2016-08-21

Publishing with CreateSpace

The print version of Dragonverse Origins is now available on Amazon. The pre-order period for the e-book ends on August 27 and the book will be live. Please help get this book off to a good start by placing your pre-order at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O.

If you want to see how to make a printed copy of your book, you can watch the entire process from beginning to end on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/2z0uYaaS6Ro. I took screen capture videos of the process while uploading Origins

I've also opened an ad account with Amazon and I will be monitoring the effectiveness of placing ads on Amazon. I want to thank Jake Kerr, science fiction author extraordinaire and fellow Launch Pad alumni for some tips on how to use Amazon promotions. I'll let you know how this pans out in a few weeks.

2016-08-14

Not Quite WYSIWYG

Yesterday, I uploaded Dragonverse Origins to CreateSpace so I could have a printed version. One of CreateSpace's cool features is the formatting check it does on your interior. I'm getting pretty good at doing the formatting right and so I was surprised when three errors were reported. Opening up the online previewer, I found that a blank page had been inserted after the copyright page. I assumed CreateSpace had done this. I tried again, and it was still there. I must have uploaded four versions until I went and looked at the PDF file I was uploading. The extra page wasn't coming from CreateSpace, it was coming from Word!

Looking at Word, I have my cover page, then the copyright page, and then chapter one. This puts chapter one on a right-facing page as you're supposed to do. But when I generated the PDF, Word inserted a blank page. Clicking on the pages and looking at the bottom of the screen, I noted that what looked on the screen to be page 3 was identified as page 4--so where was the missing page?

A quick search on the internet provided a clue but not an answer. If you set your document for mirrored margins, Word will insist on starting page 1 on an odd numbered printed page. If you format your book correctly, your first chapter will be separated from all the front matter by a section break and you will tell Word to start counting pages there at page 1. This is pretty cool as it leads one to believe that Word will do some of the formatting for you. Unfortunately, in my case, Word was putting page 1 on an even page--not odd. No matter what I did, chapter one was starting on a left-facing page.

The solution, after almost two hours of frustrating trial and error, was to open up the page formatting option window, tell Word to apply to the entire document, de-select mirror margins, and then apply. Then, go back and do it all over again only this time ensuring your margins are correct and mirror margins are turned back on. Apply to the entire document and the blank page magically vanished even though the setting I ended up with are the same as what I started with.

I did make a series of video clips of the entire CreateSpace process and I will be taking some time to stitch them together into an informative video that I will be uploading to YouTube in the near future. I'll let you know when it's done.

During our writer's group meeting yesterday, I mentioned the severe drop in sales. One of the writers suggested it might have been caused by the roll-out of the new Harry Potter book. Although I have my doubts, I have noticed a small increase in sales since the book's release but the numbers have not recovered much. I will continue to monitor this situation.

Finally, please don't forget about doing some verbal promoting of Dragonverse Origins. If you like dragons as well as a light sprinkling of science fiction then you will enjoy Origins. Please consider putting in your pre-order at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O

You can also see my book on the SFWA site. Here is the link: http://www.sfwa.org/featured-books/

Pass the word and help Dragonverse Origins get a good start with as many pre-orders as possible.

Have a great day!

2016-08-07

Backups

I got to thinking the other day about my current backup strategy. I use DropBox for all of my writing-related storage and backups are automatically taken care of. I use CrashPlan to back up my 2.8 Terrabytes of data. This costs $150.00 a year. Not bad considering. But, I also pay $100.00 a year for Microsoft Office. This comes with 1TB of online storage via OneDrive. The vast majority of my backup data is movies. Microsoft also allows you to create an account for a family member who will also get 1TB of storage. To save some money, I decided to drop CrashPlan.

I purchased a portable 2TB hard drive and made a copy of all my movies. This drive is now sitting securely in my bank's safe deposit box. Why not in my firebox in the house? Because it's too close. I want off-premise backups. I've been moving everything else to the OneDrive location and allowing it to be automatically backed up to the cloud. My subscription to CrashPlan runs out on the 17th. I should have everything moved to OneDrive and backed up by then.

Why pay for online backup when you really don't need it? Another cool thing about using OneDrive is I can quickly access it from my smart phone as well as anywhere on the internet. I was worried about using a 1TB account and having the automatic synchronization fill up the hard drive on my laptop but you can selectively synchronize folders. This made things so much easier.

I spent the entire morning on Sunday installing and setting up a new router--one with advanced beaming technology to simultaneously talk to all of my devices. I did a lot of research on all the new routers and settled on an almost top-of-the line Linksys. Although NetGear gets top reviews, their customer support is about the worst I've ever heard of. Linksys has very good customer support and that's important to me. In fact, I was chatting with a technician for almost an hour this morning trying to get one of my XBox 360's (which I use as a Media Center Extender) working on wireless.

All this computer work has meant that I've not written a single word in Peacekeeper Pathogen. Sales have been very bad recently but I knew that might happen when I started on my professionalization project. I also decided to write Dragonverse Origins instead of another Peacekeeper even though the Galactic Alliance series is what sells. But I had a story I wanted to write and I wrote it. I hope to upload the CreateSpace version soon and as soon as it is ready I will early release Origins.

Origins is still available for pre-order at https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O Please pass this on to your friends. I promise to begin work on Peacekeeper Pathogen in the next few days.

2016-07-31

Impressions

Update
All final editing for Dragonverse Origins is complete. The formatting for CreateSpace (printed) version is also done. That means Dragonverse Origins is now 100% finished. The only remaining thing to do is to upload the final copy to Amazon as well as CreateSpace.

You can pre-order Origins at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O. Please consider making a pre-order. Please pass the word on to your friends who enjoy fantasy. Pre-orders help boost a new book’s ratings so it’s important to have as many as possible by the time the book is released. For less than the cost of a Starbuck’s latte, you will have an exciting book to hold your imagination for several days. When you think about the cost and how long the satisfaction lasts, buying a book is a far better deal!

I would like to thank my wife, Cheryl, for proofing my books. I know she does not really enjoy reading fantasy and dislikes science fiction even more. She did a great job of catching a lot of mistakes. I had a reader from Germany (Ekkehard Flessa) read the final version as well after I made the editorial fixes found by my wife. Ekkehard Flessa is a German engineer who is fluent in English. He seems to have a knack for finding issues in grammar and word usage. Since it never hurts to have a second editor look at the final product, I gave him a copy and asked him to point out every error he could find. He found more than I had expected. Those changes are now in place. Thank you!!!


Author profile
[WARNING—Some writers might not agree with me on this but this is my opinion.]

Not long after attending my first Launch Pad, I joined Twitter and specifically created a name that identified me as an author. I then followed my new author acquaintances so I could keep up with their activities, get posts on their blogs, etc. For a number of years Twitter was an enjoyable place for me. Recently, however, it has been filled with politics, news of violent attacks, and other such information. I rarely tweet anything other than writing-related news—here’s why.

An author is defined by what they make publicly available. This begins with their books. Properly edited, grammatically correct, and well-formatted books show readers you are serious about what you do. If a reader wants to learn more about a particular author, they will most likely head for that author’s web page. If it can’t be found, then the reader might look to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linked-In, or any of the other social media services out there. What they find on those sites will define that author as a person.

As a reader, I’m interested in an author’s writing career as well as a bit about their personal background. Since I’m a self-published author wanting to advance my own art of writing, I also hope to learn from other authors. What I don’t care to read is a slew of reposts, retweets, and links to everything that is wrong witht his world. If I wanted to hear about how corrupt politicians are or all the other wrongs that humans do to each other, I would turn on the news.

Luckily, there are apps available now that can filter out such garbage. They’re not 100% accurate, but ever since I’ve started filtering my tweets, Twitter is, one again, a happy place for me. The number of tweets has also dropped dramatically.

In my humble opinion, if you’re an author and you want to get involved in the political process, then you should create a second account so you can post such unrelated news on that account. If people are interested in that side of you, then they will follow both accounts.



2016-07-24

Copyrighting

Update
Dragonverse Origins is done! If you’ve been waiting for it, you can pre-order it at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O. Please consider making a pre-order. Please pass the word on to your friends who enjoy fantasy. Pre-orders help boost a new book’s ratings so it’s important to have as many as possible by the time the book is released. For less than the cost of a Starbuck’s latte, you will have an exciting book to hold your imagination for several days. When you think about the cost and how long the satisfaction lasts, buying a book is a far better deal!

Copyrighting
One of the first things I did after finishing Dragonverse Origins was to log on to the government’s U.S. copyright office page at http://www.copyright.gov/ and register my novel. The entire process, including uploading the Word version of the novel, took less than 15 minutes. The cost is $35.00 and I consider it well worth the money to have peace of mind that my novel is copyrighted. Some out there might argue against doing this because the odds are against someone stealing your work. If someone did, and you found out about it, you would have to take that person to court. That takes money, and writers are not known to be rolling in money.

But there is another good reason to copyright your work. It’s proof that you wrote something. It shows you're an author. It gives you the peace of mind that nobody else can legally profit from your work unless you give them permission. True, you do not have to spend the $35.00 to have your work copyrighted—it’s automatic. Copyrighting your work though gives you added protection. If you need to take someone to court, the government will be on your side because you have a registration number with the copyright office. If you didn’t spend the money, you’re on your own and the burden of proof lies on you.

It doesn’t cost much to do it and it doesn’t take up much of your time.

While I’m on the subject of money, I should mention that the total out-of-pocket expenses for Dragonverse Origins amounted to a grand total of $115 ($35 for copyright and $80 for the cover art). To recover the cost, I will have to sell 48 copies at the current price of $3.50. The Dragonverse series is not my biggest seller and I might not sell 48 copies. So again, I’m asking you to please let your friends know.

I have some final editing to do so both the Kindle and the CreateSpace versions can be made available by the planned release date of August 27. Time to get back to work.