Wednesday, January 25, 2017

To Book or Not To Book

I'm not happy with the amount that I have to charge for the paper version of my latest Hike with Me book. It's long, and therefore costs more to print with the full color interior. I could print it in black and white and reduce cost considerably, but that's never appealed to me. The photos are just so much more striking in color. Sure, an ereader might not be in color, but someone who buys the ebook has the option of opening it with a device that does do color, such as a computer.

The other option for reducing page count, and therefore cost, is to create regular size print versions. Now, since the originals were created as large print, the photos were placed in it to correspond with the story as closely as possible that was going on in the text. Shrinking the text means that there are suddenly a lot more photos compared to the amount of text I have to place them between.

In the past, I've considered this, even started the project, but turned back because it didn't seem like it was worth the effort. I felt like it wouldn't be the same book, because the pictures would be presented in a different style. And, in redoing this most recent book with smaller print, I've ended up with three and sometimes four pages of just pictures in a row in order to keep each picture at least in the same chapter/day where they belong.

I'll leave it to my husband to decide whether or not it should be made available for sale. I think getting the cost down to a reasonable price would be a great boon for all the Hike with Me books, because part of the fun of them is in holding them and seeing the printing of the pictures. And it would increase the number of sales channels, which is a good thing business-wise.

After my husband gets a look at it, I'll either put the project to rest for good or get cracking at the other books in the series to make each one a normal sized print edition.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Physical Books!

Now my book is real. The copies that I've ordered have arrived and I'll be getting them in the mail soon. A little late for Christmas gifts, but I think the spirit will be understood.

There's nothing quite like holding that physical book in my hand. Paging through and looking at the pictures. I put a lot of sweat into that hike and a good deal of time into the book itself. I'm happy with it. Excited to set it free in the world and share it with my family.

Now, of course, all my excuses are gone. I've finished this book project. It's time for the next projects. It's time to get back to writing fiction and see if I can improve on my rejections-with-comments to actual story sales. There's still one pending right now, and it's been out there for a while. I'm taking that as a good thing, but I don't expect a sale at this point. I am hoping for another rejection-with-comment though.

And then there's the guidebook that Ambrose wants me to write about the Chamberlain Basin. Nothing too fancy, but something that gives more of the scoop on the current state of those trails than anything we found. I like that project as something that will be more straightforward to write, get my butt in the seat and the words flowing.

And I still have to finish that story from over the summer. Time to get back in the habit of writing fiction every day. That's where my improvements came from over the summer. Practice, practice, practice. Just like the process of getting these books out improves with practice, so does my fiction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


The book is done!

Hike with Me: Idaho Centennial Trail Sawtooths is finished. The large print softcover is available through CreateSpace and Amazon. The ebook is available from Amazon right now, additional retailers soon.

I use Smashwords for distribution to additional retailers and unfortunately, I stuffed this book so full of beautiful pictures of the Idaho Sawtooths that the file is too large for processing. There's a way to get around the larger file size, I think, so I'm going to give that a try. But for now, it's available, if not as available as it will be. The work is almost done.

I'm happy with the amount of time that it took me to produce this one. It was a longer trip than in previous years, but I think the main reason that I took longer with it was that my attention was split between doing well in Spanish class and writing this book with a good amount of thought and style. The one year that I finished my book relatively early was the same year that I was taking a creative nonfiction writing class. The class itself helped me focus on the work of my book. The Spanish class took away from focusing on the book, simply because it was a very different type of learning.

Every one of my Hike with Me books is better than the last. It's not just that I'm having bigger and better adventures, though that is part of it. It's also practice and experience and the fact that my husband has become less hesitant about giving me critique that can help improve my writing.

I'm excited to put this book out into the world, and I'm excited to move onto my next projects. There's another nonfiction project in the works, and I still have a story to finish from last summer. I'm finally going to do an online writing workshop that I've wanted to do for years and I'm going to keep writing, keep publishing, keep improving and keep enjoying sharing stories.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Almost Book!

Maybe I could have gotten more work done on my book over the break, but I'm satisfied with what I got done. I'm on the last steps now. Proofreading. Final adjustments. I've got all the words written, all the captions set, all the picture plates placed in the text.

And, as if I needed to sneak this other project in while I was fussing around with getting ready to publish my next Hike with Me book, I went ahead and put out a short book. Or a long short story. It's one of the ones I wrote over the summer, and I put some of it on this blog back in August. I'd been meaning to put it up since August, but I somehow never found the time.

I put it off, because, to be honest, I was afraid to put it up.

Afraid it wouldn't sell. Afraid it would sell. Afraid that it wasn't the right kind of story. Afraid that my effort at cover creation was too amateur - although, I kind of wanted it to look a little silly. The cover I ended up with, I hope, conveys the lightness and fun that I think is in the story.

Putting this book up had the additional advantage that it allowed me to test out the KDP paperback creation system. I'd been creating my hiking books through CreateSpace, but I always had to manually contact Amazon to get them to link the paperback and the email. There is an option to publish an ebook through CreateSpace, but it doesn't allow for much reformatting of the text - I'm not going to publish an ebook with a table of contents that has page numbers, thank you very much.

I've tested out the system by creating a paperback for the other story, Kicking the Desk Job, so I can move forward with more confidence in using it for the Hike with Me book. Unless there are issues. I could always go back to CreateSpace for the Hike with Me if I don't like how this small book turns out.

Though the tools seem nearly identical to CreateSpace, just in a different layout. The cover templates leave something to be desired - who, I ask you, creates a template for a 6x9 trim book that is actually less than 3x4 inches? Other than that, so far so good. The paperback will be available soon.

And Hike with Me: Idaho Centennial Trail Sawtooths will be coming right behind it. Soon. This week - if I can keep my proofreader motivated!