Category Archives: V. S. Anderson

Lies told by Small Presses

Some good warnings to take to heart!

I have a couple of things to add. Unless the market has changed drastically, having a good agent and getting an advance is unlikely to guarantee your book visibility or even entry into mainstream bookstores. I was paid $5000 by St. Martin’s in 1983; even though King of the Roses got superb reviews (check them out in the Amazon preview), the book never made it into any of the many stores, local or national, that existed at the time (before Amazon). I was told St. Martin’s would have had to commit to a massive advertising budget before any of the stores would find spine-out space for my book, let alone any kind of display or prominent position. (This despite the fact that my mother wrote many angry letters to bookstores demanding that they put my book on a stand in the doorway!) St. Martin’s did minimal advertising, but did make sure reviewers got copies and paid attention to them, which is a big deal, and something that will be hard for us to do for ourselves.

It’s my understanding (possibly erroneous?) that publishers’ budgets are even tighter today than they were in 1983. So true traditional publishing by one of the major houses doesn’t mean authors don’t still have work to do to get their books out there. But articles like this help us avoid pitfalls that will make our efforts go for naught!

Steven Capps

Like many of my posts, this stems from something I saw in an online writer’s group. Essentially, someone who has been traditionally published from a small press was putting down people who self-publish. Personally, I have my own problems with self-publishing that I discuss in my “Why I’ll Never Self-Publish” post, but that is besides the point. At this point, I’d like to formally begin my rant against small presses.

In my opinion, traditional publishing is best done through an agent and then with a professionally recognized publisher. Small presses, unless they are recongized by writing organizations like Codex or SFWA, often give little more than what someone can do through self-publishing but will suck away 40-60% of the author’s share of royalties and then use self-publishing tools (like Createspace) to produce the book. Small Presses get away with this by telling authors lies in order to get them to sign…

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Filed under business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Marketing books, Money!, Myths and Truths, novels, Publishing, publishing contracts, Scams, Self-publishing, small presses, V. S. Anderson, Writing

How To Set Up An Amazon Giveaway

Just what I needed! I was hovering over the Amazon Giveaway screens for King of the Roses and discovered I didn’t know how the odds-setting worked. This post, from February of this year, explains it! This is Nicholas Rossis’s “secondary blog” that shows a reblog button, but you can access the original, with many informative comments, here. Now watch for my Giveaway, coming up next week!

Nicholas C. Rossis

Amazon has recently started offering everyone the opportunity to offer a giveaway. What’s interesting about this is that you can run one for pretty much any item in their inventory – except for ebooks. So, you can run a giveaway for your print edition, but not your Kindle one.

Alternatively, you could go all the way and offer people, say, a Kindle. Or, indeed, an item that is somehow related to your books. For example, if you’ve written a cookbook, you may give away kitchen gadgets or aprons. The key here is to be imaginative and original.

So, how would you go about it? Here’s the complete how-to.

Step 1: Find your book

Right after the reviews, you will see a “Set up an Amazon Giveaway” button. If you can’t find it, press Control-F (for Find) on your browser and enter the word “giveaway”…

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, Contests, ebooks, Free Books, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Marketing books, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Self-publishing, Tech tips, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

My Inerview is up at Don Massenzio’s site. Go admire my sweet Paddy!

Paddy, my horse.Check out my writer’s interview, now available at Don Massenzio’s site! This was a lot of fun to write.

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Filed under blogging, Blood Lies, ebooks, indie publishing, Interviews, King of the Roses, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, Self-publishing, style, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finishing Up, Part I

This is part of a series. Here is a complete list of current posts in my InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet.

In this post: Part 1 of some follow-up moves you can and should make in InDesign as you format your POD book interior.

***CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE FULL-SIZED VERSIONS***

Creating Additional Styles for Chapter Titles and Numbers

Just like Word, InDesign works best if you create a style for each element you use often and apply that style consistently across chapters. So you need a style for whatever elements—for example, chapter names—that you plan to include.

Create these additional styles exactly as you created your original main body style.

  • Select the text you want to style, for example a chapter title.
  • Format it to look the way you want.
  • Click “Create New Style” in the Paragraph Styles panel.

The new style, called “Paragraph Style 1” (or “2” if there’s already a “1” in the list, possibly for a style you never developed) will appear in the panel. In the figure below, I’ve created several new styles, renaming “Paragraph Style 1,” for example, “Chapter nos.” for chapter names.

InDesign page with Paragraph Styles Panel open

I created additional styles for my “Part” and “Chapter names,” as well as for the numbers of sections within chapters.

  • Double-click this new style in the Panel list to open the Paragraph Styles Option dialogue, where you will see the features you’ve selected, such as font, font size, and justification.
  • Make any adjustments using the menu on the left of this box.
InDesign Workspace with Paragraph Styles Options open.

In this example, I formatted a style I’ve called “Experiment,” clicked “Create New Style” in the Paragraph Styles box, renamed the style “Experiment,” and double-clicked to open the Paragraph Styles Options box, where I can see the Style Settings I’ve chosen.

A Consideration in Creating Additional Styles: “Before” and “After.”

When formatting elements like chapter titles, you will need to decide how much space to require “before” and “after.” Just as when formatting an ebook, say, for Kindle, you want to avoid long stretches of returns.

Creating a specific style with appropriate “before/after” attributes is optimal.

  • Double-click on the style name to open the Paragraph Styles Options dialogue.
  • From the menu on the left, choose “Indents and Spacing.”
  • Locate the fields for “Space Before” and “Space After.”
  • Use the fields to indicate the spacing you want.

It appears that your choices here are limited by defaults that you access by clicking the up and down arrows. I’m not sure why you can’t type in any value, but I’ve never been able to do so.

InDesign

Set “before” and “after” using the small arrows to the left of each field. Your choices seem to be limited to preset distances.

For your main body styles, by the way, you generally want these fields to be set to zero—no extra spacing between paragraphs. (This is one of the annoyances of recent versions of Word: extra space between paragraphs seems to be the default, and people often do not know to go to “Format>Paragraph” and turn this default off.)

For the book I’m currently formatting, Blood Lies, I have a style for “Chapter nos.” or names, and one for “subset numbers,” or the little numbers between sections in each chapter. Because I place the text chapter by chapter, I can then “Select All” (CTRL/COMMSND + A) and apply my main body style. I then do have to change the style of the chapter title and go through the chapter to find the “subset numbers,” select them, and apply the style. You may find a much faster way to apply your styles. If so, please let us all know!

Creating Character Styles

I discovered that if I wanted to italicize a single word in a paragraph, I couldn’t do so—the whole paragraph would be converted to italics.

Solution: Create an Italic “Character Style.”

Like the Paragraph Styles panel, the Character Styles panel will appear in the right-side menu. (It can be called up via the “Window” menu if necessary.) It works exactly the same as the Paragraph Styles panel:

  • Select the text you want to change.
  • Format it.
  • Click “Create New Style.”
  • Double-click the new style that appears in the list, and you’ll get the now-familiar dialogue box showing your settings.
  • adjust your settings from the left-side menu in this dialogue box.
InDesign Workspace with Character Styles Open.

In this close-up, I still need to rename my new style, and to click on “Basic Character Formats” in the left-hand menu to choose “italics.” I also need to adjust the font size slightly.

You have a great deal of control over these styles. Conversations with readers of my developing design suggested to me that the italic that came with Garamond, which I was using for my main body style, was too ornate: crabby and hard to read. I experimented with a number of italics and finally created a Character Style using Book Antiqua with a slightly reduced font size. Again, I do have to locate italics in the text and apply the style manually.

By the way, I have not found InDesign’s Find/Change box to work well when asked to locate italics, perhaps because I haven’t always specified precisely the attributes it needs to search for. I make double-checking for italics part of my proofing process when I’m reading my pdf.

InDesign Workspace with Character Style application illustrated.

In the final version of this character style, I’ll reduce the Book Antiqua font size slightly to match the Garamond body text, and then apply the style manually to italicized words in the text.

Next: Part II of Finishing Up!

Please visit other posts in this series! Your feedback is welcome!

Formatting for IngramSpark in InDesign: You’re Almost Already There!

InDesign for Book Formatting: Cheat Sheet I

InDesign Cheat Sheet 2: How to Get Started

InDesign Master Pages: No Big Deal!

InDesign Cheat Sheet! Add Some Text!

Finally! Formatting Text in InDesign, Part I

InDesign Obstacle: When Smart Text Reflow Doesn’t Work

InDesign Beginner’s Cheat Sheet: Finally Formatting Part II

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Filed under Blood Lies, book design, business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, self editing, Self-publishing, Tech tips, V. S. Anderson, Virginia S. Anderson, Writing

Horse nut/Professor/Writer

My bio on Chuck Suddeth’s site! He’s posting info on sponsors and judges for the Green River Writers 2016 contest, now open. Check out the guidelines! And thanks, Chuck, for sharing!

C. T. Suddeth

V. S. Anderson always been a horse nut, and as a young person, was a rabid horse-racing fan. So it’s no surprise that her first novels were about horses: the Kentucky Derby and the glamour of a Thoroughbred breeding farm—but with a little mystery and mayhem thrown in! For King of the Roses and Blood Lies, she drew on her years of working in the horse world, teaching riding, showing hunters, moonlighting on the racetrack, and for a while, owning and galloping her own racehorse.

Since then she has used her doctorate in English to teach writing at a regional campus of a Midwestern university—right across the river from Louisville and the Derby, in fact! She lives in New Salisbury, Indiana, where she gardens, watches birds, writes mystery/suspense (three novels in progress!), and rides Paddy, her sweet, sweet horse.

Visit her at

www.virginiasanderson.com

www.justcanthelpwriting.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/virginiasanderson.writer

www.amazon.com/author/virginiasanderson

or follow her…

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A Writer’s Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy: Important Information!

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: A Writer’s Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy

This is excellent information that clarifies many issues. One issue Amy Cook doesn’t address is the definition of (and handling of) “public figures.” Well-publicized lawsuits show they’re not totally fair game; is truthfulness the only line? When my novel King of the Roses first came out, I struggled with this issue since I drew on a horse-racing legend for my inspiration. Since I made him the hero and probably a little better than he was (he’s dead now), and since he never made any attempt to dodge the limelight, I was pretty well protected. But this is a dimension of the privacy/defamation issue with its own dangers.
Thanks to Chris the Story Reading Ape for another great share, this one from Tribalmystic stories!

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Filed under business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Myths and Truths, Publishing, Self-publishing, V. S. Anderson, What Not To Do in Writing Novels, Writing

Draft of New Cover for King of the Roses

I’m looking for a cover that will look better in thumbnail. Here’s an effort. All feedback welcomed! kotrnew4300

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Filed under King of the Roses, Uncategorized, V. S. Anderson