A Question of Balance

balancing on a tightropeI’m deathly afraid of heights. Going out on the observation platform on the Space Needle in Seattle, I have to plaster myself to the back wall of the central structure and dig my fingernails into the wall when the wind blows. At the Grand Canyon, I have to stay at least six feet back from the low walls that line the trails; none of this blithe waltzing over to the edge and looking down for me.

So how did I end up on a tightrope?

I’ve discovered that writing is very much like walking a tightrope, placing the feet carefully on the rope itself, hefting a balance beam and making very small corrections to the left or right as necessary. But what, exactly, are we balancing? Continue reading “A Question of Balance”

Seven Ideas for Better Author Interviews

interviewI’ll blog, speak, or be interviewed by almost anyone almost anywhere. Most articles that I’ve written or interviews I’ve participated in have led to other opportunities. It’s an honor to have someone donate part of their valuable online real estate to me or my books. I don’t look at their Alexa ranking or check out how many followers or friends they have I just try to do it. And, I always try to be engaging. Sometimes I suppose it works and sometimes it does not.

Now, I’m about to say something very controversial. Get ready – Most interviews that I’ve read recently where a self-published author is asked questions are boring – incredibly boring. Although the person being interviewed may be a wonderful writer that talent does not always shine through in the answers they’re giving. Sometimes, as a reader, it’s quite difficult to get past the first couple of questions. This is unacceptable because, as most of you know, the questions are sent to the author in advance. So, unless you’re under an incredibly tight time frame you usually have time to ponder your answers and display your creativity and writing prowess by giving the reader something entertaining to read. Admittedly, I haven’t always been able to accomplish this but I do try.

I’ve put together some guidelines that may help you when trying to engage your readers. Remember, the people who are reading your guest blog or answers to questions or listening to you speak at an event are going to be able to help you in several different ways. They could purchase your book. Or, they could talk about your book to someone else. Or, and this is the biggie, they could offer to promote you through other means. Please accept these suggestions from someone who has made most of these mistakes. Continue reading “Seven Ideas for Better Author Interviews”

Manuscript Formatting and the Nuclear Option

Do your paragraph indentations look like this?
Do your paragraph indentations look like this?

This past fall I published a self-publishing book. It looked great on my computer screen. The formatting was perfect; my spacing, indents, page breaks, etc., were all exactly where they needed to be, so I uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing feeling pretty confident my preview in their online previewer would be error-free.

Boy, was I wrong. My paragraph indents were completely off. Some were indented too far, some not enough, and some just plain missing.

pilcrowI went back to my manuscript and clicked on the pilcrow (the little paragraph symbol on the tool bar that shows all the formatting in your manuscript).  Everything looked fine. Telling myself it must have been an issue on KDP’s end, I uploaded again.

I clicked through the various preview screens. On some devices, the formatting was good. On others, it was clearly off. I couldn’t possibly upload a book that was going to have lousy formatting on half the devices that downloaded it.

I knew what needed to be done; I’d even written about it in the book. I needed to go nuclear. Continue reading “Manuscript Formatting and the Nuclear Option”

How to Work the New Twitter Profile Design

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 8.23.31 PMIf you’ve popped over to Twitter recently, you might have noticed a prompt to change to their new profile design. Again. Okay, I like change, especially when it comes in sacks of dollar coins or has a vague potential to up my visibility, so I bit. And I got this…

Continue reading “How to Work the New Twitter Profile Design”