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Nanowrimo 2014

He we are, neat tune beginning of October. I’ve been giving lots of thought to that for two reasons. First, my birthday is in November, and I’m thinking about how to celebrate. Second, Nanowrimo is coming up.
For those of you who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, the best way I can describe it is to call it a challenge to write the first draft of a book in a month. For those of you who know exactly what Nanowrimo is, I welcome any better explanation.
Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s fun to say. Go on, say it. You know you want to. Nanowrimo.
“So what,” you may ask. “What dies it mean for me” Well, that depends. You may or may not be interested in writing a novel. It may have been a fleeting thought once upon a time, or it may be an obsession of which you feel unworthy. Or you may be a reader looking forward to the new books that will come out of this, many of which will be published either independently or by a traditional publisher. Not all Nanowrimo projects will be published. Some will do it just to see if they could. Some will, sadly, give up on the idea. All in all, I find the whole thing very exciting. That’s why I’ve decided to participate this year. This will push my limits to the extreme, and I give no guarantee of success. Still, I will try. I’m hoping that, whether I publish it or not, it will boost my creativity and give me the boost I need.
As I commit to this, I must admit that I’m a little intimidated. It’s a big deal. As part of my commitment, I will be posting my word count on Twitter, both daily and total. I look forward to seeing where this journey will lead me, and I encourage you, if you’ve ever thought about writing, to join the challenge.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

When Life Attacks

Hi readers,
You may have noticed that I’ve been away for awhile. I have a pretty good reason for this, but it’s kind of personal, so I won’t be explaining in detail except to say that life has been tough recently. Unfortunately this has affected my writing as a whole, not just my blogging. I’m coming back to it, but for now I’d like to talk about when things get tough.
There are a good many things that can interfere with our ability to write: losing a job, facing the death of a loved one, starting a new relationship, ending a relationship, having a baby, or a new school year (or first year of school) for our children, just to name a few. I’m sure you can come up with other life events that can present a challenge. With all of these possible events coming at us it can be very difficult to focus on writing. It also means we need to try that much harder to press on. For me this means that I need to rethink my approach to life in general. For example, I like meeting friends for coffee, and it’s therapeutic for me, but I really need to occasionally say “thank you, but I need to make time for writing”. That doesn’t mean I can’t go out, it just means I need to consider how much time I’m spending doing so.
If you’re reading this and you know me personally please take it to heart. Know that I’m not turning you down personally, and maybe another time will work better. Therefore I will be moving to an appointment-based schedule. I will actually be scheduling time to write, blog, and socialise. Thank you, dear reader, for understanding.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

A Letter to Amazon

Dear Amazon,

I know that we aren’t on the best of terms.  Perhaps my decision not to buy a Kindle has something to do with that.  Don’t get me wrong; I love eBooks.  I can collect as many eBooks as I like, and I’ll never have to try to find room for them.  I just looked at the Kindle, as well as other options, and made a decision based on what would work for me.

I noticed that you use a proprietary eBook format based on mobi.  I’m sure that works for you.  I decided to go with the more openly available .epub.  After all, I can get that from my local library, and just about any eBook store.  To be honest, by refusing to use epub, you’ve made yourself unattractive to me.  But does that mean that we can’t get along?

I’d like to sell eBooks on Amazon, but you don’t make it easy for me.  You see, I’m Canadian.  You haven’t been very nice to Canada.  While you do have a Canadian store, many of your products aren’t available on it.  And eBooks?  Forget it!  We have to buy off of the American site.  OK, Fine.  It doesn’t make that big a deal, I guess.  On the other hand, selling books through you sucks.

I took a good look at Createspace and Amazon KDP.  I was Impressed at how simple everything was, except for one little thing; you don’t deal with Canadian banks.  Your Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is available all over the world, except for your neighbors to the north.  (By the way, Canada and the U.S.A. have a very strong trade agreement.)  You expect me to wait till I’ve earned $100.00 US  in three different currencies, wait for checks in each of those currencies, and then pay for the inconvenience.  I don’t think so.  I’d love to deal with you, but I refuse to work under those conditions.

While we’re on the topic of bad conditions, let’s discuss KDP Select.  You have a special offer for people who are willing to make their books exclusive to you for a minimum of ninety days.  Availability on the Kindle lending library, five days of giveaways, and better royalties just for making a book exclusive to Amazon.  Of course, you don’t tell people how bad exclusivity is for sales, do you?

I have all kinds of reasons no to deal with you, but I’d really like that to change.  After all, I just want to sell my books.  Maybe we can work something out?

Sincerely,

R.D. Pruden

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

NaNoWriMo

Here we are, November already.  AKA national write a novel month.  It’s quite an endeavor, to write an entire novel in one month.  I’ll be honest, I’m not up for that particular challenge.  Kudos to those who are, though.  It takes great discipline to do such a thing, and if you can do it, you should.  What a gimmick; this novel written for NaNoWriMo.  So, while more experienced writers write their one-month novels, I’ll go get my pom-poms.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Marketing to Writers

I have a dilemma.  I’m writing fiction, and my target audience is primarily readers of fantasy.  I have a blog for writers, a twitter account (most of my followers are writers), and a Facebook page liked by only friends and family.  So where is my target audience?
Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to sell to writers, friends, and family.  But they aren’t my target audience.  I can’t expect to earn much with my writing if I don’t develop a larger readership than my social circle.  There lies the challenge – how can I attract my target audience?
I’ve decided that my business plan will include short-story giveaways, which is all well and good if I can get those stories into the hands of my target audience.  So how do I do that? The funny thing is, I know that I’m going to be bombarded with spam offering me the best strategies and services to attract readers. I’ve seen some of those strategies in action, by the way. One such plan involves giving away a free eBook for subscribing to a newsletter. Sounds good. Usually said eBook is something like “How to Make Millions on Kindle”. Not bad if your target audience is writers who want to publish on Kindle. Another favourite is the podcast for writers. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to a few of those. But I’m listening as a writer looking for advice. I know, you’re probably thinking “isn’t this a blog for writers?” Well, yes it is. This is what I’ve seen in motion, so I figured I’d give it a shot. If it helps some writers, that’s awesome. In the end, they may be the ones to buy my books. Maybe I should write a book on self publishing.

In the end, I’d really just like to figure out how to reach readers who aren’t also writing.  If you have some good ideas, please leave a comment.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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In Defense of Print

I love books.  I suppose that I ought to love books if I plan on writing them for any length of time, but I love them as a reader.  I also love ebooks.  They’re just like print books, but stored as digital data on an electronic device.  This works great for me because bookshelves take up valuable space in my house.  Ebooks can also be cheaper than their print counterparts.  So why would anyone choose to buy their books in print?  I can think of a few reasons.  For starters, print books never have DRM, so they can be shared freely.  They also give us opportunity to get out and visit the bookstore.  Batteries are never an issue with print, as they can be with ebooks. And for collectors, ebooks don’t fill up shelves like print books do.
No DRM means your reader can lend or give your book to anyone. The biggest complaint I have heard about ebooks is that if they have DRM they can’t be shared. The other advantage to this is that those who have difficulty with DRM’d books don’t need to deal with it.
The bookstore used to be one of my favourite places to go. I used to spend hours at Chapter’s browsing new titles, and checking out some old ones too. It was a good chance to meet with other readers as well. Granted, conversation wasn’t always about books, but we actually talked in person. Now that I buy almost all of my books online, that social interaction is no longer associated with my books.
Batteries are always dieing on me. My smartphone drains juice faster than I ever downed an iced tea, mostly from the display. Ereading apps mean using your display for prolonged periods of time. No problem if you can charge your phone all day. Big problem if you have to wait till you get home. And even my energy-efficient ereader has run out of power on me. I hate going to read a book only to find out that I waited too long to charge the battery.
Collectors like to have something physical to put on display. Usually they’re the first to pick up the hardcover edition of a new book. You’ll also find them in used book stores and garage sales looking for something to add to their collection. Do they read? You better believe it. And they love showing off what they’ve read. They also love to lend out their books to friends and family, which is good for authors.
I like my ereader, I really do. Still, I can understand why some people resist. That’s why I intend to make sure my books are available in print as well as eBook.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Kobo get’s on the Indie bandwagon

OK, so I’m getting into this story a little late.  Then again, Kobo got into the self-pub game a little late.  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about Kobo Writing Life, Kobo’s program for indie authors.

Indie authors have been on the rise ever since Kindle introduced KDP.  In fact, I keep hearing about authors who have made it big publishing themselves on KDP.  Since then Ibooks and Barnes and Noble have introduced similar initiatives in hopes of attracting indie authors, and companies like Smashwords and Lulu have made a big business out of distributing ebooks to various retailers.  And then there’s Kobo.

Why did Kobo come in so late?  I can’t really answer that, as I have yet to conduct a single interview for this blog.  Still, I can’t help but wonder if they were waiting till they had perfected the process.

I am publishing my first short story through Kobo Writing Life, and the process was fantastic.  The team at Kobo was good enough to split it up into four steps, which were easy to follow.

Stage 1: Describe The Ebook

First, I selected a title.  I did not select a subtitle, though the option was available to me.  I will state that at this same stage one would also be prompted to input other metadata such as the author, ISBN (optional) and publisher (also optional, and you can call your publisher any silly thing you want).  Uploading a cover image at this stage is also recommended, but you can always come back later if you need to.

Stage2: Add Ebook Content

This is really simple.  If you have an epub created, then you can upload it directly.  If you have another file type, such as .doc or .docx, Kobo can convert these for you.  They can even deal with .odt for those of you who use Open Office.

Stage 3: Choose Content Rights

This actually refers to two different things.  First is Whether or not you wish to use DRM.  This isn’t a reference to those users who download to a Kobo device.  Such downloads are only open to Kobo devices and apps.  Your book will also be available to owners of other devices,so long as they support the epub format.  If you choose to use DRM, then purchasers will need to use Adobe Digital Editions to read the file and/or transfer it to another device.

The second reference is to geographical rights.  If you have been traditionally published, then you may need to read your contract to determine which rights you maintain, and which rights belong to the publisher.  If you are self published, then you have full rights to publish anywhere you want.

Stage 4: Set the Price

This is the fun part.  You get to decide how much you get paid every time someone buys your book.  Kobo does want to make some money on this venture, so they take a cut of the price.  Still, they’re pretty fair.  Here’s a little tip: You get a bigger percentage when you set your prices between $1.99 and $12.99. (70% compared to 45%)

The absolute last step in the process is to publish.  If you wish, you may set a later date on which to publish, you may simply publish immediately.  Either way, once you click publish, the work is done.  You just wait to see how many people buy your book.

Maybe Kobo got into the game late, but they did it well.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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