Writer’s Tools: Online

I unfortunately wasn’t able to post yesterday–good argument for not promising to post daily, not enough time for that–but fortunately was planning a piece on some cloud based technology that will work well with today’s post: tools you can find online.

Nowadays, the internet is ubiquitous. You have it on your phone; you can get information almost anywhere, at the touch of a button. With the increasing prevalence of wi-fi Hot Spots at restaurants, airports and coffee shops, you can even bring your laptop with you most places and plug in. Which makes writing on the go a lot easier.

When I was in University, I had a Palm Pilot with a little fold out keyboard, and everything folded up into a neat wallet sized bundle. I did all my writing on this device–creative and schoolwork–and it was a godsend. But the one thing I always missed was that it was only a place to get my thoughts out; I couldn’t do any decent editing because the word processor wasn’t great; there was no dictionary or encyclopedia on the device; and research was no more convenient than bringing a notepad to the library and writing by hand. Then I got a laptop, and would bring that everywhere; I had a lot more at my fingertips, but still couldn’t connect to the internet for research, and the battery life wasn’t all that great.

Today, your average phone has more processing power than my laptop did back then, and you have a plethora of tools available for you whenever you want them. In fact, information is so readily available that, interestingly, it’s holding us back; in his book The Shallows, Nicholas Carr posits that having so much information so easily available is causing us to only skim it for what we want right now, rather than digging deeper. But that’s a topic for another day.

The internet has a wealth of tools for writers, from forums where other writers will discuss issues with you, to how to’s on publishing, eBook building, getting an agent and so on, to myriad contests writers can enter to get their work off the ground. Here are a few of the ones I visit regularly:

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com are a must. Of course, nothing beats having a real Webster’s, but for quick reference, it’s a lot better than the options in Microsoft Word. The thing I like most about these online resources is that entries are hyperlinked, so you can click your way from one definition to the next very quickly. It might seem like cheating, but it’s a quick way to double check the spelling of your word or find an alternative to fit the story. You can also check out popular quotes on a variety of subjects.

Wikipedia is another invaluable “quickie” resource. Now let’s get this out of the way first: it’s an open to all platform, where anyone who signs up can edit an entry. This means you’ll find a lot of obscure information that won’t be in Encyclopedia Britannica–but more importantly that you can’t rely on the truth of the information you find. I use Wikipedia as a starting point, looking up a topic I think is interesting and exploring it from there. Each entry should include source material, and that’s where you’ll find the proper books to do some real research. It’s a great place to get the tip of the iceberg–but for real research, you’ll have to dig deeper. As a side note, there are wikis made for pretty well any subject you can imagine, some of which will have much more specific information that Wikipedia, so do your Googling.

One of these separate wikis is TVTropes.com. It’s a compendium of various well used tropes and ideas from all media–the site is quick to point out the difference between a trope and a cliche. This is a place where you can look up, for example, character archetypes. Or your basic plots. Or one of my favourite Sci-Fi devices, The Watson. This is the kind of site that’s worth just wandering around in. You’ll get lost for hours, but there’s so much to learn about the nature of entertainment, and how and why we enjoy it. Getting to know some popular tropes–and how to use them properly–can definitely make you a better writer.

Speaking of becoming a better writer, you can’t go wrong with studying The Elements of Style. This is the seminal grammar text from Strunk and White, and is a must-read for any writer. That website (which includes the entire text), says it best on the front page: you have to know the rules before you can effectively break them. Grammar is important for a creative writer because you want to break it occasionally, whether it’s to fit the tone, alter a character’s dialogue, or create tension. But don’t do it blindly:here’s the road map.

Another way to improve your writing is to get in touch with your audience. That means building a fan base, but also paying attention to what others are writing in the same genres as you. Goodreads is a site where you can review books you’ve read, and see how others are reviewing the same books. By browning through the stacks, as it were, you can see which authors are acclaimed for what they do–and put them on your reading list. With some careful consideration about what types of books people seem to most enjoy, you can start thinking about elements you want to bring into your own work. Now, I’m not saying you need to write for the masses–that’s not what creative writing should be about–but it’s also not wise to write something nobody wants to read in the first place.

Almost any city, province, region or country is going to have a writer’s guild somewhere. Up here, we have the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. Any writer’s guild worth it’s salt is going to be a congregation of like minded–and geographically close to you–writers who can share their craft. You’ll find writing tips, editing services, constructive feedback, contest, and publishing information. If you haven’t already, find your nearest writer’s guild and sign up!

One of my favourite online resources is Sugarsync. Cloud based storage is the Next Big Thing, and Sugarsync got in early enough that’s they’ve got a really solid business model and great software. You can try Dropbox or iCloud or the new Google Drive; they’re all the same idea with different implementations. Now I admit that once I tried Sugarsync, I haven’t gone with anyone else–but that’s because I don’t need to. This program has everything I need–large storage space, easy access to the cloud, integration with Blackberry, and excellent customer service. There’s really no reason not to use them.

I find Sugarsync to be invaluable, not only because all my writing is safely secured in the cloud, but also because I can edit my work anywhere. I’m the kind of person who gets ideas out of the blue, normally when I’m not at my home computer. Sugarsync allows me to open up a document and edit it from wherever I am, even if the computer I’m using doesn’t have the software and isn’t hooked up to my own cloud. I can just go to their site and edit from there, and it’s the same on every other computer as soon as it’s synchronized.

And no, I’m not on their payroll. I just love this company.

So there’s a bunch of links for you to try out. It’s by no means an exhaustive list–there are dozens of great resources out there for writers. Share yours in the comments!

Bonus:

National Novel Writing Month is a website that encourages users to…well, write a novel in one month. Their term is from November 1 to 30, and they’ve got a strict set of rules to follow. The idea is to challenge yourself as a writer under these time constraints–and honestly, a month is a lot of time if you plan it well. Can you write a full novel in 30 days? I haven’t tried this out yet, but am considering signing up for this year’s trial. Hope to see all you other writers there!

 

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Tools: Debrief Notes

Yesterday we focused on a way to get into the habit of writing every day–today we’ll look at another important aspect of creative writing: research.

Research is essential to creative writing. One of the first things you’re told as a writer is to “write what you know,” but even then, you should be doing research to back up your work. (And yes, this counts for fiction as well as non-fiction!)
The kind and extent of research you do will of course depend on your own style, and the content of your writing. Someone like George R. R. Martin has done an incredible amount of research to make the Song of Ice and Fire series so realistic; Shirley Jackson probably did less when writing The Lottery. But whatever your focus, it helps to be organized, and that’s where today’s tool comes in.

I came across Debrief Notes while looking for a tool to help with research, and it’s a powerful–yet simple–organizer program. It’s not necessarily meant for creative writers, but it serves that purpose well.
When you open the program, you see three panes with a couple toolbars. On the left there’s a folder tree where you can create

The basic editing panes.

new folders for each research item; directly below that is a list of which notes are in each folder; and to the right is an editing pane for the current note. It’s easy to see how well everything can be gathered in one place, and to get from one note to another quickly and easily–which is, in fact, the central philosophy behind the product.

You’re also able to create different “notebooks” for separate projects. In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see a drop down menu where you can choose your notebook. The one open in the screenshot is called Weird, and this is where I’ll keep notes for all my short stories in the weird fiction subgnere. This allows me to have notes from multiple different stories all in one place, which will help with creating a contiguous universe for my stories. I also have notebooks for various novel projects.

Another useful feature is the Daily Notepad, which opens by default when you open the program. This is a sort of general notepad where you can take notes you’ll organize later–for example, when you’re actively researching something and don’t want to move back and forth between folders in the program, you can take all your notes in this pane sort them when you’re done. The Standard and Professional versions of the program have a useful tool called Debrief, with which you can drag and drop text from the Daily Notepad into various notes for easy compilation.

The daily notepad

The program is available in three versions: Basic (which is available for free), Standard ($29.95) and Professional ($39.95). When you first download the program, you’re given a free 30 day trial, at the end of which you’ll be prompted to either stick with the Basic version or purchase a license key for another version. The difference between versions is in the features; Basic just allows you to make notes, Standard adds features like the aforementioned Debrief and Reference windows (basically allowing you to view multiple notes at once); and Professional includes password protection, reminders and to-dos, and tracking of a Reading List and Library.
The Standard version does add some good value, and I’d say it’s worth the price. The main attraction for the Professional version is the ability to keep track of the various books and periodicals you use for research–which can make it easy to go back and check on a source or quotation. So if you’re doing heavy research–say a historical novel–that would be the way to go. For most projects, though, the Basic version should do fine.

Another plus for this program is that you can get a Portable version, which can be run off a USB key. I can see this as being incredibly helpful, allowing you to take your research with you wherever you go, and to continue your research on any computer. I’ve been able to install the portable version to my Blackberry and run it from there once it’s hooked up to my computer. Because it needs a Windows environment to run, I doubt you could run the program in the native Blackberry OS, butWindows based tables and phones might be able to pull it off.

The one big drawback I see for this software is that it doesn’t appear to be supported any longer. Each time I start it up, I get a pop-up window that warns me that I’m using an older version, and that I should update it. Sadly, I have the most recent version of the program, and it’s from 2009. I don’t see any updates forthcoming, and this could also mean no support.
Fortunately, the program is simple and elegant–if you don’t mind an older looking UI–so it doesn’t really need to be updated. I could foresee an issue if the program crashes and you need tech support, but it’s a light program and I haven’t had any issues with it so far.

Keeping all your notes in one place is imperative for a writer who wants to do any amount of research. Scrivener, which we’ll get to later this week, has similar features, but I believe that Debreif does it better. Even if you’re just going with the basic package and $0 price tag, you’ll get a lot of use out of this program. Try it here, and let me know what you think!

Writer’s Tools: 750 Words.

The main screen, where you write. At the top is your “streak.” The number of words is tracked on the bottom of the page.

So you’re a writer, and you want to get published. It’s a big scary process, but it’s getting easier–especially with the advent of e-publishing. But before you polish off your manuscript and start selling, you have to write it. This week I’ll introduce some tools that I’ve found helpful in my own process, and I hope you’ll find some use out of them too.

The first–and absolutely the most important–thing you need to do as a writer is just sit down and write. I put my writing on hold for many years because I kept telling myself I didn’t have time, was out of ideas, didn’t want to go through the editing process…I was good at making excuses. There’s always a distraction, and it’s indisputably easier to not write than it is to produce something.

If you’re serious about writing, though, you just have to do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have time; make the time. Just write something every day, stream of consciousness style, and eventually your talent will start to hone itself. It’s still a lot of work getting

The tone of your entry.

everything perfect, but it’s a start–and once you get into the habit, it gets a lot easier to keep doing it.

That’s where today’s tool come in. 750 Words is a website that encourages you to write (you guessed it) 750 words each and every day. It’s the equivalent of three pages of writing, and only takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour, depending on how fast or distracted you are. It’s the brainchild of Buster Benson, who said he got the idea from a book called The Artist’s Way, in which the above idea–writing three pages a day–is outlined. It’s a simple concept, but I can attest that it’s a powerful one. In my first two days on the site, I bashed out half a short story that’s been knocking around in my head for weeks, not knowing how to be written. Between the two days, it took 35 minutes. Now, of course, this is raw unedited text, but that’s the point: just getting it out as a means of inspiring your creativity.

But it doesn’t stop there. The website also compiles a lot of data about your writing. The more you write, the better this data

Word usage.

is, and it can reveal some surprising results. It tracks how fast you type, of course, and how long it took you to get to 750 words (word count is tracked in real time); but it also tracks your distractions, compiles a graph showing your words per minute over time, and shows the total words you’ve typed over your lifetime on the site.

Benson also uses some clever algorithms to track things like the mood and tone of your writing (by picking up on keywords), frequency of word usage (like um, adverbs, and quantifiers), and what tense (past, present, future) you’re writing in. You can check your results daily and see how they change over time, and compare them to how the world (i.e. the 750words community at large) does the same things.

This might seem like just some fun information, but for a writer, this kind of data can be invaluable. Do you use certain words too much in your writing? Are you mixing tenses accidentally? Are you trying to write a story one way, but the tone comes out all wrong? Depending on what you write each day and how you interpret the data, you can get a pretty clear idea of how you write–from an objective viewpoint.

The site also tracks how often you write, since the object is to write every day, and that it offers a point

Tenses and commonly used words.

system by means of rewarding your contribution. This is then compared against the world as well, offering an air of competitiveness that some will find motivating.

I should note again that this site isn’t meant to be a place where you churn out excellent work. It’s going to be rough-but rough work can be edited. I’ve taken to copying all the text I type once I finish, and pasting it into a raw word file. This way I can go back to it (the site doesn’t save your text day to day) and get a finished story out of it, or even just revisit the writing. Or paste it into Scrivener for some organizing–but we’ll get to that tool later this week.

Benson runs this site out of his own pocket, and doesn’t charge for you to become a member. You can, however, donate to the cause by going here and scrolling down. On the left there’s a drop down menu where you can choose how much to contribute via PayPal–cleverly referred to as buying a cup of coffee–or you can contribute monthly. It’s certainly worth it to keep this service free for all.

In the end, what we have here is a tool to get you started. Even accomplished writers will find this useful, if anything as a motivator to keep at it daily. The more you write, the better you’ll write, and this is a simple and effective way to get into the habit. Definitely check it out.

A change in Title

So I started this blog with the title “Eat Paper, Drunk Ink.” It’s a quote from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, where a character uses this phrase to describe literacy. It was also a placeholder, because I don’t really like it and it’s obscure.

The new title is also obscure, but you know right away (I hope, given the content of the blog) what it means. It’s from an English poem:

Whence did the wond’rous mystic art arise

Of painting speech, and speaking to the eyes?

That we, by tracing magic lines, are taught

How both to colour and embody thought?

~Breboeuf

So there we have it. I think that perfectly demonstrates the power of the written word, so we’re going to go with that.

eBooks and You, Part 2.

One of the things I’d like to do with this blog is offer book reviews. I read a lot, and I love sharing books–and I hope this will be a way to show off some lesser known titles, as well as books by some indie authors who are several steps of where I am now. To get started, I’ll focus on some quick notes on some books I’ve recently read.

All of these are available through the Kobo store (which I’ve linked to), and other eBook retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Ice Cracker 2 (And Other Stories) by Lindsay Buroker is an excellent introduction to her Emperor’s Edge series (the first book of which is offered for free at her website). Amaranthe is a cunning heroine on the run from the Empire, having been wrongly accused of crimes against the throne. With the help of master assassin Sicarius, she wants to clear their names.

To be honest, I’ve only read the title story of this collection so far, but am instantly invested in these characters. I especially like Amaranthe, a great leader who doesn’t yet realize the impact she has on people, or realize that she has the potential to change the world. I’m looking forward to diving into the entire series.

Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella  by Mira Grant. If you haven’t read the Newsflesh books–about zombies unleashed in a world where bloggers are the news, the entertainment, and the heroes–do yourself a favour and go get them now. Zombie stories are a dime a dozen, but Grant has managed to make them fresh and exciting–not to mention based in some brilliant and accurate science. This novella was released in 2011, but reading it before the trilogy will put everything into perspective–though there are also lots of throwbacks to the books one wouldn’t understand until having read the trilogy.

It’s a short but very finely woven story that focuses much less on the horror of a zombie apocalypse, and more on the almost casual coincidence that makes t come to bear. It’s also very heartfelt and moving–especially the scenes with the dog. Definately a must–and keep an eye out for Grant, she’s a definite up and comer.

The Science Fiction Megapack by various authors. There are actually a lot of “megapacks” out there–just go to your favourite eBook store and search for them. There’s one for vampires, horror stories, the Cthulhu Mythos (a personal favourite), westerns, detective stories…and more. Best of all, they’re all only $0.95!

I picked the Sci-Fi one here because I’m partial to classic science fiction stories. Across the four megapacks they offer, you’ll find stories by Issac Asimov, Ben Bova, Phillip K Dick, Murray Leinster, and dozens more. How can you pass that up for a buck?

Siddhartha: The Prince who Became Buddha by Hermann Hesse. This has been one of my favourite books for years. It’s not as short as the others in this list, but I wanted to include it because it’s just such a great book–and the Kobo store offers an epub for free!

This is the story, obviously, of the man who would become The Buddha. For those who don’t know about Buddhism, the Buddha wasn’t, and never has been, considered a deity. He was just a man who came to some startling revelations about the disparities in his life, and strove to become a better person. Struggling between hedonism and strict asceticism, he finds enlightenment in neither, but keeps pursuing it. It’s a breathtaking book.

Don’t Eat Cat: by Jess Walter. This short story is ostensibly about zombies (see a theme?) But really, like any good speculative fiction, the horror is only a convenient frame to hold a great human story. Owen has just received some bad news, and it’s gotten to him harder than he’d want to admit. Trying to come to terms with it, he seeks out his girlfriend–who left him years before after becoming addicted to a party drug that literally turned her into a zombie.

The first few pages read like a tongue-in-cheek parody of the very concept of a zombie thriller, but it quickly turns into one of the most touching short stories I’ve read in recent years (and like I said, I read a lot). Again, for only a dollar, you really can’t go wrong with this one.

And there you have it. Not the most in depth (or, admittedly, objective) reviews, but there you go. If you’ve been reading eBooks for years, you may have already seen some of these. If you’re new to this whole thing, these are great introductions…and cheap, too.

But, as LeVar himself would say…you don’t have to take my word for it!

And once again, stay tuned next week for five days of Writer’s Tools!

eBooks and You!

I’ve done a lot of thinking over the past few days since I started this blog about how often I’ll be posting. Some blogs post daily, some once in a while. I haven’t posted in my other blog–Anything But Falafels–in a while, but am totally getting to it.

For this one…I think it’s important to post regularly in an effort to develop my audience–and to keep myself accountable and motivated. So I’m going to try to post daily, even if it’s something quick. Like today.

When eBooks first became a thing, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. I’m one of those guys who loves spending time in bookstores and libraries. Ask my wife; we go in, I won’t come out for hours. I love the smell of books, I love the way books feel, I love the heft of them in my hands. For probably close to two decades, I haven’t left the house without a book.

So my first thought–shared by many, I’m sure–about eBooks was “why on earth would you want to carry another electronic gizmo in place of an honest to goodness book?” And for years, I stubbornly refused to get into the tech.

But it started creeping under my skin. It started with .pdf files and smartphones. I work at a job that requires extensive knowledge of certain laws and policies pertaining to liquor service, and have the Tome itself on a bookshelf in my office. When I heard I could get it on my phone–and search for text, highlight text, and save changes, all on the go–I was intrigued. A phone isn’t an ideal platform for this sort of thing, but it showed me the potential–and it’s a slippery slope from there. A year or so later, I bought my first Kobo, and was an instant convert. I still read “real books,” but the convenience of having them all with me at once is indispensable.

You see, I’m a collector of books–between digital and hard copies, probably over 500 and counting. I love to research things, so having a digital library at my fingertips is a great idea. Being able to compare translations of the Tao te Ching or highlight passages in books that give me ideas for stories or other things to research,  or making notes within the text to draw comparisons from one text to another; all of this is very exciting to me. Time was I could only do this at the library, having requisitioned a bank of desks to myself, piled to the rafters with books, spending eight or ten hours by myself in a dusty corner. Now it’s all in the palm of my hand.

Another thing I love about Kobo is that it’s easy to explore. Browsing is one of my favourite bookstore or library activities; you never know what you’ll find by scouring the racks. Online it’s different; you have to have a place to start, and often you won’t get too much further from where you already are. But algorithms for suggesting new books are improving. With the option to Preview books from the Kobo store, you can even try out dozens of titles for fee and only buy the ones that interest you…kind of like checking them out of the library.

The technology isn’t perfect. pdf files don’t display very well on my Kobo. Sometimes the pages don’t turn, or turn more than I intend. The Preview feature is sometimes useless, because the only pages previewed end up being the copyright and Table of Contents. But the technology is growing fast–and so is the base of readers using it, not to mention the huge number of people writing specifically for the eBook market. Which is exactly why I’m here, isn’t it?

So what are your experiences and opinions on eBooks? Hurting the publishing industry? The next new fad, only to fade? Wave of the future, one step away from downloading text directly to our brain (how cool will that be)?

Next week we’re going to kick off a feature: Writer’s Tools. I’m going to try to post five articles, each featuring a different tool that writers can use to hone their craft. Because, after all, you can’t publish anything if you have nothing to publish. Stay tuned, and have a great weekend!

So, what now?

So, I’ve got a blog, a twitter handle, a fist full of unpublished work, and a vague idea of where to begin my adventure in the world of e-publishing. Where do I start?

Well, the first thing I thought I needed to do is figure out exactly what I wanted to get out of this. When I started writing, way back in junior high school, I had grand visions of becoming a world class author, selling millions of books and gathering a rabid fan base. I was going to be rich and famous.

Any writer who’s reading this will know just how unrealistic that vision was. It’s not that you can’t make a comfortable living as a writer, it’s that not many people do–and if that’s the end game, you’re probably not writing for the right reason. As I matured, I realized that fame and fortune wasn’t something I wanted at all; hell, I’d be happy if a few people bought my work and I was able to glean a second income from it. But then life happened, and the whole idea fell to the back burner.

Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, the landscape has changed, and it’s a whole lot easier to get your work out there. There are dozens of success stories around the internet about people who just wanted to write–and discovered whole fan bases waiting for them.

This seems like a good place to start. Just write. To what end? I don’t want to be rich, I’m not dying to get on the New York Times Best Seller’s list. I won’t turn that down, of course, but that’s not why I’m here. I just want to write, and to share my ideas and stories with people. Writing is cool. It’s creative. It’s fun.

The first thing to do is test the waters. I’m in the midst of compiling a couple of projects which I intend to offer online through the Kobo Store, and from there, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks Stores. I think it’s important to jump in with both feet and start to build an audience–which will be helped with Twitter and the blog as well. I’m editing these small projects–a poetry chapbook and some children’s stories–and am working on a novella, each of which will either be offered for free, or for $0.95. And we’ll go from there.

Down the line, I have a collection of short stories in the works, and am going to re-tackle the giant novel/series/epic I’ve been wanting to write for many years. It’s had several failed attempts and many unfinished drafts, but with a goal in sight–i.e. publishing as an ebook–hopefully I’ll be able to actually complete it.

The second task item is gathering a system of resources. I’m starting to network with other indie writers, reaching out for advice to learn from those who have tread this path before me. Here’s a blog that I’ve already found tremendously useful. Lindsay Buroker started the e-publishing process around 18 months ago, and has been quite successful. You can find her first novel–Emperor’s Edge–on the Kobo store, where she’s put it up for free. I’ll talk more about Lindsay in an upcoming post.

Another blogger recently posted about why a writer should or shouldn’t blog. It’s an interesting discussion: should a writer blog for their target audience (readers), for other writers in order to network, or both? The link discusses it much better than I can summarize it, but it’s something interesting for me to think about as I set off on this venture.

Another fantastic resource I’ve found out about is Scrivener. It’s a word processor aimed at helping writers–fiction and non-fiction–organize their manuscripts. I’ve only been using it for a couple days with the free trial they offer on their website, but I’m impressed. It’s a robust program that does more than just collect your thoughts, and I could see how it would prove invaluable.

So that’s where I’m at. Now the real work begins.

Edit: A friend of mine just pointed out another useful tool: 750 Words.com. It’s important for a writer to write daily, and this site will not only give you an excuse to do so in a stream of consciousness style, it tracks how many words you write each session and saves it for you, all while keeping it private. I just took a half hour to try it out, and ended up bashing out the beginning of a new story that’s been tickling my brain for the past week or so. Off to a running start!

 

Here be dragons?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and always dreamed of being published–books stocked in stores and libraries across the country. I wrote incessantly, and have binders filled with thousands of hand-written pages to show for it.

But I never published. Why?
Well, simply put, I never did the hard work of being a writer. Writing a story is one thing–getting it into print is a whole different story. There are agents to deal with, editors to fight with, publishers to barter with…it all seemed to suck the life out of writing for me. At heart, I just want to tell and share stories.

Fast forward to adulthood: married with a full time job and a bright future–who has the time to write, let alone go through the rigmarole of publishing? At least, that’s what I told myself. So I stopped writing for a while–a long time, actually. Long enough that I forgot how great it feels to create something from scratch.

And now, the landscape is changing. Libraries are becoming more digital. Wikipedia is replacing (sigh) Encyclopedia Britannica and actual sit-down-and-study research. Buying books online is generally at least 30%  cheaper than going to a brick and mortar bookstore and browsing. And, eBooks are a thing.

I hesitated to jump on the eBook bandwagon because I love reading, and love holding a book in my hands. But am I ever a convert! (That’s a subject for another post.) And, I’m starting to realize how easy electronic media is making it for artists to reach a wide audience. To hear the internet tell it, you can bash out a novel, edit in Word, publish it online and have people line up to buy it–all in a matter of weeks, or shorter. Quality aside for such a quick turnaround, publishing is getting easier and easier.

So it’s time for this writer/budding author to jump in with both feet. I have a lot of unfinished manuscripts, half-developed story ideas, and one so-detailed-it’s-unweildy project on the go. What’s there to hold me back?

Nothing. So here I am, venturing into the world of self-publishing. To what end? We’ll have to see. While eBook publishing has become a lot simpler, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’ll have to stumble my way through it. Hopefully this blog will not only serve to help publicize my work, but also to help other new writers discover this new world.This blog will be part how-to, part random musing, and part blood sweat and tears.

Should be fun!