"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Welcome to Katzenhaus Books, where we tell - the stories behind the history.
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

One More Before the Excitement Fades
Trumpets! Confetti! Funny Hats! Screaming Crowds!
Getting On with the Writing
Turning an Idea into a Business
The Second Mouse Goes Digital

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
business
Business plan
Busy-ness
butterflies
Career choices
cats
celebrations
cemetery research
Census
challenges
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas Past
Civil War
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
Dead Mules
Deal of the Day
decisions
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elevator speech
elmore leonard
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
Excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
Fish
flood waters
flowers
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
free chapter
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
grammar cops
gratitude
gray horses
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
handicaps
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horse races
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
illustrations
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
omens
opening lines
outrage
Oxford
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
portraits
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
story arc
Substitutes
Success
summer
Synopsis
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process

Archives

November 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

July 2015

Time to Take Stock. Do You Have What It Takes?

 
Time to Take Stock.
 
I’m going to give you a list of qualities and characteristics you will need if you are going to succeed at this writing business. It won’t be complete, but it will give you an idea of how well-prepared you are for the next steps. So go through this list and check off the items you can claim for yourself. Then we can start talking about them in more detail. And remember, it’s not just important to know what you can do. You also need to understand what you can NOT do.
 
1.     What kind of a writer are you? How’s your grammar? Did you get A’s in English class? When you read a book, do you see other writers’ mistakes?
2.     What about spelling? Can you use a dictionary, or are you one of those people who can’t look up a word because you don’t know how to spell it?
3.     What about punctuation? Do you have a firm opinion about the Oxford comma? Do you even know what an Oxford comma is?
4.     How’s your manual dexterity? Can you type? [I’m assuming you don’t have a private secretary to do your dirty work.] Can you type WELL?
5.     What about other computer skills? Have you mastered Microsoft Word?  [The answer to that is “No” because they just put out a new version and we all get to learn it over again!] Can you convert a document into a PDF file? Do you already have a favorite word-processing program?
6.     Is your computer new enough to run the latest programs? And does it have enough memory to store several versions of a 100,000-word document?
7.     Do you have access to a library? Do you have a library card? Have you ever used it?
8.     Do you have a place to write, a desk you can call your own, not a corner of the dining room table?
9.     Do you have the time to write? Can you look at your day-to-day schedule and identify some time that belongs to you alone?
10.  Do you write because you can’t imagine not writing? Or does the idea of actually having to put words on paper scare you?
 
These are elementary questions, but this is where we need to start. What if your answer to some of these is “No!” That’s OK. You are identifying the areas you need to work on, not receiving a final rejection notice on your qualifications.
 
Take some time this weekend to think about your weaknesses and what you might do to correct them. Then next week, if you’re still around, we’ll tackle some other requirements.

So You've Written a Book. What Do You Want from Life?


What is your goal for this book?

A.    Fame and Fortune. I want to hit the best-seller lists and do a coast-to-coast book tour.

Really? Good luck! Here’s what else you’ll need:
(1) A contract with a Big-Five Publisher [see answer A to last question!] Why? Because the New York Times only counts books sold by major publishers in major book stores. They don’t care how many copies your Grandmother buys.
(2) Major publishers don’t send first-time authors on whirlwind book tours. Is your name James Patterson? J. K. Rowling? No? then you’ll need to tell your grandmother to save some of her book-buying money to pay your bus fare.
 
B.    I’m writing a book about my family. I only need enough copies to pass out to everyone at my next family reunion.

These are the people who knew you when you were ten – hair pulled back into pigtails, shiny braces on your teeth, coke-bottle lenses in thick pink plastic frames perched on your nose, and scabs on your knees, right? They loved you then. They’ll love you now. Have fun with your project.  Find a friendly local printer and make yourself a book.
 
C.    I’m not in this for the money, but I don’t want to bankrupt my family, either. I want to self-publish a book and make enough money to pay the bills.

It depends on what bills you’re talking about. You’ll probably never make a living wage. But it is possible for self-published books to pay their own way through the publishing process, with enough left over to finance a fine dinner out or a quick research trip. [See answer B to the last question.] You can do this if you are willing to do the hard work . . . and if you have enough of a bankroll to finance the process before the royalties start coming in. We’ll be talking about how much you’ll need in a couple of weeks.

I've Written a Book. How Do I Get It Published?

Tough question! But here's the first thing you need to ask yourself:


How much of a hurry are you in to see your book in print?

A.    All the time in the world.
 
Really? Then you have time to try the traditional publishing route.  That means trying to find agents who are taking new clients; pitching your book to maybe thirty or forty agents; waiting for an acceptance; waiting for your agent to pitch the book to publishers; sorting out the details of a contract; making all the changes the publisher demands; waiting until your book can fit into their publishing queue.

Years? Probably so. And you’ll be keeping your fingers crossed that agent or publisher or editor does not go out of business, transfer to another company, or die. Does that happen? Oh yes.  When I was trying to find a publisher for “A Scratch with the Rebels,” my first editor took a better job with a different kind of publisher, the second got herself into a fight with the managing editor and had all her projects cancelled, and the third was forced by his university to take mandatory retirement before the book’s contract had been signed.

Still, if you can afford to wait -- you're young, healthy, happy with your life, and gainfully employed outside of the publishing business -- then it's probably worth your while to give the --> agent --> big-time publisher route a shot. if you win the lottery, you'll get an advance, and the publisher will take over all those tacky details of  editing, designing, and marketing your work.

Is there any reason not to go that route if it becomes possible? Well, you'll loses control of your book. The publisher will probably change the title and make major demands for other changes so the book will appeal to a particular market niche. How big a control freak are you? Can you turn your "baby" over to someone else and get on with your life? Then go for it.


B.  How about next month?

You’re kidding, right?


 C.  I need it within the next couple of years.

Good. Then you can devote those next two or three years to learning what all goes into self-publishing. You can do this, but it will take both hard work and a fair amount of money. You'll have to build your own team of sub-contractors (like cover and lay-out designers, copy-editors, publicity hounds, marketing experts, digital formatters, lawyers, accountants, and several other specialists ) to perform all the tasks a traditional publisher would have taken off your hands.

If this is what you need, you've come to the right place. You can do it. Your book can hit the market within the next year or so, and we'll show you how.

Tomorrow's questionWhat is your goal for this book?

Sorry! August Is Full!

Heavens! It's the last week in July, and as I look at my desk calendar, I'm seeing that I'm already overbooked for August. What lies ahead? Here's a partial list:

1.  Coming up first -- our annual Auction and Dinner for Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service on August 8. I'm procrastinating this morning on this one. I have a buffet filled with items for our silent auction, which (somehow) have to be transported downtown to our main office. The biggest problem is (that) a couple of them are too big and/or too heavy for me to carry. Getting them from the dining room to my car involves going through a couple of doors, which I can't open or close while carrying said objects, and which can't be left open because the indoor Katzenhaus Kats will make a break for outside and cause even more problems.  And then cramming them into my (little )2-door coupe with its tiny trunk - - - ummm.  Waiting for a guardian angel to show himself!

2. I'm already editing the preliminary draft of "Yankee Reconstructed," which involves round after round of reading and searching for careless errors.  i have a bad habit of using meaningless words as transitions and fillers. So I have to search through the pages, looking for these gremlins: that, all of, absolutely, really, very, always, never, just, maybe, perhaps, stuff, things, quite, and got. I do them one at a time and usually find I can (just) do without them. It's a good way to tighten the prose, but also tedious and time-consuming. Deadline? I've promised the complete manuscript to my editor by the end of August.

3. I'm a judge for a (rather) large book contest -- a responsibility I take seriously because i know how important the results can be for new writers. I have six books sitting here, all waiting to be read and evaluated by August 24. I'm reading the first one in those periods when I can't bear looking at my own writing any more. I'm grateful (that) several on the list are short and quick reads. But there's also the 530-page one that weighs four pounds in paperback! (Just) holding it up will be a problem for my arthritic thumbs!

4. I'm working on a proposal for publishing a local history book for a nearby county museum. It would be lovely for Katzenhaus Books to add it to our catalog, but many unidentified minefields lie ahead.

5. Finally, rolling around (in the back of) my mind (and late at night) are ideas for the second edition of "The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese."  Self-publishing has changed drastically in (the past) five years, and a rewrite is (absolutely) necessary. The project in #4 above has suggested (that) the first step in that process needs to be a rigorous self-examination. So in the coming days, I plan to offer a series of questions directed at those who are still trying to answer the big question: How Do I Publish This Book?


I Hit the Mark at NaNoWriMo Summer Camp