The Skies Are Lighted With Lamps #13 (A part of my novel)

Now, the house was a wooden ‘L’ shaped structure with three rooms; two ten by twelve bedrooms and a ten by ten kitchen area.  The average size of most houses in the area.  The toilet and room for bathing was outside.  This too was the same for a number of other people in the neighborhood.  The community was simply designed, and the people had a view of not having too much bothered them.

                                   ***

Since Deo was gone for years and Sarah, at the time was still a baby, she shared the bedroom with her mother up to that point.  The other three girls shared the other bedroom.  Each night the girls enjoyed staying up late, talking to each other about hair styles, the eligible young men or clothing which they saw in old catalogs swapped with other girls in the village.  This night though was to be different.  Without the girl’s mother barking at them to go to bed, they willingly left the table for their respective rooms.

Copyright © 2017 David Alexian

All rights reserved.

17 Crucial Things Authors Forget to Do When Self-Publishing

by Bryan Hutchinson

17 Crucial Things Authors Forget to Do When Self-Publishing

This is a guest post by Shayla Eaton. Shayla is the president of Curiouser Editing and a connoisseur of the writing and editing process, having edited over two hundred books and countless articles, blogs, social media posts, and web copy. She is the author of The Curiouser Crusade and the Pre-Publishing Checklist.

Choosing to self-publish your book means you’re in control of the process. But like Ben Parker said to Spider-Man: “With great self-publishing comes great responsibility.” Or, you know, something like that.

Self Publishing

With great self-publishing comes great responsibility. (Click to Tweet)

Don’t overlook these must-haves when self-publishing your book:

1. Check to see if your book title already exists

There are pros and cons to finding that your book title already exists. I believe the con is obvious, but the pro? Some authors use it as a smart marketing tool, because when a potential buyer searches for your competitor’s book title, he’ll find yours as well.

2. Set up an email address for marketing purposes

From signing up for social media platforms to setting up an account with CreateSpace, you’ll want an email address specifically for marketing purposes rather than using your personal address. Pro tip: Don’t use AOL or Hotmail.

3. Add an email signature with website and social media information

This is easy to do: just go to your email settings and craft your signature’s content. You can even add URLs so people can click on over to your book’s website or subscribe to your newsletter.

4. Prepare a promo kit

You’ll need a long and short book summary, a long and short bio, a tagline for your book, and a professional headshot. You’ll have all of this ready to go in your promo folder for when you reach out to bloggers.

5. Gather endorsements

Try to get endorsements from well-known figures who either write in your genre or relate to it somehow. These endorsements will go in the front matter of your book and can also be used for marketing on social media and your website.

Click here to see the stellar endorsement Bryan Hutchinson received for Writer’s Doubt from 21 times New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. He’s using the endorsement to lead his book’s page on his website and on Amazon.

6. Get your ISBN

If you’re printing with CreateSpace, they’ll handle this for you with a free ISBN or paid ones. But if you’re not using a print-on-demand company and are using a local printer instead, you’ll want to purchase your ISBN. I recommend Bowker.

7. Check the licenses of typefaces

Make sure you or the designer has the right to use certain fonts. Pro tip: Tell your formatter what fonts you used, because they might not be visible during the transfer.

8. Get a book trailer

Hey, who says movies are the only ones who get trailers? A book trailer is a modern, engaging way to tell your friends and potential readers about your book.

9. Set up Amazon Author Central page

When you publish your book on Amazon, you’ll want to go here to create the Amazon Author Central page so people can learn more about you—the author. You can link your Twitter page, blog feed, and book trailer on this page. Your future books will show up here too.

10. Write a sample author Q&A

Surely you didn’t think you’d publish a book without an interview or two, right? Craft a sample author Q&A for bloggers and podcasters to use when promoting or reviewing your book.

11. Tease your social media followers with snippets of your book

Your followers are the fish, and your bookish quotes are the bait. Hook them and reel them in. Copy and paste your book quotes into Canva to create high-quality promotional photos.

12. Throw an online launch party

It’s best if someone other than the author hosts this party and it can be done on Facebook. The host will create an event and invite people to the party. There will be giveaways and contests and lots of online sharing about your book.

13. Get in touch with your community

Why do so many authors forget about their local library? Libraries love to promote their own local authors, so talk to them about donating your book or planning a book signing there. You can also publish a press release about your town’s local author (ahem—that’s you) whose book comes out in two weeks!

You can get local bookstores and coffee shops involved. If you’re smart, you’ll host a Night on the Town with a local shopping center, where customers can get raffle tickets, food, freebies, and a signed copy of your book.

14. Add your book on Goodreads

You would be surprised how many authors forget to do this. Users can shelve your book to read for later, update their progress while reading, and review your book after completing it.

15. Brand yourself using photo apps

What are the colors of your book cover? The fonts? The style? Choose a photo app to create a brand that relates to your book, then post the images on social media.

16. Get a contract with your editor

If your editor is a professional, then he or she will have this ready for you. It will outline what the editor will do to your book, the tentative deadline, and how much it will cost. Sadly, too many newbie authors forget about the contract and get themselves into trouble when the editor doesn’t hold up his or her end of the bargain.

17. Form your citations properly

Can we please talk about the sheer terror that overcomes me when I see sloppy (and sometimes nonexistent) citations in a nonfiction manuscript? Here’s a fast rundown and a great tip on crafting citations in under two minutes.

Smashwords

Hi Friends,

I came across this platform Smashwords.  I have heard a little about it and decided I’ ll give it a try.  Yesterday I signed on and now I am going to fill in a picture and some other information about myself in the bio.

Anyone using this platform?

I don’t know, what do you think of it?

Writing Can Cause Premature Death?! How to Avoid Wrist Pain, Headaches and More

My wife suffered headaches and red eyes after hours in front of her computer working on a poetry book. So a few weeks ago, she bought tinted computer glasses that are supposed to ease eye strain.

They seemed to cut the glare, but I notice she isn’t wearing them any longer.

That’s not surprising. The evidence for computer glasses is mixed. Whether or not they work may depend on how they’re constructed and who is wearing them. So if you have eye strain and headaches from hours in front of your computer, the only way you’ll know if computer glasses provide relief is to try them.

But achy eyes may be a minor problem compared to some of the other health risks of writing.

In fact, if you sit in front of that computer for enough hours every day, you might even die!

Don’t panic. Read on to learn how to deal with wrist pain, fatigue, and other health risks of being a writer.

Premature death and other hazards of writing

Too much sitting is linked to diabetes, heart disease and premature death, according to a recent study highlighted by the Harvard Medical School Health Blog.

It noted that the average person spends more than 50 percent of his or her waking hours sitting down, but that figure might be higher for the average writer.

The study was a meta-analysis of 47 other studies, which makes the findings pretty solid. The researchers concluded: “Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity.”

Yes, they found that your risk of dying increases with prolonged sitting, even if you exercise up to an hour per day!

Apparently, the only sure way to reduce your risk is to sit for shorter periods of time. The authors of the study offered these two tips:

  1. Stand up and/or move around for three minutes every half hour.
  2. Use a timer or alarm app to remind you to get up.

I just got up to vacuum the living room. Now where was I?

Clearly, you have to find natural break times so you don’t lose your train of thought or interrupt the flow of your writing. But avoiding premature death probably makes it worth the effort.

You might consider trying a standing desk. Standing has an additional advantage of burning more calories than sitting (and yes, sitting is correlated with obesity). According to one online calorie calculator, I could burn almost 300 more calories daily if I worked standing up.

Some desks are convertible, letting you sit and stand depending on the task and your mood. I tried a standing desk and found that hours on my feet were hard on my back. Alternating between sitting and standing would probably help. An anti-fatigue mat beneath your standing desk space may be a good idea too. (Maybe you should let friends and family know these make great gifts for writers!)

How to manage the writing-related health issues

Eye strain and fatigue. Pain in your wrists, shoulders, and neck. Repetitive motion injuries. The University of Pittsburgh Environmental Health and Safety department notes these among additional health risks of computer use.

Been there, done that — every one of them. Writing is dangerous for your health!

Fortunately the University of Pittsburgh’s EHS department and other experts offer some tips for avoiding these problems, or at least relieving the pain. They include:

  • Alternate tasks frequently
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Use a good ergonomic chair
  • Sit against the back of the chair
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Use a light touch on the keyboard
  • Have your arms parallel with floor and level with keyboard
  • Stop to let your arms relax from time to time
  • Keep work materials within easy reach
  • Adjust the computer screen angle to reduce glare
  • Blink often when working at your computer
  • Frequently stop to focus your eyes on more distant objects
  • Have your computer screen at eye level or slightly lower

I’ll add an obvious tip to that list: Spend less time writing.

To do that and still get some work done, I brainstorm while taking walks, carrying a recording device as I go. I probably have more ideas for new articles during a 20-minute walk than I get from an hour in front of the computer. And it’s good exercise.

Well, despite having splurged for a good chair and adding a soft pillow, my bottom is sore as I write this — along with my eyes and shoulders. I don’t like pain. I also don’t like the idea of dying prematurely. So I’m going for a walk and a swim before I start my next post. You might want to take a break too.