Monday, July 18, 2011

AM I TOO STUPID?


There are a lot of sites online that suffer from being either too difficult, or so confusing I just log out. Why don't the creators of such sites realize that many of us aren't nearly as computer literate as they are, and simplify things just a bit?

For instance, I've been trying to conquer all the ins and outs of Good Reads for quite some time. Seeing that writers reviewed their own books as well as others, I decided to write a review for my latest book, Dream Walker, available on Kindle. There is a lovely image of the cover at Amazon, yet Good Reads told me there was no cover photo available. So there's this review with a big blank square stating no book cover available. Then the site asks me what book I'd like to read this summer, so I pick one and up pops this question. What did you think of the book? Well, crap, I haven't read it yet. What's that all about?

And what's with the reviews, sometimes ten or twelve, dated the same day, giving a review of a book the reader claims to have read. I know there are some fast readers around, but a dozen in one day, or even one week for that matter. So, what's that all about?

And then there's Facebook. Just about the time I learn how to use some of the many, many offerings there, they change them. I had a good business page with over 200 friends that I could message occasionally, and I didn't overdo that. Suddenly, it's been archived, I have to make a new page, and all the friends I had on the previous one are gone and I can't find any way to get them back. Or even get a new list of friends. There's not even a Like button that I can find. And I can't get a FB addy for the page, either. Had to resort to copying the link and making a tinyurl to link to it. Hey, what's that all about?

Now, I'll admit it's entirely possible I'm just too stupid to use these sites, but I'm not too stupid to figure out how to upload Dream Walker, my Ebook, to Kindle after properly formatting it. I'm not too stupid to learn how to use Word after using Word Perfect all my writing life. Well, more or less.

And to add insult to injury, my telephone voice mail has a glitch and keeps repeating the same instructions over and over again and the red light won't stop blinking. SO WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?

Any suggestions regarding dealing with this confusing electronic age would be greatly appreciated. Whoever sends the best solution will receive a free copy of my book, Fly With the Mourning Dove. If you already have it, think of Christmas giving, and try anyway. I'm waiting.


Monday, July 04, 2011

LET'S TALKS ABOUT WRITERS

For several weeks on my writer's blog I've written about my journey through publishing short stories on Smashwords and my own efforts to format and publish a Kindle book.

This trip has taken me to some fascinating sites online and hooked me up with some very talented people. And it's reinforced something I've known since the first day I attended a writer's gathering some 28 years ago. Writers are some of the most generous people in the professional world.

Most don't consider new writers as competition, but rather as welcome additions to their world. They believe, as I do, that the more good books that are out there, the more readers will want to read, so rather than turning their backs on beginners, they nurture them. There has been no end to the people who have helped me during this long and exciting journey. And I will continue to "pay it forward" in every way I can.

Every time I've stumbled, a writer has helped me up. With ever rejection others supported me. When I couldn't get past a failed plot point, others have helped me brainstorm and find my way out.

Since 1985 I've been a part of a critique group that has grown and adapted over the years. Unlike most groups, we meet every week and we critique work brought in by novices and advanced writers alike. And over the years, through attending conferences and eventually organizing a yearly conference of our own, writers from our group have been published. Some remain in the group to help with the newcomers, others go their way. And that's fine. Two of us remain of the original group, and we keep things together. We're proud of our successes and continue to support those who stumble and fall.

Today we face an enormous change in the publishing world. Where the e book eruption will take us is anyone's guess. A few of our group's writers are embracing this new trend and we all celebrate their publications in the world of the e book. Only last month one writer had two books and a novella accepted by The Wild Rose Press, a prestigious e publisher. Many are eager to give Kindle a try, so we may do something on that at our next conference. Or perhaps a workshop will be formed to lead those eager pioneers through the tough paces.

If you are a writer without a group, think of forming one yourself. We began with five or six in those long ago years, and we felt our way through the maze of learning our craft, promotion, building a platform, and pitching our work. When one could attend a conference, they returned to share copious notes and handouts with everyone. Often four or five of us would share a room just so we could afford to attend a long weekend conference. I recall once one of the gals had a chance to rent an RV parked near where a writer's conference was held. Five of us spent two night there and enjoyed meeting with other writers we never would've met otherwise. You could do that.

Next week, I'll post some suggestions on how to form a writer's group or critique group and keep it going despite the problems that can arise.