Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas To All

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
All the folks here at Windsor Hill Publishing wish you and yours the Merriest Christmas and the Happiest New Year imaginable.

Greg and  Bonnie

From the O'Mara Chronicles
Sharon, Kevin, Evelyn, Bobby, Alain, 
Peter, and Claudette

We look forward to a new historic novel this year as well as another Sharon O'Mara thriller. 

I am also excited to announce a book signing and reading with yours truly on:
Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 1:00 
Book Passage, Corte Madera, California

I hope you can make it - there will be snacks.

And here is a little something to make you smile:
Straight No Chaser and the Christmas Can Can


Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Without a doubt the best tool for the self-publisher, right now, is Createspace. This company, a member of the Amazon group of publishing companies, gives us the ability to publish our content, in paperback, and then distribute to Amazon, in an almost painless process that is professional and, above all, timely.

I have been down the road with print-on-demand (POD) printers, and while they do a good job, I still had to absorb the shipping costs from the printer to me and then from me to Amazon or directly to the buyer. Often the cost is almost what it costs to print the book. Not a good business model. With Createspace, the book is ordered through Amazon (and is shown as “In Stock” – very important), and the shipping is paid by the buyer. I also don’t have boxes of books gathering dust and my car parked in the driveway.

They also provide a good price for the author to buy the books themselves, in my case at least one dollar less than my old POD. Sure I have to pay the shipping but it comes in around $1.00 a book, still leaving me some room for some profit.

The product is exceptionally good, remember this is still a copier type process, not lithography or any of the more typical printing processes that require large print runs to be cost effective and you still have to pay for all the shipping costs (see above).

Createspace make it easy for the first time self-publisher. They have excellent tutorials for covers, content, and ordering. And above all they have good phone and email contacts. Most of my questions are answered within 24 hours or less.

How I Use Createspace
Cover Art
I do my own covers. I build them in Photoshop, with all copy and imagery at least 300 dpi, 400 dpi is better. How you work with Photoshop is based on your own style and expertise, but work in layers and manage your text issues as best as you can (for changes as required later). I then save the cover as a PDF in the highest quality available for your particular version; this PDF is what you submit to Createspace. When you receive the proof make sure the colors are what you want, remember that when you go from your computer screen to your printer, colors and intensities change. The same from Createspace (remember it is a color copier that makes the covers), if there are adjustments, inform them. They try to make it right.

I compose and write in Microsoft Word, and then transfer the work into InDesign. This is a very powerful program that gives you almost exactly what you see on the screen. I won’t go into fonts and formats, there are better people out there that can help with that, but it is up to you to create the best and most professional looking interior you can. There are millions of books that you can use as guides, pay attention to them. Pull one off the shelf, look at it. In a genre similar to the one you write, follow the formats, pagination, order of things, and the look and feel. It is a good place to start.

What I Really Like
When book reviews come in and you want those golden words on the cover, redo the cover and resubmit – almost painlessly and instantly. When you find those pesky typos that were missed (and they do show up), redo the InDesign master, and resubmit the PDF. When the cover needs a fresh look, just do it.

I am also surprised by how quickly an order is fulfilled from Amazon; I don’t know whether they warehouse copies or print when ordered, that’s their problem. All I know is that my readers get a copy quickly, a lot faster than I could fulfill orders when I was the warehouse. I am sold on this process.

There are a lot of changes happening to the publishing industry, and this simple printing and distribution process is probably scaring the dickens out of the old publishing houses and their printers as well. Well too bad, progress can be a harsh mistress.

More later . . . . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Current Status of:

12th Man For Death
The latest O'Mara thriller is now available through Amazon, in paperback and ebook (sorry, just Kindle for now). The reviews are coming in (see blog below) and sales are picking up. I am very happy with the story but I need more readers, so if you know anyone who loves a great, fun read and enjoys a travelogue thriller, 12th Man is it. And while you're there, pick up one of Sharon’s other adventures as well, they make great Christmas gifts.

I am trying something new for this book. We are using CreateSpace to do the POD (Print on Demand) and, to be honest, I am thrilled with the results. Everything from the cover art printing to the interior printing is outstanding. Yet there are some twists and turns to deal with when publishing with Amazon and CreateSpace. I will follow-up later with a more detailed blog, but for now it’s a damn good group of people to work with. They respond quickly to emails and you can actually talk to someone - live. More on CreateSpace's publishing process later.

Book Signing
On Sunday at 1:00 on January 6th, 2013, I’m having a book signing and reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California. This bookstore and its branches is, without a doubt, one of those jewels called an independent bookstore. They are there for their customers as well as writers, including those with a big name publishing house and self-published scribblers, like yours truly. They have excellent education programs for every genre and bring in the best writers to teach and share. I am thrilled to be presenting and it’s FREE (maybe buy a book or three while you’re there). I will be posting more information later in the month.

New O'Mara Chronicle
A new Sharon O’Mara Chronicle (Book Five) is slowly working its way through my brain, down my arm, and onto the keyboard. I write for the pleasure it gives me and Sharon gets to have adventures at places I’ve been too and enjoyed (London, Cabo, Paris, Venice, LA, SF, etc.). This new book will explore something even more enjoyable and yet very, very, sinister – baseball. Coming soon.

By The Way
Kevin Bryan, Sharon’s detective buddy from the Lafayette PD (that’s in Ca.), needs a new job. So look for a story or two about the six-foot-six Irishman from San Francisco.

Latest Book Under Development
I will complete the first draft of an historical novel later this week and hope to have the second and third drafts finished by summer. It is a epic in the tradition of Leon Uris, Herman Wouk, and Ken Follett (see my review of Winter of the World below), and is a sprawling story that starts in Chicago in 1934 and travels to Italy and World War II. It brushes the Depression and the Mob, Nazis, the labor movement, communists, fascists, drugs, and Italian food. What more could you want?

More later . . . . . .