Round 2

Final Round 2 Check-In

This is it!  The last check in for Round 2 of 2014!  (Okay, you really have until tomorrow, but I’m posting this on Wednesday because you always look for check-in posts on Wednesday).  Lay it out!  Let us know what those goals were and how you did.

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And if you’re interested in being a sponsor for Round 3, check out the FAQs and let me know!  I’m still looking for folks.

Enjoy your break (if you’re taking one).

Round 3 begins July 7th!


Self Publishing: Come on in the water’s fine! by Alberta Ross

In the run up to this round there was a query about self publishing. I said I would post something but as so often happens life has taken me firmly by the hand and led me away from the straight path. I am not today going to go through the various processes I took to reach self publishing. I have been re-posting the original ones on my website . The frustrations and angst can be found there:)

Today I want to encourage any who falter on the edge to take the plunge and dive in to the clear, and growing ever clearer, waters.

When I began at the end of 2009, here in the UK anyway I cannot speak for the rest of the world, self publishing tended to mean ‘Vanity Press’ with firms offering everything from okay to very dubious packages, in return for vast amounts of money. Well, they seemed vast to me, because I went into the process with so little money available it was laughable. ‘Vanity Press’ had a very bad reputation and trying to wend one’s way between them and the good publishers needed a lot of research and good luck.

For reasons which can be found on the website, I was determined to get my book printed. It was a book, so what more natural than to read it up. In books, magazines and on the web itself. It could be done was what I found. For as little, or as much, as you wished to spend.

As little as possible meant me learning the skills. I am not actually as ancient as I make out but I was retired and only just computer literate when I began the dive. I could buy books and groceries on line, and I had typed my book on the machine. That was it!

They had only come into UK homes a few years earlier. I had not learnt about DTP, PDF, photo manipulation, uploading, downloading or any such stuff. All I knew about formatting was to rely on what I was presented with when I started up the machine. I could just about cut and paste.

I tell you about this ignorance to demonstrate how easy self publishing turned out to be. It took time to learn the skills, because of my Dyspraxia, all new knowledge has to be given time, but once learnt the process was all about following instructions.

I can follow patterns, recipes and self assembly furniture plans. If they are clearly written life is simple.

I began with a printing firm down here in reality, and the very helpful gentleman guided me through the first lot of formatting and PDFing and then when his prices for the finished book became higher than I wished to charge readers I turned to Lulu. Lulu issues instructions that are very clear and simple. Take it easy, take it slow, voila I had a printed book.

E-books, almost unheard of when I began, was another skill I tried. Smashwords? – Amazingly good instruction, and again, when I eventually decided to Kindle, it was just a matter of following step by step. Along the way I learnt how to make trailers, music and photo manipulation. I am not a world expert but if one looks there are helpful instructions available and mostly offered free.

It is possible to do a basic self publish for as little as the cost of a proof copy, (do not neglect the proof copy, much can go wrong between computers). From there, one can add what one can afford, do not spend more than you can afford. Work out those sums. What would a first time, unknown author, realistically sell (okay one might hit the jackpot but. . . just in case it takes until the second or third book to make money, keep the costs down to where the rent and food can still be paid for if the miracle doesn’t happen:)

It is not as exciting as creating new worlds, of falling in and love with one’s characters, manipulating plots – it is painstaking and frustrating in various little niggles, but that exciting part of creation needs publication to entertain others. It is definitely worth the angst. To take charge from beginning to end makes that book truly yours. The best part is being in charge of what is the price of the publication and your share of it.

It is you and the platform (lulu, Amazon, Smashwords etc) who have to make any money on the book, so, as opposed to book prices that need to go through agencies, publishers, book distribution centres and shop keepers all of whom need their cut, one’s profits self publishing are higher. You can even give them away to create a buzz, prizes, review copies, if you have spent next to nothing on the process this can be of a real benefit.

So what I am saying is that if you really want to self publish, set aside time, (take time off from writing if necessary) read, research, read all instructions until it understood and in your being, then go for it.

If as sometimes may happen one has to begin again, well then, begin again. It is not a race, it is not a life saving event. Enjoy the learning process. Enjoy the experience and enjoy the reward of achievement.

Come on in the water is fine:)

To read how I came to self publishing start of at (the first) and follow on, a couple of the posts are about writing the books but most are on the process of self publishing.


Alberta Ross





Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

Summer is heating up around the country, let’s heat up for that FINAL SPRINT!  You’ve only got until Thursday to make it count!

And if you want to be a sponsor for Round 3, please check out the FAQs and send me an email.

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Midweek #ROW80 Check-In

About a week to go in this round.  Let’s give it a BIG FINAL PUSH.

And to those of you who jumped in to help pinch hit while I was off attending my grandmother’s funeral, thank you so much!

If you would like to be a sponsor for Round 3, check out the FAQs and dash me an email.

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Music, Chocolate, and ROW80 by Tia Bach

Well we had a couple of snafus this round that led to my somehow missing a couple of sponsor posts.  Tia Bach has been kind enough to step in to pinch hit for some inspiration for y’all this week!  Thank you, Tia!


Inspiration comes in many different forms. Some writers swear productivity and music go hand in hand, and many create playlists for their books. If I turn on music, I have to sing or dance. These activities distract me from writing, but they sure are fun.

Others swear by the reward system. For example, they will eat a decadent chocolate dessert when they write 5,000 words. Willpower is not my strong suit. Even thinking about the dessert will hold my thoughts hostage, and I can’t write with a chocolate-obsessed brain.

However, I am happy to say one thing has consistently inspired me since mid-2011: A Round of Words in 80 Days. I’m so grateful to Kait Nolan for building this community!

I love ROW80 on so many levels. First, I enjoy reading what inspires people to write. Too often, I get caught up in my own excuses. Often my updates become sad, but well-thought-out, tributes to why I didn’t reach my word goal. With ROW80, I’m never more than two posts away from a great, re-energizing idea. It’s like an adrenaline shot.

Second, I need community. My ROW80 friends are always around. They don’t abandon me if I forget to post for a few days. Someone is always there to get me over the hump, whether it’s through an encouraging pep talk or a swift kick in the butt.

Third, there’s a #ROW80 group who come together on Twitter (2pm EST) to word sprint. Love, love, love this group. They’ve helped me survive two NaNos. Plus, without them, I’m not sure my last two books would exist.

Finally, ROW80 forces me to reevaluate my goals and methods every quarter. Changing it up helps me stay focused. Then, every Sunday and Wednesday, I must face my choices and determine how they are working.

Most importantly, my fear of failure has greatly diminished. Now, thanks to ROW80 support and ideas, I understand how success works: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” (Winston Churchill) Without the amazing people in this community, I would still be shivering in the dark writer’s closet. For that, I will forever be grateful.

I hope each and every one of you finds your inspiration. Until you do, know we are all here rooting for you!


Tia Bach

Sunday #ROW80 Check-In

A week and a half to go!  The mercury is in the rise, and so should your word count be!

Still looking for sponsors for Round 3, so if you’re interested, check out the FAQs and let me know.

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