The splendid synopsis

These are words I never thought I’d write. I toiled through writing a synopsis for my first novel, begrudging the effort. It was more work on top of the work of writing my novel. But it was a useful exercise and helped me spot holes in the narrative, boring moments (not that there were any, nope, not at all), and places where I could ramp up the action, all things I couldn’t see when I was inside my work.

It wasn’t until I completed my second book, Anthra’s Moon, that I realized a synopsis could do much, much more.

I put it to work. I sent the longer, more formal synopsis to agents and publishers and used it to pitch my story at a writer’s conference. I cut the synopsis down a bit and posted the shorter version on my personal website to describe my book. I reduced it further, to a couple of paragraphs for my various author’s pages (Facebook, Goodreads, etc) and the back cover of my book. Finally, I condensed it to a few sentences for a press release announcing the publication of my book.

I now have different versions to pop into any situation.  I’m grateful for this hardworking piece of writing.

Now I’m a marketeer

Or I better be one soon. My ideas to market Anthra’s Moon pretty much consisted of sending out a massive email alert when it went live on Amazon, creating an author’s page in Goodreads and Facebook, and throwing a book launch party an art gallery near my house.

All this is fine, but I need to do more to promote my book. And I need to do it effectively  and without being distracted from writing the next volume of Ysabel and her friends and their journey across a frozen ocean to find an island and a tree with leaves of pure gold.

Anthra’s Moon is live and Jutoh is my new best friend

I let her fly yesterday. Anthra’s Moon is on Amazon as a paperback and Kindle ebook. What a long journey this has been! Writing the book was only the first step. But I’ve learned the process of publishing it and next time, as god is my witness, next time will be easier.

For the paperback, I used CreateSpace. The process was fairly easy, though a little confusing at times, but their very responsive support team helped me through the rough  parts.

I initially tried Scrivener to compile the manuscript for paperback and ebook and found it too complicated for my simple needs and switched to Jutoh, which I discovered while watching another great video by India Drummond: How to Format .epug and .mobi Ebook Files (

This is a great app! The ms was compiled in no time and uploaded to Amazon.

On to book two of Ysabel the Summoner. She’s waiting. She’s saying, quit worrying about whether nor not people will like or even read your book and write me into life again.

If it’s not one thing…

I’ve put aside compiling an ebook with Scrivener until I can resolve a few issues and instead am creating a print book first through CreateSpace.

I watched a great video, “Formatting Documents for CreateSpace,” by India Drummond, which clearly explains the process of making a good looking print book. I write in Word, she uses Word, so I was confident that this part, at least, I could do. Here’s the link:

But first I had to update my software because I’m running the 2004 version of Word that doesn’t have the useful features that India uses in her video tutorial. So I bought the 2011 version today and tried to install it.

And it doesn’t work. Not because there’s anything wrong with the disc, but because the disc player in my older laptop has suddenly stopped working.

So that needs to get fixed.

I’m not sure what gnashing one’s teeth feels like, but I think that’s what I did yesterday as I listened to my dead disc player whirr and stop, whirr and stop, etc. Not a good time for the dog to come trotting out of the guest room with a chewed up and very wet ball of my new yarn hanging from his teeth.

Update: The solution to the broken disc player is to use an external dvd drive. They’re inexpensive and I don’t have to pour more money into the old laptop.

One day I will love using Scrivener

I heard the learning curve was steep and yes, it is! I’ve read the manuals and watched a lot of how-to videos on youtube and still can’t get it to compile my ms the way I want it as an ebook. What I’m trying to do is add the acknowledgements as a separate page, run the rest of the chapters together in one long doc separated by chapter headings, AND have the chapters listed on the TOC page. I can do one or two, but not all three.

I’m probably missing an obvious tweak in the compile options.

The other thing that’s driving me nuts is an unformatted line break that randomly occurs in blocks of text when I compile as an ebook. It’s not in my original doc & rtf files and doesn’t appear when I compile as a paperback.

I need help.

Letting go is hard

Gah! I have to change the name of a key character in Anthra’s Moon. Her name is Alys. In the possessive, it’s Alys’s. I don’t like the look of it on the page and stumble over it when I read it out loud.

I’m fiddling with a list of names to replace Alys: Ava, Aviana, Lira, Lyra, Lara, Larra? Once I change it another name might be affected, so I’ll have to consider changing that name, too. This could go on forever.

I’m fiddling because letting go is hard. My story soon will be out in the world, all alone without me to protect it. I think that’s why the advice to start the next project right away is valuable. We need something to do while our progeny is out there, flying sightless into the arms of strangers. Who we hope will be kind.

Scrivener, my preciousss

Scrivener not only looks like a great app for composing and organizing any writing project, but also will compile a manuscript into whatever format is required for an ebook, a paperback, screenplay, etc. An essential tool for self-publishing.

I’ve watched a few videos on youtube and think the hardest part of using this program will be learning to write without the clunky workarounds I’ve created using my current writing software.