Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The writing’s on the wall

The point about graffiti is that it's certain of its place until either the wall it’s on is redecorated or demolished. Unlike the humble book author trusting their work to a distribution giant, it's prominence is not dependent upon the vagaries of a computer program designed by management's worst invention of all time, a committee. The other difference is that the graffiti artist almost certainly didn't write their epithet for direct financial gain while the garret-occupying author probably penned their masterpiece with the notion that they would soon be investing some of their future royalties on a removal van.

But why the pun?

Well, think about it. A certain major distribution network openly admitted having 4 million books on its virtual shelves some 18 months ago. They also claim that they're receiving thousands of new submissions daily. By my reckoning, that means they must have at least 6 million books by now (and probably a lot more since writing is seen as today's No1 'get rich quick' scheme). Let's do a bit of quick mental arithmetic on that incredible figure.

I'm going to make 2 basic assumptions (feel free to change them if you disagree):
  1. If you spend the time counting the genres and sub-genres, you'll probably get to over 100. For ease of calculations, let's just round this up a bit and make it 200.
  2. Let’s say that there are twice as many fiction books as there are non-fiction.
Apply these assumptions and you'll end up with an average of 20,000 books per sub-genre. If you, as a reader in search of a gripping new read, want to wade through every title in your chosen category to make sure that you've found 'le libre juste', you'd spend a total of about 5 days (24/7) at the rate of 20 seconds per book (to glance at the cover, title and brief blurb, go 'nah' and then move on to the next). Just think how long that must be for really popular sections like 'historical romances' or 'erotica'.

It's a bit like a supermarket. We prefer them to corner shops because they stock a wider range of goods at lower prices. A hypermarket might well be even better (if we have time) because they carry an even wider range of items at typically lower prices. Now, let's invent a mega-ultra-hypermarket that's absolutely massive (the size of a small town, for example). The prices may be dirt cheap but no-one will go there because it would take a ridiculous amount of time to do the shopping. You'd have to doss down for the night!

This would mean that the mega-ultra-hypermarket manager would ironically have to raise the store’s prices to that of a corner store in order to recover their overheads. They’d fail, of course.

The point is that it's already got to the stage where most books submitted to our giant distributor will never see the light of day. The mathematics scream this to me but you, as a fellow author, must make up your own mind. Do you believe the numbers or do you believe the claims made by some ‘authors’ about how they’ve been so successful that they want to help you? Call me an old cynic if you like (you'd not be the first) but when a complete stranger wants to tell me all their secrets, alarm bells go off in my head and my wallet instantly drops into a place where no sane person would put their hand.

To find your way around, perhaps?
If the ultra-ultra-mega-hypermarket of 6 million books is to continue to be viable, someone soon needs to be brutal about clearing their virtual shelves of products that can't sell. I’m theorizing that the following thinking process will be used to determine who’s hot and who’s not:
  1. No-one from the ‘store’ will be reading all these books (let alone assessing them) so the stratification will have to be done by a computer program which (therefore) means absolute rules like these must be stated.
  2. Everyone knows that the reader reviews have become totally devalued so using them to determine a book’s worth is utterly pointless; besides which, a new book won't have any.
  3. Many books which may well be highly 'sellable' have never really seen the light of day so how can one say?
  4. The selection criteria must be suitably simple (it has to be for a programmer to understand it) and applicable to all books in every genre.
You can probably think of some more rules but that's enough for me to make my conclusions. I think that the only way that a large number of books can be quickly and justifiably dropped is by applying the following rule.

Standards, old chap. One simply
has to have standards.
They need to dump all books with:
  1. Spelling and grammar mistakes.
  2. Formatting errors.
  3. A price in excess of a certain number of cents per page.
I also expect them to drop books which are being sold elsewhere although there will probably be a backlash against that. This furore (of dubious legality) would then serve to smoke-screen the application of the 3 restrictions which I've just listed.

Despite what some would have you believe, there is no easy answer to becoming a successful writer, save to ensure that what you upload is as perfect as you can get it. Get an editor to look over your work, don't use the free services to format your book, don't get your covers done on the cheap and take time and trouble to produce a catchy and memorable blurb. Even then there can be no guarantee but at least you stand a chance of making the cut when it happens.

About the author

Any Subject Books offers the full range of self-publishing services:
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See our self-publishing services page for more information.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Loose Threads Can Unravel a Novel!

If you haven't noticed, we have a new page listed at the top of the All Things Writing blog. That's, right...we are having a short story contest which opens July 1. Please check the page for details on how to enter our themed contest of Mayhem and Amusements Parks! Onward to today's blog post about how to keep your novel from falling apart!

Loose threads…what a pain they can be. I always find them at the bottom of my shirt, but the problem is that every time I tug on one of those threads, it unravels the seam that was keeping everything looking nice and tidy.

The exact same thing can happen in novel writing. Your story is bouncing along, the characters are fresh and funny, the ending is looming, and this is your third draft. Everything is about to come up roses for you!

But then you see that loose thread. Or in the case of the writer, that loose plot point that doesn't quite match up with everything else you've written. And once you start tugging on it, you discover a whole bunch of other plot points which rip apart because they were all connected.

Or were they?

Actually, if you can tug on the string and have everything come apart, then you probably need to go back and check your sewing skills. Things probably weren't tied together as well as you thought. Hopefully, it's just a little tweak you need to make to get your tale back on track.

So how does an author prevent these loose threads from happening?

Everyone has their own method, of course, but I find that charting the big events in my first drafts help me keep everything straight.  A little map showing what is happening in your story can help you identify plot issues or things that don’t ring true. Yes, it's time consuming, but it can save you time in the end if you keep a running diagram of what is going on in the early stages of your writing. Not comfortable with mapping? Try writing a one page, single spaced synopsis of your story when you've completed the first draft. This technique will show you what your main events are and how they are connected. It's also a tool that can help you when it comes time to write a query letter to an agent or a brief book blurb for the back cover.

My personal favorite editing tool is my Kindle. Once I've got my draft in a place where I'm ready to reread the whole thing (usually the third draft for me), I turn it into a PDF and download it on my Kindle. This allows me to read, but not edit. Sometimes when I'm reading on my computer, I get so distracted by ideas that I start rewriting without really getting a full picture of what the whole novel looks like. Reading on the Kindle and keeping a separate notebook handy for note taking helps me to get a feel for the whole story and write down thoughts about different plot points as they occur. I actually tend to catch those loose threads more using this method.

Do all loose threads need to be tied up in a pretty bow by the end of the story? Not necessarily. If you're writing a series, some of those threads may be what carry your reader into the next book. Again, this is where diagramming events or having a short synopsis can help you keep track of what has already happened.

Happy sewing! Uh…I mean, writing!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Junior Authors Conference & Interview with Laura Thomas

Today's guest blog comes from Sebastian Starcevic, the owner of InkWaters: Freelance Writing Agency. He recently interviewed author Laura Thomas and discussed with her an exciting conference geared towards kid and teens. Thanks for sharing this with us, Sebastian!--Mary Ann 

The Junior Authors Conference is a rare, one-day event for kids and teens to learn the craft of writing, meet industry professionals and network with other young writers. Featuring authors such as Lois Peterson, Michelle Barker and Darlene Foster, the purpose of the event is to inspire, educate and empower aspiring young writers – and of course, to have fun! 
The conference will take place on Saturday, October 19th at the Sandman Signature Hotel & Resort in Richmond, BC, Canada. 
Organiser Laura Thomas, who lives in the Vancouver, BC area, is a professional writer with 20 years of experience in storytelling and copywriting. She provides several opportunities for young writers including: the annual Junior Authors Short Story Contest, her Junior Bloggers program, her junior freelance program through her company Laura Thomas Communications, and her Facebook page Write Q&A. Her book for young readers and writers alike, Polly Wants To Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing & Getting Published, will be out in stores in October. 
Why are you so passionate about helping young writers? 
I remember exactly what it was like to want to be a writer when I was a teen. I had a burning desire to be a writer, but I did not know any writers and no one in my family had ever had a career in the arts. It seemed like a ridiculous career choice so I abandoned it and studied psychology, history and education at university. 
Eventually, my talent for writing in the academic world opened doors for me and I did go on to write professionally. But it took a long time to get there. The funny thing is that even today, a lot of my family and friends really have no idea what I do for a living or why it’s even valuable. All writers need support to make it, young writers even more so. There is work out there, but it’s not always easy to figure out how to find it and train for it. 
What made you decide to hold the Junior Authors Conference? 
For years I have been teaching writing camps, giving talks and performing as a storyteller, but I made a commitment at the end of 2012 to start getting my books out. I’m a mom with two young children so time is a premium. Traveling to teach or to perform as a storyteller is very time consuming. Actually, I almost stopped offering the Junior Authors Contest as well, as it is also very labour intensive. 
In the end, my commitment to helping young writers won out and I settled on organizing a one-day annual conference for 100 young writers that ties into what is now and international contest with more than 1,000 entrants. I feel the conference is an effective and efficient way for me to offer support and have more time to write my own books. In fact, Polly Wants to be a Writer is based on a short story writing course that I taught for years. It will help a lot of young writers, too. 
What are some of benefits of attending the Junior Authors Conference? 
Between door prizes and truly beneficial workshops, good food, being part of a book launch party and the announcement of the winners of this year’s Junior Authors Contest, I think it’s going to be a perfect day for aspiring young writers. Above all, getting 100 like-minded aspiring writers in one room for a day is going to seed the supportive relationships that can make the difference between making it as a writer and giving up on a dream. Even the simple act of having your mom or dad or grandma sign you up for a writing conference is a acknowledgement that your dreams and desires (and talents) are being taken seriously. This is huge. To that end, I have scheduled a brief workshop for parents at the end of the day on how to support a young writer. 
The Junior Authors Contest has been running since 2007 and so far has collected thousands of entries from young writers around the globe. What inspired you to hold the competition? 
As I said above, I was once an aspiring young writer trying to figure out how to get some practice and some recognition. That was back in the pre-Internet age, so it was like living in an information desert, there was nothing for me and I gave up for a time. Then, my writing students back in 2006, told me that there still wasn’t much out there for young writers. 
I believe deeply that young writers should be competing with kids their own age. So I created a free annual writing contest to make that happen. I almost ditched it after five years to focus on my own books, but the gratitude that poured in at the end of last year’s contest touched me deeply and here we are at year six and it’s growing like made. I think I have answered over 700 questions on the contest page of my website since January and we are going to have well over 1,000 entries from writers in more than 40 countries. I’m glad I didn’t ditch it. 
I should mention, too, that because we have sponsors, there are some scholarships available for this conference. The information is on the conference webpage. 
Your new book is about a girl who struggles to face her inner ‘literary dragon.’ What message are you hoping to send to your readers, and how does it relate to your own experiences as a writer? 
Polly, the protagonist, is so typical of the amateur writer. There is a ton of passion but it’s uncontrolled and undisciplined and manifests itself as a hypercritical inner voice (what I call an inner dragon) that does things like: stops a writer from finishing a first draft, stops a writer from editing a first draft, or stops a writer from send out his or her work. I used to be there but years of writing for hire have helped me train my inner dragon. 
I know when to use that inner critic to help me edit and when to tell it to shut up and let me be creative. No one is born understanding the writing process. In the story Polly meets a writing mentor who unveils the process and helps her train her inner dragon so that, for once, she can finish a piece of writing that had a decent shot at getting published. 
As I mentioned, this book is based in a short story course that I used to teach. In eight weeks I would take my students from the idea stage through to the submission stage. I held their hands every step of the way. Several students who took that course with me went on to have their stories published in paying markets. Along the way, I taught them the ins and outs of the publishing industry and how to navigate it. Polly Wants to be a Writer will do the same, but through fiction. I love teaching through storytelling. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

3 Creative Ways to Plan Your Short Story or Novel

All writers work differently. Some can create an entire short story or novel in their heads before they even put pen to paper; others open a blank document and plan on-the-go. If you like to have a clear plan before moving into action – either one that is extremely complex and detailed, or just the bare bones – the following tips are for you.
Don't get stuck without a notebook -
you never know when genius will strike.

  1. What are the main events in your novel or short story? Choose three or four – beginning, middle and end – and name them, adding brief notes for what happens within each section. Now write these onto flashcards, and stick them up on your wall; preferably somewhere you’ll see them frequently.

    This way, not only will you be able to refer to them when you need them, but you’ll see them all the time and find yourself constantly reminded of the important parts of your plot. Your subconscious will process them too, making sure they’re never far from your mind. This will help you to keep a better handle on your ideas.
  2. This particular method works best for novels. If you’d like a more detailed plan, buy a new notebook – you have an excuse to treat yourself to a really nice one here, it’s important after all! – and use it purely to plan your story.

    Divide this notebook into sections – one for your characters, big and small (it pays to plan your smaller characters in detail too), one for your plot and one for your subplots.

    Use the characters section for your character profiles, the plot section for detailed plans for each of your chapters, and, for the final section, detailed notes on your subplots and how they fit in parallel to your story.

    Keep this notebook with you at all times so you can jot down new ideas as they come to you. If you are very organised by nature, this way of planning will work very well for you.
  3. Think about the shape and outline of a typical family tree. Sketch one out, but instead of writing the names of your great-great-great grandparents in the boxes, write down the outline of your story instead, from beginning to end. This one is particularly useful if you have a number of subplots, or a number of intertwined stories and characters.
Planning a story, particularly a long one, can be frustrating and tedious, and at worst, you can lose interest. However, making a long plan and having fun with it can keep you motivated, and make you look forward to sitting down and bringing your vision to life.
Stephanie-Louise Farrell is an up-and-coming author who is currently working on a new novel to go alongside her anthology of short stories entitled 'Haunted' (published by Any Subject Books). Aside from her writing she loves animals and lives in London.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Emotional Attachments and Your Characters: Doing it the George R. R. Martin Way

A few weeks ago I wrote about Taking Happily Ever After Away From Your Characters. When I wrote it, I was really thinking in terms of romance writing and character relationships. However, there are lots of other ways to manipulate your readers using emotional attachments.

I was recently reminded of this very lesson when I watched the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones.

I guess winter is no longer coming. If you're a fan of the show, then you know what I'm talking about!

I actually have not read any of the books in the Game of Thrones series. I know, I know! Shame on me, but Mr. Martin is heavily involved in the writing of the HBO series so I feel like I'm getting a pretty accurate representation of what is happening in his books. Of course, if I'd read the book then I wouldn't have been so outraged, so pissed, so disappointed by the Red Wedding episode.

But that's the beauty of Mr. Martin. He totally pulled me into the Game of Thrones world, made me root for particular characters, and then took them away without any warning. He evoked powerful reactions in me that had me thinking about what was going to happen next and the fact that no character is safe in his writing world.

It reminded me a bit of Shakespeare. Most of Shakespeare's main characters had a habit of dying by the end of the story, and I think Mr. Martin is definitely taking a few cues from the bard.

While I was upset at the loss of these characters that I'd come to love, I couldn't help but admire the author. Getting people to care about fictional lives is no easy feat! That takes careful writing and development skills. He manages to hook us by showing through thought, deed, and words that his characters are flesh and blood--they can die even if we don't like it.

And isn't that the way real life is? Unfair, messy, and emotional?

So what can an aspiring author (or any author, for that matter) learn from this? That killing off your main characters is vital to the success of your work? No. In fact, it's something that could potentially back fire on you! However, building attachments is important. Getting your reader to care enough about what might happen to a particular character is vital.

How can a writer do that?

Good dialogue.

Show us, don't tell us.

Make them human by showing us how they handle adversity.

Have them fail and then redeem themselves.

Get them to fall in love for all the wrong reasons and then make those reasons the right ones.

Let the story follow it's path, and if that path should lead to the main character's death, then so be it. (I just hope you're not writing a romance. Main character deaths in romance are big NO-NOs!)

As I settle back and wait for the next season of Game of Thrones, I can't help but wonder what Mr. Martin has in store for me. I suppose I could just go grab the book and read ahead, but that would spoil the surprise at this point. In the meantime, I'll just have to content myself with creating emotional attachments in my own work!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tips for managing writer’s block

You’ve just got to the middle of your novel, you’ve been working on it relentlessly, you’re excited and proud of what you have so far; and suddenly, nothing.

Unblocking tool
The truth is, there is no easy way to manage writer’s block. It’s a nasty experience for a writer, and techniques that work for some to move past it might not work for others. To start with, here are three ways to make yourself feel better about the entire experience: 
  1. Don’t be hard on yourself. This is the worst thing you can do. You’ll just feel bad and you might even lose your motivation to write altogether. Thoughts like ‘well, it wasn’t that good anyway, I might as well just give up’ are not allowed. Remember how excited you were about it, and how well it was going. Once you move past the block those feelings will come back.
  2. The phrase ‘you can’t rush art’ might sound like a pretentious cliché that only people in black turtle-necks and berets would use, but it’s true. Unless you have an official deadline set in stone by a publishing company, don’t set deadlines for yourself. You’ll find yourself forcing ideas and they either won’t come at all, or the ones that do will not be up to standard. Let your ideas come naturally. By saying ‘I must have this chapter done by 5pm by tomorrow and not a minute later’ you put unnecessary pressure on yourself; you won’t feel creative anymore and you won’t produce the best standard of work. Be patient.
  3. Minimise the block in your mind. Feeling stuck might make you feel a bit rubbish but don’t let it appear to you as any bigger than it is. It is merely a minor hurdle in the creative process that you can and will move past.
Don't quit
Feeling better? Now here are five practical ways to combat the block and move on:
  1. Forget about what you’re writing. Step away from it and do something else. If you’re working on another project, go and do that for a while. This will give you a sense of achievement and, if you’re lucky, the break might get your ideas flowing again. Cleaning is a very good task for this. It doesn’t require any brainpower, leaving your head free for idle thoughts which may lead to new ideas. Which brings me to my next point…
  2. Clear your workspace. If your desk, sofa, snug etc is cluttered then how do you expect to write? If you have old cups of coffee lying around which appear to be growing penicillin get rid of them, fast. Organise yourself. Tidy away those books and pens. You’ll feel more relaxed within a clear working space.
  3. Go for a walk. Be mindful. Take in your surroundings. Concentrate on what you see; it might inspire you, or free up your mind for new ideas.
  4. Read a dictionary. Seriously.
  5. Talk to a friend who is a writer and spend an hour or so discussing your project with them. Bounce some ideas around. Even if nothing you can use comes out of it, you may find you see your writing in a whole new light. You’ll at least have things to reflect on and think about, which may get you moving again. And an outside input helps any creative process.
Blocks are something all writers experience, but even the nastiest of them can be overcome. Keep positive.
Stephanie-Louise Farrell is an up-and-coming author who is currently working on a new novel to go alongside her anthology of short stories entitled 'Haunted' (published by Any Subject Books). Aside from her writing she loves animals and lives in London.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Banshee's Revenge by Victoria Richards--a review

 This is a repeat post, but since we are diving into summer, I wanted to bring attention to one of my favorite authors. Her books make for great beach reads!-- Mary Ann


I love trilogies, especially when the last book is the one that ties everything up and is action packed. I've read the first two books in the Banshee series by Victoria Richards and was thrilled to finally get my hands on the latest one: The Banshee's Revenge.

Here is the publisher's blurb:


Toby Williams is a wizard with a problem. He is very much in love with half banshee, Jacqueline Huston. Though she exists in the realm of the living, as a banshee she is also able to see death- and help those who have died to cross over to the other side. But something inside her has snapped. Anger and revenge is all she feels now. Jacqueline is hell-bent on revenge to the Brotherhood of Merlyn wizard’s for their past atrocities and their current attempts to kill her love, Toby; especially their ancient and powerful leader, Gwydion. One by one she tracks them down and destroys them. Jacqueline’s power grows with each wizard she reaps while Death’s voice taunts her from within. By pursuing a path of revenge Jacqueline isn't doing her job as a banshee, leaving those who have died unable to cross over and throwing off the balance of nature- with dire consequences.

Toby is at a loss how to save her, and the world. His answer comes in the form of Morrigan, a powerful Celtic goddess. Morrigan has a plan to help Toby save Jacqueline and regain her humanity, but at great risk.

Even the best laid plans can go astray, especially when evil Gwydion enlists the help from a god of the underworld.

Will Jacqueline be saved? Does she have any chance at regaining her humanity? Can Toby and Morrigan overcome a powerful wizard and a god of the underworld? Find out now in the exciting conclusion of The Banshee's Embrace Trilogy.

I have to say that this book answered a lot of questions I'd been wondering about--particularly who the heck are Jacqueline's parents! While I don't want to give that spoiler away, I will say that it made total sense and explained a great deal about why she is so strong. In this book, I felt that Jacqueline really came into her own and showed herself to be a strong woman who wants to believe that good is still inside her.

Toby remains our champion romance hero with just the right amount of humility, sex appeal, and strong warrior rolled into one.  Loved that he was willing to do whatever it takes to save Jacqueline.

We also meet a few new characters like Morrigan (Celtic goddess with a wicked sense of humor), and Arwan (a god of the Underworld) who really is too sexy for his own good. Both were excellent additions to the plot and made me laugh out loud at their antics.

Overall, this story was fast paced, humorous, and had just enough sex to sizzle the page, but not distract you from the overall plot. I have loved this series from beginning to end and highly recommend that you read all three books in The Banshee's Embrace trilogy.

 To learn more about the fabulous Victoria Richards click on the links below!


Monday, June 10, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship With Writing by Maria Lacey

Our first guest blogger of summer is the delightful Maria Lacey! Here she talks about the unique relationships all writers seem to have with their work. Thanks for joining us today, Maria!-- Mary Ann
I'm a writer, and I hate writing.  
Now give me a chance to explain myself. I love when I'm done writing, when it finally seems like I have no need to edit and the product is finally finished and looks good. What I don't love is the process it takes to get to that point, but I don't hate it either. The process is just a giant pain that I have to endure in order to fully enjoy the act of writing. 
The way I see it, every writer kind of hates writing. There's always some part of the process that you don't like, whether it be brainstorming for ideas or editing a draft (personally I find it hard to even start writing).  
It's hard work. Writing is not always enjoyable, but I have found that writing through the painful bits is the best way to get rid of the not-so-fun parts of writing.  
It sucks when you are stuck in your writing - it's not turning out the way it should, or you don't even have anything to show for your two hour brainstorming session. But that's kind of the beauty of writing. It's all about the process, and I swear writing is just like giving birth to a baby (even though I have no experience with giving birth and I'm sure that is much, much more painful that what writers do). It hurts to push that thing out, but once it is out, you love what you've made.  
That's why I keep writing, even if parts of the process really frustrate me. As much as I complain and whine about the hardship of being a writer, it is so satisfying to finally finish something, step away from it, and think, This is good.    
To all my fellow writers, keep writing, even if it is painful and stressful, because in the end you can create something from absolutely nothing. Getting whatever is in your head down on paper is not an easy process, but it is worth it. So take the easy parts with the hard parts, and remember that even if the process is frustrating, it can also be very rewarding.     
 About the author:
Maria Lacey has a BA in English from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is a freelance writer who currently resides in Las Vegas with her family. You can learn more about her at

Thursday, June 6, 2013

5 Publishing Formats

Mention e-books and everyone automatically thinks of Amazon's Kindle but that's not the whole story if you want to make it as a top publishing company – you need to be aware of the others and their markets.

Here are five of the main formats and how they are used:


Variety is the spice of life, they say
Mobi or mobipocket as it is more correctly called, was developed around an HTML framework by a French company to be used largely by PDA's (Personal Digital Assistant). Later on their programmers expanded the application’s coverage to include the first ebooks. Amazon took over the software 8 years ago and then combined it with their own Kindle readers, giving it the household name status that it currently enjoys.

With freely available software for the PC, Mac, Blackberry, Android or Apple, there are few people who do not possess the wherewithal to read a Mobipocket ebook.

File extensions: .azw, .mobi and .prc (no significant differences)


Utilizing an XHTML platform, ePub was intended to be the industry standard for electronic books allowing, as it does, a greater range of formatting possibilities than the rather limited mobi file extension. Without Amazon's choice of mobi, ePub might well have become more popular however it’s still used by the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, the Apple range of iReaders, Linux computers and Android-based tablets.

Turning one's back on the ePub market is ill-advised and the top publishing company will be well aware of this.
File extension: .epub


PDF or Portable Document Format might seem a surprising inclusion on this list but it's got a very definite marketplace. The format was introduced by Acrobat to allow universal reading of material without the need to buy an expensive software package such as Microsoft Office. Its beauty is this universality but PDF is not without its drawbacks such as page scalability issues and also the time investment in creating a working table of contents.

As any top publishing company will tell you, there are plenty of 'quick-fix' conversion programs which will convert a standard document file to PDF but it takes care and painstaking attention to detail to create a table of contents - something which will be expected of you by your readers.

PDF is popular with companies like Gardners who distribute, inter alia, to the major supermarket chains.

File extension: .pdf


Using PML (Palm Markup Language) instead of HTML, PDB works as a text-type file with formatting tags which is then reassembled into an e-book using an application such as Studio or Dropbook. It's favored primarily by Blackberry, Palm, PocketPC, iPhone/iTouch and Android and Symbian devices.

It's usage by Barnes & Noble's eReader makes it worth considering as an outsider.

File extension: .pdb


LIT was developed by Microsoft using a compressed HTML system nearly 10 years ago. Nowadays, with a rapidly dwindling market, it's hard to find a top publishing company who will want to devote resources towards creating books in this format. That said, there are still some customers who use it.

File extension: .lit

Any Subject Books offers a full range of services to the self-publisher including formatting and editing. See the website for more details and current rates.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer and All Things Writing

I'm running late this week with my blog post. I can't help it! Summer is finally hear and it keeps doing a naughty little dance that distracts me from writing!

Ah well....such is the nature of summer. I think I'll just let it do its dance and reap the benefits of finally having time to catch up on projects, read lots of great books, and write some long overdue reviews. In fact, that's what you can expect this summer from All Things Writing.

In addition to our usual crew of writers who know just about everything (sorta), we will be joined by several guest bloggers. Look for some fun new posts in the upcoming weeks!

I also intend to review several books on my back list including our own John Brewer's book The Silla Project. I've just dived in to  a great book by Deborah Harkness that her publisher sent to me called Shadow of Night. This is definitely one to be reading in the dog days of summer.

All Things Writing will also holding a short story contest this summer. The theme is mayhem and amusement parks. More details will be posted regarding this in July, but get your imagination revved up on this one folks!

Well, back to the pool for now.