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Lisa Nicholas
I read, write, think, and teach in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex
I read, write, think, and teach in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex

Lisa's posts

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If you didn't take part in the Catholic Writers Guild's online conference this past weekend, you missed some really great talks. But don't cry in your beer, because here's another great-looking online conference that is coming up next month, especially for indie authors. They're going to have some great speakers, and it's completely FREE.

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I'm too backed-up on work to come up with a blog post, but FYI -- the next meeting of the DFW Catholic Writers Group is TOMORROW, Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Books & Gifts in far north Dallas. Evening meetings this semester at UD occur on the SECOND and FOURTH Tuesdays of each month, so mark your calendars.


Hey, everybody, I'm planning a series of very short ebooks for DIY self-publishers, and I need some input.

These books will be aimed at people just getting their feet wet in the self-publishing pool, writers poor enough or cheap enough to want to do everything themselves, so I will focus solely on the most common tools & venues, MS Word and Amazon (KDP and CreateSpace). My intention is to help people learn to write & self-publish like professionals (i.e., to produce a professional looking book) without having to acquire more new skills than is absolutely necessary. These are meant to give the clueless a clue, rather than teaching advanced mastery.

I'll publish these as a series I'm calling The Frugal Self-Publisher, covering everything from planning & executing a writing project to uploading completed & properly formatted documents for POD.

Here are the volumes I envision:

>Planning & writing: a simple, orderly process of developing a writing idea, adaptable for fiction or nonfiction

>Self-editing: a process for improving & cleaning up a document in successive editorial passes, using the features built in to MS Word

>Preparing documents of POD/Kindle: manuscript clean-up, MS Word features every writer should used, applying styles & templates

>Publication design: Interior -- basic typography, parts of a book and where they should go, using MS Word for layout; Exterior -- basic principles of layout & typography for full-color covers; free tools for creating decent-looking covers

>DIY website design for author websites: Without going into technicalities of different platforms (I'm planning a more detailed book on WordPress sites), I'll discuss platform options, but focus on design: what needs to be on an author site, the easiest way to get everything on there without making it look DIY (so, design principles)

So a couple of questions:
First, if you're a DIY self-publisher, what are the things you could have used clear, concise advice on when you first tried this? If you're afraid of self-publishing but might try it if it weren't so intimidating, what are the things that scare you most?

Second, which of these volumes would you be most eager to acquire, if I were giving them away free (or as good as)?

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If you have fiction suitable for a mainstream audience, the Kindle Scout program presents a great opportunity to get your book promoted. Here's one writer's perspective on publishing through the Scout program: 

Hey, everyone, I'm working on an ebook for bloggers who are moving to WordPress (self-hosted) from other platforms (especially Google Blogger). I want this to be as un-geeky as possible, to help people get over the speed bump (AKA "learning curve") many experience when they make this move. I got this idea after helping someone who has spent many years on Blogger & decided to move to WordPress in order to expand her web presence to include an author site (i.e., combo blog & author site).

I'd love to know if any of you have made this move and have advice you would give to others OR to know if you have contemplated such a move but been held back by various worries about the transition. If so, comment below, but also email me at nicholaseditorial [at] gmail [dot] com.

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I'm going to start writing a new novel soon, an idea I've been developing in my mind (and in my notes) for over a year. Recently I got hold of Shawn Coyne's The Story Grid, which has really set me on fire to get my novel going -- I was interested in his approach to developmental editing, but this book is really aimed at the self-editing writer (every writer should be learn to be a good self-editor!).

If you'd like a fresh approach to plotting a novel, from an experienced and very successful book editor, I really recommend The Story Grid. (If you don't want to buy the book, most of the content is available free on his website, The book has a lousy cover IMO, but contains some really excellent info.

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Something new on the Common Prayers blog. This blog (slow getting going, because I've got too many irons in the fire) is intended to be a companion to a prayer manual I hope to publish. I would really love to include as many treasured prayers from the Catholic tradition as possible. You can throw in your two cents by going to the blog, clicking on "Welcome to Common Prayers," and filling in the form with your favorite prayer or devotion.

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Hey, everybody, I'm gearing up to write a completely new, re-imagined version of the science fiction story I worked on for years (through three complete drafts, and part of a radical rewrite), and I've given the accompanying blog a new home on a self-hosted WordPress site. I'll be writing a lot about all the way my decisions as a writer have been shaping the evolution of this story (as well as discussing science fiction informed by Catholic faith).

If you are interested in seeing how I approach the creative process, you may like my latest post on worldbuilding (the first of a series on how creative decisions reflect worldview).

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I'm reviving my Sancta Futura science fiction blog and moving it off of Blogger. Follow me to, where I'll be revealing all that goes into imagining and writing a future universe, as well as discussing all things speculative. Join me!

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Sancta Futura has moved
This blog has been moved to a shiny new self-hosted site: Please follow me there. Sorry, no intelligent reptilian species will be allowed in my imaginary universe. (Reptile by kwayne64 on The original content (everything you find here) has m...
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