Posts tagged: online writing

New digital self-publishing explodes options for all writers

The new digital self-publishing world we’re moving into explodes the options available for all writers. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, short stories, short articles, or gigantic novels — the possibilities are growing for you to self-publish successfully. We owe these tantalizing writing and publishing options first of all to the lowly “PDF” ebook file of yesteryear, and most recently to Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

My friends will tell you that I am frequently wandering somewhere on the Information Super Highway’s obscure on- and off-ramps, having a tendency to not pick up quickly enough on changes in our high-tech age. By the time I bought my first good desktop computer, most writers were already moving to laptops. When I finally got a good laptop, the savvy word scribes had already moved to netbooks. Last year’s netbook, which I still love and use frequently, has given way for those who are on the cutting edge of technology to iPads and smartphones.

Ah, well. My trusty letters-wearing-off-of-the-keys Toshiba laptop and my faithful but slow Lenovo netbook are still plenty fine. (Dean Koontz, according to a recent interview piece I saw on “CBS Sunday Morning,” still uses a desktop with the gigantic old-fashioned monitor. He appeared to be writing his gillions of annual words in WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS — any of you remember that oldie but goodie??) But what I’m learning these days about the actual format and venues of ebook publishing have changed my thinking about ebooks themselves: The old reliable PDF files seem to be heading off into the sunset, giving way to a new day of digital self-publishing technology with names like “Kindle,” “Nook,” “mobi,” “ePub,” and other newcomers.

That’s a good thing, because these new formats have made a wide open market for any writer with some good content and a little time to learn the ropes — and most of that digital publishing can be done almost for free.

My last article posted here spoke about some free ebook resources for writers, one of which was a Kindle ebook with lots of information and how-to guidelines for writers who want to self-publish through a site called “Smashwords.” I hope you downloaded that ebook (assuming you have access to a Kindle or Amazon.com’s free Kindle reader software for computers) and found the information useful. You will find it especially useful if you’re interested in digital self-publishing, and particularly if you go to Smashwords and look over the possibilities they have to offer.

Smashwords is a no-brainer as far as I can see. I haven’t fully looked the site over yet and I have not yet signed up for my own account, but I have been looking through their “How-to” and “About” pages. If you’ve got a book ready, or you are in the process of writing a book, unless you already have a serious nibble or a book contract offer with a traditional publisher — why wouldn’t you self-publish on Smashwords? And if you’ve looked the site over and still don’t feel comfortable with the self-publishing idea, you can download samples of authors who have published their books at Smashwords and made them available for sale there.

In keeping with my new enthusiasm — and I hope your growing enthusiasm — for self-publishing, I want to alert you to another excellent resource for writers who are interested in everything related to self-publishing, traditional as well as digital. That would be “Dan Poynter’s ParaPublishing” website. I first found out about Dan Poynter way back in the Dark Ages, I suppose somewhere around 1976-80. (Yes, for those of you out there who are not among the Raging Aging Crowd, self-publishing book publishing really has been around that long. Actually much longer.) Poynter was one of the first seriously successful self-published book writers in the “modern era.” He may have been the first to succeed in a big way while alerting us all to the difference between legitimate self-publishing and the less useful “subsidy” or “vanity” publishing. Go to his website linked above, or if you wish you can quickly subscribe to his free email newsletter here. (Yes I know I said disparaging things about PDF files, but his monthly newsletter comes in that format. It’s still well worth getting and reading “cover to cover.”)

I hope you’ll give a careful look at these digital self-publishing options if you’re a writer and you have content completed that you’re trying to get published. My biggest problem, personally, is that I have to spend more time writing publishable content and less time working on blogs and other websites if I am to take advantage of these terrific options.

Which brings me to the subject of my next article: The “big guns” in digital self-publishing. If you own a Kindle or Nook, you already know who I’m talking about. But stay tuned for more. I’ll try to have my article about all that written in a day or two. Come back and see.

Have I mentioned ‘The Keyword Academy’ for making money writing online?

It occurs to me that I may never have mentioned The Keyword Academy to my faithful followers here as a terrific site to learn about making money by writing website and blog content. (You’ll find the same link in that last sentence that you’ll find at the top of the right-hand column [sidebar] of each […]

Today’s writing demands a good sense of graphics, design

I made another change to the “theme,” or template for this site a few weeks ago, and I don’t really like the way it looks all that much. I’ll probably tinker with it and do something different in the near future. (If I were making any serious money online, I probably could afford one of […]

Putting all the hype about ‘Twitter’ in some real-world perspective

Just when you begin to believe a lot of the hype and raving about Twitter, along comes some real-world perspective about the online phenomenon. I’m talking about today’s “Jeopardy!” episode. One of the clues was a very obvious reference to Twitter. As my wife and I both do, we were muttering and mumbling at the […]

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