Writing: an Art Form for Beginners and ?
I've mentioned that I write for tripadvisor.com. Well I am both startled and pleased to say that I've had over 4000 reads in slightly under a month's time. Additionally, there seems to be more traffic to my Amazon author's page. I've revised a title or two with improved writing techniques and that seem to be catching people's attention as well.
Thank you all for reading my page here, at Amazon and trip advisor.com
You can find me at tripadvisor.com as "Patrick_W001."
At Amazon.com my author's page is easy to find if you look up my title and author's name separated by a comma and space.
Thank you everyone who visits this page and my other two instances on the web.
Learning The Craft
I've been writing for forty years. I had it put to me recently, that a fellow writer was offended someone might be able to help them gain new insight into the craft. I have also, in the last year, worked with a few inexperienced writers helping them re-write their works to cleaner, tighter form. Some people are offended when assistance is offered. I get it. You worked hard to get where you are. But when you are closed off to any kind of learning for the craft your writing will never improve regardless of how many words you produce.
Last year I produced 18 titles exceeding a Million and a Half words, combined. This year, my count is down. I've only yet produced twelve titles as far that I can count. The word count is way down. What changed? In the last year I've had a proofreader work with me. She's pointed out my mechanical and stylistic weaknesses. In the time since we worked together I've incorporated a lot of what this former English teacher showed me during our interchange. As a result, my product is improved even over how I started out two Januaries ago. To answer the question, "What changed?" I did. I learned to be a better writer who was not to arrogant to admit I could do better. Forty years is a long time on the human scale. It is not, however, eternity. If I lived to be 975 billion, I doubt I would fail to continue learning.
No writer is above improvement. No one likes critique when it isn't all stars and shiny sprinkles, but you learn from it. I hope that all of you, who seek to become writers, or write currently maintain humility as I try to do myself. Work with less experienced authors, listen to critiques and try to push through the embarrassment, and above all please don't think you're too good to learn a new trick along the way.
I wish all of you the best and hope to hear from some of you in future. Don't forget to look at my new titles from last month and hopefully a few more this month. I've finished another novel that I started last year during my writing binge. "Simulacrum," is in liking with the current craze toward Virtual Environment Role Playing Games style stories. If all goes well it will complete copy edit, proofread and spell check mid October.
Two New Titles for Sept 2016
It seems I cannot take my own advise. I'm putting out a new short pocket book, which is a fast read called "DISGUISE: FOR MEN," and a revised version of a book I published in 1994 and sold out of. That one actually brought in fan mail though it was only available for six months. The updated version uses my improved writing skills as well as a few embellishments on narrative. That title is called, "PARTICLES IN TACHYON." and is part of the PARTICLES IN TACHYON saga of which I have two other titles available in print and or digital format.
Particles In Tachyon: Revised Edition
Disguise: For Men cover art front and back
Updates on new titles
"DISGUISE: FOR MEN," passed primary evaluations at createspace and should be available to order no later than Tuesday Sept 6, 2016. "Particles In Tachyon," is still under re-write though that's going fast and should be done and ready by either the end of this week or early next. I will be posting the new covers once I've completed them. Thanks.
New Amazon Author's Page
Hey everyone, I created my author's page at Author Central on the Amazon site. Stop by it shows my works available and mentions this page.
Please take a gander and if you are a member of Amazon, follow me. I could use all the support I can get.
Look me up under Patrick W in science fiction, I come up near the top of the page. Not sure Hub pages is open to me posting a link here so I give directions instead..
Mal-Con and Meetings
I enjoyed the convention this last weekend 8-12 to 8-14. Sold a few books and met a lot of people both writers and not.
It was a fun event and I may go again next year. Thanks for all who spoke to me there.
Ars Majika Grafika
Today I release a new title on Kindle and hopefully the paperback version tomorrow 26th of June. Please look for my title and support a fellow hubber.
cover for most recent publish
Guardian Mission cover at Amazon
Holiday Hero coverart
Remembering Fifty-Two Days
Fifty-Two days ago, September 3, 2015 my aged cat named Squeekee Sapphire, in keeping with tradition, last name composed of her mother's first name, passed away at approximately 10:00 A.M. Today October 25th 2:10 A.M. she was followed by her brother Omega Steel, in keeping with tradition, last name composed of his father's first name.
I have suffered the loss of my last living relative as these two four legged members of my family were with me for 18 1/2 years.
I will miss them for the remainder of my days, and I will never forget my two special companions. Today I write this in my Hubpage to share with those who read my works my loss and hurt. I am, in effect, turning loss into words.
Thank you to anyone and everyone who has or will read anything I've ever written. I cannot express my gratitude that you honor me with your attention. Please take a moment of your time to honor my family members who are now gone.
Thank you - Patrick W - traveller004
I've been writing since I was eight years old. My first piece of work was a little three sentence piece that had a subject, action but no plot. I remember showing it my teacher. Looking back I know she was trying to be encouraging but it there was no hiding how bad it was. However. I continued jotting down paragraphs and sentences, sometimes in rhyme, most times not.
For me the first major plunge into writing was the year I saw a movie
called "Making Love" with "Kate Jackson" and "Harry Hamlin" supporting
"Michael Ontkean." I liked the movie a lot and wrote my own version of
the piece. My work was awful but it was the start that got me rolling.
I worked many nights till 2:30am in the morning writing and went to
school the next day half zombified. I never realized my willingness to give up sleep in favor of the typewriter was a clear signal of my passion.
When It's Time To Quit
I mentioned the passing of my furry companion in September. To be honest I've been writing on that same project over the last forty days. It's about 133,000 words long and I came to the conclusion it's time to stop.
Writing for catharsis or healing is all fine and good. Writing for yourself is all fine and good. But there has to be a point where the healing starts and the pain is faced. For me, forty days later I'm putting this project away. It was always for me and will always be for me. But it's time to get back to writing for the world.
What I may or may not have gotten across in this is that some stories feel like they can go on forever. I know of a serial called Perry Rhodan, that comes out of Germany. Its first stories were written before I was born. The serial continues to this date and to be honest, from what I know. It's much of the "same old, same old." The people who write for that story continue to churn out pieces for the saga but to be truthful, other than the first 126 novelizations that made it to USA, no one I know of reads or has a major interest in that series. The writers of that story may have an immortal main character as I believe the first 126 novels suggested, but we don't need to hear about it.
When you write sometimes you find your way into a saga that feels like it can go on forever. Perhaps it can, but know when each segment and perhaps the saga concludes, at least for you the writer, if not for the world.
Know when to take the final bow and exit stage right.
So, for this saga that I worked on for the last forty days, I shall take my bow and exit, stage right. I return to the world, to you wonderful bloggers and to my regular writing.
Turn Loss Into Words
Within the last week Sept 3 my cat of eighteen and a half years died. There has been much grief. But I am a writer so to deal with that loss I write. The novel I started the day of her death has reached 70,000 words at this point.
Most likely this novel will never see the light of day as I write this one for myself. It is my way of dealing with grief.
Perhaps some of you have similar experiences. If so I would cherish any thoughts, feedback or comments. I'm posting this near the top of my blog so no one has to hunt for it. I want all my wonderful readers to see that I too am human and grieve at my losses.
However I use that grief to do what I do best and that is write.
Write what you know, write from the heart, bare your soul and lets the words flow.
Until next time.
Another Hubber In Distress
I saw this message on the "questions," section of hub pages but as it applies so perfectly to my blog, I hope that person doesn't mind that I post their dilemma and my suggested solution. Here it is.
What do you do when you are writing fiction and your plot gets stuck like quicksand?
Do you back it up and take another trail? Do you set the project aside and move on to something else? Do you lock yourself into a sterile room until you come up with the answer. I call this plot block--it's different than writer's block in that you can write just fine, you just can't figure out how your character gets onto the plane or where the cop should find the clue. Any interesting experiences to share?
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Write down ten things on ten cards (slips of paper) that are related to the direct situation. Fold them up till their tiny. Throw them in a small bottle. Shake. Pull out one and look at what you have. Write from that no matter how outlandish.
Second option have someone else or several someones write plot points on pieces of paper, fold them up tiny, put in small bottle, shake them up, pull out one and see what you get.
No matter how far out, or outlandish just write from that. It might seem stupid and if it's wrong you'll know within the first page possibly the first paragraph. But whatever it is in your mind blocking the flow may come unstuck when challenged by the outlandish.
edit your answer (open for 10 minutes longer)
Writing for beginners
Beginning writers often express their confusion as to where to start. Here are a few tips. Some people feel they need to "map it out." Others find this idea is too limiting.
1. Firstly you will need to determine which of the two methods works for you. Try to map out one character; their likes, dislike, any personal history, physical characteristics, and any other details that you feel are pertinent. If you find yourself fighting this task you may fall into the category of writer who does not like to, or cannot map out characters. In that case begin writing and take notes on a side notepad as you go. You are still mapping, but in this case it is after the fact, instead of before.
2. Establish, (at least for yourself,) the state of stasis where your character starts. Then create a plausible or implausible event/action that disturbs that stasis. (In this case, stasis means: every day life.)
3. If you map out the character try to write, without mapping, the course of the story. Don't overthink or anticipate. Let the character go where he/she will. You are the observer. For me, writing is like reading a book for the first time. I never know what a character will do till it happens. If I try to anticipate it causes one of the most frightening horrors that any writer can experience, WRITER'S BLOCK. Writer's Block most often occurs when a writer, listens to outside advice, tries to anticipate story action, or adds plot turns that don't fit the character.
4. Don't be afraid to put it away. That means if you have a promising start but it suddenly falters, put the story away, for now. Let it rest. Sometimes your mind needs to catch up with the story. If you force it, you may second guess and trigger the dreaded Writer's Block.
5. Don't write to anyone else's speed. I may be able to write a 60,000 word novel in six days, but you, most likely, will not. If it takes seven months, it takes seven months. If it takes two years, write a few stories on the side to keep your mind going during your downtime periods.
Catch me next time and I'll give you a few more tips for the beginning writer.
Thank you to those of you who have already visited my new hub.
I promised a few more tips for new writers, so here we go.
Critiquing and or reading aloud.
Try, at all costs, to read aloud your work at least once, either in front of an audience or alone so that you can hear the words you have written. We tend to catch errors better when we hear how it sounds. (An audience can be as few as one person.)
Always proofread or review your work. For example; if I was writing a full length novel, (approximately 60,000 words or greater,) it is prudent to go back and read or at least glance each day's writing to review what has gone down on the page(s). If you were to write at my speed, one day constitutes and average of 10,000 words. That might be too much for some to review in detail each day. So a quick glance back at the highlights is a good idea.
Getting past WRITERS BLOCK
This is the most dreaded of any calamities that can strike a writer. There are so many suggestions but here is one of the more radicals methods that I have used in past that seems to be effective.
1. Don't be afraid to delete. Many writers are terrified to delete any of their previous written words for fear they may lose something critically important. However when Writer's Block strikes you may not realize that what has been written is not relevant to your work.
Read through the story from the beginning. If you sense a turning that makes no sense or feels unnatural, you may have over anticipated the story's course.
Open a notepad, if you use a word processor or if hand written don't be afraid to tear out those pages that don't seem to fit. If you open note pad on your word processor/computer cut and paste the culprit writing so you have it to refer to but it is not longer clogging the story. Give yourself a day after you have done this and come back to the work.
I suggest strongly that you NEVER truly discard or destroy any writing, but "put away" any material that you strike/delete from a work in progress. This is a reminder that, "it was written," "it clogged the work," and "there may be something in there that is still usable later in the work's life."
Writing Tools to help you
- Improve Writing Skills with Connotation: Verbs and Adjectives
This is the second entry in my writing courses hubs. The first covered the basic essay format. This entry in my writing courses will discuss how to improve writing skills by using colorful verbs and...
Many writers feel a need to write constantly. If you can do it, that's great. I have found, however, that taking one or two days a week and designating them as non-writing days is a really good idea.
This allows you to take time off like you would at any other job, and even if it's a hobby, writing is still a job. Like any job, you can burn out if you push it to much and too fast.
Always take time off for you or the stories may stop flowing.
Crazy Bouts Of Writing
I discussed something I call, "Writer's Syndrome," or "Writer's Sickness," in another part of this blog.
I have been going through a period where I continue to pump out as much as 20,000 words a day. which is insane. I discovered that writing at this speed lowers the quality of the work. Detail and rich metaphor fall to the sidelines in a desperate effort to get the words on the page.
Perhaps there are some of you out there who can do this, but I honestly suggest to all of you, set a specific amount of time that you write each day and a period in which no writing occurs and I mean days, I suggest two days out of each week. That way your mind doesn't fog with the constant outflow. Slow writing is a talent I seem to have lost along my journey and now I force myself to take off every fourth day so the writing doesn't suffer.
I would love to hear from any of you who read this blog about your own experiences in writing. If you experience or experienced anything similar it would be great to hear what techniques you discovered to combat the phenomenon.
Thanks all and waves and smiles till next time
Write What You Know
"Write what you know." You may or may not have heard this statement before. It is the most important thing that any writer can do. Even in the world of fiction you must know the subject matter. If, for example, you were writing about Zimbabwe, though you probably cannot afford to go there. But, plenty of resource material exists for you to study and therefore paint a vivid picture with your words. In past I have encountered writers who wrote about my native state, Colorado. I can tell, without pause, who has and has not been here. Being a resident of this state for over four decades, I know a lot of its contemporary and past history. When I hear someone say they're going to the "Cash Register Building," I as a local know exactly what that means. Take a look at any skyline photo of Denver and it should be perfectly obvious what that building is. But the phrase "Cash Register Building," is a local phrase. I certainly would not write about Maine without at least finding out as much detail as I can for the local territory. Of course if you were to take a non-local and have them entering an environment, and write the story from their POV or (Point Of View) then your lack of knowledge wouldn't be a hindrance at first. However some knowledge of the local customs and colloquialisms will be necessary as the story progresses to flesh out and give vibrant life to your work.
Whether set in a real or fantastical world fantasy allows the writer a much wider scope of control. As the world you are CREATING, and the key word here is "creating," is defined by the writer, not fact. This means that someone who has never been to Colorado, but wishes to set up a fantasy based there can fictionalize whatever they want as long as it is clearly obvious that this is a fantastical representation and not true. If you are creating a whole new world, this is where world mapping is often a really good idea. Sometimes getting a plain old piece of 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of blank paper and drawing even a crude map can help the writer orient themselves to what they see mentally. This is especially important if you are a slower writer. During breaks from the work the image of your world may become a bit vague or faded in your mind and having a visual reminder is very helpful. Don't worry if you're not a great artist, that doesn't matter. General visual aides even for those who do not map out plots and characters can still be helpful.
That's all for today. I'll be back next time with a few more tips and happy Thanksgiving to everyone.
Writers often ask me where do I get inspiration. The first thing I tell everyone is, "There are no new ideas." With the population of the world and the amount of writing out there, no idea is new. What is new, is the way you interpret an old idea. Take a note pad with you and jot down simple phrases, situations, even a picture that catches your attention. Let it hover in your mind for awhile. Perhaps it will become part of some future writing. If you are the type who can just remember what you see, then take mental photographs. If not, taking real photos is also a good method. You never know what you might see.
Some of my real life experiences read like something straight out of a book or movie. For me they are true because they happened. For others, they make either great scene outlines or fiction to read inside a larger narrative. (In this case "narrative," means story or written work.)
A spoonful of sugar versus a bitter pill
One of the biggest weaknesses of any writer is the inability to take critique or criticism. No one wants to hear that they have an ugly baby. However, never a truer word has been given than the bitter pill of critique. We don't want to hear a story's weakness but the story that cannot survive the "wind of critique" will not survive the "storm of criticism." Make no mistake the two run hand in hand. Critique is a set of evaluative arguments intended to help improve a work as offered through the eyes of a detached party. (A stranger or a friend who can be objective.) Criticism is the scathing attempt by many to break an author down with irrational arguments that attack a stories structure, whether valid or not, the delivery is always damaging.
But an author must develop a "tough hide." Be prepared for people to "hate" your work. It's okay. There are six and a half billion people on this planet. They are not all going to like your work. On the other hand, do not seek critique from a fan. They will often miss weak points in favor of pandering to your ego and their autograph collection. Seek a stranger or disconnected party to read and give fair critique on your work. Listen to what they say and "keep your mouth shut." Let them have their say and take notes. It will help your work and make you a better writer. It's a bitter pill to swallow but it's medicine and it makes your writer get better. A spoonful of sugar, "Irrational encouragement from friends," will only hurt your work. Sure some friends can detach themselves and give fair critique, but there will always be doubt when you let a fan or close friend critique. If a total stranger reads your piece and says, "I really liked that, except for that bit . . .." You've just gotten a solid piece of critique. If they come back with "I hated it because this character feels weak." That's also solid feedback. When someone reads your work and comes back with, "I always love your work." You're in trouble. That's not going to help you or your writing.
Till next time.
Write For Yourself, Write For Others
This is a topic that very few authors seem to grasp. There are two channels of writing.
1. Write for yourself: In this channel, you write a narrative, blog. accounting, whatever so you can read it again and again. The work may inspire, enrage, touch, or otherwise affect you but it is written for your personal use. Sometimes when you write something like this it is so good that it deserves to be seen by other eyes. Consider sharing your personal piece with a pair of impartial eyes and get critique. If you get solid critique that suggests the story is worth sharing put serious thought into publishing. These days self publishing has never been easier.
2. Write for others: This channel includes written works that are/were meant as dedications, gifts, contract or challenge works and or something that you set out to publish intentionally. These need to be checked by that ever-important, impartial reader to make sure the writing is on point. My recent piece "Holiday Hero," had an ending in its earlier life that was weak and fell flat. It took me several hours of re-write to change three pages till the ending came forward with a good and powerful conclusion that strengthened the work instead of hindered it. As a point of interested, "Holiday Hero," was never intended to be published. I wrote it for myself and a friend but when I saw the finished product and got both good feedback and even better critique I realized this story deserved its time in t he sun.
Sometimes you write a piece that you really never want to share but realize over time that it is too good to keep to yourself. Sharing these pieces takes the greatest courage. Sometimes I feel I would rather face an angry bear than publish a work I did for myself but I push through that fear and insecurity and put it out there.
Whatever you do, writing for yourself and writing for others, always remember you won't please everyone so don't try. Just write to please the person or persons you targeted when the narrative emerged. That includes you a friend, spouse, or close confidant. Steel yourself and never let them scare you in to immobility otherwise you'll be fifty years old and have a stack of unpublished books that could have been the next, "Lord Of The Rings," "Dune," or whatever. Stick to your guns and know that writers are the most valuable asset human kind has as we inspire people to build-a-better-mouse-trap or fly-to-the-moon. Keep on writing and keep on imagining.
Till next time
Thanks to any and everyone who reads or has read my hub page. Like it, love it, hate it, you're all cherished by this author.
Tidy Endings VS Unanswered Questions
Everything in its place and a place for everything vs questions:
Recently I was exposed to a series of children's books. I love children's books for any age of child three years and older. This series is moderately famous "Ember," by "Jeanne DuPrau." This series was not as old as I thought being written in 2003. There is a feel of a time further back into American history of about 1950 though in third book the story takes place in contemporary America or close enough as to be indiscernible. Jeanne falls into a category of writers who like to tie up endings and give conclusions or synopsis' of every main character's final outcome. I've read reviews that liked and disliked this thought process. Her books were aimed at age 8-10. I'm not sure I personally agree that 8-10 year old readers need everything clearly explained.
I read Z for Zacharia when I was ten and that book does not give the reader a nice tidy ending. It was written in 1974 and I would venture to say children were a bit less sophisticated 1974 than they are in 2003 or 2015. However I loved that book, not the movie (sorry they messed it up typical Hollywood style.)
On the other hand I enjoyed Ember and two of the other books that are part of the continuing narrative of the primary character Lina Mayfleet and her supporting character/friend, Dune Harrow. Saving the third book for last instead of reading in order I was glad I did as the third book truthfully was an obvious back-story that could be written standalone from the others and be fine but added to the quartet it was a mistake. In this case the tidy endings went too far and I didn't need to know that story to enjoy Ember's narrative.
What I'm getting at is this. I've read Daniel Pinkwater and he writes for all ages. His stories are great and he is not a subscriber to "tidy endings," though his stories tie up the end. I personally write with intention of leaving the reader room to consider where the story might go. In past I wrote books that had tidy endings and found they never felt right. Life isn't like that, at least not for me.
But if you like to finish out the synopsis of every character you can and if it feels right you should. If you get a book where it simply will not write to a, "happy ending," or "tidy ending," don't fret. Let a few other "Impartial," readers take a look. Gage their reactions and determine if you're comfortable with "Nice and Tidy," or "Unanswered Questions."
If you are a fan of the, "tidy ending," think of TV and realize you're writing serial style. There's a market for that kind of writing and you may be just perfect for it. On the other hand think of all the TV shows that don't tie it all up and realize that you leave yourself open to future works in the same story.
Ultimately it's up to you how you want to, "tie up," or "leave unanswered," the conclusion of your works. Find out which style works for you and make sure to stick to it. Though, if you have one of those odd-ball eggs that goes outside your writer's niche don't be afraid of it.
Til next time, I wish you all good writing and reading.
Collections VS The Single Narrative
In most cases the burgeoning author will start with shorter works. There are accepted classifications for completed works based on the number of words in an offering.
Example: 2,000 words and under, is a short short. 12,000 words and under is a short. 18,000 to 22,000 words is a novelette. 22,000 to 40,000 words is a novella, 40,000 to 79,000 is a novel, 80,000 to 120,000 is considers and extended novel and 120,000 or greater word count is considered an epic.
It is widely accepted that 40,000 to 60,000 words is consider a children's book level of writing but I encourage people who think that to check out Stephen King's "The Green Mile," which was written in six short chap books. They are all great works and combine to a full narrative but are each of them self encapsulated. 40,000 words is a novel no matter what anyone tries to sub-classify it. If you get to the point where you can put out forty to sixty thousand words then you can proudly call yourself a novelist or novel writer.
Most fledgeling writers find it easier to write between a short short, and a short story. 12,000 words seemed insurmountable to many of my colleagues in creative writing at college where I found it perfectly easy to write 18,000 words in two days. But I am practiced with forty plus years constructing prose. For me fast writing is only through practice. I would never expect anyone to write like me.
When I deal with inexperienced writers the first thing I say is "Write it down." I don't care if it's long, short, comes fast or goes slow. I care that you get the words on the page and we can work with it from there. They say everyone has at least one good novel in them. Frankly I'm thrilled when I see everyone come up with a short short. You have to start somewhere. Even incomplete writings are great. That shows you that you are serious about getting the words on the page.
I find myself encouraging people to start with a short short. Just one, from start to finish, take a week, take two. I am not concerned with the amount of time it takes. This isn't a race it's creation. Once you have a short, try for another one. If you complete two you may find, like I did that it becomes easier with each passing hour in front of the word processor, hand written page, or chalk board, for-that-matter. Just start with one, then go to two and after that three.
Soon you find you have a collection of short shorts, or shorts that are enough combined words to be a novel. That's a collection. It is easier to make a collection than it is to create a novel for many writers. There's nothing wrong with this. Just write.
Until next time, I'm happy to see so many more readers stopping by. I hope to hear from some of you.
Copyright, Publishing and Cover Art
This segment is for those of you who have a completed work. I recently collected together eight of my shorter works to get a 60,000 word completed book. The drawback for me is that I have to file separate copyrights on each segment of the book.
Copyrights are filed at www.copyright.gov and cost $35.00 per title submitted. This is not a great sum for one piece, but when you have a collection of six or seven titles well you're looking at between $200.00 and $300.00. In these cases it is smarter to forgo publishing collections till you are better established for expense reasons. Remember, that as a writer, you are a business. The cost of copyright is an expense and should be deducted from any sales to establish true income. It's all about profit versus expense. If you have any questions about filing a copyright, please drop me feedback with your query and I'll try to address your question to the best of my experience.
With the recent "publish yourself," sites cropping up on the internet that "print-on-demand," you can publish shorter works in small chappette books. That means works that are shorter than novel length going into books that are not as thick as the big books but are still "in print," and available to read. Those works that are less than 11,000 words probably won't even make it to this format as most "print-on-demand," sites require a physical page count of at least 38 pages inside the book, not including the cover. I find in these cases that sometimes formatting your document smaller say to 5" wide by 6" high can increase the book's page count to the minimum number. I have a few Shorts that are in book form now. One of those has just over 11,000 words. It is 5" by 6" and I managed to get the required page count. That book is called, "The Gamemaster." Some of my readers say they are grateful for the shorter books as they like something they can read fast and be done with in a shorter amount of time.
In the case where a novel is novel length or greater a standard book size is generally 5" wide by 8" high. At least 40,000 words is really recommended for books of this size to get the adequate page count.
Formatting your works. Most people may not realize that just about every word processor can output the document size and useable format that most "print-on-demand," companies require. Fore example Createspace prefers PDF or Portable Document Format which is an industry standard. My word processor choice "Word Perfect Pro," outputs documents in this form as does my second choice "Open Office," which is a free office suite downloadable from the internet. When formatting don't forget that most word processor default to 1" boarders around your document but if you're formatting a document yourself you should reset that to 1/2 or .5 inch to make the book more consistent to contemporary printing. I also find that I have to adjust all tabs to .25 or 1/4 inch instead of the normal 1/2 or .5 inch default. This makes for cleaner indents on each new paragraph. Also it saves five full character spaces per paragraph in most cases and that may not seem like a lot but when your document has over 8,000 paragraphs it makes a big difference. While you want enough pages to meet the printer's requirements, higher page counts increase book printing costs and lower your final profit per unit purchased. There's a fine line between enough pages and printing costs.
Cover Art: This one is tough. There several ways to approach it. 1: If you have a talent for art you may generate your own cover art. 2: Search the internet for "PUBLIC DOMAIN," art. Download it and use your own art programs such as Adobe Studio or Corel Paintshop Pro to create your own cover art including text and graphic layout. 3: There are sites where, "royalty free art," can be purchased in whole or in parts. Some of these are expensive while others are very reasonable.
Format cover pages to twice your book size in your art program, for example many of my books are 5" wide by 8" high which is an industry standard . That means I have two pages 5" wide or a total cover area of 10" wide by 8" remember to keep in mind the binding so word counts of 80,000 words and more have bigger bindings and need as much as an extra inch of cover art space. Lay your grapahics on the space prepared remembering the front cover will always be on the right half of your area while the back cover will occupy the left area of your cover. This is because the art wraps around the book on the left edge and that means your front cover encompasses the first half of the image.
I will include a complete cover I constructed for you to see and understand after this segment.
If your books is thick enough you can also mount your name and the book title on the binding which is always nice. Be advised that short books don't often allow for binder title/names due to print area. If you don't find public domain art that you can use I suggest seeking out newer artists, it's simple enough to search art websites and ask them what rate they charge for artwork for your cover. I recently was fortunate when I used an artist's artwork, specifically a male model animation style and put a different background on it. At first I unable to trace where I captured the art from but I found him by pure luck. We made contact and he was glad to sell me printing rights for my novel. That was doubly good since the proof (or not ready to go to print) cover was a lot more popular than the "Public Domain," image I did for the originally planned final cover. But remember you must seek permission, in writing, from an artist before using their artwork for your cover unless the art, image, picture or graphic is, PUBLIC DOMAIN. In some cases you may receive permission to use artwork royalty free with the condition you site sources. This must either or both, be displayed on the front cover or somewhere in the copyright page information.
Completed 5"x8" cover back(left)/front(right)
Promoting Your Work
Recently I connected with an old friend I've know for over thirty years. She's one of the key persons who run Mile-Hi Con. This convention is a literary convention that's emphasis is on promoting writers, writer's workshops, and literary fans. She told me about something called the Writer's Co-op. It's a table where a writer can sign up for at least one empty slot and possibly more to promote their works and future projects.
I'm pleased to announce I have solid plans to attend Mile-Hi Con, held in Colorado in the DTC, and use at least that one slot at the Writer's Co-op. I hope that I shall see some of the people who read this blog and/or others who have or do read my works.
This might not sound like a guide segment but what I'm doing is a practical demonstration of exactly what this segment is about. Do not be afraid to talk about your works to strangers, friends, or anyone who will listen. Once you have the copyright filed, get your work in print or at least available through digital media. Then talk about it, blog, facebook, tweet about it. Whatever method you use to communicate with your friends and strangers, promote your works, use it, as much and as often as you can.
Remember, just selling books isn't enough. Remind people a review is wonderful and increases the odds that others will give your works a read. Don't be afraid to encourage a friend or two to buy one of your works and leave a review. It helps you and gives them the opportunity to express their opinions of the title currently available.
Recently one of my publishing sources offered a new program to option new writers. Personally I'm thrilled as this site is willing to promote your works prior to publishing. This method does require reader's sample and "vote," for your work prior to being published. However if you get enough, "votes," the site gives you a legitimate publishing contract.
I won't be using this service, only because if they option my work, which I believe would happen now that I'm getting sales overseas, as well in USA, they also get rights to the audio book version. The rub there is that I've been practicing audible-reader-craft with intention of recording my works into audio form. I wouldn't mind if they carried my performances but I want to at least give my books the first attempt at a performance.
However, most of you who read this blog probably have no interest in reading your works aloud for recording and I urge you to consider options like this. I'm concerned that if I list the site promoting this option my blog might be temporarily rendered unavailable so if you have an interest in the program drop me some kind of indicator and we'll manage a method of direct communications so I might steer you in that direction. I am always willing to help out fellow writers. We're all valuable here and I hope to see your works out there soon.
Smiles and Waves, see you next time.
New titles in July
I went on a publishing binge and now have seven titles available digitally through Amazon-Kindle. Five of those were novella or novelette length and are also available at createspace.com
My titles in print are: "The Gamemaster," "The Guardian Mission," "Holiday Hero," "The Knowing," and "Blinfold."
My available, digital titles at Kindle are: "The Gamemaster," "Holiday Hero," "Xenocide," "The Guardian Mission," "The Knowing," "Escape Velocity," and "Blindfold."
I am currently working on three other titles. One has cover art and is in copy-edit. One is in copy edit and has both cover and internal art and the final is in copy-edit.
New Novelette: Holiday Hero
Just published yet another novelette this one is for ages 18 and above. You can find it with a search at Amazon.com or Createspace.com Honestly this was never a book I expected to publish but so many of my friends said it was such good writing and good narrative that I figured it was worth the effort. The work is titled, "Holiday Heroes" and is just over 25,000 words.
For those of you who are of age to give this piece a glance, I hope you check it out and find it enjoyable.
Cover Art for The Gamemaster
I found that I enjoy writing reviews of places I've visited. I began writing for TripAdvisor.com and got feedback from that site that I now have over 10,000 reads since my first review. I'd like to thank anyone and everyone who has read, and or left feedback at that site for my reviews.
I had no idea that people find my travel reviews so interesting. I write there under the name Patrick_W001 in case any of you might want to check out some of my reviews.
Thank you again to all my readers worldwide.
Evaluating my works
If you read this hub then I'm sure you may want to read some of my works to see who is teaching the choir. Please by all means take time to look for my works with your preferred search engines. I look forward to feedback from any readers of this hub.