Writing News

This is my 52nd blog post and roughly my one-year anniversary. I started the Lessons Learned blog to learn about websites and to write to an audience.

The good news: I’ve been able to write every Monday night.
The bad news: I still suck at learning all the settings and gizmos that I need to do on my web page and blog. I will have to be more diligent!

And with this being my 52nd blog post, I would like to thank you for viewing or joining my blog. I continue to appreciate your comments and likes throughout the weeks.

And along with the blog, my goal was to publish my first novel before the next Romantic Times Convention. I am happy to announce that my contemporary romance “Gitana – Life Plan” is now available as an eBook on Amazon for $2.99.

Gitana - Life Plan by Beth M James
Gitana – Life Plan by Beth M James

And for the other major stores (e.g., Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Sony)…
“Coming Soon!”

Have a great week!


Lessons Learned: Spring Fever

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Yes, I know that March is one of the snowiest months of the year for the Midwest, but having three big storms in less than one week (and creating havoc for the morning rush hour) is enough. Last year on St. Patty’s Day, the temperature was 80 Degrees Fahrenheit. People watched the parade in shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. This year, everyone bundled up. The good news is that the snow doesn’t stick to the roads like it does in January and February. The bad news is that it’s still snow. I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. Okay, I am.

To my blog reader in Hawaii, please take a moment to go outside, put your face to the sun, smile, and drink in the bright warmth. I need it. Thank you. 🙂

Lessons Learned: Heavy Sigh Moment

I am close to publishing my contemporary romance Gitana – Life Plan. I planned to work hard this weekend to add the final touches to the manuscript document and to upload to the sites. However, the only “finish” I completed on Sunday was to shut down my computer after a frustrating few days.

On Friday, I had trouble with my work computer and my personal computer. This should have been a sign for the weekend, but I was ready to tackle my list. I went on to Amazon and set up my account and upload my nicely formatted manuscript. The good news is that you get a chance to preview what your eBook will look like on an eReader before published. For mine, the paragraph indents were too long at .5 as instructed. I now have to go back and reformat the manuscript (hoping that I don’t mess up anything else) and then upload again.

I started working on the manuscript document when suddenly my computer security software flashed a warning sign that something/someone was trying to get into my computer. Immediate shut down occurred. I stared at the black screen with a sick feeling in my stomach. My book was inside of it. I pushed the power button. The machine crackled to life, and I mean literally crackled like static. I held my breath, then swore. It shut down again. After two tries, I resuscitated my computer. Needless to say, I took the time to back up all my documents and pictures to an external drive…just in case.

Back to the book. I decided to wait on the manuscript formatting and went to upload the book cover. I wanted to see how that would look once on Amazon. I had used the size and options recommended from the class I took. Shouldn’t be an issue, right? Wrong. I couldn’t read my name or the book title. It would have been okay if it were blurred or hard to read since it is a small picture, but I couldn’t make out any of the letters. I went back to work on the photo. I stared at the picture as if it would magically correct itself, because I couldn’t remember how I managed to create it in the first place. I did a lot of guessing and now nothing worked.

So yes, this is my heavy sigh moment. I’m on the home stretch of getting my book published, but I’m tripping over my shoe strings as I run to get there. I have to stop, concentrate, and work on one issue at a time.

If you hear any grumblings, it’s probably me.

Lesson learned: Writing or Publishing – which takes longer?

I’ve been asked which one takes longer, writing or publishing a book.

My first response is to say publishing. The learning curve is huge when you do it yourself. Yes, you can have your fiction or nonfiction work uploaded within a few hours. Just follow the instructions that each distributor provides. But what if you want to be professional, polished, and serious about the success of your work? A few hours won’t do it and not the route I chose to take.

First, I wanted to make sure that ePublishing was the direction I wanted to go. I researched. I went back and forth on traditional versus independent. I continued to research, and I listed the pros and cons to each option. I attended conference sessions to hear others and collect information from their experiences.

Once I decided to be independent (self-publish), I chose to have an editor content and copy edit my story. I had to find an editor and then work within their time constraints. I had to create a book cover, format the document, create the Table of Contents, and add the copyright information and author bio. I had to learn about ISBNs, Sigil, and Calibre. Not to mention, my novel isn’t published yet…but I’m still looking at this month for the launch date.

And then I listened to the analyst in me and wondered if I should have said writing took longer. I’ve been writing for decades with the wish to publish, but I never hardcore pursued the dream. I’ve written four other stories, with only one making it to a first manuscript draft.

The first three didn’t count. Let’s just say Starsky and Hutch, the Monkees, and Elton John were main characters, and the stories should have stayed in my head. The fourth, the manuscript draft, I’m going to revisit. Next, I wrote my current story Gitana. The first rough draft took 30 days to write. The next 11 months were used to edit and polish the story (with two rewrites and family health issues to contend with). When I thought I was done, I did another edit before sending off to the editor. So if you add up the years that I’ve been writing and editing, you could say the writing takes longer.

So now which one do I believe takes longer? What comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑