Monday, March 25, 2013

SUCCESS WITH CREATESPACE




I am very impressed with the ease with which my latest novel, My Handle is Desolation, was published by Createspace. Amazon has done a great job in designing the system - manuscripts can be uploaded and revised with ease, the covers come predesigned - you can add your own photos or cover art - and best of all, it costs practically nothing! The only expense I had was the $25.00 I paid for expanded market availability. Contrasts that with the last book I published through Booklocker that cost me over $600.00, and that without any cover art. The latter would have cost another $100 - $300. If it sounds like I'll never use anyone else for my publishing needs, well, that's pretty much certain.

Monday, March 18, 2013

ANALYZING AMAZON BOOK REVIEWS


I've been fortunate in that several people (5) who have read my "HOW TO HUNT TREASURE" have taken time to write reviews on Amazon. Four are "good" (4, 5 star), with only one "bad" (3 star). After reading them, I'm quite satisfied with the ratings, though I gained insight into how I might have improved my writing:


1) Let's face it--if you've ever read a book on metal detecting, you know most are B-O-R-I-N-G and so basic they're not worth the money. This volume is different. It's funny and engaging and full of ideas, tips, and instructions to increase your detecting skills. I would have given it 5 stars except Malcolm tries to be a little too broad in his approach to treasure hunting and includes a small section on flea markets and internet searches for "treasure". This section was unnecessary. The majority of the book presents good, solid advice for metal detecting and does so in a way that not only does NOT put you to sleep--but makes you laugh with his good old boy humor. If you're new to detecting, the few pages on ground balancing your detector is worth the cost of the book. If you like humor, his story of diving for cannon balls is priceless.

2) A poor forum for the frustrated novelist. There is some good information if you are willing to wade through countless pages of "sea stories".

3) This is only the second book I've purchased on the subject. I am specifically interested in metal detecting, and I bought this book mainly for his description of how to use electrolysis to clean relics. I found this short book to be funny and wildly accurate regarding those types of people who are addicted to treasure hunting. He described me perfectly as a "Dabbler," someone who is not so consumed with the hobby that they are still able to maintain a balanced life, though they really would rather be digging holes or going to the flea market than working. He includes many stories from his own treasure hunting experiences, but most of them are lengthy and full of banter so I skimmed over them and just read the pertinent information. I like his personality, though he definitely does seem odd (he referred to the Civil War as "the war for southern independance.") Overall, he is motivational and does offer good advice for perservering and finding that treasure. I also found his tips on using a metal detector to its full advantage particularly helpful. A-

4) I metal detected with the author for years and never found as much as he did; I thought that he was just luckier than me. After reading his book, I know the secrets of his success.

Along with the author, I found my share of civil war artifacts and coins; but I was never as good as he was with a metal detector, and he found much more than me.

Every metal detector user, who wants to be very successful at finding treasure, should read his book. The author's metal detecting techniques are explained fully and will help you to find even more treasure.

I wish he had written his book years ago; I would have found much more.

Thanks, Malcolm. We had some great times together hunting and finding treasure.

5) As a newbie to metal detecting, I have attempted to gather the knowledge and experience of others to help me shorten my learning curve. Most of the books I have gathered offered some useful information, but How to Hunt Treasure was the complete package. Malcolm Allred has written an entertaining and valuable resource for new metal detector enthusiasts. I enjoyed and hopefully learned from the humorous anecdotes about mistakes he has made. As with any book that discusses technology, some of the information can become dated quickly; so, I hope Malcolm writes a second edition in the near future. However, the current edition of How to Hunt Treasure is well worth the purchase price and full of helpful information written with an entertaining style.


As to the underlined comments…

I originally intend the book to be very broad… that's why the title: "How to Hunt Treasure." If I had wanted to concentrate on just one aspect of treasure hunting, e.g., metal detecting, I would not have chosen such a title. Still, I think the critics make a valid point. Perhaps I should write that second edition on a much more narrow range of subjects.

The criticism that there were too many "sea stories" is justifiable, but if it were all removed the book would be a third its present length… and not nearly as interesting. See the comment about "B-O-R-I-N-G" above. That suggestion is one to which I probably will not adhere. 

Overall, the reviewers' comments were positive. Now I'll plan that second volume…





Monday, March 4, 2013

PUBLISH VIA AMAZON.COM'S CREATESPACE???

I've debated for some time whether or not to publish a novel that I wrote some ten years ago called "My Handle is Desolation." It's about a barkeep in downtown Vicksburg who becomes (hopefully) wealthy overnight when casino gaming is approved by the Mississippi legislator. The bad guys, of course, are intent upon stealing his land, located on the river in just the right spot for a casino. That aside, I did a bit more research to try and determine the best means for publishing the work, and finally decided to give Amazon.com's "createspace" a try. Let me tell you… I have been very impressed with the results! Although I haven't decided whether to publish or not, only a very short time was required for me to prepare the book and cover for publication. I took my wife to the local cemetery, where she took some photographs that I planned to use for the cover. Back home I edited the photos, then decided on one for the cover:

After picking out a "style" for the cover and writing a few words for the back cover, I uploaded all of this and the photo to createspace. The preview looked okay, so I ordered a proof copy for review. Here it is:


The cover photo is a bit different from the first photo shown above because I edited the image a bit. Anyway, the whole process was easy as pie. I just may go ahead and publish the thing. If you have a manuscript ready ( or even partially written), you might give creatspace a try. It's easy, and it doesn't cost you a thing!