OWFI and DIY Alphabet Soup

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We live in a world of alphabet soup. Everything has an abbreviation that comes down to either a letter combination that we use instead of the name or the anachronism we use as a word in place of the full name. Have you noticed we even do that for the names of the churches we attend, at least we do in our area. Those of us who text and tweet a lot write and read in an abbreviated language that I’m not sure I even understand part of the time. I have to admit that my daughter had to explain what lol and roflol meant and then I felt quit smart and hip, one of the in-crowd because I knew what that meant. Then? I found out that there was a whole lot more to the shortened vocabulary … so much for speaking fluent text and tweet … lol 🙂

My friend and fellow author, Kimberly Black, and I went to the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. Conference this weekend or commonly known as OWFI, this past weekend.  About 300 attendees and a great faculty presented workshops for people of all levels — we all found something of interest and learned a lot. I found out I’m a hybrid author and here I thought I just aspired to owning a hybrid car someday to be environmentally responsible. With the changing publishing industry, many authors are combining the traditional pathway with a traditional publisher and then self-publishing as well.

I have a great relationship and wonderful books produced with Buoy Up Press from awoc.com, Dan Case publisher. He is a royalty publisher and produces great quality books and takes good care of us authors. We have to give him top quality writing and the editing process is stringent, as you would expect. About 18 months ago I waded into the shallow end of the pool as a self-published author with my nonfiction book, Tools and Tips: What Every Writer Needs to Know to Go Pro. At the time I wrote and published it, I have no plans to go out on my own with everything, but I had no idea that made me a DIY and hybrid author. It seems to be part of the journey for many of us. We as authors need to be flexible and adapt. A couple of jewels I learned this weekend are:

1. The fastest growing market for ebooks in the next three to five years is in the third-world countries because of the explosion in cell phone availability. Inexpensive ebooks available on iphones give us a market previously not available.

2. Ebooks priced at $2.99 – $3.99 sell approximately 4.2 – 4.3 times more books than those prices $.99 – $2.89 or some catagories prices more than than, up to $9.99. You actually make more money selling at $3.99 than at $9.99 in the long run.

3.If you’re interested in publishing your own ebooks, check out Smashwords.com – I’m not actually endorsing them, but their founder was one of the presenters at OWFI and had a lot of impressive and valuable informative information that was backed up with substantial facts. They have a lot to offer including marketing.

For those of my blog followers who are authors, as well as readers, a lot of what we do besides the actual writing is a do-it-yourself process. We cannot afford to hire a staff to do everything else for us, at least not to begin with in our careers. That’s why it’s important that writers share and help each other with what we’ve learned, not only through our books, but also when we meet each other and talk over a cup of coffee or a glass of tea. In my experience, those authors who are ahead of me in their careers have always been quick to offer a hand to bring me along and it’s my turn to pass it on. We all have the opportunity to pay it forward to someone else coming up behind us with a bowl of alphabet soup.

Popcorn, Peanuts, and other Addictions

And you thought this was only about writing. It’s about life, too. I’ll warn you that today’s blog is a bit of a ramble, but it is about being a writer.    Image

Get a group of writers together and they are as varied in personality as you’ll find anywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard (and I said it more than once myself early on) “I’m not sure if I”m really cut out to be a writer. I keep writing but I’m not published. Is anyone going to be really interested in this stuff or should I quit? ” Most of us write because we must write. It builds up in our brains and we can’t not write or we would explode. That is all part of the writer’s life. Most of us would write whether anyone read it or not. Don’t get me wrong. It is much better if someone reads it, publishes it, and our book makes the New York Bestsellers list. I’m still working on making the list. 

Remember the old commercials for potato chips? Bet you can’t just eat one? How many hands full of popcorn and peanuts can you eat? That’s how developing story lines is for many writers. For those who are beginners, don’t give up. Let yourself give in to the urge to write another story. Reach for another potato chip and enjoy it. Enjoy the process. Some chips are over cooked. Some stories aren’t as good as others. It doesn’t stop us from going back for more. Keep writing.

Stories just keep on developing in a writers head. They won’t stop. Ideas tumble over one another. That doesn’t mean we don’t get stuck sometimes. Blocked. Either too many ideas and there is a log jam or we experience it as no idea at all. Take a deep breath because the next idea is just around the corner. Relax. Read a good book and then start writing again. Go to a movie and eat a large bucket of popcorn. Come back to your keyboard refreshed and ready to indulge your addiction to writing. 

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Mid-Summer Reading

It’s mid-July and most of us are spending a lot of time outside and at the pool. Reading by the pool or on a swing in the backyard are great ways to pass a few hours and get away from it all. If it’s too hot outside for you, then stroll the isles of a local bookstore or visit your library. If you haven’t been to the library lately, you might try it.

With a tight economy, most of us are watching our budgets. Unfortunately, that might mean a decrease in the number of books that we purchase. (not something I like to think about as a writer) Have you read all of the books you own? Most of us have an ongoing list of books on the “to read” list. So many books, so little time. lol

I think there are many reasons to see what your library has to offer. Children reading programs for every age encourage them to read books instead of spend all their time playing computer games. My grandson loves computer games, but his mother limits his time each day. He plays outside with friends, goes to the pool with his parents, and loves to read. At ten years old, he is not afraid of tackling Harry Potter or any other book. We have taken him to the library since he was two years old for story time and read to him. Love of reading is something that I believe is a wonderful legacy to leave our children and grandchildren.

Other advantages at the library?

The New Book Shelf – watch for the latest releases

Looking for a popular book? Put a reserve on it so when it comes back you’re next in line to read the hottest new release by your favorite author.

Most libraries have online catalogs that you can use at home. Search for what you want and make a list, reserve them and go pick them up at your convenience.

Your library may have book clubs, programs, and author events that you could attend for free.

Our library has movie nights, reading festivals with authors appearing for Q&A as well as reading from their latest book.

The Friends of the Library probably have a used book sale in your area. I’ve picked up books for as little as $5.00 a bag (grocery bag). The proceeds go back to the library for new books and reading programs.

Read all the books in a series.

Borrow movies or books on CD. I listen to books on CD in the car.

As a writer, one of my best friends is a reference librarian. They can help you with any kind of research you’re doing. They know sources you may never think of and are diligent in their search.

Many libraries provide book downloads and audio book downloads through their websites.

The best thing? It is all free (in most places) and all you need is a Library card.

Enjoy your summer!

Stop by the VBT – Writers on the Move website to find authors and books. It’s a great place to go!