Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I’ve been waiting to share this news with you for years! When Stephanie and Shonna and I started 2012, we each picked an area we wanted to discuss for the year, and mine was self-publishing. Now I have officially self-published a book in digital form and print form. Yay!

If you’d like to pick up a copy of Little Miss Lovesick for yourself and/or give it to friends or family for Christmas, I have my own CreateSpace store page up now. You can see the book’s description and order copies and generally cheer that I finally made it! 🙂

I wrote a post on my web site with fun bits of trivia about how Little Miss Lovesick came to be. You might enjoy reading that, too. 🙂

From more of a writerly standpoint, I thought I’d share a few publishing details here for my last regular post on Routines for Writers.

  • I’ve thought about self-publishing long enough that I decided, if I was going to do it, I was going to set myself up as my own micropublishing company. I filed a DBA (also known as a fictitious business name), bought a block of 100 ISBN numbers, registered my company name rather than my own name with self-publishing sites like Kindle Direct Publishing, PubIt! (Barnes & Noble), Smashwords, CreateSpace, etc., and I asked John to make a logo for us. I’m also going to join the Independent Book Publishers Association with my 2013 budget.
  •  I bought a lot of ebooks and paper books to help me learn how to self-publish my books. If I had continued to use Word to format my book, Aaron Shepard’s Perfect Pages would have been the most useful. But since I decided to go a more professional route (for one thing, my husband John is a former graphic designer, has all the software, and I’ve used some of it before), Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual Vol 1 and Vol 2 have been the most helpful so far.
  • Aaron Shepard has two other books that I bought, but have only skimmed, that I think will be useful in helping me figure out how to promote my books better, how to help them be more discoverable. They are Aiming at Amazon and POD for Profit.
  • Going to the Self-Publishers Online Conference was also a big help. Lots of good information there, and super nice, helpful people. They also suggested a few more books and web sites, but I haven’t gone through all that material yet.
  • I bought a photo from Dreamstime.com and John (former graphic designer, remember? lucky me!) played with it in Photoshop and Illustrator to create the full cover for both the ebook and the print book.
  • John owns QuarkXPress 7.2, a professional desktop publishing program, and I’ve used it to create newsletters in the past so I was familiar with the basics of how to use it. For both of these reasons – but particularly the “professional” part – we used it to create the interior layout. HOWEVER, we had problems getting the program to create a pdf (needed to upload to CreateSpace or Lightning Source or just about any print company). It crashed every time. So I had to send the file out to Staples and they were awesome! But now, because we need to upgrade John’s Photoshop and Illustrator programs for future book covers, we are going to buy Adobe InDesign as part of the Creative Suite. Interestingly, one of their “top 10 reasons you should switch from Quark” is that it will create pdf files quickly and easily. I hope so.
  • There are two options on CreateSpace (Amazon’s print self-publishing arm) for proofing your book, the digital proof and the print proof. I am a former magazine editor who used to use both to be sure we had the most perfect copy of our magazine we could manage, so I used both this time, too. (It takes about a week or so longer to wait for the print proof before approving the file.) I did find some errors, so I’m glad I took the time.

Those are the highlights of what I did over the last year. I hope you find it useful in your own journey.

As I mentioned, this is my last regular post. We’ll be posting irregularly from now till June. (Our web hosting is paid till then.) I’ll continue to post a couple times a week on my own web site, letting you know what is happening with my books, and writing silly things like my Netflix Picks column. 🙂

Stephanie will post when she’s not crazy busy with school. And at the end, you’ll hear from all three of us saying goodbye to you. Meanwhile, we hope you have a fabulous holiday season, and happy writing! 🙂

What I Did On My Summer Vacation – Kitty

What a quick two months it has been! Another month and summer will be over?! Holy smokes! So what have I been doing? Well…

As many of you know, my mother died in May. That was rough, and I don’t seem to remember much about June. In that respect, I’m glad that we decided to take a summer break here at Routines for Writers. I needed time. (And I thank all of you who have commented or sent me encouraging notes or hugged me when you saw me. You’re all such a great group of people!)

In July, I hit the restart button again. (We’ve talked about that before. I love that button.) I got back into my writing groove, finalizing a short story for one anthology and writing a new one for another anthology.

In August, “Hero in Disguise” will be published in Romancing the Pages, an ebook anthology of 17 short stories by writers of the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America. (See a picture of the cover here by Winterheart Design.) My story is the romantic meeting of the hero and heroine in my upcoming superhero romantic comedy series, The Adventures of Lewis and Clark. I love the way they meet, all dressed up on Halloween, lots of secrets between them.

Later this year, “Rescue at Loon Lake” will appear in Moonlit Encounters, an ebook anthology of 10 short stories and novellas written by my Sydney chapter-mates of the Romance Writers of Australia. Mine is the funny story of a newcomer, a lost dog, and the dog catcher. It’s part of the Strays of Loon Lake romantic comedy series about lonely men and lost dogs finding love and a good home with women who are learning to find their strength. The first book in the series, Love at the Fluff and Fold, will also be out later this year.

In addition, John and I have been taking advantage of a break in his schedule to get cracking on the print version of Little Miss Lovesick. You may remember that I signed up to attend the Self-Publishers Online Conference in May. Due to my mom’s illness, I wasn’t able to participate at the time, but I am catching up. The suggested reading (Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, and Publishize) has been extremely helpful in putting together a nice looking print edition of the book. This also will be available later this year. You can see how busy I’ve been!

Last week, I attended the RWA National Conference in Anaheim, CA. I expected to learn a lot about craft and self-publishing and spend lots of time and energy networking – and all that happened to an even greater degree than I had hoped. But before noon on the first day, I had an unexpected surprise – I won a brand new Sony Reader!

I was so excited, I was jumping up and down. Here is a picture of me moments after Stephanie Beam Warner from the Sony Reader Store announced I’d won. I haven’t figured out yet how to get Little Miss Lovesick on it without having to purchase it, but I’ve got a nice “bookshelf” full of Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and H.G. Wells already.

Because I love excellent desserts, I have to admit – I took a picture of the amazing chocolate something-or-other we had on Friday. I texted my author friend Kathleen Wright and told her I wanted to lick the plate. She texted me back to do it, but I restrained myself. Barely. Oh my gosh, it was delicious! Of course, I remembered to take a picture of the food, but I was so focused on what I was doing and learning during the conference that I forgot to take pictures of anything else. Not even a picture of me with my friend and roommate, Lauraine Snelling. Darn!

Lauraine and I had some great brainstorming sessions and great conversations with some of our other friends who were there – authors Charlotte Carter, Nancy Farrier, and DiAnn Mills especially. I also met the president of the Independent Book Publishers Association and had a great talk with her about that organization. I now have in my budget the amount of the membership dues so I can join as soon as possible. Plus, I think I know who I want to contact when my budget can support an attorney. One of the speakers was excellent and practices law in the publishing field (and in my state!).

Finally, to round out my busy July, the day after I got home from the conference, Lauraine and Kathleen and I spent another half a day brainstorming. Exhausting, but so worth it! During five hours of using Fring and Skype, we worked through some issues for the fourth book in their S.A.V.E. Squad series and the first book in my Strays of Loon Lake series. Both books are so much better for our time together.

So there you have it. That’s more or less what I did on my summer vacation. And it doesn’t even include all the non-writing things I did! Like most good vacations, I sort of wish it wasn’t over and I still had lots of extra time to work on my book instead of our blog. But like most good vacations, I’m also glad to be back.

Now tell us what you’ve been up to this summer!

Spending Time with Mom This Week

Hi friends! No writerly news for you this week. I’m spending time with my mom as she approaches perhaps her last days in the hospital. We’ll see what God’s plan is for her. This past week has been more of a blessing to me than I ever expected, and I can see it’s been a blessing for Mom, too. I’ve written a bit more personal note on my Kitty Bucholtz, Author web site if you want to take a look. I’ll write more about this journey over there in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ll see how much of the Self-Publishers Online Conference (which starts today) that I can attend from the hospital and give you the highlights next week or the week after. I may be late with my post next week for the same reason I’m late this week. We’ll see. I can’t say I’m all too worried about my productivity as a writer this week. But I do wonder if the words will start pouring out geyser-style when this is over.

I try to be professional here and not push people’s buttons by talking too much about God and how very much He impacts my life. But I’m breaking that rule now. I’ve never felt so surrounded by love and mercy the way I have this last week. And that’s why I know God isn’t a figment of our imagination, or an all-powerful but distant higher power. How can people love like this on their own? How can perfect strangers be so full of compassion and mercy by themselves without it coming from somewhere? I don’t believe it’s possible. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can still feel Him all around you if you have felt the love and care of other people for you. Pay attention this week and see if you agree.

All I know is that no matter how great an imagination I have as a novelist, I can’t make up the kind of peace I feel, even as I approach saying goodbye to my mother. It’s coming from outside of myself. And I don’t believe “the world” is capable of giving people this kind of deep peace. It’s God, and the only reason I can imagine He would do it is because He must love us. And that is really, really good news.

I hope you have good news this week. I’ll talk to you again soon!

Self-Publishers Online Conference and Other News

Me and My Mom in Sydney

I am about to leave for Michigan to visit my mom. She’s been in ICU since Easter and a very generous friend bought me a plane ticket home to see her! (Thank you, God!) In the rush to leave tomorrow, I thought I’d leave you with some things I’ve been reading about lately.

First, I just signed up for the Self-Publishers Online Conference! Yay! The last day to get the Early Bird Discount – $50 off – is today! Check it out and see if it’s something you’d be interested in. There is also a free “preview” call on May 2 that you can sign up for on the web site. I’ve listened to both of the other free preview calls and I’ve enjoyed them enough to decide to sign up for the conference.

Interested in learning more about what people are earning from self-publishing? I’ve linked to Debra Holland’s blog several times so you can read about her wild and crazy success. In fact, just last week she made the USA Today bestseller list with an ebook! To get a difference perspective, some of us are still not making much. My book, Little Miss Lovesick, came out the end of September and I only last week sold enough copies on Barnes & Noble to warrant getting paid. (You only have to earn $10.) Here is a blog post from Rhonda Pollero, a writer who is taking the long view on her sales.

Speaking of income, here’s an article from Novelists, Inc. by writer and teacher, Lawrence Block on writers and income. Very level-headed.

Dean Wesley Smith wrote a post comparing how much you might make selling short fiction to a traditional source, like a magazine, versus self-publishing it. I’d been wondering about this myself.

When the whole writing and publishing business gets you down to the point where you aren’t doing anything (writing, for instance  ::waves hand in the air:: ), consider again the power of positive affirmations. Here’s a post on that from the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood.

After you get yourself psyched up from the power of your positive thinking, you may decide to procrastinate just a tiny bit more in the name of research and craft. If so, here is an article from Writers in the Storm with “13 Ways To Show (Rather Than Tell) in Your Love Story.”   And Savvy Authors has an article  on “Writing with Emotion – Yours!” that I enjoyed.

By the way, if you write humorous romantic fiction and still think it’s okay to say “chick lit” in front of other writers, here’s a site for you.  I just found it and haven’t explored it, but I was excited that there are other women out there writing fun stories who aren’t ashamed to admit it. 🙂

If you’re interested in writing a nonfiction piece about your self-publishing journey, this might be of interest to you. Flirty Author Bitches have a call for submissions on that topic. Again, haven’t looked into it much yet, but it looks interesting to me. (Maybe something to do in the hospital during the long hours of waiting.)

Finally, do you blog? Do you think having pictures makes your blog more interesting and easier to read? Do you have a heck of a time trying to find such picutures? ::me waving my hand wildly again:: I did a Google search (my husband’s answer to everything) and found this. Happy Kitty.

I hope one or more of these pieces helps you. Remember to look into the Self-Publishers Online Conference today in case you want to register and get the Early Bird Discount. And read that article on affirmations. Figure out what affirmations look like to you. I’m going to read it again and journal on it and come up with a system that works for me. I think I’ll incorporate Bible truths into mine, something that I can believe in easily without having to force myself. “I am a bestselling author” doesn’t work for me. But “All good and perfect gifts come from God, and I use my gifts to encourage and entertain others” is something I already believe to be true. Hmm, I might have to blog more about that! 🙂

Happy Writing, Everyone! Thank you to everyone who has been praying for my mom, my family, and me! Keep those prayers coming – they’re working!

Fun Links for Writers

I’m having an AWESOME time this week hanging out with two of my best writer friends and writing and brainstorming! Woo-hoo!! So I thought I’d give you guys some of the links I’ve been finding over the last week or two. Hope you find one or more of them useful. 🙂

I’ve been sent so many different links over the last few months to posts on The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing, or WG2E as it’s affectionately known, that I needed to make sure you’re aware of this web site. You know I’m on a self-publishing journey, and if you are, this is a site you need to check out. There is so much information here that I actually find myself a bit intimidated when I wander around. If you’re a regular, I’d love it if you left a comment about the best way for a writer new to the site to get the most benefit from it. If you’re easily intimidated by information overload, do what I did and just subscribe to the posts so they come in your email Inbox. Easy and done.

Interested in making your own book cover? Or maybe a banner or other picture for your web site? Check out this step by step post on making book covers in PowerPoint. I took one of those free Apple Store classes on using Keynote (the Apple competitor to PowerPoint) and I was astounded at all the things I could do graphically! I think I’m going to take this article on how to play around in PowerPoint and use what I learned about Keynote to do some playing. Hmm…when do I have time for playing? (Note to self: add “playing” to my To Do list.)

Sue Grimshaw, former romance book buyer for Borders and current acquiring editor at Loveswept, talks about promotion on Writers in the Storm. Loveswept is a digital imprint so Sue is actively seeking ways to connect with digital readers. Join in the conversation in the comments section. And subscribe to Writers in the Storm, if you haven’t. They have massive amounts of craft and other writerly information on their blog every week. Lots of great writers there.

Luke Flanagan, a dear friend of John’s and mine, is blogging about his journey to self-publish his children’s book. NOT epublishing, but a real live book. Luke wrote it, illustrated it (he worked with John on Happy Feet 2), and used Pozible.com to raise the money to get the book printed. I find the whole thing exciting and inspiring! And I’m happy to say that our own personal copy of the book will be flying in from Australia soon. Yay! (It better be autographed, Luke!)

Many of you know I’m writing a superhero romantic comedy. (The first short stories in my universe come out this summer, the first novel early next year.) Shonna sent me this great link to Superhero Nation. I’m happy as a pig in mud! Woo-hoo!! Thanks, Shonna! I totally can’t wait to waste a whole day “researching” on this site! 🙂

I’ve only had a chance to skim this article so far, but Dissecting Pages for Mood looks like a great post on how a writer adds mood to her/his stories. And there’s color-coded highlighting! Who doesn’t love that?

Are you writing a story that requires you to plant clues and misdirect the reader? This short post by Kara Lennox might help you. It might also cause you to throw out all your red lipsticks!

I just found this web site on Friday, Indies Unlimited. I have barely gotten past the home page, but it looks like it could be a great site for self-publishers – and probably other writers, too.

If you’re interested in self-publishing, you’ve probably heard about John Locke and how he sold 1 million ebooks in five months. Here is another interesting article about him.

Here’s an article by Bob Mayer on what if/when e-royalty rates go down. And here is a NY Times article on the government’s involvement in ebook pricing.

My friend Dwight sent me this link by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, talking about description versus action. Donald seems to be a fan, like me, of describe it enough for the reader to see it in their imagination, and get on with the story! (My emphasis. 🙂 )

I mentioned this a while back – there is a Self-Publishers Online Conference coming up in May. The dates and major speakers are posted here and, thanks to James Byrd of S.P.O.C., I can tell you the prices. There is a standard pass, giving you access to the conference and the recordings, for $97. The premium pass gives you that access plus several TBD bonus items for $147. After May 1, the prices go up to $127 and $199. Sounds like it could be great! (And if anyone knows of any conferences or classes for publishers, I’d love to know more about them. I need to learn more about how to be a good publisher, especially since I only have one client and I want her to be happy and stick around. 😉 )

And finally, before I totally overwhelm you with links to click, here is my latest reader-must-have – the Albatros bookmark. Check it out, it’s so cool! If only I had a checking account balance that wouldn’t notice if I bought some for my birthday. 🙂

Hope you enjoy some or all of these links. Now that I’ve written them down here and know I won’t lose them, I can close some of the 52 open tabs on my web browswer. Whew!