Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Preparing my ms for createspace

I confess. It takes longer for me to absorb new things than it used to and yep, I had quite a learning curve in trying to get my ms ready for publishing with createspace. You'd think it would be pretty easy all things considered but ... I found the most difficult part was embedding my fonts. My programs kept saying they were embedded while the createspace reviewer claimed they weren't.

So here's the steps I took after opening my account and the steps you'll want to take if you're using word:

1.  I chose the 5 x 8 size as this size to me looks best and is easiest to hold. But that's just my opinion. So the first order of business was to go to page layout and select page size. Make sure to click "for whole manuscript"
2.  I then had to choose margins. So yeah, that was a bit of trial and error. They assume in their discussion that folks will understand it all. Basically, they need at least .25 margins for top bottom and sides but they want a .75 margin for the inside fold. That said, I made my margins .4 all around. The gutter was then set at .35 because when you add .35 with .4 you get .75. Click "mirror" margins and you're good to go.
3. For the header - click different for odd and even. On one page put your author name and the other page, your title. Use center alignment and choose a gray font color. There is also a place where you can put in how far the header is to the top of page. Even though you set your margins, you'll need to set these as well. They seem to work independent of each other.
4. You can also set your page numbers and again, set the margin for their placement as well.
5.  Scroll through and look for any blank pages and delete those you find. Also look for inconsistencies in where your chapter name falls on each page.
6.  So here's where embedding fonts gets tricky - well, at least for me. You can embed them when you save your word doc. If you click on the file button, you'll see "word options" on lower right. Click that. Now click on "save" and at the bottom of that menu you'll see a box that says "embed fonts."  This won't work for all fonts, FYI.
7. At this point I had two options for making the pdf. Createspace wanted PDF/x which meant I had to use Adobe Acrobat Pro as word didn't have that option. I found how I could check to make sure the fonts were embedded and uploaded and of course, Createspace says my fonts aren't embedded. Ugh. I uploaded until I finally gave up and let them do the embedding.
8.  I used adobe photoshop and indesign to make my cover and ....

On Friday, I should be getting a proof of Texas Forged in the mail. I already have a digital version but I wanted to see the physical version first before I gave it my blessing. Whoop!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Continuation from western challenge - a story

As reported in an earlier post, I like to hang out at the western forum at Amazon. One of our members likes to issue writing challenges where we have to include a list of words she's given us. I missed the challenge in February so this example includes February's words along with those she just issued. My story is a continuation from December and January.

Since this is a writing exercize, it's unedited. Also, there isn't a lot of extra flavor that a more fleshed out story might have but I'm thinking this just might be a good beginning to another novel. Time will tell. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy.

But before you read the contination to the story, you might want to refresh your memory to the beginning of the story. You can find it here.

Here's the list of new words?  From February:  Fort, Colt, Widow, Buggy, Love
From March:  Ranch foreman, August, Arizona, Scar, Coffee

A knock summoned her to the front door again. He continued to stare at the painting until raised voices averted his attention. Backtracking through the parlor, he rounded the corner and stood just behind Tuesday.
“I came for an answer and I mean to have it today.” A gruff man who looked old enough to be Tuesday’s father and mean enough to pose a threat to any who stood in his way pointed a gnarled finger in her face. At least the finger wasn’t attached to the Colt he had holstered at his hip. “I even rented a damn buggy to see you properly escorted to town for our wedding tomorrow.”
“I done told you already, I got me another fiancĂ© so I’m not free to marry you, Mr. Love.” She tossed a glance at Cheyenne as he tried to back away from the scene. Unfortunately, he hadn’t made his escape in time. She reached back behind her and grabbed his hand, yanking him to stand beside her. “Meet Mr. Meeks. It’s him I plan to wed on a fine August day.”
“I thought you were funnin’ me.” Mr. Love puffed out like a bloated hog. “Your daddy and me had an understanding.”
“Exactly. Your understanding was with my pappy and now he’s dead. I, on the other hand, made no such agreement with you. Now then, if you want to attend my wedding as a guest and not the groom, meet us at the church tomorrow.”
“I’ll meet you in court first, young lady.” He jammed on his hat and stalked to his rented buggy. “You can expect a visit from the sheriff this very afternoon.”
A cloud of dry dust followed the conveyance’s hurried exit and Cheyenne wondered anew just what he’d gotten involved in. A woman wanting a hurried wedding did so for several reasons; she needed a father for an unexpected baby, a groom to satisfy some sort of stipulation in a will, or maybe a rich husband to save the family homestead. He couldn’t picture any of these reasons forcing the spitfire before him to marry a complete stranger.
Cheyenne leaned against the flowery papered wall and folded his arms across his chest. “Think it might be best we got down to why you need to wed.”
“It’s not what you think.”
“It’s not because you’re trying to weasel out of another offer, is it?”
“Partially but no.” She heaved a sigh and marched past him to the parlor once more. Curiosity made him follow.
“Sit,” she ordered and took a seat opposite him when he did as directed. “I believe in plain speak. I got myself in a fix and yes, I need you to bail me out.”
“I’m listening.”
“Well, that’s right kind of you.” She nervously twirled a finger about a stained doily resting crooked on the arm of the chair. “I got saddled with a farm, two kids, and a mortgage. I can handle the responsibility. I love them kids like they was my own, but I reckon I need a man willin’ to take on the same responsibility. See – he’ll be a widower within the year. I had more faith in God choosing me a fine specimen than my father. Clarence Love just won’t do. You, however, will do right nicely I think.”
“Back up. What do you mean I’ll be a widower?”
“Never you mind the particulars. I’ve made my peace with the good Lord, but now you can see why I need a husband. I checked up on all the applicants as best I could and deemed you the worthiest of the lot.”
“My lucky day.” How in the hell had he landed on this prime cattle land with a readymade family and debts to be paid? He’d have been better served to follow his brother, Cherokee, to Arizona where a job awaited him as a ranch foreman. Instead, he’d had a hankering to settle in Texas. While he couldn’t deny wanting the land, the little ones were another matter. As for the debt, the land could probably pay for itself with the right management. But even as these thoughts formed, he felt lower than a grub burrowing under a root. How could he benefit from another’s death and live with his conscience?
Her features softened. “I know I ain’t much of a catch. Truth is, I never learnt how to be a lady like my sister, Beth. I’d sure be right proud if’n you accept my offer.”
He studied the scarred coffee table, the mismatched chairs and the cracked globe on the lantern. “I think I’m ready to be shown a room now. After a bit of rest and some grub, we’ll discuss the upcoming nuptials.” If ever a family needed help, it was this one. And darn if he wasn’t about to marry Tuesday Henshaw.  It was, after all, the chivalrous thing to do.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Info on Amazon's Fr33bies

And yes, I'm still listing a free book at the end. LOL

So, I did a little more researching and basically, Amazon was losing money with the model the way they had it. The larger websites that offered a listing of free books earned money when folks also bought items within 24 hours of customers downloading a free book. They got a percentage of the profit made.

Amazon has this on their website:

“Associates who we determine are promoting primarily free Kindle eBooks and meet both conditions below for a given month will not be eligible for any advertising fees for that month within the Amazon Associates Program. This change will not affect advertising fees earned prior to March 1, 2013.
1. At least 80% of all Kindle eBooks ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links are free Kindle eBooks
2. 20,000 or more free Kindle eBooks are ordered and downloaded during Sessions attributed to your Special Links.”

It will definitely affect the larger websites who list freebies. I loved browsing through EreaderIQ.

However, I did find a new-to-me site that lists free books in a way that's even easier to navigate than EreaderIQ. The only problem is it's not as well known. I'm sure there are others as well. All I do know is that trying to do a direct search on Amazon yields a list that's not user friendly.

And yes, I do expect that this new change will make it harder for folks to find the Indies. I'm fortunate that I began my publishing career in 2006 with a small press out of Canada. All but my historical western romances are published through Champagne Books. And while it's been tough to find creative ways to get the word out about my books, I've managed to build a small fan base. I can't even imagine beginning a career today. With so many writers wanting to make their mark, you have to shout pretty loud to be heard.

So - here's a new place to try for finding your free ebooks and discovering new authors. Free Amazon Kindle Books

And yep, Eliza's Copper Penny is still free today and tomorrow.

Amazon's new policy likely to affect sales for Indies

Please note, I'm offering a FREE book at the end of this article.

Amazon has a program that most Indies take advantage of to help boost sales. If an author enrolls their book in the kdp select program, the book becomes available to prime members to borrow for free. In turn, the author will make a small amount from money Amazon has set aside. Alas, the author splits this money with all the other authors signed up and it all depends on how many books are borrowed.

But - by doing this, the author has 5 days they can use to offer their book free to the rest of the reading public. Before March 1, there were websites that listed these free books and made it easy for readers to find these new authors. I believe websites that offered this service made money when readers also bought products using product links on their sites. Offering the book for free and having it listed for folks to find really helped readers connect with an Indie or self-pubbed author. It helped get Texas Forged out there for folks to find.

However, as of March 1, Amazon no longer allows these websites to list the free books. If you do a search for "free" books through Amazon's search engine, you get the books that have never been offered at a price other than free. And there is no way to search for books by the date they were offered for free. You have to click through each page until you get to the end of 68+ pages worth of free and not all of these are free.

Granted, an author who wants to make writing a career should find creative ways to promote in order to let the reading public know the book is out there. But let's get real, there are way too many self-published authors to count. And then there are the smaller publishing houses. Most of those have been able to make their "mark" on the reading public and are in a better position to compete with what used to be known as the Big Six (though it's now twindled down to the Big Five).

So - there are two rules of thumb. Either give away work in hopes of snagging a new fan or never give away your work as it has the potential to diminish its worth. Me, I write because I have to and I publish because I might as well. I want folks to get the same enjoyment out of reading my stories as I get from writing them. With that in mind, I want my work to matter. I want it in the hands of as many readers as possible.

That said, today, tomorrow and Friday, I'm offering Eliza's Copper Penny for free through Amazon. I'm hopeful folks will be able to find it as Amazon isn't making it easy to find.

And because they have made it hard for folks to find my books, once my term is up with the select program, I won't be participating any longer in the program. On a brighter note, I'll be able to place my five self pubbed westerns at other places and that's a good thing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Kaitlin's Silver Lining

So I finally got the last in the series finished and uploaded to Amazon. And I'm rather pleased with this cover. I think this summer I might have to redo two of my covers but for now, at least the books are all available.

Kaitlin's Silver Lining features one of Julia's brothers. Julia makes an appearance in Sarah's Brass Token and is the heroine of Julia's Golden Eagle.


Kaitlin Kanatzer receives threatening letters that promise dire consequences if she doesn’t stop her suffragist activities. Bent on solving problems on her own without interference, she blocks every attempt Bryce makes to help her. Can she abandon her convictions and open her heart to love?

Bryce Stanton is at his wits end in dealing with his new responsibility. When he becomes guardian to an eleven-year-old hoyden, he seeks help from the girl’s aunt Kaitlin, never realizing the danger he must confront. Through many trials, he discovers more than a desirable woman; he discovers his equal.