Your book: a work in progress
Last fall I published my first book, A Snail Mail Guide to Cursive Writing Practice.
In the process, I kept my writing and all the ideas swirling about in a 3-ring binder. I learned a lot, and I want to share what I know ... with you.
The working title is Book in a Binder.
I didn't expect was how valuable the binder would become. When I was stuck (yes, overwhelmed, and sometimes unmotivated), I'd flip through the binder to review my notes. I rediscovered lists where I could check off what I'd already accomplished (that felt good), along with things I once thought valuable that were now ... not so much. And then there were other ideas and topics that somehow became better with time.
The Book in a Binder is coming together ... in a binder of its own.
If you're interested in knowing when it's available, sign up for my newsletter ... and get writing tips, entertaining stories about writing, and information you can use.
If you recognized the headline from this post as the title of a Rolling Stones song, you're right.
You can't always get what you want.
I’m in the final stages of finishing my book and discovered a problem. A new problem. I’ve already worked out other issues: a new book title and new book cover. I’m pleased with the new title and cover, but it's the layout that’s causing me fits.
So what’s the problem?
It’s a workbook and I wanted to design the book in landscape format with a spiral binding it so it would open flat and offer plenty of elbow room for practice writing.
But I also want to publish the book through two self-publishing houses: IngramSpark and Amazon’s KDP. IngramSpark offers the landscape option, KDP does not. Neither offer spiral binding.
From the beginning I knew I would publish and sell the book from my own websites, but I want it to go further than that. Publishing through IngramSpark and KDP will broaden the book's reach and get it into more hands. After all, that's the reason I'm writing the book. So I made the decision to reformat it. Ugh. That means reformatting every single page. It’s a lot of work.
Get what you need
So yes, it’s true. You can’t always get what you want. But, as the song goes, “if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”
Turns out, I like the cover better and though it’s been time consuming, the portrait layout is working well.
And getting what I want? When the book becomes a best seller, I'll think about a special edition ... horizontal format with a spiral binding. Wouldn't that be something.
p.s. Here's the new cover.
digital (and print) publication design
Write today to start looking like the professional you are.
Five lessons in project management.
Last Sunday I bundled up and went outside to clear the six inches of snow that fell overnight. Six inches is not a lot of snow, and with a temperature of only 12°F, it was light and fluffy. The problem was, and usually is, the end of the driveway. The snowplow snow.
It’s a messy mix of snow and ice left behind after the city plow comes through. It's heavy and chunky and challenging to move.
Because it was only six inches, and it was early (just seven o’clock in the morning), I decided to forgo the snowblower and shovel my way out.
Like most projects, there are things to consider when starting out, and I realized my plan for clearing the snow was really an exercise in project management.
Lesson #1: Assess the situation
Shoveling a path out was the first step. After the porch and stairs were clear, I needed to tackle the driveway surface, remove the snowplow snow from the end of the driveway, and clean off the car.
If it's time to renovate your website, assess what's working ... and what's not.
Lesson #2: Make sure you have the right tools for the job
Snow shovels come in as many varieties and flavors as ice cream. There’s the big scoop and the small scoop. Metal and plastic varieties. And varying weights. Some shovels are light and easy to handle, others are heavy.
After years of testing, my preference is a light-weight, flat scoop.
Do you maintain your website? Have someone do it for you? Is it easy to make changes? Would some professional advice make it better or easier? Review how you build, change, and maintain your site.
Lesson #3: Make a plan
Once the porch and stairs were clear, I decided to use an alternating pattern of removal. Because snowplow snow is so heavy, I devised a plan: shovel, brush, dig.
I shoveled a third of the driveway, moved on and brushed off half of the car, then dug a two-foot section of the snowplow snow. And switched again. More shoveling, brushing, and digging.
The plan allowed me minimize exertion (recommended), make slow and steady progress, and vary the tasks at hand to avoid frustration.
Do you want to be involved in maintaining and creating your site or do you want to hand it off to someone else? The best approach may be a little of both.
Lesson #4: Check your progress
When I started, it seemed it would take forever to get through the end of the driveway. But when I stopped to take a breath, I could see I was making progress. My plan was working.
Websites are like houses. They need upkeep and renovations. Sometimes it's as simple as mowing the lawn (or changing a headline). Other times new windows (blog posts or feature articles) are needed.
Lesson #5: Find pleasure in the doing
When I stopped to check my progress, I took a deep breath and looked up. I saw that the sky was robin’s egg blue. The sun was still rising and it put a glow on the horizon and tree tops ... and the underbelly of a seagull that flew overhead.
Reward for a job well done.
Your website is a must for your business, but it doesn't have to be a chore. Use your site to share what you know. A revived blog may rekindle your interest in sharing what you know. A podcast or video series could get your creative juices flowing.
Is it time to renovate your website? Click on the button below to get started.
The winner is .... Cover #1
Most of you thought it best reflected the subject of the book, cursive writing.
Thank you for voting and sharing your thoughts.
I need your help.
I'm in the final stages of designing my book, Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter and I need your help.
There are three cover designs to choose from, and I'd like to know which one you like best.
(voting has ended)
Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter is a workbook. It includes instruction for writing each letter of the alphabet and introduces a more creative, engaging way to practice and improve your writing skill: writing and mailing letters to your friends and family.
Inside there are tips for who to write to and what to write about along with detailed instructions for how to address an envelope ... and where to put the stamp(!).
It also includes writing samples from over 20 people (so students can learn to read, as well as write, cursive), and a selection of writing prompts from the popular "I Write Letters to Say" series.
(voting has ended)
So which cover do you like best?
To make your selection, just click on the cover you like, and it will generate an email that will come directly to me ... just type Cover #1, Cover #2, or Cover # 3 in the subject line and your vote will be counted. You can also add any comments or suggestions.
Next week I'll reveal which cover got the most votes and share more details about how you can order your copy of Cursive Writing Practice by the Letter.
(voting has ended)
Thanks for reading along (and choosing the cover you like), I really appreciate it.
P.S. If you know someone who would enjoy this email, you can forward it to them.
P.P.S. If you're writing a book, get in touch if you need help with developmental editing, design, or project management.
Flipping the switch was flipping me out. Last week's storm left us without power.
It was Thursday morning and I was up early. Not because the alarm went off. No, it was the rain lashing against the bedroom window that woke me.
Fifteen minutes later the power went out.
It was a blackout: no power, no lights, no heat, no opening the refrigerator, and no computer.
A day and a half later (37 hours, but really, who's counting) we still didn't have power.
But I was still flipping switches.
It wasn't that I was hoping the power was back, it was utterly clear that it wasn't. It was habit. An especially bad habit in light of things. At least a dozen times I flipped a wall switch.
And each time it was the same thing. Nothing.
It was worse than nothing. I was ready to scream. Well, I did scream. It was so frustrating.
Flipping the switch was flipping me out.
So I put my headlamp on.
The headlamp gave me what I needed: a beam of light.
I stopped flipping switches.
The point is to see it fresh.
Sometimes a fresh approach to a nagging problem can help you move forward. If you've been struggling with your marketing, a book, or your website, maybe I can help:
• blog posts
• email marketing
Call 207-252-9757 or write today for a free consultation and a fresh start.