Creating a Kindle Edition of Your Book

Designing, Distributing 3 Comments »

After months of thinking about publishing my book, Pajama School, in a digital format for Kindle, I finally buckled down and figured out what I needed to do to make it happen. The process was simple, but a bit time-consuming. First off, you have to set up an account with Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. Why this is not integrated into the Amazon Advantage accounts I have no idea, but Amazon seems to specialize in disjointed confusion…

Once the account is set up, just navigate to the “Bookshelf” and click the button to “Add a new title.” The uploading process is very intuitive. I ended up uploading my book file as a pdf, then I downloaded it as an html file and spent several hours cleaning up the code in Dreamweaver before re-uploading it. There may be a faster way to do this, but since I didn’t already have any of my book in an html format, this was the most convenient. Once it is uploaded, it takes about 24 hours to publish it and make it live and available for purchase on

I’m not into reading books on a digital reader yet, so I’m not sure how important it is to make a book available in this market. However, it’s always valuable to explore something new and expand your knowledge in a new area. So, if you are considering publishing a book to Kindle, I’d encourage you to give it a try. It’s pretty painless, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to make your book available in as many venues and formats as possible!

Want a Peek Inside a Distributor’s World?

Distributing, Inspiring No Comments »

While doing some research into Anderson Merchandisers, the company that supplies books, CDs, DVDs and more to Walmarts, Sam’s Clubs, and military bases all across the country and around the world, I came across this fascinating article: Entrepreneur Seeks New Channels as Media Goes Digital.

The company was founded in 1917 by Clyde Anderson when, in the wake of his father’s accidental death, he started a small newsstand in a makeshift shed. The fledgling venture grew to become Anderson Companies, one of the nation’s largest family-owned enterprises. I thought this statement was rather humorous and reflective of a true entrepreneurial spirit:

“Anderson says he doesn’t know how many companies the family owns currently, but estimates they’ve bought, sold and kept at least 150.”

Based on the article, current CEO and President, Charlie Anderson, is obviously a creative, forward-thinking business owner. Consider this statement related to the music industry:

“I do not see a music industry supported by 99-cents single downloads,’ he says. ‘That may still be around, but that will just be one revenue stream. We have to come up with many more.”

Articles like this inspire me to keep looking ahead, developing new ideas, and pursuing fresh opportunities. You have to be in touch with where things are at in the market, where things are headed, and how to create new ways of doing business that will appeal to consumers. That requires lots of “high level thinking”:

“Charlie is spending a vast amount of his time figuring out what the next generation of Anderson Media looks like…Charlie thinks at a high level, as does the rest of the family. He doesn’t think about little ideas, he is about big game-changing ideas.”

If we aim to be producers and culture-changers, we have to be willing to take the time to think and plan and try new things. This is both thrilling and scary! I am still learning more all the time about what works and what doesn’t (usually from plenteous mistakes!) in various business pursuits. But it sure is a fun adventure – and it’s great to be able to learn from those who have traveled the entrepreneurial path for many years!

Writing Advice from C.S. Lewis

Writing/Editing 2 Comments »

These insights from C.S. Lewis really resonated with me:

The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that.

The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him.

I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right the reader will most certainly go into it.

This is definitely a challenge when writing, but then again, this is what makes writing such an adventurous pursuit! I have had my words (in my book, Pajama School) taken differently than I intended on numerous occasions. While at first I was tempted to become frustrated and to blame it solely on the reader, I am learning to view such experiences as an opportunity to refine my message and communicate with greater clarity what I really mean. The above quote from C.S. Lewis is a good reminder of how to do that!

HT: Justin Taylor

Download Journey to Self Publishing!

Announcing 2 Comments »

Things continue to move forward here, but the number of ideas and projects I want to do always seems to outpace the time in which to do them! My new CD, Journey to Self Publishing – 12 steps to successfully publish your book, should soon be available through Amazon. However, I’ve also decided to make it available as a downloadble mp3 package for those who don’t care about having the pretty CD packaging and want to save a few dollars on shipping. Not to mention that the cost of the downloadble file package is already reduced from the regular price of the CD anyway! Same great content…less cost to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Journey to Self Publishing | mp3 downloadable version | $15

 Add to Cart

Also, for any of you who may be interested, you can earn an affiliate commission if you become a PayLoadz affiliate and refer others to this product. In fact, you can earn $5 commission for every product sold through your affiliate link!

But I’m a Writer…Not a Speaker!

Publicizing, Speaking No Comments »

One of the things I never anticipated, but have come to realize more and more as I continue to market my book, is that authors are also expected to be speakers. There is a certain comfort and security as a writer in knowing that you can delete things that don’t make sense, reword sentences for precision, add illustrations that come to you later, etc. All of that is non-existent in the world of speaking! You have to be able to think quickly, formulate cohesive thoughts and present them with clarity, articulate with precision, and more. These things do not come naturally for me, but I am having to learn them on the fly!

So far this year I’ve had an average of one speaking engagement per month. The opportunities are varied, but each one has been a learning and growing experience. From presenting a workshop to a group of university students, to speaking for an on-line conference, to being a featured speaker at a women’s retreat, to sharing with a MOPS group, to participating in radio interviews. Above all, these experiences have been a real-life education in learning to trust God and depend upon Him for the words to speak. I recently came across this statement by author, poet, and hymn-writer Frances Ridley Havergal that applies to both writing and speaking:

“Writing is praying with me, for I never seem to write even a verse by myself, and feel like a little child writing; you know a child would look up at every sentence and say, โ€˜And what shall I say next?โ€™ That is just what I do; I ask that every line He would give me, not merely thoughts and power, but also every word, even the very rhymes.”

I pray that this will be the attitude of my heart, not only now when I still feel nervous and inexperienced as a speaker, but even as I develop greater skill in this area in the years ahead (Lord-willing!). Here are links to a couple of the speaking engagements I’ve had this year:

This is from the on-line homeschool conference that I spoke at in February: Everything Your Child Needs to Knowโ€ฆand How to Teach it to Them (right click and select โ€œSave Asโ€ to download the file; left click to open the file and listen via the internet).

This one’s hot off the press (or whatever the radio equivalent is!): An interview hosted by Kevin Swanson on Generations Radio. Posted on July 19, 2010.

If you listen to either of the above and have any constructive criticism you’d be willing to share, I would love to take any suggestions that would help me improve in this area! Feel free to e-mail me or leave it in the comments section.

Send Your Own Newsletter with Constant Contact

Publicizing No Comments »

If you’ve listened to my Journey to Self Publishing CD, you know that one of the early steps I recommend is to “Announce Your Book to the World!” About a year before my book was released, I started sending out a monthly newsletter letting my family and friends know that I was writing a book and keeping them updated on my progress. This proved to be an invaluable source of motivation and encouragement as I pressed on with the often times overwhelming task of getting Pajama School written and published.

As my contact list has grown, I’ve run into more glitches with the free e-mail newsletter program I was using. After considerable thinking and some research, I finally decided to take the plunge and try using Constant Contact – a service used by many organizations for list management, e-mail marketing, and more. I’ve only been using it for several weeks, but I already love it! I think it will help me do a much better job of staying organized and keeping in touch with people about new products and special promotions. Plus, after each mailing you get helpful reports and statistics to keep track of how many people open the e-mail, how many and which links are clicked, who opts out, etc. I know there are other similar services out there, but so far I’m really happy with Constant Contact!

And, of course, if you’d like to be added to my mailing list to be the first to know about our latest products and promotions, just sign up using the form below! ๐Ÿ™‚

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for our Free Newsletter!

Great Newsletter for Self-Publishers

Networking, Reading/Researching No Comments »

Sometime in the last couple years when I was heavily into researching and learning about all things publishing-related, I signed up for the free Publishing Basics Newsletter put out by Ron Pramschufer. I’ve been so swamped this spring that I’ve just been deleting it when it arrives in my inbox at the beginning of each month, but today I took a few minutes to peruse the July issue and realized what a treasure trove of tips and ideas it is!

If you’re looking for some good, solid information from other authors and publishers who have been down the publishing road, you’ll want to subscribe to this newsletter. In my initial perusal, this quote in Carolyn Madison’s article, Is It Possible to Over Edit? caught my attention:

Oscar Wilde expressed a similar view: โ€œI was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.โ€

I can so relate! Maybe that’s why I’m such a slow writer… ๐Ÿ™‚

Obviously, as with any publication that is comprised of content from a wide variety of individuals, you will have to take some things and leave others. With that in mind, though, you’re sure to find a good dose of information (like this article, Why the Obsession to “Protect” Your Writing is Misguided by Fred Gleeck) and inspiration (like this article, How long did it take you to find a publisher? by Charles Noland) in each issue!

A New Resource to Help You Successfully Publish Your Books!

Announcing No Comments »

Would you believe that one of my goals for this year was to post something on this blog once a week? Yikes! That should give you an idea of how well I’m doing meeting my goals this year… Well, to make up for it, I’ve been working on a new product that I think will be incredibly helpful to others who want to publish their books. I’ve spent hours and hours researching and navigating through the ins and outs of publishing, but there were so many times along the way that I just wished I had someone to hold my hand and take me through the process step by step. That’s what inspired me to put together this CD that I hope will do just that for others who are embarking on this journey! Here are the details:

Journey to Self PublishingJourney to Self Publishing – 12 steps to successfully publish your book
by Natalie Wickham
ISBN: 978-0-9821828-1-9
Media: 80 Minute CD

Many people have dreams of writing a book, but consider it an overwhelming or even impossible task. The publishing world is more accessible than ever to aspiring authors, but long-held hopes are quickly buried during the process of trying to dig through the plethora of options available. In this candid interview, author and publisher Natalie Wickham discusses the three types of publishing, gives an overview of the four critical components of a book, and lays out 12 steps that will help you navigate the path toward successfully publishing your book.

And, to add to the sweetness of this announcement, I’m offering a special deal just for readers of this blog. You can get $5 off of your order for a limited time by checking out at with coupon code: BlogSpecial

Also, you can download and print this free handout to use as you listen to the CD.

Google Book Search Box Now Live!

Announcing, Distributing, Publicizing 1 Comment »

After getting Pajama School accepted and viewable on Google Books, I wanted to give their Co-Branded search feature a try. I had a few difficulties. First because there had previously been a version of my book listed at Google Books, but it was not the one with the preview available, so the search always returned nothing since that was the book being referenced by the search. Second, because once I had this resolved, I didn’t realize you had to manually change the code to point to the ISBN for the specific book for which you wanted to set up the search capability. I thought this was coded automatically and couldn’t figure out why the search kept taking me to some book on Lutheranism… Anyway…I’m happy to say that everything now appears to be working properly and you can search the content of my book for any word you like! ๐Ÿ™‚

Search the full text of Pajama School:

Pajama School now on Google Books!

Announcing, Distributing, Publicizing No Comments »

As I mentioned in my last post, it took me a little longer than I expected to finalize the process of getting Pajama School up and running at Google Books. It turns out that the file upload must not have been successful the first time, but once all the files were uploaded the remainder of the process only took about a week. So, feel free to click on over and get a preview of Pajama School on Google Books! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to make a book available on Google Books, sign up on the Google Books Partner Program homepage. It actually took me forever to find this page because I kept trying to figure out how to add my book from the regular Google Books homepage but could never find the right link. I don’t usually consider myself navigationally-challenged, but the various twists and turns you have to take to find the right programs and portals for some of these book-related sites (ahem…Amazon…) is dizzying!

I was a little hesitant to upload my book to Google Books because I was afraid that it would cut into sales if people could easily view the book on-line. However, you can actually specify what percentage of the book content you want to have made available in the preview so that it will give people an idea of what the book is like, but they won’t be able to read the whole thing. Plus, having Pajama School on Google Books allows all of the content to be factored into searches and will return the book in relevant search results. I will also be able to place a search box on my website to allow interested readers to search for particular words or phrases in the book. A very nice feature. Still working out a few kinks on that one, though!

Also…if you just love the design (cover and interior) of my book and want to hire some professionals to do design work for you (which I highly recommend!), be sure to check out the links to these gifted graphic designers on this post. As you can see, hiring high quality, professional designers to do your book pays for itself over and over again when you can easily upload and make your book available through channels like Google Books.

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