Monday, October 25, 2010

Self Publishing

I have been reading "The Fine Print of Self Publishing" by Mark Levine. In his book, he assesses 45 self publishing companies and some of the results came as a surprise to me. In fact, two that I was considering finished in the "OK" and "Avoid" category respectively.

He assesses the companies based on nine qualities of a good self publishing company and it is an eye-opener. One of the things I am looking for, because I am in Canada and don't want to pay outrageous shipping and customs duty costs, is the company's policy with respect to returning the original production files. If I can print my copies for personal use or resale in Canada, it will save me a lot of money. Some companies actually ask you to pay for the return of your own original production files!

If you are considering self publishing, I would definitely recommend this book. I have no vested interest in recommending it, other than I think it will help me make a decision. Like everything else, you have to apply your own criteria and common sense but the book is certainly helping me with that process.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Project for Tanzania

Now that the work on raising money for the borehole and classrooms is complete, I am very pleased to announce a new project to help out the people in Tanzania. Once again we will be working in conjunction with our friends at Plan Canada. The project is designed to address economic security in Tanzania by working with women and youth (ages 15-24) to acquire the vocational skills they need to secure livelihood opportunities so they can support their families. Savings and loan programs will be established and training provided so that income and assets can be built up. The program is expected to directly affect 11,000 women and youth in four areas of Tanzania. The Canadian federal government has agreed to match gifts 3:1.
A link to our new donation page will appear on my blog in the next few days.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Title

I am still searching for the perfect title. This one hit me during the night: "A Mountain, a School and Some Clean Water" What do you think? Would you be intrigued enough to buy a book with this title?

Chapters 1 through 10 have now been edited. Working on the chapter 10 revisions this morning.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Six Chapters Down...

I just completed the revisions on Chapter six and started the process to look for book reviewers and think about a cover design. I had some success in the book reviewer department and I have some ideas for the design. Onwards and upwards!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

It has been a fabulous weekend with friends and family (from Manitoba). Son Trevor and his "Hot Damn Band" were in town from Nashville and performed twice. Everyone is leaving soon and things will be back to normal. All in all, it has been a great few days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And Another Thing About Editing

One other thing I have noticed during my years of writing is that even though something you have written is painfully obvious to you, if someone else questions the section, it needs reworking. If one person can't understand what you are saying, there is a good chance others won't either.
Just sayin'

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Going Through the Editing Process

My editor just sent me her edits for Chapter 6 of my book, "Climbing Kilimanjaro and Making a Difference". I am finding out that this whole editing thing is lot of work but I am convinced that the end result will be worth the effort.

I recently tried to read a book written by a friend. It had been self published and I was quite excited to read it. Unfortunately, I couldn't. It was full of spelling mistakes, large spaces in the middle of sentences and grammatical errors. It was such a shame that he gone to that much work and yet chosen the $200 self publishing package, which apparently didn't include editing.

I consider myself to be a good writer. I have a good grasp of the English language and my understanding of grammar is decent. I honed my skills writing policy for the federal government for ten years. I know what you are saying. Nobody reads that stuff anyway!! Well, my boss did and every time I sent a policy into his office for comment, it would come back with edits all over it.

I have to admit I was offended at first. But then I tried to sit back and look at it objectively. I came to an astonishing conclusion! It was actually a better product after I incorporated his edits. He was seeing things that I was oblivious to because I had been getting too close to it. I actually learned to appreciate his input.

When I first met with my editor, I had two issues that I wanted addressed. I wanted to know if my book was something that only my grandchildren would love and if it somehow had wider appeal, I wanted an editor who would be brutally honest. It passed my first criteria and I braced myself for the second. I thought I had become immune to that kind of honesty throughout my working career.

The edit of the Introduction came back with the normal grammatical changes plus a comment that part if it was too "preachy". Okay, I had asked for it. And you know what? She was absolutely correct and with a little work I was able to remove the preachings. Hmmm...I wonder where that desire to preach came from. Policy writing perhaps?

Since that time we have moved some paragraphs, eliminated some redundancy, elaborated on or clarified some paragraphs and ensured that I am not straying too much from the subject at any time. Oh yes, and some grammar has been fixed. And I am deeply appreciative. I am not sure what other editors do but I firmly believe that a good editor should go way beyond fixing grammar.

For anyone who has not ventured down the editing path, I strongly suggest that you find an editor who is willing to do that for you. And don't take the criticism personally. As long as the information you want to convey is still included, it is just possible it can be said better. It will definitely be a better product after it has been reviewed in depth by a second pair of eyes. It is worth the investment to ensure your masterpiece is the best it can possibly be.

I hope I am not being too preachy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Searching for a Title

My book is tentatively called "Climbing Kilimanjaro and Making a Difference". I think it summarizes what we have accomplished but is it the right title? Will it attract attention? Will it encourage people to purchase it? Is it too long? Will it pop up on the inevitable searches on Google, etc.? Lots of questions for which there are probably no answers. If anyone has any suggestions on book titles, I am listening.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Flights Booked for Tanzania

I am very excited to report that the details of our trip to Tanzania have been finalized. We will visit the schools in the Mwanza region, see the borehole and watch our Canadian flag being raised at the new classroom, visit with a family that is benefitting from the well and do a short safari. We will also spend a bit of time in Dar es Salaam and Arusha. The highlights of the trip will be published as an Epilogue in my book.

Stay tuned!