Lessons from Self Publishing

Lessons from Self Publishing

When A Fine Line: Herrick’s Tale was released, it was done as a self-published book through CreateSpace.  Boy, was that a crazy journey, let me tell you!

The one thing I’ve learned in this process is that the most valuable thing I ever taught myself was learning how to use Microsoft Word.  When you decide to self-pub, you will need to know how to do your own formatting to bring the double spaced 8 1/2 by 11 page into a single spaced document of your own industry sized choice. Took me 8 hours just to do the physical book, and another two for the ebook.

And I thought that the editing was the hard part!

But the best thing is that now that I know what I’m doing, next time the formatting should hopefully only take half the time.  This article was the most helpful thing I had to guide me along the way.  Here are a few things you can do to help yourself before you set about starting your own formatting:

– decide what size you want your manuscript to be.  You can do this before you upload the file to your self-pub platform, or hopefully see if they will do the resizing of your current doc for you.  Make sure you do these first though.

– remove all tabs.  Your first line indent should be done through paragraph formatting, not tabs.  Tabs will only mess your pages up.

– remove all double spaces after periods in your sentences.  Word can do this for you!  Just do a find with the double space, and replace it with a single space.  this will save you pages later and make it look better.

– switch your documents from being double spaced to single spaced.  Real books are single spaced.  Double spacing is industry for us to be able to send it off to publishing houses so that they can write all over it with red ink.  Since you’re not sending it out, set it back to single spaced.

– any clip-art or graphics must be bigger than 300 dpi or it will get error messages.  This is the program warning you to keep from having the images get pixilized.  If you don’t know how to do it on your own, ask a friend who knows Photoshop to help you with it.

– use section breaks at the end of each chapter and start your page numbers per sections. This will allow you to be able to blank out page numbers on blank pages.

– when you think you’re done, order the physical proof of your book before you hit the button that puts your book up for sale.  When you get it, give it to someone you know and have them flip through it and check all the formatting: page numbers, chapter headings, etc. Only when someone who isn’t looking at your baby with your eyes says it’s ready to go, then you can hit that button and celebrate.


I hope these hints help you along on your way to getting your own work up for sale.  Good Luck!

A Fine Line – PUBLISHED!

A Fine Line – PUBLISHED!

As of August 17th, A Fine Line: Herrick’s Tale has been published using the CreateSpace self-publishing platform! Feel free to pick it up either as a physical book or an ebook on Kindle.

Let me know when you get your copy and finish it.  Tell me what you thought – things you liked, as well as things you wish I could have done better.

And please, like it or not, leave me a review up on Amazon.

Enjoy, and happy reading!


Social Media 101: Facebook

Social Media 101: Facebook

As of the end of July, 2012, Facebook has over 955 Million users across the globe.  When you look at it in world numbers, that means that 1 out of 7 people in the world are using Facebook in some way.  As a professional, not having a Facebook page is a missed opportunity to promote yourself.

Today’s post is all about how to start using Facebook, the difference between a profile and a page, and how to use a page to start interacting with other users to build that fanbase who will in turn start purchasing your work.

It’s a time consuming job, but if you can learn the basics, it will give you a good start to having a career and people begging you for more.

Click Here to read the rest, and enjoy!


Social Media 101: Facebook

Social Media 101: Basics

After my successful lecture at DragonCon about using Social Media as a creative person, I am now bringing my lecture notes to my website so that you can learn about using social media even if you were unable to attend the lecture.

Today, we’re starting off the with basic rules of using Social Media so that no matter what sites you decide to base your marketing strategies on, you know some very easy and basic guidelines on what you should, and shouldn’t do.

The next installments will break down some of the major sites, so see you next time when I take on the biggest of them all: Facebook.


Preview- Anton Child of Hermes

Preview- Anton Child of Hermes

As a special treat, I’ve put up a sneak peak to my YA novel Anton: Child of Hermes.

Instead of posting the first chapter, I decided to drop you right into the beginning of one of the conflicts that Anton has to face in his life.  At this point of the story, he is now 13 years old and has lived among the centaurs since he was 8.

The last five years of his life have been spent with him as the sole human in a world that hates his kind from the stories that have been passed down from generation to generation about the human race.  Being faced with a ritual that he must go through to prove his worth to the tribes, Anton will risk his life to prove that he is more than what they believe.

This challenge that Anton faces with the centaurs is very important to the book, and it mirrors the quest that his entire life will become to the eyes of the Gods.  That is, of course, if he lives through it.

Enjoy, and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Swordfighting 101: Frying Pans

Swordfighting 101: Frying Pans

One of the very first weapons that I learned in my combat classes in college was how to wield a frying pan.  It was dubbed “clown fighting” because of the ridiculousness you feel using a frying pan as a weapon.  However, any chef worth their weight in hummus can tell you just how deadly these seemingly useless pans can be.

Depending on what kind of pan your character happens to grab in their kitchen while being attacked will greatly depend on what that pan can do.  We’ll look at three specific sizes: the “one egg” pan, then normal skillet, and the wok.

First, start with the size and weight of the pan.  A lot of this will also depend on the type of pan you have.  Cast iron pans can cause a lot more weight damage, but they will also be a lot heavier to wield.  The newer Teflon pans will be lighter, but they will also break easily.  You will also need to look at the handle.  Is it welded on, or have a tiny screw that keeps it in place?  Ones that are screwed on will break off on a solid hit to someone, whereas welded ones have a bit more resistance.

Next, you will want to look at the size of the base of the frying pan.  This is going to be your impact area.  The wider the base, the more of the body it can hit.  The larger the pan is will also make it a bit less wind-resistant when swinging – stupid physics.  Let’s say you’re aiming for the head – the “one egg” one will probably break a jaw with a good swing because it will be able to impact all your energy into a small area.  The wok and regular pan will hit the entire face, but the impact will also spread over it.  This will more than likely  cause a headache with a regular pan, but could rattle the brain and knock out the victim on a cast iron pan.

You can also “stab” with a frying pan.  Holding onto the handle of a regular pan and thrust into the stomach of the attacker can knock the wind out of them (and then follow up with an uppercut of the pan to their chin to knock their head backwards and out cold!).  This won’t work as well with a “one egg” as it’s a smaller circumference around the pan, however it is better suited for swinging at hands to disarm knives.

The wok is awkward for stabbing motions as the top of the wok is wider than the base and will lose the force from the handle due to the shape of it.   Woks are great, though, for using it’s special bowl-like design to cup a shoulder or a head to make the person move and throw them off balance.

Never use the handle of a frying pan as a weapon.  They are fragile and it is awkward to hold onto the pan side and use it to fight.

There are other things that you can add to a fight scene using a frying pan in a kitchen fight:

Heat: having the pan sitting on the stove waiting to be used would have the base of the pan nice and hot. Remember that some pans have a spiral design on the bottom, so if they get hit with that on flesh, it will leave behind a burn in the design.

Cooking: was the person already cooking something?  They can fling the food at the person attacking them, and then fight with a hot pan.  Bonus if there is hot oil or grease in the pan – that could end the fight right there.

Also, remember the realism for frying pan scenes: a regular frying pan will only last a few good hits before it’s dented or the handle breaks. If it’s a colored pan, chances are that the color has flaked off.  Also, ones that are treated to be non-stick have a coating that will break off into white flakes when dented as well.  The wielder’s arm will get tired fast swinging around a cast iron pan if they are not used to using their arm muscles for prolonged periods of time.

The best advice I can give on choosing the weapon for your character comes down to have you have in your house so that you can understand your weapon as your character uses it. Frying pans can be a fun weapon to wield in any story, as long as you keep the believability of it to the scene.  Enjoy finding a way to bring this into your next novel!


Image from Tangled © Walt Disney Pictures.

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