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Audio Books - The Art of Editing

by Dave Giorgio


Listening to an audio book on headphones (which is how most people listen these days), one of the ways to tell a hack job from a professional, consumer ready, commercially sold-for-money audio book is the editing. 


Many authors ask if this has something to do with the content or is related to copyediting. The answer to the latter is "no, nothing of the sort." Audio editing has nothing to do with the editing of the content.

1392179 67623514 sxc vjeran2001 resized 600So what is audio editing exactly? Audio book editing is the process that happens after a book has been recorded.


Audio book editing is a very time consuming process where each phrase, sentence, etc is listened to critically. Within each phrase there may be mouth clicks, stomach gurgles, and other kinds of noise. These are all edited out or noted to be re-recorded. 

In between the phrases, words, sentences, etc, is the most important part. These are the sections where any noise, mouth, stomach, paper, or other sounds will be very obvious. These are removed and replaced with clean room sound. 


To get an idea of the scope of this process, imagine how many commas and periods are in your book. Thousands upon thousands, right? Now consider that each time there is a comma or period, there will be bit of editing and smoothing out of the audio. 

This is the reason it takes about 8-10 hours of editing time to create just 1 hour of finished audio in the editing process.


So the next time you listen to an audio book, listen with headphones. Listen for what’s in between the spoken words. 


If you hear drop outs, coughs, mouth clicks, stomach gurgles, swirls, words cut off or starting or ending too abruptly, bad sounding breathing, or even dogs barking in the background, you might agree with me that what you're listening to is a mediocre book with very poor editing.


Then ask yourself if your audio book deserves better. I know that mine will...



Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/bid/49202/Audio-Books-The-Art-of-Editing

Book Publishing: Fact checking and the Internet

by Dave Giorgio


I've been working (in book publishing) as an Internet-based professional for about 13 years. I've had the luxury of watching the world's understanding and usage of the Web go from "What the heck is the Internet?" to "How can I live without it?"


1997 was early in the boom time for the ".com" revolution. At Thanksgiving that year, everyone was sitting around the table after dinner saying: "Buy stocks in .coms".  


Despite how hot it was, the Internet for anyone over thirty was a curiosity at best. In book1290864 14143273 sxc wyrls resized 600publishing, many people I spoke to did not know the difference between an operating system and software, what word processing was, or even how to save a file to a disk (for those of you too young to remember, we used to save files on removable media called "floppy disks.")


Things have changed. People are using the Internet every day. The capability of the Internet and the way it is being used has grown beyond the imagination of many. Who could have imagined how big social networking would become?


For authors, one of the strongest usages of the web is in the acquisition of information and checking facts. But many people (including authors, politicians, teachers, etc.) are assuming that the Internet is something that it is not: totally true.


An election season has recently passed, and so fresh on my mind is how I've noticed a few politicians making strong statements based on "something they read" or even that their information is based on "news that is starting to come out..." etc. Once ferreted out, these sources turn out to be something they read on a blog or some other kind of here-say. I believe this is less a matter of the politician being dishonest, and more a matter of them believing that everything they read on the Web is true.


Anyone is able to say or write anything they want on a blog, whether it is right or wrong, fact or fiction. In a blog, anyone can say that they have credible sources, or that they "know for a fact,” etc. But there is no "Web authority" that is going to police them. 


For authors, it is important to understand this truth as you do research for your book. When doing research and fact checking, make sure the source is providing you with unbiased and factual information. If you want your book to have the highest level of credibility, you want to make sure your sources are from legitimate sources and not blogs or web sites that have some sort of agenda. 


In general, most news sites (cnn.com, time.com, etc), college sites, etc. are going to have good, journalistic writers who are not going to post inaccurate data. Not that they are infallible, but some fact checking process has taken place. In the old world of journalism, fact checking was an essential part of the process. It was also what gave them credibility. But be aware that this is a concept that has faded.


There is also a new model that's developed whereby news channels air opinion-based shows which are intended for entertainment only, not real fact. There is an implied credibility because these shows are aired on a news channel. Those channels acknowledge that such programming is not meant to be confused with hard news, though they don't advertise it. 


So make sure that if you are referencing a source, you have determined whether or not is a journalist source or an opinion-based one. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion and the Web makes it easy to share. Just be certain to recognize that opinions aren't necessarily the same as facts, and you'll be in the best position when writing your book using YOUR OWN opinions.


The internet is a terrific tool for information. It's wonderful, has all sorts of individual opinions, all sorts of useful applications, and can be very fun and productive to use. But as an author, you'll put the best content into your book by viewing the Web with an appropriately critical eye, and going the extra mile to verify the information you get.



Photo courtesy of wyrls.


Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/bid/48502/Book-Publishing-Fact-checking-and-the-Internet

Publish Your Collection of Short Stories

by John F. Harnish


Many writers have a special personal file tucked away in a little used directory or saved to a disk that holds an assortment of short stories and other things they’ve written over the years.  Well, as they say, there’s gold in them there files!!!  More than likely you have enough of a collection of short stories, some essays, perhaps a few essays, a rambling perchance, maybe a couple of odes, and of course a sprinkling of poems that you could publish a collection of your work.


short storiesMy first published book, Enjoy Often! is a collection of my work.  The collection is a real mix of this and that so there’s something there to delight everyone. 

Enjoying being involved in the whole creative process is another beautiful part of doing a collection of your work.  In addition to writing, you also get to figure out the selection of the work you’ll be including and the order they’ll appear in your book.  You also need to think about your cover design.  Some authors like to pick one piece and feature it in the title and on the cover art.


Now the odds are, you have a few pieces of work that you’ve finished or maybe a couple of works-in-progress that could be finalized when you yield to the pull to work on something you love working on.  That’s part of the beauty of this new kind of publishing—you get to enjoy doing the creative work you enjoy doing.  Oh sure, we know it’s hard work and at times it stretches your gray matter most nicely—but you also have the reward of feeling that what you’re doing is feeling so very right with you because you love what you’re doing.  It’s a win, win!


So dust off those files holding your work, and clean away the cobwebs of your mind so your creativity can come out and play with your new project.  This isn’t like writing a whole new book because you’re having fun writing all the various individual pieces that will make up the whole of your new book. 


Yield to your creative urging and visit with some of your writings that you’ve been saving. 



Photo by: koalazymonkey





Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/Default.aspx?app=bizblogger&tabid=220906&subctrl=post&bid=48501&mid=364866

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Connect with Readers

by John F. Harnish

emailIs your email address current???  Do you have an email address???  If you don’t have an email address you need to get one — and if you have recently acquired one or changed your email address, then you need to make certain your publisher has your current email address on file. You could be missing opportunities to connect with folks who have read yourbook, and now they want to send you an email with their comments as a promotional blurb or with questions about your book – they could be asking when your next book will be available for sale.  However, you won’t be hearing from them if you don’t have a current email address on file with your publisher. Maybe they’d like to invite you to be a guest speaker to talk about your book at one of their functions—it’s not going to happen unless they’re able to contact you – the author

Sure, they might call the publisher for your contact info, but unless they have your permission and current email address they aren’t able to give them any information about how to communicate with you.  Yes, your publisher might be able to get in touch with you to get in touch with them, but it could happen that by the time you get back to them the opportunity might be lost forever.

Also, an agent might take an interest in your book but you’ll never know about their interest in your book unless they can email you.  Some agents could get a little weird about calling a publisher for contact info on an author they’re thinking about pitching to a mainstream house.  For the record, please let your publisher know if an agent or a traditional publisher contacts you about your book. Most of the evolving digital publishers will do whatever can be done to help you to make a successful deal for your book.  However, there’s a big difference between an expression of interest and actually signing a traditional publishing contract.

Be very careful about so-called agents and editors with questionable credentials who might email you out of the clear blue with glowing words about your wonderful book that you can bet your bottom dollar they haven’t read.  They are likely to tell you that for a few hundred dollars they’ll edit your book so it will fit into a mainstream house publishing schedule that they know is looking for a book like yours.  After they’ve conned you out of a few thousand dollars they’ll still be telling you a book deal is just around the corner. Odds are the deal will never happen.

Here’s a helpful hint for including your email address on your book dedicated website. You can foil spammers harvesting email addresses from websites if you don’t use the “@” symbol, instead use “(at)” in your email address on your website. Thusly the mail address looks like this: john(at)infinitypublishing.com. The search engines used by spammers won’t be able to find it because the search engine is looking for “@” but folks wanting to get in touch with you will know how to modify your address to reach you via email.


Photo by:  Fletcher Prince

Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/bid/48509/Don-t-miss-an-opportunity-to-connect-with-readers-or-to-answer-questions-about-your-book

Writers - Test Your Vocabulary Skills!

by Brittany Lavin

readingGrowing up, vocabulary was always one of my best subjects. I loved sounding out the words, discovering what they meant, and putting them together to form sentences. Those sentences soon turned into stories and before I knew it—I was a writer.

Everybody (especially writers) should have a vast vocabulary. However, illiteracy is increasing more and more every day. A strong vocabulary will contribute not only to someone’s personal life, but their professional life as well.

Vocabulary helps shape a person’s perception. Essentially, thought processes and perception are formulated into words.

If you’re reading this you’re probably a writer or published author and already know the importance of having a strong vocabulary. When was the last time you really thought about it though?

Let’s find out just how strong our vocabularies are.

Click this link for a Vocabulary Test and feel free to post your scores!



Photo by:  San Jose Library









Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/bid/48415/Writers-Test-Your-Vocabulary-Skills

Self Publishing: My How We've Grown!

When I started out in book publishing, way back in 1997, it was a different world. Authorshad been confined to a stable (or a pen if you like) whereby the gate keepers of the industry would selectively provide access to the world in the guise of publishing the book.


What we may forget is that back then there really was no other way, except for one: Self Publishing


1195310 88405882 sxc typofi resized 600Self publishing has a long and storied history (no pun intended) that goes back to when mankind first scrawled on a piece of granite with a stone. In fact, one might say that before all the machinations of business took over, self publishing was the original form of disseminating content. 

Things really got interesting in the 90's. Xerox developed what is considered the first digital printing systems, which allowed documents to be stored electronically and printed when needed. Hence, Print On Demand


Think of it compared to a copy machine. A copy machine scans your image and prints it one page at a time. It doesn't "remember" each page it scans for long, just long enough to print it. It scans, prints, and forgets in order to make way for the next sheet of paper to be scanned, printed and erased from its memory.


Print on demand is kind of like that, except that you scan a document once. It is saved into memory and can then be printed at any time. Further, digital printing machines can get documents from a network. So just like printing a document to your office printer, you can print a "file" to a digital printing machine that doesn't print the document until you are ready. 


This technology is the foundation for the revolution in publishing that has occurred in the last 15 years or so. Print on Demand technology has made it affordable to print books in low quantities, thereby solving the long time problem of printing thousands of books for market using ink-based traditional printing presses.


Self publishing will never be the same, and has come to be viewed in a much different light than it ever had before.


Thanks to such technologies (and don't forget the Internet), an author may now publish their book completely independently of the traditional publisher. There is no gatekeeper in the way. Authors now have great freedom.


And with great freedom comes great responsibility. As such, we've seen a boom in the number of editors offering their services independently. 


Where will things go for Self Publishing? Is paper doomed? Maybe, but not for a long, long time. Perhaps e-Books will someday dominate. Or perhaps Self Publishing will move in other directions that we've yet to dream of. But one thing is for sure, self publishing will continue to grow. There's no end in sight because people have a story to tell and knowledge to share. It has gotten easier to do that, and that ease of use will also continue to grow.



Photo courtesy of typofi

Source: http://blog.infinitypublishing.com/bloginfinitypublishingcom/bid/48405/Self-Publishing-My-How-We-ve-Grown

Understanding Online Bookstores and Virtual Inventories

The internet has created a virtual reality where things are not always as they appear to be.  Infinity author Gordon DePottie once did an internet search by his pseudonym, Gordon Barr, to see what would pop up on the googled-web.  Much to his surprise, he found his Infinity published novels, The Ghost Platoon and Death Lost Death Found, listed on several website virtual book-stores, such as: alibris.com, BUY.com, and TEXTBOOKX.com.  What was most disturbing was that the virtual bookstores showed several copies of his books, both new and used, available for sale on the internet at deeply discounted prices.  This was especially alarming to Gordon since his monthly royalty statements from Infinity Publishing didn’t reflect these wholesale orders for his books.


The reason for this accounting difference is because many online bookstore sites never actually purchase any of the books they show in their virtual inventory which shows how many copies of a book are available for their customers to purchase.  What happens is when they receive an order for a book they have listed on their site, they place an order for a single copy of the book from Ingram, and then Lightning Source prints the book.  It’s then shipped to the online bookstore, and they, in turn, send it to the customer.  The customer pays the online bookstore, the bookstore pays Ingram, Ingram pays Lightning Source, Lightning Source pays Infinity Publishing for the right to produce the book, and then we pay the royalty on the selling price of the book to the author.


Many of the online bookstores only have a virtual inventory of books which greatly reduces their overhead.  Their lack of a significant capital investment in an on-shelf inventory allows them to offer titles at dis-counted prices.  The bulk of their listed inventory is virtually available from Ingram and produced by Lightning Source when a customer orders the book.


The used books they offer for sale aren’t really used; in fact, they’re often new books that have been discounted a dollar or so as another inducement to entice the customer to order – like free shipping on all orders over a certain dollar amount.  This is a variation of what is known in retail marketing as a “loss-leader.”  

These virtual inventories differ greatly from Infinity’s on-shelf inventory that we maintain for all of our titles using our unique Just-in-Time book publishing system to replenish the stock as needed.  We literally have printed books on the shelves at our West Conshohocken facility ready to ship out within 24 to 48 hours from when an order is received.  We regularly ship to the major online bookstores such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble’s bn.com.


We have no way of controlling when or if an author’s book is added to any of these online bookstores.  Infinity authors are encouraged to direct customers to our official online bookstore at www.buybooksontheweb.com.  Most orders are shipped directly to customers the same business day the order is received and authors earn the greatest percentage of royalties on these direct retail sales placed through our online bookstore.

What I Really Meant to Say...

by LinDee Rochelle


Are you certain that what you’ve written is understood as you intended?


“Seriously, he said that?!” Be it by a friend, colleague, journalist, or other well-meaning author, we’ve all wondered aloud at some of the inane, painful, or infuriating words we’ve read. With e-mail and texting, not to mention eBooks and our printed tomes, the written word today, is more powerful than ever!


Whoever originated the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” was stoically defensive and possibly aiming for courageous. In reality, his head was stuck in the sand and he just couldn’t hear them.


Words can hurt – a LOT. And they can be horribly misconstrued. What came from your brain in easy, humorous scribbles or even pointed, but carefully chosen prose, is not necessarily consumed by the reader in the same context. Wars have been started over a few carelessly written words.


Once you’ve clicked on Send there is no body language, voice inflection, or opportunity to explain further – until after the words are ringing in the reader’s head.


Will he understand exactly what you said?


grammarApparently that question still floats around our schools – much to my satisfaction. As you know if you read WWYC = Write When You Can – Will Texting Change the World?I’ve recently been concerned that grammar and the finer points of English have fallen by the wayside of texting. Consider:


Parade magazine’s Q&A section recently responded to the query, “Why do we spend so much class time on parts of speech?” I love Parade’s response, “You need to learn every single principle because less-than-great grammar dooms you to a life of being misunderstood.”


I’ve never heard a better reason for learning grammar! Of course, you can be a Pulitzer Prize winner and still write a misleading or misconstrued missive. Even fickle moods play a part in altering our perceptions of what we read.


Consider: “It’s up to you what we do tonight,” vs. “I don’t care what we do tonight.” Are you angry today? How’s that second option going to sound to you? Fine! I don’t care either, let’s just stay home, you jerk!


Reader reviews can put your writing in perspective.


Spotting a blog reviewer’s inane comments, I was reminded this week of our writers’ fragile egos and the power of those who review our works. C’mon, admit it. When anyone comments on your writing, you hold your breath until you’re certain it’s complimentary – and inwardly crumble, when it is not.


Sad to say, but some book reviewers especially, have a “sticks and stones” agenda – to discover (or in some disreputable cases, fabricate) a flaw in your writing that they can exploit – because as you know, controversy sells.


Readers on the other hand, generally dive enthusiastically into your book and offer heartfelt comments – although, if your writing needs work, they may be no less critical than the worst reviewer. Oh, that I could teach the world to offer only constructive criticism! Alas, some people have the tact and diplomacy of a stinging bee snarled in your hair.


If you’re an emerging author not yet published, readers’ forums are a great place to wander into with your writing. Author Nation for instance, gathers writers and readers together in a lively exchange of ideas, imaginations, and yes, critiques.


Posting your writing in readers’ forums offers instant gratification and conversely, immediate criticism, good and bad. But they’re helpful to test the waters before you formally publish. If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot!


You don’t need to offer your whole book or article up for grabs – most writers make the same mistakes throughout, so comments on a few pages in a well-presented excerpt is all that is needed.


sevenL’s Seven Suggestions for … clarification and critiquing:



  • A good book goes through many rewrites; if possible, “finish” your book and put it away … for at least a day or two … read it again when you’re fresh, and pretend you’re someone else, not the author


  • Be a reader of your own work – test your wordsmithing powers and take for instance, one crucial paragraph of your book – rewrite it using different key words; did it skew your meaning? – If it did, do you have a problem?


  • Seek out book discussion clubs online and off – ask if they’ll read an excerpt of your fabulous new book and offer comments (an incentive might be autographed copies at a 10% discount when published)


  • Seriously consider any critical analysis – especially those presented as constructivecriticism, as their point may have validity and could be the turning point in your book


  • If you receive 4 comments, don’t consider them separately – consider them a “reader poll” – 3 out of 4 said this, or hopefully, 4 out of 4 LOVED it!


  • With any important communiqué try not to “push that button” to e-mail, post, or publish immediately after you’ve put the final touches to it – you’ll be amazed at what you may have written that will evoke, “He said that?!”

Just the Facts - and Lots of Added Twists and Turns

by John F. Harnish


That’s really the basics of writing fiction. You take your conjured Who, What, When, andWhere, then you embellish the stated facts with the twists of How and sprinkle in the speculative Why, to explain the relativity of the facts in the story you’re telling with your creative wordsmithing skills.


1151304 45427704 sxc Michal Zacharzewski resized 600Journalists have an acquired advantage when it comes to writing novels because they are accustomed to reporting the facts of the news that makes the story into a compelling read. The details of Who, What, When, and Where are what frame the story, but it’s the juicy dashes of Howand Why that makes the meat of the matter sizzle with the full flavor of the whole story.


It’s often been said, Dog Bites Man ain’t news; however, Man Bites Dog is, perhaps, news – you want to know How and Where did the man bite the dog. The reported unusual event begs for an explanation as to Why. Why did the Man bite the dog?

So here are two tail tales for the rest of the biting story.    


Saturday afternoon Mark was at the ballpark watching the Phillies in a playoff game. He was captured on a live TV camera with his mouth wide open biting into a hot dog with mustard and lots of onions. Aha, you hooked folks in with an assumption the dog had four legs! Mark eating a ballpark frank on national TV isn’t news except to his family and friends. The details are there, but it’s a so-what story.


However, you’re writing this segment in a novel and there’s no sizzle making Mark a hero – until you add – Mark had just taken the first bite of the frankfurter when the first hitter of the inning hit a high fly ball. Holding the dog in his left hand while watching the flight of the fly, he easily reached out and caught the ball with his right hand. Mark was speechless as he displayed the ball for the camera, taking another bite of the mustard covered dog. His feasting feat made the network news and attracted millions of views on YouTube.   


The second sizzler is in the style of creative-nonfiction.


Wolf-dog Aurora was a young pup discovering her full set of canine teeth when there was the first hint of a biting problem. My concern was she’d get so into biting and chewing on things in destructive and painful ways that this would surely become a difficult habit to break. She’s a beautiful husky-lab-chow with a big touch of wolf – meaning she can be very contrary and territorial.


One winter evening we were playing on the rug in the family room when her sharp puppy teeth painfully nipped my index finger – not enough to break my skin, but enough to evoke a very loud “Ouch!” Now I’ve always believed that turn-about is fair play, and the way Aurora was positioned I was able to quickly bite the tip of her puppy-dog tail just hard enough to beget a corresponding “Yip!” My “Ouch” and her “Yip” indicated we were communicating effectively on a primal level. From that day on, biting wasn’t a problem, except for a few of her gentle attention getting nibbles on my arm. However, from time to time she’s still prone to chew on shoes – but that’s another story.


No, this Man Bites Dog first-hand report isn’t a fast breaking news item – no video camera captured the moment and it occurred almost 11 years ago – long before YouTube. It does demonstrate, however, how the Who, What, When, and Where can be enhanced to tell theWhy and How of solving a common problem in an unusual but direct manner. After all, that’s what telling a good story is really all about. And – it’s very effective for posting online on a pet site, for instance, with your name, website, and book title attributed.




Photo courtesy of Michal Zacharzewski.  



Rewriting a Book: 3 Ways to Tighten Up That Text

by Dave Giorgio


1258281 74739780 sxc mihow resized 600So you’ve written a book. That’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. But if you’re a writer and an aspiring author of books, then you are compelled. That’s a pretty great thing.


But what happens after you’ve written a book? Aside from that huge exhale that comes from reaching closure, what comes next? Many authors will tell you what the next step is: Rewriting.


I often write articles, releases, web copy and other documents for my work. There hardly ever comes a time where I will not read through my carefully written work the first time to revise or rewrite it. And I find that the longer the document, the greater the revision process.


This is because a longer document is going to have longer thread. Writing is about taking a thread from beginning to end-- you want to optimize all of the nuances in between as you go from the very beginning to the very end.


Here are some things to keep in mind:


1. Rewriting is an introspective process. It’s a chance for you to look at your book with someone else’s eye, sort of. In other words, as you read through your book, judge it as if it were someone else’s writing.


2. Ask yourself tough questions throughout the reviewing of your text. Things like “Is this dialogue or scene necessary?” “Am I using more words than I need to convey a message?” or “Am I wandering off point?”


3. There are many other similar questions you can ask to make your book better. Make a list of the aspects of a great book. As you go through your review process, ask yourself, “Is this writing meeting those aspects?”


Don’t think this is a new or foreign process. It’s likely that all of your favorite writers ask themselves similar questions, and many more, as they go through a process of critiquing their work in order to tighten it up.




Photo courtesy of mihow.

Don't Be A "Fair Weather" Author

by John F. Harnish


Reader's Digest CyberSmiles


An author was coming to my local bookstore to discuss her novel set in Appalachia. The maincharacter was “a strong-willed heroine fighting to survive the hardships of the times.” When I went to the reading, I was disappointed to learn the writer had canceled her appearance. The reason? She didn't want to drive in the rain.


--Contributed to the “Life in These United States” section by Diane Marshall.


The above appeared in an older issue of Reader’s Digest, but the subject is still vital for today. 

1389741 81982332 sxc Bev Lloyd Roberts resized 600This was supposed to be humorous, but there’s no humor in the frustration Diane felt. Certainly the bookstore manager was very disappointed, and mostly likely will have serious reservations about scheduling another author from that publishing house. If the author was self-published, the bookstore manager will have second thoughts about scheduling an in-store for the next self-published author seeking to do a book signing.


I remember a rainy, cold evening in September of 2003 in western Pennsylvania when I was scheduled to give a talk to local authors in a bookstore about the benefits of publishing. The store was in a strip mall about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Walking quickly across the almost empty rain soaked parking lot, I was thinking that the weather wasn’t fit for man or beast to be venturing out. Mostly likely, no one would show up, but I arrived about an hour early so the manager knew that I’d made it.


At 7PM, customers began to emerge from within the aisles to gather at my small display in the front of the store. Four brave souls had ventured out in the foul weather to hear my talk –plus the store manager and another store employee made six. Now, I always try to give my all when I’m talking with a group of interested authors – and it doesn’t matter if there are 6 or 60 or 600 –they deserve the best presentation that’s possible. All things considered, the worse the conditions are, the better you need to be. As a result of that presentation six people very impressed with the sincerity and good efforts I put forth.


When you’re scheduled to do a bookstore event, it’s important that you make the appearance and do a great job presenting not only your book, but providing value-added information as well. By giving your audience helpful information and a take-home message, in addition to“please buy my book,” you, as the author, are coming across as someone who cares for the well-being of your listeners. 



Photo courtesy of Bev Lloyd-Roberts

November is National Novel Writing Month!

by Brittany Lavin


985125 15406171 sxc Ove Tøpfer resized 600NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an online phenomenon that has taken the writing world by storm. Founded in 1999 by a group of writers, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 175 page, 50,000 word novel in one month—November 1st -30th to be exact.


I personally think this is a fantastic way to get writers to sit down and do just that- write! What’s more- it’s a way to write without worrying about the quality, but the quantity. This contest gives you permission to write without worrying about constant editing and tweaking. Rather, it is just about creating.


And you won’t be the only one! In 2009, NaNoWriMo had over 165,000 participants. More than 30,000 of those participants finished their novel by the deadline.


I challenge each and every one of you to enter this contest. Remember, it’s not about writing the Great Novel, but writing any novel. That idea that has been spinning its wheels inside your head for months now? Write it! Stop worrying about character development and plot points and just write it! Maybe it will be terrible, but after it’s done you can go back and make all the edits and changes you like because the foundation will already be there.


So now the only question is…are you up for the challenge?


For more information on NaNoWriMo check out their website: www.nanowrimo.org



Photo courtesy of Ove Tøpfer



Co-Authoring: Top 6 Traps or Trampolines

by John F. Harnish


It’s been said many times in so many ways that writing is acoauthor lonely craft, laboring for long hours to tweak your wordsmithing skills to express things just right for the reader’s enjoyment. Thusly it’s a welcomed joy when you’re presented with the opportunity to co-author a book with another writer sharing your interest in the topic or genre.


However, proceed carefully, because depending on what’s what, this could be a wonderful blessing or a dratful curse, yielding nothing but lots of frustration and grief. With all things considered, and factoring in that I have over five decades of writing professionally, I have experienced all flavors of the good, the bad, and the ugliness of co-authoring.  


When it’s good, it’s usually very, very good, as you bounce ideas and concepts off each other and soar high in tandem with your collaborated efforts. There’s a beautiful balance with neither trying to top or outdo the other because there’s a bond of mutual respect for what each brings to the table.


One might begin to express the vaguest kernel of an idea and the other automatically joins in to embellish it with energizing enhancements. Basically it’s a merging of minds in uncommon agreement to create an exceptional book that will wow readers with their mindfully mingled talents.


I say uncommon, because unfortunately more often than not, collaborating authors find themselves at odds with each other and their great expectations, for a marvelous book will never come to be. Of course that’s not how they planned it – no one plans for discord in the beginning when both writers were harmonizing on the same page, when the first thoughts of co-authoring were being openly explored.


“In the beginning” is the perfect time to formalize the co-authoring arrangement, by putting down on paper the vital what’s what, who does what, and what’s going to be done to resolve those likely to eventually happen disagreements. Here are some suggestions to help to keep things from getting downright mean and nasty when you engage in co-authoring a book.


1. Forget a 50/50 split – sure, you want to be fair in the division of labor, but things will go smoother with a 51/49 split that puts someone in charge. Most publishers want to deal only with one primary person, although both authors’ names appear on the book. A fewpublishers, like Infinity Publishing, will split royalty payments between co-authors and send duplicate monthly statements, confirming book sales.


2. Decide who does what – some writers conceptualize better than others, while others are outstanding at doing polished rewrites, and a few make damn fine researchers with a knack for uncovering and verifying facts. Before the first word is written prepare an overview of tasks to be done and who will do what – the when is next.


3. Agree on a realistic timeline – most writers don’t have a clue how long it will actually take to write a book from start-to-finish, and time estimates get really whacky when co-authors are involved in the same project. Most disagreements occur because one writer feels the other is not doing their fair share of the work – at times this might be true, but hold to the belief that the contributions of efforts will balance out as the project moves along. If you enter into the project accepting the fact that one author will be doing the bulk of the writing, then the lesser contributing author can be noted as “with Jane Doe” and the royalty split can be adjusted accordingly.


4. Agree to disagree – everything might be peachy-keen in the beginning, but along about chapter 3 you might hit the impasse of disagreement. You can avoid this flow stopper if you agree to abide by the rule of 3 – try 3 different times in 3 different ways to present and consider the opposing point of view. Sometimes taking the time to listen makes all the difference in the world. If the concept doesn’t fly then drop the issue in question and never mention it again – festering thoughts of what isn’t to be will only muck-up the project. Or you could agree to decide the questionable point with a coin flip or rock-paper-scissors – best out of 3 rules.


5. Agree on a bailout provision – if things go totally south and no headway is being made toward the completion of the project you’ll need to have a plan in place to allow one or the other to finish the book solo. Naturally there needs to be a reasonable adjustment of the royalty split because fair is fair and it’s better to agree in the beginning than in the chilling cold of a bitter ending when you’re most likely not going to be talking with each other. Don’t fall into the trap of making it a legal issue – then the only winners are the lawyers.


6. Put your agreement in writing – take the time to commit what you’ve both agreed to in the beginning in writing, so later you’ll have a simple document to refer to in the future. The keyword is simple – no need to pay an attorney to prepare a formal document.     


Entering into a co-authorship can bounce your skill level higher and higher, or it can plunge you into a bottomless quagmire. Like so many other things in life, so much depends on how you approach the opportunity. One thing is for certain, you’ll only benefit from what you willingly invest in the venture, but you’ll benefit more if you both have fun with the task you’ve agreed to share.




Audio Books: Audio On Your Computer For Beginners

by Dave Giorgio


The limitlessness of computer technology is beyond imagination. Still, most of us can imagine a lot. Take the case of listening to audio on your computer (audio can be any kind of recording, such as music, spoken books, interviews, etc.)


1208422 89744071 sxc Ariel da Silva Parreira resized 600What makes any kind of sound recording computer-related is the fact that any recording can be made into a computer file. In other words, just as every Microsoft word document you create is a computer file, so too are any audio files you load onto a computer.


These audio files sit on your hard drive rather inconspicuously until you wish to listen to them through your computers speaker system. If you have speakers hooked up to your computer, you can listen to one of these audio files by double clicking on it.


No special software is required, as the playback software for this audio comes with your computer.  Such examples of pre-installed software would be Windows Media Player for PC or ITunes, which comes preinstalled with for Macintosh computers.


If you are a PC owner and would like to listen to audio on your computer using iTunes software (which is excellent), you’re in luck, as Apple also provides a version of iTunes just for PC users.


iTunes allows you to actually listen to all sorts of music and audio book samples, so that you may choose something you’d like to buy. Then, with a couple of clicks, you’ll own that music or audio book and it will download right to your computer for your enjoyment!


Once downloaded, just double click on this audio file and you will be able to listen on your computer. Whether this is music, audio books, or something else, it’s just that easy, and CHEAPER than purchasing the CD version at the store.


Now, imagine how it was 20 years ago. You’d go to a store and buy a big bulky album on vinyl. You’d have a huge record collection with a big warm sound but lots of static and taking up a wall full of space.


Now, audio on your computer takes up no physical space. The access is instant. This sets the stage for authors to have a platform to use in book creationmarketing, and sales.


It is through this technology that a great deal of the audio book publishing segment has sprung over the past ten years.




Photo courtesy of Ariel da Silva Parreira

5 Things to Think About Before Publishing Your Book

by Brittany Lavin

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There are many steps along the path of becoming a published author. Some are small steps and some are big steps. The biggest steps (and sometimes the most difficult) are writing the book and getting it published.


I will never say that writing the book is the easy part. However, there are times when it seems it was much easier to write a book then to publish one. This doesn’t always have to be the case. It all depends on the path you decide to take.


Determination will take you a long way. Perseverance is the path to publishing. Here are some things to think about beforehand.


  1. Is your book really complete? I’m sure you have gone over it and over it 1,000 times. However, that idea that popped into your head a week ago might just make or break it. Go over it 1,001 times. It will make all the difference.


  2. Is your book edited and formatted correctly? Have another pair of eyes handy for copyediting. They might pick up something you missed. Remember, the little things matter.


  3. Think about marketing! How will you market your books? Who is your target audience? How can you get people excited to buy your book once it is published? Marketing and promotion are the keys to a successful writing career- start early!


  4. Prepare yourself for rejection. The path to becoming a published author is paved with rejection letters. Don’t let this discourage you! Forge your own path- explore the possibilities of self-publishing.


  5. Perhaps the most important thing to think about when getting your book published is to remember why you started writing in the first place. It wasn’t just to become rich and famous was it? No. It was because you love writing. Remember that and remember that you aren’t alone on this path.




Photo courtesy of abcdz2000.

The DIY Era Applies to Books


by LinDee Rochelle 



We’re in the Do-It-Yourself Era in practically every phase of our lives. Though the term seems to have originated in the 1950s, it is particularly applicable to the current publishingindustry. 


My momma often said, “If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.” This is especially true for your book, when doing it over will cost additional hard-earned dollars, if you don’t realize that what you say is important, but how you say it may sell the book.


DIY book publishing does not mean you should be in such a hurry to finally let your message be heard that you forget or neglect, to produce a polished, quality book in presentation, as well. 


Once upon a time …


diy books


As little as a decade ago, we had time to roam aisle after aisle of our neighborhood bookstores, perusing not only titles and attractive covers, but discovering an ugly duckling hiding a graceful swan within its pages. 


Not so anymore. We rush through the rows of bookstore tomes seeking only the title we found online, where we had clicked past page-after-page of books in a matter of a minute. Savvy readers are more conscious of the outward appearance and initial impact of your book than ever before – time is money –and they’re in a hurry. 


If content is King, presentation is Queen – and we all know she’s the real brains behind the guy – she gets the job done (I say, with an impish smile and tongue firmly planted in cheek). Chances are good she’ll make the first book sale. Then it’s up to the Content King to hook them and reel them in for gift-giving copies and a purchase of your next book. 


Some presentation elements may seem obvious to seasoned authors, or those who’ve done their due diligence. However, along with the proven items below, are also subtle key factors that often figure into the presentation equation: 


L’s Seven Suggestions … for fastidious book formatting for powerful presentations


Front cover, of course: watch trends – books are no less susceptible to fashion than your teenager; review current designer covers by perusing the best sellers’ lists in your genre. Discard the top 10, because they are generally trading on established authors’ name which dictates a different style; then evaluate the other 10+. What do they have in common? What is attractive to you?


Back cover: barely less important than the front cover, it is not quite as susceptible to trends, although it is now common for the back cover to follow the same graphic design as the front – wrapped. Where you have flexibility is in the text/images. Again, review similar current genres; are they sporting the author’s bio, a list of testimonials, an intriguing excerpt?


Front / back matter: an often neglected element, readers may not consciously grade your book on it, but instinctively know something is amiss if accepted practices are lacking.


Readable font(s): less is more and cute is irritating. I discovered that recently when trying out fonts for my own book; while I love the Comic Sans style, in a whole book, it is difficult and tiring to read. Though I ultimately chose an uncommon font, its letters are clean, well-spaced without wasting space, and easy to read for long periods of time (Maiandra GD).


Clean and attractive content formatting: if you’re in a DIY situation for formatting your book and find yourself without the technical skills necessary, either ensure your publisher will follow your lead and format for you, or hire a talented professional. This element, like the cover, should not be ignored, nor hastily prepared.


Appropriate white space: again to the formatting – know how to space your lines for easy reading. (In Microsoft the “Paragraph/Spacing” commands are available for adjustment.) Even if your book is going into the eBook platform only, it’s still imperative to make it readable on a small screen – space works, though not too much, as shorter is better in eBooks.


It’s a fact: typos and minor errors appear in virtually every book. Strive for absolute perfection in at least the first 20 pages; not that the rest of your book isn’t important, but by the time they stumble on an error later, you’ll have hooked them into overlooking it!


These are all major elements of a book that affect the 7 seconds or so your reader’s brain has to digest it. Use those precious seconds well.


Whether you must do-it-yourself to balance your budget, or simply prefer the control, remember, the more polished and professional your book appears, the more accepted and marketable it is. Happy selling!