12/28/11

Count Down: 4 Websites Self-Publishers Should Consider

The Count Down: 10 Days Until New Year's Day

4 Websites Self-Publishers Should Consider

These are some websites that self-publishers should consider. Mostly due to the services they provide, but they are also worth considering because they provide a readership and the possibility to build fans.  Who doesn't want some fans?

4) Wattpad: www.wattpad.com

A website that also provides a phone app for those who become addicted.  It's a story sharing community that benefits the reader a fraction more than benefits the writer. I personally believe that stories should be paid for so this community, while it would be a great place to build readership- I'm not as big a fan of it as other groups on this list.

3) Lightning Source: www.lightningsource.com

A great location for lower cost print publishing, this website has fast turn around but doesn't provide ebook assistance and they don't provide publisher services that include design, editorial or marketing services. They can however, print from a digital copy from disc or download, or they can take a pre-published piece and make more of the same. It's worth considering since any person or distributor can access these books and put orders in for print copies.

2) Create Space: www.createspace.com

A website that allows you to publish either to the kindle format or in hardcover, the website assists you in designing your book and get it ready to publish. They have more information about formatting your work and tips for marketing. There are paid services but there are a whole host of options provided for free. You can review pictures and images to create a cover or, see my article about locations for great stock photos HERE.
Then you can go to the Cover Creator and review the inside of your book, it's all really easy and if you're only a little familiar with computer language then you can find comprehensive instructions on this site.

1) Smash Words: www.smashwords.com

The website where Amanda Hawking became a million dollar author, you can build your readership and charge a much lower cost for your work because it's available via ebook and you get 70% of the profits, rather than less.  In traditional publishing you would earn 15% if you're lucky, it's usually closer to 7%, 1/10th of what you can make self-publishing online. It's worth going there to publish your short stories at the least to build your platform and readership.  If, like me, you still want to publish traditionally, then this can be a great platform to -as I mentioned-publish your shorts, and if it does well you can mention that in your pitch.  Publishing houses are really starting to pay attention to these markets and sources for readership because traditional publishers are starting to miss out and the digital market is growing... it's hard to ignore.

Hope this list was helpful, only 4 days until the New Year!

Count Down: 5 Reasons to Write Your Book

The Count Down 10 Days Until New Years presents,

5 Reasons to Write Your Book

1) If you never start, you'll never finish.

The truth is, you can think about writing all you want but until you sit at that computer or desk and start typing your words or writing by hand, you haven't started anything.  Googling, researching and reading related books is all great for your research process, but it's separate from the actual act of writing.  Here's the rule fellow writers: Writing means creating words and recording them on some medium either digital or paper.  If new words aren't being recorded you're not writing.  Do you research after the book otherwise the story itself won't come out.  I get so distracted by "Research" and "Platform building," it's a wonder that I ever write anything... So get writing!

2) You'll have fun!

Believe it or not, the process of creating is so much fun.  Even if the book is non-fiction, the process to create a piece of literature is a lot of fun.  I write within a genre and I love creating new story worlds for these wonderful character.  I feel like an archaeologist slowly (sometimes quickly) pulling or sweeping off the dust/dirt and discovering a character as I test them and throw some really horrible experiences their way.  I think it's the closest to God that a human being to get to.

3) You gain experience as a writer.

The act of writing a book is a very difference beast than writing a short story or a novella because you have to have enough content and a strong plot to write a full-length novel. Plus, there has to be over and under-arching stories that wind their way through the plot.  Everything I've learned about writing a book has become some reflection of me.  For example, I finished my novel (the writing, not the editing) and something didn't feel quite right. I went through the entire novel and cut approximately 30,000 words.  When I did this I lost a bit of content but I also noticed that I tended to use adverbs and adjectives fairly often, so when I began to rewrite to fill the voids I found in story and content I was conscious of adverb and adjectives and going back over it was a pleasure because I didn't find a quarter of the level I was finding before the editing phase.

4) You can gain credibility and build a readership.

If you want to be a regular author then writing your first book can lead to writing a second book, gasp!  Who knew?  If you truly love to write then it comes down to, why aren't you? The more you write the more you'll reach people and the best platform for an author is actual readership.  Whether you want to self publish, or you want to publish traditionally or you only want to e-publish, you still need to write.  If you don't want to write to write but rather to build your expertise, then you can do it in this way.  It's almost sad to say that being a published author in your field is almost more credibility than having initials after your name with an education behind it.  There is a whole industry of self-help individuals that do not have credentials in the traditional sense, but once published had entire platforms explode! So, a book can only build your credibility, but remember that if you're going to self-publish, you need to get someone to edit it who isn't related to you.

5) If you're successful, it creates revenue.

There are a few people who find it hard to write a book because there's no immediate pay off, no check every two weeks so they can't justify their time spent away from family, friends and they have a hard time dealing with the looks they get from people after they tell them that they are writing a book.  Keep your eye on the prize: publication and therefore revenue.  Even if you don't want to sell your book to a traditional publisher, if you self-publish you will earn revenue from your readers when they pay for your book. Who doesn't want some extra cash?

So, get writing! 

Sure there are reasons not to write a book, but if you love to write, then you might as well try a book at least once.

12/26/11

Count Down 6: Stock Photo Resources

Count Down: Ten Days until the New Year Presents:




6 Stock Photo Resources

Whether you're a self or POD published author or you write articles and blogs online, writers sometimes need to get relevant photos at an inexpensive rate and in digital format.  If this applies to you, then here are six locations where you can get stock photos, in no particular order.

6. www.dreamstime.com

5. www.morguefile.com

4. www.getteimages.ca

3. www.corbis.com

2. www.shutterstock.com

1. www.istockphoto.com

The photo for this post was provided using  www.freedigitalphotos.net  care of it's creator Michal Marcol. For this image, please visit:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=371

12/25/11

Count Down: 7 Resources for Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Count Down: Ten Days Until the New Year Presents,

7 Resources for Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Like #9 I'm going to focus for a bit on businesses since a great deal of serious writers are freelancers with or without day jobs.  These resources are quite broad for Yukoners and some a little more specific to Yukon but, in the end most persons in the rest of Canada can usually find resources in their own communities that provide similar opportunities.

7. www.bizpal.ca


Available online in both French and English I find this website on a handful of websites citing it as a resource but it's more of a one-trick pony.  If you're starting a company and you need to find out if you are required to get a permit, then this is the website for you.  As freelance writers it only cites one permit for use, but it's technically incorrect.  It cites the Federal business permit, but it's missing two others.  In order to opperate in the Yukon you have to be registered in the Yukon and you also need a municipality permit.  So if you operate in Whitehorse, you need a Whitehorse Business License.  Be careful on this one as it's obviously missing things.

6. YTG Business Resource Page: gov.yk.ca/services/business_resources.html

Includes Yukon-Specific information but if you require this information and do not live in the Yukon, just check our your province, territory or state's webpage and follow the prompts for businesses. This page provides information such as statistics and tenders and tendering forecast, and quite a bit more.

5. Industry Canada: www.ic.gc.ca

Includes resources for business start-up, statistics, and my favorite page is Business Tools and Resources.

4. Canada Business Service Centre: www.canadabusiness.ca

Tools for finding financing, another permits and licenses tool, and Service Centre details. Further to that there are great resources for starting your own business, tips for selling to governments, and even copyright and intellectual property details. This one is one of my favorite all-time resources just for some of the great details you can get in their resources and resource articles.

3. Dana Naye Ventures: www.dananaye.yk.net

Here in Whitehorse, DNV is a great opportunity if you qualify for their programming. They offer some of the most down-to-earth consulting on opening a business here in the Yukon and some great course options such as the Feasibility Study.  For more details see them or Employment Central.


1 & 2.  Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce: www.whitehorsechamber.com, and The Yukon Chamber of Commerce: www.yukonchamber.com

The best resource for entrepreneurs and business people are opportunities to network.  The chambers do this.  Both host events and have lists of local businesses that provide specific products or services for Yukoners or Whitehorse-ians. Great opportunities with these two chambers, and most communities either have local chambers or they'll have regional or provincial chambers.

Hope that everyone can find a resource to help them out in this list.  As sole-proprietorships, writers need to also see their writing as a business because there are laws regarding income, intellectual property and business activity in the instance of owning permits and licenses.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope you're all enjoying some form of cooked bird and underground tuber....