Friday, September 30, 2011

New Book Release: 3 Things I Wish I Had Done

We all have regrets. This post is not about that. I do NOT regret publishing CANCELLED one bit. The feedback has been great, though I know the less-than-stellar feedback is going to have its own season. This is about sharing the knowledge I learned from my two-weeks of being a published author and what I wish I could have done differently for a better release.

1. I Wish I Had Trusted My Resolve

Book reviewers schedule month in advance. They have to. It takes so much work to volunteer to review book, even free ones. There's time invested in reading, writing the review, uploading the review, running the blog, and promoting the post. For this alone, even if I ever get a bad review, I will NEVER be anything less than eternally grateful to anyone who takes the time to review my book.

I didn't 100% trust myself that I would make my deadline. I wish I had. If I had known without a doubt I was going to publish in September, I would have scheduled my book reviews in August to make October. Right now I'm struggling to get dates in October and a few popular places can't review my book until January! But I'm turning that lemon into lemonade by promising to have a sneak peek at my next book for those reviews (I'm releasing PAST DUE in February). Here's the thing, I could have even scheduled my blog tour a month past my release date, giving myself a month cushion. Now I know I'm a writer that can push myself to kick a deadline's butt; I will be less fearful about making commitments.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Results of Free Ebook Giveaway

I have a bunch of news and one little blog post to get them out! I apologize for taking a mini-break, but last week was insane for me! I began scheduling my blog tour, and I will have dates posted soon. I am mainly going for October/November, so if anyone has any dates, let me know!

Last week I had my FIRST author interview on A Book, A Girl, A Journey by @J_A_Bennett. This Friday will be my first ever review, from the amazing @SusiBorath on her blog. I'm hoping my friends and I can kill her traffic numbers for the day. We did it for @J_A_Bennett! We can do it for @SusiBorath!

So let's talk some shop. :) Anyone out there have a FREE book as about the extent of their marketing plan? Yeah. I know how you feel. Back when I was writing CANCELLED I thought, erroneously, that I would just give coupons, tell people my book is FREE and Wham! Bam! I'd have sales coming in hand over fist. Well, we all know I can freely admit when I was wrong....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Huge Announcement on The Writer's Guide to Epublishing

I'm still catching my breath. Hold on....

There is a HUGE announcement on The Writer's Guide to E-publishing this morning. Mark Williams has announced MWiDP:
We are looking for writers to join us in a new cloud partnership where the writer has almost all the advantages of being indie, but also almost all the advantages of a “small publisher” brand.
The gist is that experienced self-publishers on the other side of the pond are creating a collective small imprint for authors in the U.S. to really breakthrough over there. I love the idea of this group for a few reasons:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Let's Make a Blog Tour!

Authors with FAR more experience than I have clued me in that I am missing a BLOG TOUR. So, let's put one together! Here is what I can deliver:
* Free copy of my book in any format you need.
* Unique and interesting content tailored-fit to your blog or site.
* Promoting the interview/guest post/review the days leading up to and after.
* A promotion of my book free for your readers, if you want. (no games of follow here, one lucky winner, EVERYONE's a winner)
* Be available throughout the day to respond to comment makers, making the day fun and engaging for your readers!

I am someone who likes to do what I say I will do. I stay organized and follow-through on my commitments. I made a commitment to myself that I would publish my book by September 22 and I did! I didn't let a silly move stop me, and I am not a person looking for excuses to NOT do something.

I would love any opportunity to guest blog, be reviewed, or interviewed on any blog, whether it's another author's, a fitness guru, a Mommy blog, anything! Please leave me a comment or email me at and we'll make it a special day for your site!

First Author Interview at J.A. Bennett's "A Book, A Girl, A Journey"

My first ever author interview is with a great Twitter friend and author J. A. Bennett! If you aren't already following her, I suggest you do so, now. Go on, hurry!

She's a down-to-earth kind of writer with nothing but knowledge and smiles to share. She writes awesome posts on technological tools writers can use, advice and tips she learns from other authors, and give hilarious answers to the blog award games. Oh, she's also working on "Earth Song," a story about a woman finding the strength of the earth spirit within, but faces an unclear path of using the power to save the world.

And while you are reading over there, I'm going to take the time to use her advice about Google Reader.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

#ROW80 Round 3 The Ending

A Round of Words Round 3 is coming to a close, and I FEEL AWESOME!!!!

This round I:

  • Published my debut novel CANCELLED, a twist on modern romances from a male POV for $2.99.
  • I've stated marketing and today is my FIRST author interview at J. A. Bennett's blog A Book, A Girl, a Journey.
  • Made awesome new friends and networked to arrange guest posts and market my book.
  • Moved from SC to CT
  • Missed deadlines and didn't quit. 
I am SOOOO ready for ROUND 4. I'm making my goals, and as I will be marketing a book, and writing a book, it's going to be EPIC!

I am still looking for authors who want to join 2011 Trick or Treat for Ebooks. This is a 100% FREE promotion a friendly group of authors is putting together. We're sponsoring a blog hop (the neighborhood readers will TRICK or TREAT) the week of Halloween, Oct. 24-Nov.2.

To join, make a page or post that you will use to give out your treat and add the Linky Tool once it's finalized. This can be a placeholder for right now.

In time for the promotion, make your treat. It can be a free ebook. It can be a reduction in price. It can just be your regularly priced $.99 book. It can be a bookmark download. It can be a signed printed copy, or a signed ebook. You are only limited by YOUR IMAGINATION!!!

Join the Linky Tool and email me at to tell me what NAME, TITLE, and GENRE you want listed on the Participating Authors page.

All of this is found at Beginning Oct. 1, I will email everyone participating with buttons, ads, promtional tools they can use at their own discretion to promote the event until Oct. 24. Then the fun begins! Readers work through the links and get the goodies! Again, all free.

The benefits:
Your link will be pushed by authors with hundreds and thousands in their network.
Exposure to readers of books in your genre.
Exposure to readers of books outside of your genre.
Camaraderie with other authors.
First consideration for the next free promotion push by ebookpromotions.
Interaction with readers.

I have 11 authors so far, and really hope to get closer to 30 participating, but I won't limit the number that can participate. I really need a close to finalized list by Sept. 30 because that is when I will begin making graphical ads and fliers. If you sign up after, I can't guarantee I can get your book picture into ads.

Always Smiling,
Elizabeth Ann West

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Building a Blog: The Real Nuts and Bolts

This information is the story of one author, but being brand new, my experience might be very applicable for other new authors. :)

This morning on the Writer's Guide to Epublishing we're talking about platforms, and author blogs. The mantra of "have one" is pretty well disseminated from just about every marketing guide for authors, traditional or self-published. But a comment from Sarah Ross asked this question:

Well this is the perfect opportunity to “Ask the Experts”, so here goes: How do you market your blog? I am creating one now so that when my book is published I have a readership, but how do you get your blog out there for people to see (besides my friends/family from FB)?

I didn't want to hijack the comment section because I already gave a lengthy comment, and while I'm a regular visitor to The Writer's Guide to E-publishing, it's not MY blog, or grog (group blog). But, I think this question is very important, and while I've read many marketing guides, very few give practical, anecdotal evidence of what to do to build a blog. So I'm going to try to do that.

A little about me: I decided in January of this year to write a novel. On September 13, 2011, I released my debut novel and sold 17 copies in 6 days. That is not intended to brag, I honestly don't know if it's brag worthy but I'm proud. It's just to give realistic data on what I accomplished. In addition to that, my blog presence and network here garnered me three interviews, two guest posts, and many referring links.

But how did I get there? Well one thing I can tell you is it doesn't happen over night! I began this blog way back on March 29, 2011. And I posted the link on my Facebook for friends and got maybe 5 page views. Yep, 5. And that's how most of my posts went, 5-10 page views. And they weren't other authors or readers, just people who love me that wanted to see how my "she's writing a novel" project was going. I don't blame them for being curious and somewhat suspecting I wasn't going to finish. I didn't even know for sure I was going to win.

Early on, I got lucky with a little more traffic with my Day 2 post, March 30. To date, this post is my third most viewed post with 146 page views. Why? When I uploaded the image of my storyboard, and I don't have a clear idea how I did this exactly, it got picked up by Google images as an example of a storyboard. I get traffic from people who have searched storyboarding or storyboard, even if they don't necessarily mean a self-published author.

But in April, I began to comment on other big author blogs and my page views per post started hanging out in the 10-15 range. I also redesigned the blog so that it featured the blogs I follow, and made the most out of my comments in a polite way (that's a separate post). Unless it was VERY pertinent to the blog topic, I didn't include a link to my blog. For example, one of my highest referring link comes from a post on Dean Wesley Smith's blog about Math and Royalties. If you do a Ctrl-F of my name, Elizabeth, you'll see how I formed my comment in July. I didn't just flog my blog, I explained why I was sharing the link, how it added to the conversation, and most importantly, showed that I was a regular reader (which I was) by talking about other topics DWS regularly talks about and how it helped me. And I thanked him.

I did NOT go around every day and find a "big blog" to share my link. Here's the thing, we ALL read the top blogs around. If you share your link on a few day in and day out, you'll get labeled as a spammer. You do not want that. By being courteous, adding to the conversation, and being PATIENT, traffic will slowly increase. How slowly?

Here's my stats:
March, 4 posts, 79 views.
April, 14 posts, 385 views.
May, 12 posts, 448 views.
June, 12 posts, 585 views.
July, 17 posts, 1252 views.
August, 11 posts, 581 views.
September (to date) 10 posts, 948 views.

What happened in July?

In July, I joined A Round of Words in 80 Days. This is a great group if you have a genuine interest in participating. I say genuine because there are thousands of writing groups, federations, co-ops, you need to find the one for you. I am a regular reader on The Writer's Guide to E-Publishing. But A Round of Words in 80 Days is a blog hop. Each 80 day round, the participating authors (and it's free to participate) make individual goals for those 80 days. These are any goals you want. Some people have weekly word goals, weekly posting goals, I had the goal of editing and publishing my novel. Round 3 is ending this week, and Round 4 starts Oct. 3. Each Sunday and Wednesday we check in by writing a blog post about our progress, and we include a Linky Tools at the bottom that shows everyone's blog links. This bumped my traffic a great deal on a consistent basis and my followers grew from like 10 to 35, and I get about 30 page views per post.

I also had a post featured on a big blog called The Passive Voice Guy. This month I had another post featured there, and it has skyrocketed. How did I do that? Again, through genuine interaction. I started reading The Passive Voice Guy's blog and commenting appropriately. I tipped him off when I saw content that would interest his regular readers. I started following him on Twitter. In July, an expose on Amazon's self publishing "junk" was spreading like wild fire and there was a lot of nastiness towards self-published authors. Apparently, we were destroying the world. :) I had just finished my first draft and became very angry. Not usually a good thing. I wrote a rant and shared the link through a DM on Twitter to him. Holy crap, he featured it on his blog! I didn't ask him to do that, he just did. I have since, roughly once a month as you don't want to abuse an online acquaintance, clued him in when I saw important information going out about the self-publishing world. For example, this was the post in September. Notice he introduces me as a regular commenter and visitor? That post on my blog has 302 views, or 7% of my total page views of all time.

Now, I am NOT advising that everyone run out and send The Passive Voice Guy DMs on Twitter. Remember, it's not WHO, it's HOW. The HOW is start a relationship, through regular visits, thoughtful and respectful comments on a handful of other blogs. Then, and only then, can you approach them about swapping links, and always, always make sure there is something in it for them. I knew from reading The Passive Voice Guy's blog regularly the ebook formatting was a topic that came up and was mostly a mystery. It was really neat to see suddenly people coming out of the woodwork, who hadn't felt like they needed to comment before, talk about their ebook formatting solutions! My blog post over there started a conversation, and that's always good.

But a word of caution. Writing blog posts to start a conversation are important, but being controversial for the sake of being controversial isn't good. My rant for example was a big gamble. Those words will forever be associated with me. I used some pretty strong language in it, but I didn't write anything I wouldn't defend. You can defend a blog post, but you don't defend writing you sell. That's a line between amateur and professional.

So I know this is long, but this is the recap:

  • Post consistently and try to make your content exciting. Use whatever networking abilities you can, Facebook or Twitter and share the link. Do this for a number of months.
  • Be present in other online communities. If you want people to come to your house (blog) for a dinner party, you have to go to some other dinner parties (blogs) and make friends.
  • Use back door communication (Twitter DM, email) as appropriate to HELP another blogger find scoops and content. Trust me, it will be returned in kind eventually.
  • Kill everyone with kindness when you can. And remember, when you leave a comment, put a link to your blog in that form you must fill out. This will make your name a link and if a reader likes your comment, chances are they will click your name to see more about you.

Time+good manners+interesting things to say = growing blog audience.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Monday, September 19, 2011

Uploading to Amazon KDP The Real Story

I uploaded to Amazon's KDP on 9/13/2011 and I'm STILL tweaking.

There are 4 main areas to Amazon. Your regular Amazon account, where you buy and sell, make reviews. Make note of that email address and password.

Next, is the KDP section. If you don't want to panic and go nuts later on, USE THE SAME EMAIL ADDRESS AND PASSWORD AS YOUR AMAZON MAIN ACCOUNT. I messed this up, signing up with KDP with one email address, and Amazon's main site with a different one because I didn't realize the two were linked. I thought I had to resign up. I accidentally uploaded my book under the one email address, then signed in with the other, swapped to KDP to check on my sales (yes I'm a newbie and each sale makes me giddy) and MY....BOOK...WAS...GONE! I fixed it, but now I have 2 email addresses to maintain with Amazon.

Now, KDP doesn't let you edit your author page. For that, you have to go to Author Central. Yeah. Again, sign in with the same email address you used for KDP and regular Amazon. All of these steps require your information, metadata, etc. Your author page should have a professional photograph of you, not a hold your cell phone and take it. People can tell, even if your arm isn't showing from the quality and angle of the photo.

Claiming your Author Central page removes your About the Author on the product description page, BUT it add links to your author page and a photograph of you and information at the bottom. You can add a biography, events (I'm using mine to promote Trick or Treat for Ebooks), links, and an RSS feed to your author blog!

The final place is Shelfari, which you connect through your Author Central profile, and you next perform a book report on your book. It wants characters, quotes, a one sentence summary, synopsis, description, etc. PHEW! I'm only filling out a few of the blocks, as I'm not 100% sure what shelfari does.

So uploading to Amazon is quite an ordeal.

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why The Hardest Part Is AFTER Your Publish

My #ROW80 Round 3 goals was to publish. I did that!

I heard in a couple of places that writing is the easy part, it's after you publish where things get tough. I secretly laughed. HA! I have marketing experience. HA! I love talking and networking with people. That's going to be the best part!

I was incorrect.

I won't say wrong, because I AM enjoying marketing. But I'm also starting to look forward to writing over marketing. Here's why:

  1. I make mistakes out of my control to fix quickly. Even when I wrote non-fiction, the first few times you are using an uploading interface, you're going to mess up. It's inherent. Either the form instructions aren't worded correctly, or your browser makes a funky refresh half-way through, or you just have so many fields the chance of error is very high. I uploaded the wrong file to Amazon and Barnes and Noble at first, and didn't realize it takes 48-72 hours to fix that! Read that again, if you upload the wrong file, it takes 48-72 hours to fix it. You have to wait 24 hours for the wrong file to populate just to get access to change it, then you upload the right one and must wait another 24 hours to upload the new file. No big deal right? Except that the book is available for sale BEFORE the KDP or PubIt interface gives you access to fix it! Smashwords is MUCH quicker, and once I realized my mistake, I fixed it there and then made sales on the other sites and I didn't have access to fix it. 
  2. Every interaction counts. I was still a little too high off my publication and stopped by Konrath's blog because he was getting down on himself and I wanted him to know his blog educated me, and now I was self-published. I didn't include a link to my book, I wasn't there to flog my book (that would be very bad manners). He gets a bunch of flak from people entrenched in their ideals, and I figured a thank you, even from a small author, would help. I explained that 6 people bought my book. He responded back "Make that 7, I just bought it for my wife." CRINGE. The file was wrong! Yep. Even worse, there were typos in my comment! Now, even just a comment can be a big deal. Part of me is hoping his wife never reads it, but the other part of me hopes she does and likes it. All of me hopes she doesn't read it and hate it. Dislike, okay. I dislike many books that aren't poorly written, they just don't appeal to me. 
  3. Cliques are everywhere. I am working on a new paradigm in indie marketing: inclusive. There are so many books of the day, book of the month, today's review, today's deal promotions, increasingly more that you must pay for. Remember in school when we got the Scholastic book fair sheet? There were dozens of books. It was fun to read about all of them and circle the ones I wanted. If the teacher passed out a sheet with only one book on it? One book on it? Most of the class wouldn't be interested and Scholastic wouldn't make any money. Even B&N and Amazon when they email to me include numerous books in the newsletter. So I'm working on building for ALL authors of ALL genres to run monthly promotions that have traction because of the sheer number of authors participating. As a reader, which circular are you going to read? These 5 products are on sale...or...Over 50 products, now on sale! I know which one I'm going to spend my valuable time on because there is a greater chance there is something I will want. October we're putting together virtual Trick or Treating for Ebooks and every author is invited to join.
  4. It's no longer the me show, but the us show. Marketing as an indie requires help. You have to get over asking for help pretty quickly. Then, once it's offered, you sure as heck better pull through on your end of the bargain. I asked for help and received 4 offers to guest blog. I have two entries due tomorrow for this week. I had to put two more on my calendar so I do not forget that I promised to contribute. 
So that's just the tip of the iceberg I'm sure. I'm also thinking about my next novel, wondering when/if I can let CANCELLED run on auto-pilot. Probably never. But things sure do seem a great deal simpler when I only had one book I was working on writing...

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
WIP: SERVED A single father learns moving on with his life bring out the worst in his daughter's mother. (Sequel to CANCELLED)

My A ROUND OF WORDS IN 80 DAYS Friends: Visit their blogs and leave some writer love. This is our last week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Trick or Treat Signup

Here's where people can comment their ideas. Sorry, didn't realize the page doesn't allow comments. Whoops!

Week 1 of Being Published, Recap

This is my first week of being published as a fiction writer (I'm previously published in non-fiction). My book published haphazardly on 9/14/2011, and as of this morning sold 9 copies! My first day I sold 2 copies on Smashwords, and 2 copies on Amazon. On the second day, I sold 1 more on Smashwords, and 1 more on Amazon. And this morning, I woke up to see that I finally sold a copy on Barnes and Noble and 2 more copies on Amazon. I also received my first 5 star review on Amazon yesterday morning! (I will confess, *I* don't think my book 5 stars, more like 4.5, but I'm a very harsh critic on myself).

I also sent out the call for opportunities to guest blog. This was difficult. Deep down, we all wish others would just think us so fabulous, that we get requests and invites without having to ask. But like everything in this world, you have to ask. No one can read your mind. And if they can, get a helmet like Magneto.

So I asked. I figured it wouldn't offend me in the least for someone to ask me for help; I love to give help! So why should my writer and book reviewer friends be offended that I ask them for help? So far the wonderful J.A. Bennett, J.L. Campbell, and Nathan Lowell have answered my call! I will be featured on J.A. Bennett's A Girl, A Book, A Journey next Thursday and Nathan Lowell's Nathan Lowell Presents sometime next week. I will be on J.L. Campbell's The Character Depot in October. (I also just started reading J. L. Campbell's book Dissolution and it is very interesting to see marital discord in a Jamaican culture setting. I even have learned new words!).

I am also a member of Darla Shine's Happy Housewives Club and put out a call for the kick-butt moms there to read a gratis copy and review it. So far, one member there has taken up the request and she's even a part of a reading group on Facebook! Again, you just have to ask.

Finally, I had a brilliant idea to do a Blog Trick or Treat for Books. I am going to solidify that program and put together a sign up with Linkytools. The basic premise is we put together a "neighborhood" of author blogs willing to give a coupon for a free or discounted ebook for comment leavers who "trick or treat." If I can put together a decent list by the end of September of participating authors and get it out to book review sites, it just might go viral. Then we can promote it the month of October, and run it the last weekend of October, with coupons expiring Nov. 2.

Last night my super helpful 11-year-old watched his little sister so I could get major work done on my next novel's outline. It's finally fleshing out and I'm ready to start story boarding it.

All in all, a great week! I am still looking for other author's books to the recommended reading on my reader site, guest blog opportunities, and anyone who wants to be a part of the Ebook Trick of Treat game.
A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords WIP: PAST DUE A nurse, crippled by debt, takes a part-time job in medical investigation only to find the man she's dating is a fraud!  (status: outlining)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ideas For October: Need Participants

We've all heard about the Amazon Sunshine sales, right? Amazon worked with the Big 6 and collectively, prices went down, and their sales went up.

I have two ideas on how we indies can make October OUR sunshine sale. The first is very straightforward, not nearly as fun... Trick or Treat Books. We all work together to make a list of the writer blogs in the neighborhood that are participating, and on Oct. 31 people can visit the blog to get a coupon for a free book, maybe leave a comment that they were there for fun. We'll all be handing out candy and checking our email/blogs at the same time! We can even make it fun with links so say my reader blog once they leave a comment, they click the link at the bottom and go to the next blog. Make it a circle. We can promote a list of authors the week before on who's participating, but that way readers just click a link "On to the next house..." and have no idea where it will land them and so on. (okay they can right click and read the source, but it's the spirit of fun). Another idea would just be a 50% coupon if authors don't want to do free.

That's probably the best idea for a first go around.

Another idea but would need to be a month long promotion, maybe best for November (giving thanks) has readers start with any free book they want from the participating authors. Once they rate the book or leave a review somewhere, even a bleh one, they contact the author's blog and get a special coupon for a free ebook of the next author. This would probably work best on a smaller scale. It'd be giving thanks back and forth, free books from the authors thanking the reader for rating the book and thanks from the reader for getting the book for free.

I know I am but one small little writer with a blog, but I have mighty friends who are book reviewers and other authors that kick butt. If we all work together, we can get this done, and make October or November, or both, OUR month to make the sales go through the roof!

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Starting My Author Career, I Need Help

My debut novel has been out for two days. I have 3 sales on Smashwords, and 3 sales on Amazon. This release is a bit haphazard. I planned a week for formatting, and it took me an hour with Jutoh. I built that all important platform before I published; I have 50 subscribers of this blog and over 500 Twitter followers.

I have a few marketing efforts in the works, but I didn't organize a blog tour because well, I wasn't 110% sure I'd ever publish. I had the publishing date of 9/22/2011, and I beat it by 8 days, but with the move, the start of school, potty training my toddler, and living a month and half without my husband, there were doubts. The last thing I wanted to do was organize this big blog tour and have no book to deliver. Now that the book is out, it's a relief. I know it will get some good reviews, and some disappointing ones, but that's okay. I need the experience and it's my first book.

I'm working a little on my next novel, and for this project I am using Writer's Cafe. I like how it has all of the tools I need. I even wrote down my dream last night in the Journal because it was interesting.

So far my marketing efforts are:
* My book is in the hands of Theresa at the League of Extraordinary Women. I'm hoping she likes it enough to give it a review on
* I've given out a handful of free copies, and I hope I can get my first review soon.
* I made my first personal post on my reader site, The Great Banana Bread Disaster, in an effort to let readers get to know me.

If anyone has room for a guest blogger, I would love to tell the story of publishing my book in the middle of a move, or talk about how I'm taking advantage of the technology available to serve my readers with my reader site. I would also be happy to return the favor once the reader site is getting decent traffic.

I know I can't do this alone, and hope I don't have to. :) A huge thank you to every one of my writer friends who encouraged me and helped me along the way. I hope some are willing to help me a little more.

Always Smiling,
Elizabeth Ann West

A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby. CANCELLED is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Yesterday, my A Round of Words in 80 Days came to a shocking conclusion when I published my book, CANCELLED. 8 days early! Then, I sold 5 copies. And I feel amazing! 

Without further adieu: CANCELLED is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords! The printed version will be coming out soon. I am looking for any opportunities to share the novel with reviewers. I now have time to read and would be happy to do a book swap with other authors and review on the major sites.

This has been great and I fully intend to use A Round of Words in 80 Days to work on my next novel, PAST DUE.

"CANCELLED" is OUT. A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All Ebook Formatting Made Super Simple

I finished my final round of edits and began working on formatting. GRR! UGH! SERIOUSLY??????? and a number of expletives left my mouth early on...until I found Jutoh. I originally was looking for something free, but this program is worth 40 pounds of gold, not just $40. I only paid $24 in a combination deal to purchase Writer's Cafe as well, but that's a separate blog post.

How easy is Jutoh? This easy.

Download if you don't already have it. Write your story. Pick one style for your chapter headings. Pick another for your ebook text (set your paragraph indent with the style, DO NOT USE TABS). Save as .odt [you can have more styles, I have 4 in my book total and it preserved them all!!!]

Open Jutoh. It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux (YAY!). Start a new project. Fill in your metadata (be prepared for this, this helps Amazon and the other sites catalog and show your book for other readers). Select the .odt file you made with everything in it. Select the file you want to be your cover. Tell it to autogenerate your Table of Contents. Click compile. Wait a minute or two. Run the check, then go to FILE:Export and pick the format you want. 

TA DA!!!! You now have access to your book is every format you need. Including .epub, .mobi, the file for Smashwords, and other formats I don't even know where they sell.

Want to get fancy? You can change up which files are included in making the ebook for different versions called configurations. So if one store doesn't allow links in the book, but another does, have two different files of the area with the links and presto changeo.

Like I said....worth 40 pounds of gold. Which at current market value would be almost $1.2 million. 

Give Jutoh a try, a trial copy is free. I don't know exactly how long the trial lasts, as I played with the software for about 30 minutes before deciding it was a must-have for a self-published author.

UPDATE: All formats uploaded to the Amazon, BN, and Smashwords with 0 problems. The Smashwords edition I just saved the file I made perfect for Jutoh that was .odt as a .doc. I fixed the Copyright page and added the ### to the end. So far, so good. A few typo issues, but that was my fault of choosing the wrong file. In the future, upload day will not involve me being the sole caregiver of my toddler. 

And I've already sold 3 copies! 

Get 50% off any version on Smashwords! Coupon code: JZ49W.

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 22, 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Monday, September 12, 2011

There's a Platypus Controlling Me...To Finish My To Do List

I looked for a picture of a finish line, light at the end of the tunnel, but at the end, I just needed to go with my heart. Without further adieu, there's a platypus controlling me....

Elizabeth, why are you still trying to publish your book in the middle of a move?
There's a platypus controlling me.

Elizabeth, why are you going to push through this last round of edits, look one last time for typos and then let the story go out into the world?
There's a platypus controlling me. He's underneath the table.

There are 10 days until my publication date. Yes, it IS self-imposed, but that doesn't make it any less of a deadline. In fact, the book WILL come out before that (Ssshhhhh! We're just going to celebrate the release on 9/22/11) so that when release day comes, all of the sites are propagated with the book.

  • I have 8 more chapters of edits to make. The edits are done, just need to be keyed in. By THURSDAY!
  • I will send my manuscript to the printer one last time. Then read it twice for typos. 
  • Monday I will finalize the ebook formatting.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday I will upload. 
  • THURSDAY-SUNDAY = PARTY with my best friend Kari Watford and unpack my household goods.
Here, there is no platypus controlling me! I'm being this cool all by myself!

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where Did She Go??? TO Connecticut FROM South Carolina

PHEW!!!!! Today is September 9, 2011. My household was packed up on September 1 and I traveled 1200 miles with an 11-year-old and a 2-year-old, 600 miles of that with my mother in tow. She was in the car with us, and drove a little through New Jersey. I've learned I don't ride in my car very well with someone else driving. At all.

A few highlights? Getting on the NJ Turnpike my mother had to slow down to 25 mph to get off the exit. My 2-year-old daughter in the back seat yells "Go! Go! Go!" Sheesh, impatient much?

Yes, yes I am. This is a Navy move, meaning a company contracts with the Navy to move our goods. They are allowed a window of delivery dates to account for bad weather, etc. That's reasonable. My house was on the truck 9/2/2011, and the truck driver said he would see me sometime next week. No problems, kiddos and Grandma and I mosy on up, stay with friends in upstate NY for a day and make it to CT on Labor Day. The truck driver was supposed to call me that Monday to tell me the delivery date. He didn't. I called him. He said his dispatcher left early on Friday, so he was still in Charleston, SC and didn't know when he'd be able to get up to me! Two days later and as many more conversations, he tells me his dispatcher wants him to wait in SC in hopes that another pickup will materialize and won't get to me until SEPTEMBER 13!!! I said "Wait a minute, we were told no more than 8 days for delivery." He says that doesn't include holidays and weekends.

I am spitting quarters. I'm sure my husband, when he was serving our country on a submarine would have LOVED to say "Gotta go home, it's a holiday/weekend." Yeah. I am not an unreasonable person, I agree a company needs to do things efficiently. However, when they quoted the Navy for my move, they didn't PLAN on doubling up by picking someone else up. So now, my family, with young children, is stuck living on the bare necessities for over a week for corporate greed. And if I thought a penny of that money would be used to keep jobs, I'd be a little more understanding. But it probably won't. And I will never, ever use SUDDATH VAN LINES again.

So that said... on with the good news. I have finished the pen edits of CANCELLED and rechapterization. There are now 18 chapters, and 7 of them have the edits in the computer! Despite my move drama (and it was EXPENSIVE drama) I will make my release date of 9/22!

Can't hold a military wife down! You can try, but it won't be for very long!

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 22, 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.