Living (and writing about) the Law of Attraction!

Posts tagged ‘writing with your other hand’

SELF-PUBLISHING TIPS

1.  Determining your target audience will help you to decide which mode of publishing is best for you. (e.g. Can your audience be reached best via the internet or will you most likely be interacting with them personally in workshops, seminars, individual coaching?) I learned with my first book that selling it myself, trying to reach my audience in person, was exhausting and definitely not my cup of tea. Consigning it in bookstores was a lot of work with very little return. I’ve found that the internet is the place for me. No more stocking books, shipping them, following up on consignment stock, etc. And marketing online vrs in person is much more suited to my introvert personality (but that’s a whole other subject)

2.  A word about companies that offer to publish your book for a fee (often called Vanity Publishers): While some publishing companies are set up to assist self-publishers and do offer valuable services, others are merely a money pit. Find out exactly what you will be receiving for your money, what services they provide (or expect you to provide). Get a detailed quote up front and definitely ask for references!! With my first book, Life’s Song, I was glad to have someone hold my hand through the whole experience, but the overall cost was considerable. With A Song of the Heart, I went with the same company, but just made use of their editing services. Now I’m my own publisher and do nearly everything myself, but I still call on a professional when needed for graphics or final proofreading. Know your strengths, be willing to learn, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

3.  Why self publish? The bottom line…control. You decide what and when and how. You have a vision; you know what you want to say and how you want the finished product to look. Sure, you’ll get advice along the way, but the final decisions are yours. And you get to choose how quickly you get your book to market.

POD companies such as Ingram’s Lightening Source http://www1.lightningsource.com/ 

or Amazon’s Create Space https://www.createspace.com/

can take your book from finished manuscript to major online bookstores in a few short weeks. You can still order a quantity of books to have on hand and sell yourself, but the beauty of Print on Demand is that a book is not printed until an order is received, and then it is shipped directly to the reader, or the retailer that orders it. Finally, you can earn the right to be noticed by a traditional publisher.

Hay House’s POD division, Balboa Press http://www.balboapress.com/Packages/CorePackages/Compare.aspxclaims that their titles are monitored regularly by the parent company in hopes to find new aspiring authors to add to their catalogue.

4.  If you’re planning to order books to sell/market, shop around. The cost of printing can vary significantly. While the benefits of POD are great, the cost to order a quantity of books through them can be higher than regular digital or off-set printers. My first book was printed through a local printer and the cost to print was nearly $7/book for 500 copies. I changed printers for my second book and paid just over $4/book for 250. Even though the books had to be shipped across the country, it was worth it. These printers, however, didn’t give me the link I needed for online exposure (one of them claimed to but it ended up costing me money just to sell a book on Amazon). So a combination of the two methods may be the best solution. I find that Lightening Source gives me the best online exposure and if I want to order books to have on hand, I do a print run through the less expensive printer I found. There’s no difference in appearance or quality, just price. When you’re getting quotes, know your book size, # of formatted pages (the number that shows up at the bottom of your Word document), desired paper weight (typically 50 or 55lb for B&W), cover weight and finish (matte or gloss). Then clear a space in your house, 500 books takes up a fair bit of space and a cold garage or damp basement isn’t the best location.

5.  There are getting to be more Print on Demand companies all the time, so check out what they offer. The differences can be subtle, but important. I’ve found Lightening Source (LSI) great to work with. They don’t hold your hand (as a publisher, you’re expected to know a thing or two) but when I asked questions they were friendly and answered them fully. With Ingram as their parent company, LSI’s distribution channels are the best I’ve seen, and the process of getting your book online or in their catalogues is easy. A friend of mine published with Create Space initially and then switched to LSI because she couldn’t get her book on Amazon.ca. Another SP author mentioned that while Create Space was created to cater to new authors and does “hold your hand”, they are, in essence, your publisher and hold certain rights to your book. Lulu and Balboa are a couple of other contenders I’m aware of. Check out their websites. All of the POD companies can provide ISBN and barcode. Most offer packages that provide basic proofreading services all the way up to completely editing your book and designing your cover.

6.  Ask yourself, “What do I want out of this?” Do you want your books in bookstores, online, or both? To be attractive to the big bookstores, you’ll need to price yourself right and set your commission at 50% or less or they won’t even look at you. You also need to make your books returnable (Stores want to be able to send your books back for a refund if they don’t sell within a certain time) so keep that in mind when you’re filling out the forms. For example, with LSI, I set the discount for my books at 20% and I check “no” in the returns box. It means the big brick and mortar bookstores won’t look at me, but it gets me on all the major online bookstores with 80% of the cover price coming back to me. The checks I’m getting regularly now from Lightening Source prove I’ve made the right decision.

7.  Within the publishing world you hear talk of agents and distributors. Most traditional publishers have a filtering system in place and generally speaking, agents are that filter. A good agent can get your book in the hands of an editor at a big name publishing house, but that’s just the first step. It has to go through many channels before it’s accepted. A distributor is necessary if you want your book in bookstores. Most bookstores, especially chains, will only buy books from their distributor’s catalogues. Again this is a filtering system. With POD publishers, you don’t need an agent and in many cases, they become your distributor. Ingram – Lightening Source’s parent company – claims to be the world’s largest distribution channel of book wholesalers and retailers. You pay a one-time fee to be listed in their catalogue and voila! now the big box bookstores will look at you. Keep in mind  you still need to make your book attractive to them with price, discount, and return policy, but that’s very doable. You also need to market your book. Even if your books get picked up by Barnes and Noble or Chapters/Indigo, they’re likely to be returned to you after a few months because most people won’t buy a book they’ve never heard of. This is where I find online marketing to be the way to go. In the last couple of months (since my Law of Attraction trilogy has been complete):

I’ve created a Fan page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeanewatier  and spent time there creating a presence and making contacts.

I’ve done some inexpensive advertising – PRWeb: http://www.prweb.com/Facebook adverts, and a magazine that is running my ad for two months.

My sales have already increased dramatically and I’m just getting started!!

8.  Whatever route you choose, if you decide to self-publish, you’ll need to make some basic decisions:

Pricing your book right means finding the balance between profit and saleability (too high and people won’t buy it; too low and you won’t cover your own costs). Generally people will pay more for information than for pleasure when it comes to books. They see nonfiction as an investment whereas a novel or a book of poetry is an indulgence. Spend some time in a bookstore and take note of prices (as well as size, design, cover layout, etc).

Size matters. Check with your printer or POD company before settling on a size for your finished book. PODs have a range of cover sizes for you to choose from. Printers can trim your book to any size, but some sizes are cheaper to print than others.

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is essential if you want to sell your book. In Canada, they are free and as a publisher you register with CISS: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ciss-ssci/index-e.html and receive a block of numbers.

In the US, go to: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp.

Cataloguing in Publication, CIP, is not required,but including that information on your copyright page will allow you to sell your books to libraries. In Canada go to: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cip/index-e.html .

In the US, go to: http://www.loc.gov/publish/cip/

You’ll need a barcode on the back cover of your book if you plan to sell in stores. Barcodes are created using your ISBN and (optional) the price of the book. Most printers and PODs will provide this at no cost or for a small fee.

Finally, if you’ve written a book that you plan to self-publish, market and sell, then you are your own publisher. Come up with a name for your company and incorporate.

9.  Preparing files for print: Your manuscript is edited and proofed. Your book-size format is complete with title page, copyright page, index, preface, etc (called front matter). You’re ready to upload (or submit a hard copy of) your book to be printed. Most printers now accept pdf files of both your text and cover. If you do this yourself, keep in mind that when you print to pdf (from Word) or share -> export (from Pages), you need to choose the highest quality setting. Your cover file needs to be in CYMK color format, with all fonts converted to curves (outlines). If this sounds too complicated it’s best to have a professional review your files. Most printers and POD companies such as Lightening Source standardly review files to make sure they’re acceptable for print, but they also have in-house design people that can help you with any necessary changes. Finally, always, always request a proof. It’s your last opportunity to catch any errors in formatting, see how the cover looks, and hold the finished product in your hands before you order a large shipment or give the go-ahead to distribute on Amazon. It’s worth the extra cost!!

A great resource is Dan Poynters Self Publishing Manual http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Poynters-Self-Publishing-Manual-Write/dp/1568601425

10.  eBooks: Wow. There’s so much to be said on the subject! If you want maximum exposure for your book, this is one market that can’t be overlooked. There are various ways to make your book available as an ebook. Ask your printer; they may offer this service. Lightening Source does. However, you can do it yourself without to much difficulty. Starting with a basic (unformatted) manuscript, you can have your book available on Amazon Kindle in a few easy steps. And it’s free.

Go to Kindle Direct Publishing:https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin.

If you want your book available on iPad, Nook, Kobo, and Sony Reader, to name a few, you can have your book converted into the necessary formats and have complete coverage. Having said that, consider that Kindle has almost 70% of the eBook market and offers free reading apps to use on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Blackberry (so your readers don’t even need to own a Kindle device to download and read books from the Amazon Kindle site.

Go to: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000493771

WRITING TIPS

 

  1. Within each of us there is a wellspring of hidden creative potential. Practices such as meditation and journaling can help to access that dormant creativity. The following writing exercises can be beneficial in getting that creative flow started.
    FREE WRITING: think of a topic and write nonstop for 2 or 3 minutes, giving no thought to spelling, grammar or neatness. If you run out of ideas, keep going even if it is silly or nonsensical.
    AUTOMATIC WRITING (a similar exercise, but the emphasis here is to bypass your conscious mind and let ideas flow from a deeper place within you) Relax your hand. Breathe deeply. If possible, close your eyes. Again, don’t stop, no matter what comes out. And above all, don’t judge what you are writing.
    WRITE WITH YOUR LEFT HAND: Switching to your left hand is a powerful way to activate your right brain and allow your creative, emotional, intuitive side to have its expression. For more information on this, see Lucia Capacchione’s book, The Power of the Other Hand.
  2. Trust what comes through you onto the page. Don’t question it or second guess what you write. In other words, try to keep your analytical mind out of the process. Some people work with an outline and plan what they want to include in each chapter. Some even know the ending before they get to it. That’s fine if your mind works that way. My best work comes when I let go of the thinking process and let the characters tell their own story. I love learning details about them as the story unfolds.
  3. Try not to edit while you write. Although the temptation is to fix a mistake as soon as you notice it, I’ve found that it interrupts the flow. Stay focused, let the creativity take you over and have its way with you. Editing can put you in a critical frame of mind – looking for errors – and that’s not conducive to creativity.
  4. It’s beneficial to keep a character profile for each of your characters – jotting down details, no matter how mundane. Do this after a session of writing, while the details are still fresh in your mind. If you write something about one of your characters in chapter 2, you don’t want to contradict yourself in chapter 10. You may also want to keep a timeline, so you can see when your characters are doing what. This was very helpful with my trilogy, as book three began, chronologically, before book two.
  5. If you feel there is a certain word or phrase that would perfectly describe what you are trying to say, but in the moment you can’t quite find it, leave a blank (_______), or write a less than perfect word as a substitute and highlight it. Then move on and don’t sweat it. I’m always amazed that when I come back to that section, the exact word(s) I’m looking for pops right in to my mind.
  6. Too many cliches – words or expressions that are worn out from overuse – can make your work seem stale and unappealing. Eg: cold as ice, bright and early, sick and tired, take it easy, last straw, fish out of water, garden variety, etc. Be original and keep your work fresh and unique. However the occasional use of trite expressions, slang, even bad grammar used in dialogue may make your character more believable.  I found an inexpensive software that locates cliches in your work and highlights them. Go to: http://www.cliches.biz/clichecleaner/index.html 
  7. Active voice vrs passive voice. (This is one I’m still working on.) An active sentence puts the “actor” – the person or thing doing the action – first. A passive sentence puts the object of the action first. “His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the phone ringing.” In the active voice it might read: “The phone rang, interrupting his thoughts.” The second sentence is more concise, drawing the reader into the action that is happening in the moment. Use the passive voice when the actor is unknown, irrelevant, or you want to be vague.  “A shiny new tower was built on the waterfront.” (The particular builder is irrelevant.) Or when you want to emphasize the person or thing being acted on. “Mary was often shocked by people’s flagrant lack of regard.” (The sentence focuses on Mary and her typical response to something.)
  8. Try to set up a writing routine and stick to it for a few weeks to see if it works for you. Make time daily, even if it is just an hour or two. If not, set aside half a day, once a week as your creative time. Begin with a writing exercise or a meditation to get you in the right frame of mind. Guard this time as precious. Mark it on your calendar and tell anyone who asks that you’re busy or already have an appointment. At least once a year take yourself on a writing retreat. Get away from family and business and routine. You deserve it! Whether it’s a week or a weekend, whether it’s at a fancy resort or your friend’s house (while she’s away on holidays), make time for what’s Important to you.
  9. Sometimes deadlines are unavoidable, and they can even be beneficial. They keep us moving forward to accomplish what we want. But try not to be too rigid. Working under pressure (even if it’s from yourself) can squelch creativity. If you’re feeling frustrated, pressured, or just have plain old writers block, don’t hesitate to get up and walk away from your work. Take a break, get out into nature, watch a favorite movie, play solitaire, go for coffee with a friend—anything to distract you and take your mind off what isn’t working. Come back to your work fresh and relaxed. Your best writing comes when you’re feeling connected to who you really are—and that’s a happy, healthy, creative eternal Being.
  10. The urgent will drown out the important if you let it. Your creativity is an important part of who you are. Let it find its outward expression, but do so while maintaining balance in your life. I’m still learning to balance my life and my writing. I’ve made writing a priority and I love it. It’s satisfying and fulfilling, but I can get so into my work that I neglect other areas of my life. When I take time to  thoroughly clean my house, call up a friend that I haven’t seen in a while and chat for an hour on the phone, or spend a Saturday with my husband, shopping or doing odd jobs around the house or yard, I realize that I enjoy those things, too.

Eye (“I”) Issues

I’ve been having eye issues lately—teary, watery eyes. I understand that every physical manifestation is simply an indicator of what’s going on vibrationally, but you’d think that knowing that, I would have done some soul searching sooner. I actually took the action journey first—tried eye drops, both antihistamine and antibiotic and believe me when I say I did my fair share of complaining.

But finally the other day after this dragging on for almost three months, I started to look inside. I had been asking questions: “Why me?” “What’s this all about?” “What am I doing wrong?” and generally beating up on myself for not finding the alignment and therefore the wellbeing that I know deep-down is my birthright.

So the other day I changed my line of questioning and answers came very quickly. I asked myself what emotional issues matched the physical issue I was experiencing and started making correlations between the two. This is the process as it unfolded and ultimately what I discovered.

Eye➠seeing, sight, insight, understanding, knowing

Lack of sight➠lack of insight or understanding

Cloudy/blurred vision➠can’t see clearly, can’t see a way for something to happen

Problem is worse outdoors➠outside, outside what?

    • outside my comfort zone?
    • outside my safety net?
    • outside the box?

All of this seemed insightful, but didn’t really resonate with me. So I probed deeper.

Only my right eye is affected➠right (being right, need to be right?)

➠Right body/left brain (thinking, rationalizing, organized,reasoning side of me)

Eye➠I (capital I, me)

    • sense of self
    • beingness vrs Beingness
    • who am I?
    • self worth

I’d hit on something. I could feel that this was the root of the problem. It felt like a huge issue—one that I’ve dealt with (or grappled with but not resolved) many time over the years. I decided that I wanted to really look at the issue this time with complete honesty and find a way to change my vibration

This is the conversation I had with my inner Being (using left hand writing):

(right hand) “I (eye)’m not clear. What is it I’m not clear about?”

(left hand) “What do you want?”

“Why do you always answer a question with another question?”

“Questions evoke answers. Answers are within”

“But you know the answer”

“So do you – you and I are one.”

“It seems to always come back to this.”

“Maybe because this is what you’re not clear on.”

“Really? This is it?”

“I (eye) dentity!”

I gave it a lot of thought, knowing it was truth and knowing it was the answer I had been seeking, just not clear on how to apply it.

The next day I summed up what I was feeling in another two handed conversation (I find these to be very powerful!) and asked the question:

“So how can I see myself (and everything else) through the eyes of Source?”

“Change that to the ‘I’ of Source – that’s where the issue is. You are the ‘I’ of Source.”

That one statement was a powerful Aha! I knew it to be true, could feel it resonate deeply. So my work now is to remind myself over and over of who I am.

I AM THE EYE ‘I’ OF SOURCE!

My inner Being confirmed it with the following conversation:

“It’s not an issue to be debated. It’s who you are. It can’t be changed. You can never be less than who you really are.”

“But I can feel ‘less than’ and convince myself it’s true just because I feel it.”

“A story isn’t true just because it’s been told over and over or written down for all to see.”

“So I just tell a different story—a better story. Why are the answers always the same? I know this stuff!!”

“Don’t just talk about telling a different story. Do it. Start telling it right now.”

So I started telling the story differently, but as many of you can relate, a new story can sound phony at first. My inner critic is bringing up a lot of objections, but I’m telling him where to go. I can do this. I deserve to know the truth and live the truth of who I AM.

I (EYE) AM GAINING CLARITY

I (EYE) AM BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND (SEE) WHO I AM

I (EYE) SEE ALL I NEED TO SEE IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT

I (EYE) AM SEEING MORE ALL THE TIME

I (EYE) CAN SEE THE SOURCE OF MY WELLBEING

I (EYE) AM THE I (EYE) OF SOURCE

I (EYE) KNOW WHO I AM

I (EYE) CAN SEE MY TRUE REALITY

I (EYE) CAN SEE PAST WHAT ‘IS’ (WHAT SEEMS TO BE)

I (EYE) CAN SEE WHAT CAN BE (WHAT TRULY IS)

I MOVE FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE, EASE, SAFETY AND JOY.

I AM ALL THAT I NEED. I AM ENOUGH!!

Knowing this I, here and now, make a pledge to myself to honor and uplift that which I AM! I will not devalue myself or allow myself to feel ‘less than.’ I will see myself in others and see others as a reflection of me. I will endeavor to ‘be’ who I AM, whether in the comfort and safety of my private space, or in the midst of many. I will make the JOY OF BEING my ultimate goal and see all other outcomes as merely a reflection of my choice of focus. I (eye) will strive to see good (God) in all and to see my choices and activities as being divinely orchestrated. I can do no wrong. I can make no mistakes. I can never be less than that which I AM. I AM the power and presence of the beloved energy Source I know as God. And so it is!

Talking to Myself

I don’t know exactly when I started talking to myself.  Maybe it’s something we all do.  But I do remember the day, several years ago, when I started writing these conversations down.  I had just finished reading Lucia Capacchione’s book, “The Power of the Other Hand”.  The idea of writing with my left hand seemed weird at first and when I tried, it was barely legible, but I was intrigued with the concept.                                 

The conversations in my head were an ongoing dialogue. When I stopped to pay attention, I realized there were different characters.  There was “Larry”, my inner critic. He was loud and at first he was the only one I heard.  But when I really listened, I heard a child’s voice – vulnerable, yet playful.  As I paid attention to my inner child and assured her of my love, she seemed to evolve into this wise, loving being.  I started writing down what I heard in my head and then as I got more proficient at writing with my left hand, the conversations began to flow naturally.  One day I wrote:

“I want to experience “God”.  I’ve always believed in a divine presence, but I’m not sure I really believe that I am a divine being.  Please help me to understand this.” 

“Oh, how I love you!  Do you remember the first time you were able to say that to yourself?  That was me.  You came to understand that and began to let my love in.   You could feel me.  I have been with you every step of this journey, gently guiding you as you were ready.  Don’t worry; I’ll always be there with you.”

“I like talking to you this way.  I feel your presence, your embrace.  I want to experience you as me though, not just a power outside of me – which is where I think I’ve always seen you.”

“I’ve never been outside of you.  I don’t know what that feels like.  I am you.  I experience life through you.”

 “Can you give me an example?”

“Think of a sock.  If you turn it inside out, it’s still a sock.  It’s not what’s inside or outside it that makes it a sock.  It just is.”

“You compare yourself to a sock?” 

“That’s as down to earth as I could get.  But really, if I am you and you are me, then it’s not what’s inside you or outside you that matters.  It’s you.  You are divine.  I’m not just a presence you feel, I am you.  I’m not now nor have I ever been separate from you.  How could I be when we are one?”

“I think I understand this, but I want to feel you as me – to have a life changing experience that, well, changes my life!”

“Your life has changed dramatically in the last while.  We could speed things up, but why not just enjoy the journey?  You’ve got no deadline.  This never ends.  I’ve been showing myself to you – showing you to yourself.  You’re beginning to get it.  Keep talking to me.  Keep the connection open.”

“Okay, now I’m confused again!  When you say ‘keep the connection open’, it feels like you are separate from me.  How can I not be connected if I am you?”

“A connection in the physical realm involves two separate entities, but in the spiritual realm, connection is like awareness or knowing.  Keeping that connection open is like being aware of who you are.  Negative thoughts like doubt or worry pinch off your awareness of your divine nature.”

“Thank you that makes so much sense.”   

“Now that you acknowledge me (us), we can get on with dreaming, creating, BE-ing. We’re here to enjoy life.  Remember how much I love you.  Bathe yourself in the knowledge of your divine nature.  Be all that you are!”

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