As any new author, I assume, I am anxiously awaiting seeing reviews of my work. I got plenty of them from friends and family using the word "awesome." They are supposed to say that (or nothing) aren't they? It makes me wonder about those who got a free book and haven't responded. Did he/she not read it yet, or not like it at all? Hmm.
I am very pleased with responses and reviews I got from new friends I met through marketing activities. The remarks, as I would certainly expect, are a mixture of plaudits and criticism. Happy that the majority are positive, I appreciate that folks took the time to send me feedback of any kind. I will cherish the applause and work on the other.
My writing reminded one person of Spencer Quinn, an author I was not familiar with, but I soon will be. I now have on my desk a copy of Dog On It. Another was reminded of the Coen brothers. Oddly, no one was reminded of W. Shakespeare or G. Chaucer.
I will forever be indebted to those who give me free publicity or advice, whether it be a full review or a simple Tweet.
Yes, I am asking people to read my book and tell others about it. Read many author's books and spread the word about the ones you enjoy. I found a blog post that relates to the importance of reviews, said more eloquently than I ever could. Read the blog of 8/7/11it at: http://www.tilbechick.blogspot.com
Many folks treasure their copies of books signed by the author.
Ever wish you had an Ebook signed by the author?
Kindlegraph.com does just that. The author and reader connect on the site and the "kindlegraph" signature is done at docusign.com and forwarded to the reader's Kindle.
I've done it. It works. It's cumbersome, and the actual image on the kindle page is very small. I couldn't read mine.
So. I made my own.
1. I wrote a message, like "Best Wishes" and signed with a sharpie on a paper.
2. I scanned it to get a .jpg.
3. I cropped, then pasted it in a word.doc, along with a thumbnail of my cover.
The .doc size was formatted at 3.5"x5" (size of Kindle screen.)
4. Email the .doc file as an attachment to: username.free.kindle.com. Write "convert" in the subject line. (It will be converted to .mobi by Amazon.)
Or, transfer to the Kindle via USB cable.
For other devices that do not accept .doc files, convert it to .epub (free online at 2epub.com), or with calibre if you have it.
This is what mine looks like:
A press release went out today announcing the availability of WILLOWTREE in the print edition, by PR.com.
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first shipment of the book. It will be nice to touch them and start giving them away.
I also am getting some interest from folks who will review it. Yippee! Remember you can still get a free ebook, in almost any format. (See my ebooks page.)
I am pleased to learn Charles Shields is working on a biography of Kurt Vonnegut, called And So it Goes. What else would it be titled?
click to view press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/345397
CONVERSATION WITH KURT VONNEGUT
It would be nice to be compared to my literary hero, the man whose words I most like to read. We do have some similarities, or maybe coincidences. Anyway I was speaking with Kurt Vonnegut one night while asleep. And so it goes…
KV. Mike, I understand you sold aluminum storm windows as a struggling young author. I did, too.
MB. I wasn't an author then, I was a teacher. But, yes, I did. I heard that you sold storm windows. Ever install any?
MB. Well I hung a lot of them, doors too. I guess I have you beat on this one, huh, Kurt?
KV. So, you want to make this a competition?
MB. It's gotta be, if I want to be compared to you.
KV. OK, give me something.
MB. I know your first wife's name was Jane. So's mine.
KV. So? Coincidence. You lived on Cape Cod, so did I.
MB. Go ahead and google my alter-ego, "Bruce DelReno." First thing that comes up will be my book, Willowtree. Google "Kilgore Trout" and you get thousands of pages about fish.
KV. I wouldn't google, if I knew what it was. What about politics? I sure think the Bush administration and the war in Iraq did our country a lot of harm.
MB. Well, I'm right with you on that one. But, I got you on the storm windows and the google thing.
KV. I have a very famous quote, bet you don't.
MB. I know, I know. "So it goes." Damn, I wish I had thought of that. I was so pissed at General Mills when they sued you over using their phrase, "Breakfast of Champions." You'd probably sue me if I used "So it goes."
KV. I thought you liked me. Why the hostility, Mike?
MB. Well, you beat me to "So it goes," then you wrote the coolest thing ever in Deadeye Dick. I won't be able to use that either.
KV. Yeah? What was that?
MB. You know, randomly shooting a gun out a window and killing a pregnant woman.
KV. What's so cool about that?
MB. It was on Mothers Day. Don't you remember?
KV. Oh, yeah. Cool.
MB. There's not much golf or food in any of your books, Kurt. Why not?
KV. I had to leave something for you to go on about. Say, after me, who's your next favorite author?
MB. Well, there's you, me, Shakespeare, then Mark Twain.
KV. By the way, Mike Bove, who the hell are you?
Then I woke up.
(The references in this piece are true. Except the google of Kilgore Trout. 524,000 pages came up, most concerning Kurt Vonnegut.)
I did it all myself with some good free programs. It was a lot of work, but one cannot play golf all day every day.
The only thing that wasn't free was my copy of WORD 2000, but it was bundled with my Windows 95 so it was free for purposes of the book.
Irfanview, an image viewer and editor is the most used free application I have. I took a photo with my camera and fixed it to the specifications for my cover with Irfanview. I used it in conjunction with MS PAINT to do the map that is in the book.
I needed a PDF file to submit. The free NITRO PDF READER, converted my DOC file into a print ready PDF.
For ebooks, some places want a DOC, or EPUB, or some other format. CALIBRE, a free ebook manager, can convert to most formats and let you view it as an ebook. Then, there is the free viewer from Amazon to view Kindle books in MOBI.
My book was made available for sale in many ebook formats at Smashwords, free, and I set the sale price. Also at Amazon for the Kindle version.
Best of all, after checking out many Print On Demand publishers, I went with CreateSpace, a division of Amazon, because it was free if I did all the work. The work, you know, includes formatting, editing, and proofing the cover and interior. It was work, but fun seeing everything come together. CreateSpace has many helpful tools and information to get all of this done. Did I mention free. A great tool is their CoverCreator.
Then I got a free website at Weebly.com. After playing with MS Frontpage, with which I had built several websites years ago, and other site creators called "easy" for days, I came across Weebly. I had my site, this one, up and running in an hour.
So, I am a published author for zero expenses. I will, I'm sure spend some cash in marketing, another story.
Jane got me into reading mysteries. I'd look through a dozen of her books and pick one or two I might be interested in. Always the ones I picked would have a larger font, and short chapters. They never would be very thick. I'm not lazy (not usually), but I cannot read for hours at a time. One or two chapters, ten or 20 minutes, and I have to turn the light out or do something else. Once in a while there will be one I can't put down, such as Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain(sorry, not a mystery).
Some books I give up on. If a writer has to use 500 words to describe something others might have used 300, those extra 200 words had better be entertaining or I'll close that book. My point is the mystery book is supposed to be read for pleasure. If I wanted a book to read without pleasure, I would dig out an old college textbook, or my uncle's master's thesis.
Maybe it's just me. If you have talked to me you know I will correspond in short sentences and often one word answers. Terse Mike. You'd be surprised I could write a book longer than 12 pages. Well, I did; and it is over 230 pages. Surprise. I think my book, Willowtree has enough words, and many sentences long enough to be adequate and tell a story. My language certainly will not qualify as being flowery or bombastic.
You might enjoy reading a mystery by William G. Tappley, one of my favorite authors. His stories are well constructed with enough description to be informative and entertaining, not flowery. We don't do flowery.
As a teacher, coach, and drama director I always thought my book would be about track and field or acting for young people. I never got to write that book because of the first and second jobs. Then, there were two sons to teach, coach, and direct. I left teaching and Vermont for various jobs on Cape Cod, which was a very good place to fish, golf, and work for the Postal Service.
Though I was a jock, I read a lot. My favorites back then were Vonnegut, Wambaugh, Ross McDonald. Though I wrote for school newspapers in High School and college, my post graduate typing was limited to letters to editors, management, and family. I did adapt, produce, and direct a Russian folk tale for the stage.
In retirement I play a lot of golf. In between rounds I read a lot of mysteries. Among my favorites are William G. Tappley, Stuart Woods, and Tony Hillerman. I do not claim my writing style to be like any authors I may have been influenced by. I would say I write in the style that I speak, which is tersely. From me you will likely get a short answer to your question. To me effectively concise is better than unnecessary words.
My first book, Willowtree (a fictitious Arizona town) A Bruce DelReno Mystery, is of course about a retired mailman who plays a lot of golf. To quote Vonnegut, "and so it goes.