Book Signing Event with Me – Monday, September 2

Okay folks, here’s the skinny. On Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, I will be doing a signing at Fatman Comics and Games from 5pm to 8pm. I will definitely sign things. Preferably things I wrote, but I’m not picky. I might also do a reading, if people seem eager or masochistic about the idea. 😉

There will be a limited number of copies of my books on hand for purchasing/signing, but they will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. No reservations. As such, I advice ordering a copy in advance if you want to make sure you’ll have one for signing.

You can order a copy of Falls here.

You can order a copy of Turns here.

I will also be generally hanging out and chatting with whoever shows up. You should all turn out for this event, hang out, and buy loads of cool comic and games stuff at the store. They’re good folks, a local business, and if that’s not enough…I repeat, COMICS and GAMES.

There’s an event page over on Facebook here where, I think, you can sign up and let me know you’re coming. Excitement and adventure await…or you can come spend time with me.  🙂

3 Tips for Avoiding Formatting Hell

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As the default word processor for most writers, Microsoft’s Word program does a lot. In point of fact, it does so much that most people only use a tiny little fraction of the available functionality. Ironically, the thing it doesn’t do, isn’t particularly good at, and often makes more difficult is preparing a manuscript for publication.

While signed authors can simply turn over a file or hard copy to their publisher, who no doubt employs someone whose sole job it is to take that formatting nightmare and turn it into something that can be printed, indie authors must do this work themselves. More often than not, it is only at the end of the process that these authors discover that all that fiddling they did with fonts, spacing, title adjustments and so forth has created a monster. So here are three tips to help you avoid formatting hell

  1. Forget that the TAB key exists – Years ago, when I was taking a touch typing class, I was actually trained to use the TAB key to create indents for paragraphs. This training has caused me more problems than I care to mention in the formatting process. TAB does awful stuff beneath the visible layer of the document and can cause utter havoc in a PDF conversion process. If you need an indent for sanity (I do), set a left indent in the page layout tab that automatically inserts one when you hit enter.
  2. Avoid the Styles option – Word allows you to do all kinds of neat things with Styles, like create fancy chapter headings. You will need to do this eventually for some publishing outlets, but you don’t want to be going through trying to manually change Style Options for 30 or 40 chapter headings. Trust me on this, I’ve done it.
  3. Create Master Files – It might seem obvious, but you should have a master file. In fact, you should have 2 master files. One master file should be a copy of your original completed manuscript (for later reference) and the other should be a final version with all edits and changes in it. Once you have these two files, you should never alter them. Copy and paste the entire text into a new file to do outlet specific formatting.

While there are lots of other things you can do to avoid formatting hell, these three should save you a lot of mental anguish in the long run.

Paid Book Marketing, Is It Worth It? (Link Roundup)

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Authors of all stripes confront an inevitable question at some point: Should I use paid book marketing? It’s a serious question with a lot of unclear answers. While I’ll leave it to the links below to let you explore the bigger, public conversation on this topic, I’ll offer a few thoughts.

Marketing is complicated and, most of the time, cookie cutter “systems” can’t deliver on their promises. By nature, systems function on churning out sameness and the best marketing leverages uniqueness. No marketer can ever guarantee a fixed number or percentage increase of sales. Any marketer that does make these kinds of guarantees is lying to himself or herself, lying to you, or filled with a dangerous kind of hubris. Never spend money on marketing that you can’t afford to lose, because most marketing takes time to show a return on investment (if it ever does show a return on investment.) With that said, on to the link roundup.

Should Indie Authors Pay for Book Reviews?

Book Marketing Services, Are They Worth It?

Book Marketing Using Paid Promotions: Targeted Email Lists

Paid Book Marketing: Should Authors Bother?

Book Marketing Methods That Don’t Work

Paid Book Promotion – Yes It’s Necessary, But Beware

Please leave a comment to share your thoughts on or experiences with paid book marketing.