Writings of Stuart Whitmore

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Writers, Beware the Service-Provider Conundrum

Published writers, are you tempted to offer your services to other writers who are still working toward getting their books on the market? They need help with editing, formatting, cover design... you know there's a lot involved in creating a quality product. If you're thinking about doing that, I can relate! I felt the same way, and I acted on it.

After hearing about other indie writers being ripped off for basic services, and having my own experience self-publishing my books, I decided to make life harder for the sharks by offering better services at vastly lower prices. Originally this was focused on children's books and was on a pay-what-you-want model (but not free). I eventually created Crenel Publishing to provide, as the tagline goes, "publishing services for a digital world."

It seemed a slam-dunk decision. I have a solid technical background and have been publishing digitally since before the Web existed (and thus before Amazon existed), and I could provide technically-correct, author-sensitive services at reasonable prices. Everybody should win, other than the sharks... right? What I didn't expect was an inherent conflict that would loom as my client list started to grow. Read on to learn more about what I now see as the service-provider conundrum.

I Might Flip for NaNoWriMo 2015

This blog post serves two purposes. The first is what the title is about, which I will explain below. The second is to serve as a way for me to become acquainted with an online collaborative writing tool called Penflip. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough to know how much I promote the use of Markdown to draft novels, you’ll understand why Penflip being built around Markdown is so appealing to me. For the most part, the collaborative side of Penflip is less important to me, so I will leave discussion of that aspect to someone else. As for the NaNoWriMo angle? I’m mostly committed to participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and using Penflip for it – and that actually means a lot more than “hey, I have a new tool to use.” Read on to see what I mean!

Three Reasons to Give Up Your Dreams

Dreams—meaning lofty goals in life, not sleepy-time imaginings—are highly valued in our society. You don't have to look far to see social messages urging people to not give up on their dreams; indeed, we are urged to pursue our dreams with all our might. Broken dreams are seen as a bad thing. It is very common to have a dream to "write a book someday," and the annual NaNoWriMo event helps make that dream a reality for many people every year. But I'm not writing this blog entry to be a part of that bandwagon. I'm here to tell you that there are good reasons sometimes to give up your dreams. Read on to see three of them.

Your Number Is Up

I've written before about the dearth of developer APIs from sites like Amazon KDP, but this week I ran across the Numerous API, and pondering how many things could be possible (but currently aren't) made me think it was time to grind that particular axe again. This isn't just for book sellers, this is for all creative-entrepreneurial platforms (let's call them CEPs to save space), including CreateSpace, Shutterstock, CafePress, and more. If you're a creative entrepreneur (or an entrepreneurial creative), please help me pressure these CEPs into action. Or, at least read on for more details.

Strange Names Are No Fantasy

I will readily admit that when I was a teen I mispronounced Moria (i.e., the mines of Moria, in The Lord of the Rings), as well as a number of other names in that highly acclaimed fantasy work. Fantasy authors are often derided for having unfamiliar names that readers can't pronounce, and new writers are admonished to avoid this "sin." However, unfamiliar names—and the ensuing mispronunciations—are not restricted to fantasy, or even to fictional works. I learned this rather uncomfortably when I was in the military.

As a young, no-stripe, E-1 in the US Air Force, my job was to make flight reservations for military personnel; once those reservations were made, I would type (on a typewriter) their "tickets" and hand them across a counter to the waiting customer, along with an explanation of the flight details and so forth. We often had a small crowd waiting, so I would have to call somebody forward to get their paperwork. Everybody outranked me at that point, which made mispronunciations even more awkward. I'm sorry, Master Sergeant Sepulveda, but there weren't any Sepulveda's where I grew up. I slaughtered names left and right for awhile.

Read on for how this relates to my current fantasy work-in-progress.


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