Friday, January 15, 2010

Self-Publishing Part 2

Talking to Tommie Day 2

We’ll here we are back again with Tommie Lyn. Today we’ll see how she balances a busy lifestyle with editing; working on book covers, and all that comes with being self-employed.

Thanks Tommie for taking time out of your busy schedule to be my guest, and thanks for all the great information.

Do you do all of the work yourself? Do you hire an editor, or someone to do your covers?

I do everything myself. I write, edit, do the typesetting and cover design. (And by the way, you forgot to include filling out sales tax reports on book sales as one of the duties of the self-publishing author, LOL.)

The story’s done, you’re ready to start the hard work. What do you do first?

I do a read-through and try to catch all the obvious errors. Then I print it out and give it to my hubby. He’s very good at proofing, and he has a talent for seeing missing or misplaced elements in a storyline...he can see if something doesn’t make sense.

What tips can you give us about making a great book cover?

My aim in designing a cover is to portray the “feel” of the story and to incorporate important elements of the story graphically. Keeping in mind that very few of us are illustrators, I use photographs from stock photo sites to find images that will blend and work together to create the final cover image. For instance, in the cover I just finished for “Tugger’s Down,” I used three photos and created the blending elements in my imaging software that tied them together into a cohesive image.

One of the most crucial elements of your cover is the font/fonts you choose for the title, your name and any other words that have to be part of the cover. For the title on the “Tugger’s Down” cover, I chose a font that looks like a child wrote it.

When it comes to editing what do you look for?

I look for obvious typos, misspellings, grammar mistakes. I look for awkward wording, where the prose doesn’t flow well. I look for places that might need more clarification for the reader (just because I myself know what I meant does not guarantee a reader will “get it.”) I look for my “habit words,” i.e., those words I use over and over (and my list of habit words changes and grows with each story I write, unfortunately.)

I also look for “mechanical” problems in story flow, things that can’t happen the way I’ve written them. For instance, in one story, I wrote: He left and Lacey glared at him as he walked past her.” He left and THEN he walked past her? I don’t think so. I corrected it to read: “He walked past Lacey without a glance, and she glared at him as he pushed the door open and left the office.”

If you could simply any process what would it be?

That’s easy: I would eliminate my tendency to make mistakes so that I wouldn’t have to do things over and over again.

Why do you think Self Publishing best suits you?

I like having things done a certain way, to my own specifications, so I think having ultimate control myself suits me.

What do you feel is the most important characteristic about your books?

I’m not satisfied with merely seeing the action in stories...I have a need to know what each character is thinking and feeling. And so I can’t help putting the reader inside the head and heart of each important character.

Any closing remarks?

If you’d told me six years ago that I’d be writing fiction today, at the age of sixty-five, I’d have laughed. But, not only am I doing that, thanks to today’s advanced technology, I’ve published four novels now and have two more I hope to release soon. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Self-publishing ...Part 1

Talking With Tommie . . .

I’d like to introduce you to one of my best Cyber-friends in the world. Tommie Lyn. Her writing abilities are outstanding, and she’s accomplished more things than I can name or count. Today, we’ll be talking to her about her new career choice into the ever-changing world of Self-Publishing. Tomorrow we’ll delve into a more personal aspect, and talk about her writing habits and get a sneak peak into how she handles being a self-publishing author.

Thanks, Tommie for stopping by. Before we start discussing Self-Publishing, would you please give our readers the inside scoop on Tommie Lyn, the writer.

Thanks for inviting me. As far as the "inside scoop" about me, I'm a retired grandmother who lives in the Florida panhandle. I had always thought I'd have a leisurely retirement, do a little gardening, a little sewing, knitting and other crafts....but that was before I started writing. Now, I'm as busy as I ever was, but there's one big difference: I'm loving what I do now.

What led you to choose to go into Self-publishing?
My age. I’m sixty-five years old, and I don’t have the luxury of time to go through the traditional submissions process, which can take years.

Has it been everything you thought it would be?
Pretty much. I’ve done similar work in the past, so nothing was a big surprise.

What do you like most about Self-publishing?
I like having control over the process from beginning to end. I’m the one who decides how my cover will look, what will be in my story, when my book will be released, what the price will be.

What do you like least about it?
The attitudes toward me from unpublished writers.

Do you feel you’re where you’re supposed to be?
Yes, I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Would you suggest that others follow in your footsteps.
Self-publishing is not right for everyone. You have to be a self-starter, and you have to be willing to do what it takes to get the job done. That means you have to have a commitment to excellence and be willing to edit, edit, edit to get your work polished until it’s the best it can be. It means having some experience with layout and graphic design, or being willing to hire someone to do the book layout and cover design for you. And you have to be willing to do the work marketing requires.

Do you think Self-Publishing is fading or growing
stronger, and what do you think is just around the
corner for the S.P. Business.
I think that with the rapid growth of new technological developments, we’re going to see self-publishing becoming a more viable option for lots of good writers. They’ve been previously shut out of the publishing process simply because there were not enough slots with traditional publishers for them to get their work out there.

And, as far as what’s around the corner...I don’t think we know yet how publishing in general and self-publishing, in particular, is going to change. Taking a look at recent developments in some publishing companies with regard to self-publishing may give us a clue as to how the insiders see the future.

Any final thoughts on Self-Publishing?
I’m thankful I have options available today that are enabling me to get my books into the hands of readers. Options like Print On Demand (which, by the way, is now being increasingly used by even “traditional” publishers) and the growing variety of ebook readers.

Thanks much Tommie, and be sure and come back to read the second part of the
article on Self-Publishing.

Samantha Fury
Comments are welcome.