Month: January 2019

Top 9 Trends in Publishing for 2019

Nicholas C. Rossis

The Written Word Media (WWM) regularly posts great material examining the latest trends in publishing; trends of interest to every author – particularly Indie ones. Here is my summary of Ricci Wolman’s predictions for 2019, along wth my comments:

1) Amazon Advertising Ads Go Mainstream

Amazon Advertising (formerly Amazon Marketing Service, aka AMS) Amazon Advertising | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookAds will become an essential part of the author’s toolkit in 2019. More and more authors are reporting rising costs on Facebook Ads. This, coupled with Amazon’s ambitions to grow its advertising business, will make paying to get visibility on Amazon a pillar of every author’s marketing strategy.

Personally, I have stopped advertising on other media, with the exception of running promos for any titles I may have on offer (on free days/Kindle Countdown Deals). To learn more on Amazon Advertising, consult the guides I wrote for SearchNurture.

2) Book Quality Becomes Critical to Success

In an…

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Prepare your eBook and Paperback Using Kindle Create

Nicholas C. Rossis

Last October, I started using Kindle Create to prepare my manuscript for publication and wrote about my experience using Kindle Create to create your manuscript.

Amazon has now released an Early Access feature that shows the direction the company wants to take their software.

Prepare Your eBook and Paperback with Kindle Create

Kindle Create | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's bookThe new feature’s main point is that it lets you design both a Paperback and eBook edition from a single file. In effect, Amazon wants you to stop using Word to format your document. Instead, you will paste your text into Kindle Create and format it there.

Several elements that you needed to enter manually until now, will be handled automatically by Kindle Create. Specifically:

  • Kindle Create will automatically enter the book title at the top of the right-hand pages and the author’s name on the left-hand ones. Their alignment and style can’t be changed.
  • Margins will be automatically calculated to…

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The Value of Linguistic Fossils

Nicholas C. Rossis

English language meme | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: memecenter.com

The English language is a strange one, for sure, thanks to the Isles’ long history of war and conquest. Each wave of conquerors left its mark on the language, from the Romans to the Vikings and Normans.

Antiquated rules can cast long shadows, as seen even today by certain grammar rules. A typical example is the split infinitives one, invented by 19th-century grammarians who felt the proper model for English was Latin, and in Latin, infinitive-splitting is impossible. Another one is the “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” “rule,” invented by the English poet John Dryden in 1672. Dryden probably based his objection on a bogus comparison with — you guessed it — Latin, where such constructions don’t exist (you can find more such examples on my post, My 4 Golden Rules of Writing).

Anachronisms, Clichés, and Retronyms

As Hunting for fossils in the quirks of language

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How Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers

Nicholas C. Rossis

Reading dog | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Photo: Pixabay

When I shared here my guest post for Mom’s Favorite Reads, Reading Tricks for Kids of Any Age, I was once again impressed by the interest you showed in the subject. One particularly interesting comment was by Missimontana, who shared a link to the Colorado Virtual Library website and to a post by Amy Hitchner called, Spotlight on Sharing: Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers.

I confess it had never occurred to me that reading to dogs could help children improve their literacy skills but, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. And it turns out that many public libraries offer “read to a dog” services to help children feel more relaxed while they improve their reading skills.

As one of the programs explains:

This program gives our young readers, at any reading level, a chance to read out loud in a stress-free environment to some very attentive listeners. Therapy…

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Fantasy Sub-Genres

Nicholas C. Rossis

Fantasy magic book | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: Pixabay

When I finished my first book in the Pearseus universe, I was faced with an unexpected problem: everyone kept saying that identifying your genre was important. But my book crossed many genres. It was, essentially, a fantasy tale taking place in the future, with technology and a tiny bit of crystal magic. So, how the heck do you find a genre to shoehorn this kind of book into?

After several unsuccessful attempts to do so, I now describe it as science fiction fantasy (aka science fantasy) but wish I had come across this handy guide from Thoughts on Fantasy before I spent so many hours researching fantasy subgenres!

From Tolkienesque High Fantasy to Paranormal Romance, this is the ultimate guide for all things fantasy. Just click on a link below for a brief description of that subgenre, examples of books written in it, and typical elements that characterize…

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Here is my interview with S. A. Gibson

via Here is my interview with S. A. Gibson

From September 2017

Name S. A. Gibson I was born in 1955.

Where are you from

I was born near Soeul, South Korea, but, have lived most of my life in the Southern California cities.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc

I was a single child, attending schools in Los Angeles. I worked for years in computers, administration, and community organizing. Now I’m semi-retired and going back to school to get a PhD in Education. Living with my spouse and our dachshund-chihuahua mix.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently released a boxed set of three of my books set in the United States. After the Collapse, like all my stories is set in a post-apocalyptic time in the future. Advanced technology has been lost and librarians rule the world. This box set includes my books Feeling a Way, A Dangerous Way, and in the Horde’s Way. Each book contains the library sword-fighter William Way as a character, over 25 years in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first fiction book for publication in 2014. I read voraciously. Mostly science fiction books. I was running out of the type of books I wanted to read. So, I determined to write stories I would want to read, again and again.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I joke about being old fashioned. I say I didn’t consider myself a true writer until I got a paper check from a bricks and mortar bookstore. Which happened this year!

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I like science fiction stories with a small group of people who work together to meet and impossible challenge. Since I couldn’t find enough to read, I had to write my own.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to map out a complete story with a loose outline. Then I write like crazy to get a first draft out. The story changes from the original outline during the writing. New characters often take more important roles. Then I have to spend months to clean up that first draft.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My most recent full novel was In the Horde’s Way. This book was the third of the After the Collapse series. All three have the word “Way” in the title, referring to William Way, the librarian. In this third book, a vast horde has invaded the United States from the Mongolian Steppes. Their mounted armies sweep across the western states and must be stopped by the librarians and their allies on the plains of Arizona and New Mexico. Hence, the librarians stand – In the Horde’s Way.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want to say we should use our brain first before we turn to weapons.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I wonder if I should call my stories realistic future fiction, instead of science fiction. I research extensively to be accurate about what people do without modern technology. I found pigeons were used to communicate across distances.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I loved the Golden Age science fiction classics from Asimov, Clarke, and read them all.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Most recently I have enjoyed and been inspired by Lois McMaster Bujold. I appreciate how she does space opera. I am a huge fan of space opera, but she writes a new style, character driven with real feeling men and women. I thought, that is the way I want to write.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

I’m a big believer in science. So all the academic studies I’ve pursued in my life have reinforced my belief in the power of reason, understanding, and hope in the future.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would just work to make the characters stronger and more real. Fortunately as an indie author, I am free to re-edit as many times as I want. And, I may revisit that story again with an editing pen.

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I have probably averaged about a book a week, since childhood. I’ve read every day of my life. It seems writing is just a natural next step.

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My next planned book is a sequel to Asante’s Gullah Journey. Lakisha a sixteen year character in the earlier book has her first assignment as a new library staff member. She must travel to Louisiana to investigate and arbitrate between a conflict between Native Americans and Quaker farmers.

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I always want to dump information in my stories. I have so much fun researching ancient technology that I want to share it. I must remind myself that others are not as facinated in the topic as I am.

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I want to. So far, it’s been mostly armchair travel. I have traveled, as a tourist to roughly each location, in my stories. Except the stories set in India. I have traveled to North and South Carolinas, the locations in Asante’s Gullah Journey. I’ve visited Arizona and New Mexico, the locations in A Dangerous Way and In the Horde’s Way. And I’ve lived most of my life in California, the location in Feeling a Way. I’ve not visited India, the locations in a Pratima book and short story, yet.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Artwork was drawn for my After the Collapse books by David Steele http://www.davidsteeleartworks.com/ My cover design has been done by Rachel Bostwich http://rachelbostwick.com/

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I find the writing rather fun. I love the research. Editing after the first draft is hard, slow, and time-consuming, but necessary.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Every story I write gives me a wealth of new information. I learned about pigeons, donkeys, atlal’s, food preparation and food storage. I think my writing experience is turning me into a trained survivalist.

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

Cicely Tyson, be great playing Old Lady in Asante’s Gullah Journey.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find an excellent development editor that you work well with. They can make the difference between average writing and great writing.

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope I can carry you on an enjoyable ride that takes you out of your daily life.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

The Secret King: Lethao by Dawn Chapman

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No, maybe the Bible?

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

When people help others.

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

I would like to have met Sojourner Truth. I would want to know how a person could be so brave, take on some many struggles, and help so many people, when born so poor, helpless, and oppressed.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?

He will be remembered.

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

The Last Ship and Dark Matter are TV shows I enjoy. I enjoyed Wonder Woman.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Donuts, but I avoid those seductive treats when my will power holds up. Like green. Julieta Venegas, Mexican pop-rock.

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Goat farmers seem to have a fun job, at least some of the time.

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?