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  • Writing And Publishing E-Books

    E-books are the future!

    It seems as if more people are reading on their electronic devices than read paper books; however, most of the people who download e-books don’t want to pay ten dollars or more for them. Unfortunately mainline publishers rarely allow their authors’ e-books to be sold for less than ten dollars.

    Because of this, there is a vast market for inexpensive e-books that are well-written.

    Since I last wrote on my blog, I  decided to move away from the grammar rules for a while and talk about writing and publishing your own e-book. In the last six years I have published ten such books and sell around 100 of them a month through Amazon. I keep the price low but still make at least a dollar per book.

    Anyone can publish his own e-book, but it is best to have some editors for friends — and be willing to listen to their advice. Many amateur writers refuse to make any changes in the mistaken belief that they know best.

    My writers group does this important job for me. I could not publish my books without them. We read our writing to each other and then listen to the sometimes painful critiques that result. I first started working with my writers group about fifteen years ago, I would sometimes get my feelings hurt and resent their input; however, by the time I got home and read over the book, I would usually agree that they were right.

    After I had finished the book, I depended upon their revision advice and then their proofreading skills. It takes many proofreadings to catch all the mistakes in the book. The author cannot possibly do this on her own.

    Once the manuscript is ready, it has only to be uploaded to Amazon’s e-book site. If the manuscript is a mess and full of mistakes, the Amazon reviewers will tear you to shreds — another reason it is important for the self-published author to have editorially inclined friends.

    I have written two books that sell the most copies: Pride and Prejudice: Mary’s Story and Pride and Prejudice: Kitty’s Story. I am currently at work on a third one called Pride and Prejudice: Georgiana’s Story. My hope is to have this one finished by summer and as an e-book. I hope some of you will check out the first two on Amazon.

    You might have a book idea that you think would sell — fiction or nonfiction. I’m happy to give more specific advice to anyone interested in following this path of publication.


    I will get back to my comments about grammar soon. Right now I want to do a review of a series of young adult fantasy novels written by a friend of mine, K.B. Hoyle. Influenced by Tolkien, CS Lewis, and J.K. Rawling, Hoyle’s series, The Gateway Chronicles, follows a group of six teenagers who meet each other at camp and find a gateway into a parallel world. Each summer they go into this world where they battle the forces of evil trying to take over that world.

    I recommend these books to anyone who loves the fantasy genre. The fifth book in the series, The Scroll, has just been published. Meanwhile, I am rereading the first four books, The Six, The Oracle, The White Thread, and The Enchanted, and enjoying them all over again. I love the way Hoyle combines adventure, supernatural happenings, and romance as the characters go from age thirteen to nineteen or twenty at the end of the series.
    Here is a link where you can find the novels.


    churchillI was talking in my last post about grammar rules teachers pass on that are not real rules. I’ll begin with the one I mentioned in my last post: “Never use a preposition at the end of a sentence”:

    This rule came from an attempt a few centuries ago to use Latin grammar rules for English, which had no rules at the time. This was foolish as the languages are not at all similar. For one thing, English is a living language that changes over time while Latin is considered a dead language, that is, it does not add new words or change usage.

    As a living language, English involves the creation of wholly new words and the absorption of words from other languages. Our language invites us to be creative and expressive. Even our rules invite transgression. (I’ll discuss sentence fragments in a later post.) But non-rules that have been erroneously imposed on generations of schoolchildren cry out to be stomped on. (How can I write that last phrase without an ending preposition?)

    Winston Churchill is famous for having used the following put down to someone who criticized his use of a preposition at the end of the sentence: “Correcting my grammar is something up with which I will not put.” This quote points out the absurdity of criticizing a person who says, “this is a situation I won’t put up with.”

    Of course, you can find another way to rearrange the prepositions so they are not at the end of the sentence, but if saying it this way gives it more punch or emphasis, then go ahead and say it– you’re free to do so.

    The problem today is that since so many people believe the non-rule, those who know the truth still avoid end of the sentence prepositions to keep from sounding ignorant to the uninformed.

    I’ll leave it up to you whether or not to use prepositions at the end of sentences, but I do advise you against criticizing those who don’t follow this rule. I also suggest you teach the truth to your children and grandchildren. Of course, if they insist their teacher tells them not to do it, you’re left with another problem: do you keep your mouth shut and let them think she is right, or do you tell them the teacher doesn’t know what she is talking about and open an entirely different can of worms?

    For my next post another non-rule: never split an infinitive

  • Writing rules

    vogueI grew up in a time when writing meant freedom to express oneself. Writing is — or can be — art, and an artist sometimes breaks rules and sometimes expresses unconventional ideas in unconventional ways. If one is bound by grammatical rules and political correctness, can he (he or she to be PC) be an artist?

    I was a writer and a poet before I became a journalist. As a writer and a poet, I was a modernist — no doubt influenced by the decades right before me. I write free verse, even now, but I rhyme when I want to. I love the sound and rhythms of words almost more than the meanings. I like to play with them and feel them ripple through my fingers like water or sand or even squishy mud.
    Because I loved words and wanted to create with them, I became a writer, a poet, and a journalist. Journalism taught me short sentences and sparse punctuation and getting to the point. It also taught me to use a snappy starter — something to grab my readers’ attention.
    Becoming an English teacher taught me what  correct punctuation really is.  It taught me the rules  I had forgotten from high school. But it also taught me that many so-called rules are not really that. We fear to break them, yet to be a real writer we must know when we can. We must know which rules are real and which are not but  have been repeated so many times that even many English teachers think they are real.
    I will talk about these rules in my next post.  Here is a preview: there is no rule against ending a sentence with a preposition!

  • Current projects

    It has been a few months since I published Pride and Prejudice: Kitty’s Story as an e-book available on Amazon. This was the second book in a series of first-person accounts told by minor characters of the original novel. My idea was to use parts of Pride and Prejudice, dialogue particularly, and tie it in with the story of these other characters.
    I am currently writing a third in the series, Georgianna’s Story, which should be ready in January. Projects I’m working on include a short novel about a woman who committed suicide finds himself in hell and a sequel to my Quest for Eden Series.