Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smashwords vs. Draft2Digital and a bonus

If you self-publish, you've probably heard some debate over whether to use D2D or Smashwords. If
you are thinking of self-punishing, you definitely want to be up on the debate.


There are many, many different sites to upload your books (think B&N.com, Amazon, iTunes, etc). For a small percentage of sales, D2D and Smashwords will deliver your book to many of those sites for you. Smashwords has been around for years. D2D is the new guy on the block.



Why would you give up a bit of your sales to them?
It's simple. It takes time to upload your books-time you could be using to WRITE, your #1 job. And it can save you a ton of hassle. thanks to Humblehandmaid for the pic.






Here are the basic differences as I see it.

Distribution:
Basically, you upload your book to either D2D and Smashwords and then they send it to the places you tell it to.

Smashwords delivers to 13 sites, D2D to 8.

Both distribute to Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Page Foundry, and Flipkart

Above and beyond that:

Smashwords delivers to Oyster, Baker and Taylor Blio, TXTR, Baker and Taylor Axis 360, Overdrive (libraries), and Flipkart

D2D- Tolino, Createspace


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Uploading ease:

Smashwords: The document must be formatted according to the free Style Guide available on the site. Then the meat grinder pushes it out in a bunch of different formats. If you don't want to do this yourself, there are people who will guarantee results for $35 bucks. Awesome deal or slog through the guide a few times and become a pro and do it yourself for free.

D2D: It's pretty easy and you can even upload a pretty crude word document, but the results are sketchy if you don't do pre-formatting like Smashwords has you do.

Support

Smashwords: email support only. I've heard grumbles about them taking forever to get back to people. I haven't had that experience. They've been extremely helpful and quick-within hours of asking the question I have answers and great help. No phone support

D2D: Phone and email support: Super supportive and fast.

Payments

Smashwords pays every quarter-so every three months. A lot of people don't like that. I don't mind.

D2D pays monthly

Highlights:

One feature I really love on Smashwords that is not available on D2D is coupons. You can make your book free or discount it with these coupons. The great part is that only the people you want to get the discount get it. What does that mean for you? You can have the regular price everywhere and then give your street team or friends a coupon code that gives it to them for free or a discount. You can tailor your sales that way. I use it for giving out eArcs too. So handy and your reader can choose any of their formats to download it in.

Maybe I'm partial because I met Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, in New York last year and thought he was pretty darn amazing, but I truly love the quality of service I get from Smashwords.

I hear over and over again that people like the ease of use of D2D better than Smashwords. Also, the feature to modify links for each vendor is a great addition to D2D that Smashwords does not now have. I haven't had a problem with Smashwords in over five years and love them. You must decide what's best for you, however. You may love Smashwords like I do, or your heart might beat for D2D like so many others.

In the end, both take 10% of your profits, both have up to date sales information and reporting (although I do like D2D's dashboard better), both offer pre-orders, both let you price your book for free, and both offer isbn's. So pick your poison. Try both and see which fits you better.

Which service do you use, Smashwords or D2D. 
What do you like best about them?
Did you get your free book and ridiculously cheap audio book?



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Punctuation

by Donna K. Weaver

So you've wondered if punctuation is important?

Check out the meaning of the following two Dear John letters, the only changes being some itty-bitty punctuation alterations.
Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy. Will you let me be yours?
Gloria

And what if we put the punctuation in different places?
Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours,
Gloria
Um, yeah.

Source: all over the place. I came across it years ago in an email that was going around.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Save the Date for the most EPIC retreat yet!

We are having another retreat in September. When we are in the early planning stages, we always choose a theme to use to help us focus on classes that our previous attendees, and those who comment are asking for. This time we did it a little different, we choose the theme from a book. What book (series) could we choose that could help us learn and have a blast?

Twilight?

Hunger Games?

Lord of the Rings?

Nope. Nope. and Nope.

Drum Roll please. . . .

The theme for the September iWriteNetwork Retreat is . . .

Harry Potter!

Class schedules and menu will match the theme and will be announced at a later date.
The retreat will be September 17-20th in Heber, UT


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Story Beats

One of the activities we have at retreat is a movie night. We sit together in the theatre room and watch a film, identifying the story beats as we go. This helps us clarify what the beats look like and how we can recognize the transitions between them. There is always a huge setting change between beats. We use a sheet to record the events as the story unfolds and clarify what each of the story elements contribute to the unfolding plot.

Although this book is written for screenwriting, it follows the Hero's Journey, which is the basis for much of novel writing. Of course, storytelling is storytelling!

While studying this book, I took a few notes to help me consider while writing. We don't do a lot of outlining, but we do jot notes for each major story element. A picture of the simple organizer we use is at the bottom of this post. We start with identifying what the character most wants and go from there.

Here are the elements:

Opening Image & Set up
Hook the reader with emotion, action, or character/voice
Every character introduced or hinted at
Plant character ticks
MC has 6 things that need fixing (we don't always have 6--but we try to)
Foreshadow main events
Theme posed to MC in conversation


Catalyst

Life Changing Event
This leads to the happiness in the end

Debate
Asks question that will focus the story around the evidence of your argument for the answer you give at the end of the story
“This is Crazy”
Other choices that could be taken
Yes, and why
No, and why

Break into Act 2
Choice is made
Leaves the “old” world
Opposite world (features or why is it opposite)
MC makes a clear decision to do this

B Story
Meet someone new
Love story (romanic, friends, family, self…)
Goes slightly of theme
MC to be nurtured, taught, advised and prepared
Confides in this person
Draws strength from here
New characters are opposite from set up scenes

Fun & Games
Some play, fun, fascination
Diversion
Personality shines here
Take a break from the stakes
Lighter tone, think musical montage here

Midpoint
Is the situation going Up or Down for the main character?
Up—living in a false peak or success over antagonist
Down—world crashes in false destruction because of antagonist
MC shares this moment with other Main characters
Stakes raised a LOT in win or lose situation

Bad Guys Close In
Bad Guys regroup
Heavy artillery External
Heavy emotional artillery
Leading to a reversal of the midpoint in the next section
MC is on her/his own now

All is Lost
All aspects of MC’s life are in shambles
Whiff of Death (mentor, acquaintance, or some random event)

Dark Night of the Soul
MC is beaten and knows it

Break into Act 3
MC digs deep
Finds last piece needed to save or solve

Finale
Makes a new effort with lessons learned
Tics are mastered
Hero/Protag figures out how to do what must be done
Showdown with major and minor characters are involved
Minor villains are neutralized before the villain
A-Story resolved
B-Story resolved

Final Image
Creation of new “world” for the MC
Opposite of opening image
Proof that change has occurred
Back to the theme in some way