Archive for the ‘Self-Publishing’ Category

My First Time

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Formatting a book for print, that is.

Actually, I’ve never formatted an eBook, either. I usually farm out my work. But this time I’ve decided I should learn to format myself. It makes updating files so much easier. For some unfathomable reason, I decided to start with print formatting.

CreateSpace has templates for use with Microsoft Word, and it would probably be a lot easier if I just downloaded one of those templates. Only problem is, my copy of Word is so old (the 2003 edition) that I can’t save as PDF, which I need for uploading to CreateSpace. And…years and years ago, when I built this site and my pen name’s site, I decided to upgrade my Dreamweaver and PhotoShop. They came combined in a program called Adobe Creative Suite 2. Creative Suite has since updated to a cloud-based service, but for someone like me the $20 U.S. a month when I only put out maybe two books a year (that’s being generous, LOL) isn’t worth it. And I don’t design my own covers. So, being the obstinate sort, I decided to try learning how to format my print interior pages with the very old InDesign CS2. The problem? Back when I was buying how-to books for Illustrator and PhotoShop, I didn’t buy one for InDesign, thinking I would never need it. Now, there are a lot of great free templates available for InDesign book interiors, but try finding one for the CS2 version of the program. So, instead of downloading a premade template and creating my book from there, I’m building the template from the ground up. Thanks to YouTube and Google, there are a lot of places I can go for help, but the set-up is never quite the same because, you know, Cindy has old software. This might take me awhile…

Just to prove I’m really at work, here’s a shot of Page 1 of PICTURE IMPERFECT in my Word doc, followed by how far I’ve gotten in InDesign (I finally created page numbers on my Master pages, but they aren’t starting in the right spot. My next challenge is creating running, alternating page headers.)


The idea is that once I have the template down pat, I can use it for future releases as well. And, if you can read Page 1 of the Word doc, that’s the world’s first peek into PICTURE IMPERFECT! (Which will go up for pre-order just as soon as I’ve got the cover commissioned).

Yup, I need to create a new website page for the book, too.

Oh, Dear, Summer Happened Again!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

I know, I know. I had high hopes for blogging over the summer. What can I say? Once Eldest Son comes home from China for a few precious weeks every year, I lose sight of everything else. And it seems most everyone is on social media these days rather than blogs.

Well, today ES and DILly 2 departed for Shanghai again, and I won’t see them for another ten months. So it’s back to writing–and hopefully back to some semblance of blogging. I have good intentions, I really do. But right now I’m delving into formatting for PICTURE IMPERFECT, which IS coming out this fall! This is my first time trying to format, both eBook and print. I have a professional in the wings, should it come to that. But I really would like to be able to change out my backmatter, etc., as needed without hiring out, so it’s time to get technical.


WHERE SHE BELONGS in Kindle Unlimited for Three Months

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

That about spells it all out. Until October, the ebook edition of my contemporary romance, WHERE SHE BELONGS, will be available exclusively from Amazon. I’m testing out the changes to the Kindle Unlimited program to see if it’s beneficial for me as an author (particularly one who’s a turtle writer and needs to find ways to keep my name out there while finishing The Beast, as I’ve come to think of my single title mystery romance that is now at 122,000 words). (That’s not the title, just a nickname, although it would make a good title, just not for this book).

Unfortunately, enrolling in KDP Select, which includes Kindle Unlimited, means WHERE SHE BELONGS is temporarily unavailable from other e-retailers. But! If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can now read WHERE SHE BELONGS for free.

All my other books and stories remain for sale from multiple e-tailers.

Now back to The Beast!

Spotlight on Kate St. James and TEASE Sizzling Romps

Monday, February 9th, 2015

My writing pal, Kate St. James, has joined the self-publishing ranks with her series of erotica short stories and short novellas, TEASE Sizzling Romps, set in Vancouver, B.C.

Today Sugar Rush, Story 2 of the series, released from Amazon, and Tea for Three, Story 1 (originally published with Ellora’s Cave) has been available since the end of December.

Right now, Sugar Rush is only 99 Cents for a limited time and Tea for Three is FREE today and tomorrow, February 9th and 10th!

Just a note, these are sizzling hot stories, so if reading about super-hot erotic encounters between consenting adults offends you, it might be best NOT to download or purchase Kate’s stuff. If, on the other hand, you love naughty tales, have at ‘er!

Tea for Three – FREE Today and Tomorrow! (Always Free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)


It’s gonna get steamy!

Uninhibited tea shop manager Layla Aziz adores her scorching hot relationship with blond and buff construction worker Gil Cuthbert. Her worry is that over the years she’s slept with countless dudes who tickled her libido. Now, can she go the distance with one guy?

Then Gil surprises Layla by arranging a ménage with his best friend, dark and serious Hunter Cole. Gil, it seems, will do anything to keep Layla satisfied. That includes sharing her with ultra-sexy Hunter again and again—not only for a passion-filled night, but for many more to come.

As long as Gil is in charge of her sensual needs…sign her up!


Sugar Rush – 99 Cents for a Limited Time! (Free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers):


Her sweetest addiction…is him.

Tea barista Siri Jorgensen believes in monogamy—until she discovers her ex is a cheat. What bothers her most is she tolerated his lackluster moves in bed. Never again! From now on, if a guy doesn’t satisfy her craving for extra-sweet, extra-hot loving right away, he’s out the door.

Enter Caribbean-born architect Lucas Haines, the star of her wildest fantasies. With Lucas, Siri yearns to scorch the sheets—the armchair, the counter. She isn’t picky. For one incredible night, he more than satisfies her lusty addictions.

But when he wants dozens of replays, can she resist?


A Little Q&A with Kate:

Me: Congratulations on the release of Sugar Rush and Tea for Three, Kate! Can you tell us a little about the series?

Kate: Thank you, Cindy, and thanks for having me on your blog! Tea for Three introduces Layla Aziz, Siri Jorgensen, and Grace Delgado, each of whom appears or is mentioned in Tea for Three, Sugar Rush, and Grace’s eventual story, Sweeter than Cream. Each story focuses on its heroine’s sexual adventures–along with some emotional surprises along the way. So there’s some girlfriend bonding and dishing, but these stories, ranging in length from 10,000 to 15,000 words, are focused on the women’s physical relationships and sexual journeys.

Me: Tea for Three is a menage story, right?

Kate: Yes, my first menage story. Before Tea for Three, which is decidedly erotica, I wrote erotic romance, three novellas and a single title romance (information on these can be found on my website) from both the hero and heroine’s points of view. However, Tea for Three and the other TEASE Sizzling Romps stories are all/will be told solely from the heroine’s point of view.

Me: In Tea for Three, Layla is already in a relationship with Gil when he introduces her to Hunter, and in Sugar Rush Siri meets Lucas during what she thinks will be a one-night stand, but Grace is already married in Tea for Three. What do you have planned for her?

Kate: Grace is married to a hot Argentine tango instructor, Nico Delgado. The reader gets little peeks into their relationship in Tea for Three and Sugar Rush, but Sweeter than Cream will focus on Grace and Nico’s marital adventures.

Me: Such as…?

Kate: Well, let’s just say their first anniversary is rapidly approaching and Grace is busy brainstorming erotic ideas to enhance their special day. But Nico is going to get more than he bargained for. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean sex has to be boring!

Me: Oh, sure, don’t answer my question! Do you have excerpts for Tea for Three and Sugar Rush?

Kate: Yes, on my website. Just scroll down on the Tea for Three page and the Sugar Rush page, and you’ll see excerpts for both stories.

Me: Great. How can readers find out more about your books or keep tabs on the development of Grace’s story?

Kate: I don’t have a blog (so thanks again for having me), but readers can keep up to date with me on Facebook or Twitter, and I have a newsletter called Kate St. James’s New Release Alert that I only put out when I have a new release or other important news to share. Signing up for the newsletter is the best way for readers to ensure that they hear my news.

Me: I think I’m on that newsletter list! So, Kate, will TEASE Sizzling Romps feature just the three stories we’ve discussed here or do you have anything else in the works?

Kate: Originally, I conceived of TEASE Sizzling Romps as three stories, but as I wrote Sugar Rush, I discovered a new couple and a new heroine who might want her own story, which would become the fourth story of the series. However, I’ve also had readers request more of Layla, Gil and Hunter (Tea for Three). That’s the wonderful thing about indie publishing. I have a lot of choices, and I have a lot of control. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed working with my various publishers over the years, but the TEASE Sizzling Romps series has the potential to go in different directions and indie publishing allows me a lot of leeway as to how I proceed. Will I write a second Layla, Gil and Hunter story following Sweeter than Cream? Or will I write a fourth heroine’s story? There are so many options. I really don’t want to box myself in. Sweeter than Cream will come next. That’s what I know for now. 🙂

Me: What about a cover for Sweeter than Cream?

Kate: There’s a small version of the Sweeter than Cream cover on the Coming page of my website. All three covers were designed by Kim Killion of The Killion Group. We did a lot of brainstorming to come up with the series concept, and I love it!

Me: They are gorgeous covers! Thanks for dropping by the blog, Kate. I’ll end with your contact information.

Kate: Thanks for having me!


Tea for Three on Amazon

Sugar Rush on Amazon

Kate’s website

Subscribe to Kate’s New Release Alert Newsletter

Kate on Twitter

Kate on Facebook

Calling Kobo Owners…

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Recently, following the free promotion of HEAD OVER HEELS, a Kobo reader emailed me to let me know that something wonky was going on with the em dashes—these things—in her copy of the book. I don’t own a Kobo ereader, so I can’t check to see if this was an isolated incident or if something warped in the Kobo conversion/upload process. The ePub edition that was uploaded to Kobo way back in August 2012 looks flawless on my end, using the Adobe eReader app.

This particular reader has a standard Kobo with no bells and whistles. If you recently downloaded HEAD OVER HEELS from Kobo during the free promotion, or if you already had a copy that you had purchased on your Kobo ereader prior to the promotion, can you please contact me either through my website email address or the message function of my Facebook author page and let me know if you experience the same formatting issue?

This is what it looks like, according to my reader:

Instead of having em dashes—these things on either side of “these” and WORD—she’s seeing Ì — Ì, those two big I type characters with the accent to the left on top, except not in bold (I bolded it for effect here).

I don’t sell a lot of books through Kobo, so this is the first I’ve heard of the possible glitch. I’d like to get it addressed if it isn’t an isolated incident.


The Life of an Indie Writer

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

I originally tried writing this post on my iPad several days ago, when I was deep in polishing and proofing BORROWING ALEX for re-issue. But the iPad kept putting the entire post in as the title, so I wound up whining on Facebook instead.

I actually came here today to write about something else, when I saw this post still in draft. Clever moi, on my desktop I was able to cut and paste the post from the title to the body of the post. So I figured I might as well post it and you can come back tomorrow for Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind, the post I sat down to actually write!

The Life of an Indie Writer

It’s not all glamor and quaffing chocolate!

You know when you run your manuscript through a program that’s supposed to help you spot errors and then the next time you open the manuscript in your word processor all your italics have switched to a different font, and, by the way, so has some random text? And no matter what you do to update the styles, the irritating font that you don’t want keeps springing up seemingly at random? And then the font keeps backtracking and eating your italics? So you have to save your file to Notepad and do a “nuclear purge”? Which necessitates earmarking all the italics in the manuscript through some stupid method you dreamed up? Then you have to open a new document in your word processor, cut and paste the nuclear purge into it, and reapply all your styles meanwhile continually making and remaking a dumb mistake until you finally recognize your non-brilliance?

And THEN you have to painstakingly re-do all the italics before re-reading the manuscript, emailing it to your Kindle to read again, before you can hope to listen to said manu on audio software, because listening on audio catches mistakes your eye can’t see? And all through this process, you become addicted to question marks?



That was where I was several days ago in the process of re-issuing BORROWING ALEX, my romantic comedy that was originally published by Amber Quill Press in 2007. I have now moved through that process and read and re-read the manuscript countless times. Despite that the book was professionally proofread by Amber Quill Press and that the only couple of errors that crept into the published version were caught while proofing the audio edition by AudioLark in 2011, I had done a lot of heavy editing plus written two new scenes, and, in doing so, had introduced new errors. I thought some of you might find my proofing methods helpful, especially if you’re a writer yourself. But that’s a post for another day. For now I’m getting this one out there and on to writing Close Encounters of the Bambi Kind.

P.S. I am at the cover design and formatting stage for the BORROWING ALEX re-issue! Woot!

Doing My First Indie Uploads This Week!

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

I now have in my grabby little hands (or on my grabby little hard drive) the Indie author files for uploading HEAD OVER HEELS to Kindle, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords. As far as I’m aware, Kindle, Kobo and Apple are the only formats I can upload (as a Canadian) without going through an aggregator like Smashwords (which distributes to Nook, Sony and a lot of other places).

I have never done this before, and of course I didn’t open any accounts, etc., before arriving at this point. That would take all the fun out of panicking. I have no clue if there’s a “best practices” order in which to upload. And I do need to find out if Canadians can upload anywhere other than the venues I’ve listed here. So, I have some research to do.

It’s a busy weekend filled with personal commitments. Today I am, unfortunately, attending a celebration of life for a friend who passed away a week ago. Beginning Monday, I will start my foray into Sindie publishing! Will let you know how it goes and when the book is available on which venues. Which means soon I’ll be updating the HEAD OVER HEELS page to reflect the new excerpt and all the buy links.

If you would like notification of a particular format (Kindle, Nook, Kobo), please drop me an email and I’ll let you know as soon as the book is available in that format. I will be sending out a newsletter once the first format is available, but don’t want to pepper newsletter subscribers with too many editions within a short time.


Head Over Heels Rights Reversion Date

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The rights have now reverted to me from Amber Quill Press for HEAD OVER HEELS. Which means I need to update my website! Tomorrow, I will reveal the new cover for the upcoming re-issue of the book. I love it, and I hope you will, too.

Pending Release Date: before the end of June. That’s my target for the ebook uploads to Amazon and Smashwords, at any rate. Smashwords will then distribute to Nook, Sony, Apple, etc. Being Canadian, I can’t upload directly to PubIt, the venue for Nook. However, I can upload directly to Kobo. Kobo is undergoing a transformation of its self-publishing arm. It should be ready by the end of June. So I’ll wait.

The trade paperback will most likely be available from CreateSpace in July.

I am halfway through heavily editing and updating HEAD OVER HEELS for the re-issue. I’ve been talking to a formatter, as I don’t have the time right now to learn how to format for the various ebook venues. I’ll learn at a later date, like when I begin publishing my short story series in August or so. For now, I want to get HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX back on the market as soon as possible after the reversion dates, and that means not wasting my time learning Smashwords and Kindle Direct.

Meanwhile, Amber Quill Press is still selling various ebook formats of BORROWING ALEX, the 1st edition.

I am excited about updating these books and (hopefully) finding new readers for them. Wish me luck!

Bye-Bye, Kindle and Nook. See You Again Soon.

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

My rights to HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX have not yet reverted to me. HEAD OVER HEELS reverts on June 15th and BORROWING ALEX on June 26th. Amber Quill Press is, as of this typing, still carrying several ebook formats of both novels. I imagine the ebook links for HEAD OVER HEELS will disappear this week and BORROWING ALEX will disappear from the Amber Quill website shortly thereafter. It might remain for sale until closer to the rights reversion date or it might not. I am not in control of whether it does.

Amber Quill sells MOBI (PRC) formats as well as several other ebook formats. MOBI (PRC) works on Kindle, but I don’t know what works on Nook other than the ePub format, which AQP doesn’t specifically sell.

I will update my book pages to the all-new, improved, updated Author’s Cut versions of HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX as soon as they are available for sale. In the meantime, feel free to buy from Amber Quill or Audible (audio books). The audio books are also on iTunes – currently #3 in Top Ten Romance Best Sellers for Australia – that’s HEAD OVER HEELS. Oooh, and #10 in Canada. Just squeaking in there! #6 in the Netherlands (ABOVE Book 2 in the Fifty Shades of Gray series, I do not lie, it’s above it right at this moment). And WHERE SHE BELONGS is, as of this typing, #9 in Denmark. Thank you, iTunes audio books! Two of my audio books are on the iTunes Top Ten Romance Best Seller lists at once! Okay, this is an aside from the purpose of this post, but that’s exciting.

As for the trade paperbacks of HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX, it looks like sayonara for now. Resist the urge to buy used copies from on-line vendors. They’re usually overpriced and don’t earn myself or my soon-to-be-former publisher (AQP) royalties. I will be re-issuing trade paperbacks of both books in July.

Watch this space!

Sindie Publishing

Friday, June 8th, 2012

I keep meaning to write another travel blog post about my time in the Galapagos—and I will, eventually (maybe this weekend—oh, maybe I’ll be good and write and schedule two at once!)—but I’ve been super busy ever since we returned, and that busy-ness will not abate for several more weeks. Why, you ask? It’s good to ask, “Why?” For a writer, it goes along with asking, “What if?”

You’ve heard of self-publishing? How about Indie publishing? Essentially, they’re the same thing. Over the last couple of years, as self-publishing has mushroomed due to the ease of uploading to Kindle and Nook and the like, I’ve asked many an author who’s re-issuing her back list or has had it up to her neckballs in rejections and decided to self-publish, why do they call self-publishing “Indie” (as in independent) publishing? The answer is usually along the lines of (1) “self-publishing” has a stigma attached to it in the writing world, because there was a time when any decent published author would warn anyone who wanted to self-publish that it was a scam, that money doesn’t flow AWAY from the author, it flows TO the author. FROM the publisher. In other words, “self-publishing” was, back in the day when hogs painted their toenails daily and I was beginning to write for publication (way, way back in the day), pretty much equal to “vanity publishing.” That is, when you pay what is essentially a printer to “publish” and maybe even “edit” your book (snort). And when I say pay, people were paying thousands of dollars to print their work. Vanity publishing bad, because it bilks writers out of tons of money in exchange for “fulfilling” their dreams. Vanity publishing bad, because a vanity publisher will publish anything. The idea is for the company to make money, not tell the writer how to fix their prose. And then the writer realizes that no one other than their dog, their dentist, and their next-door neighbor wants to buy their vanity-published book—and the neighbor is lying.

That’s basically the first reason for saying Indie publishing instead of self-publishing. Reason 2? Because Indie publishing is easier to write and say. “It’s ‘Indie’ because I’m publishing independent of a publishing house,” the author says. “It’s ‘Indie,’ because I’m in charge of commissioning the cover, deciding if I want to hire a professional editor and proofreader, if I want to learn how to format my ebooks and trade paperbacks for the various vendors or hire a formatter to do so. It’s entirely under my control. Plus, it’s less letters to type and, let’s face it, it’s easier to say.”

Okay, I get it. But let’s throw a new one into the mix. Let’s call it Sindie Publishing. It’s self-publishing and Indie publishing all wrapped into one—plus it rhymes with Cindy.

Yes, that’s right, I’m diving into the world of Sindie Publishing.

Does this mean I am no longer submitting my work to editors and agents? No. I don’t like scrambling all my eggs in one basket. The eggs tend to drip through the basket slatty things. However, some authors who couldn’t sell to New York to save their lives are doing very well self-publishing in this age of exploding ebook sales. Some writers who couldn’t sell to New York are doing crappy self-publishing, too. The thing is, you don’t know unless you try.

There are those of us who thought ebooks would take off at the turn of the century (and by that I don’t mean 1900). The difference was that, twelve years ago, unless you wanted to be taken for a wagon of cash by a vanity publisher, self-publishing in the ebook world wasn’t an option. Electronic publishers popped up by the hundreds, and writers submitted to these publishers just like we submit to major publishing houses. However, epublishers were more likely to take on a book or a genre (like those in the romantic comedy niche) when New York was saying, No one wants to read romantic comedy, give us some more vampires. The problem? Ebooks didn’t take off. Until Amazon introduced the Kindle, the general readership basically stuck to paper books. Today that’s no longer the case. People are going nuts for Kindle, Nooks, Kobos, iPads, and whatever-else-have-you’s.

My two contracts with Amber Quill Press—for HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX—expire this month. I could have chosen to roll over the contracts, or I could have chosen to request my rights back. Now, I adore Amber Quill. They gave me a chance when no one else would, I’ve had a great relationship with my editor, and I enjoyed having input on cover design. But the books are now each several years old, and while I’ve been writing more romcoms essentially behind the public’s back, they don’t sell to New York. This is why I took a major detour to write humorous erotic romance under a pen name, and why it looks like “Cindy” only publishes every few years. Because she does. Penny’s doing the rest. But I (Cindy) love writing romantic comedy and humorous contemporary romance, and I want to do more of it without stressing about the necessity of an erotic hook. So, to me it makes utter sense to give self-publishing a try. Oops, I mean Sindie publishing.

HEAD OVER HEELS was first published in 2002 by a now-defunct epublisher, and then re-issued in 2005 by Amber Quill Press. My rights revert mid-June. I’m in the process of revising and updating the story to reflect a leaner writing style (although one couldn’t tell it by my blog posts) and kinda-sorta-maybe including aspects of recent technology that don’t F with my plots. I’ve also commissioned a new cover for HEAD OVER HEELS. I received the draft the other day, and I love it! I’ll go into the details of commissioning a cover versus filling out an art fact sheet for a publisher another day. Both have their pros and cons. Just like every step of self-publishing versus traditional publishing has its pros and cons. Again, fodder for another day. For now, I’m looking forward to re-issuing HEAD OVER HEELS and BORROWING ALEX under my own imprint (rights to BORROWING ALEX revert to me toward the end of June), plus Sindie publishing the romantic comedy short story series I’m writing (in between Penny’s obligations).

Because I’m heavily editing HEAD OVER HEELS on the heels of four weeks of no writing, I won’t have it ready for re-issue the day after my rights revert. This means that if you have a hankering to read HEAD OVER HEELS as it was originally written, you’d better buy it now (links handily provided here). If you’d rather read the updated Author’s Cut, then wait until I announce that the third edition is available. Or, hey, you can always do both.

Just because my rights to HEAD OVER HEELS revert to me this month does not mean that the book will suddenly disappear from third-party vendors (ie. any website other than Amber Quill). Amber Quill will stop selling the book on my rights reversion date, or shortly before, depending on what makes sense for them. However, they will continue to pay me royalties for third-party distributors as the royalties come in.

If you’d like to join my newsletter to receive the announcement of the re-issue of HEAD OVER HEELS, there’s a handy dandy newsletter sign-up box in the upper right of my blog. Or join my Faceook page, or follow me on Twitter.

By the way, the return of my rights for both of these books is restricted to the English-language ebook and print editions. My audio rights remain with AudioLark, and both audio books will continue to remain for sale on Audible and iTunes—and I am quite happy for them to do so. All foreign rights for both books are available for sale to non-English-language publishers, with the exception of the Japanese rights to HEAD OVER HEELS and the Greek rights to BORROWING ALEX, which have already been sold.