Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's All In The Process

I am on the home stretch in finishing my first book that is actually going to a brick and mortar publisher (Schiffer Books). I started out with a firm idea of what I wanted to say, and that has not flagged. Content and chapter organization were not a problem. However, I did hit a stretch of time where I was not writing – thinking that I had “plenty of time” to get this book out.

Needless to say, now I have to push to get it done in time! I still have the time to do that, and the writing is going well, so I’m not all that concerned. What I have found is that at one point I had to take out a section that would have repeated itself in all twelve chapters, and give it separate space (to hit a somewhat limited word count), Then a couple of chapters later I found that I wanted to add a small section on to bring each chapter to a more definitive close.

I am also working with a collaborator (my book will be coming out with an accompanying Tarot deck that, while it is part of the set, is completely separate project wise) to set up a specific marketing tool on her site. This caused me momentary angst (I am not a techie, the marketing tool is relatively high tech), but my collaborator volunteered to place it on her site, and her techies are working with it. It is now up and looks great, than heavens! (Not quite ready to go public, though.)

My mind is wandering (with intent, but still wandering) into the area of promotion and marketing. The book/deck set will not be available until fall 2011, but, as a Cappie (Capricorn), I like to plan ahead … way ahead! I am looking at blogs , Podcasts and Internet radio at this time. Not even thinking about in store appearances (I am not a public person – the thought of in store appearances gives me ulers!).

I also have to think about how I want the page for this book on my site to look. It needs more than a photo of the cover, a few clever wrds and a couple of purchasing links. I am thinking about releasing a template for working with the material in this book (Tarot Birth Cards), as well as one chapter.

So much to do … so little time!

© July 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finding Your Voice

Help! I need to find my voice! Fortunately, that is a problem that I have never had as a writer –whether I am writing articles, reviews, or stories, I always hear the voice that is mine. If I step back, it comes forward and shapes the words for me. While the foundation is the same, my voice will vary, depending on what I am writing – but it always stays true to who I am.

How do we define this voice that we write with? It is how we say what we want to say. If we are not true to who we are, to the “how” of writing, our words not only will not flow, they will sound forced and “not true”. We need to be able to articulate our feelings, to put our emotional sense about an issue on paper. We need to be able to write with transparency, and feel comfortable doing so.

Our voice consists of the words that we use, the punctuation that we use, how we develop our characters, how we present the dialogue

Go back and reread the writers that you admire. What about their sense of writing feels comfortable to you? Try writing in the different styles that you are attracted to until you find the ones that you feel best express who you are as a person. Our writing is out there for the world to see – knowing this, we need to be able to look in the mirror and feel proud of the person staring back at us!

Write – above all, write. Keep a journal, write a blog, write stories, write books, do writing exercises – keep writing! As you explore different voices, you will begin to recognize that inner feeling of “This is it!” And this will very naturally differ from project to project. Allow the project to help determine the voice, and you will do well.

Another key is to reread several different projects that you have done. A true voice will carry from project to project – it may be presented in a slightly different manner, but the sense of who you are will carry through in all of your work. This, above all, is the importance of voice.

Step out of your own way, and let the writing begin!

© July 2910 Bonnie Cehovet

Thursday, July 1, 2010

e-Books and e-Boook Readers

e-Books and e-Book Readers

Six months ago I was still in a state on indecision about e-books, and whether they were going to be part of my writer’s life or not. With the release of the iPad ( hugely successful!), one stumbling block has been removed – the price of the e-book readers! Kindle (Amazon.com) has gone from $259 to $189. The Kindle reader is now marketed through Target stores. There is also a free Kindle application for computers, the iPhone and the Blackberry. I have used it on my laptop, and it works well.

Barnes and Noble has a wi-fi Nook e-book reader for $149. The price of the 3G compatible Nook has dropped from $259 to $199.

Sony has an e-reader that comes in three versions, ranging from $349.99 to $169.99.

What this means for us as writer’s is that the affordability (and availability) of the reading devices makes it easier for us to reach a larger audience – and make more sales! The upside is that e-books are relatively easy to format and put in place. The downside – the formatting is not the same for the various e-book readers.

Create Space (http://createspace.com) formats material for print books for Amazon.com, and for e-books through Kindle. I have one project out through this format, and I found it very easy to do, with my book up on the site almost immediately.

Smashwords (http://smashwords.com) utilizes software that formats material for several different e-formats, including those compatible with Kindle, iPad, Nook and Sony. To reach a larger audience, wit the least amount of work possible, I am seriously contemplating working with Smashwords on my next e-books. A free Smashwords Style Guideline e-book can be downloaded here -http://www.smashwords.com/books/download/52/1/latest/0/0/smashwords-style-guide.pdf. An excellent interview on how Smashwords works can be seen here - http://bookmarketingmaven.typepad.com/book_marketing_maven/2010/04/how-to-make-your-books-available-in-multiple-ebook-formats-interview-with-mark-coker-of-smashwords.html. A big take-away for me from this interview were two things – Smashwords services are free, and their “take” from the sales is only 15%.

From my point of view, e-books are something that as authors we can get out in minimal time, get decent exposure, and get our names known. I love print books – they will always be a part of my life, but e-books have a solid (and growing) base.

Here’s to the future!

© July 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

How To Get Characters To Interact

You have your plot worked out, and you have defined your  characters . The next step is getting your characters to play nice and interact...