Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Deal on Manuscript Editing Software

Last month's post dealt with manuscript editing and software programs, one of which was from WhiteSmoke.com. Well, I just received the following email from them. Sounds like a good deal and applies only to the first 2000 customers. If you miss the offer, try using the Live Chat function on their website to get a price less than the usual list price.

Dear WhiteSmoke member,Christmas is just around the corner...ARE YOU READY?Check what we've got for you today:EVERYTHNIG AT $25!!!WhiteSmoke is having its biggest sale ever - At such a ridiculous price, no one will be left deprived this year...See what you can get for only $25:* WhiteSmoke 2010 General Version* WhiteSmoke 2010 Business Version* WhiteSmoke 2010 Creative Version* WhiteSmoke 2010 Bio-Tech Version* WhiteSmoke 2010 Multi-lingual Dictionary* WhiteSmoke 2010 English Video Tutorials.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------What are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy, order one for your wife, let your kids try the Video Tutorials -Our new WhiteSmoke 2010 English writing software will make sure your writing is perfect, every time you write, anywhere you write it...Start 2010 with the perfect gift for yourself or loved ones - and make sure you get it at the LOWEST PRICE EVER!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manuscript Editing

A recurring question in class revolves around the desire to have some editing help with the manuscript. Although a bit beyond what is discussed in our Self Publishing and Sell Your Book course, I set about looking at the question. Here is what I would suggest.

1. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the grammar checker in your word processing program. Daniel Kies provides a comparison of the programs in his article, Evaluating Grammar Checkers.

2. Join a writers group such as the Central Oregon Writers Guild. They can offer suggestions on small portions of a manuscript and there will be a professional editor who you may hire.

3. There are a number of online editing products for checking the manuscript. A popular one is EssayRater. There is a free rater that will look at citations, contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, style, and word choice. One will need to upgrade to a fee-based review to discover how to fix the problems. Its size limit is 20 pages.

4. A software program that resides on your computer is offered by WhiteSmoke. One can choose between different writing styles: general, business, creative, medical, and executive. It sells for $89.95 and can process one chapter at a time. It received endorsements for Yahoo, NBC, and CNN Business 2.0.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Buzz: Create It With Social Media

Today's topic is about creating a buzz. You may recall from class that we talked about creating word-of-mouth attention to your book by having people talk about any or all the following elements your book may contain:
  • Taboo subjects

  • Unusual aspects

  • Outrageous happenings

  • Hilarious moments

  • Remarkable feats

  • Secrets, kept and divulged
An additional means of creating a buzz is to use social networking sites such as FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

Explore the possibilities in a free ebook written by John Jantsch. Titled Let's Talk: Social Media for Small Business. It is full of ideas and how-to information for the self publisher. Click here to download it.

By the way, I apologize for the long absence. I was caught up in moving--with all that entails.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Target and Book Sales

A recent issue of the New York Times contained an article about the retail giant, Target and the large number of books the chain sells. Extracts from the article are offered here in a manner similar to the discussion about Costco book sales in the post of November 13, 2008.

Target apparently only purchases books from a large publishing houses; thus, self publishers need not apply. However, their experience offers insight into the books they select, their book reader's demographics, elements of the publishing process, and the genre of books that have proven to be good sellers.

In terms of book selection, the titles are usually written by women. The demographics of the book purchasers indicate that:
  • Most are women.
  • They have a median income of $60,000.
  • About one half have a college degree.
  • Some have children at home.

In terms of publishing, the books are:

  • Usually in the 6x9 format.
  • Paperback.
  • A special edition just for Target.
  • The author includes a letter addressed to the Target buyer.

Genre of the books tends to be limited to:

  • Diet books.
  • Children's picture books.
  • Young-adult novels.
  • Romance.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In My Day

Members of the Self Publish and Sell Your Book class have produced another truly wonderful book!

Titled In My Day, it is authored by June Atsuko Martel along with husband Joe Martel and daughter, Sandy Beelmann. June accomplished the marvelous art work. Although designed as a children's book, it goes far beyond the usual story for young people.

The book is actually a cross-cultural comparison and chronicle of the parallel journey taken by June growing up in Japan and Joe, who came of age in the United States. The vivid recounting of their experiences offers the reader incredible insights into a youthful view of the early 1900s in Japan and rural America.

Autographed copies can be obtained from Sandy at (541) 604-0138 or sbeelmann@hotmail.com. Unsigned copies are available through Amazon.com or CreateSpace.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Straight Poop on Pregnancy

The perfect baby shower gift.Who would have thought that there were really funny aspects to pregnancy? Well, Natalie Kimmel not only has lived through them, she shares them with us in her new book, The Straight Poop on Pregnancy. Designed to be a memento of the condition, the self published book contains witty dialog and humorous color illustrations.

Natalie accomplished all the narrative and art work herself. An interesting twist was to offer a gift pack version of the book that consist of a onesie (a cute, environmentally-safe garment for the baby), the book itself, and comes gift wrapped. The saddle stitched volume retails for $12.95 and the gift pack for $24.95.

Natalie is eager to share her self publishing experiences with us. She can be reached through her blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Central Oregon Writers Guild

If you would like to participate in a writers group, need help with writing, or are generally interested in networking with other local authors, then the Central Oregon Writers Guild is for you!

The group, formerly the Redmond Writers, offers programs featuring topics related to self publishing, writing contests, conferences, etc. Attendance at their meetings is open to the public and free.

More information? Visit the Central Oregon Writers Guild website.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saving Money While Printing Draft Copies

Printing drafts of the manuscript requires a lot of ink and resources. If interested in saving as much as 20% of your ink and becoming more Green, continue reading.

The February, 2009, issue of the Sunriver Scene contained an article titled “Less is More When it Comes to Fonts.” It focused on a relatively new font developed by Spranq Web Design called Ecofont. Although there have been several fonts that claim to save ink, Ecofont really does and it is also readable.

Ecofont is san serif, True Type, Open source, and free. For those who do not know much about fonts, focus on the word free. It works best with MS Office 2007, Open Office, and Apple Works. The savings is derived from the individual letters having holes in them. The holes represent the ink savings.

I have been using a font size of 14 to 10 pts and it is quite readable, even with my inexpensive printer set on draft copy. The image below shows the font at various sizes. Downloading the font is easy, particularly if you follow the directions. LOL.

Click here to download.
Instructions for installing the font can be found by clicking here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ebooks and Children

Another article on ebooks appeared during the holidays. It was written by Alana Semuels for The Bulletin , appearing on 12/26/08. Titled, "In Digital Era, Kids Books are Jumping off the Page," it addressed ebooks for children.

The author points out that some of the advantages of a children's ebook are:
1. Low cost.
2. Youngsters have a familiarity with digital technology.
3. Ebooks provide greater interactivity.
4. Many digital devices can "read" the book out loud to the child.

Interestingly, the article cited research suggesting that children learn less when parents (emphasis added) read the ebook to them. I wonder if the same applies to the computer reading the book to them?

The article also provides two (of the many) publishers that offer children's ebooks. Check them out and see what the buzz is all about:

Harpercollins Children's Books