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Meet the Author
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I suffer through iPhones at work, and the fragile structure of the server at my other job sometimes sends my lesson plans into a death spiral. But technology, at least as it applies to writing, is really amazing right now. There are so many resources out there for writing: word processing programs, online dictionaries and fact checking via the Internet (as long as you go to reliable sources, not Bubba's Beer Blog). There's also Google Street View, which means you can visit several places in the world and write about a New York City restaurant without ever having been there.
But more importantly, frustrated writers (and not so frustrated writers) now have the power to publish their work. The great thing about epublishing and print on demand is that anyone can do it. The bad thing about epublishing and print on demand (wait for it) is that anyone can do it. Spell check and grammar check are not the same as having an editor and proofreader. As someone who has edited and proofread, it's easy to look over someone else's work. To look over your own is like crossing a canyon on a frayed tightrope and the wind is blowing—hard. And if you are a control freak and perfectionist like me, doing my own editing is an adventure.
In the end, I was happy with the way the stories in my book Served cold: Tales of Revenge and Redemption, but I did wish for an editor and proofreader. Instead, I had to rely on the feedback from a few people, and re-read every story about four times, wrestling with questions (leave that in, leave that out—is that too mean/gruesome/gross?) and finally giving it a rest and calling it done.
Originally, the short story collections (I have an erotic fiction title, and I'm delirious “50 Shades of Grey” is so popular, even though it's poorly written, and the blushing scenes feel like they number 10,000 in the first book alone) were intended to just be ebooks. However, Diane Barr called the Fort Wayne Reader and told Mr. Fort Wayne Reader (a.k.a Mike Summers) she would be willing to pay to see my writing in print. A customer! So I decided to put both titles in print. And I'm glad. Really glad. Reading stuff on a screen is fine, but I don't have an ereader because I'm broke. I could download Adobe Digital Editions and read ebooks that way, but it's kind of cumbersome to drag my laptop into the bathroom with me. It would also be awkward to read in bed with my laptop too. I'd have to tilt it on its side. Plus, it seems heavy in comparison with an average paperback.
So I downloaded the templates from Lulu.com, and cut and pasted the manuscripts, and tweaked the pages as needed. It was actually easier to prep the print books than the ebooks, due to a somewhat complicated process to format the books for Smashwords.com. Smashwords had a free book to download to help with the process, which was really nice. Being the way I am, I wanted my books to be included in the premium catalog, which meant I had to format the books a certain way. But I wanted the books to be readable in virtually every single ereader program, which is why I went the extra mile. So if you have a Kindle, Nook, iPad or whatever, you'll be able to read my ebooks.
I got everything ready for print, then ordered a copy of each title to see if I'd messed anything up. I had one change to make on each one, then I released them for general access. It was pretty exciting to touch a book, and see my name on it, and open it up. My words on paper. And maybe more importantly, the formatting worked and it looks good. The paper seems like it's quality. The covers are full-color and glossy. And instead of being at the mercy of a publishing house, I own it.
Don't get me wrong—I'd love a book publishing deal, but I've known at least one person (Jim Goad, of Answer Me! fame) who did get a book deal, and the publishing house didn't do anything in terms of publicity. I've also heard of at least one writer who sent her work to New York City and was turned down by every publishing house she submitted to. She published her writing as ebooks, priced them low, sent excerpts to book bloggers—and a year later she was a millionaire. Now, Amanda Hocking has a book deal of course—prove that you're a money-maker and THEN they will come.
With that, I'm looking forward to the Allen County Public Library's Author Fair Saturday, November 3, from 12 to 4 p.m. downtown. I'll have books for sale, and part of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Library. So come on down, and you can see what I spent my summer of 2011 doing. Revenge/fantasy/horror fiction, or erotic. Take your pick. Or take both of them. I'll swing you a deal, I promise.