Sunday, June 27, 2010

The journey from book idea to publication

I've been helping people write books for years and I keep telling them how easy it is. But now that I've done it myself, I have to admit the process gets increasingly more and more difficult with every step. On a scale from 1-100 with 100 being impossibly difficult, this is how I rank every step in the process:

Step One: Coming up with a book idea = 1
This step is so easy it's almost laughable. I talk with authors all the time who are afraid someone is going to steal their book idea. But having gone through the entire process, the idea is the easy part.

Step Two: Outlining the idea = 20
Once you have the idea it's not that much harder to outline it.

Step Three: Writing = 30
Writing is mostly about discipline. If you can force yourself to sit down and hammer on the keys you can get through this phase.

Step Four: Editing = 50
It's a lot easier if you can get people to help out. But it also makes it harder. The more people who give you their opinion, the harder it is to trust yourself. In the end you have trust yourself.

Step Five: Design = 30
It used to be really hard to design a book and a cover. But today it's a snap. The only reason I gave it a 30 is because the book cover design is still pretty tough. If you can entrust this to a professional, do it.

Step Six: Publishing = 99
I used to think that publishing was the easy part, and technically it is. All you have to do is push a button. But making the decision to push the button was really hard. I kept wondering if I was done. I kept thinking maybe I needed more editing, maybe I should change the title or do more writing.

I think this is where most people fall apart. They get stuck trying to make sure everything is perfect and the project loses steam. The dream fades. And once you lose momentum it's really hard to get it back.

That's why I think the hardest thing an author will do is release their book into the world. So my advice to you is this: Pull the trigger. Don't wait for things to be perfect. Just do it. Trust yourself and push the publish button. I did it and it feels great!! Good luck.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Inspired by Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts does this 30 day challenge and I like reading about his experiences and how it affects him. So this month I've decided to give it a try myself. He asked his readers to give him some ideas and there were some good ones on the list. I actually suggested he write a book, and of course I'd want him to use FastPencil.com but it's not for everyone. Tom Foremski just did it and I think it took him about 3 weeks. Wallace Baine did it and it took him two. But they are journalists with years of old articles and blog posts. It would be more difficult if you started with just an idea. But that would be a good challenge.

Friday, June 04, 2010

KION FastPencil Interview

I had a chance to speak with the nice folks at KION about FastPencil and how writers are flocking to self-publishing during the economic downturn. Now that authors can choose print-on-demand and ebook distribution on the Kindle and iPad, publishing is actually cost-effective with almost no risk. Today you can sign up with FastPencil.com, import your manuscript or start a new book, click a few buttons and be a published author. Here's the snippet from the news: http://www.kionrightnow.com/global/story.asp?s=12591814

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Memoirs of a Texan: War by Tim Murray


Tim Murray has some words in him! Memoirs of a Texan is over 500 pages of real, civil war, historical fiction. I have to admit, I'm not a Civil War buff, but Murray does a wonderful job of wrapping an interesting story around historical events and people. You can preview the first 50 pages or so at FastPencil, then buy the book. It's worth it!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Seth Godin interview and the AuthoREvolution

Seth Godin is an Authorist even if he doesn't know it. This interview is a great glimpse into the future of eBooks, Kindle, iPad and the AuthoREvolution. Enjoy, http://ping.fm/q9Rqa

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Authorist Review - Call for Submissions

AuthREvolution is publishing the 2010 Authorist Review: Poetry and Short Stories by REvolutionary Authors. We are accepting submissions until March 30, 2010. The top 100 poems and short stories will be published and receive a free copy of the Authorist Review. Submit your poetry or short story now.

This is not a free poetry contest. The Authorist Review will judge every submission and choose the top 100 for publication.


After payment you may submit up to 3 poems or short stories

By submitting poetry and short stories you agree that you own the copyright to your material and give permission to the Authorist Review to publish and distribute, if selected, in the 2010 Authorist Review.

New Examiner Title

Just found out my new title as Silicon Valley Publishing Examiner... I'm moving up in the world! http://ping.fm/Ajv5G

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The end of bookstores

It will be a sad day when bookstores disappear completely, but it may not be far away. Read about my take on it and when it's going to happen at the Examiner, http://ping.fm/hFqga

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hosting the first FastPencil-Santa-Cruz Meetup tonight, http://ping.fm/AMlGO

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why is iPad an AuthoREvolution?

What's happening in the publishing industry is not just natural evolution - it really is a revolution. The pendulum is swinging back toward the author and the iPad is just one more milestone along the way. Here are four reasons why the iPad is an AuthoREvolution:

1. It's not just a book on a computer screen. The whole concept of "Book" is finally changing and the idea that a book is a bunch of chapters packaged between two covers is fading. The iPad is a true multi-media device. That means the author can use all available means to convey content. It's not just a better book, it's changing the nature of books and giving the author more tools to connect. We will soon see eBooks with meta data, annotations, multimedia, links and social connections.

2. It's not just another distribution channel. The iPad brings iTunes simplicity to book purchases. With the integrated iBookstore authors will be able to reach out to an audience already downloading and reading eBooks on their iPhone. What people aren't talking about is how the iBookstore will allow anyone with an iTunes account to purchase books and view them on their iPhones and iPod Touch, too!

3. Publishers are arguing over prices, while authors are figuring out how to get their own books on the iBookstore without them! FastPencil.com is the only publisher that has committed to helping authors write, publish and distribute their books anywhere! If you are an author and you want to publish a book on the iPad, through the iBookstore, you'll be able to click a few buttons at FastPencil.com and you're in. No agent, no publisher, no permission slip required.

4. The iPad is going to put more money in everyone's pocket... except the bookstores. Unfortunately, my local bookshop may disappear in the next couple years if not sooner. Just like the iPod ended the reign of the record shops, the iPad should signal the end of the bookshop. And the 100% retail markup for books, too. Digital delivery means almost zero overhead and all profit. And Apple has taken the same stance as FastPencil, providing the lions share to the author or publisher. In the case of a traditional publisher, they chop that up and give even less to the author, but that's changing as authors choose to go direct. More money is going back to the author.

And that's the real AuthoREvolution - control and reward for ideas. The more we see companies like Apple, Amazon, FastPencil and Lulu work to help authors connect with their audience, the further we are toward a complete revolution in the publishing industry. It's not just the next generation of books, it's the next generation of an entire industry!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Setting up your new author workspace

Technology is great if it really makes your life easier. That's what the AuthoREvolution is all about: discovering and using technology that makes your job easier... and more fun!

After I created my book project on FastPencil for AuthoREvolution, I immediately started setting up my community and networks. That included the following:

1. @AuthoREvolution twitter account
2. Facebook page for AuthoREvolution
3. Wordpress blog for AuthoREvolution

Then I made sure my personal accounts were in order:

1. Mashley.com blogger account
2. Tumblr blog
3. LinkedIN
4. Misc other communities I participate in

NOW, if I had to manage every single account I would go crazy - so I setup a ping.fm account. Ping.fm will allow you to post to all of your accounts from one place. It's the slickest interface and time-savings tool you will use. Plus, they make it dead-simple to post different content to different containers. So you can post a blog to your blogging accounts, and status updates to your social containers. Awesome technology.

So, your first mission is to setup your accounts, blogs, pages, etc. and then tie them together using ping.fm and get used to posting from just one place.

Just setup my Ping.fm account for @AuthoREvolution

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mobile Book Authoring Transforms Your Publishing Workflow

When the muse comes calling, you have to start writing. Today that means more than just a pencil and paper. If you are a writer it means mobile book authoring, editing and publishing. Here are four new technologies that will forever transform your workflow as an author:

SaaS Applications
SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It means the software you use to write your book (your word processor, for example), isn’t actually installed on your computer. It’s a service you subscribe to over the Internet. One popular book authoring SaaS option today is FastPencil.com, which is a writing and collaboration service powering thousands of authors. SaaS word processors transform the way you write your book because they can do much more than just store content and perform spell checks. A good SaaS writing tool will connect you in a meaningful way with the people helping you write, publish and market your book. It may be a co-author, an editor, or just some friends who read and comment on your book. The key is, it’s connected. Software as a Service helps you write better, faster, cheaper, and in a more collaborative way than ever before.

Mobile Applications
The cell phone is no longer just for chatting. It’s a full-powered computer that allows you to be more productive when inspiration strikes, not just when you schedule it. The iPhone has transformed the way we use mobile devices, and now Google has entered the market with their Android mobile operating system. That means you will soon be able to access many of your writing tools on your cell phone. For example, the iPhone has over 100,000 apps that let you do everything from manage your daily life to play online games. FastPencil.com just released a mobile book authoring app that gives you instant access to your book projects and your collaborations. So when you’re sitting in the subway or taking a walk in the park and inspiration strikes, you can open your book project and take notes or just start writing directly into your chapters. Mobile apps give you more freedom and faster access to your content, no matter where you are when the muse calls you.

Mobile Hardware
Not only are mobile apps changing the way you write and collaborate, but new mobile technology and netbooks will make it even easier to read, write and work together in a more meaningful way. The Kindle made eBooks a household name, and it’s very likely anything you write today will have an eBook distribution channel when it’s published. But Kindle isn’t just for reading. You can bookmark and share with your friends so the reading experience isn’t so secluded. And with Apple getting ready to release their version of a tablet, you will be able to use mobile apps like FastPencil to do serious reading, writing and collaboration.

Instant Publishing
As better SaaS applications, mobile apps and devices emerge, your job as a writer will get easier, but it will also get faster. You will be able to go from idea to published book in a matter of clicks, not years. The more you take advantage of this new technology and make it part of your workflow, the better positioned you will be to succeed in the new publishing reality.

Mobile devices and apps will change the way books are written, edited and published. No longer will you have to nurture your idea, shop it around for a publisher, battle with complicated word processing software and search endlessly for old notebooks or disparate files lost on an old computer. You will be connected to your content and your collaborators through your SaaS, you’ll have immediate access to your notes and chapters through your mobile apps, and you’ll publish with just a few clicks, no permission slip required. The muse doesn’t like to wait for you to get home and find a notebook. Be ready when she calls!