Writing Fever!

Hey there! Goodness this week has flown by and I have skipped a weeks worth of blogs. I would apologize for this lack of presence here, but I am too excited because I finally have that writing fever back in my veins. I have spent the past lunch breaks and even my 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon working on fine tuning the first 12 chapters of Alphaeus. I also keep trying to get those dang graphs to work in Createspace… I changed my Word doc to a PDF like Dan Harris suggested. I think that was probably what I needed, however, it was not uploading. By this I mean that Createspace started uploading it, it said “working” the loading bar with blue and white stripes moving across letting me know its doing the job. Then half an hour to 45 minutes later it was still “working.” I figured, ” okay tech difficulties, I’ll try again.” So I tried again. And again. And tonight I will try again. I will get this to work. Graphs will not be my undoing! I am good at graphs. I love graphs! They will be in the zombie book…. They wiiiiiiilllll.

Slight hysteria aside, I am extremely happy to be moving along with my work now 🙂

Now to figure out the delicate balance of work, blog, books, boyfriend, family, friends and if so lucky a little me time. (How do people do it??)

Also, happy valentines!

Createspace and the Non-Existent Graphs

Alright people, I need help. I have been working on my Zombie Guide and I decided to do a test upload in Createspace. I figured I could see, realistically, how many pages I am looking at thus far and see how my graphs turned out.

Well, when I uploaded the file none of my graphs were visible and I do not understand why.

Now, I’ve put up a question on the Createspace community board to see if anyone will direct me to the best guide or give me a step by step, so if I get any answers there I will make sure to supply them here as well.

Here was my process.

I created my graphs using Excel. Once they were how I liked them, I copy and pasted them to my MS Word main book document. I inserted them into the sections I wanted them to be viewed, breaking up the text in several chapters.

I was reading about several people using Photoshop or saving their graphs as .jpegs (and other various image document file types). I work using Gimp, which is basically the same as Photoshop, but free. I don’t suspect the program will make a difference as long as I can save it to the appropriate file type.

Others talked about how they did use Excel to create the graphs, but maybe I’m missing a step when I export them to my Word doc.

My next attempt will be to save the excel graph as an image file and then insert it in my Word document.

I will let you know how that turns out.

If anyone has any experience with graphs in their self-published works and can offer tips – I am completely open to ideas. 🙂

Business Plan, the Uncommon Sections

So my mission for Saturday was moved to Sunday. Yesterday I spent at Red Rock taking a hike through the mountains. It was fun. There was a man who set up a whole dinner up at the waterfall to propose to his girlfriend. He set up the whole thing, had a guy playing Part of Your World and Can You Feel the Love Tonight and other Disney inspired music on a cello. Very sweet, not particularly my style, but sweet indeed.

Anyways, today I have a few pictures of my business plans. Some are the old drafts but I thought it was important to show them. I think the important things to note are (though you may not be able to decipher them in the photos) the measurement of success, expected outcome, and resources. These are a few categories that are not as common as listing the task, the actions involved, and the date they are to be done so are therefore often overlooked. However, the are just as important.

In the measurement of success section, make sure to log how you find the particular action successful. An example maybe, if your task is to update your twitter with daily posts, you may find that the success is in the amount of followers increasing regularly. The more followers in the shorter amount of time equals a greater success.

The expected outcome section is similar to the measurement of success but not the same. In this area you will want to include what you want the finished task to produce, not taking into account exactly what makes it successful. For instance, if your task is to design a cover and your expected outcome is to have a cohesive, interesting design that will draw attention, then your measurement of success would be your audience having a positive reaction to the design.

Almost the same but not quite.

The last, often overlooked section of a business plan is the resources section. In this section you list the tools you will need for any particular task. Will you need the Internet, good sleep, specific programs, images, or other people? All of these things may seem obvious, but sometimes listing them just insures you do not forget to keep those tools at hand when you sit done to work.

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Also, I know these pictures are not great, sorry.

A Writers Business Plan

I have been bad. Well, not all bad. I have been rather successful at writing this blog 5 days a week. Though its not really too much work, it takes dedication and commitment. I may have missed some days here or there but so far I am proud that I’ve been sticking to writing each day. Now, where I have been bad is not continuing to write on my zombie book or my angel book, despite the available tools, and a genuine excitement (anxiousness) to get these published. Last year I started a business plan and I accomplished many things because of this plan. However, as time continued and holidays, family, excuse, excuse got in the way I neglected to update and keep up with that plan.

I am growing tired of these ideas being trapped in my head. So onward plan and outward with creativity.

I have a beautiful planner my dad got for me and I am ready to business plan it up. And get these books PUBLISHED!

Want to create a business plan for yourself? It’s a fantastic way to delve into the projects, and create realistic, achievable goals.

I plan on mapping out specific goals for the next 12 months. All sorts of goals, like finishing certain chapters, finalizing, editing, proofing, ( I have so many pages of written text that just needs to be typed its daunting, but I can, I think), and don’t forget market strategies (some are best before the book is published, others after), giveaways, tours and spotlights, etc. There is A TON involved with getting that book published and if your a self-publisher, God help us.

Truth be told self publishing is pretty easy (once you get the hang of it) but if you lack dedication, a realistic outlook, enthusiasm, or confidence, not to mention patience, you may see a lack of productivity.

A business plan helps. I had a plan created for each book, each broken down by different categories like marketing, writing, editing, etc. as well as a plan for this blog and other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Getting back on track with a solid, updated business plan will be the push I need to publish the proposed 2 (or even 3) books I have lined up for this year.

If you want any tips on business plans, I’m happy to give my thoughts.

Also, if anyone has something specific they would like to know more about regarding poetry or writing, I will make next weeks workshop dedicated to you 🙂

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The Importance of Being Edited

When I first started saying aloud that I wanted to self-publish, I received quite a bit of advice from others. One friend in particular, who has traveled the self-publishing path very successfully, was able to steer me in the directions I wanted to go. I was able to navigate the sites I wanted to use much easier with her advice. Among that advice she gave me was the edit, edit, edit rule. Which is basically edit your work yourself, have a friend edit or, and the best, hire an editor. I decided to edit myself. I know the importance of editing, I know how crucial it is to scan and re-scan writing for all the many errors that can be so easily overlooked. I based my reasoning for editing myself on the fact that my book was a collection of poetry, not a novel. I knew that if it were a novel I would hire an editor, but I did not realize how many mistakes I would overlook in poetry.

I have words like “th” or “thr” instead of “the” and “though” instead of “through” and every mistake further strips the readers confidence that I am a good writer. I knew that, but for some reason didn’t follow not only my friends advice, but my own rules as a writer as well. I think for the most part I edit my own work fairly well, so what went wrong?

Excitement. Anticipation. The readiness to publish and the unintended too brief scanning before clicking submit.

So, my advice, stifle your excitement of publishing (I know it’s hard) and thoroughly review your work, not just once, but several times over, especially if you do not hire an editor (which for anything novel length is the only way to go). I still stand behind editing yourself or with friend for poetry (or any similar works -maybe cookbooks or short stories). Maybe schedule a weekend or two to simply edit, so it’s marked on the calendar and you have made a commitment to your work and yourself.

One silver lining I have is I am able to re-submit my book with no interruptions to selling and no need to pull it off sites, and once the resubmitted version is accepted and uploaded it transfers over seamlessly -making only the initial copies typo-ed. Ah, the world of print on demand!

I feel ashamed in myself for allowing the mistakes to run by me unnoticed and I hope by reading this you, any of you future self-publishers heed the warnings of my experience the way I should have heeded my friends.

With every experience we gain a better insight in which to venture into our next experience. Although I am shammed by my mistakes, I am proud of how much I’ve grown and look forward to all my future endeavors, welcoming the inevitable future mistakes.

We grow, we learn, we grow more.