, cooking, and even while reading “The Cat in the Hat” for the umpteenth time, since you probably can do the whole thing on auto-pilot by now.

The best part is, “working,” works. You don’t have to be in front of a computer to think about a scene, to decide what you want it to be about, where you want to set it, how you want each character to approach it, and where you need it to lead. Remember reading “The Cat in the Hat” until you can trill it by heart? Playing the same scene in your head over and over again, polishing the dialogue, the structure, picking just the right word to describe a key plot point makes it much, much easier to maximize your precious computer time once you do get the squatters off your lap.

Trick #2: Skip Lunch. And on-line solitaire: The law mandates that every employee receive a one-hour lunch every day. The law does not mandate what you can or should do with it.

Look at that computer on your desk. It can be used for reports and spreadsheets and schedules. It can also be used for writing your book. In your free time.

What free time? Well, there’s lunch for a start. A good hour to sit in relative silence and get your thoughts together – on paper, no less!

Plus, let’s be honest, here: Lunch aside, how much of those seven other hours at work do you use for getting the job done, and how many are spent playing solitaire, surfing the web, chatting with co-workers and forwarding e-mail jokes and petitions?

That’s all prime writing time. No one is suggesting shirking your duties and risking your job. But, if you’re going to take breaks anyway, why not get your high from writing instead of caffeine?

Trick #3: Write Longhand: Even the most lightweight laptop is a tricky thing to schlep to the playground or Gymboree. However, a notebook and pen fit easily into the most crowded diaper bag (strong suggestion: attach the pen to the notebook or you’ll loose both in the Desetin Depths). Write longhand while you’re sitting on a bench at the playground. Write longhand while you’re standing and rocking a stroller with your foot. Write longhand while breastfeeding and while waiting for your pasta to boil and while waiting outside of my “My First Karate Class.” The best part is, entering your text into the computer later will give you the chance to revaluate your work with a fresh eye, fix those mistakes made on the first go around and, best of all, also counts as an official second draft i.e. you’re that much closer now to a polished manuscript!

Trick #4: Get Your Kids into the Act: Experts say that reading to your children is the best thing any parent can do to bond, raise IQ and otherwise earn their Mother-of-the-Year stripes. Sure, toddlers and up would probably rather hear “Winnie the Pooh” than “Mommy’s Work in Progress.” But, can an infant really tell the difference?

Nothing gives writers a better idea of whether a scene, especially one featuring lots of dialogue, is working, than reading it out loud. It can be an ego-crushing experience as you realize that the brilliance you heard in your head doesn’t quite match the drivel you seem to be articulating now… but that which does not kill you gets you ready for more editorial rejection later on. And that’s a good thing. Probably.

So grab that baby and that manuscript and read it out loud until the prose finally shines. Or your infant is old enough to start requesting a different title.

Then start again with the next book – and the next child.

Alina Adams

Alina Adams is the New York Times’ best selling author of soap opera tie-ins, mysteries, and romances, including Annie’s Wild Ride and When a Man Loves a Woman.  She has turned her Figure Skating Mystery series, Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice, Axel of Evil, Death Drop and Skate Crime into enhanced e-books with skating videos embedded alongside the text.  Her latest project is Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, a romantic serial where readers guide the development of the story. In addition to converting her own backlist, she has produced enhanced e-books for others, including Dan Elish, whose middle-grade fantasy novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, now includes its own original musical score. Learn more at http://www.AlinaAdamsMedia.com.

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On the Plum Tree blog

I’m over at the Plum Tree blog today with Niamh Clune.

While you’re there, be sure to make a comment about a writer in the Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology (there’s a critique give-away).

And check out the new Plum Tree Books website.

For a great pay-it-forward, inspirational FB group, see Plum Tree Group.

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