Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG & A Personal Note


It's the August meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and as usual I have plenty that I'm feeling insecure about.

I finished my novella that is a prequel to Polar Night and I plan to release it myself on Kindle in September or October. The novella is called The Turnagain Arm and it takes place in 1917 during the building of the Alaskan railroad. If you read Polar Night you can guess which character is around and making trouble in this story. I already have a cover from the wonderful Michael Di Gesu and can't wait to share it.

So what am I insecure about? I've never formatted a book myself before and really have no clue how to do it. I also don't know anything about self-publishing on Kindle and I worry that I will make a total mess of it. But I am just hoping that since so many of the great writers I am fortunate to know here in the blogosphere have been able to master self-publishing that I will be able to do the same. Or that at least I will be able to do it without making a fool of myself.

While I always enjoy being part of the IWSG, the main purpose for this post is to share a personal matter that has been the focus of my life for the past month or so. My mom has been diagnosed with lymphoma and it's safe to say I haven't been able to focus on writing or blogging or much of anything at all since receiving that news.

I'm going to be taking a leave of absence from work in order to help with her care and will probably be taking a leave from the blogging world as well. I haven't been posting much this summer anyway but I have tried to keep up with my blog reading as I enjoy touching base with everyone. I doubt I'll be able to do much of that either now so I'll most likely just be on hiatus from the blogosphere.

I hope August is a good month for all of you and, for those in the northern hemisphere, I hope you enjoy the last month of summer. :)

63 comments:

  1. You need luck more than I do this August. Really, good luck this month.

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  2. Please take care of yourself, Julie. We'll all be here whenever you drop in or come back to the blogging world. I'm sending positive thoughts and prayers to you and to your family....

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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  3. Take care of your mother.
    There are a lot of self-published authors here who can help you. Just ask.

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  4. Take care of your mother and yourself. My thoughts are with you and your family.

    If you ever have questions about self-publishing I'll do my best to help. I'm not an expert, but I may be able to lead you to those who are.

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  5. Julie, I am so sorry about your mom and I do hope all is well. Please take care of yourself while you are caring for your mom. I've been a caretaker and you must keep up your strength in order to do what you need to do. Will be thinking of you...

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  6. So sorry to hear about your mother. Family comes first, but don't forget to take care of yourself too.

    Oh, and I love the idea of your prequel. That would be an interesting era to write about, especially with THAT character running around. :)

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  7. That's devastating news about your mom. I can understand why it's hard to write or pay attention to anything else. I wish you and your mother the best of luck.

    As far as formatting books for the Kindle, stop by J.W. Manus's blog. he's been teaching himself and others about the proper way of formatting ebooks for a while. It's at http://jwmanus.wordpress.com/

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  8. So sorry to hear about your mom. Every moment counts. I'm sure we'll be here when you get back.

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  9. So sorry to hear about your mom. That's terrible. I hope your time with her is filled with joy and love.

    If you need help on the formatting end, I'm willing to lend a hand. E-books are really HTML in disguise. You can edit an epub in Sigil and convert it to mobi in Calibre. Or you can buy software like Jutoh to take care of both formats.

    I wrote an article about it, but I've since lost the pictures. I found this article very helpful, and I refer back to it time and again.

    Hope that helps for DIY!

    Loni

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  10. Good luck... and try to find something, anything, to laugh about every single day. It helps. Another thing that helps is getting your feelings out via writing... I know that your time will be severely limited in the coming months, but from a therapeutic standpoint, try to take a few moments each day to jot down your thoughts. If they don't make it to a blog post... no biggie. At least writing will serve as a catharsis.

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  11. Hi, Julie,

    I'm sorry to hear about your mother and pray for everything good for your family.

    With self-publishing, it's good to take time to learn. Download a copy of the Smashword style guide and you'll do fine formatting your book. That's what I used and it served me well.

    This book is also free and helpful - Building Your Book for Kindle.

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  12. Oh, wow, Julie. I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this. Take all the time you need.

    I'm excited to hear about your next book. Send me the deets when you do your reveal and release, and I'll announce for you.

    Re: formatting... I hire mine out, but if you're only doing e-books, you might look into a product called 'Vellum.' A friend recommended it.

    Anyhow, if you need someone to vent to or a cyber shoulder to cry on, you've got my email. Hugs.

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  13. I am so sorry to hear about your mom, Julie. I'll keep her and you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Congrats on finishing your prequel! I can't wait to read it!

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  14. You're in a group among experts. We've got your back :)

    Hugs to you and your mom. I send you both love.

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  15. Wishing you and your mom the best. Take good care of her, and good luck with the fun of self pub!

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  16. Like everyone says, the community has a lot of resources. Hope everything turns out well for you.

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  17. Having just gone through something similar, I know where you are right now, Julie. My thoughts are with you. Remember to take care of yourself, so you don't become over tired or ill. You're the one she'll need the most.

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  18. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers, Julie.

    Don't fret the self pubbing, just look at it as a learning experience rather than an "I don't know anything" experience :)

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  19. Sorry to hear about your mother. I hope she makes a speedy recovery to complete health.

    I had a quick, steep learning curve in Kindle formatting, but it quickly became very familiar. It helps that I have a 30-year relationship with Mac, and didn't just start using computers as an adult. I also think it helps that I use Word 2004, instead of a modern version with more bells and whistles, where basic things are harder to figure out.

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  20. Oh Julie, I'm so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your mom. I'm so glad you can take time off and be with her. We'll be here when you get back, ready to root for your novella and all you do. In the meantime, take good care of her and yourself.

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  21. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Take all the time off you need. We'll still be here :)

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  22. You and your mother are in my thoughts, Julie. You'll do great with the self-publishing stuff. If I can figure it out, anyone can! :) (I'll e-mail you shortly...)

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  23. So sorry to hear about your mom. The book cover for Polar Night looks amazing! I'm sure you will have lots of great advice from your writing friends:)

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  24. Thank you all so much for your comments and kind words. And also for the self-pub advice, I really appreciate all of it!

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  25. Oh, Julie. I'm wishing you and you mum much grace and strength as you work through this.

    My advice on eBook formatting is to take the help of those who've offered it here. If you know what you're doing it's not so bad (is what I've heard) but learning it is a pain in the bum that you don't need right now.

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  26. I have read what others have said and I say the same. Health is most important not only your mom but you! It will be difficult and you will have battles which you must face and you will. In those times I hope you will care for yourself. This is easier said than done. We often don't even realize that we haven't taken care of ourselves until we become sick. You have friends and family and your blogger friends are here when you need it. More than one have gone down this path and I hope your mom will conquer this disease. My mom has dementia and I am the main caretaker but it is easier now that she is in a long term care facility. Whenever you can give her a hug til she can't stand it:) Hugs do wonders. I can't help at all with self-publishing but many here can. Good luck on this and I know you will publish your book. If ever you need a laugh or whatever just say hello on my blog:)

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  27. Julie, you and your mom are in my heart and in my prayers. May God grant you both abundant strength, mercy, and perseverance at this time!

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  28. Terribly sorry to hear about your Mom. It is totally nature to take time off from writing and blogging. You seem like such a caring person which makes it all the more sensible that you are making this move. On a different note, I have submitted to Ink Smith and remember seeing your books and reading about you when I did. Way to go with your fiction. As for me, I'm just getting started with it. (IWSG)

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  29. Oh Julie, I'm so sorry to hear this about your mother. I'll keep her and you in my prayers and thoughts. I enjoy reading your blog. I hope that maybe while you're with your mom you'll not only find you two have some good memory-making time together, but that you also find you have time to write, perhaps just to help deal with what you and she are going through. Thanks for coming by and commenting on my blog. I'll check back in here, just to see if you're able to update from time to time. I wish you and your mother quality time and a healthy outcome...

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  30. I am sorry to hear about your mother's illness. I wish both of you the best during this difficult time. Take care.

    I think you will do a great job with the self-publishing of your book.

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  31. Big hugs, Julie. Both you and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Good luck with the formatting as well. I don't know enough to offer advice, but you'll get it done. I know it.

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  32. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. It must be so hard for you to think about self-publishing your novella when you're feeling so bad. I wish I could help. All I can do is send you my very best wishes for your mother's health and your book's success. Hang in there.

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  33. Hi Julie, I'm sorry to hear about your mother. Wishing the best to you both.

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  34. Aw, so sorry about your mom! Not surprised at all that you need to take a break from the blogosphere. Family must always come first, especially during times like this! *hugs*

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  35. I'm so sorry about your mom, and we'll still be here when you come back to the cyber world. Congrats on finishing the novella!

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  36. I'm so sorry about your mom, but it's a blessing that you're able to take time off to be with her. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way.

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  37. Julie, at this point of time your mom needs you, everything else can wait. I am sending prayers and positive thoughts to you and your mother. Hugs.

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  38. I'm so sorry to hear about your mum Julie. Take care of you and her. Sending positive thoughts.

    As for uploading onto the kindle, Amazon actually have a free ebook you can download on how to do it all.

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  39. Sorry to hear about your mother, hope she gets well soon.

    The formatting is pretty straight-forward, as long as you don't want to do anything too complicated. I managed it - but kept it very simple. I can't wait to read it, I loved Polar Night. (I've just recommended it to a friend who is currently on holiday in Alaska!)

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  40. Congrats on finishing the prequel - can't wait to read it.
    And I know which character you're referring to!
    So sorry to hear about your mum...
    Take care, Julie!

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  41. Thank you all again so much! You guys are the best. :)

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  42. Sorry to hear about your mom. She's blessed to have a dedicated daughter like you.

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  43. So sorry to hear about your mom. I hope she finds a way to deal with her lymphoma.

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  44. I'm so sorry about your mom, Julie. You are a wonderful daughter for being there for your mom, and I'm sure she'll appreciate your help. Sending lots of good thoughts and prayers your way, and I'm around if you ever feel like talking.

    Your prequel to Polar Night sounds wonderful, and you should use what ever free time you could sneak in to ask for advice on formatting.

    Julie

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  45. I'm so sorry about your mom, Julie. You are a wonderful daughter for being there for your mom, and I'm sure she'll appreciate your help. Sending lots of good thoughts and prayers your way, and I'm around if you ever feel like talking.

    Your prequel to Polar Night sounds wonderful, and you should use what ever free time you could sneak in to ask for advice on formatting.

    Julie

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  46. There's a free Amazon ebook you can download which tells you how to format for kindle. It's very helpful.

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  47. There's a free Amazon ebook you can download which tells you how to format for kindle. It's very helpful.

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  48. Good luck with the release Julie, and I'm so sorry about your mom. I hope all goes well with your leave.

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  49. You and your mother are in my thoughts, Julie. Take the time you need to be with her. As for the formatting, don't sweat it. Like so many above me have already said, lots of folks are here to help if you need, all you have to do is ask. Hugs from afar and take care.

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  50. Hi, Julie,

    Take care of YOU and mom. We are all praying for you....

    You are always in my thoughts and prayers....

    As for the formatting you will get it! You are a very formidable woman. Just take it one step at a time....

    Thanks for the shout out... I'm THRILLED you love the cover.

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  51. There are definitely SO many helpful people in this community. Just reading the comments is inspiring! My husband's ex-father-in-law actually charges big bucks for day-long workshops where he teaches people how to self-publish their books... Those workshops are generally filled. If only they were a part of this community!

    Prayers for your mother. SO sorry to hear about that.

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  52. I'll be keeping you and your mom in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time, Julie. And good luck with the Kindle formatting!

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  53. Formatting: Set up your book so that you don't have any tabs (use automatic indents instead). For Table of Contents, make sure to highlight in Word and then use the Heading option up top. Formatting is actually pretty easy. There's a guide you can download for free that walks you through it.

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  54. Hi Julie - I am sorry to hear the news of your mother ... but you are doing the right thing by being with her at this time, and through her journey ... my thoughts to you both - have as many laughs in between the treatments as you can ... it's not easy. Being there is the most important though.

    We'll be here and good luck with the formatting - blogging certainly helped me during my years of care .. the support was just amazing and uplifting ... your mother will be so pleased to know you're carrying on doing things - eg getting your book onto Kindle - and giving you something else think about ...

    My thoughts - Hilary

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  55. Dear Julie,
    You are such a good, kindhearted person (I sensed that when you spoke about your animal rescues a while back).
    To take this precious time with your mother will stay with you forever.
    And while your friends here will miss you, we won't forget you. So be sure to check in with us again when you feel like it - but especially when you are doing a new book launch; I stand ready to support you however I can.
    Mostly though, keep yourself and those you love safe.

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  56. Take care of yourself and your mom. We'll be here when you get back.

    And if you need any help/advice with formatting, let me know. I'm glad to help out. :)

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  57. Thank you all again for your support and advice. Hugs to all of you!

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  58. Good luck getting your prequel formatted and out there. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. My thoughts will be with you. I hope you can have some quality time with her through this.

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  59. I'm sorry to hear about your mom. It's wonderful you are able to take time to help her out and spend time with her.

    As for the formatting, I have a friend who is incredibly technology-savvy. He ran into problems with the formatting part because of a bug in the program that does the conversion (I'm pretty sure it's the Amazon one, but I could be wrong). Plan on reading the entire novel through again to make sure it didn't change things on you. Maybe they've fixed it by now - this may have been 2 years ago that he had problems - pretty sure he was converting from a MAC platform - not sure if that made the difference or not. Good luck. I can get the details of the software he was using if you want - just email me.

    Tonja

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  60. oh julie. i'm so sorry.
    i'll be praying for you all through this difficult experience.
    and i'll miss you.

    be sure to give us updates, if you feel up to it. LYLAS!

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  61. I would be insecure about self-pubbing too. I still haven't figured out what my editor is talking about when he tells me to stop using tab to indent, but set the margins. Huh? Yeah, I'd be in over my head!

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  62. Ack! Julie, I thought I read and responded to this way before now. I've been a little frazzled, but that's no excuse. I am SO sorry to hear this news about your mom.

    Take care and stay positive.

    Hugs!

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  63. Checking back in to say I'm thinking of you and your mom. Hope all is well and sending good thoughts.

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Thank you for your comments!