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Another Thankful Morning--This Time for Alert Cats.
Connections
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

New Book

Wait a Minute. How Do I Do That?


Here’s a rough idea of what I want to accomplish with my new book. Last fall, I published Henrietta’s Journal. It took the form of a diary written by a young English woman who came to Charleston, South Carolina as a bride.  The story was set in the 1830s and focused on Henrietta’s struggles to adapt to a society based on the peculiar institution of slavery, an economy based on a single crop—cotton, and a strict patriarchal social order.

The new book, tentatively called Henrietta’s Legacy, jumps ahead some 25 years, landing the reader at the outbreak of the Civil War. The family has undergone some changes, of course, and there are secrets and closeted skeletons galore. The keys to some of the 1860 problems lie hidden in the 1830s diary. I want each book to be able to stand alone, but I’d also like the reader to be able to jump back and forth between the two. In chapter two, for example, Henrietta’s brother-in-law is contemplating becoming a smuggler, a latter-day pirate, and a blockade runner. Henrietta reminds him that he’s been talking about this crazy idea for 25 years. I would like the Legacy reader to be able to jump to the relevant episode in Henrietta’s Journal and read the letter he wrote to his father about the same idea during his first trip to Cuba in 1835.

For those readers who will purchase the trade paper editions of both books, it will be a simple matter to add the appropriate page numbers to the new text. But what about the Kindle editions? Digital versions of the two books should make this possible, but I’ve never seen it happen. Which of these formats do you recommend?

1. The reader has both books separately on the same device, and uses the section numbers to jump back and forth. But how would that work? Can you keep two books going at once on a Kindle?

2. The new book uses footnotes at the end of the new book to show nothing but the relevant quotes.

3. The two books are published in an additional format—as a boxed set that contains both complete manuscripts with internal connections between them. The Journal, by the way, has approximately 83,000 words; I’m guessing that Legacy will come close to 100,000 words. That will make a file of nearly 200,000 words, but will leave the choice up to the reader.

4. Is there another way to handle this?

 


 

Rested, Recharged, and Ready . . . or Not



A month or so ago, I posted several Christmas resolutions about not using the holidays to sell more books, or to insist that I knew what your family and friends wanted to read, or to bribe you into donating to my own favorite charity.  Those resolutions worked (all too well!) for the entire holiday season. I quit posting about my books, and you quit buying them or borrowing them to read.  Maybe that’s because you just didn’t have time for reading between batches of cookies and last-minute shopping trips. Fortunately, I’m now seeing a reversal. In the past few days, several people have started reading again, which warms both my heart and my bank account.
 
I also promised myself that I would try to enjoy the season and take a break from writing. That one worked well, too. I’ve lapsed a couple of times, but my total output for the past 35 days has amounted to less than 5000 words. I filled my days with household chores, decorating, shopping (much of it on-line), cooking, and vegetating in front of the TV. I came close to becoming a reality-show addict—baking contests, remodeling demolition derbies, silly quiz shows geared toward offering lots of money in the early minutes and then yanking some or all of it away at the end of the show. Most of these were reruns but ones I had never seen.  I’m ready to push the OFF button and get back to work, although I fear I’ll be side-tracked by the upcoming Olympics, as will many of you.
 
Still, if you’re reading again, it’s time for me to start writing again.  I have the outline of a new book and files of research materials to fill in the historical details of the start of the Civil War. I also have the germ of an idea to make this new book an innovative reading experience.  The problem? I know what I would like to see happen, but I’m not sure how to get there. I’d like your suggestions. I’ll explain the tentative plan and its problems in tomorrow’s post.  For now, I need to stop blogging and start recreating the world of 1859.

Trumpets! Confetti! Funny Hats! Screaming Crowds!

It's Time to Celebrate

Today, Katzenhaus Books proudly announces the release of their new book, The Second Mouse Goes Digital: Self-Publishing Comes of Age. 

This new volume completely updates and expands its popular predecessor, The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese: How To Avoid the Traps of Self-Publishing. The publishing world has undergone major changes since 2011. New software, new social media platforms, new publishing companies, new industry standards, and an epidemic of new scammers--all demand that anyone involved in self-publishing, or even considering it, must take a fresh look at the industry as a whole.

Some cheese ages well, so we have included all the old advice that still works today. But other cheeses are best sampled fresh, so you'll find new suggestions for helpful software, reliable publishers, and innovative techniques for creating self-published books that are indiscernible from those books issued by mainstream publishers. For suggestions, we turned to some famous rodents in children's literature to seek advice, and we've picked the newest recommendations from our family of literary mice.

If you have written a book, or are in the middle of writing one, or even thinking about writing a book, you need the advice of The Second Mouse at your fingertips. Order your Kindle version today at a temporarily-reduced price of just $2.99. The trade paper edition will become available in just a few days. Stay tuned for that announcement. And in the meantime, 

Happy Writing! 
from author Carolyn P. Schriber and all her mousey friends.

The Second Mouse Goes Digital



The Second Mouse Goes Digital: Self-Publishing Comes of Age

Author Carolyn Schriber takes a closer look at recent self-publishing innovations that have opened the gates to mainstream book publication.

Pre-Orders available now, with Kindle release date: Wednesday, November 15. Print version should be ready by Friday, November 17







While this blog has been out of service, I've been busy getting ready to publish a new version of my "how-to" guide for self-publishers. The launch day is a week from today, so, for the next few days,  I want to catch you up on the book details and give you a glimpse of the contents. 

Prologue: So, You Want to Write a Book
We begin with an imaginary conversation between Second Mouse and a budding writer who is considering what kind of publication would be best for her particular book idea. They discuss the various publishing options available today, along with their advantages and drawbacks of each one. Then Second Mouse offers a set of self-evaluation questions to help the writer determine where her strengths and weaknesses lie. Finally, they touch on one of the keys to a successful career in any field—giving the customer what he is looking for.

Chapter 1: Establishing Yourself in the Business.
The Second Mouse is again the guide as she leads the writer through the story of her own experience as a writer and the factors that convinced her to become an indie author. They look at the lessons she learned the hard way as she tried to find an agent or publisher—what it means to have a “platform” and the importance of the internet.

Chapter 2: The Legalities and the Niceties
In this chapter, the guide is Beatrix Potter’s Mrs. Tittlemouse. She discusses the need for a business plan, the importance of tax considerations, the process of setting up a home office, hiring an office staff, and establishing a website for your new business. These are the housekeeping details that can get you off to a solid start.


What's New and What's Next?


Yesterday, I tried to give you an idea of what “Henrietta’s Journal” is all about. Today, here are the answers to a couple of questions that keep popping  up.
 
Q. Are these all new characters, or is there a connection to your other books?
 
A. For the most part, the Beauchenes are an entirely new family. However, it helps me to visualize the story if I can relate it to others I’ve written, so there’s at least one connection. Sharp eyes will recognize Elizabeth Dubois, whom you have met before in “Damned Yankee” and “Yankee Reconstructed.” In those books she was an old lady, the widowed mother of Susan Grenville, and grandmother to the Grenville children. In this story she is still a young woman in her thirties, and her daughter Susan appears briefly at age seven. Elizabeth befriends Henrietta early in the new book, helps her adjust to life in Charleston, and serves as godmother to Henrietta’s children.
 
Q. I want to know more about Henrietta’s later life as the Civil War draws nearer. Will there be a second book?
 
A. At the moment I am planning a second volume. Of course, I can’t promise anything, for, as Henrietta would be the first to tell you, life changes very rapidly. However, as my mother would have said, “I’ll do it, God willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise!” But here’s what I think will be coming a couple of years down the road.
 
The idea for “Henrietta’s Journal” came out of a rough sketch for a much larger book dealing with the beginning of the Civil War, its effect on the cotton trade, and some interesting but little-known facts about southern blockade runners, spies, and smugglers during the war. The diary Henrietta kept was originally going to hold some clues to a couple of mysterious happenings in the larger book. Then the diary took on something of a life of its own and became a stand-alone novel. The next book will take place some twenty-five years later. The main characters will be Henrietta’s children (now all grown up). They will solve some of their 1860s dilemmas by re-discovering the diary their mother wrote and uncovering the clues she left in the journal.
 
Eventually the two books will have close ties. I’m even considering an electronic edition for the two stories that would let the reader click back and forth between Civil War crises and  the unsolved issues in the 1830’s journal. I’m as curious to know what will happen as you are!
 
Want to know more? Pre-order the Kindle edition at https://www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber-ebook/dp/B074S97SVJ and receive your copy on September 19. (You’ll also save $2.00 off the list price if you order before Tuesday.)
 
The Amazon print version is now functional and available at: www.amazon.com/Henriettas-Journal-Compromise-Carolyn-Schriber/dp/0990797597. With luck, you could have your copy by Monday.
 
Or order a trade paper edition at https://www.createspace.com/745653