Author Archive: wandacarruthers

How to Add Ebooks to Your iPad, Kindle, Nook

It’s a pretty simple process to add ebooks to your ereader. The file extension for an iPad and a Nook is .epub. The file extension for a Kindle is .mobi, although it is possible for a Kindle to convert an .epub file to a .mobi. Mostly it’s a drag and drop process. I’ve put links here for you that illustrate the process.

Instructions for iPad and iPhone:

Instructions for Kindle:

Instructions for Nook:

With computers, there’s generally more than one way to accomplish a task. I’ve found these to be efficient.


Putting Together the Book Proposal Puzzle


By Guest Blogger Nikolas Baron

Congratulations, you have the best idea for a novel. Should you prepare the novel and send it to as many publishers as you can? Should you seclude yourself in your house until you have grinded out at least 80,000 words? Many new authors wonder what the right course of action is. Further, what should be included in a book proposal? In my job at Grammarly, I have seen dozens of book proposals prepared at various stages of the writing process. Some writers have succeeded in publishing their books using certain methods to improve their writing. One method reminds me of an efficient way to assemble jigsaw puzzles. Let us discuss how this  strategy translates to writing book proposals.

  • Do the edges first.

According to the WikiHow website, one should gather all the border pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Once you have collected them all, you lay out the border of the puzzle. Similarly, you should prepare the preliminaries of your novel. Flesh out the plot and the main characters. The basic function of a book proposal is to give the potential publisher a glimpse of what the entire manuscript would be like. Rather you should prepare the entire manuscript or send proposals at the idea-stage is a matter of debate. Publishers may want to make suggestions, so an entire manuscript may engender concern that the writer will not be open to make revisions. You can strike a balance somewhere in the middle by preparing a rough draft.

  • Put the pieces in groups.

Wikihow suggests grouping the pieces according to kind. As you research publishers, you can group them in a similar manner. Reject the ones that do not publish the type of book that you want to write. Make a list of those that are strong possibilities. Create a second list of weaker possibilities. Some authors prefer targeting the weaker possibilities first. This way, your chance of receiving a positive response increases rather than wanes with time.

Note: You may generate multiple proposals, divided by genre. If your book may appeal to religious, women’s fiction, and historical fiction readers, you can develop several variations of the proposal. Each version would highlight the book’s place in a different genre.

  • Focus on one set of pieces at a time.

The counsel is to work on the grouped sets one at a time. As you put entire groups together, the puzzle will begin to take shape. If you try to attack all the parts of a book proposal simultaneously, the task may overwhelm you. Instead, work on one section at a time. A book proposal should contain a one-page summary of the gist of your novel, a statement about the target audience and how your book is unique, your credentials, a proposed timeline for completion, and a complete sample chapter. Proofreading is essential. Use a free proofreading program online to check each section. For a more detailed explanation of the elements of a proposal, consult this website.

  • Fill in the background.

To finish the jigsaw puzzle, fill in the background. You need to start finalizing your novel. Your publisher can make suggestions that will help you sell your novel to a contemporary market. If you have no publisher yet, work on the book anyway. You will appreciate the headstart once you hear from an interested publishing house.

These steps are good for more than the 1000-piece lighthouse puzzle in your closet. You can use them to write a great book proposal. Frame your work by creating a rough outline of your novel. Decide which genres you will pursue, and make a list of publishing houses that cater to your target market. Give care to each section of the book proposal, and scrutinize each section to make sure that it contains no errors. Once you have the proposal complete, work on writing and revising your novel as you wait for responses. May each response you receive contain good news!



Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown childrens’ novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.

‘Tremulous Prism — Our Journey in Dementia’ Offers Glimpse Into Life When Caring For Aging Parents

PrismcoverTremulous Prism: Our Journey in Dementia is the story of a 54-year-old man who leaves his job in Maine to join elderly parents in Florida. Taking the lead in a family support system, he moves into his parents’ house and shares their doubts and fears about their living situation. Anxious not to impose abrupt changes to their lifestyle, he enjoys the camaraderie and many life lessons that being close to his parents offers. Providing support as he is able to, he watches in admiration as his parents battle illness and dementia into their final days. This ebook speaks to the numerous issues of those who are or have been in a caregiving role for a family member or friend. It offers information, insight and hope for the particular challenges the caregiver faces as they walk through this emotional territory.

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Christopher Keith now lives in New Port Richey, Florida, where he moved to take care of his parents. After a misadventure with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, he returned to Florida to write and teach English composition. Previously, he studied creative writing with Raymond Carver at Syracuse University in the 1980s and earned an MA. As a former owner of a karate school in Windham, Maine, his publications include a DVD and workbook, Introduction to Asian Long Staff Fighting, which was based on his experience as a fifth dan in kenpo. Also an English teacher and tai chi instructor, he is currently working on the collection of short stories, Tennessee Alley, and spends his Saturdays playing golf among the alligators, fishing, and enjoying Florida.

10 ebook marketing ideas

This is basic information that’s good for all ebook authors who want their books to sell. It takes persistence. Commit 30 minutes to an hour a day promoting your ebook for a month and see if it makes a difference in sales. Also, invest in a book about social network marketing. There are many good ones available. Use the creativity you tapped into in writing your manuscript to marketing your golden words. Good luck!
  1. Write a basic press release about your ebook. This can be tweaked depending on the focus of your recipients.
  2. Get your daily dose of Google by creating a search on keywords about your topic that’s delivered to your email address. This lets you see what others are saying about your subject. Once you see this, you can begin to acquire website addresses and start a list of contacts to contact about your ebook.
  3. Find blogs on your topic. You can write a small article and submit it for them to publish. Always include a tag line–Jim Crawford is the author of the ebook, “A Fine Mess,” which helps you navigate the world of clutter. His book is available on Amazon and iTunes and he can be reached at or visit his website for helpful decluttering tips at
  4. Create a Facebook page and include it with your website (if you have one) and blog (if you have one) on all marketing materials.
  5. Always follow up on press releases. Many editors don’t even pay attention to an emailed press release unless someone follows it up. Direct contact is OK.
  6. There’s a lot you can do without spending money. However, Google Adwords are affordable. I don’t know how effective they are. I would not fool with Facebook advertising.
  7. Set up a blog and link it to your website, if you have one. Blogs are easy to set up. I recommend, but there are many others. It’s kind-of like an easy website that you can maintain for free.
  8. Guest Blogging. Guest blogging is where you write a blog post for another blogger to share with his or her readers. It creates additional exposure for you as you are writing for a new audience. If these readers like what they see, they’re quite likely to subscribe to your blog as well, perhaps look up your book, and maybe even buy it.
  9. Think about your ebook this way: Top 5 Reasons People Should Want to Read My eBook ➔ Top 5 Reasons People Should be Interested in Me ➔ Top 5 Reasons My eBook Topic is Important Today, and from these lists you should be able to identify the  ➔Top 5 Reasons the Media will be Interested in Me and My eBook.
  10. Centers of Influence (COIs) – Get your ebook into the hands of people who can influence others to purchase it. Examples: Doctors recommend your ebook on healthy eating to patients; Veterinarians encourage pet owners to buy your ebook on dog training; Hair Stylists chat up your ebook on party planning, fitness programs, gardening, cupcakes, etc.


Thomas Jefferson once said, “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” This is especially true when it comes to your ebook marketing efforts. But it doesn’t have to be that hard, just smart.

eBooksTalkToMe at the Birmingham Public Library’s Local Authors Expo this Saturday, Feb. 2


I’ll be participating at the Local Authors Expo presented by the Friends of the Birmingham Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Expo is free and open to the public. Stop by my booth for information about digital publishing. The Expo is held at the Birmingham Public Library, Central Library first floor. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hope to see you there. I’ll have handouts and freebies.

LocalAuthors2013Here’s the link to the library for details

Reading is a universal activity

Interview of “Diary of a Mad Man’s Daughter” author E.J. Sullivan



To Twitter or Not To Twitter

When the people who invented Twitter first came along, they really did themselves no favor in the name. Twitter and Tweet are almost too preposterous to be taken seriously. But, given time, the fundamentals of the important roles Twitter can play have caused many to overcome and accept the silliness of the name. There are still holdouts. There are many who don’t “get it.” And there are others who have entered the Twitter universe and come away disillusioned because it was something different from what they expected. Efforts just didn’t equal payoff.

Recently the capabilities of Twitter were explored in an O’Reilly webcast titled “#tweetsmart,” hosted by J.S. McDougall, a web developer, digital strategist and author of a book titled “#tweetsmart.”

McDougall admits to entering the world of Twitter like many of the rest of us as a “complete skeptic.” But, after some time, he began to see that, rather than a mere marketing outpost, Twitter is a conversation. And, he says, therein lies its potential.

His book is a series of formulas that he devised through trial and error to gain  attention to a publishing company where he was employed. By patiently building on what worked, he was able to bring substantial attention to the products the company offered.

According to McDougall, this forum “helps marketers be more interesting on Twitter, adding value and raising awareness in a way people enjoy and find fun.”

Those who have used Twitter merely to advertise their product have oftentimes had disappointing results. It’s been described as a trough that everyone is trying to feed from at once. Used that way, it’s easy to come away with viewing Twitter as a waste of time.

McDougall offers ideas for first determining if a company’s audience is even on Twitter. Then creativity can guide marketing efforts to inform and to make the interacting process fun. He suggests that a company start with monitoring a Twitter presence for 15-30 minutes twice a day and then “grow into it over time.”

And the crux involves optimizing all efforts, whether through Twitter or a website, to make it easy for a visitor to buy a product.

“#tweetspeak” is for sale through the O’Reilly website and Amazon.

Alternative Pathways Inn to offer help to shaken spirits

The release is near for the ebook “Alternative Pathways Inn” by The Blind Wanderer (aka Wanda Carruthers).

A soon-to-be released ebook that offers insights to better your worldview

This ebook is for

  • If you’ve been hurt
  • If you’ve been confused
  • For those who have thought that life might hold more
  • If you’ve been thrown a ball (or more than one) from left field
  • If you’ve tried and failed and tried again
  • If you’ve taken life too seriously
  • If you’ve needed a way out, up or through
  • If you’ve flown too close to the flame
  • If you need encouragement
  • For those who tried to make sense of it all
  • If you see yourself on a spiritual path
  • For those looking for a few extra tools to embrace life’s surprises
  • If you like to look more deeply
  • If you try too hard

What this book provides is an open hand with a few insights to guide you to greater depth with words echoing philosophies that have stood the test of time. Also, catharsis, rest and perhaps a smile.

The Digital Writer

The digital writer puts his work out there and then must be willing to promote

A Digital Writers Workshop will cover the ins and outs of digital publishing. Sign up for the email list here on the blog
for further information as it’s released.

There are a few things taking place in the modern age of digital writing. Now like no time ever is it easier to get your story out there. The floodgates have opened and there’s a long line of frustrated writers, aspiring writers and professionals who are beating a path to self expression.

So, much is getting out there without the prior benefit of editing and polishing. Writers tend to think of their words as gold — all writers. And for those who have made a lifetime out of the pure mix of blood, sweat and tears that it takes to get  a work printable, it’s a little more than disheartening to see the upstarts enter the field, as if all it took was the ability to craft a few sentences.

The opportunities that writing in the digital realm afford has created new styles and manners of writing AND selling. There are crafty opportunists who are using words as a sales tool and then giving it the hard sell to anyone who will listen on Facebook, Twitter and the other venues that can be turned so easily into self promotion vehicles. And, for those who are successful at this method, it leaves the rest of the pack to just scratch their heads in wonderment at how all those years of striving and hard work can be so easily passed by by an efficient sales pitch.

Part of the explanation goes to the givens that writers have adhered to through the years. Since their words are gold, it has gone that we write and it’s just a matter of the right timing and luck for our ship to come in. We write and then wait for popular opinion to grant that we indeed have the voice that guarantees our place in the halls of literary greatness. For the upstarts that dash off and upload their first drafts, and then sell, sell, sell to their mailing lists, it’s been a bit unnerving to see that these salesmen succeed in getting to the top of the charts, even if it’s only for an hour in Amazon’s top 10. Or to see these salesmen use hijinks and manipulation to push merchandise, like offering their book for little or for free in order to boost the numbers. And then there are the reviews. Beware. Some of them have been manufactured — not that this hasn’t been done through the years on book jackets and in press releases. It’s just that the lines of decency and propriety have been blurred by the guys that don’t really understand that these manuscripts are words, for crying out loud.

And there’s a bit of sour grapes here. Writers wouldn’t be so brazen as to assume that they could perform brain surgery without training. Why, then, does anyone think that because they can construct a sentence, that they are a writer? But there are those doing just that and some of them are enjoying success. Never mind that it wouldn’t matter if it was words or widgets, this element that writes without really respecting the craft will only have its day for a while.

So there. But if digital publishing has the traditional publishing world on its ear, it’s still for good reason. Because the traditional publishing method really does stink unless you are on the inside. There are many times that I have wished that I had wanted to be an accountant. How easy would that have been? There always seems like there’s a need for accountants. And two plus two always equals four. But, no, for some reason early on in my development I realized that I was a writer and the die was cast. I’ve said that thank goodness I didn’t want to be a poet — that’s the only thing I could think of that might be worse. That’s a really toughie.

The theory goes that we write and somehow our manuscript will capture both the eyes and the imagination of just the right editor who will catapult it and us to literary stardom, which translates into cash aplenty and the nods of the literati that we do indeed belong with the masters. Ha. And tell me about the thick skin that a writer has to have to face rejection umpteen times and continue to believe in their story and that they aren’t a fraud. The process of finding an editor is also quite time consuming. And, what makes an editor know so much, anyway? Look at some of that drivel that passes for literature these days. We know that somebody must have owed someone’s brother-in-law a favor for that to have gotten published. And insiders tell me it is very much a who know who world. Living in Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia, I didn’t know anyone in publishing in New York, Boston and London. When you are a gentle creative soul in the first place, it takes guts and strength to keep believing in yourself. Sometimes they let you down easy with feedback like “your manuscript’s not long enough” or “it’s too long.”

But the new digital opportunities are astounding. No longer do you have to wade through the slog of hoping to catch an editor’s eye. This is the good news. No longer is vanity publishing the stigma of amateurishness that it once bespoke. So, here for all those frustrated with the process, here is the open door you’ve been waiting for all these years. You can get your manuscript out there and let it happen like it should have been for all this time — let the reader decide if it’s the writing of an amateur or the esteemed musings of an learned visionary that’s viable . If it turns out to be the writing of amateurs, so be it. If it’s the great story that’s lay dormant in a drawer for two decades and has now found its wings, also, so be it.

The caveats now are to get others to read it before you take it to epublication. Get the bad grammar out. Clean it up. Nobody gets it perfect all alone. A writer gets so close to the words that typos go uncaught. That’s normal. Get a good copy editor to give it a once over. Get feedback. Get good cover art so that you don’t look like a real low rent project, unless your message is on how to publish for little or no money.

As writers are getting their works out hurridly, the errors are there. Formatting that doesn’t quite work. Links that don’t work or are nonexistent. The errant letters or numbers that appear in the middle of a paragraph. Readers will get used to some of this. It was already happening from the big publishers who were having to cut staff input for budget reasons. There are many print books with quotation marks missing or formatting errors that I have come across in recent years — the type of thing you never ran across in year’s past.

But, it’s all good. At least writers now have a chance that they didn’t have before. And the readers will make the decision about what is good and what is not. Writers will have to be more involved in marketing their products, but that was already happening in the print world. The notion that a writer writes and then sits back and waits for accolades is hooey, and probably was never much a reality for many out there.

So, if you have a message in your heart, and it’s a bit surprising that so many people are so hungry for self expression and exposure, then write. Write as if it was the most important thing. Write as if the world could change with your words. Write as if someone’s day could have more depth with what you have to say. And then have the respect in yourself to get the words presented with quality and style. You may not sell many books, but you will probably touch a few lives. You will probably make a difference to someone. Don’t quit your day job until you are making a lot of money selling books. Selling books has always been a rather tough sell most of the time. But, go for it. Be open to criticism. Believe in yourself, but be willing to make a change to a phrase you particularly love.

And thank the stars that you have the chance to make it happen rather than sadly putting your manuscript in a box at the bottom on a drawer. Step up to the plate. You may end up being your biggest fan, but you also may make a few along the way. Be willing to self promote. And enjoy your position as joining the ranks of the published for all the glory and the benefits (sometimes merely intrinsic) that this affords. You may change a life or two in the process, and that, in itself, is a thought worth embracing.

A Digital Writers Workshop will cover the ins and outs of digital publishing. Sign up for the email list here on the blog for further information as it’s released.

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