Getting into the electronic act

November 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Publishing, Reading, Writing | Leave a comment
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My novel, Ben’s Challenge, has not drawn many customers from CreateSpace. In fact, only one copy of the print book has been sold since it became available in August. I don’t know how to track the sales, if any, on Amazon or other outlets. However, it doesn’t look like print is going to sell, and if I want to get people buying it, I will have to get into the e-book market.

I see there are now many different e-book readers being put out by different companies. Many of them appear to be limited in the variety of formats they will operate. But I suppose you pay less for them.

Kindle is still the leader in e-book readers it seems, with Kindle 3 and Kindle DX. They operate a good range of formats, in fact more than most other readers. So, Kindle is probably the best e-reader to get my book into.

So, I am now in the process of converting Ben’s Challenge to a kindle e-book, through CreateSpace. It will be available on Amazon and on CreateSpace in a few weeks, and I will put up the link to it when that happens.

In the meantime, if you would like to have a print copy of Ben’s Challenge, just click on the book cover and you will be taken to the Amazon page where you can purchase it.

Book Promotion Downsides

October 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Mental Health, Promotion, Psychology, Writing | Leave a comment
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Creativity-Logic conflict

I wish there were not so much time and energy involved in promoting my book. I am not someone who enjoys this type of activity and would rather get back to what I want to do.

I use up the energy I should be using for my writing in trying to get noticed, both locally and on-line. Having to do that distracts me from my writing too. Instead of allowing my creative left brain to come to the fore, my practical right brain has to dominate. Ideas bog down, words have to be forced out, and frustration overcomes me.

Then, frustration leads to a loss of drive and apathy takes over – if apathy can actually DO anything. I suppose it is rather I allow myself to fall into apathy. Then nothing gets done; not the writing and not the promotion activities.

I find myself in this roller-coaster ride of enthusiasm-activity / apathy-inaction much too frequently. Being a sufferer from depression is no fun when there are so many things you want to do. The things that I don’t want to do drive me onto a downward slope that I hope won’t go too deep before I can pull out of it.

It is actually my writing that has helped to get me back on the level many times over the years. Before I began writing stories, poems and novels, I kept a journal. In there, I poured out my feelings, and often worked out how to climb from the pit. Those pits were deep, very deep at times.

I am grateful that the lows are nowhere near what they used to be, and that I can come out of them quite quickly. I use positive action to overcome the apathy, and I have a husband who is very supportive in this, getting me to act when all I feel is negativity.

I still keep a journal, and it still helps. However, the focus is on what I am doing in my writing life now instead of mainly on feelings. I actually wrote this entry in my journal before making it into a blog entry.

I just wish I didn’t have to do all the distracting, energy-sapping work that goes into producing and promoting what was an idea, but is now a physical entity: my book.

Blocks to Action

October 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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I first enquired about the process of getting Ben’s Challenge converted to an e-book at the beginning of September; it is now almost the end of October. Why have I left it so long to do something? Why have I been procrastinating?

Well, it is probably for the same reasons that I procrastinate with my writing: there are too many other things to do; I am too easily distracted; I don’t have the self-discipline to focus on this one thing and get it underway. And why is all that so, I wonder.

Well, I sat in my car by the lake this morning and thought about it. I came up with the answer – an answer I have known about for a long time, but have failed to address. The answer is Fear.

That’s right, fear. I am afraid of starting the process of making my novel into an e-book. I am afraid of getting into my writing, particularly into the follow-up to Ben’s Challenge. So, what is it I am afraid of? And why is that fear paralysing me?

I have the answer to those questions too, and the answer is the same for both. I am afraid of not doing something perfectly. I am afraid of starting something because I may make a mistake. So, I keep putting it off; after all, if I don’t do it, then I can’t make a mistake, can I?

Oh, yes sister, I sure can! And it is a much bigger mistake than doing something imperfectly; much bigger than doing something wrong in a process that is probably foolproof anyway.

The mistake? Not doing something that I need to do, want to do; something that will be fulfilling and will, hopefully, also give pleasure to others.

After all, at the end of life, it is not the things we did that we will regret the most, but those things we did not do.

So, today – in fact, just half an hour before writing this, I began the process with CreateSpace of converting Ben’s Challenge to an e-book that can be read on Kindle.

And it feels good.

© Linda Visman

Help! How do I ….?

October 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Promotion, Writing | 2 Comments
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I have been wondering how to make my wordpress blog into something more than ‘just a blog’.

I am a writer. I write articles for our local writing group magazine. My short stories and poems have been published in several anthologies and periodicals. I have self-published my novel, “Ben’s Challenge” (with a link on this page).

I need to get out there – wherever ‘out there’ is, in order to make my work better known and available to prospective readers. But how do I do that, beyond Facebook, this blog (which has few readers) and my old-fashioned website that doesn’t even allow pictures to be displayed on my main page? And, how do I do it without spending all my time on it? After all, I want to continue writing my next book.

I am not a techno whiz, though I use computers for many things. I have only just learned how to use widgets, and was very proud of myself when Iworked out how to put up my novel’s front cover, as well as a click link to Amazon, on this page.

However, I don’t understand what a lot of the options are, or what they are supposed to do, and I don’t have much time to get in and play around with them. Besides, I am also afraid of this stuff, and I don’t want to destroy what I already have. There is nobody around who I can call on either; especially, there is nobody who can show me what to do in a way that I will understand, and then be able to carry on doing what I need to do.

So, what do others out there do when you are stuck? How do you learn ‘stuff’ to help you promote your writing – or any other product? And how do you do it when your income is small and you cannot afford to call on experts? I hope someone can help me.

What to do with reviews of my book?

October 3, 2011 at 11:27 am | Posted in Writing | Leave a comment
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I have received two reviews for Ben’s Challenge in the last couple of days. One was unsolicited and quite unexpected; the other I had requested.

They have some similarities, the main one being the reviewers enjoyment of the book, and their view that Baby Boomers will love the nostalgia aspect of the novel.

One says modern kids should like it, and has loaned it out to one; the other says it’s not for modern kids with their high-paced techno lives, but for those who grew up in the 1940s-1960s.

Both reviewers say it is well written and thoughtful, and that the characters, issues and relationships are real and engaging.

But what do I do with the actual reviews?

Do I take out the sentences that really give a great, or at least a good view of the book and use them to promote it? Or do I publish the reviews in full (with the writers’ permission, of course)?

Do I use the best bits for my novel’s cover? Include them, for now (until a new issue is printed) as an insert with each book, to create interest in those who may buy it?

Should I publish the reviews, or excerpts from them, on my blog? On Facebook?

I am not really sure what is the right thing to do. I will have to chat with a few people and get other opinions. But I would love to show that intelligent readers do really like Ben’s Challenge.

(c) Linda Visman

Battling Through

July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am | Posted in Writing | 1 Comment
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I received fifty copies of my novel today – I never imagined being able to say that, but now, I can see them in the box I just picked up from the Post Office.

It took me four years to write Ben’s Challenge. All the way through, from the idea (it was originally going to be a short story) to the completion I had to battle to get it done. No, it’s not that I can’t write, or that it took many revisions, or that I didn’t know where the story was going and what I wanted it to do. And it’s not that I don’t know my grammar, punctuation and spelling either – I grew up in an era when schools taught that kind of thing. No, the problem was deeper than any or all of those.

My problem was a lack of confidence in myself, which manifested itself in many ways. The main issue I had to overcome was procrastination; after all, if I didn’t write, nobody could say it was rubbish, could they – and that included myself.

A life-long struggle with depression also helped make my self doubts into mountains I was certain I couldn’t climb. Even when my critique group expressed admiration for my style of writing and for the story, I wasn’t able to relax and go with the flow.

Funnily enough, it was during my eighteen months of treatments for breast cancer that I wrote the most easily and with the most confidence. I suppose my writing was no longer my sole focus, so I took the pressure off myself. My self doubts became background noise, which I could often ignore.

My book will be launched at a Writers’ Expo that my writing group is holding on the 6th of August. Two other members will be launching their maiden books too, so I will not be the whole centre of attention. I can handle that. And I am looking forward to seeing my creation in the hands of my readers. It took effort and tears, but I battled through.

“Ben’s Challenge” by L.M. Visman is a story for Middle Grades to Young Adult. It tells the story of a boy’s desire to discover who was responsible for his father’s death; his struggle to come to terms with his loss; how he finds friendship and learns to trust again.

It is available as a Print-on-Demand publication from www.createspace.com

© Linda Visman 2011

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