Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Website Design for Book Authors

I mentioned last week about finding a book that teaches authors how to sell books on the Internet. I haven't read it all yet, but I've read enough to know I need to change my website.

The message was to keep it simple. People tend to scan rather than read web pages, so we only have a matter of seconds to get their attention. I'll go into details about the book later when I write a review.

What I want to show you today is what I came up with for the first page of the redesigned website.

If the image above is not clear, go to http://sidneywfrost.com/ to see the real thing.

From this initial page, you'll eventually be able to link to:

  • Events: This will be a page that will show any scheduled events such as book signings, virtual blog tours, etc.
  • Media Info: Here will be links to various sized images of the book cover and the author, plus a link to press releases.
  • Blog: This links to http://christianbookmobile.blogspot.com/.
  • Author: This will be a page containing my bio.
  • Description: This will be a more detailed description of the book.
  • Review: This will be a summary of book reviews

As you can see, I'm still in the design phase, so if you have any suggestions, let me hear from you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Donate a Book to Your Church Library

Several friends have told me they purchased copies of Where Love Once Lived to give to their church libraries. One brought me a copy to sign before giving it to the church.

I talked to the person who oversees a church library at one church in town, and she said there is no budget for their library. They get books donated, but often end up with too many copies of the same book, or they get nonfiction books, but not enough Christian fiction books. She said they were planning to sell the surplus books to raise money to buy the books they need.

I'm sure most church libraries have the same needs. So, if you have Christian books you no longer need, consider donating them to your church. And tell them you don't mind if the book is sold. That way, if they don't need your particular book, it will give them a way to raise funds to get what they do need.

As a book reviewer for a Christian publisher, I get free books and then donate them to my church after I've read them. I recently purchased a Christian novel on CDs for a trip and afterwards decided it should go to the public library where it would get more use. In fact, since this particular book (Hand of Fate) doesn't look or sound like a Christian book, someone without a church may check it out and learn how some people love God.

So, please feel free to buy an extra copy of Where Love Once Lived so you'll have a copy to donate to your church library or other worthy organization.

Friday, August 27, 2010

From Book Signing Worries to Confidence

Yesterday I Googled "planning for a book signing" after I realized I didn't know what I was doing and the book signing for Where Love Once Lived was schedule for September 25, 2010.

Surprisingly, I found three excellent articles on what to do before, during, and after a book signing. One of the writers, Penny C. Sansevieri, was especially helpful, so I checked Amazon to see if she had any books on the subject of book marketing. I found one called Red Hot Internet Publicity, and was glad to see there was a Kindle edition. I ordered it and started reading. I'll do a review on the book later. Right now I need to sell books.

I read that she developed the idea for the Virtual Author Tour™ and that reminded me I had planned to do a virtual blog tour. Bonnie Hearn Hill had told me how successful that had been for her. I already had a list of blogs that would be good for my book. However, I haven't contacted any of them yet. There was a call for authors to be interviewed and/or books reviewed by a blogger on the American Christian Fiction Writers group. I sent her a book to review and she sent me some questions to answer for the interview. But, I need to do 20 or 30 more before I will see the benefits of the virtual blog tour.

As I read the book signing tips, I remembered this won't be my first book signing. The first was so unremarkable, I probably stuffed it deep into the memory banks.

My first book was a non-fiction called Automated Law Office Systems, published by West Publishing Co. in 1983. I was a member of the Austin Writers' League, now the Writers' League of Texas, and we set up book signing tables in the mall near Sunset Valley where the south Central Market is now. The tables were arranged in a circle with authors sitting inside the circle. My editor, Bill Newsom, was with me and I think he sold more books than I did. Bill, by the way, was the person who made the book readable. He didn't get his name on the cover, but he did share in the royalties.

Next to us was Kathy Cronkite, Walter's daughter, with a book called On the Edge of Darkness. It is still available of Amazon, but I see it is dated 1995 so it must be an updated edition.

On the other side of us was Dr. Ira Iscoe, who had been my Educational Psychology professor at the University of Texas. He was the one responsible for my finishing college, getting a BA and then an MS. Why? Because he said I couldn't. He said most people who drop out of school and then go back, never graduate. I told him about it that day. He was pleased. I don't remember what he was selling, but I was proud to be at the book signing event with him.

So, just thinking about the book signing helped me think about ways to sell Where Love Once Lived. It also reminded me that I can overcome the average college dropout and succeed. That's what makes writing this blog so much fun.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Next Book is on My Mind Today

Yesterday, Celeste asked about my new novel after I told her I worked on it between classes. Then, today, when I talked to my sister, Barbara, she asked about the new book. So, I've been thinking about it a lot lately.

I told them both about the new publishing company looking for manuscripts ready to go for 2011. The neat thing about Harbourlight Books is that they are affiliated with White Rose Publishing, the company that almost published Where Love Once Lived, until they discovered it wasn't really a romance and all they publish are Christian romance.

Harbourlight Books, on the other hand, will publish only Christian fiction books that are NOT romance. So, my thinking is that both my novel will be a perfect match for Harbourlight.

All I need to do to finish Vengeance In Mine is write two more scenes, scenes I've already outlined, and then edit the whole book for the upteenth time and the manuscript will be ready. All the publisher wants initially is a synopsis and the first chapter, but they want to know that the book is complete. If they like the synopsis and first chapter and ask for the whole thing, I want to be prepared.

It's not that I'm unhappy with the approach I'm using for Where Love Once Lived, that is, using CreateSpace and the print on demand method, but it would certainly simplify everything to have a publisher take care of the details.

Besides, I love what White Rose is producing and I think Harbourlight will be under the same management. White Rose produces great covers and ebooks. They have an appealing website, dedicated writers, and supportive editors. It would be fun to be part of the group.

My thought is that if Harbourlight contracts my new book, and if the sales of the current book are satisfactory, they may want to publish it as well.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Signing Date Set

 I have to admit I'm a little excited about having my first book signing on the calendar. Hill Country Bookstore in Georgetown has these book signings for authors every Saturday, sometimes several at a time. They let me pick a date, so I selected September 25 to make sure everything is prepared and we have time to publicize the event.

I'm scheduled for 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. alone, but that doesn't mean another author won't be added at the same time. It's a small store, so I don't think they will have more than two at a time. The manager said sometimes the authors set up outside on the sidewalk, but it's been so hot, that might not be an option.

She also said the author that follows me is doing a lot of advertising and will have a violinist playing during the signing. This made me wish I had a gimmick of some kind. Wouldn't it be nice to have a real bookmobile to park out front? That'd been too expensive. Any other ideas?

So, all you people within driving distance, put it on your schedule. I need all the support I can get. And tell your friends.

BookPeople, in Austin, has a consignment program that includes a book signing event with three other local authors. I'll let you know when that is scheduled.

I'd also like to schedule something with a Christian bookstore, but I haven't researched that area yet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

I purchased the CD edition of the book, read by Pam Turlow, for a long automobile trip and enjoyed it so much I bought the first in the series when I got back.

Hand of Fate is the second book in the Triple Threat series, so named because of the three main characters, Allison Pierce, a federal prosecutor, Nicole Hedges, an FBI special agent, and Cassidy Shaw, a TV crime reporter. These three are friends and have a history of being in college together.

The story begins with the murder of a radio talk show host in Portland, Oregon, and the main goal is to find the killer, or killers. One of the trio is a close friend of the victim and the other two had scheduled a meeting with him before he was killed because he was receiving threats. Unfortunately for Jim Fate, he was killed before the meeting.

The story moves along quickly with suspense, action, and realistic characters. Each of the triple threat women have subplots going on in their lives not directly related to solving the mystery, but these subplots did not distract from the story. There were many twists and turns along the way, just like in any good book.

I would recommend Hand of Fate to anyone interested in a good mystery.

Monday, August 23, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Starburst by Robin Pilcher

This is a story about seven people and how their lives touch each other during the annual Edinburgh Festival. Tess, the recently married young woman who works for the Festival, Roger who does the fireworks for the closing of the Festival, Angélique, the young French violinist who performs at the Festival, Albert, Angélique 's manager who has kept tight reins on her, Rene, the mom turned comedienne who performs at the Festival Fringe, Leonard, the retired cameraman who ends up financing a film made at the Festival, T.K., Leonard's apprentice, who fights to stay out of jail for stealing cars, and Jamie, the young owner of the boarding house in Edinburgh who brings most of the other characters together.

This book came out in 2007, but I just got around to reading it last month. I've read other Robin Pilcher books as well as books written by his mother Rosamunde Pilcher and have enjoyed them all.

Actually, I listened to the first half of Starburst, from CDs checked out at the public library while on a road trip. However, we got home before the finishing the book, so the last half was read on a Kindle.

The book uses English and Scottish dialogue so I'm glad I had a chance to listen to it first. The reader, John Lee, did an excellent job with the accents. So, by the time I started reading the Kindle, I could still hear the accents of the various characters.

This is a good, entertaining story with some suspense and some romance. It's not quite what I usually review for my Christian Bookmobile blog, but I would recommend it to anyone. There are some emotional parts that will bring tears to your eyes, but you'll also laugh out loud in places. I love the type of story were good things happen to good people, and I wasn't disappointed.

I've been to Edinburgh several times so I had a good feel for the locale which was the background for the story. However, I've never been there for the Festival and now I would like to go. This year it is being held as I write this review, August 13 to September 5, 2010.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman

This is the story of Ann Fletcher, a New York City home and office staging designer, who finds herself at a crossroad where she must choose between success in the big city and what she knows deep down is the right thing to do.

She is happily progressing in the business world until the death of her sister Sarah brings her back to her childhood home in Charleston and the reality that she is all alone in the world.

Sarah's friends show Ann the same Christian love they had shared with Sarah, but Ann only wants to sell the house and get back to New York. She is torn between wanting to let Sarah's friends into her life and pushing them away so that it won't hurt her so much when she leaves Charleston. Sarah's neighbor Tammy and her son Keith get close to Ann as does Ethan, who feels compelled to help Ann. Keith, who has Down's Syndrome sees angels, and points out the ones who are always with Ann. Ann doesn't believe in angels, but she hears music (angel song) she can't explain.

The overall message of Angel Song is inspiring, without being preachy. Because of the way it is crafted, the angel element of the story is believable. The book moved slowly in places and it wasn't until near the last one-fourth of the book that I became more emotionally involved.

One message in the book is that we always have choices. Even when Ann had to make decisions that might negatively impact the lives of her friends and her friend's children, she had a choice. Another message is that no one is alone in the world.

This book is worth reading, just give it time to hook you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” After reading the book, I gave it to San Gabriel Presbyterian Church Library in Georgetown, Texas.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Where Love Once Lived Press Release

I won't show you what I got from the publisher, but what you see below has been changed greatly. When I first saw what CreateSpace came up with, I knew something was wrong, but wasn't sure what it was. So, I sent it to Bonnie Hearn Hill, who has seen many press releases for her books and who once worked as a newspaper editor. I thought she might have a good example I could look at. Instead, she rewrote my press release, using Microsoft Word change tracking so I could see exactly what was added, deleted, and changed. I made a few changes after that and here is the final (let me know what you think):


Novel portrays romance rekindled

Author says faith inspired award-winning love story

AUSTIN, Texas – Where Love Once Lived by Sidney W. Frost follows a man at a crossroads as he seeks to regain the love of his former college sweetheart.

Forced to leave Karen by circumstances beyond his control, Brian returns to his hometown after 30 years to find Karen doesn’t want to deal with the memories of his painful and unexplained departure. She has worked hard to put her love for Brian behind her and rebuffs his advances. Brian can see that winning her over again isn’t going to be as easy as he had hoped, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

“The story of Brian and Karen shows that, with God’s help, it’s never too late to find happiness,” says Frost. “My hope is that their story makes readers laugh, cry and learn a little more about God’s love.”

Frost was inspired by his faith to create Where Love Once Lived. The importance of a relationship with God is a major theme in the book. In the novel, Karen’s faith in God grew stronger after Brian left, leading to fulfilling work as a lay minister. As she becomes reacquainted with Brian, Karen begins to share with him the strength that can come from faith. Brian, who had turned away from God, eventually comes to realize that the void in his life was not just the loss of Karen but also the loss of God.

Where Love Once Lived is available for sale online at Amazon.com and other channels.

About the Author

Sidney W. Frost earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Long Beach and a master’s degree from the University of Houston. He currently works as an adjunct professor at Austin Community College. Frost is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and has been a member of several choral groups, singing in numerous productions with the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus. The novel won first place in the inspirational/spiritual category of the 2007 SouthWest Writer’s Contest and first place in the romance category of the 2007 Writers' League of Texas Contest.


Sidney W. Frost
E-mail: sidfrost@suddenlink.net
Phone: (512) 694-6449
Web: http://sidneywfrost.com
Blog: http://christianbookmobile.blogspot.com/



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Proving Your Past Achievements

I mentioned in a previous post that the publisher had asked for verification that Where Love Once Lived had won first place in two manuscript contests and how I was able to prove it. Yesterday, they contacted me and wanted proof that I had been in more than 40 Austin Lyric Opera productions. How do you prove that?

My first reaction was to tell them to forget the reference to singing. It didn't add anything to the value of the book. But then I thought, this is something I'm proud of and there is a significant number of words in the book about singing. Tony, the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus member in the story will be featured in a future book and I wanted the readers to know I have experience in this area.

So, I started looking for ways to prove my participation in the chorus. I have a stage photo with a wide border with the signatures of everyone in the production congratulating me for my 35th production. I probably have programs for every opera I was in, but both of these items would be difficult to copy. I wanted to find something digital to send to CreateSpace so that they could finish the press release.

Let me say here that I'm glad the publisher is concerned about accuracy of what they send out. That is comforting to me.

I checked AustinLyricOpera.org, but they seem to be in the midst of a website update and nothing useful was available. I couldn't even find email addresses to send to CreateSpace for contacting them.

So, here's what I ended up with:

• The photo of me in a variety of costumes shown above
• A list of operas I've been in from an old chorus website no longer in use
• The name and phone number of the chorusmaster

I don't know which one worked, but I got the press release today.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kindle Edition Ready Soon, Again

I've been so busy working on the Kindle edition of Where Love Once Lived, I don't know if I've told you about it or not. So, there may be some repetition here. I'll just give you the highlights today, but I plan to document the whole thing from my notes so that I don't have the same problems with my next book. And, who knows, maybe you will benefit from my experience when you want to publish a Kindle book.

When I first published on Kindle, I used the pdf version supplied by CreateSpace. I had not kept my Microsoft Word up to date during the editing process (mistake #1).

Amazon scans the pdf and converts it to html. However, the paragraph formatting was wrong and the section breaks were wrong. I tried converting pdf to word to html, but that didn't work and wasted several days (mistake #2).

Meanwhile I had published the pdf version (mistake #3) and had sold one before I could stop it. Luckily, it was bought by an understanding friend. It was readable, but looked bad.

Next, I downloaded the published Kindle version to html and loaded it into Microsoft Expressions. I went through line by line and cleaned it up. Some corrections could be done with Find and Replace. Some couldn't. I used a special tag provided by Amazon for page breaks, a tag not usually available for html, but one that makes the content look more like a book. The one thing I couldn't automate was identifying paragraphs. This is needed so Kindle can automatically indent and not insert lines. So, I went through each paragraph and made the changes. I worked on it for several days and still had a third of the book to do. When I told a friend about it, he said there should be a better way.

Last night, before going to sleep, my mind worked out a solution. I remembered I had easily changed the Word version I had created from pdf by replacing double paragraph marks with a holding character, deleting single paragraph marks, and then replacing the holding character with double paragraph marks. (This will make sense to some of you.) So, I went back to that Word file, copied the sections of the book one at a time, deleting the Word formatting, and pasting it into the html version. I could only do one section at a time in order to keep the special formatting already entered for section and chapter breaks.

It worked.

I published this morning and was told it would be ready in 48 hours.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WOW! Where Love Once Loved is a winner

Review by Dr. Rollo K. Newsom in Amazon.com

This is a Christian novel and more. Some of that more is a romance and more of the more is an unusual form of a coming of age story. Romance gone wrong due to incomplete communications and immature or irresponsible judgments lead to lives prematurely separated in young adulthood. Those separate lives are not all that bad but leave the principles feeling unfulfilled and incomplete in mid-life. Tensions in the novel stem from efforts and events that work toward reuniting the protagonists. But this is not easy and requires sometimes painful change for the two main characters. This is not the adolescent discovery of self and sex coming of age. Instead here we have two seasoned and basically successful adults who must mature spiritually. A number of things contribute to that spiritual maturation including painful discoveries of what went so very wrong years ago, forgiveness for those and subsequent events, understanding of the consequences and new empathy that comes from prayer and God's grace.

The setting is a mid-sized Southern city in the mid to late 20th century (Austin, Texas) and exceptionally apt descriptions of real recognizable places and accurate references to the "times" lend authenticity to the novel.

Much of the action takes place on a bookmobile including librarian-patron interactions and a believable chase scene. I think we all make inappropriate use of the word unique at times. But in reviewing Frost's Where Love Once Lived, I can honestly say his use of the bookmobile is unique to the point where it might be considered a supporting character.

In addition to the bookmobile peripheral characters are well developed, interesting in their own right and serve as impediments or more often facilitators of the action. Secondary characters enrich the story and contribute to the growth of the main characters by modeling and interpreting Christian principals.

In support of the main story line there are several minor themes including an interesting view on changing race relations. A related minor and equally interesting minor theme explores how older adults react to the developing loves, marriages and career aspirations of their children. Not blatant at any one point in the novel but clearly one key to the developing relationships and to resolutions to conflicts is a core group composed of several no longer young men that formed in their college age years. Such a core group is rarely found in the real world or in novels either.

This book is a page turner and early on you will begin pulling (praying?) for those folks to work it out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Audible Books -- Great for Long Road Trips

Celeste and I attended the Berkshire Choral Festival this year, and decided to drive to Sheffield, Massachusetts so we could visit friends and family on the way. We had a wonderful time at the Festival, met some new friends, enjoyed learning new music, and participated in a powerful performance.

The visiting was great, too. I saw where she lived and met more of her friends, revisited with family. She met or revisited my friends and family. We stayed with friends and family most of the way.

I wondered if sitting next to each other in the confines of an automobile for 4,400 plus miles could take its toll on a marriage of four months.

But we made it.

Just before we left, my dentist suggested books on CD. She said it saved her marriage. I wasn't really worried about my marriage, but it sounded like a great idea. To be able to "read" while driving intrigued me. I bought two books, John Grisham's Playing for Pizza and Lis Wiehl's Hand of Fate, before Celeste mentioned CD books were probably available at the library.

So, I went to the Georgetown Library and found two more books, Marley and Me, by John Grogan and Starburst: A Novel by Robin Pilcher.

When we got home, we had only the second half of Pilcher's book remaining. So, I bought it in the Kindle edition to read the rest. We donated the purchased books to the library.

What I learned is that it is fun to listen to books on the road and it definitely makes the time go by faster. You have to be careful driving and be willing to hit the off button when driving requires your full attention.

Another thing I learned was that the readers are quite talented. I could feel gender, ethnicity, dialect, and mood all from a single person reading the book. By the time I started reading Pilcher's book on the Kindle, I could still hear the Scottish accents vs. the English and French accents of characters. It was amazing.

However, I also learned I don't want to listen to a book on CD at home or during short trips in the car. I need at least an hour to listen and then I can't wait too long before the next part.

How about you? Have you ever listened to a book?

For more information, see:


Friday, August 13, 2010

Kindle Edition of Where Love Once Lived Available Soon, Maybe

I created the Kindle edition of Where Love Once Lived yesterday and either it was extremely easy or I really goofed everything up. Since I haven't seen the finished product yet, I don't know how it's going to turn out. There was a point during the setup where I could review it, but, when I did, the title was missing and there were extraneous characters between paragraphs, it looked like a Polaroid shot of a screen display. I just hope that's not what the final version will look like. They said it could take up to 48 hours to complete the publishing process. I hope they let me check it before it is released to the public. I think I remember reading recently that authors of Kindle books could make corrections easily.

There was a place during the setup where I had to decide whether I want 70 percent royalty or 35 percent royalty. I clicked on the help balloons, but couldn't see why they were different. So guess which one I selected. They did say that the 70 percent is based on what they sell it for and they may have to lower the price to compete with other sellers.

There is a delivery fee of $ 0.04, which seems to be based on the file size of the book.

I was able to set a price up to $9.99 so I selected $5.99. At 70 percent royalty, that gives me about the same royalty I get for the $15.95 printed edition.

The Kindle Publishing Agreement is more than 7,000 words long so I hope I don't have to really read it someday.

There was no place to put my middle initial. I know this sounds silly, but the book is by Sidney W. Frost, not Sidney Frost. Since my dad and I had the same first and last names, but different middle names, I've always used the middle initial for everything serious. It's just Sid otherwise.

What is the status of the Kindle version of Where Love Once Lived? IN REVIEW. I'll keep your posted on its progress.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Press Releases -- Does Anyone Read Them?

The next step in the marketing of Where Love Once Lived is to prepare and distribute press releases announcing the book. I filled out an online questionnaire from CreateSpace that asked for information needed for the press releases. I won't give my answers here since that would be too lengthy, but here are the questions. I have added some comments however.

Are you using a name other than your own for publication? If so, please provide.

What is the full title of your work?*

E-mail Address* (This is the e-mail address that will be used in the press release as a method of contact for the media.)

Phone Number (This will be used in the press release as an alternate method of contact for the media.)

Website (If you have a website, please provide us with it and we will make sure to include this in the release)

Your city and state

Note: Although I live in Georgetown, Texas now, I decided to use Austin, Texas on the press releases. This is because more people know Austin than Georgetown and because the book is set in Austin.

Biography* (The biography provides information to help establish your credibility or further connect you with your audience. Please provide us with some biographical information, such as education and career information, family status, awards you have won, and/or any qualifications that could establish expert status. NOTE: Responsible journalists may choose to verify all members' facts before publishing biographical information).

Who is your target audience?

This is what I said: This book is about Christians living, making mistakes, and growing from those mistakes. I tried not to make it preachy, and didn't align it with a particular denomination. I suspect it would appeal to a more mature audience because the protagonists are in their fifties. However, several younger friends have read the manuscript and said they enjoyed it. I aimed for the same people who read Jan Karon's Mitford series.

Please provide a brief synopsis of your work.

What is your theme and primary message?

Here is what I answered: With God's help, it's never too late to find happiness.

Tell us about the inspiration for your work.

Note: Surprisingly, there was a lot to be said about the inspiration for Where Love Once Lived starting with the idea for a bookmobile story that came to me while driving one back in 1960's to a sermon I heard in 2004 from my pastor, Jeanie Stanley.

Why do you think your work is newsworthy?* (Can you relate your work to any current events? What makes your work different than others on the market)?

Note: Here I told about the interracial aspects of the novel.

Provide any additional information you want us to consider for your press release (i.e. reviews, awards, etc.). (NOTE: Responsible journalists may choose to verify all facts before publishing this information).

Note: Here, I listed the awards won by Where Love Once Lived in manuscript contests plus some other things about me. CreateSpace called and said they would have to verify the contest wins. They wanted me to send them a photo of the certificates. However, I already had them on my website, so they viewed them as we talked on the phone. Here they are if you want to see them: http://sidneywfrost.com/news.htm.

I started this posting by asking does anyone even read press releases anymore. I don't know, but CreateSpace guarantees the information will be sent to more than a thousand outlets. That's to happen in 3 to 4 weeks. I guess we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Where Love Once Lived Now on Amazon.com

When I checked the details, CreateSpace said it could take up to fifteen days before Where Love Once Lived would be available on Amazon.com. But, guess what. It was there the next day. It's missing descriptive information which I need to add, but it's there in a place where many people are used to buying.

It was a thrill when the first sale was made. I don't see who the buyers are in my sales report, but I can see how many books were sold and where (CreateSpace, Amazon, etc.)

Today, I started studying how to set up a Kindle version. I have a lot to learn about marketing a book, but there is a lot I already know how to do and will be doing much of it as soon as possible.

I've also started a list of things I would do differently next time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Book is Here!

When we returned from the Berkshire Choral Festival, a proof copy of Where Love Once Lived was waiting for me. I must say it is a thrill to see the actual book after working on it since 2005 when I took my first class on writing novels. Up until now, it has been like any other Word document. Now, it looks and feels like a book.

I approved the proof based on looks. I had read everything already so I didn't check it too closely. Just enough to make sure all the pages were there. So, now the book is available to be purchased through CreateSpace. When I said "go," a message said it could take up to fifteen days for it to appear in the Amazon.com list.

Now, I must begin the marketing plan in earnest. I've purchased the following from CreateSpace: Publicity Kit, Press Release Distribution, and Press Release Creation. So these should be available soon. I wish now I had purchased the video book trailer. I've seen several good ones lately and think they could help sales. Perhaps this can be added later.

If you are interested in writing a review for Amazon.com, let me know and I'll send you a copy of the book as soon as I get some.

If you want to buy a copy now, click here: https://www.createspace.com/3435501.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Use of Digital Books on the Rise -- Have You Read One?

Have you noticed the increased number of books available in digital format? I have. Electronic books have been around for decades, the first available only on computers. However, the use of e-books increased rapidly when Amazon.com introduced its Kindle. Another jump in digital reading came with the Apple's iPhone. Now there are several other reliable e-readers such as Barnes and Noble's Nook and Apple's iPad.

Where Love Once Lived will be available in various digital formats, including Kindle.

I bought a Kindle when they first came out and then updated twice since. I read it every day. I like being able to use my iPhone and my personal computer to read the same book. Amazon.com keeps them all in synch. I like the PC software best if I'm making a lot of notes so I use it when reading a book I plan to review.

I love being able to look up the meaning of words as I read. I love being able to change the font size anytime I want to. I love being able to underline and make notes as I read.

I plan to do an article about the various readers available in a future post. Today, I want to ask you about your experience with digital books. Have you read a digital book on any device? If so, what device did you use? Do you use it on a regular basis? What do you like and dislike about it?

If you haven't read a digitized book, do you plan to?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finding God's Love -- Part 5 of 5

An air conditioning repair truck pulled into the parking lot.

“Well, I’ve got to go,” Vern said. “Say, I’ve got an idea. I can let
you in the sanctuary to look around while I get the repairs started.
Would you like that?”

“Sure,” Brian said. “Thanks.”

The sanctuary was dark except for an eerie green glow caused
by sunlight filtered through stained glass windows. He walked directly
to the pew where his family sat for as long as he could remember
and knelt with his head bowed. His prayer was simple.

“Help me, Lord.”

Soon, the peace he’d felt in the car returned. He looked around
the holy place and wondered why he’d stayed away so long. The
corner of a bulletin stuck behind a hymnal grabbed his attention.
He pulled it out and examined it. The service hadn’t changed much
over the years. His eyes stopped on the Confession of Sins. He
started to read, but lowered the bulletin into his lap and closed his
eyes, reciting it from memory.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against You in
thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name. Amen.

The words he remembered from years past became his own
today—his confession and plea for forgiveness.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finding God's Love -- Part 4 of 5

“It is.” Brian pointed at the church. “When I was a kid, Reverend
Patrick said the sanctuary would always be open. What happened?”

“I heard about that,” Vern said. “That was before my time. The
locks were here when I came. The story goes that, one day, Reverend
Patrick—he’s passed, you know—came in and found what
looked like the remains of some sort of devil worship. Blood covered
the altar. Folks said it was a dreadful shock for him. The police
were called in and all.”

“I hadn’t heard,” Brian said.

“Yep. Turned out some animal was sacrificed right there on the
altar. Everyone helped clean it up, and then the pastor held a special
service to bless the sanctuary. That was when he got the church
leaders to put up those steel bars and locks.”

“I bet he was upset. He was such a trusting person.”

“That’s what I heard. They say he changed because of it. He
started seeing evil everywhere. Preached about it every Sunday
from then on. It wasn’t long after that he retired, or was retired.
That part’s not clear.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Brian said. “He was a great man.”
Brian wished he’d kept up with his old church, especially Reverend

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finding God's Love -- Part 3 of 5

“Are you okay?”

Brian sat up to see a man peering into the driver’s side window.
“I’m fine.” His voice cracked as he spoke. “I used to go to church

The man offered his hand. “Hi, I’m Vern King. I had to meet
a repairperson today. When I saw you slumped over the steering
wheel like that, I thought I’d better give a look-see. I didn’t know if
you were dead or alive.”

“I’m alive. I’m Brian Donelson,” he said, shaking the man’s hand
through the window. He climbed out of the car and leaned against
the door.

“Donelson? Bet you’re kin to Bill and Martha. Right?”

“Yes. I’m their son.”

“Thought so. I see your name on the prayer list pretty regularly,
and I’ve known your parents ever since I came here twelve years
back. Sorry about your mom.” Vern shook his head as he mentioned
Brian’s mother.

“Thank you.” Brian felt an anger he didn’t want to feel, and he
wondered again why his dad hadn’t told him about his mother’s

“Yeah. Me and the missus have been praying for her for a while.
She still comes to church, even sings along during the hymns. That
Alzheimer’s is a terrible, terrible thing.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finding God's Love -- Part 2 of 5

He sat in his car gazing at the church. The midday sun reflected
off two sides of the metal cross that rose up over the roof of the
building. He’d loved that cross because it appeared to be strong
enough to withstand anything. He stared at the cross for several
minutes before bowing to pray for the first time in years.

“Dear God, I need You. I guess I always have, but I was too stubborn
to admit it. I hope it’s not too late. Your love once lived deeply
within me, and I took that love for granted. I am empty and alone
with burdens I can’t handle.” He thought about all the people he
wanted to pray for. “My father needs my strength, Lord, and Your
guidance. Let him use me. My mother needs Your loving care. I’ve
failed with Karen, and I’ve lost my mother. I love them both, Lord.
Please help me.”

As he rested his head on the steering wheel, holding on
with both hands, the emptiness he’d felt for so long turned to

“Yes. Help me, God,” he whispered.

He wasn’t aware of when it happened, but he suddenly realized
his body had relaxed.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding God's Love -- Part 1 of 5

In Where Love Once Lived, Brian learns his mother has Alzheimer's. He is distraught. He drives, not knowing where he is going and ends up in the parking lot of the church he once attended with his family. Read what happens next.

He drove not knowing where he was going, trying to remember
how his mother looked before she got sick. He should be thankful
for the brief conversation he had with her, but there was so much
more he wanted to tell her. He drove slowly along a road he used
to take to the beach, when a familiar sight appeared. On the right
was Barnabas Christian Church, his church until he kicked God out
of his life thirty years ago. He wanted to drive by, but he couldn’t.
The church beckoned him, so he pulled into the parking lot and
turned off the engine. Memories of his youth came to him as he sat
in the parked car. He’d been happy in this church, and he wanted
to find the solace he’d once had. Was it possible? He walked slowly
toward the nearest entrance to find out. Reverend Patrick promised
the church would be open twenty-four hours a day, every day of
the week. When Brian got to the entrance, however, he found steel
bars and padlocks instead of the welcome he desperately needed.
He checked the other three doors to the sanctuary and found them
blocked as well. It had to be a sign. He wasn’t welcomed. He turned
and walked back to the car.