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Working With Formatters

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Lit World Interviews

Quite a few of my clients have come to me to have their books formatted, and then found themselves unable to update their already published works with their latest releases because they don’t have the formatted Word manuscripts on file. That’s fine if the formatter who worked on your previous books is available to do the updates. Hopefully the formatter is still in business and findable, or even alive. Things happen. If you have the formatted manuscripts, either your current formatter, or yourself, can do the updates in minutes and have the incarnations required by the various publishing platforms quickly. If you don’t then you either leave them as they are minus any future updates or have whatever manuscripts that you do have on file reformatted, which is a wast of money.

When hiring people to work on your book, here are a few things to take note of before…

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Better Late Than Never

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So far recently, every time I’ve thought that I would be back to blogging often, some weird and terrible thing has happened. Lots of bad things. Now I’m sure that I will be back, even though that’s not to say that everything is all unicorns dancing on moonbeams for me, I’m OK, happy, and I’ve finally realised that change, no matter how toothy and scary it appears at the time, is best embraced and worked with rather than fought with. Change can be beautiful when viewed over your shoulder I think—the trick is to keep on moving no matter what and believe that it will be. Life is often about hard choices, and sometimes life can be so hard that the choice becomes whether to stay upright and carry on walking at all through that terror-filled valley or to find a suitably large rock to hide behind for the duration.

Problem with the rock is that the longer you stay with it the longer you stay in the valley. I reckon too that if you do spend a whole long time quivering in fear behind it, wondering how to get rid of the bulls-eye on your forehead and the sign on your back that says “Kick Me Really Hard All The Time”, you get to thinking that you’ve missed your chance altogether. That’s never true—it’s never too late. The hardest two parts about getting through to the sunshine are probably getting rid of that feeling of waiting for the next disaster, believing that of course more horribleness is surely on the way, and secondly believing that you deserve all horribleness issued to you anyway because you really are not only not fabulous, but you could indeed be the very epitome of anti-fabulousness.

Not easy peasy, but once you transform that rotten duo of beliefs, you might just be able find the rest of the trip not as petrifying as you imagined, and quite a lot of fun. Of course, some people’s valleys aren’t quite so deep and dark, but even though all people will have some level of tribulation in their lives, not all are properly equipped to deal with it depending on what they’ve learned one way or another, so I’m feeling quite excited about my upcoming non-fiction projects. Yes—finally! Late, yes, but at least not never. More on that and also epically late fiction launches to follow.

The past couple of years have been pretty surreal, and I’m really grateful to have actually not totally crumbled and expired. The worst happened this year when I lost one of my feathered horde, who those of you who have followed this blog for several years will know are my constant, very, very much beloved companions and fabulous feathered joy blessings. Little Button zoomed off to await the rest of us in Heaven. The worst thing is the way Jelly still mourns him. Those two little guys used to have the most appalling fights—feathers literally flew—but still, weeks and weeks after the fact, Jelly refuses to go to the places where they sat together, and would not bath in their bath either. I eventually threw it away, and now he will only bath in my cupped palms under running water. He looks at the ceiling fan that was Button’s domain, with a proper look of hope that his buddy will be there, and cried too, for a long time while holding on to one of my fingers very tightly with his tiny claw. I’ve never seen an animal grieve the way Jelly has, but it has taught me that without any shadow of a doubt, those of God’s creatures who we bring into our lives and love so much, will most certainly not “just die”. We will most certainly see them on the other side. I was going to post a RIP Button tribute, but as with when Angus died I couldn’t do it, those things just make everyone cry. I will instead be posting more photies of the whole horde in future regardless of “where” they are. Just the happy guys that they are should be shared. We place too much emphasis on mourning when we lose a love to what we see as the grim reaper, when I believe now that we should rather focus on the joy of their lives, and the knowledge that they really are in another place now—a good place—looking forward to seeing us again. Death is just a doorway, not an ending. It’s our job to move on positively, enjoy the time we have left here, and be as productive, helpful, and loving as we can while we do so.

BUTTON
BUTTON

Weirdly, even though the thought of my little yellow angel is still like a hot knife through my heart, after a couple of weeks of thinking that I would expire too from the pain of his absence, his death kicked me right out of my own weird head thing. Sometimes when the worst thing that you can think of happens, you have to either move forward with joy—or give up and camp out in the valley, forever in pain and misery. So moving on to new things for my horde and I. New things for Jelly will have to be found to take his mind off the past. New joys, and sometimes sadness too, but never hiding too long again behind anything.

I keep in mind now that when you expect only the horrible, the horrible is exactly what you will get. I’ve made a couple of fabulous discoveries—one especially, astoundingly simple, and almost instantly healing—all of which I’m very hard at work compiling into books for this year. Lots of fabulous publishing and design projects have been coming my way from my fabulous Indie authors. Thank you to all of you for your support, for allowing me to work with you on all of your wonderful books, and for your patience the couple of times I dived behind a rock or had a couple thrown at me.

When the trials of life do delay you one way or another, remember that it’s never too late to get moving again. Even if you drop some of your luggage on your way through your wilderness, that’s not always a bad thing, when you walk through the darkness concentrating on the light ahead, often there is a wonderful blue sky waiting for when you take that first step towards the exit of that valley.

Sky

Self-Publishing and Formatting Quick Tips

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Lit World Interviews

One of the biggest challenges to Indies is getting a professionally published looking book when up against the costs of editing, proofreading, formatting and cover designs. If you can afford these services then foregoing them is not a good idea, but when you really can’t afford them they can mean the death of some really great literature. There are a couple of things that can help though.

Editing or Proofreading Swopsies

Rather than simply asking for Beta readers, offer to swop proofreading services. Writers have a different kind of eyeball when reading. I’ve just finished a Joanna Trollope book, professionally published by one of the big houses, professionally edited and put together, but so far I’ve found a couple of typos and instances of poorly strung together sentences. As far as the cover design is concerned, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was specifically looking for and wanting…

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DRM or Not for Amazon

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Lit World Interviews

When you load your book up to Amazon you will get to choose whether or not to enable Digital Rights Management.


It is important to note here that this particular choice cannot be undone. Short of unpublishing and republishing this cannot be changed. Once you have some nice reviews and lots of sales on any particular book unpublishing it is not a great idea, so give some thought to this before setting it in stone. So, what is DRM?

Amazon says that Digital Rights Management “is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files”. While this sounds great in terms of combating piracy, in reality it’s about as effective in this regard as a straw hut would be at keeping you dry in a hurricane. My African Me & Satellite TV was published with DRM enabled and it is my most pirated book. Stripping DRM is…

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What To Leave Behind?

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Lit World Interviews

Should we be thinking about money when we write? This is one of those questions that scribblers like to ponder, and occasionally have heated debates about. Are we writing for the love of writing, or to earn a living? Certainly not everyone who writes fiction is going to be able to live off the proceeds. If that was the case the whole world would be reclining under an oak, holding forth to their readers and sipping absinthe. No. There is a small percentage of the planet’s population who can be considered career writers of stories, who have their scribbles pay for their homes and vittles without them having to go without. The rest depend on various things. Luck and being visible in the right place at the right time are pretty massive factors in whether or not some really genius and gifted writers ever get their amazing books read by…

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Life is Live and a Freebie

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Life isn’t always fabulous, but it is mostly very interesting. Waiting for things to be perfect is never going to work out, so here I am – blogging away before being totally caught up with everything. It’s taken me a while, but I get that particular thing now – that I’m not likely to ever be totally caught up. Ha – who knew! Anyway. I am pretty close to being caught up again. Getting there with it all no matter how much I would not have believed it possible a couple of months ago.

Life has been particularly insane, and I admit, particularly terrifying for quite a long time. Finally I figured that I’d just do things scared. It was either that or hide under the bed for ever. Funny thing with fear though. The minute you turn around from running like hell and face it, it often turns out to be just a silly old thing, and not half as scary as it pretended to be before you decided to eyeball it. Not always, but often enough to warrant a bit of bravery.

I can no longer afford to be a perfectionist, which is a good thing. Learning to take things on the chin has – well – kind of hurt my chin, but it is rather fabulous to realise that even though everything this past year has most certainly been so far away from perfect as to be on different planets, at least I’m still standing, smiling, and doing the best that I can. I’ll be back to blogland every Thursday regardless of what’s happening in life. It’s my mission in life now to get to answer every comment ever written!! (On my blog that is – have fun with yours yourself)

As always, before life got a little dangerous, I celebrate my birthday on the 15th with a free story. While zooming around Amazon to set this up I saw that Echoes is almost at the end of a Select cycle, so I decided to use the final couple of days of this to give it away now instead. If you don’t already have it please do head over and download it. It will be free from right now to the 10th of March. Click on the cover image below to go to your particular Amazon site.

The Colour of Life – Pigeons by Geoff Cronin

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Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Over the coming weeks I will be serialising my father-in-law’s books that are out of print. The first being The Colour of Life which is a memoir and a raconteur’s recollections of life in Southern Ireland during the 1920s onwards.

colour of life

The Colour of Life – Pigeons

In my early childhood, my family and I lived over our Bakery Shop at number 12 John Street, Waterford, which my father owned. Being the beginning of the city’s main street, it was a busy place, and one of the features of it was the Apple Market. This took place in a large open area, bordered by small shops, where the apple farmers who were mostly from the Kilkenny side of the river Suir, assembled every Saturday morning.

Their horses would be tethered around the Fountain Clock, at the north end of the area, and their carts, full of apples, would be “shafts down”…

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