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self-publish | Author Olivia Boler

Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
July 22nd, 2012

Bewitching Blog Tour Update

There’s been a scheduling change to the last few days of my Bewitching Blog Tour, so I thought I’d just let you all know. Here is the rest of the schedule as of today:

July 22 Guest blog and review
A Chick Who Reads

July 22 Guest blog and review
Black Hippie Chick’s Take on Books & The World

July 23 Interview
Mary’s Garden

July 25 Interview
Books, Books The Magical Fruit

July 30 Review
Books, Books, and More Books

Thanks, and please pass this on to friends and family who might be interested. I’m not sure how effective this has been as far as new sales go. There’s definitely been a lot of ebooks given away, and positive reviews but not many (any?) new sales. Is that over-sharing? If you’ve done a book blog tour, has it helped your books’ sales?

May 4th, 2012

Pinterest your novel

Even though I didn’t go with bookbaby for publishing The Flower Bowl Spell, I get emails from them every so often with promotions and tips. This last one had an article, “Pinterest for Authors” by Chris Robley that I found worth a read.

I’m a member of Pinterest, having dutifully requested an invitation to join after hearing some ladies at a Superbowl party going on about a website where they could “pin up” pictures of crafts and recipes that I thought was called “Pin Twist.” Much to my chagrin, my Google searches came up with zilch, until I stumbled upon a Facebook friend’s Pinterest update on her Timeline. Ohhhhhhh…Of course I’d gone wrong by looking for real words. Anyway, I received my begged-for invite, and started pinning and repinning and following…Mostly, I pinned pretty things and stuff having to do with my children. But I didn’t have any idea how to use these online pin boards for my writing.

Pinterest Logo

Not so anymore! The bookbaby blog post makes a number of helpful suggestions like pinning images of actors who could play your characters, or photos of where you write, or the notes you take. You can also promote authors you admire (instead of always promoting your own writing) or pin places you’d like to visit while on book tour (a reading in the Virgin Islands, anyone?). I chose to go with the suggestion of pinning the settings from my novel. You can check it out here on my brand new The Flower Bowl Spell Pinterest board.

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest! I promise to follow back. :)

February 10th, 2012

Create Space for Me

I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog, even thought it’s only been a few days. Tweeting and Facebooking about The Flower Bowl Spell have been taking up my writing time, and I get the feeling I need to stop spinning my wheels and make something happen—namely the paperback version and reviews. I know the latter must be done ASAP, but here is where I truly feel I need some kind of road map. I’ve done this review hunting before, and it’s really time-consuming with no guarantees of success. Kind of lot publishing!

I did spend an afternoon looking at the Create Space website, feeling a little more and more daunted by what I have to do on the technical side. What’s holding me up? The cover. I have a lovely cover designed by a lovely artist, but I need to figure out the “bleed,” that is the size it’s going to be. The thing about ebooks is they don’t have true page counts, but I need to figure out my novel’s page count now so that I’ll know how wide the spine will be. Blah blah blah.

Create Space also gives you a nifty calculator to figure out what your royalties will be. I was planning on making the book really inexpensive—like under six bucks—but the profit margin is so dismal, I think it’ll be more like $14 or $15. You’d pay that for a nice paperback, right? The royalties are best if readers order from Create Space directly. They’re slightly lower if the book is ordered through Amazon, and then they’re really, truly, madly, deeply bottom of the barrel if ordered through the Expanded Distribution option (meaning, if I make the book available for order from local bookstores and for libraries). I am so going to make it available this way—money is not the main issue—because I want readers who don’t want to order online to be able to support their local independent bookstores. Heaven knows, they need all the help they can get. My neighborhood is down to one general interest bookstore. Yikes. So, I plead with you, dear readers and bloggers: Go out and buy a book this weekend. You’ll be happy. Trust me.

Oh, and speaking of being happy, have you bought my ebook yet? Well, what are you waiting for?

Happy weekend, people.


January 31st, 2012

Flower Bowl Spell up on Kindle

Mission accomplished! My goal back at the end of 2011, was to get The Flower Bowl Spell up for sale as an eBook in January, and I did just that. (Pat on the back.) The book went live on Amazon yesterday. I downloaded it, noticed a couple of glitches (e.g. my author photo wasn’t showing up), and got some help on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forum. People  in the community were really great, patiently walking me through how to create a zip file on Word (I’ve often opened zip files, but never knew I could make one without special software. Sometimes I’m an unintentional Luddite).

Anyway, my next goal, to be accomplished in February, is to get the book on CreateSpace so those who don’t have eReaders can buy it. I’ll look into the Expanded Distribution plan, which means bookstores and libraries could order it too, as far as my understanding of it goes. Also, I’ll need to start promoting it, looking into book bloggers and reviewers who might give it a chance. If you know of a reviewer, website, blogger, etc., who might be interested, please share!

In the meantime, if you have already bought a copy, thank you so much! That’s $0.99 well spent, to be sure!

January 25th, 2012

A typo already??? Uploaded to Smashwords today!

Drum roll please…So, I just uploaded the novel to Smashwords this morning. I should shout hurray, right? Not so fast.

First, I’m not providing a link to the book (although if you go to Smashwords and search Olivia Boler or The Flower Bowl Spell, you’ll find it) because I immediately found a glaring typo in the dedication—a period next to a comma [.,] that is not in the original document I uploaded. What the what??? There’s another huge typo at the very end in the title, About the Aauthor. Yes, it reads “Aauthor” on my eBook files but again, NOT on my original document. I haven’t gone over the whole thing with a fine-tooth comb, so I shudder to think what I’ll find inside the doc once I do.

[NOTE: I am adding this paragraph after I initially published this post, but don’t want to bug you all unnecessarily with a whole new post. I figured it out! Before you submit your Word document to Smashwords, you need to ACCEPT ALL CHANGES in the document! This is very, very important, otherwise, typos you think are fixed (even after you’ve hit SAVE) might show up in the eBook files Smashwords creates!]

Also, I am waiting to hear back from Smashwords about my “Premium status” in their catalog. that could take a week or two. I’ll keep you all posted.

But typos are the least of my problems right now. I am trying to revamp my website, oliviaboler.com, on my own. Let me just say, I am not a web master. Ha! That’s certainly clear, since my already long neglected, decrepit website has completely disappear. Which is why, again, I am not linking it up here. I have lost hours since last night trying to figure it out on my own, the whole FTP, PHP, blah blah blah. Oh, these are the times independently publishing is so daunting, and I wish some kindly editor had just taken on my book and dealt with all this minutiae herself.

OK. Got to call tech support, get groceries, and upload to Amazon. What are you doing today?

January 24th, 2012

Olivia Boler gets a 7×7 Link Award nomination. Yay!

The 7×7 Link Award

I am happy to tell you, fellow bloggers, that my little blog that could has been nominated for a 7×7 Link Award (apparently not related to 7×7 Magazine). Thank you, The Flying Yenta, for this exciting nomination!  And I love your blog, too!

So, there are three requirements of the award, and here they are along with my fulfillment of them:

I. Share something about yourself that others don’t know.

Man, this is hard. I have so many personal secrets…just kidding. Not really. Um, something you don’t know that I’m not too embarrassed to share. Well, if you know me, you know that I am half-Chinese. If you don’t know me, then you think I’m “Mediterranean” or Latina or Jewish or Native American, etc. But no, I’m Chinese. My father’s Caucasian genes (mostly Austrian and maybe Italian with some English, Irish, and French) just really dominate. And here’s a bonus share: Even though it’s so uncool to do in my PC San Francisco community of foodies, etc., I sometimes take my kids to McDonald’s. Gasp! What can I say? I love me some french fries!

II. Link seven posts from your blog that you think are worthy.

1. The Scary Next Step

2. Can you feel the excitement???

3. The nit and grit of indie publishing—edit, draw, format, shoot

4. Getting down to the funky business of writing

5. Reading your stories aloud is a good thing

6. So, Olivia, what do you write?

7. Flower Bowl Spell cover revealed!

III. Nominate seven other bloggers that deserve the award and haven’t received it yet.

(Note: I’m not sure if these blogs have or haven’t been nominated. If they have, then they are surely deserving of a repeat nomination.)

1. Kana’s Chronicles —  Kana Tyler is “a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon (“bookworm” doesn’t cover it), a raconteur, a minister, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a cartographer, a joyful wife, a mom (and Granny), an island-girl at heart… A list-maker! :)” And she’s generous with her freelance writing tips. Thank you!

2. Olivia Everett — The blog of Karla Mouncey-Jaggers who is writing a series about Olivia Everett, “as she fights her way tooth and nail through the vampire politics that saturate London.” What fun!

3. Peter DentonPete is a writer chronicling his creative writing progress, which is so inspiring!

4. Making Baby Grand, the Novel — The blog of Dina Santorelli, who gives us regular writing tips as well as super-duper helpful and fun debut novelist interviews. I love it.

5. Sue Healy — She had loads of success with her writing in 2011, and she has writing advice and wisdom we can all use. Excellent stuff.

6. The Bird Sisters — The blog of author Rebecca Rasmussen, whose debut novel, The Bird Sisters is a soaring achievement (pardon the pun!). Read it!

7. Siobhan Fallon — Of course I have to include Siobhan Fallon, one of my bestest writing friends (and just plain old friends) whose debut short story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone, published by Amy Einhorn Books (of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help fame) is taking the critical world by storm making major “Best of 2011″ lists left and right. So go buy it now!

Yay, recognition! It’s good to know I’m not writing into a black hole. Thank you, blogging community!

January 13th, 2012

That Scary Next Step

So, here’s my progress report on releasing my novel into the world, like a baby bird that has just learned to fly:

  • I have gone through all of my copy editor’s edits.
  • I have the cover.
  • My sister-in-law/photographer sent me a link to the photos she took, and out of 58, I have to narrow it down to 5 (so far, I like more than that).
  • I need to write my acknowledgments page—and have someone proofread it (and make sure that someone is included).

Then it’s time to upload it! I’ve only read through the Smashwords style guide once, and I’ve barely glanced at Amazon’s, so those are two major tasks that need doing.

This might be a good time to mention that I’m quietly freaking out a little bit here. I’m like that. I’m not one of those people who says, “OK, my ducks are in a row, so let’s take that next step!” and then goes ahead and does it. I hem. I haw. I ask the question, “Are you sure the ducks are in a row? Maybe they need a little adjustment? Perhaps they aren’t lined up precisely so?” And I don’t actually do anything about rectifying this. Not right away. Instead, I run errands, do chores, take on a freelance project, write a blog entry, read a book, or watch TV. (In my defense, some of these things need to get done!) Because the moment for taking that next step doesn’t feel…quite right. To be more frank, it’s scary. When I send my baby bird (or duck) out into the world, it’s all on me whether it flies or falls (that is to say, has a major typo, formats weirdly, etc.). Such is the nature of indie publishing. I know what I need to do. I just. Have. To. Do. It.

December 14th, 2011

Can you feel the excitement???

I’m waiting for my sister-in-law Andrea to show up and take my author photo, and thought I’d check in since I’ve got all this pent-up nervous energy. I’m not crazy about gettin’ my picture took, but it’s not the worst thing in the world. And Andrea will make me look decent. Hey, I even got my hair cut yesterday, which came with the usual lecture on using a good conditioner (yes, I only go to the salon about two times a year, which is partly why I haven’t found a permanent stylist—I’m too embarrassed by my split ends).

So, my manuscript is with my copy editor, hurray! I worked on it over a few days, and decided to format it for Smashwords first. I did the best I could, but got hung up on details like using page breaks or not, and whether to put the acknowledgments (still drafting that) at the beginning or end. Really, quite dull. But oh so very important! I’ll worry about KDP and CreateSpace later.

Another option I found out about while lurking on the Kindle Boards (really, I should just go ahead and officially join), is PubIt, which is Barnes & Nobles’ version of KDP. Several authors on the Boards do all four plans (Smashwords, KDP, PubIt, CreateSpace) for each of their books in order to reach as many readers as possible, so I think that’s what I will try. Each one has slightly different formatting requirements, so it will be a lot of busy work, but in the end will save money.

And now the sexy news: I got my book covers! Fena created two beautiful covers, but I’m not quite ready to share them yet because, task master that I am, I’ve requested a few, um, tweaks. She’s really so talented and approachable. When I get that all ironed out, I will debut whichever one is the winner. Or maybe I’ll ask you all for your help.

Also, I’ve been thinking of putting up the prologue to the novel I’m publishing, The Flower Bowl Spell, on this blog. Would that be a fun thing to read?


December 8th, 2011

The nit and grit of indie publishing—edit, draw, format, shoot

Procrastination. There’s always something to procrastinate about. Until this very moment, I was procrastinating about writing a blog entry. But now, in order to procrastinate walking the dog and getting back to my freelance work, I’m logged on and ready to update you, my bloggish friends, about my latest publishing news. Poor dog.

So, I found a copy editor for my manuscript. She’s lovely, a friend of a friend. We live on opposite coasts and have only communicated via email, Facebook, and She Writes, but I have faith in her. I am also excited to see what she’ll do to my book. For my book. My writing friends have read it—some have read several versions of it—but there’s nothing like a fresh pair of eyes, you know? So, I have to send her a final final copy by next Wedensday, and of course I haven’t cracked that baby open in many a moon. But I will because…

I’ve been doing my author-services research! And I know I’d like to get the manuscript in shape for submitting it to Smashwords and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). For some reason, and I should know this, but have yet to get it straight in my head, I need to do both because Smashwords can convert my book to a format readable on Kindle, it does not deal directly with Amazon. Is that right? If anyone knows, please tell me. I need to get on the Kindle boards and confirm this. I am also going to use CreateSpace to make old-fashioned paper pulpy copies available, and I think that conversion process is a bit less painless, but I could be wrong. I won’t know until I try.

On other fronts, I’ve discovered a cover artist, a teenage girl in Singapore named Fena. You can check out her work on her website. I really like her stuff, and am amazed at her talent. She’s also very sweet. I know this because we’ve communicated via email. Of course, the Internet is bizarre that way. Fena, if you’re out there, could you please confirm you’re not actually a middle-aged man in a Tucson, Arizona, trailer park? Just kidding.

And last but not least, I’m getting a new author photo taken by my wonderful and talented sister-in-law, Andrea Price. Check out her gorgeous wedding photos on her website. She might even help me revamp my old, tired, long neglected website. Which is here, just in case you’re curious.

The dog is chewing on my pant leg. Ta ta for now!


November 29th, 2011

Olivia is a Nano Winner!

So, I just reached a wee bit over 50,000 words, which means I am a 2011 Nanowrimo winner. Yay, me!

I still have two key scenes to write. Okay, maybe three. Fifty thousand words just ain’t enough.

In the next day or so, I hope to get back to more blogging with updates on my publishing efforts. And yes, there are so many. It’s a manic, sleep-deprived time, but such is life.

In the meantime, enjoy the end of November and the Nanowrimo craze! If I can do it, so can you!

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