Monday, February 24, 2014

10 More Steps to Preparing Your Memoir/Autobiography


Due to its popularity, we are again visiting the process of preparing your materials and manuscript for a memoir or autobiography. Here are ten more steps in the process of completing the project:
1. Prepare all photos. Adding photos to your memoir goes a long way toward connecting people with your stories. For step- by-step instructions on how to compile and organize your photos for your project, please read Preparing Photos for Your Manuscript.
2. Decide which parts of a book that you will employ. Essentially, you are creating a rough outline of your book. Do you need a foreword explaining why this project is important to you? A table of contents to guide the reader through their journey? Other parts to consider are a list of photos or an index to help readers find important information fast.
3. Design the pages. While a book is mainly text and occasionally photos, there should be no less thought and design into the look of the book pages than of a intensely graphic publication. How do you want your chapter pages to look? Are you numbering chapters or naming them based on the events occurring within or both? Where do you want the page numbers? Consideration should be given to font styles and sizes that ensure clean, crisp lines and overall readability. If a chapter is going to be divided up into smaller stories, make sure to come up with a decorative element to achieve the separation.
4. Design a cover. We all know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Like it or not, that is what happens. It’s best to have the cover of your book professionally designed. Imagery should be appropriate to the content of the book and the back should include a book summary and very short author bio (see items number 6 and 7 below. Don’t forget spine copy and a barcode!
5. Determine the price. The price of your book is going to include printing costs, publisher’s cost (if any) and something for yourself.
6. Send copies of manuscript printout to writers of preface, foreword and other book reviewers,  as needed. These should be clean copies with no mark ups. You may label these with the caveat of “draft reviewers copy or unedited publishers proof.”
7. Receive blurbs, preface and reviews. Edit or excerpt pieces for back of cover and for publicity. Some of these items may be used in press releases, event flyers and other means of marketing and selling your book.
8. Set the pages. The design created in step three will be used as a template to format the entire book into a cohesive and easy-to-read final document.
9. Set a complete cover with all necessary elements. Finalize all blurb selections; edit as required. Ensure all text is legible and no imagery is distracting from readability.
10. Perform a complete review. Proof your page layout and cover. Have another professional go over a copy at the same time. Once all changes have been incorporated, your book will be ready.



Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Bookspublishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk projectbuilding a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: nerandolph@jstwrite.com.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Paul Betit's The Man in the Canal garners approval in Maine Sunday Telegram||

At your local bookstore
$18.95
Lloyd Ferris in the Maine Sunday Telegram writes: "In this well-crafted and suspenseful mystery, Brunswick author Paul Betit taps into his 1960s military service in Vietnam as background for his tale. This is Betit’s third novel set overseas during the Vietnam War. It’s the best in the trilogy." Read more: http://bit.ly/1hllvCs

Published by Just Write Books, a Maine publishing company producing Maine books collaboratively with Maine authors telling Maine stories. Publishing a few books each year—Maine historical fiction, Maine poets chapbooks, non-fiction written by Maine authors and fiction by a handful of Maine authors.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Another Great Review for Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide Newly Revised


Every author, every publisher loves reviews. When they are top of the fold in the "Book" section of the largest circulation newspaper in your state (Maine Sunday Telegram)--you have to let people know. I'll write a blog about how we do this in the next several weeks. But for now I want to share our success. Probably 90 percent of getting a review is having a great book. 


Tom Seymour makes that one easy for Just Write Books. He is meticulous in his writing. His knowledge is gleaned from his life work with the wilds in Maine. More than anything else Tom in response to a request (for information, writing or particicpation in an event) says, "Nancy, if you want me to do this, you know I'll do it." 

Congratulations, Tom. You deserve this and more. 
Available a your local bookstore.

Read the full review by clicking the link below: 
Tom Atwell's review of Wild Plants of Maine: A Useful Guide

Sunday, February 9, 2014

10 Steps to Preparing Your Memoir/Autobiography Materials

It helps to have a plan. (Shutterstock)


Recently I received a letter asking me: “Do you have some sort of outline for how to organize yourself when beginning the process of writing an autobiography?” As several of my authors have undertaken this task, I have gathered some of the elements that are crucial to successfully starting an autobiography project.
  1. Determine why you want to write the book. Is it for your family or do you think this book will sell to a greater circle of friends and acquaintances? On the other hand, do you think people who have no relationship to you will be interested in your story? Regardless of the answer, the same approach will be used to produce the first rough draft of your autobiography. Your answer to “why” may be used as your introduction.
  2. Begin by gathering your materials. That includes photos, journals, letters to and from you, newspaper articles, clippings from magazines, baby books (if one of your parents was nice enough to do this), school writing projects, souvenirs, yearbooks, email messages, blog posts and anything else that you might have written or might have been written about you. I suggest that you have a box in which to put everything.
  3. Make a timeline of your life. Since it is a timeline, keep it simple and chronological. Include all important events—marriage, graduations, certificates, birth(s) of children, travel, death of loved ones, jobs, promotions, volunteer work, membership organizations' events, household moves. You get the picture. A printout of the timeline could be placed in a three-ring binder.
  4. Look at your timeline and start writing the things that easily come to pen or keyboard. Name the incident, event and write it into your timeline, showing that you have it. Add the file name and location.
  5. Create a schedule for writing. Write for 30-60 minutes once a day, three times a week or every weekday. Whatever you schedule―stick with it and write. Just write. Continue to write your memories, aided by your collected materials until it becomes difficult.
  6. When it becomes difficult, connect with a friend, family member or acquaintance who may be able to fill in gaps of memory or knowledge. They may have more information about other family members who are dead, events that happened when you were too young to remember or enhance your memories with another view. Write those events/memories. Keep notes of the names of people who gave you more info and link it to the info given. File these new writings and keep the timeline up to date with location and file names.
  7. Put all your writings into one document in your timeline order. You now have your very rough draft.
  8. Before you begin polishing your rough draft, work with someone unfamiliar to your story. Print out a hard copy for your reader. The reader will read your rough manuscript (don't have them fix the typos now—you may delete part of the story or rewrite much of this anyway). The reader's job is to write questions in the margin. Who is this? Why was this event significant? Where were you? All the questions to which you know the answer but have forgotten to write in your closeness to the story. I suggest that you have three readers using three separate clean manuscript copies. You then take all comments and put them onto one draft. Some authors might use a clean draft on which to write all notes and questions. On the other hand, one of your reader's drafts may have the most significant edits and questions—I would use that one and then add the other comments to it.
  9. With that marked-up draft, begin filling in the blanks. Continue with your writing schedule until you have a completed rough draft of your book.
  10. Now is the time to get someone to copy edit. You need to ensure that everything is spelled correctly and the facts are as true as you know. The copy editor will also see when transitions are missing and will either prepare suggestions or note for you what needs to fixed. Notes such as “needs transition,” “you haven't introduced this person to your readers” or “time sequence seem off.” Fix those and then have another round of edits. 
You now have the first good draft of your autobiography. Next week’s blog will discuss photos for your autobiography project or any manuscript.



Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Bookspublishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk projectbuilding a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: jstwrite@jstwrite.com

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Calendar helps publicize events through social media.

  Sometimes posting events to social media sites is a chore and very time consuming. At Just Write Books, we've found a way to make this easier for our Maine authors publishing Maine books.

  The answer is to use Tockify. Tockify is a calendar or event list publishing service. It makes it easy for you to create an attractive calendar for our author and book events. Tockify calendars can be added to websites or alone on the desktop or via a mobile optimized website. 
Just Write Books Event Listing using Tockify
  Right now let's use the calendar (see the screen shot above) on Just Write Books website to illustrate how easy it is to post to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Linkedin. 

  You can easily email the event details with a few clicks of the button or place the direct link in a post or email that you are writing.

  Next you can easily add the items to a calendar—either Google, ICal, Outlook, Windows Live Yahoo or other internet calendar.

  Let's begin by looking at an event already set up in Tockify. I'll use Tom Seymour's March event.

  Click on the listing—the image or the title works to click through. 


The event information in Tockify

  When the event is opened you are able to see the details (see screen shot above). 


  You will note that we put all the information from a press release into the body of the event. Remember who, what, when, where, how. Make certain that you have the exact address of the event venue. The exact and correct address is important because when you click on the map, Tockify links to Google maps and allows your audience to use a map or get directions to your event.

  You fan has printed out directions and now they want to invite a friend to go with them. Beside the date and time of the event is a small button labeled, "Save or Share."

  Clicking on the Save or Share button opens up a window with many options. 


Clicking on the Save or Share button opens this window

  First your visitor sees "Save to your calendar." She can add the event to her calendar. There are six button options. I use Google calendar, so it's the first button for me and the event is a two-click process to add to my calendar. Most other calendars are just as easy. 


  The next row of buttons allows your fan to share with others by tweeting the event, sharing it on Facebook, Google+ or Linkedin. 

   Next (back to that friend that your fan wants to invite to your event), She just clicks on the envelope icon and Tockify opens the default email program on the fan's computer/tablet/phone with the event info in the body of the email with a link to full details. 
Clicking the envelope icon opens the default email program 

  She enters a few words of invitation and hits the send button. 


   The last line in the window offers a link to the web address of the calendar listing and allow anyone to copy that link into an email, a social media post, or a website.

  Each of these steps can be used by the author to publicize their own events. 

  An author can use Tockify to help them publicize events on social media. They can post their book signings and author talks on Facebook and other social media. Send emails to friends and family and others to let them know about the events. They can easily add the event to their own calendar once it is set up on Tockify. 


  At Just Write Books, we've made it even easier for author to use social media when inviting people to book signings and author talks.


  If you have found this helpful, please let us know. We are attempting to share useful information for authors, poets and others. 



Nancy E. Randolph operates Just Write Bookspublishing Maine books by Maine authors telling Maine stories. Randolph quickly developed a reputation as a publisher of quality Maine books. An active community member along with two others she founded and serves as a member of the board of Save Our Swinging Bridge.Org to ensure the maintenance of the historic Roebling designed and built bridge connecting Topsham and Brunswick. She co-chairs with Cathy Lamb the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk projectbuilding a 2K walking/biking intown loop. To contact her directly: jstwrite@jstwrite.com