Friday, January 22, 2016

Project Reissue--Part Two

          When it came to the technical part of getting my stories ready to publish again, I’ll admit I was challenged. Over the years of switching from typewriters to computers, I’d learned what I needed to in order to prepare a manuscript for submission, and to do the edits that may have followed. But learning how to get one ready for digital publication was a new ballgame. I knew other writers who were accomplishing it themselves. Certainly, I could do it, too. But I still hung back.

          I had been talking about this project of mine for sometime while I was doing the rewriting (which by the way meant typing all the stories I intended to e-publish into Word documents, as the only way they had been saved previously was either on old floppy disks or typewritten manuscripts). My family had heard all about it, and they were probably tired of listening to my angst over not being sure I could handle the technical part of it, a typical case of my making something harder than it actually is.

          It was my son-in-law who offered to help me put the stories up on Amazon. As a librarian, he wanted to offer a workshop at his library for patrons who might be interested in self-publishing e-books. In exchange for letting him use my book of short stories as an example of how to do it, he would do the actual formatting of my book and make sure it was ready to upload. It was totally a win-win proposition, and it spurred me on to get the first stories rewritten and ready to publish again.

          I chose five stories for the first e-book and decided to give it the title An Uncommon Prince, which had been my original title for one of the stories when I’d first written it. The theme for this book was that the heroes were all a little out of the ordinary but still were heroes in their walks of life.

          Next time I’ll talk about finding a cover for An Uncommon Prince.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Project Reissue

     Three and a half years ago, I decided to take on the project of re-issuing my short stories that had once appeared in a magazine, Woman's World. Since I held the rights to the stories, I had always thought about putting them together in an anthology, but few to no publishers were interested in that sort of thing, especially stories that had already been published. Then along came the advent of e-books and the explosion of self-publishing. Once looked down upon as the last resort of desperate writers, self-publishing suddenly became just another route to having a writing career. Since it had been so many years since the stories were in the magazine, I thought they might find a new audience if they were updated for today's readers.

     At the Romantic Times conference that year, I attended a number of workshops on self-publishing and tried to learn more about how to go about it. I received a lot of advice, some that proved helpful, some that just didn't apply to what I wanted to accomplish, but it was all informative and helped me believe I could really do this.

      I decided not to put all the stories into one anthology but to publish them three to five per e-book. The next step was to decide which stories I would include in each book. Fortunately, I had saved copies of the magazine, so it was easy to spread them all out and figure out what common themes might tie them together. I also had a few stories that my editor at Woman’s World had liked and would have accepted but that had not passed final muster with the editor-in-chief who had the final word at that time. I still believed in those stories and their worth and decided to include them.

     Once I chose the stories that would appear in the first e-book, I set out to re-write them and bring them up to date. It proved quite a task and by far took up the most time. Since I wanted the stories to be contemporary, I had to pay attention to little details such as what sort of car a character drove and how people communicated, as the stories were all written before cell phones became so common. But in the rewriting, I did find that stories about people falling in love really do hold up well, as matters of the heart don’t change all that much. It was fun visiting with the characters I had created so many years before, and in some cases expanding on them when not constricted by the word length requirements of the magazine. Even though it did take some time, the rewriting became the most enjoyable part of the project.

     Next week I’ll talk about the technical part of my Project Reissue.