Writing Tips from Lessons Learned

This entry is part of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

writing tipsIn this last post for the series, Lessons Learned, I wanted to give you some writing tips from going through the process of concept to publishing. It’s been a journey.

Writing Tips for Marketing

My book, 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka, is unique for me in that I’m taking an active role in marketing it. I want the book to be a success. In many ways, it’s not unlike our experience with the Wisconsin Great River Road.

When my husband and I first saw it, we had to share it with everyone. It was too beautiful not to encourage people to visit this scenic byway. We felt the same about Lake Minnetonka.

So, here are a few writing tips I’ve learned:

  • Double, triple check all of your copy, your links, and anything going out to the public.
  • Make sure your Amazon copy is engaging. Sell your book to someone who needs to be convinced of its value.
  • You need to invest money to make money. Buy books to give out to create the buzz.
  • Get mini Moo cards guerilla marketing and just to hand out. Be sure to include an Amazon Associate referral link to capitalize on your profit. I can’t recommend these cards enough. They look fantastic!
  • Don’t be shy about engaging family and friends.

Staying the Course

It’s a tough venture to write a book. It’s your baby at this point. It’s hard not to feel a bit fragile after going through the process. Here are some writing tips to help you keep your sanity.

  • Keep a journal about the process. It’ll help you identify areas to fix next time around as well as help you remember what worked.
  • Be realistic. Your book is the center of your world, but word has to get out before it takes off. Be patient.
  • Spend the time marketing, but also start planning your next project. You’ve built some great momentum. Use it.
  • Always remember what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. You’ve taken an idea and made it come to life. Not many people can say the same thing. It’s a bucket list kind-of-thing. Be proud of yourself.

I hope these writing tips have helped. We are a unique group of people, us writers. Never forget that.

photo credit: because I was there. Yesterday at late night I went to a movie theater. The film was … via photopin (license)

Publishing with CreateSpace

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

publishing epic bookPublishing with CreateSpace is an ideal solution for a new writer. And there are several reasons for this claim. For this second in this series, Lessons Learned, I’m going to discuss the advantages of using it.

Publishing on Amazon

Publishing on Amazon is where it’s at for quick online sales. The process with CreateSpace couldn’t be easier. For the new writer, there are templates for each formatted size. However, as I posted yesterday, I found Pressbooks a lot easier to use–even over Scrivner.

You can get a free ISBN number with CreateSpace. And that’s not a bad thing. Buying a block of ISBN numbers isn’t cheap. Last I looked, it runs $249 for 10.

With the cover generator, you can produce a decent cover. Tip: use Chrome not Firefox to create your title. For some reason, Firefox wouldn’t allow me to upload a cover image. Speaking of images, CreateSpace has a gallery of images to use. They’re fine, but the selection is limited.

Other Advantages

I can’t comment on Smashwords because I haven’t used it. I also published my title on Ingram Spark. However, because I had titles with Amazon already, I couldn’t make 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka available on Amazon. That’s why I opted for CreateSpace and Ingram Spark.

CreateSpace has a lot going for it in the self-publishing biz. Copies are printed same day and shipped for a helluva lot less than Ingram Spark. The quality is excellent.

With CreateSpace, you can easily publish on Kindle too. From an author’s perspective, getting your book available online as quick as they do is a huge advantage. With CreateSpace, it’s a 24-hour turnaround. Nice.

Summary of the Process

For publishing on Amazon, I used CreateSpace and did not opt in for the Expanded Distribution. For publishing for retailers, I used Ingram Spark. It’s a name that retailer and booksellers trust. In a world where us indie authors are still trying to make a go of it, we have to play all of our cards.

Next time, let’s look at the editing process. Besides writing, editing is likely to take the biggest chunk of your time.

Formatting Your Book Made Easy

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Lessons Learned

Lake MinnetonkaWelcome to my series, Lessons Learned. Over the next few posts, I’ll share some tips I learned from publishing my latest book, 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka. In a nutshell, I think that I broke the code on making the process easier and seamless. Formatting was simplified.

Formatting Your Book

I completed another book last year called All Plants Are Edible Once. This book was a personal project. I wrote it for me. However, I procrastinated. And the main reason was formatting.

Completing e-books is a breeze compared to print. Even with templates, it still borders on maddening. My bane was the headers. Tip: as good as Libre Office is, Microsoft handles the job much better. I was frustrated. Then, I stumbled upon Pressbooks.

Formatting with Pressbooks

If you use WordPress, you’ll find using Pressbooks simple to use. You can easily create parts, chapters, and sections. For my 101 book, these features proved to be invaluable.

I set up parts for each city on Lake Minnetonka. Then, each to-do item became a chapter. In doing it this way, I was able to get the nice numbering for each one with a chapter number.

What made it so powerful was the customization. I could make some chapters without numbers to keep the correct order of items. I could also add HTML code to force page breaks. That was HUGE.

Making It Pretty

What I really loved was the vast collection of themes. With over 50 to choose from, you can select the right theme for your project. I chose Atwood.

The site also includes a cover generator. It works just as well as CreateSpace, but you need your own image. I ended up using my own formatted image, but used the cover creator for the layout. The nice thing about it is that it gives you recommended dimensions so you can correctly size your image.

You can create both e-book and print book covers. The beauty of this particular feature is that I don’t have to worry about a backup copy of either. It resides on the site.

Exporting Your Book

You can export both a PDF and e-book file. The site will export it in ePub or MOBI, with other choices too. And yes, it does cost. But for all the frustration it removed, I think it is priceless. The cost is $19.99 for an e-book alone or both print and e-book export for $99. Hit the link below to get 25 percent off.

The process of publishing 101 Things to Do on Lake Minnetonka was so much easier. I was able to preview my files to clean them up. Again, I have that handy backup on the site. If you’re a writer looking for an easier system for formatting your book, you can’t go wrong with Pressbooks.

Go to the Upgrade page and enter the referral code, CDRWEBORG in all caps to get 25 percent off.