Friday, December 31, 2010

Deadline is today

There's still time to enter the Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers Yearling Contest for a first young adult novel. But be advised, there's not much time left. Your entry must be postmarked by midnight tonight, December 31, 2010. If you'd like to enter it, here's the LINK with all the scoop.

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The 2011 Kindle Giveaway

As you may know, I have published an eBook on Amazon and, more recently, also uploaded it to Smashwords. It's selling a few copies so far. Nothing great. But I'm quite appreciative to those who ponied up the 99 cents for a copy. And I'm also grateful to the trio who took the time to write a review.

When I woke up this morning an idea popped into my head. (No, not to stop by IHOP before going to work, although that doesn't sound like a bad idea right now.) It was a different idea, and one that I thought might be beneficial in getting more copies of my book out there and more reviews.

I decided to give away a brand new Kindle. Wow! What a great idea, I thought. And I figured I could select the winner from a random drawing from reviews on my book. It seemed like a really good idea. However, I got to thinking that in order for anyone to write a review on my book, they would have to purchase it. That didn't seem right, even though the price was only 99 cents. (Amazon won't let me price it for free.) So, I'm going back to the drawing board and trying to come up with another idea that would get a Kindle into the mix and help add some reviews to my Amazon listing.

If you have any ideas, let me know.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I spent a little time this evening uploading Scary Night Music to Smashwords. I decided to add them to the distribution channels because they add some value to the distribution chain. Amazon only converts your book to the .mobi format which is what their Kindle reader uses. Smashwords takes it a few steps further and converts to .mobi as well as the required formats for the iPad, the Sony reader and the Nook, as well as most other eReaders on the market today. They also distribute the eBook to Apple iBooks, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble. So i seemed like a good option since it was free and they even furnished an ISBN at no charge.

It required a little digital manipulation of the file formatting, but it wasn't too time consuming. If you'd like to take a look at the page they furnish, HERE it is. If you'd like to add Smashwords to your potential distribution list for eBooks, it's relatively painless. If you have any questions I can help with, let me know.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Illustrate your own book

In addition to being a writer, I'm also an artist. And I don't want artists or illustrators who read this post to think I'm trying to encourage others to bypass their services. Not at all. But if you're a writer and you're on a tight budget for production, here's an option that might fit the bill until you can afford to enlist the help of a professional illustrator. Take a look at this:

The image on the left is a a sketch I created from a photograph of my granddaughter. You might notice the resemblance to the girl on the cover of Scary Night Music. (Coincidence? Not hardly.) You can click that link to see an actual photo of the cover model and check the resemblance.

This software is from a company called Akvis. They have a complete line of art and photo manipulation software. The software I used for this example can be downloaded for free (trial version) for either Mac or PC platform.

There are a lot of variables you can change that will allow you to create the type of illustrations you're wanting to put into your published book.

Now that I've experimented with it, I need to do some more photos for the interior pages and then transform them into line drawings. After that, I'll need to import them into the Word document and upload them to Amazon again. Whew. What a lot of work. And what a lot of fun.

Here's another example.

If you'd like to give it a try yourself, here's the LINK to the site where you can download it. Be creative and enjoy yourself with this one.

I'm also embedding a video from YouTube that has some basic instruction (which I should have watched PRIOR TO experimenting.) I'll embed that video at the bottom.

Meanwhile, if you've found another program that works for you, let us know. Just leave a comment below.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Random House Contest

If you write for the young adult market, and if you're unpublished, here's a contest you may wish to enter. It's the Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel. I'm not certain how they're affiliated, but Random House is involved somehow in the mix.

I'm providing a LINK HERE to give you the details. You will have to submit your contest entry by snail mail, along with a SASE. (Remember the old days when we did it that way for every submission? If you're not old enough to remember that, we don't want to hear it.)

I will mention there's a $1,500 cash prize and a $7,500 advance against royalties. There is a maximum of two entries allowed. And, you only have until the end of the year to submit. You entry must be postmarked by December 31, 2010 to be eligible.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bestseller List!

The Case of the Scary Night Music was uploaded yesterday to for distribution as an e-book. One reader found a typo and notified me, which I've fixed but haven't been able to upload the corrected file yet.

The book is currently on the Amazon Bestseller List. It's presently occupying the 37,174th place. That sounds pretty low on the list to me, so I'm sending out a shout out for help in getting it up a little higher. We don't have to shoot for the stratosphere or anything, but maybe get somewhere close to number 2? I'd even be happy with the number 3 position. I wish I could have made it a freebie, but Amazon wouldn't allow that. So, it's up to you.

If you have an e-book you've written and published, leave us a comment and a link to it. Also, tell us a little bit about the story, like the readers it's aimed at.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010




Uploaded... but...

Well, as a first-time e-booker, I'm still waiting. I reckon it takes some time for the uploaded files to get through the "review" process. Whatever that means. I uploaded my first attempt at ebook publishing last night. I'm still waiting for it to appear on Amazon.

I was hoping the ebook would be available today, since today is the birthday of the cover model, upon whom this story was based. (My granddaughter, if you didn't know.)

So, we wait. We twiddle our thumbs and check the status every few minutes with high hope in our hearts that it will appear. I wanted to make it free for all my readers and fellow writers, but Amazon automatically makes it 99 cents if you don't select a price. So, that was the only option.

As soon as it's available, I'll try to let all you dear readers know on this site, on Facebook, Twitter, Absolute Write, and Goodreads. And a big and sincere thank you to all who have expressed an interest in it.