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Using CreateSpace to Publish on Amazon – One Pitfall

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Writing a Book | Comments Off on Using CreateSpace to Publish on Amazon – One Pitfall

Using CreateSpace to Publish on Amazon – One Pitfall

CreateSpace and Amazon   Using CreateSpace to publish my books and those of my clients changed my life. Most people I’ve met have at least one book in them. Seriously! Every single person I’ve met and talked to has an interesting life to talk about, a career, an occupation, a life experience, a hobby, an interest that has consumed them 100% during a portion of the time they’ve been alive. It’s one of the things they always talk about, it’s what they dream about, it’s what they think about when they want to daydream. I’m often asked if this is true, then why don’t more “average” people write books? That’s the topic for a different blog posting. Today’s topic is all about the freedom the average person has to publish their own material. That’s why CreateSpace and Amazon are the best friends of the new authors of today. Yes, you still have to get the book written. Either you write it, or you have someone help you write it. If you write it, be sure to get someone else to edit it to correct the myriad small errors that abound in self-published efforts. The big publishing companies have done an amazing job of putting out nearly perfect books for years, after all, they used to have large numbers of editors and proofreaders to ensure that. More and more “big publisher” books, however, are coming out with proofreading errors…and it’s because their budgets are a lot tighter. So, do yourself a favor and be sure to get that book edited. Mistake I Made When Using CreateSpace I have several clients who I have helped to shepherd their books onto the world stage through CreateSpace and Amazon. When they make changes to either the cover or the interior of their book, I still help them with those changes. Today, I discovered that I forgot to check on one client’s book. He asked me to update the cover as he had gotten an endorsement from an organization to promote his book. I uploaded the new cover and then promptly forgot about it. Then when I was working on updating my Welcome page on my website, I discovered that his book was only available through third party sellers and was going for $155.74 per book! His book was originally priced $14.99. But, because I’d uploaded the new cover, CreateSpace puts a hold on the book until you order a proof copy or approve the cover. I neglected that final step and all of a sudden, his book was no longer available through Amazon. Yikes! It’s a good reminder that when you self-publish, you still have to make sure to check and recheck your book(s), verify that any changes have been effected, AND approved so that your material remains available to the public. This can be one of the difficult components of self-publishing, but in the end it’s worth it. Why? Because you have your book published. And not everyone can say that. They’re still dreaming about writing that book they have inside...

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Being Truthful When Writing

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in Memoir, Personal Story, Writing a Book, Writing in General | Comments Off on Being Truthful When Writing

Writing our truth is both easy and yet the most difficult thing in the world for us to do! The idea of writing “truth” changes depending on our purpose. If we’re writing “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…so help you…” well, then, it’s going to be sometimes interesting, but most of the time boring. When we write about our memories and the remembrances of things that were important to us, we’re writing OUR truth, the truth that resonated with us at the time, the truth that helped us to see the world in a different light, the truth that helped us to know ourselves. I’ve been a researcher for far more years than I’d care to admit…and when I get into that mode, I find myself struggling to take even one more damn step, because I’ve found so many facts and figures to either support or deny my purpose that I find I can no longer breathe. If I’m writing a medical piece that not only insists on the absolute truth, but the lives of people depend on it…I have to continue. But when you’re looking to understand yourself, your life, your world…then skipping over the boring parts is not only how to continue on your quest, but absolutely necessary! People today don’t stay connected as long as they used to unless you can retain their interest…and trust me, they only want to know the INTERESTING parts! I work with memoir clients all the time, and sometimes they get bogged down in the minutiae of their lives, but my job is to make sure they don’t lose their reader. So here’s my two cents: If what you’re writing is boring to you… …IT WILL BE BORING TO YOUR READER!!!! So, find the interesting parts, the sad parts, the happy parts, the very humorous parts and include those, because that is what will keep your reader reading. To exclude boring parts is part of writing and editing. It’s not being untruthful. If someone were to contact you and say, “So tell me the WHOLE story, you would.” But they’re not going to do that. People have a very limited amount of time to spend and if you can keep them connected during the time they allow you…you’ve made a connection that you don’t want to...

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The Road to Success – Paved with Self-Care and Self-Love

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in Time Management | Comments Off on The Road to Success – Paved with Self-Care and Self-Love

The Road to Success – Paved with Self-Care and Self-Love

What Weight Loss and Writing Success Have in Common I just read an article about a woman who managed to lose over 100 pounds over the course of a year and a half. She said she didn’t really add much exercise to her routine and she didn’t diet. So how did she succeed? I continued to read about her journey and it finally hit me. She began to take time to take care of herself. She added the practice of “brushing” before her daily shower…I’ve never done this. Some days, I hardly have time for that shower. The Pajama Club When I first started working from home, I loved laughing with my other friends who were also working from home. We called ourselves “The Pajama Club” because…well…we always wore pajamas. I worked hard. Ask my friends and family, there were days when it seemed like I was ALWAYS working. And I was pretty successful. But it was as if there were some kind of wall that prevented me from achieving even greater success. One day, I had a video-conference with my sister who also works from home many states away. I remarked at how nice she looked. Actually, I teased her about getting primped up just for a call with me. “I didn’t do it for you,” she said. “I learned a long time ago that I have to get up, showered, and dressed as if I’m going to work so that I can be ready for anything that comes my way.” Was that the difference? Merely thinking I was working wasn’t enough? I know, some of you won’t agree with me, and there is a part of me who still resists that theory. But when I read about the woman who had such stellar weight loss, I had to re-visit that conversation I had with my sister.  Perhaps it is more than just being ready for anything that comes my way. Perhaps, instead, I need to treat myself as if I matter.   Working Alone People who work alone (all you writers out there) often don’t get a lot of encouragement through the day. My husband will come home and tell me about a rough meeting he had and I commiserate, but then when he shares some of the IM’s he shared with his colleagues during the meeting, the level of my sympathy wanes…he had support during that time. What happens when my last proposal got rejected? I told Jake, and he looked at me with great sympathy, then licked my hand and curled up on the floor at my feet. How about when my greatest bit of writing ever gets swallowed up in the innards of a computer that usually seems friendly, but from time to time has to eat something important. When we work alone for a good part of our professional life, the way we view ourselves, the way we treat ourselves becomes very important! Yes, even those of you out there who say, “But my writing time is precious!” Of course it is! But so are you. Without a little self-love, self-care what you produce might be empty, trite, unusable. I want to be the best at what I do, and if I don’t take care of myself…that isn’t going to happen.   Adding...

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Is a Journal a Good Start on Memoir Writing?

Posted by on Sep 10, 2013 in Memoir, Personal Story, Writing a Book | Comments Off on Is a Journal a Good Start on Memoir Writing?

Is a Journal a Good Start on Memoir Writing?

So you journal. Or you write a diary. Or you blog daily, or several times a week about things that mean something to you. I recently read a blog written by a mother who struggles with getting appropriate help for her teenage autistic daughter.  Most of her posts are a means of venting, of trying to get national attention for her dilemma, but also a place to just sound off about things. And I’ve read plenty of articles about how you can turn your blog into a book. I’ve even written one on this blog here. And you can…certainly.  But, unless you have already planned/plotted your blog out for a year or more (which most blog writers don’t) you won’t have the components you need in a memoir. You will have a book, but not a memoir. Memoirs are stories about a slice of life. They have a theme or multiple themes. They use all the components that are critical to the craft of writing, including knowledge about character development, writing scenes, transitioning from one part to the next, an overall story arc, compelling description, use of sensory details that keep the reader involved and interested. Journals and diaries are often emotionally laden, very much “in the moment” of some sort of emotional distress. You’re writing for an audience of one. Yourself. And you aren’t interested in always including character development or sensory details to keep people reading. You already know the whole story, it’s yours after all. For journaling purposes there is no need of good dialogue, scene and sequel transitions. No, instead you are fully engaged in the feelings that are in the forefront of your mind. Can your journals help you with your memoir writing? Certainly! But, don’t think that all you have to do is put your journals in printed form and suddenly you have a marketable memoir. It doesn’t work quite that...

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Making a New Mexico Red Chile Ristra

Posted by on Sep 7, 2013 in Memoir, Personal Story | Comments Off on Making a New Mexico Red Chile Ristra

Making a New Mexico Red Chile Ristra

I’m writing a foodie memoir of my life in New Mexico, and I wanted to give you just a little sneak peek into one of the topics I’ll be covering. New Mexico Chile!!!!! After living there for 25 years, my husband was transferred to Phoenix, and while it is close, it’s still far enough away to yearn for that New Mexican chile. There are chile growers around the world, but there is really something about New Mexican chile that becomes a part of you. Anyone who has lived in New Mexico knows what I’m talking about!  It’s addictive! Here is a link on How to Make a New Mexico Red Chile Ristra. Oh the memories this brings back! Starting in August, green and red chiles are trucked into Albuquerque, delivered to various Farmers’ Markets around the city, and even some on the same street corner they’ve used for years.  The smell of roasting chiles has every chile afficionado sniffing the air, looking to find the best chile of the season.  You don’t buy a dozen chiles or so…you buy a couple BUSHELS or so, get them roasted, thrown into a bag for the trip home. Your eyes water all the way home with tears of pain and of love.  (Your car will smell AMAZING for weeks after this adventure!) The next few hours are spent either cleaning off the roasted skins and removing the seeds before packing chiles into quart-sized ziplock bags for freezing. OR, you can just pack the roasted chiles in bags and save the cleaning for later. I prefer this method as more of the roasted flavor seems to permeate the chiles. Either way, you can’t go wrong! My first introduction to New Mexico chile is that same as that of most people who didn’t grow up in New Mexico. I took a job in Albuquerque in 1984. My sister joined me on the first leg of the adventure, where we drove to Albuquerque in my pretty spiffy shiny new Toyota Corolla packed to the gills with the things I needed for the first week or two of my new life in New Mexico. Fortunately for me, my friend and colleague, Lisa Barron, lived in Albuquerque with her husband. She is the one who opened the door to the career opportunity, and so I stayed with her when I first traveled to the Land of Enchantment for my interview. I was offered the position and accepted it immediately. (There really is MORE to the story here, it involves a ball game, hot dogs, and a phone, but that must wait for another storytelling session!) Fortunately for me, there was an apartment available in their apartment complex. The location was perfect. The rent was manageable. I signed on the dotted line. Maureen, my sister, who was 18 at the time and looking to get out of Phoenix for the summer (and anyone who has endured a Phoenix summer understands why) accompanied me to Albuquerque. She stayed in my apartment, walked to the sister apartment where there was a pool every day while I was at work, and was disgusted with the afternoon rain/clouds that arrived every afternoon. Personally, I loved it! My parents arrived the following weekend with a small U-Haul filled with my furniture (waterbed, dressers, and...

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The Killing of Sushmita Banerjee – The Importance of Telling Your Story

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Memoir, Personal Story | Comments Off on The Killing of Sushmita Banerjee – The Importance of Telling Your Story

The Killing of Sushmita Banerjee – The Importance of Telling Your Story

I live in America and most days my biggest concerns are making sure all are off to school or work before I begin my day of wrestling with words. Today I was saddened because I heard of yesterday’s murder of Sushmita Banerjee, an Indian woman who was executed by the Taliban. It isn’t known for certain that she was targeted because of the memoir she wrote (published in 1997 and then made into a movie in 2003), or if her execution was triggered by something else. This story brings to mind that not everyone lives a relatively easy life, and her story put many of my pressing concerns into perspective. I’m not likely to be executed for my words or my beliefs. Banerjee’s memoir, A Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife, covers her marriage to Jaanbaz in India against the approval of her parents because he was Muslim while she was Hindu. After her move to Afghanistan, life turned into a bitter existence as the Taliban increased their rule over the country, especially the increasingly strict restrictions placed on women. Starting in 1994: Women were forced to wear head-to-to burqas. Women were banned from working. Girls were no longer allowed to attend school. Medical care for women deteriorated as male doctors were only allowed to examine women fully clothed. Banerjee tried many times to escape from Afghanistan to get away from the Taliban rule and was finally successful in August 1995. However, an execution order was placed on her for her efforts to escape. Was Banerjee finally executed yesterday for trying to leave Afghanistan?  If so, why did it take 17 years? Was she executed for bringing the horrors of life as a woman under Taliban rule to light in her memoir? Or, is there something else to the story? So far, I haven’t been able to get my hands on her book, but the DVD of her story is available on Amazon and other retailers.  Do those who watch it realize that it is a true story? Or are they simply entertained, believing it to be just another “story” from the movie moguls seeking to entertain the masses? I’m infinitely saddened by the death of Sushmita Banerjee. But I’m even more determined now to pursue the dream of telling personal story for everyone.  While most of us don’t live under Taliban rule, we do have our stories to tell. By sharing our stories, we become more globally aware of the likenesses and differences we share with humanity around the world. Is it OK to just ignore the plight of women in Afghanistan just because your biggest concern today is something far less frightening than being ruled by the Taliban? While I cannot do anything that make a BIG change in the lives of women in the Middle East, I can no longer put my head in the sand and believe that it doesn’t affect me. Everything that happens in the world impacts us. Share these stories with your children, your friends, your neighbors. Becoming aware of world events connects us on a global scale, and sharing our stories bring awareness to injustice as well as hope to those who dream of escaping their nightmares.  ...

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More about What Memoir Is and Is Not

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Memoir | Comments Off on More about What Memoir Is and Is Not

More about What Memoir Is and Is Not

Let’s do a little clarification about memoir.  While it certainly is your personal story, you have to make choices about what to include and what to leave out. If you’re not sure about what should be included and what should be left out, you might want to check out a new workbook that is designed to help anyone prepare for writing their memoir, Journey of Memoir. In Linda Joy Myers’ workbook Journey of Memoir she paints a very clear picture of exactly what memoir is and is not: A memoir is a story with structure, a theme, and a reason for a reader to be engaged. A memoir draws upon the skills and tools of fiction in presenting a story—with scenes, dialogue, sensual details, and the ability to create a world for the reader. A memoir is not a journal. In a journal, your personal writing is without structure and written to be kept private. A memoir is written for an audience to read.A memoir has an overarching message that a reader is left with, the reason for the book. A memoir is focused on a topic or theme. This list of what a memoir is and is not helps you as a writer to determine exactly how to portray your personal story for your reader. We often get caught up in the fact that we’re writing our life story, and feel that we have to include absolutely everything that ever happened to us, beginning with our birth and recreating every step we have ever taken, “and then, and then, and then…” Because memoir draws on the skills and tools of fiction to create and craft the story, the questions you have to ask yourself as a writer is this, “How will this event or part of my life help to move the story forward? Does it illustrate or illuminate my overall theme? If so, put it in. If it is just an amusing anecdote or a personal favorite experience, save it for sharing with a group of friends or family at your next gathering.” Every human being is emotionally attached to their story, their experiences. When crafting your memoir, your job is to sift through all of those experiences to see which of them your readers need to know about in order to understand your story by moving the plot forward. Your memoir is unique to you. No one in the world can tell your story the way you would. For those people out there who worry that their “story idea” might be stolen, this is comforting!  More importantly, your story is told from the “I” perspective and how you understand that experience to have affected your life. Someone else might remember an event differently. That’s because they experienced the same event and remembered things differently because it was filtered through their life experiences. Does this mean your version isn’t true? Absolutely not. Your version is true for you and that is the position you take when writing your...

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Is My Story REALLY Original?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Personal Story | Comments Off on Is My Story REALLY Original?

Is My Story REALLY Original?

As I talk to my clients, they all begin thinking that they are the only ones who have ever struggled in their lives. Then, as we continue to discuss their project, they being to have doubts. They ask me questions. “Is this idea really unique?” “Am I truly different?” “Who will find my story interesting or moving?” The real truth is that I can’t answer those questions. I am not the world. However, I have talked with so very many people, and universally, people want to tell their story. It doesn’t matter how similar it is to someone else’s story. What matters is that their story is told! Once a story is told, the result or consequences are out of your hands. Really! Story is designed to reach deep inside the heart and soul of others, to communicate with them on a level far deeper than you originally intended.  And in doing so, you may end up baring far more of your soul than you ever intended to bare. But that’s the beauty of sharing your story! For when we bare our soul, we become human in the eyes of others. We can be that example someone needs to see before they are ready to make the change in their lives they need to make.  The “once upon a time” phrase that virtually lulls us into a hypnotic state to become aware of all the possibilities available to us in this life is the very key to our existence. For when we decide to “be” we are choosing to be part of the human condition, part of the human race, complete with its downfalls, foibles, and failings. So the question you asked, “Is my story really original?” The answer is, “Yes!” An absolutely resounding, echoing, “YES!” Your story is part of that which is uniquely you! Without it, you would be one of the vast numbers amidst the rabble of people clamoring to be heard. Because you chose to be heard, you have made your story unique. And your unique story is what will change the life of perhaps one single soul out there in the universe who needed to hear it. Isn’t that enough?...

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When is it “Memoir” and When is it Just Your Story?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2013 in Memoir | Comments Off on When is it “Memoir” and When is it Just Your Story?

When is it “Memoir” and When is it Just Your Story?

There are any number of books and articles out there talking about writing memoir. And I am a very strong advocate of that. I’m also a strong advocate of your “story” and using it Amber Lea Starfire wrote a wonderful posting on the difference between memoir and personal essay, Personal Essay and Memoir – What’s the Difference? and her conclusion is that they are very similar…similar enough to be indistinguishable from one another.  She makes reference to Sharon Lippincott’s post, What’s the Difference Between an Essay and a Story? where she says: Story, specifically life story, generally focuses more on experiences and events as such. Traditionally essays were confined to strict reason. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that writing personal life story IS writing memoir. It doesn’t have to be book length. It doesn’t have to start with your birth and end now. Memoir is capturing important bits of your story. It might be an entire book, it might be a page or two of an incident in your life that is important to you. When we don’t take the time to write about our experiences, they’re lost forever. Sometimes we don’t even know how important a minor event might be. It’s also important to write about things that sometimes you don’t want other people to know about. This “self-editing” sometimes keeps us from discovering things about ourselves. We claim to be worried that someone else will read and misunderstand, but perhaps we, too, misunderstand that event. All our experiences make us who we are. Each changes us, shapes us, molds us into something more than we were before the event. So, my conclusion is that it is never “just” a story. Every story is important in one way or another. You don’t have to be famous to put your story down on paper. Those who know you will be very interested in your story. THAT will be your ultimate...

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Why Write a Lead Generation Book…

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Writing a Book | Comments Off on Why Write a Lead Generation Book…

Why Write a Lead Generation Book…

Are you the owner of a business, large or small? Would you be interested in attracting more customers and increasing your business? Obviously, most of us are in business to make money and bringing in new customers is the mainstay of our businesses. One of the very best ways to do this is to write something that is called a “Lead Generation” book. This is a book written by you about your business, your products and/or services, and why you are the leading expert in your field and why people should come to you for answers to their questions. We want to maximize our ability to reach out to new customers and the old stand-bys of business cards and pamphlets seems to have very limited results.  This is where a “Lead Generation” book comes into play.  This is not some 300 page tome that no one will ever read. A lead generation book can be as short as 24 to 80 pages, and be as small as a CD case.  The point is that people value books and they see an intrinsic value in a book that is handed to them by someone who says, “Oh, you have a problem?  Here read my book. I think it will help to answer some of your questions.” Even better, offer to sign the book for them and dedicate it to them. I’m currently working with a woman who has been the leading expert in her field for the past 25 years and she is just about done getting her book ready.  A convention is coming up in her industry and her plans are to carry her book around the convention with her.  This can be an incredibly powerful sales tool because face it, while most of us want to have written a book, and often talk about it, we never get around to doing it. That is why when you are faced with someone who has broken out of the ranks of “wanna-bes” and reached the level of “author” we all have to take a step back and look at that person with admiration and congratulations.  They are one of the few who actually did it! But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Writing a lead generation book can be as simple as writing out 100 quotes that mean something to you and then explaining how those quotes impacted your life, one page per quote. This is what one author did.  He runs a dry-cleaning business and didn’t have that much to say about his business, but he has been a collector of quotes all his life.  All his customers and clients look at him with new eyes now. Or, perhaps you’re a restaurant owner and would like a way to really connect with your customers, helping them to view you as their favorite restaurant.  One way to make them feel like regulars, as part of the “in crowd” is to write a book about your restaurant.  Include stories about how you got started, or funny or even sad stories about how and you went into business.  Even include a couple of recipes for some of your most ordered dishes.  Sure, your customers will try the recipe once, but that doesn’t change why they come to your restaurant.  They want you to serve them their...

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