Monday, December 1, 2014

Uploading to Google Play

Good Morning. As I said a few weeks ago, I was trying to upload to Google Play. Let me just say right now, it is a NIGHTMARE. I know what I need to do, and so far have managed to do it, at least THREE times, but the durn system at Google still says I have an unsanitized epub file. Whatever that means.

Here is what I had to do (and why so many people don't upload there.)

First, the interface is horrendous. Nothing is easy. Navigation is foggy at best. You need certain codes for countries, certain codes for monetary denominations, and if you don't have your own ISBN, they'll give you one, but write it down as soon as you get it, because you need to change the name of your files to that.

(Instead of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE.epub I had to write HQ873GKL4986_interior.epub. For the cover, you also have to rename that to HQ873GKL4986_frontcover.jpg. And you need the cover, otherwise the book won't show up in Google Play/Books.)

Second, well, I'll just tell you the steps I had to do. By the time you're finished just reading this you'll have a headache.

Upload the Mobipocket creator to computer. Also upload Calibre with the latest system (2.11.0), and Adobe Digital Editions. All are FREE downloads.

1)Save your Word.doc file to html. (File>save as>webpage filtered (a box will pop up and ask if you want to save it as some of the office specific tags will be lost -- click yes)

2) Upload your html file to the Mobipocket Creator with cover to create a prc.doc. (The same way you'd create a file for upload to Kindle.)

3) Upload your prc.doc to Calibre to create an epub version.

4) Download this file to Adobe Digital Editions to see if you can read it.

5) Then attempt to upload it to Google Play.

Now, as I said, I've done this 3 different times, using 3 different computers (2 laptops one of them a Google Chromebook and a pc). None of them took. Which I still can't understand if I'm using a Chromebook. Land sakes it's made by Google.

I've gotten the run-around asking the HELP desk for help. Bianca said that if I can read it on Adobe, then Google should be able to upload it, and if it's still processing in two days, then write back and they'll check the problem. It's been 4 days. I can read it just fine on Adobe.

I also tried uploading to this new interface called Liberio, which is supposed to create the proper document that Google wants. This is another nightmare. I tried it once, spoke to the creator of this new interface (who is very nice and tried to help all kinds of ways, but had no idea what the problem was with my documents.) Within a week of my problem, they rolled out a new way to upload -- through Dropbox -- which I then tried, but that too did not work. I gave up on Liberio.

Suffice it to say, uploading to Google Play is not easy. However, I'm going to give it one more shot. (Maybe two, I'm going to see if it makes any difference if I use a Word 2007 document rather than a Word 2003. It could make all the difference in the world, but then again it could be another exercise in futility.)

I honestly don't know what the problem is. I've never encountered this problem with any of the other booksellers before. My docs, no matter what they're written on, have always uploaded successfully.

If I had to guess, I'd say my problem is, I have no idea. They (Google) won't tell me. I mean, what is an unsanitized epub anyway? Is there doo-doo in the margins? Did my spilled tea make it into the document? Does it smell? Who knows. No one will tell me. I even Googled "unsanitized epub" and that's when Liberio popped up so you could make a sanitized one.

I wish they would just TELL me what I'm doing wrong so I could fix it. I'm not stupid. No matter what I have to do is a learning curve, but damn it, I've learned just about all there is to learn about publishing documents. I can even read html code. (I'm not very good at it, but I can do it.)

So, my experience with Google Play has not been very good. But that's not to say that uploading there can't be done. I'll let you know how the next round goes.

Tell me -- Do any of you out there have a clue what a sanitized epub is? Have any of you uploaded to Google Play? Did it work? How did you do it?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Can't I Stop Writing?

Good Morning. Last week I finally finished THE SEDUCTION OF MR. SUMMERVILLE. And I told you the ending sucked. And it did. Well, yesterday I had a brain fart and a whole new ending came tumbling out. Two pages worth, so I wrote it down, wrote The End and called it good. Which I think it was.

However, once I finished, I started to write the first few pages for another story in this series, which is SUPPOSED to be complete. Problem is, I need to write it from a totally different POV. See, I've had all these characters in my head for a long time. They're like my extended family. I know their quirks and their habits, and the way they speak.

And this character isn't new, he's just never made his presence known to me. He's like a ghostly apparition. I know he's there, he's always there, but I know absolutely nothing about him. Well, other than the fact he lost his missionary parents to influenza, he's 55, and he's a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. That's it.

And I don't really HAVE to write this story. The Series is finished. Everyone has their happily ever after. Well, except for one person. One VIP. or should I say one VIC (very important character). And that bothers the snot out of me. I mean, why should this VIC not have a happy ending?

I think, because I'm evil.

I think, because I don't really want to let go of this series.

I think, because I've lost my mind.

Anyway, I started writing this new story. I'm not very far in and I'm not crazy nuts trying to write it and finish it. I'm giving myself until the end of January for that. It's going to be short and sweet and to the point. I'm going to try and release it for Valentine's Day. I think that date is appropriate. Who doesn't love a love story on Valentine's day?


In other news, SEDUCTION is available for pre-order, or will be soon, I only uploaded it this morning. It should be across the board by Thanksgiving.

I finalized my gift card orders for school this morning so I'm don't have to be insane this week worrying about it. That means I'll have more time to blog. FINALLY. I'm still having trouble commenting on certain blogs, and STILL trying to rectify that. If you don't see me, it's not because I don't read you, it's because I can't comment. And it's nothing on your end, it's on mine.

I did all my laundry over the weekend, so today marks the BIG CLEAN. Ugh. I mean, the really BIG CLEAN. Dusting and washing windows, as well as all the other regular cleaning. I would rather scrub a 100 toilets than dust.


Tell me -- Do you ever get the urge to write MORE when you don't really have to? Do you think EVERYONE needs to have a happy ever after? What is your least favorite household chore?


Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Life Smackdown

Good Morning. Well, it's been a month and a couple of days since I've been here last and well, I've been hard pressed to get back into the blogging groove. I know a lot of you are doing NaNo and don't pop up again until the end of November, but I thought I would fill you in.

The Seduction of Mr. Summerville was going well until the end of October. I have now written 76,000 words, but can't seem to find the right ending. Yes, I have it in my head, but getting it down is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had this crazy idea that I needed another "big" thing to get down before I
finished it, and so I put it in. Then I had this other crazy idea that I needed a ghost. Yes, you heard right, a ghost in my Regency romance. It's not paranormal, it's just crazy, and I think it works, but I'll let my critters decide. I set aside this past weekend to finish it (I only needed a few more pages) but, alas, I'm still writing. Maybe by the end of the week.

Google Play Well, after trying to upload for several days to Liberio (the only epub maker that will upload to Google) I found out that both laptops and my pc wouldn't allow me to do it. Luckily, Liberio has opened other channels to accept manuscripts to upload and Dropbox is one of them. I haven't had a chance to get to this yet (see above) but as soon as I do, I'll let you know how it goes.

Anne Gallagher Blog For the last couple of weeks, I've been doing posts about Writing a Series. I try to give helpful ideas of what I did, just in case you wanted to write a series. Or maybe spin-off one of your books. I'm in the final stages of wrapping it up. You can find it here.

Volunteering at School I'm still volunteering at Monster's school as the Gift Card Coordinator, and last week I was also the chairperson for the Veterans' Day Observance we had. It was really nice (everyone said so), and the food was fabulous (everyone said so) and the Vets who came had a really great time (they all said so). I'm glad I did it because I proved that we didn't need to spend any money to throw a reception (all the ladies baked something) and we rounded up loose ends from various programs (coffee cups from the Booster Club, napkins from the cafeteria, table cloths from the PTO, and I used all my pretty platters and bowls from my defunct catering company). It was a lot of work, but something I'm glad I did. Veterans' Day is more important to me than Christmas.

Second Reader Services I've been putting together a small business plan for content editing services that I hope will be ready to launch soon. I've edited/critiqued/helped authors in the past get their books ready to publish, and have gotten pretty good feedback from them. My name has appeared in several acknowledgments, so I think that's high praise indeed. I expect to keep the cost down (so much so that my dearest friends are telling me to go higher because I'm worth it) BUT, I know struggling authors don't have a lot of money. I'm hoping to get this into gear in December.

Other than that, I'm trying to decide whether or not to let Monster get her ears pierced for her birthday in December. She'll be 10. I told her she had to wait until she's 12, but I'm wavering. However, I can barely get her to brush her hair before she goes to school. Can I trust she'll take care of her earlobes? Hmmm....

Tell me -- What are you doing? How is everything? What did I miss?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Seduction of Mr. Summerville

Good Morning. So, I kept telling myself that I was on a roll with my latest book. I had 40K words written, only 40K more to go by the end of October. Easy peasy. I had an outline, I knew the story inside and out (granted it's been in my head for the last two years), how hard could it be to sit down and write 3K a day?

Okay, I'm laughing right along with you. You know how it goes. At least I was smart enough this time to leave myself some breathing room (like the whole month of November) but I'm going to try to finish it up by Halloween.

That being said, I'm going to take a little blog break to get 'er done.

Here's the cover and copy in case you were interested.

American shipbuilder, Stephen Summerville has a bit of a dilemma when he meets two very beautiful English sisters. However, when Stephen is confronted with the aristocratic father he never knew, deciding on a wife seems like a small task in comparison to what he must decide for his future. The last book in the Reluctant Grooms series coming Christmas 2014.

See you soon!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Expanding my Horizons to Google Play

Good Morning. With all the news of impending doom surrounding publishing, specifically e-publishing, I've taken a hard look at where I'm downloading these days.

If you don't follow these boys from Britain, you probably should. They have an ear to the ground and expound on their findings so you/we have a better understanding of what's happening behind the scenes.

Their latest entry, the debacle that is now Amazon, reports that Amazon is steadily losing ground, money, and interest in their ebook revolution. I can attest to that. My sales have slipped noticeably since May. To say I'm disappointed is putting it mildly. They used to pay my mortgage.

However, being a smart entrepreneur, I diversified a long time ago through Smashwords. Yes, their meatgrinder is a bitch, but it's well worth it to publish with them because they aggregate books to other book sellers -- Kobo, Nook, B&N, OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Amazon, and a couple of others. You might think it's not worth it to go through all the trouble, but it is.

Yet, the only problem with that, is it's a hit-or-miss proposition. I've been published with them for nearly three years. Only now have I seen any noticeable movement through their channels. But that's okay, it's all about the long tail.

However, I've been thinking that since Amazon had been my breadwinner, and now they're not, I needed to find another source of income that would take their place. Not easy in this world of five billion books. And so I decided to research the market a little bit and with the recommend from the ebook boys, I decided on Google Play.

I only uploaded yesterday, and not my whole repertoire, (I'm waiting to see what happens), but I'm happy that I did. Yes, it's a pain to set everything up, yes, another pain to make sure the epub files are clean, yes, it's kind of daunting (but they have straightened out a lot of the mystery surrounding how to upload) but I think it was a good decision for me.

I don't expect overnight success with this venture, but at least now I'm there. With over something like 65 countries they publish in, I'm sure I will be able to sell one or two of my little books. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Where do you publish? Just Amazon? B&N? Kobo? Smashwords? Have you gotten to Google Play yet?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Social Media Worth It?

Good Morning. Yes, this is another post about the dreaded question -- is social media worth our time and energy? Janice Hardy over on Fiction University had a guest last Thursday, Dario Ciriello, author, and owner of Panverse Press. His topic was social media presence for writers.

To paraphrase... (But you really should go read the article. And the comments.)

He said:
This core assumption is reinforced by agents, publishers, publicists, and other authors. Some agents won’t even take on a new client unless that writer has a Facebook following of at least 500 and a Twitter following in excess of 5,000. At minimum, you also need a website; but you should also blog, guest blog, and have a Pinterest page for your each of your books, right? 

He said:
"...there are two things—and just two—that will meet your readership’s core needs and leave you with far more time and energy to write: a website and an email list."

I agree. My website is my blog is my newsletter. I've been here nearly five years. People know where to find me. I stuck the email-this-blog-to-your-inbox-thingie on my sidebar. (I wish I knew how many people actually did it. I'm sure there's an analytics tab or something to find out.) However, if readers/fans want to know me better they can follow me if they want to. No pressure.

He said:
"Does your social media presence sell any books? What's the conversion rate, the ROI (Return on Investment), in terms of books sold? I'm not advocating others who enjoy social media abandon point is simply that I believe that in terms of actual marketing and book sales, the ROI is at the very least hard to measure; frankly, I think it's minimal... As far as I can tell, there's zero empirical evidence that the time writers spend on social media brings returns in terms of book sales.

And do any of us put a $ value on our time ? We should. Because if, as I suspect, one gets one sale for every dozens of hours spent blogging or on social media.... well, at that point we might be better off advertising or hiring a publicist. :)

Which is why I like Twitter. I'm on, I'm off. Quick. When I see friends or colleagues on Twitter, it's like running into them at the coffee shop. Sometimes 420 characters is all you need. My biggest regret of late has been neglecting to comment on other blogs. 

Unfortunately, I think that's the cruelest trick of them all. We start out on social media, build a friendship, a base, and then once we get "famous/comfortable/an agent/contract/publisher" we abandon them. We don't have time for them because we're working hard on the next book and the next and the next. 

He said:
Say you spend just an hour a day (I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt) on Facebook, Twitter, your writing blog, etc. In a year that amounts to around 350 hours, which is the equivalent of ten thirty-five-hour weeks. And this doesn’t even address the effect that regularly fragmenting one’s time and attention has on the creative mind. 

If we want our work to be seen and read, we must hawk our own wares sometime. Who else is going to do it? I'm not advocating 35 hours a week, but at least 10. Quality, not quantity.

I Tweet in spurts. When I have time and the laptop, I'm more apt to make an appearance. Yes, I do Tweet about my latest book releases. But so what. Everybody else does too. Even those people who tell us not to do it. But how else are readers supposed to hear of it? (I don't think I'm obnoxious about it.) And besides, we can't all do commercials on TV like James Patterson.

I blog on Sunday (Anne Gallagher) and Monday (Piedmont Writer). I write my posts on Friday nights. I gather my topics during the course of the week and spend the late afternoon getting it all together. 

I'm on Goodreads, LinkedIn, and yes, I do have Pinterest boards for all my books. I like them. But I don't frequent the these places, and for the most part they're just static.

He said:
My issue with writers blogging, spending time on writer sites, and all the rest, is that other writers are typically not our audience. Yes, there are things to be learned, but I think the writer's business is to write. There must come a time when one has a good command of one's craft, understands the basics of markets, formatting, etc., etc., and really, how informed does a writer need to be? 

I also agree "...that other writers are typically not our audience."

However, here's my caveat. 

I spend most of my time alone. In a room, in the basement, with spiders. Sometimes I just need some contact with the "outside" world to reassure myself

a) I'm not alone.
b) I'm a writer. 
c) Somewhere in the world, someone else is doing the exact same thing I am. 

Which is why I'm in the basement in the first place. My family just doesn't understand my need for solitude.

I love my "job". I cannot imagine going back into the restaurant business. (Not at my age. Unless the pay was phenomenal.) Writing is what I have always wanted to do, and now I'm doing it. 

I've tried to not be social. I've gone into my cave and not come out for months. It didn't make a dent one way or another in my sales. So whether I'm on it or off it, it doesn't make a difference to the ROI.

However, in not being social I missed some things (blogs, articles, book releases, news) that I probably wanted to hear. I guess you have to trade one for the other. 

These days, I'm with Mr. Ciriello. Less is actually more. And if there's no ROI, then why bother wasting your time. However, it's a good idea to be seen occasionally. Besides, you might meet a new friend.

Tell me -- What do you do for social media? If you're published, do you think it has a Return on Investment? 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Have Been Writing

Stephen Summerville
Good Morning. I have been writing. With gusto, and zeal, and non-stoppedness. I added 13K to #Summerville last week. (If you missed me on Twitter, I posted my word count every couple of hours.) I also wrote and delivered a short infomercial for the PTO meeting last Thursday night. (I volunteer at Monster's school as the Gift Card Coordinator, hence the PTO.) For this job I wrote a new order form, a "we regret to inform you, your services will no longer be needed" letter, and a four page outline for the Oversight Committee report I have to file by October 1.

I'm also working on a short "lecture" series for my other blog Anne Gallagher Regency Romance Writer. I
 discuss how I wrote my series, and things I learned along the way. I don't know if you're thinking about a series, but we're all writers. Take a look, maybe I missed something. Add your experience.

I have to tell you, though, I am loving working on this new book, The Seduction of Mr. Summerville. I can't remember when I've ever been so in love with my characters. Bella is so deliciously bad, and Arianna is so not. Stephen and Edward are ready to kill each other, Reginald wants to kill Olivia, while she's laughing her ass off in the corner watching Reginald's downfall all play out. And Constance remains in hysterics. It's such a soap opera. Which is why I have such a high word count. I hate to leave it.

I have also been cleaning my house, rearranging furniture. Last weekend, I flipped part of the living room to make room for the dining room. Yesterday, I flipped my office into the dining room. The living room went into the den. I swear that has been the catalyst for my sudden efficiency with a pen. Keyboard. Whatever.

Okay here's the thing... I have been so sick since I came back from vacation. I've had pneumonia, and bronchitis, and sinus infections that two doses of antibiotics couldn't get rid of. So they gave me these horsepills full of some kind of penicillan, and corticosteroids. I have been high as a kite since last Monday. Is it any wonder why I stayed up until well passed my bed-time working. And then tossing and turning when I finally did force myself to lay down. Whew. Three days on speed. Yeehah. I couldn't take it any more. That stuff was messing with my head. And I had to give a speech to the PTO at large.

(My infomercial was a huge hit. Several people said they hadn't realized how funny I actually was.)

I have also been cleaning my files and folders and saw all my other projects in the contemporary romance realm of my writing, which has long been neglected. I have several that I'd like to finish up, and publish this spring. If I can. I have no idea what they even look like now, which is good, in a way, fresh eyes and all. So it should be quick. But I'd like to get my personal "back-list" off my back, clear out some of my old files before I buy a new computer. (Goes with moving the office.)

Anyway, I am feeling much better, now that I stopped taking the steroids. At least I can sleep. However, I haven't been able to get back to Summerville since Friday. It's a shame too. Bella and Stephen were finally going to have their confrontation conversation.

Tell me -- Do you think physicality improves your writing? Have you been writing? Have you been moving furniture? What are you working on?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2014