Take the Steps to Self-publish Your Book

By Sherrie Giddens

Over the last several years, many of the walls between authors and self-publishing have come down. As a result, it is easier than ever for a determined writer to become a published author. However, knowing exactly how to go about the process of self-publishing can be an overwhelming task. I can remember the first book that I self-published. I followed the path paved by those who went before me and took some of the stress out of the process. I would like to share that path with you today.

Once you have written your manuscript, the real work begins. It is time to go back over your work and edit, edit, and edit again. Once you have completed your editing, it is important to turn the manuscript over to someone who can do a more thorough job of editing. They will look for spelling and grammar issues, sentences that do not flow easily, and holes in the plot and story line. This is an important step and should not be skipped, if you intend on having a professional piece of work to publish.

After your manuscript has been edited, you’ll need to consider where you want your work to appear. Many choose to publish their eBooks through Amazon on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Doing so will require preparing your document. You can find information on document preparation, by following this link to the information page. There are no fees associated with uploading your document to KDP and the process is not a difficult one, when you follow the guidelines provided.

You might also consider the publication of your document as a paperback. Amazon owns Createspace, a company that many self-publishers use to create their paperbacks. If you choose to use Createspace as your self-publishing solution you will be given a few options.

  • They will provide you with a free ISBN or you can purchase one through them.
  • If you are having difficulty with your document, you can pay for their services, which include editing and formatting.
  • You will need to download a template for your manuscript. Templates are designed to work with the various book size options. They are easy to use and make the process less time consuming
  • Createspace also offers a free cover creator.
  • Unless you choose to use their services such as editing, there are no fees for creating a paperback through Createspace.
  • You will be given the option of ordering a proof copy of your book. There is a small fee for this service, typically less than $10. I highly recommend ordering a proof copy. Once it arrives, check it over, you will be able to make any changes needed before you publish your book.

It is important for your eBook and paperback to share the same cover image. Whether you choose to have someone create your paperback book cover, or you use the free cover creator offered by Createspace, once your book is ready, Createspace will provide a cover that can be used for your eBook as well. Download the provided eBook cover and save it to your computer. Then you may upload it to the KDP edition of the book. This will provide a uniform look for both the eBook and the paperback. Here are some of my covers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with every program, there can be some glitches. Createspace is no exception. You will be given the option of allowing them to upload your eBook to KDP. This option can lead to issues with extra numbers and letters showing up throughout your document. I would recommend taking the time to upload the document yourself. Doing so will also give you more control over the process.

Once the eBook and the paperback have been completed and uploaded, they will automatically be listed for sale at Amazon. Amazon tries to link both editions within a week or so, but it doesn’t always happen in the way that it should. By creating your author page, through Author Central, you will be able to initiate this process on your own.

I know this information can seem a little overwhelming. I thought so until I took the plunge and began preparing my document. Step by step, while following the guidelines, the feeling of being overwhelmed was replaced with a feeling of relief and accomplishment. Take a deep breath and dive in.

There is much more to discuss when it comes to self-publishing, but with the basics that have been offered in this article, you are well on your way to living your dream. My wish is that you find self-publishing to be a fulfilling part of your writing career.


Sherrie Giddens is the author of several titles for women and their families. Her latest book is designed to help lesser known authors fill their schedules with book signings and events.

You can find Book Signings and Events for the Lesser Known Author at Amazon.

3 Steps to Living Debt-Free

By Randy Tramp

mombizcoach

We were 30,000 dollars in debt. We needed out—fast.

That began a journey of discovery. For the next few minutes, I’d like to relate to you my findings.

Starting with credit cards. Not only did we need to pay them off, but we also needed a new mentality; one, I’m proud to have obtained.

(1)  Pay off your credit cards monthly.

It may sound like a simple thing, but unless you have this cemented into your thinking, you’ll never rise to financial freedom.

To get our cards paid off, we tackled one at a time. With laser determination, we conquered the highest interest card. Once zeroed, we directed all the money to the next one. It snowballed until we had every card paid off.

Today it feels good to get a monthly reward check.

We didn’t stop there.

(2)  Make payments to your savings account.

With the credit cards paid off, we had extra money each week. Immediately that extra money was designated. Emergency fund. Car savings and regular savings.

Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies. Having extra cash when something breaks down keeps a family in smooth waters. You may be asking, “We have a hard time paying our bills, how can we save extra?” Let me answer that, by saying this: “Start with a small amount and be consistent.” If it’s ten dollars a week, keep putting that amount in your savings. Over a year’s time, it’ll be over five hundred dollars. Put more in – well you can do the math.

We’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by paying for our vehicles with cash. How? We make monthly car payments—to our savings account, then use that money to buy a car.

(3)  Pay Extra on your Mortgage.

You’d be surprised at how a few extra dollars to your mortgage interest adds up. It does.

I’ve calculated my mortgage considering my retirement. When I hit that age, both our houses will be paid off.

The last thing I want to talk about is giving. I know it’s a non-stopper in conversations. That’s why I put it last, even though it should be first.

We’re wired to be selfish and self-centered. Nothing flows when we live in that nature. Giving creates a flow, allowing God to bless. I’m not speaking give a dollar and get two back. Blessings come in all different forms.

Give, and it will be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Our journey was one step at a time. Are you ready to join me?

Click to tweet: Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies.

Writing Prompt: Think of a way one of your characters in your current WIP can give a blessing, expecting none in return. Write it.


Randy Tramp is a freelancer, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He’s just published his debut novel, Night to Knight.
He served in the Navy for eight years, supervised inmates at a Federal prison for twelve years and ministered as a children’s Pastor for twelve years. During this time, while on a missions trip, he taught African’s about children’s ministry.
His passion is to see families strengthened and relationships restored. He and his wife Kim are parents of eleven children (eight adopted) and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to thirty-two.
You can connect with Randy at:

Night to Knight

night-to-knightSpecial Forces Mark Steele commands an operation to save two American Missionaries. He’s injured and dismissed from the Special Forces. Not wanting to take a desk job, the Navy discharges him. Mark becomes discouraged until he discovers a new purpose in life—locate and return abducted children to their family.

To protect his wife from emotional stress, Mark doesn’t tell her. During one of Mark’s missions, Kaitlyn finds a crumbled paper in the wastebasket next to his desk. She calls the number and hears a female’s voice, then Mark’s voice in the background. “We’re a married couple headed to Phoenix,” Mark says…

Read more about Randy’s book here.


Save

Save

Stephen King’s “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”

I’d like to welcome a friend of mind, Cammi Woodall, to the blog today. She is sharing with us her favorite author…

Remember that hope is a good thing, Red, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Of all the authors who could have penned the above quote, Stephen King probably never entered your mind. What words do you think of to describe a King novel? Horror, terror, despair? Vampires and killer clowns running amok in small New England towns?

All true. Stephen King is, well… the King of Horror Fiction. Many of his novels include graphic depictions of violence and brutality.

Underneath these gritty themes, however, lies hope. Not just hope for some, but hope for all, no matter your appearance, age, background, economic situation, perceived abilities, race, gender… Hope for anyone willing to grasp it and never let it go.

Most of King’s stories revolve around ordinary people thrust into incredible circumstances. Whether it is a clique of misfit children battling a centuries-old evil, a veteran and his friends trying to dismantle a mysterious dome encircling their town, or survivors of an apocalyptic super-virus struggling to rebuild at the world’s demise, hope drives King’s characters in their fight against evil, whether supernatural or human-made.

My favorite story that best represents this theme of hope is a novella from the book Different Seasons, titled “Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption”. Told in the first person, the story is narrated by Red, an inmate at Shawshank Correctional Facility. While Red narrates, his tale is about his friend, Andy DuFresne. Accused of a double murder, Andy maintains his innocence. His standoffish manner and calm determination turn the jury against him and he is sentenced to back-to-back life sentences in Shawshank. He’s basically never getting out.

If you’ve only seen the movie based on this novella, you need to read the story. Books and stories unfold so differently from their cinematic offspring. The movie does a good job by casting Morgan Freeman as Red and letting him narrate over the action, but there’s just no feeling like words unfurling on paper, your fingers itching to flip pages to see what happens.

Red takes us through Andy’s years in Shawshank. A loner at first, Andy soon becomes a member of Red’s group after an incident while tarring a roof. This also leads to him becoming a financial ‘pet’ for the warden and prison guards. Before long, Andy is doing taxes and filling out legal paper work for the employees. The warden recognizes his intelligence and soon has the inmate conducting an elaborate money laundering scheme.

Despite his friends and new consulting position, Andy’s life in Shawshank is far from easy. I warn you: this is a Stephen King story about a men’s prison. These men are serving hard time for crimes they committed. While detailed descriptions are not given, what is conveyed in crude terms and language lets you know exactly what is happening. Andy is targeted by a clique of bullies who torment him. He fights but doesn’t always win. No matter, because he fights again. He is repeatedly beaten and abused, but each time rises to carry on. He never gives up hope.

One afternoon in the prison yard, Andy tells Red about a small town in Mexico called Zihuatanejo. Dreams of the azure waters of the Pacific and what his life could be sustain him through the gritty reality of imprisonment. He tells Red of a tree standing sentinel in a field in Buxton, Maine, shading a stone fence. When Red gets out, Andy asks him to go to that tree and look for an unusual rock.

A tragedy near the end of the book tears Andy apart and it scares Red. For the first time since he entered the gates of Shawshank, Andy seems hopeless. Red suffers through a fright-filled night, afraid of what his friend might do in his lonely cell at the end of the block.

I will stop there. If you want to read the story, it’s best not to know beforehand what happens to Andy.

Jump forward several pages and Red is now a free man. Time has marched forward without him and he struggles to match a new fast paced rhythm. He thinks how men often commit a new crime just to get back to the familiarity of bars and the routine of someone dictating when you can eat or go to the bathroom. He also thinks of a tree in a field. He thinks of his friend.

After weeks of searching, Red finds that tree in a sun-dappled field. He also finds a letter with the quote that opens this paper. It isn’t a long note, but powerful enough to make the ex-con cry. I cried too, because no good thing ever dies.

Our story ends with Red, a man rightfully imprisoned for 38 years, sitting on a bus staring out the window, a representation of the cell and bars where he’d been incarcerated. But he sees beyond the walls and glass to the endless expanse of sky before him. He is a man who hopes to see his friend again and shake his hand. A man who hopes the Pacific is as blue as in his dreams. A man, though beaten down and repressed for his wrongdoings, now sees the beauty of life and possibilities of his future.

A man who hopes.

That’s how the novella ends. In Red’s own words; I hope.

The first time I read Shawshank, I pictured Red on that bus reaching out with both hands to grab the beauty life holds for him. As I read each of his wishes, I couldn’t help but think of my own declarations.

I hope to touch the sky from the top of Machu Picchu some day. I hope my family and friends know how much I love them and depend on them. I hope I am using my talents and gifts in the way they were intended.

I hope.

Click to tweet: What words do you think of to describe a King novel? Horror, terror, despair?

Machu Picchu

Writing Prompt: As I stood in line at our local bank, I couldn’t help but stare at the man across the room. Could that be Stephen King? Only one way to find out. I stepped out of line and…

Save

Pets: A Connection of Reader to the Story

By Fay Lamb

cat-71494_1280When I sit down to start a work in progress, I rarely have secondary characters in mind. My focus stays on the main characters and building their plots. As the story grows, the secondary characters come onto stage and show me their roles in the lives of the characters. Sometimes those secondary characters are pets or animals that parallel a character’s strength or weakness.

The way a character relates with the animals in their environment tells a lot about them. To date, I have included two cows, some chickens, a dog named Cletus, and a wild bear tagged Bumblebee.

In Better Than Revenge, the heroine owns a small farm. The care she and her son give to the animals shows much about the heroine’s character. She is a hard worker who’s brought up her son, teaching him not to slack his duty. She is caring, and when she is focused on keeping her son safe, he is much in tune with the care of the livestock, showing that his mother’s love has not been lost on him—and that’s a very important part of the story.

In my romance, Charisse, Cletus is a golden retriever. He is responsible for literally having the hero, Gideon, run into Charisse. Cletus’s unconditional love mirrores that of the love that the hero has for his heroine. In attempting to keep her secrets hid and to hold to her anger with regard to her husband’s death, Charisse is not easy to love, but like a dog with a bone, Gideon doesn’t surrender easily. Cletus also becomes a bridge that ties the hero to the heroine’s young son, a boy who, in his sadness, has forgotten how to laugh. At least, until Cletus mowed him over with wet sloppy kisses and a game of catch.dog-1082307_960_720

In my latest novel, Everybody’s Broken, Shane Browne has inherited a valuable piece of untamed mountain. He guards it and the wildlife with vigilance. When Shane begins to include the heroine’s young, twin sons on the hikes he and his daughter take up the mountain, they encounter Bumblebee.

Teaching the boys how to respect nature, Shane shares with the boys what to do in case the old lumbering Ms. Bumblebee advances toward them.

Yet Shane has a sense that Bumblebee is drawn to the boys. She deliberately steps into the clearing, always staying a respectful distance from them. If possible, he believes that she performs for them, but she never seems a danger to them. At least not until …

Bumblebees reaction to and her actions toward the boy mirror the feelings of protectiveness growing in Shane, and when Bumblebee does the unthinkable, Shane must trust that the bear knows what’s best for her adopted “cubs.”

In the two series that are written now, unless they come onto stage of my imagination and surprise me, I do not expect to have another animal. While I used Bumblebee to heighten the suspense for my readers, I can state that the one thing I will never do is to bring an animal into a story simply to play upon the emotions of a reader. An animal must always connect to the lead characters and advance the story forward. It is only then that they can become an emotional attachment.

A cheap shot for me, as an author, would be to take the rug out from under the reader and allow that connection to sever. Like it or not, most people will become attached to a four-legged character more readily than they will a two-legged one. As a reader, when a pet or another animal dies in a book, that’s all for me. Even if I continue to read, the message of the story is lost on me. My heart is broken. I feel I have been played, and I’m not delving too deeply into that story to have the author rip out the remaining pieces. Therefore, a reader might experience a suspenseful moment or two, but they can take a breath and relax. The animals in my stories aren’t going to die.

Now, the two-legged creatures …?


Fay LambFay Lamb is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. With the release of Everybody’s Broken, three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, which also includes Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released.

Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind series.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

all-current-books-01-17-2017-collage

Alpha Males Can Cook

By Linda Wood Rondeau

in-the-kitchen-march-2016According to an article on the “Ask Men” website, though not stereotypical, the alpha male does have a few dominant traits:

  1. He is comfortable with crisis. He loves to win.
  2. He is unconcerned about self-image and is more focused on the tasks at hand. He likes to lead rather than follow. He operates according to his own game rather than follow someone else’s agenda.
  3. He will take up the fight with confidence.
  4. He is self-reliant and doesn’t take advantage of others expertise or position.
  5. He owns up to his mistakes and takes responsibility for his actions.
  6. Like a good boy scout, the alpha male is loyal and trustworthy.
  7. When confronted with the need to change, he does so with diligence and forethought.
  8. He does not lie or bend the truth to his advantage.
  9. He is respected because he respects others.
  10. He does not shy away from the big decisions.

This certainly describes my alpha male hubby who loves to cook. He’s always been willing to “man up” to any challenge, and has willingly shared household duties. He’s never even shied away from shopping for those girly products either.

Through most of our nearly forty years together, I’ve been the primary cook and managed meal preparations and planning. He’d fill in as necessary, as long as he did it, “his way.” His way often turned out to be quite good. Ask the kids, who said, “How come Dad’s pot roast tastes better than yours, Mom?” From then on, the hubs was king of the pot roast!

He might have retired, but my writing career became busier than ever after I published. So, it was decided my very alpha male husband would become primary cook. He met the challenge head on with great results. Even if his inventions didn’t quite pan out, he made no excuses, adapted his approach accordingly and tried again until he got it right.

pressure-cookerOur stash of appliances enlarged as he added a waffle iron, salad chopper, and sundry appliances deemed to get the job done faster and more efficiently. I think his favorite became the pressure cooker. I never used one. They scare me. He won’t use an electric pre-programmed one. It has to be stove top and man handled!

I think my favorite of all his creative recipes is his beef stew. As delicious as it is fast to prepare.

We had company for lunch, friends we hadn’t seen in years. My alpha male can operate on several levels at once. Not me. So he cooked. We stood in the kitchen and enjoyed our coffee oblivious to his fast action. Within fifteen minutes his famous beef stew was ready, complimented by buttery biscuits. Our friends were so amazed they snapped a picture as he labored in love.

Writer, how do you portray your alpha male? Note, the characteristics are not so much what they do but how they approach what they do. My alpha male hubby who loves to cook has always adapted the motto: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” Colossians 3:23 KJV.

in-the-kitchen-march-2016-beef-stew

For the curious…here’s my alpha male’s recipe:

Steve’s Pressure Cooker Beef Stew

Ingredients –

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 ½ – 2 lbs stew beef
1 large onion, cut up
4-5 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
4 celery ribs, peeled & cut into chunks
4 potatoes cut into chunks
1 ½ – 2 cups beef broth
1-2 beef bouillon cubes
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions –

Heat oil in bottom of cooker. When oil is hot, add meat all at once letting it sit for one minute to sear before stirring.  After meat is completely seared, add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, bouillon cube and broth. Add salt & pepper if desired.

Lock lid with pressure setting on high.  After achieving pressure, cook for 15 minutes. Use natural release method.

Writing Prompt: “What do you mean can I cook?” Jason stood in front of me, hands on his hips. Uh oh. I’d done it now…


img_3790Winner of the 2012 Selah Award and Carol Award finalist LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes to offer hope for those with damaged lives and demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. When not writing, the author enjoys golfing, hiking, and spending time with her best friend in life, her husband of nearly forty years. Her recent release, Miracle on Maple Street, has already won the hearts of many.

Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com where they’ll find a list of her books, her blog, Snark and Sensibility. Email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, Google Plus and Goodreads. 


Miracle on Maple Street

moms-final“Christmas is a time for miracles,” Ryan McDougal tells his mother, when he is told that a long lost cousin, Millie, has resurfaced after nearly forty years, the cousin whose picture his mother clasped the day his father abandoned him. Though they occurred decades apart, he always believed the two disappearances were connected like opposite links of a chain. With Millie’s arrival, perhaps he might finally receive the answers he so desperately sought. However, Ryan has a third thorn in his side, more devastating than any mystery. His wife, the love of his life, has left his arms and his bed. How long before she moves out of the house and takes his beloved son with her? He prays for his own Christmas miracle. Millie’s anticipated visit prompts Ryan’s mother to reveal secrets that bring all to light. However, when past and present collide, the truth is more than Ryan can bear.

Save