Thursday, June 27, 2013

Understanding How Your Font's Affect on the Number of Book Pages

Writers face a major decision when chosing fonts when publishing a book, not only because it affects profits but because their choice determines the book's looks and readability.

Award-winning author, Peter Bernhardt, shares his experience with  The Stasi File: Opera and Espionage, A Deadly Combination.
Font and Font Size, by Peter Bernhardt

"My novel's word count is 134,945. With Palatino 12 the page count increased to something between 520 to 540 (I trashed my notes so I don't recall exactly).

Times New Roman 12 results in 488 pages (that's what my first edition has). Garamond 12 resulted in 477 pages. Of course, it all
depends on the margins. My first proof made me shudder. The outside margin (.25 according to Create Space minimum requirement) was way to narrow.

So now I have used .875 gutter, .13 inside margin, 1 inch outside margin, and 1 inch for top and bottom margins.

I have used Garamond 11 for the header. I compared this with recently published books and it seems to mirror pretty close what the big-time publishers are using. And yes, Garamond is easier on the eye, probably because there seems to be more space between letters and lines."

Peterr Bernhardt 

The Stasi File: Opera and Espionage: A Deadly Combination is a Quarter Finalist 2011 for the
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award; Amazon Kindle  and Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter is a sequel to it.

Bernhardt says, "Novel No. 3 is on its way."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Much Information Are You Unwittingly Sharing Electronically?

Microsoft Word keeps metadata for your original Word document intact. The following came from a recent discussion among members of Internet Writing Workshop about Metadata, PRISM, and Big Data.

If you share your Word documents electronically, you should remove certain data.
According to Microsoft, some of the metadata that may be stored by Word and other Office programs include:

- Your name
- Your initials
- Your company or organization name
- The name of your computer
- The name of the network server or hard disk where you saved the
- Other file properties and summary information
- Non-visible portions of embedded OLE objects
- The names of previous document authors
- Document revisions
- Document versions
- Template information
- Hidden text or cells
- Personalized views
- Comments

None of this is to promote paranoia -- just to warn you about private information you may inadvertently give away when you share electronic documents.

MSWord 2010 and 2013 have the Document Inspector (under the File tab, Prepare For Sharing). You can find information on using the File Inspector here.

Also, you can buy software that scrubs all metadata out of Word documents.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Partnership Publishing ~~ Is it Right For You?

To help you determine if partnership publishing would be a good choice I asked Lynne M. Hinkey, author and marine scientist, to share her experiences.
MY PATH TO PUBLISHING, or, Why Partnership Publishing was the way to go (for me), by Lynne M. Hinkey
My first published novel, Marina Melee, was released by independent publisher Casperian Books in 2011. Recently, I signed a contract with Casperian for my second novel, Ye Gods!, and have just begun the lengthy process of preparing for its publication.

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked by fellow writers and aspiring novelists is, “Why go through a small publisher when it’s so easy to self-publish these days?” Yes, it is easy, faster, and I could make more money per sale if I self-published. So indeed, why?

Believe me: I’ve asked myself that same question. There is no one single reason or answer. There are, however, many, many small reasons that, for me, added up to a compelling argument for publishing with a small publisher, and specifically with Casperian Books.
I had to answer a number of other questions first, so I could come up with a satisfactory (to me) answer to that question.
While I hope to someday land an agent, my long road from aspiring to published author, has taken me down a different path for now. There are a number of paths available these days and Jane Friedman recently posted a helpful “infographic” and discussion on her blog summarizing five main publication strategies. (Click HERE to see that post.) I’ll use her categories as I describe how I chose my path.

So, to answer the question of why I chose to go with a small publisher as opposed to self-publishing required me to first answer some other questions:
1.      What do I want to achieve with my writing?
2.      Why a small publishing?
3.      What services or benefits do I expect from a publisher?
4.      What am I absolutely unwilling to accept?

What do I want to achieve with my writing? For me, I’m taking the long view: I want a career as an author. I have a list of ideas for future novels, mostly stand-alone stories, but, should sales for Ye Gods! indicate interest, I also have two sequels following the adventures of those characters outlined.
Most authors will tell you they’ve been writing stories since they were children and I’m no different. My first published novel, Marina Melee, is my fourth completed novel, seventh completed book (a novella and children’s book round out my completed works.)

I also have notebooks and file folders filled with false-starts, outlines, and possible stories either waiting to be told or ready for the shredder. Looking at a career as a novelist means I needed some critical developmental time to improve my craft before my work was ready to roll out into the world. It means I have to have patience, persistence, and be willing to continuously improve my craft.

Not everyone who writes a book has that same goal. Some people write a story for a very specific audience—family and friends, a community with a shared hobby or skill set, a community. They may only want to write one or a few books on that one topic. For them, fully-assisted of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) publishing could be the way to go.
Those self-publishing options may, however, make it more difficult for someone aspiring to a traditional, agented career as an author to actually find an agent. This is not because self-published authors can’t be as or more talented than traditionally published authors, but because too many don’t give themselves the time to be and so have tainted the image of even those self-published writers who are very talented. Because of my concern about that, I ruled out self-publishing as an option for me.
Why a small publisher? One possible answer, typical of many first-time authors, is “I’ll sign with whoever offers me a contract.” That includes agents, big publishers, small ones, vanity publishing houses, or anyone else who says, “Sure. I’ll publish your book.”

Without knowing the difference between partnership and fully-assisted publishing, that response can lead to a lot of surprises for unsuspecting authors.

I was both naïve and fortunate when I first started querying. Naïve in that I didn’t know the difference and fortunate that two previous contracts I had with other publishers failed, allowing me to learn more about the industry, modes of publishing, and specific publishers prior to identifying Casperian Books as one of my top picks to query as a small publisher/partner. 

I’ll briefly share my experience to hopefully help others avoid similar mistakes. My first failed contract was for a children’s book with a publisher who closed shop within weeks of me signing the contract. Turns out, the majority of the publishers’ books came from its erotica division. Publishing a children’s book with a publisher known for their erotica is probably not a good career move!
After that experience, I did some soul-searching and realized a) I didn’t really want to be a children’s author, it just happened to be the manuscript I’d most recently completed, and b) I think my writing is good enough that I can be selective about who publishes my work. I then settled down to complete Marina Melee.

During this time, I also spent a lot of time learning about publishing—the business side of it—by reading books, blogs, writing magazines, and attending writing conferences. What I heard again and again was the Catch-22 of writing: big publishers won’t look at your work without an agent, and agents will rarely look at you without an established track record.

I took time off from the novel to establish a publishing track record. I published short stories, essays, a travel article, and book reviews, but still had nothing to show I could write a novel.
Some agents and editors at the writers’ conferences I attended recommended going through a small publisher first, to demonstrate I had the writing chops to actually finish a saleable novel. That’s what led me to small publishers again. This time, however, I did more diligent researched than “who publishes this genre.”
I made a tiered list of publishers I’d love, like, and be comfortable with.
I was offered a contract by a publisher I met at a writing conference. Their website looked legitimate, book covers were eye-catching, had no negative indications on Predators and Editors, and I’d spoken with a few of their authors at that same conference. We all hit it off, so I was very excited, to say the least. Lucky for me, I’d also bought a couple of their books at that conference.
Despite very vehement assurance that they provided rigorous editing prior to publication, those books showed little evidence of it. Very little. None, actually (one had author’s notes to “fix this” in parentheses in the text!) I turned down the contract.
A few weeks later, when Casperian asked for my manuscript, I was excited, but also much more discerning than I had been when I started the process of finding a publisher.

Again, prior to signing a contract, I spoke with some of their authors, read some of their published titles, and searched high and low for information on them. I found an agent who praised Casperian Books for their open, honest, and upfront information on everything from the contract they offered to the print-on-demand process they employ and what that signifies for authors. A traditionally published author and mentor remarked he’d heard good things about them as well.
Prior to signing the contract for Ye Gods!, I found a book review of one of their titles by the Chicago Center for Lit and Photography:

"... the one great small press that I think most gets overlooked is the fantastic Casperian Books."
By the time I signed my first contract with Casperian, all my questions had been answered and I was not only comfortable, but confident in my decision and in our partnership.
What services or benefits do I expect from a publisher? What did Casperian Books offer that I couldn’t have done with a DIY platform? Their staff artist talked to me about ideas for the cover, said she couldn’t promise she’d use my ideas, then came up with a cover that blew me away. The title and heading fonts, typesetting and layout reflected the book’s tropical marina setting.

The editor and I went back and forth a number of times to find and correct all errors and make necessary improvements that both met their standards and mine (although I’ve learned that no matter how many sets of eyes look at it, a typo or cut/paste error might still slip in.)

Casperian developed and sent out professional press releases, review copies, and promoted the release on their web and social media sites. They provide information and assistance with marketing, artwork and information for me to use for business cards and other promotional material I might wish to invest in. Those are all things that, while I could have done them myself, they wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Their expertise and experience allowed my novel to be better than I could have ever made it alone.

What am I absolutely unwilling to accept? The answer to this question, for me, ties in closely to the previous question, and together the responses clearly pointed me toward partnership publishing, rather than fully-assisted or Do-It-Yourself.
Every agent I’ve ever heard speak at conferences about earnings and expenses has said the same thing: Money flows to the author.
An author should not be expected or required to pay for a publisher’s or agent’s services. There are a few exceptions—some agents will bill the author for copying services, shipping and handling, and other expenses related to selling the manuscript. However, editing services, layout, printing costs, etc are not a “pay-as-you-go” proposition.
I made the decision early on that I would not pay for any of those services. Unlike fully-assisted (vanity publishing) where the author pays for each service provided, I have never paid one penny to Casperian Books, nor was I required to purchase a certain number of books from the publisher to ensure their costs were met.  
Intimately linked to the idea of not paying for services is the validation of having a publisher think my work is good enough to risk investing their time and effort in.

They are willing to prepare my book and get it out into the world not because I sent them a check to do that, and not because I bought a sufficient number of copies to guarantee they’d make a profit, but because they believed it would sell and their investment would see a return.

Sure, I could keep a far greater chunk of money had I self-published, but the value added by my publisher, and the validation of knowing I’m not the only one who thinks my work is good enough to sell, made the potential decrease in profit per book worth it.
That said, Casperian only publishes trade paperbacks, no e-books. I kept all non-print rights and so I did eventually release Marina Melee following the Do-It-Yourself + publication with a distributor (Smashwords and Amazon) path. I will most likely do the same with Ye Gods!
For me, with my ultimate goal of someday obtaining an agent, partnership publishing made the most sense.

For others, fully-assisted, Do-It-Yourself + distributor (as I did for the electronic version of Marina Melee), or DIY Direct might be a better fit.

It all depends on your goals as a writer, what you want or need from a publisher, and your strengths, and capabilities as a writer-publisher-marketer. Whichever path you choose, I wish all of you the best on your road to publication!
Lynne M. Hinkey

Casperian Books
Marina Melee on Amazon


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Authors & Writers Comment on Angela Hoy's eReader Assessment Article

Last December when I wrote, "Angela Hoy provides thought-provoking advice about e-books and the reading public: Read, 75% of Americans DON'T Own Ebook Readers - Are you ignoring 75% of the book buying market?! on WritersWeekly ," I received a number of insightful thoughts that will give you something to consider for your own writing\marketing plans.
Les Denham said,
Admittedly my observation of the market may be skewed, since I live in Amazon's home town. But since I started working in downtown Seattle a month ago, commuting daily by public transit, I have seen a LOT of people reading Kindles. And a lot of people reading tablets. And literally everyone seems to have a smartphone, and many of them are reading on them as well (including me on occasion).
"I'm sure Angela has some points, but as someone else pointed out the 75% who don't own an e-reader includes a lot who don't read at all. This suggests that only about 60% of the population is likely to do any significant amount of reading, and if all of those with e-readers are in that 60%, about 40% of readers have access to e-books.
Angela's anecdote about her Dad, who reads, but not e-books, is just one person. I can supply a counter to that: my own reading habits. I'm several years older than Angela's Dad, but not retired and with no significant health issues. Since June I have been keeping a log of the books I've read. In that time I have read 21 books, all except three of them novels, mostly from the 19th century, though including three first published within the last five years. This has been a total of over 6,000 pages of reading. Only four of these books were actual paper books. All the others I read on my Nook.
I am currently reading three books, two paper and one electronic. On the other hand, I have also read nearly two hundred newspapers and perhaps twenty or thirty magazines in this time period, none of them electronically, and hundreds of websites, all of them electronically. So for books, about 80% of my reading is electronic. For other reading, perhaps 50%."
Veronika said,
"I have the sneaking suspicion that sales of ebooks vs. hard copies is twofold: 1) average age of your target market, and 2) the genre in which you write. Speaking for myself, I've learned the new technology and get a few books a year on my Nook. But I'll be more prone to certain genres if I do buy the e-version.
Literary novels, for instance, just don't seem to fit the fast paced world of the ebook; I will definitely buy a hard copy. Same with historical or high fantasy novels - the length and depth of those books almost requires the ability to take your time, and a physical copy in your hands.
'Faster' genres, like sci-fi, romances, and especially YA are probably the overall better sellers in ebooks, I suspect. Younger people read them, and they are great formats and pace for the ebook. Just my two cents."
Karen said,
"Thanks for posting this, Mona! Angela Hoy's dad andI live in the same world. He's the kind of reader I write for. Plus, thanks for yet another good site to follow."
Rick Bylina said,
"But are the 75% also readers? My brother doesn't have a computer. Has no need for an ebook reader. The only thing he's read since high school has been the TV Guide and the horse race rags. He's irrelevant for any marketing strategy or any survey about e-readers.
 Maybe it's part genre; maybe it's part the age of the people surrounding you. As someone already said, us old farts are not necessarily interested in a new technology every year (or six months)." 
Paul Pekin said,
"Just talked to my sister who was given a Kindle last Christmas (by a granddaughter). "How's that thing working?" I ask. "Haven't used it yet," she says. And she's a smart woman who reads more books than I do (but not the same kind) So here's my theory, older people get tired of learning a new technology every other year. But I have been thinking of a tablet, or something along that line, since my eyes are steadily getting worse. I've checked e-readers in the stores and they don't do it for me, the screen is too small. Yes, you can increase the size of the font, but really, who wants to read 18 point type in a six by nine page (guessing here on page size)? mostly, though, the time and effort spent learning new technology seems better spent reading and writing. If you only publish by ebook, obviously you will not reach readers who do not own a device. You can cross them off."
Jamie Wilson said,

"E-readers don't cover the entire ebook market. A lot of teens and young adults are reading books on their smartphones, and I confess I do the same in a pinch. 
Lots of older people are reading from full-size tablet computers, and others use Kindle or other ereader applications to simply read from the computer.
In addition, the growth of ebooks has been nothing short of volcanic. Ten years ago they held a tiny fraction of the market; today they are the fastest-growing segment. The 22% sales cited in the article is nothing short of incredible, when you look at how long they've really been round.
Also, if you look at royalties, each ebook reader is worth more to an individual writer than a paper book reader, with the exception of readers who buy hardbacks. And ebook readers tend to buy more books because of the lower prices and ease of purchase. 
I would love to see a serious study done on this, dividing books into separate genres. My suspicion, especially as I watch bookstores change to reflect the market, is that increasingly physical book sales are in the children's market, and that adult book sales are moving more toward ebooks, with the biggest migration to ebooks being the young adult market. I agree that one should not discount the power of paper books, and I don't think they will ever go away, but they are diminishing in importance."

Peter Bernhardt said,
"Initial sales of my first novel in soft cover through book parties to friends and acquaintances, giving presentations at book clubs, opera club, German-American Society, plus through a few retail outlet displays, folks I come in contact with (several physicians I've seen have purchased the book): about 200. All of my sales since then have been on Kindle, averaging between 10 to 20 a month without any promotion, except for one day in November of book of the day, which resulted in 150 Kindle sales. 
Total sales of ebooks since I put it on Kindle in September 2010: about 425. Plus there were about 1,400 free downloads when I put it on the KDP Select one day free promotion. Not sure what good the free download promotion did. This article notwithstanding, as far as I'm concerned, ebook sales is where it's at, not only as to number of sales but also as to royalty percentage. 
Still, to accommodate those readers of my first novel who still prefer paper, I will publish my second novel both on Kindle and as a soft cover through Create Space. As for old geezers not wanting to learn new technology - there ain't nothing to learn as far as how to use a Kindle unless you cant figure out how to plug it in and turn it on. Anyone that afraid of nothing is probably not the kind of reader I want to read my books anyway." :-) Peter Bernhardt, Author: The Stasi File , Quarter Finalist 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award; Amazon Kindle, Sequel: Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter .

Copy Editing Jobs

Copyediting L,  a editing discussion list, is highly recommended for anyone considering doing substantive or copyediting

The list is hosted at the University of Indiana, with subscribers all over the world.

A wide variety of issues are discussed -- from pricing to grammar to differences of usage.

The list is high-volume, not for the faint of heart, and filled with seriously bright-to-brilliant people. However, if you are an editor or aspire to be one, it's the only place on the net to be.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Exceptionally Useful Websites Shared by Writers

My contemporaries and fellow members on Internet Writing Workshop often share websites that are exceptionally usefull to writers. Rebecca provided the link to UNZ, , an incredibly useful research site containing hundreds of magazines, books, video and films. Magazine offerings begin with the Abolitionist and ends with Yank Magazine, and spans centuries. All issues are downloadable.

My find at UNZ was Foresters at Work at Munsey's Magazine. The 1910 feature story, mentioned by the daughter of the first US Forest Ranger on the Cabinet National Forest in northwestern Montana, provided important details I needed for my book, Behind These Mountains, Vol. I: People of the Shining Mountains Where The Clark's Fork River Churns. 

Shea Joy, a 19th century British specialist said, "Always remember to consult your librarian when you need help finding a publication. A local librarian may not be able to help you--though you may be surprised--but a university librarian surely can. ,When researching check wikipedia for information on your topic. It will often point you to a source for complete texts. Wikisource is a good starting place to search for old publications.

The Directory of Open Access Books also has items of interest. Mostly scholarly-level stuff too, college librarian, Charles P. Hobbs, said. States that provide free access to research databases such as EBSCO and Proquest. If you're interested, visit,  click on your state, and find out what is available to you ~~ free.  Meet Charles.

Need reviews of your book? The list of book bloggers on Bewitching Tours  is gigantic and, if you're looking for reviews for your novel, extremely helpful. Simply scroll down until you see the alphabetical list of bloggers.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

"Demon In The Snow," a first from Author Florence Cardinal

I first met Florence Cardinal online on Internet Writing Workshop . In 1998, we were both members of the Writing list, NonFiction, and MarketChat, and striving to become more proficient with our writing, and at selling our work to better paying markets.

Ms. Cardinal is a freelance writer. Born during the thirties on the Canadian prairies, much of her earlier work consisted of nostalgia articles about life during the post-depression years. Her first works appeared in the Western Producer and Good Old Days. Since then, Ms. Cardinal has written about topics, including health problems, and the paranormal.

Early on in her career, Mining engaged her as a guide for the Topic "Sleep Apnea," and she began conducting a "Sleep Disorders Chat Room" online. Within a short time, her Sleep Disorders site at brought her International acclaim.

In addition to publishing extensively on those topics for more than 10-years, she also demonstrated her versatility with subjects such as, Surfing at 60 (FolksOnline), Mouth Watering Herbs (Windowbox), Bonnyville Bullet (Suite 101 Rodeo), Tiger & Other Friends (Pet Parade Event - Suite 101), Are Animals Psychic? (Pet Parade Event - Suite 101) Whooping Cranes, (Western People.)

Continuing to grow as a professional writer she made a career change that led her to writing romance stories, which naturally led her to publish a book. Ms. Cardinal mastered technology and created her first ePUB, required by major publishers today.

Demon In The Snow is her first published romance. Set within the winter wilderness of northern Alberta, Demon in the Snow tells the story of DANIEL LAVASSEUR, a reclusive artist who carries the mutated gene of loup garou in his blood. He believes he has the demon under control. Then the dying begins. (read more)...

Years ago, when I traveled to Alberta, Canada, to visit family, Ms. Cardinal made an eight hour drive south from her home to meet me. Our friendship not only became closer, but from our long association as friends and professional writers, I'm pleased to say without reservation that Demon In The Snow  is sure to meet your highest expectations for fiction, romance and paranormal.