Registering a HashTag

twubs logoThe other day, I was chatting with an author who had registered the title of her book as a hashtag. She really had it together – mentioning the hashtag in her book, and even in her book’s description. I was wowed by this level of planning and technology.

“How did you know to register the hashtag?” I asked.

“It was in an article on Indies Unlimited,” she answered.

Well, I’ll be. And it sure was. Lynne Cantwell interviewed Kriss Morton and wrote Hashtags 501 – and I must have been so dazzled by the amazing amount of hashtag knowledge that I missed that part.

I kind of liked the idea of registering a hashtag, so I decided to give it a shot. I went to Twubs.com and entered “MrPish” in the big “enter a hashtag” box. A little wheel spun for a moment, but there were no results. Cool! This hashtag was mine, all mine! *rubbing hands together in an evil manner* Continue reading

Amazon’s New Series Pages

amazon book series

Is this really a useful tool?

Last year, Smashwords introduced a neat tool called Series Manager which allows authors to link books in the same series together for better discoverability. Well guess what? Amazon has now done the same thing. Supposedly. But not quite. Frankly – not at all.

To be perfectly honest, Smashwords outguns Amazon with this feature – by a longshot. I’ll explain why in a minute. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty first.

Unfortunately, there is a catch, the same as with Smashwords. If you have books that are in a series which are both self-published and published through a press (which uses a different KDP account), you cannot link those together yourself. You can only link the books under your control through your KDP account. To do that, go to your KDP Bookshelf (dashboard) Continue reading

Google Plus Groups

Google Plus CommunitiesLike many folks, I spend a lot of time on Facebook (probably more than is good for me, actually). And like many authors and other small business owners, I’ve become frustrated with Facebook’s pay-to-inform-your-followers setup and have thought about moving house to another social network – say, Google Plus.

But I also spend a lot of time in Facebook groups. (Sometimes it seems like posting in a Facebook group is the only way to be sure people will see your post, doesn’t it? But I digress.) Wouldn’t it be neat if Google Plus had a similar feature? Continue reading

A Suitable Pseudonym

My alter-ego writes horror.

My alter-ego writes horror.

Why should you consider writing under a pen name?

When I was growing up I was very girly. Ballet, piano lessons, Barbie dolls — these are the fluffy memories of my youth. I also loved the TV show Chiller Theatre, and I spent many happy Saturday nights watching horror cult classics with my older brother. These gems are quite different from the modern slasher movie. The classic horror plot includes elements of the fantastic, the paranormal, and the magical. Many films included a psychological theme of undiagnosed insanity and paranoia. The stark objectivity of black and white cinematography heightened the fear factor. I truly love these films.

I am sure my readers would be surprised to know I have written a piece of fiction that could be categorized as dystopian horror. When I finished with the first draft I was morbidly excited by its darkness and cruelty, but confused as to what to do with it. The author brand I have been working to develop for years is juxtaposed to this story, and I felt it would send a mixed message if I put this on the same author page with stylish, sexy mysteries and tango dancing vampires. Consequently, I put the draft to the side last year and let it brood in its petri dish of cold-hearted carnage. Continue reading

Manuscript Formatting and the Nuclear Option

Do your paragraph indentations look like this?

Do your paragraph indentations look like this?

This past fall I published a self-publishing book. It looked great on my computer screen. The formatting was perfect; my spacing, indents, page breaks, etc., were all exactly where they needed to be, so I uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing feeling pretty confident my preview in their online previewer would be error-free.

Boy, was I wrong. My paragraph indents were completely off. Some were indented too far, some not enough, and some just plain missing.

pilcrowI went back to my manuscript and clicked on the pilcrow (the little paragraph symbol on the tool bar that shows all the formatting in your manuscript).  Everything looked fine. Telling myself it must have been an issue on KDP’s end, I uploaded again.

I clicked through the various preview screens. On some devices, the formatting was good. On others, it was clearly off. I couldn’t possibly upload a book that was going to have lousy formatting on half the devices that downloaded it.

I knew what needed to be done; I’d even written about it in the book. I needed to go nuclear. Continue reading