2014-11-16

Taking a Writing Break

I would like to remind everyone about my short Guide to Self Publishing that's available on my website. It provides a good kick-starter for getting started in the self-publishing business. If you are a writer and you haven't published your first book yet you should still read this little guide. What most people don't realize is that writing is a business. And as a business, you are entitled to certain tax deductions. Several members of my writers group did not realize this. One of them recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 which is used exclusively for writing. She did not know she could write that off as a business expense. You don't have to have a book published to be in the business of writing. All you need is a plan to publish and you can call yourself a business.

I am taking a break from writing for the next few months. I have tons of things that have been set aside while I was working on Peacekeeper 2 (which is now available from most retailers). Lee Dilkie and I will be corresponding, deciding on what my next project will be and bouncing overall plot ideas between us. I have a YA Medieval dragon story I'd love to sink my teeth into but there are other projects that could be just as fun. As with everything I do with my writing, I'm interested in what my readers say as well. Any ideas or requests?

I was having a hard time getting Peacekeeper to pass Smashwords test for ePub compliance. They use an ePub validation website set up by the International Digital Publishing Forum. It can be found at: http://validator.idpf.org/. After a book is submitted to Smashwords, the author can download the ePub version and run it through the validator. If it has no errors, you're good to go. No matter how closely I looked at Peacekeeper 2, it kept coming back with errors. Mark Coker's excellent book on how to properly format a book for electronic publishing (The Smashwords Style Guide) provides what he refers to as the "nuclear option". It's a way to strip all formatting from a document and start over. I did this and now Peacekeeper 2 has passed the validation check. So how did this happen?

I write using Scrivener. I used to do my last few editing passes in Libre Office because it would automatically return to where I was at when I last closed the document. Libre Office is not 100% compatible with Microsoft Word and so I would export to Word-97 format and then run through it one more time to get things formatted properly. I believe Libre Office introduced hidden formatting codes that are virtually impossible to locate and screw up Smashwords conversion routines. I was using a very old version of Microsoft Word (2003 to be exact). I am now using Microsoft Office 365 and this problem should hopefully never return again. I'm lucky in that the nuclear option takes me about 2 hours to complete. A more complex book would require far more time.

If you've seen the movie Interstellar, then you will enjoy reading Christian Ready's blog post on the science behind the movie. Christian is one of the regular Launch Pad instructors and his astronomy-centered blog is informative and enjoyable to read--I visit it regularly.