Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 5 Tips for a Sustainable Home Office

Working from home may seem a bit lonely, but I guarantee that you are having an impact – on the environment, that is. Whether a cubicle, a corner office, or a corner of your living room, office spaces generate a lot of waste, much of which can be reused and recycled. Even if you are the only employee in your humble office, printer paper, empty highlighters, and ink cartridges add up quickly. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce that eco-impact you don’t want your writing to have.

1) Your computer is the heart of your office. The next time you are in the market for a new laptop or desktop, look for those that are Energy Star-certified. Certified computers are proven to use energy more efficiently, helping them last longer and save you money (up to $100 every year!).

2) Install the GreenPrint software on your computer. Available in 3 versions, the free software does exactly what you need it to do: remove unnecessary pages, text, or images from all your printing jobs. You’ll save paper, ink, and the electricity used to run your printer.

3) When you do print, buy and use 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Just as strong and attractive as “regular” paper, zero trees were cut down to make your 500-sheet ream. The usual office supply stores (Stapes, Office Max, Office Depot … etc.) all sell 100% post-consumer papers, but you can also buy them from specialty eco-paper companies and shops like New Leaf and Eco Green Office.

4) While were on the subject of paper, stock up on other eco-friendly office supplies too! Pens, pencils, paper clips, staples, push pins, sticky notes—all your basic office supplies have more sustainable versions available at almost identical prices (you’re writing-off your supplies on your taxes anyway, aren’t you?).

5) Beware the particleboard! Cheap office furniture is tempting, but it is often produced at the discount of the environment. If you need a new desk, shop for a vintage or second-hand piece. No only will be likely be more affordable and long-lasting, older desks have a lot more personality (and, therefore, inspiration).

This is just the tip of the eco-home office iceberg, but the key is getting started. Take that first step to run a more sustainable office, developing planet-conscious habits each time you turn on your computer, print a manuscript, or stock up on supplies. To help integrate sustainability into even more areas of your life, 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living is the only guide you need.

Adapted with permission from 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living by Victoria Klein ©2010 by Victoria Klein. 

Victoria Klein is a freelance writer and yoga practitioner who also dabbles in photography, crafts, and running. Her 2nd book, 48 Things to Know About Sustainable Living, was released October 2010; 27 Things to Know About Yoga is her 1st book.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 29, 2010

Writing in 140: Writing, The Soundtrack

Every story I write has a soundtrack--whether it's the one I impose on to it while I write or the true one that resonates when I'm revising. When I'm writing, I tend to listen to music that keeps my energy up, keeps my body moving and fingers flying across the keys--hip hop and 80s music mostly, but also classical music. When I’m revising , I hear the music in the words, in the genre the story is written in. When I'm revising romance or rom com stories, for example, I listen to artists like Michael BublĂ©, Adele, Jill Scott, and Duffy. When I'm revising a dark scene in a mystery, I like guitar riffs, sounds I can hear deep in the center of my chest.

How important is music to you when you’re writing and revising?

Writing in 140 is my attempt to say something somewhat relevant about writing in 140 words or less.

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell is now available for purchase. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Love My E-Reader. I Love Indie Bookstores. Can This Work?

I own a Kindle. At first, during the infatuation phase, I figured I was going to become Joe New School, leave printed books behind forever and buy everything on my new device.

Then, I thought: What about the handful of indie bookstores I love and purport to regularly support? True, they're probably doomed in the long run as e-books grab radically more market share in book publishing with each passing year, but I'm damned if I'm going to watch these good folks watch their dreams dissolve on my watch.

After much deliberating, here's what I've decided to do with my book-buying money:

— My Kindle will be used to purchase exclusive and specially discounted e-books. One of the great pleasures of exploring the e-book publishing world has been finding self-published e-gems in the cyber-bargain bins (from free to 99 cents to $2.99) of the Kindle Store or in Smashwords. I write mystery stories, and there are some good thriller, suspense and traditional mystery tales there, many of which have gone through story editing, copy editing and proofreading that appears to be as stringent as that endured by Big Six fare. Not only do I get entertaining stories (well, sometimes; sometimes they suck), but I learn a lot about what works and what doesn't, and I don't blow my paychecks in the process.

— I will buy and order new and still-in-print older, traditionally published fare through my favorite local indie bookstores. I will suck it up and pay full price, even when it's more than double the Kindle price, and absorb the loss on principle. Part of it is pure altruism; part of it is that I want these folks in my corner when my time to roll out my first novel arrives. Part of it is that I still love printed books. And part of it is that I just plain like these folks.

— I will order the out-of-print books I want, used and usually cheap, on Amazon.com.

— I won't spend any more money in Borders, Barnes & Noble or any other corporate chain store. It's not that I have anything against them; it's that just that I don't have anything for them. Particularly any more money, after I spend it elsewhere first.

So, that's the balance I've stumbled upon.

Has anybody else scuffled with this?

Jim Thomsen is a news editor at the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash. He also is a partner in Proof Positive, a manuscript-editing and media-services business, and maintains
Reading Kitsap, a blog about the local literary scene. In addition, he is an aspiring mystery author and member of the Mystery Writers Of America. He can be reached at desolationisland ... or found, almost 24/7, on Facebook.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 26, 2010

An e-Pub Solution for Traditionally Published Authors with One or Two Titles

When I signed up for Colorado author and publisher Brian Schwartz’s workshop on The Fast Path to Publishing, I had every intention of formatting my own manuscript for Kindle and the rest of the e-books on the market.

It was a great workshop, but I quickly realized the process would take more time than I had available over the next few weeks. My second published novel won’t be eligible for e-book publication for at least a year, and by then, the rapidly changing world of digital publishing could make all that learning obsolete. In addition, while older book contracts rarely included digital rights, it will be harder for authors to retain those rights with future sales. These two books may be my only opportunities to convert manuscripts for digital reading devices.

The published author with an extensive backlist and enough time to do the work on his own will save money and possibly gain enough experience to set up his own e-book formatting business. In my case, remaining a e-dunce was the better way. An experienced digital book expert could turn my manuscript around in a jiffy, leaving me only the task of uploading and reviewing the materials. The decision was easy, especially since another Colorado author I know had highly recommended Brian's work.

I submitted my manuscript as a Word document, and I had my formatted files back in a couple of days. Brian even provided the links to make my life easier when I’m ready to finish the job. The price was reasonable. My schedule is intact. And I’m a happy camper.

Before you hire your own expert, there are a few tasks you’ll want to complete ahead of time:

1. If possible, get all rights to your published novels back from the publisher in writing. When this is not possible or desirable, ask the publisher to confirm in writing that you own your rights to digital publication and that you won’t be in violation of any part of your contract.

2. Unless you own the rights to your book covers, commission new cover art (or do your own) and have it ready before you submit your manuscript for formatting. Make sure the cover looks good and the print is legible when reduced to a thumbnail size. To fill the Kindle screen, your cover should measure 600 x 800 pixels.

3. Learn as much as you can about promoting your ebook, including blogging, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and the Kindle and Amazon forums.

To learn more about Brian Schwartz and his 50 Interviews projects, visit his 50 Interviews website. For more information on Kindle and ePub Conversions, see the Kindle & ePub Conversions for Publishers and Authors website.


Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting authors in several genres, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 25, 2010

But It's Just a Reprint

By Brenna Lyons, guest blogger from EPIC (Electronic Publishing Internet Coalition)

A lot of readers state that e-books should be sold for pennies, “because the money preparing the book was already spent on the print release and there is no physical printing and shipping involved.” In their mindset, that means there are no additional costs to preparing the e-book for sale, and therefore, a book should cost little or nothing in e-book.

There are a lot of holes in this theory.

For one thing, not all publishing ventures produce the print version first. Most indie presses either produce the e-book version first or the two concurrently. Even in NY conglomerate, lines like Carina Press and Spice Briefs (both Harlequin ventures) produce only the e-book version. If there is print, it will come later. That means the costs of producing the book fall solely or primarily on the -ebook version.

Assuming the print version was indeed produced first, this line of thought disregards the fact that there are expenses unique to the e-book version. They would include reformatting and layout (since they are not the same for print and e-book), possibly a new cover (or at least altering the old cover for an e-book edition), conversions (which do not exist in print), DRM (for the companies that use it), and the distribution channel cut.

Both print and e-book have a distribution channel cut, and neither is much better than the other. While Smashwords takes only 15%, they are ineffective for more than free reads, from my experience. The effective distribution channels are taking between 36% and 65% of the sale cost of the e-book version and sometimes have a lower limit for sale price. Amazon, for instance, does not take books below $.99 in price, save a few free reads it accepts...from conglomerates only. That’s assuming the distribution channels aren’t setting sales and socking the publisher and author for the reduction in price, which many (though thankfully not all) of the distribution channels do.

Unlike many indie presses, NY conglomerate pays their editors and other staff salaries, which is an overhead expense. NY conglomerate went into e-books to shore up the print system. The e-book versions have as much an expectation of underwriting the overhead expenses (utilities, office space, maintaining and replacing assets, salaries, taxes, licensing and IP issues, etc.) as the print versions do, since the overhead applies to all products of the company. One of the fallacies of the idea that there are no more expenses is that print covers all the overhead expenses, and one cannot assume that. Simple accounting theory in action.

Beyond that, indie press often works on a royalty system. In addition to the royalties authors make, and that is the only money authors make, since even advances are advances against future royalties. In addition to author royalties, many indie presses also pay support staff (editors, formatters, administration, and marketing staff) on royalties. Pricing e-books at pennies means these people are not being compensated for their work. Though NY conglomerate e-book royalties are often anemic compared to those in indie (Carina Press excepted there), they exist, and most readers want the authors paid. The authors and royalty-based staff won’t make a dime when selling the e-books for pennies.

Remember, that most of the price of a book is not printing the book and shipping it. Most of the price is handling other expenses, including compensating authors for their work.

In addition to the costs of making any print book into an e-book, there are special expenses associated with turning an older print book into one. If the book was created before the industry switched to digital files, the book must be OCR scanned, have a new edit to look for scan errors, and then launch it into the preparations for an e-book release. This book, already available in print, has incurred a whole new level of expenses that are typically associated with the initial release of a book. You cannot disregard this eventuality as conglomerates try to bring their entire backlists into e-book formats.

While I agree that there is no reason the e-book should cost more than the print version or be priced at the same level as the hard bound edition, there very definitely are legitimate expenses involved in creating and distributing an e-book version of a book.

Brenna Lyons is an award-winning author in indie press, with more than 85 releases in fiction alone in the last 8 years. She's the former president of EPIC (originally the Electronically Published Internet Connection, which has recently changed its name after 13 years to the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) and a plank member of Authors Without a Yacht. She teaches classes in everything from writing the novel to contracts, IP law, and the realities of being an author.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sofia's Dream Becomes an E-book

Little Pickle Press is an environmentally conscious publisher of children's books and other 21st century media. From its inception, digital products like e-books and downloadable tunes for each of the titles were part of the product mix. Their global focus made this particularly important, so that readers around the world could download the books with the click of a button.

When their latest book, Sofia's Dream by Land Wilson was released, one of the team's agenda items was e-book conversion - a particular challenge as picture books don't transfer very well to digital products like Kindles and smartphones. Little Pickle Press has a professional team of artists and designers hired to enhance their socially and environmentally relevant stories - the delivery of the artwork had to maintain the creative integrity of the original works. Today, we talk to Doug Rowell of Media Tavern, and he explains how his company is able to create quality e-book products for Little Pickle Press.

Dani: Doug, thanks for joining us today. So apparently there's a problem with downloading kid lit to gadgets like e-book readers. Can you explain why that is?

Doug: The current generation of e-book platforms were created for text media like novels and are great for that. But when you try to read an illustrated book on a Kindle, line quality is reduced as well as color, and the screens are just not large enough to do justice to a beautifully illustrated book.

Dani: So how did you manage to get Little Pickle Press books into e-book format?

Doug: We looked at other platforms, all of which were at about the same level of capability, but still not able to deliver a model that would give the quality needed. So I developed a "work-around", and we chose Lulu.com for several reasons. 1. They had live help which was unusual in itself and which we needed in this case. 2. They had an intuitive user-interface. 3. They offered built-in analytics for tracking downloads and sales.

Dani: That term "work-around" strikes fear into my heart! What does that mean? Is this really complicated programming stuff?

Doug: It's complicated only because it requires a lot of steps, but a non-technical person could do it if trained. It's something book designers should learn to do.

Dani:  How long does this take - not just the conversion, but actually having new e-books available to the public?

Doug: The actual conversion takes one person about two days. Then about one week for Lulu.com to approve the product. Propagation to the various top service portals like Amazon.com and iTunes takes 4-6 weeks.

Dani: What kind of equipment is best for viewing highly illustrated children's books?

Doug: Really only two right now - computer screens and iPads are the best for maintaining image quality.

Dani: Do you see that changing in the future - any other choices for readers?

Doug: Rumor has it that Samsung is coming out with a product called the iPad Killer that is cheaper and has better resolution.

Dani: Oh, that's interesting news! Any final words about what readers can expect in e-book publishing and especially illustrated works?

Doug: Variety is on its way!

So writers, you have something to think about should you decide electronic media might be an option for that children's book you have inside you. There are possibilities now and even more hovering on the horizon. Little Pickle Press has figured it out. If there's interest, we'll consider a follow-up post here to talk more about that "work-around" mentioned above.

Since this stop is also part of  the blog book tour for Sofia's Dream, we get to offer you a couple of giveaways from the publisher!

First contest: leave a comment and an email address here to be entered in the drawing for a copy of Sofia's Dream. A lovely little story in lullaby format, a dreamy little girl visits her friend the Moon, and sees our planet through his wise and somewhat sad eyes. When she awakens, she is moved to do everything she can to cherish and care for her precious home. It's a timely environmental message for children and adults alike, shared in a gentle and non-threatening way without losing its power.

Second contest: click over to the Little Pickle Press blog and leave a comment to enter in the drawing for an iPod Shuffle. With that will come free downloads of iTunes created especially for the Little Pickle Press books by the talented Jasmine Saldate, singer and songwriter.

Thank you, Doug, for visiting with us and sharing your insights about e-books in children's literature!

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CreateSpace for Smarties

CreateSpace, Amazon’s print on demand service, is one of the Internet’s best-kept secrets. It provides quality, cost-competitive printing, for audiences as small as one. I know this is true because I helped my thirteen-year-old son create a book for his Social Studies class last year. It cost about fifteen dollars—arguably less than I would have paid to get color prints and a binder cover for a standard report. CreateSpace also provides templates for live areas and margins, which makes page-setup a simple process.

The CreateSpace site lists an impressive array of services, from CD and DVD production to book production to Kindle conversions to editing, design, and marketing.The site's basic premise makes it an excellent option for book production services that can be automated—things like printing, distribution, kindle conversions, and disk duplication are absolutely invaluable. However, for services that are less amenable to the turnkey approach—text editing, book design, and marketing services, for instance—caution is as good idea.

The reason is simple: editing, design, and marketing aren’t things that lend themselves to automation. Users find themselves faced with paying higher prices for the sort of back-and-forth that should be standard operating procedure in design and editing, or settling for substandard results.

Another reason such services are questionable investments is because all sorts of people staff print-on-demand houses. Some are highly qualified. Some are not. And there's really no way of determining what you're getting. A good editor knows when to enforce the rules—and when to break them. A good designer understands that a good book cover sometimes takes time—sometimes it is even necessary to—gasp!—read part of the book! A good marketer understands that successful marketing depends not only on sending out press releases, but on follow-up.

“Most bookings don’t result from the initial press release,” says Sandra Van, CEO of PR Pacific and a long-time veteran of book marketing. “Bookings happen during the follow-up calls. And they depend on knowing which markets are likely to want to talk about what book. Follow-up takes time. I don’t see how any of the online book marketing services can offer the kind of follow-up that’s necessary, particularly not for the prices they charge. It sounds good—but writers are losing the most valuable part of the marketing effort when they lose follow-up.”

So what it comes down to is that CreateSpace is wonderful—for the automated parts of book production. Parts that require specialized knowledge (think “things people actually go to school for a long time to learn how to do”) it’s better to find your own resources—and be prepared to pay for the quality that your book deserves.

Using CreateSpace is, in most respects, incredibly easy. The site walks you through a series of questions about the size and type of book you’re producing, whether you’re supplying your own ISBN number or using theirs (they provide them for free, for books they produce), how you’d like your royalties handled, and how you want to set your prices. It provides templates to help you with layout. And if you get confused, there are customer service people available both by phone and by chat to help. What it can't do is provide you with professional design, typesetting, and layout skills.

And that's one area where users often run into trouble. Because CreateSpace is automated, certain elements of design are rigidly enforced. This can be irritating, but given that much of CreateSpace’s target audience has little design or layout experience it’s understandable that the process needs to be idiot-proofed as much as possible. Correcting a problem can be frustrating, since sometimes the customer reps aren’t quite certain where the problem lies. The best solution is to simply follow the rules from the beginning, or hire a designer who is familiar with both the benefits and the limitations of the site. If you’d like to talk more about CreateSpace and how to maximize its services feel free to contact me over at Magic Dog Press.

Sherry Wachter has been designing and illustrating all sorts of things--including books--for nearly fifteen years. She has written, designed, illustrated, and self-published two novels--one of which won the 2009 Best of the Best E-books Award--and several picture books. To learn more about book design or to see her work visit her online at Magic Dog Press.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Formatting for E-Readers

With the increasing availability and acceptance of e-readers, electronic self-publishing of fiction is a growing avenue for writers to pursue.

If you would like to offer your readers the option of downloading a PDF of your novel (or just an excerpt) you may want to format a version to suit e-readers. The most common screen display size is 6 inches diagonal (152mm). This equates to roughly 3 inches by 5 inches (82mm by 120mm).

Most e-readers are able to adjust, though, to suit a variety of page sizes and font and spacing options, so keep it straightforward and uncluttered.

Word 2007: Page Layout Tab, Size, More Page Sizes...

 Enter new width and height values under “Paper Size” in the Page Setup Dialog Box (Paper tab).

Word 2003: File, Page Setup, Paper Tab


With such a small page area you will need to adjust the margins to allow more room for the text.

Word 2007:

An easy option is to select Narrow Margins from the Margins drop-down menu.

Or select Custom Margins... and enter a smaller value for each of the options of Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margins in the Page Setup, Margins Dialog Box.

Word 2003: File, Page Setup, Margins Tab

Page Numbers

Another adjustment you may require is of the header and footer width if you add page numbers.

Double-click the page number.

Word 2007: Design Tab (under Header and Footer Tools). Reduce the value under “Header from Top” and “Footer from Bottom”.

Word 2003: File, Page Setup, Layout Tab

Ready, Set, Publish

If you have Word 2007 or 2010 you have a built-in PDF creator. Click Office Button (or File in Word 2010), Save As, PDF or XPS, Publish.

Most e-readers support PDF files, so there you have an easy way to share your writing with your readers right at your fingertips.

Elsa NealIs Word driving you crazy? Then Word 4 Writers is for you. Learn to tame the monster and save your time in front of the screen for writing not fighting. Elsa Neal has been strong-arming Word for 14 years and teaching others to do the same. She is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Recycling Is Good

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was a prolific short story writer. I have dozens of them cluttering up computer disks (some of them on those old 3x5 floppies – yes, I am old!) Only about a third of them were published, most in small literary magazines that are probably out of business by now. The other two-thirds I had never even tried to have published. I was more chicken back then.

I’m a better writer now than I was then, but still – some of these stories are really quite good. They just needed a bit of tweaking here and there. (In the eighties there was no Internet to speak of. Few people had cell phones. Mr. Rogers was still alive. It’s surprising how much these cultural changes can impact a story.)

A few months ago I took one of my old unsubmitted, unpublished stories to my writing group and asked for critique. I was amazed at how positive they were, and how many good suggestions they had about how to rework the story so it didn’t seem dated. Suddenly I saw that my stash of stories could come alive again; with just a little work I could send these stories out into the world.

Even more exciting, there are new avenues out into the world than there were way back when these stories were born. Maybe it was time to dip my toe into the world of e-book publishing – after all, why not? Those short stories weren’t doing anyone any good caged on a floppy disk stuck in my desk drawer. If I could get them out there in electronic form, it would be all upside – I might make a few dollars, other people could enjoy them, and I would learn about the world of e-readers.

So now they’re here, alive and kicking, three short story collections reborn as e-books. (You can read the synopses here.) I used Smashwords.com, and each collection can be purchased for reading on Amazon’s Kindle, or Apple’s iPad, or any other e-reader. Time will tell if I’ll get good reviews, or if they’ll sell. But I already know it was worth it because I am a lot smarter about e-books now than when I started. And I brought my stories back to life.

It’s a good thing I no longer cluck.
Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 6 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 30 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit http://www.primary-sources.com/.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 19, 2010

EPIC is for Authors

With the popularity of Kindle and the iPad, more readers seem to be hopping on the e-book bandwagon. I now have my newest book, Follow the Dream, on Kindle, so I’ve officially entered the “big time” of e-publishing. I was also recently was given the honor of winning an EPIC award for my first novel, Cowgirl Dreams. The first question I usually get is, “What is EPIC?”

EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Internet Coalition, is a professional organization for published and contracted e-book and print authors. It was established in 1997 to provide a strong voice for electronic publishing.

Even though E-Publishing is a relatively new venue in the big picture of publishing, many readers, writers, and traditionally published authors believe this is one of the major marketplaces of the future. EPIC was designed to help professional writers learn more about the best publishing opportunities on the Internet and to provide networking opportunities for information about promotion and market growth.

The award contest (formerly known as the EPPIE) was established in 2000, the year of the first national conference, and now includes 30 categories, from poetry, non-fiction and anthologies to fiction, which includes children’s and YA, fantasy & sci-fi, and erotica. It also promotes a book-cover design contest, the Ariana Awards, which my publisher, Lee Emory of Treble Heart Books, won in 2009.

The organization of more than 700 members distributes 5,000 brochures at 21 separate book fairs, conferences, and writers' workshops, and promotes the Award finalists through an ad in PW Daily and press releases for the winners in their hometowns.

EPIC’s website includes blogs, columns and articles such as the Author’s Role, Effective Websites, Publicity Ideas, Resources and Links, and How-to Guides.

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in Northwest Washington. Her novels, Cowgirl Dreams, and the just-released sequel, Follow the Dream, are based on her grandmother. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, November 18, 2010

E-Book Self-Publishing Roundup

With Borders getting into the act, there will soon be four platforms on which authors can self-publish e-books directly to readers. I summarized them for comparison and thought I would share my findings.

Amazon: Digital Text Platform
This venture has been around the longest, has a reported 76% of e-book sales, and publishes content directly to the Kindle bookstore. Authors can upload a Word, html, or PDF file, which Amazon reformats as mobi file. Or authors can create their own mobi files to upload. The latest requirement is that files have active TOCs.

For books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, Amazon pays a 70% royalty. For everything else, it pays 35% of the list price. Authors can price their books however they want, but Amazon reserves the right to discount the book. To be in compliance with the 70% agreement, authors can’t sell their e-book cheaper anywhere else. Amazon pays monthly and deposits royalties directly into the author’s bank account.

Most DTP e-books are purchased by people who own and read on Kindles, but Amazon has released applications that that let computer owners as well as iPad and mobile phone users buy Kindle books to read on other devices (except those of its competitors: B&N’s Nook and Borders’ Kobo). Authors can track real-time sales through their DTP bookshelf, and no start-up fee is required.

This publishing platform was founded by an individual, and it distributes content to many e-readers (Kindle, Sony, Nook, Kobo, etc.) and other devices (iPad, iPhone)—but not to Amazon's Kindle. Files must be uploaded as Word documents that must be properly formatted. Authors have complained about the difficulty of getting the Word formatting right and about the “ugliness” of the e-books produced by Smashwords’ software.

Authors can price their book (or short story) however they want, including offering it for free. For content sold directly from its site, Smashwords pays an 85% royalty—minus discounts and processing fees. It pays 70.5% for sales through its affiliates. Smashwords pays on a quarterly basis, 40 days after the close of each quarter (so you wait a long time for that first payment). Authors can track their real-time sales on the Smashwords’ dashboard. Most authors report their Smashword sales to be only about 10% of their Kindle sales, but it is a way to reach many devices through one publisher.

Barnes & Noble’s PubIt!
The retail bookseller opened this platform recently and publishes an author’s work directly to its PubIt! bookstore, which supplies the Nook e-reader. Files should be uploaded as epub files. The site has a converter for Word and html documents, but users complain that it doesn't work. PubIt! pays a 65% royalty on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and 40% on everything else. Authors can set the list price, but B&N reserves the right to change it.

Imitating Amazon’s structure, B&N also pays monthly to the author’s bank account, but 60 days after the end of the month. For some reason, PubIt! also requires authors to supply a credit card number. Most of these venues require authors to provide social security numbers so they can report earnings to the IRS. There is no set-up fee.

Borders: Get Published
Trying to get in on the action, Borders has announced an e-book self-publishing platform, scheduled to launch Oct. 25. The venture is a collaboration with BookBrewer, which lets authors copy and paste almost any word content, including blogs (RSS feeds), into its software to create epub files. This venue looks like it will be the easiest for authors who have few technical skills.

Borders plans to publish its content to various devices, such as its own Kobo as well as the iPhone, iPad, and Android powered tablets (but not to its competitors: Kindle and Nook). Unlike the others mentioned so far, Borders charges a set-up fee of $89.99 to distribute the books. Or it will sell you the e-book file it creates for $199 and you can do whatever you like with it. This makes the venture both a vanity press and an e-book creation service. But keep in mind there are several other e-book creators that offer this service for a lot less money. (Booknook is my personal favorite.) Borders has yet to announce royalty or payment terms.

This is a distribution company, rather than a publishing company. Authors have to supply both mobi and epub files to INgrooves, which then distributes the books to various e-readers and e-books stores, including Amazon, B&N, Sony, Borders, and iBook. For authors who want a one-stop experience, this could be the best choice.

Authors set their own prices and choose where they want their book sold or not sold. For example, an author can upload directly to Amazon DTP (for maximum sales/profits), then use INgrooves to distribute everywhere else (which is what I've done). As a distributor with hundreds of books, INgrooves can negotiate higher royalties than an individual author may be offered, and it adds new retail venues regularly. INgrooves charges a $50 set-up fee per book and keeps 5% of sales. It pays authors once a month, unless they have less than $200 in sales, then it waits until the author has accumulated $200.

It will be interesting to watch these ventures and see which ones thrive in a market dominated by Amazon.

Authors: What platforms have you used and what has been your experience?


L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist, editor, and the author of the Detective Jackson mysteries, The Sex Club , Secrets to Die For, and Thrilled to Death, and two standalone thrillers, The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. All are available on Kindle for $2.99. She also loves to edit fiction and works with authors to keep her rates affordable. Contact her at:
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing III

By Scott Nicholson
(With Kindle giveaways)
Today’s little list of the “Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing” comes from someone who has been there. I’ve had agents, not had agents. I’ve been rejected hundreds of times. I’ve published in major, small, and independent presses, and now primarily self-publish. I’ve been a bestseller and had books I couldn’t make someone read at gunpoint. And all of the routes are difficult. If you think it’s hard to write a book, try selling one. But before you draw battle lines, know the territory.

Pros of having agent
1. Most writers can’t arrange lunch with an influential publisher, talk over salad, and leave with a book deal.
2. An agent can get you more money, usually more than the 15 percent commission.
3. An agent can guide you for an entire career, point out the landmines, dun publishers for money owed, and stay ahead on trends.

Cons of having an agent
1. The best book in the world won’t matter to them if they can’t sell it.
2. Your book immediately becomes New York-centric, measured by all the other deals, relationships, commodities, industry politics, and corporate bottom lines, as well as the pecking order of your own agency.
3. It’s possible the agent becomes a roadblock, or a black hole where your work vanishes for years.

Pros of having a publisher
1. They do most of the work besides the writing.
2. They have a system in place designed to distribute and promote books.
3. They can pay you money immediately.

Cons of having a publisher
1. They take most of the money.
2. They may keep your rights virtually forever.
3. They solely determine the fate of your book, via profit-and-loss statements, print runs, and the amount of the advance, so there’s automatically a ceiling placed on your book.

Pros of doing it yourself
1. You keep all the money.
2. You get to find your own audience.
3. You control everything, and the success and failure are yours alone.

Cons of doing it yourself.
1. You keep all the money and there may not be much.
2. You have to find your own audience.
3. You control everything, and the success and failure are yours alone.

More and more writers are developing hybrid careers, where they have agents or use publishers but also self-publish material that’s either been out of print or has a smaller or niche audience. This will probably become the standard working model for middle-class writers in the next few years. But to make it work, pay attention to the rights you sign away in contracts—the fairest deals should return the work to you after a certain period of time or when sales drop below a certain level. After all, it’s your work. If you don’t care about it, why should anyone else?

Scott Nicholson's Disintegration is a Kindle bestseller, and he's also written the thrillers As I Die Lying, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, Burial to Follow ,and October Girls. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, The Gorge, and Solom.  His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers. Get more writing advice at Haunted Computer.

To be eligible for the Kindle DX and Kindle 3 giveaways, simply post a comment below with contact info. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Evolution of E-Books

It is really exciting to see the big surge in e-book publishing and sales. It has been a long time coming.

My first e-book was published in 1997 with The Fiction Works, a new independent publisher who jumped on the early hype about how e-books were going to take off like wildfire. I remember the conversations with the publisher and the editor about how there were going to be kiosks in shopping malls where people would be able to buy electronic or print-on-demand copies of books and we would all get rich.

In the meantime, the books were produced on CDs and packaged much like music, with very nice covers. Customers had an option of buying the packaged CD or buying a direct download to their computer. One nice thing about the CD was that it gave the authors product to have in hand to take to signing events, and we were encouraged to do that kind of promoting. I was living in Nebraska at the time, and there were a few other authors with e-books, so we set out on a little mini-tour of the Midwest with great expectations. There we sat in bookstores with our books on CD, trying to interest people in electronic books, and they looked at us like we were nuts.

Needless to say, we did not sell a lot of books. A few people were mildly interested in talking about this newfangled approach to reading, but most just smiled and went on their way to the real books.

Unfortunately, books did not fly into customer's hands from the publisher's website, either. There were no dedicated e-book readers available at that time, and people did not want to read books on a computer.  Who could blame them? The Rocket eBook came out in 1998, and it was a pioneer in the dedicated-reader field, but it did not jump-start sales of e-books. After a dismal year where my monthly royalties would not even buy me a latte, I pulled my book and focused on traditional publishing. 

Now with the popularity of the Kindle, Nook, and other dedicated readers, sales of e-books are finally starting to really gain momentum, and I don't think it will be too long before they reach the levels predicted so many years ago. Few authors are currently getting rich on their e-book sales, but many are earning a comfortable living as e-book sales rise. And recent statistics are very encouraging. The Association of American Publishers reported that e-book sales jumped 158.1% in September and were up 188.4% in the first nine months of the year.  

I am betting on the future of e-books. I have three books and a short story available for the various dedicated readers, and I have made more in one month on their sales than I did on that early venture into electronic publishing.

Have you published a book electronically? What has your experience been like?


 Maryann Miller is a freelance writer and editor. Her e-books are: One Small Victory, Play It Again, Sam, and The One O'Clock Nap

 For information about her other books and her editing services visit her Web site.  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 15, 2010

What do you know about e-books?

This week the Blood-Red Pencil is launching a series of posts about e-books. What do you know about this emerging segment of the publishing market? Take this quiz to see if you're up to speed!

True or False?

1. Kobo, Ectaco, Nook, and Aluratek are all names of Native American tribes.

2. E-books still haven’t quite caught on.

3. E-books will replace print books.

4. E-books are cheaper to produce.

5. E-books are mostly bought by young techies.

6. All digital readers can read all e-books.

7. Authors make less money from e-books.

8. Digital reading technology will evolve and render currently owned e-books unreadable.

9. E-publishing is only for book-length material.

10. Self-publishing, subsidy, non-subsidy, vanity, royalties, reseller: the age of e-books will simplify the publishing process and negate the need to learn all these terms.


1. False. Okay, I was trying to throw a bone to all the rank beginners out there. (Like me, before I researched the articles linked to in this post.) Along with the Kindle, the iPad, the Sony Reader, the Neo, the Alex eReader, Pandigital Novel, COOL-ER, and a variety of smart phones, these are names of digital reading devices.
Read more.

2. False. By mid-year Amazon.com reported that sales of books for Kindle had outpaced the sale of hardcover books, and that growth was accelerating.
Read more.

In July, Amazon.com announced that Stieg Larsson, author of the internationally bestselling Millennium Trilogy, had become the first author to sell over 1 million Kindle books and is the first member of the new "Kindle Million Club." The "Kindle Million Club" recognizes authors whose entire body of work has sold over 1 million copies in the Kindle Store.
Read more.

On Oct. 27 James Patterson became the second:
Read more.

J.A. Konrath and other bestselling authors are leaving print—as well as traditional publishing—behind.
Read more.

And if all that isn't enough to convince you, The New York Times just announced that early next year it will start ranking e-book bestsellers.
Read More.

3. False, says literary agent Alex Glass of Trident Media. At the Pennwriters conference last May, Alex said that in fiction, the commercial genres have embraced e-books first. Those who love literary fiction, he added, will always want to linger over prose printed on the pages of a traditional book. Such readers consider their books as much art objects as reading material. Let’s face it—a digital reader isn’t going to stimulate anyone with its beauty while sitting alone on an empty bookshelf. The crux of the debate is captured in this short Wall Street Journal video.

4. You’d think that would be true. And it will be, one day. It already is true for publishers that have switched exclusively to e-books. The problem is that traditional publishers haven’t yet completely embraced a digital way of doing business. An e-book is typically just one more way of marketing a print book whose costs the publisher has already incurred. Did you know that of the $27.95 retail price for a hardcover, only $2.83 goes for paper, glue and ink? And that there are costs associated with digitizing back titles?
Read a breakdown of book costs here and enjoy a more irreverent look here.

5. False. The largest group of Kindle users is in its fifties, followed closely by those in their forties and sixties.
Read more.

6. False. Want an e-book format that works on any reader? The epub format comes closest at present. But for the time being you may be stuck reading books that work for only one device (or a smart phone that has an app for that device).
Read more.

7. True and False. Since the answer is complex and in flux, consider yourself correct no matter how you answered. Print royalties are typically 15% of the retail price for hardcovers, 7.5% for trade paperbacks, and 10% for mass market paperbacks. At 25% (ebook through an agency) to 85% (self-publishing through Smashwords), authors of e-Books keep more of a lower price. Suffice to say it has never been more important to read your contract carefully.
Read more.

8. False. Lybrary.com assures us that current technology has already proven itself to be remarkably enduring, and that we will pass on our e-books to our grandchildren, who in turn will pass them on to theirs.
Read more.

9. False. One of the joys of e-publishing is that you no longer will have to fit your idea into the traditional model of less than 10,000 words or more than 50,000. We already know that online journals and magazines have been publishing short articles and fiction for some time. In October Amazon announced lower-priced "Kindle Singles" that are twice the length of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book.
Read more about Kindle Singles.
Read more about the possible benefits of self-publishing short fiction.

10. False. E-publishing creates even more options, not fewer. For the frugal self-publisher there will still be plenty of folks willing to step up and take a piece of your profit pie. For a concise explanation of terms, read more.

Looking for royalty-paying, non-subsidy e-publishers? Here’s a list to launch your search.

* * * *
So tell us—how did you score?

If you were on the fence about e-books, perhaps you now realize that if you hope to be published, traditionally or on your own, an e-book might be in your future. Stay tuned to the Blood-Red Pencil for upcoming e-publishing tales and information from our contributing editors.


Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Formerly a dance critic and arts journalist for 19 years, she now writes literary women's fiction and memoir.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An e-Book Special

Welcome Blood-Red Pencil Readers,

Starting tomorrow, editors and guest bloggers will present a special series about e-books and everything we can think of related to the topic. From a history of e-books to the newest trends and statistics, we'll try to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly in this publishing phenomenon. We'll run with this until the end of the month, so visit us daily. Tomorrow we start with an e-book quiz compiled by team blogger, Kathryn Craft. Stop by and see just how much you know about e-books!

And Scott Nicholson's imfamous disappearing e-book post will reappear, for all the fans following his three-month blog book tour. ;)


Bookmark and Share

Friday, November 12, 2010

Writing To Sell: Knock ’Em Dead!


What do these words mean? In this case, they’re synonyms for “knock ’em dead.”

Of course, you don’t want to literally eliminate your readers. Writers need all the fans (aka readers) they can get. But the idea of “knocking” them into a chair with your book in their hands and holding them in place with your compelling story does have considerable appeal.

A man who read my latest novel recently said to me, “I want to talk to you about your book.” Looking me straight in the eye, he offered no hint of a smile. Oh, oh, I thought, here it comes. Then he continued. “I started reading it at one o’clock one afternoon and finished at one o’clock the next afternoon. I couldn’t put it down.” I let out the breath I’d been holding. He went on to say that he’d stopped reading only long enough to eat and sleep and he absolutely loved the story.

My first novel had been aimed primarily at women readers. This one, a psychological drama, targets a wider audience. I wanted to appeal to the men as well as to the women who read that genre.

When writing non-fiction, you may have an obvious niche—health care workers, organic food enthusiasts, pet lovers, travelers, retirees, sanitation workers—the list goes on and on. This “built-in” readership can guarantee sales if your book is well-written, fills a need, and is effectively promoted.

Fiction, on the other hand, appears to be another animal…but is it really? What if your protagonist or other main character is a retiree, traveler, sanitation worker, etc.? You, too, have a “built-in” audience. And what if you offer to speak to groups of these people, putting together a well-planned program that addresses their needs/concerns/interests and even includes a little humor? You can encourage audience participation, and you definitely want to have plenty of books on hand to sell. My novel features three lawyers, who, like doctors, intrigue readers. This approach is a bit different from the typical niche, but it never hurts to observe the professions that interest people and include a character or two who works in one of those fields. Whatever route you choose to capture readers, be sure to “knock ’em dead” with the power and quality of your book. Keep ’em in that chair, reading!

The publishing industry has undergone dramatic changes. In the past, it promoted writers and their works. Now book promotion falls on the shoulders of writers themselves. How do you address that new responsibility? When you start to plan your next book, do you consider your audience? How do you slant your writing to appeal to that audience? What do you do to garner sales when you have the finished product in hand? How do you “knock ’em dead”?

Editor Linda Lane has returned to her first love—writing—while maintaining her editing work. Her novels fall into the literary category because they are character driven rather than plot driven, but their quick pace reminds the reader of genre fiction. They also contain elements of romance, mystery, and thrillers. You can contact her through her websites: LSLaneBooks.com and DenverEditor.com.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Arresting Research

I like doing research. Years ago, I spent a weekend at a women’s prison. Very interesting and informative -- and I was happy to leave.

Not long ago, I made trips downtown to the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice System. I picked out a particular courtroom and sat in. Didn’t really attend any actual on-going cases, but rather tried to get there while things were getting ready to begin.

One day I arrived about 8:45 a.m. Went through the security check point. For the first time, I got through without being wanded. I’ve decided the trick is to keep on all my jewelry – watch, earrings, ring, necklace. I’d always taken it all off before and gotten beeped. Or it could be that today I was running late and had to run out with my hair still dripping wet. Perhaps the guards decided I was not a terrorist – no bad guy would be caught dead looking like a pool rat.

Took the elevator up to my usual courtroom and found a seat. They were already in the middle of calling names. If they call your name, you holler out that you’re there. The list goes on and on. If you’re late or you don’t hear your name, then later you have to get in line to go up to the clerks and let them know you’re present. Then you go back and try to find another seat since while you were up there, more people filed into the room and took up all available spots.

Some people are called up and instructed to go elsewhere to pay or get papers or hire a lawyer, then return. They go off, eventually come back, and climb over people to get to an empty seat. Lawyers wander hither and yon. Sometimes they know their clients. Most often they call out names and look to see who raises a hand. If your lawyer motions, you stumble over legs and make your way to the aisle, talk to your lawyer either in the aisle or out of the courtroom in the hallway. Then you come back and wonder if you’ll fit in that tiny spot between the young woman wearing the mini skirt, headphones and knee-high fur boots and the burly guy with the dragon tattoo peeking from his muscle shirt.

Eventually the judge comes in. We all stand. He sits. We sit. He chats with passing lawyers. “Good to see your smiling face.” “Like that tie.” “Where’ve you been? Haven’t seen you in a while.” The coming and going of attorneys and clients continues. And the judge sits. An hour passes.

I left around 11:30. Not one single case had come before the bench. Almost three hours since I arrived. I conclude the criminal justice system seriously needs an efficiency expert to come in and do an overhaul. Surely some of that could be taken care of over the Internet. Couldn’t all the checking-in be done in another room? Could the lawyers get there a little earlier to introduce themselves to clients and start negotiating the deals in the back rooms? Why is the judge having to waste so much time just sitting there waiting for something to get going?

I’ve gone up there to the same courtroom about four times so far and it’s always the same. And, no, I don’t plan on going back. I think I’ve learned enough.

But one thing it does tell you, and this is something writers already know, start in the middle. Doesn’t matter what kind of scene you’re setting up -- courtroom, sniper attack, chance meeting of two lovers – don’t start with the mundane, the boring. Start with action or something very interesting. And that’s not always when the bailiff tells the courtroom to rise and the judge sweeps into the room. That could be the point where the boring gets interesting. Start when the judge points at row three and orders the bailiff to remove the wet-headed pool rat drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper and taking suspicious notes.
Helen Ginger is an author, blogger, freelance editor and writing coach. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. In addition, her free ezine, Doing It Write, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its eleventh year of publication. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn – or catch her April 30, 2011 at Books 'n Authors 'n All That Jazz in Weatherford, Texas, where she and Sylvia Dickey Smith will be talking about “Jazzing Up Your Characters.”

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Before You Write. . .

Much is said about the necessity of developing a daily routine for writing. We signal our readiness to work by bringing a big cup of coffee to our computer, logging off the Internet, and placing our hands on the keyboard. Every day. Without fail.

But writing is not always a serious business. Our newest contributor to The Blood-Red Pencil is Elspeth Antonelli, who will show us the lighter side of this creative adventure. Here's how Elspeth views the pre-writing routine:


20. Mentally pat yourself on the back for blocking out time to write.

19. Wonder how difficult it would be to literally pat yourself on the back.

18. Try it.

17. Try it with the other arm.

16. Try it with both arms at the same time.

15. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize you look like a demented bat.

14. Write a sentence. Caveat: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" does not count.

13. Take a sip of coffee, remembering to keep the liquid well away from the keyboard. You learned your lesson after the Great Spill of '08.

12. Spend a moment deciding who will play the main characters in the movie.

11. Spend a few more moments deciding which role George Clooney will demand to play.

10. Imagine yourself in an achingly trendy LA bistro, meeting George Clooney.

9. Realize before this can happen, you will need to purchase an entire new wardrobe.

8. Tell yourself you are not wasting time, you are firing your imagination.

9. Write another sentence. (see caveat above)

8. Remember you're having spaghetti for dinner and there's no spaghetti in the house.

7. Or tomato sauce.

6. Or salad ingredients.

5. Spend time inventing new curse words or phrases. Write them down.

4. Despite not falling under the boundaries of the caveat above, realize you cannot count these new words as part of your word count.

3. Curse again.

2. Switch your gaze between the keyboard and the screen. If you stare long enough, the words will come.

1. Decide you will write about the adventures of a quick brown dog.


Elspeth Antonelli is an author, a playwright and a keeper of cats in a house which is never clean. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through host-party.com. She has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine "Elias". Her blog, "It's A Mystery," explores the writing process with a touch of humor.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Leave The Tip on The Blood-Red Pencil

New Feature
The first Tuesday of the month here is devoted to our Ask the Editors Free-For-All, when our Editors answer your questions.

Now, on the second Tuesday of each month, we're inviting you to Leave The Tip on The Blood-Red Pencil by showing us what you know.

You can do this by using our comment section to share a writing related tip. It could be about formatting manuscripts, marketing a book, a great e-group, a website or blog, self-publishing, using a publisher, getting an agent, or any other writing tip you consider useful.
Your tip might come from experience, something you’ve picked up from a writing group, or maybe something another writer has mentioned that sticks in your mind.

If you're not a writer, but you've noticed something a favorite author does that you like, please share that with us.

If it so happens that someone else mentions the same tip you wanted to mention, it’s okay to agree and say something like, Yes, doing such-and-such works for me too, and offer an example of how it works for you. After this feature has gone for on a while, don't worry about keeping track of whether or not a tip has been given in a previous blog. The fact  it works for you is an added vote for the tip and a reminder not to forget it.

Please leave only one tip and keep it as short as possible so people don’t get bored reading a lengthy list. Tell us its origin if you remember; and if you want, add how it works or might work for you or others, or maybe how you've noticed its use by someone else.

Be sure to include your name, one website or blogspot, and where you heard about Leave The Tip.

My Tip
Read your manuscript out loud to catch stilted writing. If it doesn't sound right, there's a good chance it's wrong. I learned this through my writing group, Chicago-North RWA.

What's Your Tip?

Morgan Mandel
Killer Career now
99 cents on Kindle
and Smashwords.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing in 140: Finding Space to Write

When talking about writing, we often focus on storytelling components, such as character, setting, conflict, and dialogue. What you write is very important. Where you write is important, too. I have a perfectly good office, complete with large desk and comfy chair. However, I love sitting in my dining area. Why? Because the front of the house has more light. Also, the TV is in the living room, and I like to play movies as background noise. And of course, I’m closer to the kitchen--where my coffee pot is located! Sometimes, I head to a coffee shop where I can indulge in my two loves: writing and coffee drinking. Like my favorite spot at home, the coffee shop gives me the noise I need to get focused and to start writing.

Where do you like to write? Why?

Writing in 140 is my attempt to say something somewhat relevant about writing in 140 words or less.

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically, and her debut solo novel, Death at the Double Inkwell is now available for purchase. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, promoting her debut project, writing screenplays, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010's New Words

Fellow word lovers, I thought you might like to see a sample of the new words, phrases, and abbreviations that were added to 2010 New Oxford American Dictionary. So it’s official, you can now use BFF and bromance in your novel, and your editor will just have to shrug it off.

BFF: slang for best friend forever, a girl’s best friend

bromance: a close but nonsexual relationship between two men

cloud computing: the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer

credit crunch: a sudden sharp reduction in the availability of money or credit from banks and other lenders

defriend, unfriend:
remove someone from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking site

green audit: an assessment of a business in terms of its impact on the environment

hashtag: a hash or pound sign (#) used to identify a particular keyword or phrase in a posting on social networking websites such as Twitter

homeshoring, homesourcing: the practice of transferring employment that was previously carried out in a company’s office or factory to employees’ homes (origin: opposite of offshoring)

lipstick lesbian: a lesbian who favors a glamorous, traditionally feminine style

LMAO: slang for laughing my ass off

social networking: the use of dedicated websites and applications to communicate informally with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself

a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions

steampunk: a genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology

tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman’s lower back

TTYL: slang for talk to you later

vuvuzela: a long horn blown by fans at a soccer match

What new words are you using in your writing and blogging?


L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist, editor, and the author of the Detective Jackson mysteries, The Sex Club , Secrets to Die For, and Thrilled to Death, and two standalone thrillers, The Baby Thief and The Suicide Effect. All are available on Kindle for $2.99. She also loves to edit fiction and works with authors to keep her rates affordable. Contact her at:
Bookmark and Share