Simple Tips to Make Your Book Description Standout on Amazon

Lessons in Self-publishingConfession: When I uploaded my first book to Kindle many moons ago, dozens of things ran through my mind…

  • Is anyone going to read it?
  • Is anyone going to like it?
  • Will the interior formatting pass Kindle’s inspection?
  • Will the cover be the right size and quality?
  • Did I miss something that will make it not appear on the website?
  • Is the ISBN correct?
  • Am I spelling my name right? (Yes, I worried about this too)
  • Am I choosing the right key words?
  • Is my description good enough?
  • Are there spelling mistakes in the description?
  • Will the power go out before I complete the publishing? (Okay, that’s my worry today because of the blizzard outside.)

Publishing for the first time can be overwhelming. The goal is get the book uploaded and to not get bogged down by unimportant details. Worrying about all these things I listed gave me no mindset to focus on individual aspects of the eBook publishing process.

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Editing a Western Romance Novel “Dust, Unsettled” 05

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

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Kindle Spell Check and Preview Your Book While in the Publishing Stage

Lessons in Self-publishingLast week—while discussing Amazon’s warning about spelling mistakes and bad formatting for eBooks published on their site—I realised not everyone is completing all the steps necessary to upload and publish a book.

Book title, author’s name, tags, description and the other items on the Kindle publishing page are important, but the two check points before you hit “Publish” are equally important.

These check points are Kindle Spell Check and Preview Your Book.

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Editing a Western Romance Novel “Dust, Unsettled” 04

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Continue reading “Editing a Western Romance Novel “Dust, Unsettled” 04″

Amazon Warning Readers About Mistakes in Your Books

New FlashA few days ago, I read a post by a writer who was deeply concerned by a message she received from Amazon. It caused her to immediately jump into action to solve the problem before one of her books was stamped with a big yellow warning sticker informing readers the book had issues.

A worst case scenario would be this sticker.

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Treat eBooks like Websites and Update them Regularly

eBook UpdatesEach January, I take a few weeks and update my eBooks – all of them.

This doesn’t mean I edit the stories. It means I update the file with new information and refresh what might have gone stale in the past twelve months. I also add details on things to come, such as the release of a book.

How long will it take?

Updating eBooks take less than an hour per book across all venues. It will take longer if you have not gathered the necessary pieces of information or you are unfamiliar with formatting.

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Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettled” 03

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Continue reading “Editing a western romance novel “Dust, Unsettled” 03”

Independent Book Stores

New FlashA campaign has been running in Nova Scotia for the past several years. It’s called Buy Local. I believe it started to encourage people to buy locally-produced food, however, it quickly spread to other locally produced items: clothing, furniture and books.

We are the second smallest province in Canada, and for us to survive and thrive, we need to support our local small businesses and local producers. This includes our local authors. When we support our authors, we give our province a voice. We allow them to continue to spread our stories, our way of life and our unique view of the world. We also support our history because our writers know our history best.

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Writing Romantic Scenes

Writing TipI grew up with older, conservative parents. They were born in the 1920s and lived through the Depression. My father served overseas in the Second World War. They never spoke about sex. In fact, my mother—born in rural Newfoundland—arrived in Canada in 1945 believing babies came from under rocks. She was seventeen. That’s what her parents had told her; it was what all the children in the community were taught.

In my very conservative raising, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of smut—as they would put it. When I was about fourteen, however, I found magazines my mother was reading. They were called True Stories. Anyone who remembers these magazines filled with short stories knows what I mean when I say, there was a little smut amongst those pages. And I read many of them, hiding out in my bedroom or in the work shed.

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Saturday’s Dust, Unsettled 02

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story and the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Continue reading “Saturday’s Dust, Unsettled 02”

Adding Twitter to Your Blog Posts

Throught of the DayIn the past few months, I’ve visited a lot of blogs, more so than usual. I’m trying to be more social because for a while there, I wasn’t getting out much.

When I read a good post, I like to inform the writer that I liked it. LIKE buttons allow me to do this with little effort.

Sometimes I like to comment on the post, so I do. But I’ll tell you, some blogs make me jump through hoops to get that comment added. A few make me do it twice. There’s one blog I never comment on anymore because I have no idea how to get it right the first time. It is frustrating to write a comment only to have it disappear without a trace while I am answering math questions or figuring out those wavy letters to let the host know I am not a robot.

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Transforming a Paragraph

EditingAs many know, I’m editing the second book in the Castle Keepers series Scattered Stones. When I began, the fantasy novel contained 161,435 words. It currently sits at 160,522 words. My goal is to reduce the novel to below 150,000.

To reach this goal, unnecessary words need to go. To do this, I evaluate each sentence. This is a long process, and after 13 days, I’ve completed only 63 of 271 pages. Mind you, I only get to work on these edits about two hours a day.

This morning, as I worked on a paragraph, I got lazy—blame it on the late nights and early mornings. I let a few ‘was’ words slide without putting in effort to see if I could eliminate them. Not all ‘was’ words should be removed; there is a place for them, but laziness isn’t that place.
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Editor for Hire

I have a confession to make. Over the past two years, I’ve been editing on the side. Writers have been contacting me and asking if I could ‘take a look at’ their stories, or they’ve come right out and asked, “Will you edit my manuscript?”

Editing has exposed me to many styles of writing. Each one is unique in their own way. Many are far from mine, and that’s perfect. No two people should write alike.

These writers have found me online or in person without advertising but now, I’m ready to reveal myself as an editor.

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Saturday’s Dust, Unsettled 01

Dust, UnsettledThis is a series of posts appearing each Saturday morning, sharing the story of the editing of Dust, Unsettled, a western romance written in the 1980s by the teenage version of myself. To learn more about this exercise, check out the original post.

The first section is the original writing. It’s filled with poor dialogue tags, unnecessary words and poor story telling. In the brackets [ ] I’ll point out issues with the writing. I won’t point out every issue, only three or four per Saturday.

Continue reading “Saturday’s Dust, Unsettled 01”

US Dollar Kicks Teeth

MoneyIf you live in Canada, you know what that means. The US dollar is kicking us in the teeth. I ordered a proof for Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove from CreateSpace—located in the United States—so I checked the exchange rate and almost choked on my tea.

For me to buy one US dollar, I have to pay $1.41 Canadian. Thankfully, I don’t have to order books in bulk at this time because I’m not attending markets. I have a few copies of each if I sell one online or in person.

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Familiar Character Names

Writing TipOne of the best parts of writing fiction is naming the characters. For some, this may be the most dreaded part of creating a story. Still, it has to be done. Being prepared with a name makes this game easier. For me, the most annoyed time is when I’m writing a story and I need a name now, and I don’t have time to look for one because the story is coming faster than I can type.

To solve this problem, I keep a file containing names I come across that are interesting and may make good character names. I gather them from various sources: obituaries, news announcements, movies, baby name sites, food boxes, by-lines in newspapers…the list goes on.

If the character was born in another era, say 1920, I’ll search for popular baby names for that time and pick an interesting one.

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Overview of Scattered Stones Manuscript

Scattered Stones UpdateOn January 1st, I created a fresh file for my next major project: Scattered Stones. Before this, the manuscript was divided into two files due to bad formatting and conflicting system changes that occurred a few years ago. I wrote the draft of this fantasy novel before I knew the importance of plain formatting.

As I read and edit, I’m drawing a line. Everything above the line has been nuked by the Eraser and reformatted into plain text. It’s also been scrutinized heavily, every verb, every line, every sentence evaluated until I’m satisfied. I’m weighing the worth of every word because I have major trimming to do.

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Saturday’s Dust, Unsettled

Dust, UnsettledBack in the late eighties, I wrote my first and only western novel. At that time, the only means for me to record a story was with loose leaf and a pen (or pencil). This ancient way of writing made it difficult to rearrange, delete and edit, so I ‘penciled’ in things, made notations to refer to additional pieces of loose leaf and wrote in the margins (both side and top). It was messy, but I understood my system.

Fast forward a few decades, and I went looking for that western, hoping I had saved all those scribblings. But I couldn’t find it. Over the past ten years, when I entered a new box that had come with the move to my current location, I’d look for the story. Finally, last year, I found it, read it and thought, “Wow. I’m a much better writer now than I was in my late teens.”

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2016 Goals

Another year to dreamI keep thinking I should be making a list of things to do or setting goals as we look down the barrel at 2016, but I’m not sure what they would contain other than what I already have on the wall behind my laptop.

Back in October, I spent several weeks rewriting my business plan. This is something every self-published, freelance writer should have. Writing is a business, and creating a plan puts things into perspective and helps plan for the future.

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