Tag Archives: books

Question?

Do you have a burning question about writing but were afraid to ask or didn’t know anyone to ask? This Saturday, the fourth Saturday of every month, Seventh Wave Books sponsors the Author Help Line for this very reason. We are there to answer any of your questions about writing , publishing, and the answer to life itself. Yeah, the last one we’re a little shaky on.

Free. All you need to do is to email me at seventhwavebooks@gmail.com and I’ll send you the phone number to the conference call and the access pin to get join us. Again it’s free. How many truly free things are there left in the world?

Ask any question. There are no dumb questions. Seriously. And if you are looking for a publisher, join us and pitch to us over the phone. You never know what will happen. We are needing new authors and love working with first time ones. Ask Guy Gertsch and soon to be published Alicia Sheehy, both first time authors. We love first time authors.

And just to round out this blog… From the Business Insider via Publisher’s Weekly… Some interesting facts about Amazon.com you might not know….
1. Amazon.com was almost called Cadabra as in Abracadabra.
2. The name was chosen for two reasons… one the suggest scale- Earth’s biggest bookstore and back then websites were listed alphabetically.
3. Amazon’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens and could hold more water than 10,000 Olympic pools.
4. The first book sold by Amazon.com was Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
5. Amazon’s current logo was designed to depict a smile that goes from A to Z. “This signifies that the company is willing to deliver everything to everyone anywhere in the world.”
6. Amazon.com employees spend two days every two years working at the customer service desk, even the CEO.
7. Last year when Amazon website went down for 49 minutes, the company missed sales of nearly 5.7 million dollars.

Wow. Who knew? Anyway, join us at the Author’s Help Line this coming Saturday, March 30, 2013 at 11:00 am Central Time. All you need to do is email me at the above address and get the number and access pin. Free. Ask your questions. Bring it on.

Stay tuned.

Angela Abderhalden
Acquiring Editor, Seventh Wave Books, LLC
Author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series
http://www.seventhwavebooks.com
seventhwavebooks@gmail.com

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Something To Think About

Here is something that you should think about while writing… What is the message or theme of your manuscript? Sometimes you may not even realize what your theme is. But it is something that you might want to consider. Okay, so what is theme?

A theme in fiction is how people view life or how people react in life. It shouldn’t preach or teach or even be actually said out loud in the story. It is unspoken. It is figured out by how the characters act, the action in the story and even from the settings. The reader must figure it out for themselves via the inferences that you have put in the manuscript. Sometimes the theme is very transparent, sometimes it is deeper and requires the reader to really think deep about the story.

If you don’t think about your theme before during your writing , you should go back after it’s written and figure it out. It’s important especially if you are writing a series. That way you can carry the same theme throughout all of your books.

I’ve found that one of the major themes in my books is family is the most important thing. Another theme I enjoy writing about is loyalty between family/friends or the lack thereof and the ramifications of this.

What is the theme in your writing? Think about it. Write about it. Stay tuned.

Angela Abderhalden is the author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series and Acquiring Editor for Seventh Wave Books, LLC.

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Digital Conversion

This concept for us is still a work in progress. We are slowly working our way to how we want to be able to convert all of our manuscripts to digital format but aren’t completely happy with the results. I know that all of the big publishers use InDesign. However, since we are a small publisher working on a shoe string budget, we can’t afford this system yet. Working on it, but not there at this time. Therefore it has been a real learning experience with using different programs.

First we started out asking other authors and other small publishers what they use. Between that they told us and my research online in the very confusing world of the internet, we came up with several things that need to happen before you end up with a digital file in both e-pub and mobi (azw). E-pub is the standard that most e-readers use, these include Sony, Nook, Kobi and many others. Mobi (azw) is what the Kindle uses. If you are going to publish in digital format you have to be able to convert to both. Also you should produce a PDF for those that can’t use either of these two formats (not many).

For e-pub it is fairly easy to find a converter for free. I’ve haven’t been excessively happy with any of them so far. One of the drawbacks seems to be file size. I have one I really like but it won’t convert a full manuscript at one time. I have to do it in pieces. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Everything I read says, and what I’ve learned from experience, is that you have to have a clean html to make the best conversion. Apparently Word docs have a lot of extra formatting (I’m not a geek here, so sorry that I’m not using technical terms) that is unnecessary and hard to convert to digital. So first take your Word doc and clean it up. I found a really good html cleaner for free. http://word2cleanhtml.com/ Again, it does have a size limitation.

After you have a clean file, then you need to add back the paragraph indents and chapter breaks, scene breaks, etc. One site recommended Open Office. http://www.openoffice.org The program is pretty intuitive to use (I figured it out and I’m not a spring chicken who was raised with computers!). Several people and sites recommend using Sigil a WYSIWYG e-book editor to do the same. http://code.google.com/p/sigil/ I’m still learning about this program, so I’ll let you know how it does. Right now I’m using Open Office.

Next you have to convert it to the intended format you want. There are several programs that I’ve tried and the work to varying degrees. I usually use this PDF converter. http://www.freepdfconvert.com As for e-pub programs, there is any number of e-pub converts for free on the internet. I’ve used http://www.2epub.com

As for mobi (azw files) I’ve found two. The first is MobiPocketCreator. Just Google it. It’s a free download and again is easy to use. The mobi files work well on my Kindle. The other is Calibre. Again another free download. This is a whole e-book management system. One of its components is that it converts a Word doc to mobi and e-pub. I’ve not been as happy with the e-pub conversion but I don’t have a lot of experience in e-pub because I own a Kindle. The mobi files work fine on my Kindle. And again this program is fairly easy to use.

If you are transferring directly to any e-reader device, these programs all work great. However, the big stumbling block is that when you upload your manuscript to Amazon via Creatspace, it doesn’t like the mobi file. It likes a Word doc better. Go figure. So if you’re selling directly off your website, any of these will work. If you are going with Createspace or other middle man, Word doc seems to be the best so far.

One drawback to InDesign… Smashwords ( http://www.smashwords.com ) doesn’t take InDesign files well. Again, it prefers Word docs. Again, go figure. Well, as I learn more I’ll post it to the blog. Stay tuned.

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Books, Books, And More Books

In Real Estate the motto is Location, Location, Location. In publishing it’s Books, Books, and More Books. The content we sell is books. The more content (books) you have for sale, usually, the successful you will be. (Told you I’d get back to this topic soon.)

However, there is a caveat here. It has to be good content. Good readable and sellable content. This will sound bad, but there is tons of crap out there. And I do mean tons. I have been a judge on quite a few writing contests. There are gems out there, but there are many more manuscripts that need a lot of work. I mean a lot. Most of those manuscripts are not ready yet for publishing and the right to call it a book. (Before a book is signed by a company and published it is actually called a manuscript. Only after printing/publishing is it called a book.)

In judging those contests, I have come to realize that some writers take criticism well, learning from their mistakes and making improvements on their manuscripts. These writers as they develop their craft with eventually become authors. However, there are some that do not take good advice, even common knowledge, and put it to use to improve their manuscripts.

In one such contest in which I was a judge, for three years in a row the same writer sent in an entry. The first year all three judges comment in the same respect about the first twenty-five pages (the entry amount required). All three commented about that there was no hook, the characters were flat and lifeless, and the plot did not move at all in those twenty-five pages. The second year the same writer sent in the same manuscript. Nothing was changed. Nothing, at least as far as I could tell. I was the only judge from the year before and, again, all commented on the same three items that needed improving. In the third year, I was lucky(?) to get the same manuscript entry again. Needless to say, again there was no seeming change in the pages. And again the same comments. Needless to say this person never even placed in the top ten in any of the contests.

The reason I mention this is that as a publisher, you have to get stern about the manuscripts that you read. If it isn’t so close to publication that it excites you, then it should get the ubiquitous rejection letter. Now I’m not saying be mean about it. I also try to give suggestions with my rejection letters, (I’ve been on the receiving end of rejection letters. I have a whole pile saved.) And sometimes it is just that little suggestion that can improve a questionable submission into a submission that gets a contract.

In those cases, when I can see that the writer is moving in the right direction and just needs a little help, I offer as much help as I can within limits. I would hate to have a truly budding author lose heart and stop writing.

Just remember this when you’re weeding your way through the ‘slush pile’ to find that one gem. And there are out there too. Just put on your wading boots, take a deep breath and start reading.

If you’re a writer and reading this, remember that the people who are reading your manuscripts are trying to help. And make sure that your manuscript is as polished as you can make it. Then take any suggestions seriously and remember what I wrote in my last blog. Stay tuned.

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More Things to Think About

If you’ve been following along with this blog you realize that we have only just begun to scratch the surface of starting a business. And the decisions keep coming. Here are just a few more that you’ll have to face:

A business name. It can’t be too stupid or have no meaning but it also must mean something to you. It also can’t be already taken, especially in the state in which you will start your business, either as a corporation or as a self-proprietary business. Oh and on that note you need to do a search in your state of choice so that it is yours.

An EIN. That is an Employment Identification Number. This is of course so that you can pay your taxes. Oh yes, those pesky taxes. You should feel happy to do this (I’m not joking). I would rather pay into the system than be a free loader living off the system. (Yes, I have issues with this particular issue!) And the more you pay into the system, the more money it is that you are making. (I like that idea.)

A website. A must in this digital age. I have many times saw something or a business and tried to find them on the internet only to learn that they have no website. (Yes, I live in a rural, small town area. Still they should have a least a website for information or phone numbers.) I am not a website guru, or even an amateur, but as with all things, there are people out there that you can pay to do a good job on the website. And it is good money spent.

Email account. Where ever you have it, it is the way to still communicate. How do people live without email?

Advise. This covers a lot of area. GET ADVISE! You will need tax advise, bookkeepers, lawyers… yes, lawyers. You want to make sure that everything you do is on the up and up and that you limit your liability. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Start up capital. This is the tricky one. Sometimes you can do this on a shoe string, depending on how much knowledge you have or friends that you can get to help you. If you don’t have either of these, then you will have to have working capital to pay for these things. Be it a loan, your own savings, family support, or… well, be creative.

Social media sites. Still working on this one and it will be addressed in a later blog. (I’m not a teenager, so it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m still learning!)

And here is another big one that I will discuss in depth in a later blog. You need product. That means manuscripts. You are a business. You need to sell things. That means you need things, books, to sell. If you do not have a large number of manuscripts, well written manuscripts, then you must find authors to fill that need. As with all publishers, we are always looking for new authors with great stories.

Have I detailed everything needed for your publishing business… no. But I’ll keep adding more as it comes. Stay tuned.

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Which State is Best?

The next big decision to think about is where to incorporate. This plagued us. You see one of lives in Montana and one in South Dakota. While neither is the ideal state to incorporate in, we had to weigh the cost and idea of paying a person to be our registered agent in a state that neither of us lived in… but I digress.

There are three excellent states to incorporate in, Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming. All have their advantages and disadvantages. Again, use Google and you’ll find more websites than you care to read, discussing the pros and cons of each. Delaware is the oldest and has the most advantages for large corporations. Nevada has some tax advantages for small businesses, however, some of the newer laws make that less then before. Wyoming is the new kid on the block for small businesses. All require you to have a Registered Agent in the State.

This is a person/business that has an address in the state in question so that if there are any legal papers to be serviced on the business, they act as your representative. There is a yearly cost to this which adds to the cost of incorporating. Nevada and Wyoming have no corporate income tax, while Delaware has many laws that help protect corporations (that why it’s a favorite of all the really big corporations).

Also factor in the state in which you live as a place to incorporate. What are the costs to incorporate in each? The filing fees? The registered agent fees (you act as your own if you incorporate in your own state)? Does the state allow out of state owners (foreign ownership)? How important is convenience for you?

These are just a few of the considerations you need to think about. As for us, we chose to incorporate in Montana. Besides considering all of the above questions and more, we also had to consider that my family would probably be moving within a year or two, while Jason’s situation is more stable.

Each person’s situation is unique, just like their publishing business. Figure out what is best for your situation. No one can make that decision for you. Good luck and stay tuned.

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What kind of business?

Okay, so you’re going to start a publishing business. First a disclaimer… I am not a tax adviser. I am not a lawyer. I am not giving you advice. I am merely telling you our thought process and what we choose and why. Now with that out of the way…

The big decisions are not over. You have to decide what kind of business do you want to set up; a self-proprietary, a limited liability corporation, or a regular corporation. A quick and dirty explanation. (For a more detailed explanation Google them. There are tons of websites out there that will do into more depth and detail on this subject.) A self-proprietary business is one where you own it and you are totally responsible for all profits and losses, including all liability. A corporation is a legal entity of its own and pays its own taxes to the federal government. You are the employee and also pay taxes to the government on your earnings. Because it is a separate entity, the corporation accepts all liability. A limited liability corporation is a mixture of the two, sort of. The important thing is that the liability is the responsibility of the business. The owners liability is limited, hence the name.

When I first started out, for about a month, I was a self-proprietary business. I filed a DBA (doing business as) with my state and puff, I’m a business. (DBA is so that you can run a business in a name other than your own personal name. For instance, I could be Angela Abderhalden Book Publishing. My name is in the name of the business. But if I wanted to be ABC Publishing, I have to file a DBA.) When Jason and I decided to go into business together, we made the decision to spend the money and the time and file as a LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). This way in case we get sued, our personal assets cannot be touched.

I haven’t bored you yet, have I? Good because in the next blog you need to decide what state to incorporate in, if you are going the LLC or the INC way. If you are a self-proprietary route, it’s the state you live in. Stay tuned.

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