Monday Mash-up

I’ve got a mash-up today, because I have too many strands I’d like to speak about, and well, my brain’s a little toasted. So here goes:

Tap Out

I’ve been working diligently at the line edits for my illustrious editor, Lisa Cheng, and am wowed by her insight and ability to discern the loose spots in my work. Her professionalism is exactly what I had hoped for. Between Lisa as my Editor and my already fabulous agent, Kate McKean, I am one lucky writer.

Smashwords

I’m not exactly sure when I first heard of smashwords, but I do know when I became interested–after looking at the various eBook channels and realizing all that smashwords offers for free. Therefore, my first novel, This Side of Normal is available there, and for right now, because of their promotion: Read an eBook week, TSON is available, with coupon, for free until 3/10. There are thousands of titles available at discounted prices, or for free. Check it out.

And Smashwords just signed a deal with Baker and Taylor for availability of their books through the e-reading app, Blio, and access to public libraries through Baker and Taylor’s Axis 360 service. Pretty fantastic for the self-pub enthusiast.

Stop Stealing Dreams

If you are unfamiliar with Seth Godin, please take a minute to Google him or clink on my link. He’s a genius in marketing, but his recently released manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams, pries into the thorny topic of Education. I downloaded the free eBook and was immediately hooked. Admittedly, I have an interest in the topic having been employed as a high school English teacher for the past decade, but I think the ideas within Stop Stealing Dreams apply beyond the classroom. In fact, I sent the link to my boss and owner of the CrossFit where I work, because he manages people. He has expectations for us, and we are all educators. So is every parent, every manager, every entrepreneur.

Godin paints a picture of the future of education that seems far too plausible to ignore, and highlights the current trappings that will drag us there with unsettling authority. He challenges us all, educators or not, to rethink what we want of this service we call education. It’s a respectable premise, and one I toyed with last night, asking my daughters, “What do you want to learn?”

My eldest: “How the Earth spins.”

My youngest: “How lipstick is made.”

Within minutes we had answers and I think we could have gone for hours with this Q&A. But the idea is not to unearth random facts for trivial purposes, but to begin where the interest lies and grow from there. From the spin of the Earth to lipstick, these waters are deep.

I can’t wait to see what this week brings.

Something Old, Something New

While I have been busy revising Tap Out, I have also been in the process of returning my first novel, This Side of Normal to the market. The rights were reverted to me and while I was excited by the idea of owning the work outright, I soon realized the daunting task of just what to do with it.

Initially I searched for someone to do the work for me and ended up on sites like the Online Publishing Review and An Incomplete Guide to POD. Basically, I wanted my book to be available in print and in digital format and for there to be some distribution channel. And I didn’t want to spend a fortune for this to occur.

The more I researched the more I realized that I was either going to gamble my time or my money, because outfits from the aforementioned sites and those of the same ilk had more fine print than I was comfortable with. I don’t have much cash to gamble, and I’ve always found a way to make time, so I set forth with the advice from Twitter via @NatalieWright_ and @AdamRPepper.

I read JA Konrath’s blog and I researched Create Space, Kindle Direct and Smashwords. I liked what I found. Konrath has a David and Goliath approach to the industry along with practical advice for those who want to enter the fray. I don’t see this so much of an Us versus Them issue, but the knowledge was priceless. As was the cost of Create Space, Kindle and Smashwords. I just needed to put in the time to edit the manuscript so that my eBook didn’t look like nonsense.

I began with Create Space because that was easiest, and I should see the proof copy some time this week. It took me twenty-six attempts with Kindle to get my manuscript correct, but once I did, it only took me five attempts with Smashwords. The learning curve was steep but invaluable. I had a sale on Smashwords within an hour of posting and hope once This Side of Normal is catalogued in their Premium catalogue that will increase.

Regardless of the sales, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to venture into the self-publishing realm. I have no platform on which to speak about the value of self-publishing versus traditional publishing other than there’s a certain wonderful freedom with the self-pub world that isn’t nearly as polished and pretty as the traditional. And that’s fine. So long as we don’t try to compare apples to oranges, we’re good, because both are worthwhile. And so long as the aim of both is to produce quality books for a hungry audience, I’ll gladly have a bit of each.