An Improbable Journey is Available on Amazon Kindle

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My third title is available on Amazon's Kindle store. And now that also includes Amazon.ca's brand new Kindle store, exciting for me as a Canadian!

I have not enrolled this book in the Amazon KDP Select program, so I will be making it available as free eBooks here on the site very shortly; my current plan is to get those ready for tomorrow. I expect I'll also put it up on GoodReads and at Smashwords as well.

As usual, An Improbable Journey is $0.99.

"Marooned on an uninhabited junk yard world that lacks the basic necessities of life, Corwin Koell finds what he needs with the help of a tiny robot, but escape will only come at a cost."

eReaders as Proofreading Tools

One of the beautiful things about the Kindle is that it’s fairly easy to put your own content onto it. Stick a USB cable in, attach it to your computer, copy and paste files into the documents folder, and as long as the document’s a supported format (of which there are plenty,) you’re golden! You’ve got your document on your Kindle.

This can be really valuable for any writer in several ways. Naturally the first use most people will think of is creating Kindle ebooks for distribution and/or sale, but that’s not the limit.

How about using it as a proofreading tool?

One of the best ways of self-editing a document (which we all have to do, no matter how many other people will be looking at our work too) is to change how you view it. If you wrote it on paper, get it on the screen and look at it that way. If you wrote it on a screen, put it on paper. Especially if that paper is coated with eInk.

When you proofread on eInk, you can change how you’re looking at the document in many ways, at any time, as many times as you like. You can make the font size bigger, change the typeface, the line spacing, the words per line, even the screen rotation. And those are just the Kindle options, other eReaders may have other options to explore.

Every change you make alters how your brain processes the words you’re reading, which helps combat the “too close to the work” issue that makes editing your own work such a challenge. When you’re too close to it, your brain remembers roughly what to expect, and our brains are far too good at seeing exactly what we expect, instead of what’s really there.

Anything you can do to change up the display counteracts the brain’s habit of filling in errors with expectations, and makes it more likely you’ll spot unexpected typos, missing words or awkward-sounding phrasings.

eInk is my preferred choice for this, but the same can be accomplished with any reader, and in fact it’s a good idea to use eInk and other readers in combination, if possible. Right now color eInk displays are uncommon, and color is yet another way to change things up. So grab your tablet if you have one, or a computer-based reader and get proofreading.

The Editing Process

I’ve been at this full time writing thing for a little over 2 months now and I have plenty to show for it; 7 completed stories is not too bad at all I think. They cover a decent range of plot and theme and there’s even a little genre variety thrown in for good measure. They’re all first draft though, and that’s a problem.

I think it’s time to shift gears into phase 2 of this project, and that is beginning the editing process.

This doesn’t let me off the hook with writing. I still have to post every single day, and for WIP500, I still have to write a minimum of 500 words a day, though that’s 500 a day on average.

The problem of the editing process has occupied the back of my mind since I finished the first story back at the beginning of NaNoWriMo. The second problem of how to integrate the editing process into the writing process without stopping the writing has occupied another corner of my mind since near the end of NaNoWriMo when I was beginning to build up a decent backlog of work.

I think I’m just going to make it a very simple and straight-forward system. I’m trying to write in public as much as possible, and I’d like to do the same with editing wherever possible too. Every day I’ll put up a post about how the editing is going, what I’ve been changing in a given story and why, the direction I’m trying to take it in. This will stop me from posting 5000 different drafts of each story. I may still post significant draft updates though, if people are interested in seeing them.

Feedback Requested

This editing process is where I’m going to be most in need of feedback from my readers, and that begins with suggestions on how I could be doing better in presenting material.

Some time back during NaNoWriMo someone on Google+ suggested that it was a pain to read things online and then have to email me or leave a comment in order to provide feedback, and that I might want to make my work available in eBook formats, as PDFs, etc. I thought this was a pretty good idea; I don’t know that it’ll make giving me feedback any easier, but it will certainly make it easier for you to read and that can only be a good thing.

Formats

I’ll be spending some time over the next day or so doing exactly that. Everything will still be available in the blog of course, but I’ll be making .mobi, .epub and .pdf versions of the first drafts available for download.

Once this is done, I’d love to hear what you think about it.

I’d also love suggestions on other things I could be doing to make things easier or better.

The Future

One idea I’ve been kicking around in the back of my head is to borrow a page from Scott Sigler’s book, so to speak, and release audiobook readings. This would, of course, only occur after a story was all edited and finished.

I’ve never done any kind of long term reading like that, but it’s at least something I could try, as an experiment. See how people like it, if I’m any good at it, what the response is, etc.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’d love your feedback; please feel free to leave comments on the blog or stories, or to email me, or to get back to me on Twitter at @fictionimprob, or at my Google+ profile at http://gplus.to/GordMcLeod. Hope to hear from you all soon!

2011 is Dead. Long Live 2012.

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As I write this, 2011 is drawing to a close and none too soon. A lot of things about this year have been pretty fantastic, most notably the founding of this site, but in many other ways this has been a year I’ll be happy to forget.

2012 is 45 minutes away, so I’m taking this chance to think about what I want to accomplish in the year ahead with some resolutions.

Reading

Photo by Adokos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The first of my resolutions for 2012 is reading. I will once again participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, but I will not be setting a goal of 100 books this time. 30 books will be fine to start, and I can update that higher if I finish too early. It’s been months since I dared read a long book, and I miss them.

On the positive side, I DID finish my 100 book challenge for 2011! I had to read 9 books over the 30th and 31st of December to do it, and obviously they were very short books, but I did it legitimately and it feels pretty awesome.

Writing

Photo by Adokos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I have two writing resolutions.

The first: I will take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again come November. And I will win again.

The second: I will take part in WIP500, a new challenge to write 183,000 words over the course of the year by writing a minimum of 500 words every day. (2012 is a leap year, for those who did the math and wondered how 500 times 365 equals 183,000.)

The nice thing about doing both is that WIP500 counts any words you write for NaNoWriMo, so if you manage to stick to at least 500 words a day on average right up to November and then go on to do your 1,667 a day for NaNoWriMo, you’ll finish WIP500 before you even finish NaNoWriMo, let alone before year’s end.

I have a bonus third not-quite-resolution that I need to investigate but hope to implement, which I’m stealing from Judith Graves, who in turn got it from Scott Myers. It’s a progress chart that will probably help a whole lot with my progress on finishing Prices.

Speaking of finishing Prices:

Publishing

creative commons -Franz Patzig-

My final resolution is to publish 4 things in the Amazon Kindle store and hopefully other fine eBook vendors like the Nook store and the Apple iBooks store.

Happy New Year everyone! Hope 2012 is far better than 2011 was regardless of how well 2011 went for you.