Master Cat Poll And Thank You Gift

August 13th, 2014

I’m so excited. Master Cat is nearly ready to be released (scheduled for October). To celebrate I’d love some help choosing a cover design. As a thank you for your vote, download the first chapter from the upcoming release, Master Cat, FREE! (scroll down to download)

In case you’re unfamiliar with the book’s concept, here is the back cover blurb: Toby, a magical talking cat, has cut ties with the Office of Kingdom Guardianship, intent on finding his long-lost father and avenging his mother’s murder. He thought he left everyone behind, but someone from his past is stalking him. Now he must avoid this strange new menace while he seeks the truth about his family’s dark history, a history that threatens to unravel his sanity and cause the rest of the world to descend into madness. Can Toby reconcile himself with the past or will his inner turmoil allow his enemy to plunge humanity into chaos once and for all?

Here are the three covers to choose from. I need your help because I just can’t decide which one I like better. Here are the choices (scroll down to vote):

Master-Cat-Cover-mockup Cover #1 Master-Cat-Cover-mockup2 Cover #2 Master-Cat-mockup3 Cover #3

The poll is now closed. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to find out which is the winning cover. Mass audience cover reveal will be Sept. 24, 2014.

***

Catch up on the adventure with other books in the Malkin series.

Apprentice Cat CoverApprentice Cat available in paperback and for KindleNookKoboScribd and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Also available as an audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

 

Journeyman-Cat15percentJourneyman Cat available in paperback and KindleNookScribdiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

Audiobook coming soon.

 

 

Secrets-of-the-Malkin-sidebar-newsletterSecrets of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

 

 

 

Huntress of the MalkinHuntress of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookKobo and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Upon Review: The Participants by Brian Blose

October 31st, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

The Participants by Brian Blose

Four Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

Zack Vernon is an immortal Observer sent to watch the world on behalf of the Creator. When his suicide attempt fails spectacularly and earns him a spot on the national news, the other Observers are drawn to him.

They believe Zack to be the reincarnation of a rebellious Observer from a previous world. Several of them plan to punish him for the sins they believe he committed. One of them wants back the man she has loved through hundreds of worlds. But Zack remembers nothing before the present. All he wants is a chance to end his life.

The Good…

This story kept me turning pages, wanting to solve the mystery of the Observers and how they were different from the Participants. Each new chapter either dangled yet another piece of the puzzle in front of me or asked yet another question I wanted to know the answer to. This was perfect for someone like me who enjoys working out the whys and wherefores of an enigma.

The characters are well-developed and distinctive. Some, like Eric, actually scared me. Others, like Lacey, made me want to slap them until they acquired some sense. The tension and fear in Zach felt real and kept me rooting for him through the entire story.

I also enjoyed the twist at the end. It’s rare that an author can surprise me. Either I’ve figured it out long before the end or the twist comes off like a gimmick, but that is not the case in The Participants.

The Not-so-good…

I only have two complaints. The first is that the story is too short. I enjoyed reading it so much and invested so much energy into the characters that, by the end of the book, I was ready to find out what would happen in the next incarnation — or if there would even be a next one. Along with that was the disappointment that there isn’t a book 2. I would have loved it if either the story was longer or there was at least the promise of another book.

My second complaint is that there was more foul language and brutality than I am personally comfortable with. While I understand that serial killers are more likely to curse and their very nature necessitates brutality, I don’t have to enjoy it. I prefer torture and murder to happen off stage.

As for the cursing, it wasn’t just the serial killer. There were at least two others who swore more than I thought was necessary. Had the characters been in some kind of gang or had some other reason for speaking in such low terms, then I might have been able to overlook it.

The Overall…

I highly recommend The Participants by Brian Blose to anyone who enjoys a good puzzle with a plot twist, but beware that there is plenty of onstage brutality and swearing.

Upon Review: Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

September 4th, 2013

I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book CrashBook Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.

Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:

  • One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
  • Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
  • Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
  • Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
  • Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy

Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!

 

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith

Five Cup

 

 

 Here is the description that caught my attention:

In a future where growing your own food is against the law, three young friends risk their safety by studying the illegal subject of gardening. The children’s mentor, an elderly acquaintance named Ana, entices the children with her description of the food she knew as a child–food unlike the square, processed, packaged food they have always known. Constantly watching, however, is GRIM, the government agency that controls the nation’s food source and keeps in check all potential troublemakers. 

When Clare and Dante return home one day to find their tomato plant seized, and their mother jailed, they bolt, leaving behind Lily and Ana. Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom?  And can they, only children, help change the world?

The Good…

This was very fast read. In fact, I finished it in one afternoon, which, imho, means this would be the perfect length for younger readers. I also loved that the kids in the story weren’t dumbed down, but neither were they “gritty.” The use of scripture in the story was spare enough to feel necessary, yet used often enough to mark the book as Christian. Along with that is level of teaching. I feel that any young person who picks this book up will naturally pick up on the wonder of growing food.

The Not-so-good…

While the level of teaching is high in this book, there were a few places where the story was bogged down by information overload. However, those were few and did not make me want to put the book down and walk away.

The Overall…

Seed Savers: Treasure by S. Smith was a wonderful read that I plan to share with my science-loving, question-asking daughter and would highly recommend to other parents.

A Basket of Summer Reads

July 23rd, 2013

Readers Rewards - centered - small

 

Get 10 free ebooks from 10 fabulous authors.
Sign up for my monthly newsletter to find out how.

Deal ends Aug. 15, 2013.

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How to Write All the Way to the End of Your Book: Guest Post by Ali Luke

May 5th, 2012

I’m always thrilled when an author emails me asking to guest post, especially when it’s part of a blog tour. Today’s post comes courtesy of Ali Luke whose new book Lycopolis is a supernatural thriller / contemporary fantasy novel. Ali’s blog, Aliventures, is chock full of great writing advice, so be sure to stop by there and add it to your subscriptions.

Without further ado, here’s Ali:

How to Write All the Way to the End of Your Book

Ali Luke, Lycopolis blog tourAs a working writer, I come across a lot of people who want to write a book (fiction or non-fiction) or who’ve been working on a book for months or years. But most of them have never reached those magic words “The End” … and they’re afraid they never will.

A whole book isn’t a light undertaking. It takes many hours of work – and that work may be mentally, emotionally and even spiritually taxing. And there’s no guarantee of fame and fortune once you reach The End.

Yet I believe that if you have the desire to write – if there’s a book idea that’s been nagging at you, or if you know you have a way with words – then the journey is worthwhile.

Here are some simple ways to make sure you do reach The End, instead of stalling part-way.

Pace Yourself and Build Your Writing Muscles

A book (or any other long project) isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. If you set off at break-neck speed, you’re going to run out of energy before you get more than a few chapters in.

Your writing stamina is a bit like a muscle: if you’ve not written for a while, you might only manage 200 or 300 words every few days, but once you get into your stride, you could find yourself writing 1,000 words on a daily (or near-daily) basis.

Some writers like to work for a set period of time; say, 30 minutes or an hour. Others prefer to aim for a target word count. It’s up to you which you use – but over time, aim to gradually increase your writing stamina.

Create a Plan and a Schedule

Whatever type of book you’re working on, a plan and a schedule will help you get from start to end.

Your plan details what goes into your book. For non-fiction, most authors like to start off with a full chapter outline (though you could also work from a mindmap, or index cards). For a novel, it’s often enough to have a good grasp on your main characters and key plot points.

Your schedule helps you stay on track. As well as setting milestones for your book (e.g. “reach the end of chapter 10 before our vacation”), you’ll want to put writing sessions into your diary or calendar. When you plan ahead, it’s much easier to find opportunities to work on your book – whereas if you wait for a few hours of free time to appear from nowhere, you’ll probably be waiting for a long time…

Record Any Nice Feedback

If you’re putting your writing out into the world, perhaps on a blog, or in ebook form, then there’s a good chance that you’ll receive some feedback. Any time you get an email, blog comment, Tweet, Facebook message, etc that makes you feel good about your writing, record it somewhere safe.

One of the hardest things as a writer is to keep your faith in yourself and your work when it feels like no-one’s reading. By reminding yourself regularly of the people who are reading – and who value what you write – you’ll find it easier to keep going.

Keep Track of Your Progress

When you’re working on a whole book (or a whole writing career), progress can feel painfully slow. It’s easy to get discouraged, and to wonder whether you’re really getting anywhere at all.

For the past four years, I’ve been keeping an achievements book. Every month, I write down new accomplishments: milestones reached, new activities tried. When I look back now, I can track my progress as a novelist: in November 2008, I began on the very first draft of my novel Lycopolis, and in November 2011, I published the ebook version.

Your progress on your book doesn’t just mean words written. It’s progress to finally tackle a tricky chapter or scene; it’s progress to show an excerpt to your critique group for the first time. You might want to spend some time each week praying, journaling or reflecting about what’s been going well with your writing.

Don’t Burn Out

Finally … it’s okay to take a break from your book. You don’t have to write every single day, or even every single week. If you need to, take some time off (but give yourself a firm date for getting back into it – don’t let a week off become six months of no writing at all).

It’s easy to feel impatient, especially in today’s world where technology means that you know you can get from a finished manuscript to a published book in just a few days. But by taking the time that you need, you value yourself and your work. You deserve to enjoy the journey … and your book deserves to be as good as you can make it.

Whatever you’re working on – whether it’s a book, a blog, or something else entirely – I wish you the very best of luck. I’d love to hear your tips for staying motivated and keeping going during a big project, too: you can leave a comment below.

Bio: Ali Luke is currently on a virtual book tour for her novel Lycopolis, a fast-paced supernatural thriller centered on a group of online roleplayers who summon a demon into their game … and into the world. Described by readers as “a fast and furious, addictive piece of escapism” and “absolutely gripping”, Lycopolis is available in print and e-book form. Find out more at www.lycopolis.co.uk.

New Simply Prayer Ebook Cover Revealed

April 4th, 2012

I want to thank everyone for helping me choose the new ebook cover for Simply Prayer. I’m so excited to show it off, so without further ado… the winner is:

Simply Prayer ebook

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, then you know I think is a very important part of our lives. Yet it is often the one area that we neglect. Sometimes it’s because we don’t consider it very important — until we’re in crisis. Most often, though, I find people procrastinate in their prayer life because they think its more complicated or difficult that it really is. If this is you, then read on.

It’s my intention (and my fervent prayer) that this book will help anyone who wants a closer relationship with God to find a deeper, simpler method of prayer. Prayer is the best way to learn about what God has planned for our lives and to communicate our needs to our loving Parent.

Please enjoy this excerpt from the Simply Prayer:

The Heart of Prayer

To find the heart of prayer, we have to go to someone who not only taught about prayer, but lived a prayerful life.

For Christians, the authority on how to live a prayerful life is Jesus. He taught his disciples to pray by example, as well as giving them a solid template of words to build on called The Lord’s Prayer.

One of the best examples of what prayer can look like is Jesus’s prayer at Gethsemane:

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch with me.”

He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.”

He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What, couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray, that you don’t enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cup can’t pass away from me unless I drink it, your desire be done.” He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time, saying the same words. — Matthew 26:36-44 (World English Bible)

Jesus’s prayer is not only beautiful in its emotional depth, but also in its simplicity. Here we see God’s Son in deep spiritual communion with God the Father, his “Dada.” Jesus shows his pain to God and asks for what he most desires at that moment in very simple language, something we often have a problem doing.

For some of us, it’s not the language that’s a barrier, it’s the sharing. I grew up believing I had to be tough. I thought any mention of pain, be it physical or emotional, was a sign of weakness. Emotions were only acceptable if they were mild, as in being mildly amused or slightly irritated. Anger was taboo and anger at God was blasphemy.

Somewhere along the line, though, God reached into my heart and showed me what Jesus demonstrates in his prayer at Gethsemane. Because God made us, he understands how we feel. He expects us to show our emotions, especially when we pray. To keep them to ourself is to keep God at arm’s length. When we do that we make prayer into just a petition again instead of the communion God desires.

***

There are a lot of ideas and examples on simple ways to pray in my book Simply Prayer, available in print, for KindleNook and audio book.

Ebook Buyers: Can You Afford To Lose Them?

January 29th, 2012

ereader photoI recently read a guest post by Chris Keys, author of The Fishing Trip – A Ghost Story and Reprisal!: The Eagle Rises!, about the difficulties of selling self-published books.  According to Chris, he’s only sold about a dozen books.  It seems typical of independent authors, but here’s the catch: I looked for Chris’ book The Fishing Trip – A Ghost Story on Amazon and found that he only had it in print. (Update: Chris has now jumped on board and has his books in multiple formats, as well as taking advantage of the Kindle Unlimited program)

What really bothers me about this is that he used CreateSpace to publish his book.  I would think putting out a Kindle edition as well as a print edition would have been a no brainer.  It’s really too bad Chris didn’t go with both because I was poised to purchase an eBook edition, provided the price was right, on the spot.  I wishlisted the book, but that doesn’t mean I’ll remember to go back and buy it later.

I’m left wondering how many indie author sales are lost because of this kind of shortsightedness.  Between earning higher profits on lower prices and the immediate delivery (aka immediate gratification) of eBooks, how can anyone afford not to publish in electronic format?  That’s especially true now that epublishing is free on major bookseller sites like Barnes & Noble and Amazon and through 3rd party distributors like Draft2Digital and BookBaby.

I suppose many authors cringe at the idea of formatting their manuscript into eBook format. It’s not as difficult as you might think, though it does take some time. There are numerous articles on the web on how to do this, including “How to Format Ebooks” by Jamie Wilson and “Smashwords Style Guide” by Mark Coker. If you use Adobe InDesign, check out EPUB Straight to the Point by Elizabeth Castro. For basics on Kindle formatting browse Joshua Tallent’s Kindle Formatting web site.

If you still don’t want to try formatting your own book (or find you just can’t wrap your mind around it) then find someone who can. Indie Author April L. Hamilton of Publetariat warns us of taking the cheap route and simply converting a manuscript rather than having it formatted properly. It’s better to spend a little money on putting out a great book, than lose readers due to poor formatting.

Formatting is different from conversion in that formatting standardizes the manuscript and creates any companion files needed for the eBook while conversion is simply loading the work into a program and clicking a button. Conversion is easy. Formatting takes more time and effort.

Regardless of whether you choose to do it yourself or have someone else do it for you, if you want to get your book into the hands of more readers, don’t neglect the eBook format.

How important are multiple formats, especially ebooks, to you?

Photo by The Daring Librarian

4 Steps To Keep Your Original Files Safe When Creating An Ebook In IDCS4

December 18th, 2011

When the proof of my second book, Simply Prayer, finally arrived in the mail I had to beg my husband to read through it just to make sure the errors I found needed to be fixed or if I was just being a perfectionist. Usually I would have simply buckled down, fixed the errors and ordered another proof. However, I ran into a snag with the digital files — which is the point of this post.

If you use InDesign CS4 you probably know about the book feature where several separate files can be compiled into a single book. It’s a great tool that keeps file size down and makes it simpler to print a single chapter.

The downside, as I discovered after sending my .pdf to CreateSpace, is transferring all those files into an ebook. You can’t simply re-save the book with a new name and expect the chapter files to save themselves as new files too. You’ll have a newly named book using the original chapter files instead.

What that means is that any re-formatting you do to your chapters will be saved over the original files. For instance, I wanted to include the pictures from the print edition in the ebook edition, but I wanted them to be seen just before the section titles. To do that I followed Elizabeth Castro’s instructions from EPUB Straight to the Point and pasted them directly into the text box. It looks great in the epub, but when I went back to check something in the original book file (after making those changes to two entire chapters!) I discovered that change was there as well. Not good.

If I had already approved the print edition and had no plans to ever release a second edition similar to the first, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Now, if I wanted to make any changes to the print edition, it will be a major headache. I’ll have to re-format the print files, getting them back to the original as close as I can, before I can correct those little things I didn’t like.

The good news, at least, is that I’ve learned a valuable lesson I can pass on to all of you.

  1. Save the original files in a single folder, including images and anything else contained in your print edition.
  2. Copy everything from that folder into a second folder strictly for epublishing and web content.
  3. Re-name everything in the second folder. I chose putting an “e” in front of each file name to make it easily identifiable.
  4. Open the new “eBook” in IDCS4, select all the old chapter files, click the remove button, then add the new “eChapters.”

It’s a little bit of work to create a second set of files in a new folder, but believe me when I say a little work now will save a lot of work later.

What other tips and tricks have you learned while putting your book together?

***

GFront-Cover-25-percentod promises to be with us through everything,
encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter.

Individuals and groups alike will find themselves
discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:

  • No Matter Who You Are…
  • No Matter How You Feel…
  • No Matter What People Do…
  • No Matter What Happens..
  • No Matter Where You Are…
  • No Matter How Little You Have…
  • No Matter What You’ve Done…
  • No Matter How Old You Are…

Trust God!
Paperback edition also available on Amazon.

Ebook version available for Kindle, InkteraNookKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

 

Vol1Cover25percent

Get six Bible based, inspirational messages by Virginia Ripple from the blog One Servant’s Heart all in one .zip file.

Messages include:

  • Called to Forgive Called to Serve
  • New Beginnings
  • No Fear In Love
  • The Boneyard
  • The Dirty Little Penny
  • The Hardest Commandment

Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Simply Prayer ebook

When we find ourselves stymied by what we think prayer should look like, it’s time to step back and think like a child. God loves each of us and wants to hear from us.

Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In this book you’ll discover the basics of:

  • What prayer is
  • Why we pray
  • How to pray
  • How to know your prayers are answered

From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals, it is all Simply Prayer.

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or in my CreateSpace store front.

Or Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Fear NotWhen life seems impossible to cope with, God reaches out to remind us of his promises for our lives. Journey through scripture to meet God in new and unexpected ways as you discover what it means to “Fear Not!”

Anyone can use Fear Not to meet God in new and unexpected ways.  Each of the eight sessions begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

The eight sessions are:

  • Session 1 … God is always with us
  • Session 2 … God is in control
  • Session 3 … God keeps his promises
  • Session 4 … God keeps us safe
  • Session 5 … God provides for us
  • Session 6 … God reveals himself to us
  • Session 7 … God gives us new life
  • Session 8 … God sends a Helper to us

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or …

 buy the .pdf version here

Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

A Writer’s Training Budget: 3 Ways to Get Free (Or Almost Free) Training

November 14th, 2011

Welcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

library photoI’ve blogged about using a training budget before, but sometimes you may find your budget is hovering around $0. What do you do then? Spend time trolling through other author’s blogs, especially those who offer eBooks (and other types of media) covering topics you’re interested in, and prowling over social media networks. There are three things to be gained from this.

  • Free information from the blog itself— Most blogs are free to read and easy to subscribe to by RSS or email. If you’re a savvy reader, you can pick up how-to info from author blogs whether the author is trying to teach their readers or not. Sometimes it’s obvious, like from Kristen Lamb’s blog in which she teaches on how to build a killer author platform using social media. Other times it’s a matter of noticing what the blogger is not saying. Same goes for other social media like Twitter and Facebook. Find authors you want to learn from and follow them. Read enough blogs, tweets, status updates, etc. and you’ll learn an astounding amount about whatever it is you’re interested in.
  • Discounts are there to be had — I’m one of those people who rarely buys anything as soon as I see it. I hate buyer’s remorse. That means I’ll wait around until the book or service I want goes on sale. For instance, I really wanted to by Darren Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog as soon as I saw it on his site. However, there were no excerpts to read to know exactly what was in the book and I wasn’t sure my budget would handle yet another bad buy. (FYI this eBook is one of the better training buys I’ve purchased in several months.)I waited to buy the eBook until I read a tweet that said a group called the SITS Girls were signing up women bloggers to take the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge and Darren was discounting the price of the eBook for all those who signed up. Jackpot! Not only could I get the eBook at a discounted price, but I would have a large group of women to work with. Waiting can be hard, but it’s worth it when you get what you want at a price you can afford.
  •  Sometimes a freebie is just a click away — Another author I truly admire is J.A. Konrath. He has found a way to make very good money on his eBooks through Amazon’s Kindle store, so, naturally, I follow his blog closely. He also has an eBook called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, which, like 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I really wanted. The price wasn’t bad, but, again, no excerpts. Then I discovered that Joe has made the eBook available for free on his website. (Thanks, Joe!) Voila! A little research and I had my eBook for free in a version I can read on any laptop, computer or eReader. That won’t be the case for every book or training series you might want, but it’s worth a little “foot work” to see if it’s out there (and not a pirated version!).

 

Finding what you need can take some time, but it’s worth it for good training.

Where have you discovered a great deal?

***

Catch up on the adventure with other books in the Malkin series.

Apprentice Cat CoverApprentice Cat available in paperback and for KindleNookKoboScribd and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Also available as an audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

 

Journeyman-Cat15percentJourneyman Cat available in paperback and KindleNookScribdiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

Audiobook coming soon.

 

 

Secrets-of-the-Malkin-sidebar-newsletterSecrets of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

 

 

 

Huntress of the MalkinHuntress of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookKobo and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

5 Self-Publishing Lessons From A Toddler’s Perspective

July 23rd, 2011

It’s amazing, being a mother of a toddler, how much this little girl has taught me in just the 2 1/2 years she’s been with us. What’s even more amazing is that many of those lessons can be applied to self-publishing.

Lesson #1: Anything worth doing takes time. My daughter has been a little slow in using “big people” words, until recently. In fact, up until she turned 1 1/2, she would refuse to say words we knew she knew how to say. I can only guess the reason behind it was she wanted to be sure she could say it right before putting it out there for everyone to hear. In self-publishing,  throwing our work out to the general public before we’ve refined it to its best is a very bad decision. It’s bad for sales, bad for our reputation and bad for other self-publishers’ reputations. If we think it’s worth publishing, then we need to take the time to do it well.

Lesson #2: Learn to have patience, with yourself and those around you. Tiny Tot, as we affectionately call her, can throw some of the best tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants when she wants it. However, she’s also learned that sometimes we just have to wait. We often hear her say “Patience!” as she reminds herself that it’ll be a short wait before she can have some ice cream or that toy she really wants. As a self-publisher, we want to make it all happen right now, but that’s not the way it works. It takes time to build a fan base, time to connect through social media. Everything takes time and that’s okay.

Lesson #3: Sometimes it helps to explain what you’re doing. Refilling a sippy cup of milk used to cause a melt-down. She was getting what she wanted, more milk, but she didn’t understand what had to happen to get it. Since we began explaining each step as we do it we’ve managed to avoid those tantrums. I’ve found gathering support for my self-publishing venture easier to gain when I explain exactly what it is I’m doing along the way.

Lesson #4: If you’re having a hard time making anything do what you want, take a nap (or at least a break). When my little girl starts throwing tantrums over the smallest things, like putting in a video instead of CD or vice versa, I know it’s time for some downtime be it a nap or just a drink and some quiet rocking time with Mama. I understand where she’s coming from because when I get tired and/or frustrated with a project I know it’s time for a break — or to go to bed when I’m burning the midnight oil. Coming back to a project refreshed means being able to look at it from other angles and maybe finding a solution I didn’t see before.

Lesson #5: You can do anything you set your mind to so long as you don’t believe you can’t. Tiny Tot has done some things I didn’t think she’d be able to. For example, at eleven months old she said her first complete sentence. She asked her Grandma, “Can I do that?”, meaning she wanted to help Grandma re-load the dishwasher. If her Grandma and one of her aunt’s hadn’t also heard her say it, I would have believed my mind was playing tricks on me. She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be able to do that, but she did it. Self-publishing can be like that. There are a lot of experts who say you can’t do better than break even by self-publishing; however there are people doing just that. In fact, it’s said that self-published fiction books (especially in eBook form) are the least likely to be purchased and yet Independent Authors like Joe Konrath are doing quite well. These people have been told they “can’t” do what they’re doing. They just don’t accept that they “can’t.”

I’m glad I’ve taken the time to get to know my little girl because she’s given me some wonderful tips. Listening to what my toddler teaches has made my life, and my self-publishing career, a richer experience.

What have you learned from your child(ren) — including the furry ones?

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If you’re interested in learning about prayer (what it is, why we do it, some ways to pray and how to know your prayer was answered), then check out my book Simply Prayer, available in print, for Kindle and NookAudio book version coming soon.