Welcome to this issue of the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival. This issue is for May, 2014. We welcome your submissions on topics related to writing, self-publishing, book design or marketing books.
A collection of outstanding articles recently posted to blogs, your reading here will be richly rewarded.
See the end of this post for links to submit your blog posts for the next carnival, or for participating Bloggers and Featured Bloggers to grab your sidebar badges. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Carla King presents Blurb Offers New Tools for Color Book Authors posted at PBS | MediaShift, saying, “Blurb recently added an offset color book printing service, warehousing and fulfillment, distribution to Amazon.com and Apple’s iBookstore, with rumors of Ingram distribution to come soon. Its suite of book creation tools serve rank beginners and professional designers and everyone in between. Most impressively, its midlevel BookWright tool concurrently builds a fixed-format EPUB version of your book for the iPad. In short, its feature set and services are finally robust enough that I can very heartily recommend them to all authors of color books as a do-it-yourself option that competes with the services of a book designer and even against Vook and BookBaby’s very good do-it-for-you services.”
Jenni Wiltz presents 14 Examples and 2,300 Words on How to Sharpen Your Sentences posted at Jenni with an “i”, saying, “Hi Joel, I had some wonderful responses to this article when I posted it on G+ and Twitter, so I thought it might be helpful for other indie writers. It’s all about sentence-level editing, something I think lots of indies struggle with. Thanks for your consideration, Jenni W.”
Helen Sedwick presents “Someone Stole My Book Title” posted at Helen Sedwick’s Blog, saying, “Many writers are surprised to discover that their book titles are not protected by copyright law. This article explains how and when trademark law would protect book titles.”
Book Design and Production
Bethany Brown presents Is Your Book Market-Ready? posted at The Cadence Group, saying, “When self-publishing, it is vital to keep the end product and end consumer in mind. That means taking off your author hat and putting on your publisher hat. Your final product MUST be market-ready. One of the biggest mistakes we see self-published authors make is paying for and producing a book that isn’t market-ready.”
Elegwen O’Maoileoin presents Why Scholars Should Publish Non-Fiction Academic Books, Trilogies or An Independent Series posted at Scholarship & Minstrelsy, saying, “Like many PhD candidates, dealing with publishers in our field is getting tougher. Articles are more often rejected out-of-hand or simply because they are not enough en vogue. As academic careers rely on publishing for advancement, I foresee many more scholars like myself (who may or may not be currently lecturing at a college or university) turning to independent publishing. Not only are academic books priced out of reach for many of the poor students and scholars hungry for their knowledge, but scholars should feel encouraged to release their research (ebooks, e-essays) directly to the world for the simple fact that their work is unique and cannot be found anywhere else, albeit perhaps very niche.”
Helen Sedwick presents Clean Illegal Images from your Blog Before it’s too Late posted at Helen Sedwick’s Blog
Ian Martyn presents The power of the short story – 5 reasons we should write them (and read them) posted at Ian Martyn, Science Fcition Author, saying, “I think too often short stories are dismissed as less important than full length novels, somehow frivolous or not worthy of our attention. In my blog I give 5 reasons why, as authors, we shouuld give them more attention and more respect.”
Nate Hoffelder presents The Writers’ Union of Canada to Accept Self-Published Authors as Members posted at The Digital Reader, saying, “The Writers Union of Canada held a referendum in March and voted to accept self-published authors as members. 79% of the votes were cast in favor of the idea, and as a result the WUC will draft an amendment at the next general meeting, which is going to be held in Newfoundland in May 2014.”
Marketing and Selling Your Books
Bethany Brown presents 5 Simple Steps to Maximize Your Book’s Presence on Amazon posted at The Cadence Group
Denise Wakeman presents Personal Branding With Social Media – 3 Easy Ways posted at The Future of Ink, saying, “Ellen Britt, co-founder of The Future of Ink, share three simple ways authors can use social media to develop and leverage their personal brand. As an author and online publisher (your blog!), you are a celebrity to your fans so looking for ways to amplify your brand will get your more visibility and attention.”
Frances Caballo presents Analysis of 9 Facebook Pages & Profiles by Famous Writers posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “Considering the grim state of Facebook reach these days, I thought I would analyze the Facebook pages and profiles of famous authors to see whether they can penetrate their fans’ news feeds and if so, how well they perform.”
G.G. Andrew presents Top 10 Ways to Use Twitter Without Losing Your Soul posted at G.G. Andrew, saying, “This is a list of ten ways to strive toward staying sane, kind, and approachable on social media.”
Kimberley Grabas presents Email List Building Series (Part 1): The Power of an Email List (And Why It’s a Must) posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “If there was one thing you could do that would multiply your reach and help you build deeper relationships with people who are already interested in your message and your work–would you do it? What if that one thing required no tricks, no SEO, no fancy design skills and no algorithms to decipher? And if building that same one thing over time lead to significantly increased sales of your books or services–would it be worth doing? Building a targeted and invested email list of subscribers is hands down one of THE most important things you can do to ensure the long term growth of your writing career. If I could only take one thing with me on a deserted (platform building) island, it would be my email list. Why? Because no matter how important blogging, social media, publicity and other forms of outreach are for getting your work in front of the right eyeballs, your email list is the only thing–if nurtured–that will allow you to directly and personally communicate with your readers on an ongoing basis.”
Kimberley Grabas presents Email List Building Series (Part 2): Create a Sign Up Incentive That Knocks Their Socks Off posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “Get oodles of ideas and inspiration for creating a stellar opt-in incentive (including a monster list of email incentive ideas with examples), as well as the simple tools to make it happen.”
Hope Clark presents “Trying” to Self-Publish posted at C. Hope Clark, saying, “Saw this phrase twice recently, on two different blogs. “Trying to self publish.” Those words irritate me like fingernails on a chalk board, fork tines on china, grinding teeth. You get the point. But probably not in the manner I mean . . .”
Hope Clark presents 5 Lessons Learned – The Word is Appearance posted at C. Hope Clark, saying, “Our days consists of appearances. We make appearances in all we seek, accomplish, and attempt, in all aspects of our loving, living, working and creating. Making an appearance sounds mundane at first blush, but it’s not. And while this post sounds like a simple, elementary lesson, you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether author or reading fan, appearances matter.”
Laura Pepper Wu presents MAKING A FULL-TIME LIVING FROM SELF-PUBLISHING – 6 LESSONS LEARNED, WITH LINDSAY BUROKER posted at The Write Life Magazine Blog, saying, “Lindsay Buroker is a full time indie fantasy and steampunk writer. I’ve been a fan of Lindsay’s blog for a while, and she has some fantastic advice on marketing books on Amazon and beyond. Earlier this year I read her reflective blogpost ‘3 Years of Self-Publishing, 2 Years of Writing Full Time, and Lessons from 2013‘. It’s a great read and I knew I wanted to dig deeper on many of these points. So, that’s exactly what we talk about in this interview! Lindsay has lots of goodness to share in this 20 minute video.”
Writing Tools and Tips
Amy McElroy presents Sensory Description: Deep Beyond the Five Senses We Learned in Preschool posted at Honest Editing, Authentic Writing, saying, “Sensory description delivers a character’s feelings directly to the reader through the five senses. But success with this tool requires deep, exhaustive exploration of human emotion. Build carefully crafted descriptions by replacing simple adjectives and adverbs with sensory images and omitting weak verbs. Use these tips to solidify the connection between your story and your readers.”
Belinda Williams presents Beware writer burnout posted at Belinda Williams Books, saying, “It can happen to all of us…Belinda takes a look at the symptoms of writer burnout and presents some suggestions for how to ease writer fatigue.”
Brad Herzog presents 36 Killer Writing Tips from Stephen King posted at The Why Not 100, saying, “I am the author of more than 3 dozen books for adults and kids. Far and away one of my favorite books on writing is Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.” In this blog post, I boiled it down to 36 Killer Tips. Example: 27. “Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme; it almost never begins with theme and progresses to story.””
C. S. Lakin presents The Valuable Lessons Conflict Teaches Us posted at Live Write Thrive, saying, “Think for a moment what life would look like without conflict. If you could go through every day without any opposition. Without anyone (or yourself) challenging what you feel or believe. Without anything in your way as you put out the effort to reach your goals and accomplish your dreams. No competition, no one to question you or your motives and actions. No conflict. Sounds great, right? Paradise, heaven, perfection. We say we love conflict in the stories we read because that is what real life is like, but what if real life wasn’t like that? What would we miss out on? Conflict in fiction is critical, and by understanding why, we can infuse meaningful inner and outer conflict in our stories to make them rich and believable.”
C.K. MacLeod presents How to Make Word Behave Like Scrivener posted at Tech Tools for Writers, saying, “One of the greatest benefits of Scrivener is its ability to manage sections of a book-length document. But not everyone is comfortable with Scrivener at first. This post shows you how to “hack” Word and get it to behave like Scrivener.”
Carla Douglas presents Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing a Title—Tips, and a Free Tool, Too posted at Beyond Paper, saying, “The rules for choosing a good title are entirely different for fiction and nonfiction. Here are some do’s and don’ts for both, and general tips for getting the most from your title.”
Chris Votey presents Worldbuilding Series posted at Madness of a Modern Writer, saying, “My series was designed mostly for writers on developing worldbuilding, starting with map making to enhance their story for their readers of the visual age. After the map making series, I plan to go into more details of world building from cities to designing culture to resources for civilization.”
Corina Koch MacLeod presents Why Editors Use Word—Authors Can Harness Word’s Powers, Too! posted at Beyond Paper, saying, “Editors use Microsoft Word because it helps them to edit a manuscript better and faster. Find out what features editors use in Word, so you can use them, too.”
Daryl Rothman presents A Dream Deferred posted at GirlTalk, saying, “thanks for your consideration…I hope this article will inspire others who like me may be pursuing their dream a bit later in life…”
David Leonhardt presents Is it plagiarism or research? posted at Always Write, saying, “It has been said that to copy from one source is plagiarism, but to copy from three or more sources…that’s called “research”. Ah…but is it?”
Ellis Shuman presents Where Do You Go for Inspiration? posted at Ellis Shuman Writes, saying, “Sometimes the best way to make progress with your writing and/or editing is by taking a break. Getting away from everything, even for a short time, can reignite your creative juices. Taking a break from your work-in-progress can help you refocus. So, where do you go for inspiration?”
Jordan Rosenfeld presents The Only Writing Advice You’ll Ever Need posted at Write Livelihood, saying, “This is an article that aims to remind writers that the best way to be successful is to sit down and write (and offers some strategies)”
Stefanie Newell presents How To Write A Book Online With The Best Resources Available posted at The Write One Blog
Stefanie Newell presents Tips On Good Writing – A Cure For The ‘I’m A Horrible Writer’ Blues posted at The Write One Blog
Theresa Shreffler presents 4 Writing Prompts that will change how you write. posted at Fantasy Author T. L. Shreffler, saying, “During my Creative Writing program at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), we learned many techniques to better our craft. I would like to share 4 writing prompts that not only inspire our imaginations, but also challenge how we write.”
Well, that wraps up this issue. I hope you enjoy some of the great articles here, and let other people interested in self-publishing know about the Carnival—Use the share buttons to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Plus-1 it on Google+, Link to it!
The next issue is June 29, 2014 and the deadline for submissions will be June 15, 2014. Don’t miss it!
Here are all the links you’ll need