great writing websites

As I gather some new ideas for posts, here is a great website that lists the top 100 writing websites.

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active versus passive writing

I seem to write in the passive tense a lot. Constant revisions help locating these weak sentences.

Here is an article that helps identify passive sentences.

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Coming back online

My apologies for the long absence. A lot of things have changed.
We’ll get back to the concepts of writing – planning, plotting, writing, revising, marketing and selling, shortly.


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Rick, Renee, and the Fat Man now available on Amazon Kindle

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Finally – its done Rick, Renee, and the Fat Man front page copy

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Overview of the writing, revision and publishing process

For those of you in the Southern California area I am giving a three hour presentation of how to plan, finish and then get your book published.
It will be a very intense, detailed talk about the process of getting novel or memoir completed and in print.
It will be held in the La Canada Flintridge Bookstore about eight miles northwest of Pasadena.
With today’s technology, there is no doubt that YOU CAN BE PUBLISHED!
This is where you learn how.
Space is extremely limited. For more information, you can go to my page at

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preparing your createspace book

Okay sorry for the delay, but as I stated before you must prep your book and have several people read it before switching into publisher mode.

So, I have formatted my book for a paperback. This is the first of three versions of the book that we will be making.

I feel some people want real paper books, some want kindle versions and some people are e-book readers. It’s not that hard to make all three, and its good practice for my upcoming the book; “Get Published Today!”

Of course you could easily skip the ebook and the paperback version and just do a Kindle. That way it is available on Amazon and certainly easier, as you don’t have to design the back cover. It’s your book. It’s your choice.

As for front matter. Some people prefer to simply include their title, a copyright page, then head into the book. Other authors prefer to have that a complete list of front matter (Table of Contents, dedication page, acknowledgements, etc.) again it is your choice.

Okay, you should have a book formatted correctly in in word and a cover.
If you need help with either of these chores there are help pages on CreateSpace that have templates for books as well as cover design.
And if you do not feel you have the skills to format the cover, CreateSpace has a cover creator that you can customize.

Okay here we go.

The Paperback
Log in or create an account on

You do this at the left hand side of the screen.
Now you will select “book” from the menu just above the book example and to the right.

A pulldown menu will appear. Chose the first selection; “Publish a trade paperback”

Now fill in the information concerning your book: title, it is a paperback
Next, select the guided step-by-step process.

Fill in the next form with information about your book. This is your real or pen name, what you want the world to know. A series would be if the book was to be one of many titles.

On all of these fill-in-the-blanks there is a “what’s this” section that explains more details.

As you can see you do not need to put in the publication date. CreateSpace will take care of that

Once you have your title information, you go to the ISBN page.
I have my own ISBN’s but you should read the differences. My lazy take on it was that if a best seller came along, I could get a new version with a better (more than free) ISBN.

Next the interior.

This is a little more complicated and I will get into it on the next blog. I use the common 6×9 format and I will tell you the settings I use for my paperbacks.

Remember, at this point you should have a typo free manuscript that has been read by several people who are not reading it and stroking your ego, but seriously copy editing it.

photos will be in the kindle and paperback versions.

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Overview of creating a paperback on CreateSpace

This is a walk through of a CreateSpace Paperback book.

Sign into or create an account on

On the left “My Account” under “Member Dashboard” click on “Add New Title”
This will bring you to a new page
1. Name of project – Create an interesting title
2. Chose paperback
3. Chose a setup process
If you know what you’re doing, choose expert. We will go through the guided process
Select “Guided”

Title Information:
Make sure your title is what you really want
Subtitle – you need one of these, even if it is “A Novel”, or it could be “Murder on an Alaskan Cruise” or “A Sicilian Cookbook”
You would be the primary author. You could use a pen name.
If you have a series (like my 3by3 Writing Method) of books check the box that says “This book is part of a series”
There are instructions about this under each question in blue saying “What’s this?”
The publication date is when you publish… you can’t pick a date in the future. The site will fill this in, but if you are republishing the book you put the original date in here.
Now we move onto the ISBN page.
The inexpensive way to go is get a free CreateSpace ISBN however this immediately identifies you with CreateSpace. If you are setting up a publishing company you might want to contact RR Bowker and buy your own set of ISBNs
The middle option of custom Universal ISBN is limited. Clicking on the choice explains this option, but you cannot sell to Libraries or Academic Institutions. Of course you can always sell to anyone you want to buy purchasing the book and shipping it to your customers.
It is highly suggested you read about ISBNs before making your choice.
I have bought my own ISBNs for my publishing company.
Next is the interior of the book.
I suggest cream and a “Most Popular Trim Size.” Unless you are publishing an oversized children’s book, stick with the norm.
I am going to include the link to my template for a book again.

However I suggest reading this whole post as there are templates mentioned below that might suit your particular format.

I suggest formatting your book using MSword but “save as” a PDF for an upload file.
I do all this work myself but you can see at the bottom of this page you can get help for a reasonable price.
I use a blank template that I downloaded into Photoshop. That way I have control of the entire front, back and spine.
CreateSpace has a cover creator that allows you to use their designs with your modifications.
You write your information, upload photos and your publishing experience is simplified.
On the left side of the page are set up instructions, how to make a cover and how to make an interior PDF
There are templates available on these pages also.
On the left side how to create the interior of a book are several MSword templates. They are great!

In reality, if you spent a day, you could get your book totally uploaded on CreateSpace. Of course you would have to write all the support material (front matter, book, dedication, front and back cover material beforehand.
But this site is easy to use and if you use their templates, you could be published in no time

Next we will go through the details of making the interior of the book.

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a different post

I am working on the next post which will detail the POD process. While you’re waiting for me to finish, you might want to take a look at the first few pages of my newest book; Killer Performance

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The three venues for free self-publishing an overview

Here is an overview of the three choices of free self-publishing avenues that we will be detailing over the next month. There are other companies that will publish your book and you will get similar results. These companies offer more hand-holding and advice, yet they do charge money for this support.
My goal here to get you into print for free. I will be leaving some of the details out of this blog, as this is the basis of my next book.
However, I figured this process out, so can too.
For those who want a step-by-step detailed explanation, the complete how-to book will be available in early 2014.
We will be working on three separate versions of your self-published book. The first and most difficult will be the POD or Print-on-Demand version.
This is essentially a paperback book stored in a computer, but the book is manufactured as orders come in. You can also order copies for yourself. You will have to pay for the books you order at a reduced price, but the preparation of the paperback is free, so is the listing on Amazon.
I chose Amazon’s CreateSpace because it is free and is relatively easy to use.
If you want to go to the website and bang around, create an account before I get into he details, you can go to
If you want more hand-holding, just google Print-on-Demand, POD or self-publishing and you will find several companies.
There will be some technical expertise needed to publish your book, but that is expected. If you do not want to do anything but publish your words without a cover you could go to the eBook section as that is exactly what the third selection of this discourse will be. We
Then what we will do is take your book, cut off the back of your cover and create a Kindle version. The great thing about the Kindle version is that it can be downloaded and read on phones, PCs, Apple computers and, of course a Kindle.
This website
Then we will take the same files you used for the kindle and create another book using a different website. This one is going to be an eBook using Smashwords –

Now as promised, here is the link to a template to a book in MS word.

You should open it and take a good look, save a copy and see how you can use it. If you have specific questions about the file make a comment on the blog.

I am making this template available to you for a short period of time. Take advantage of it.

If you like the first few pages you could buy my book “Holly Would, But Stacy Won’t” on amazon or

Coming up creating your POD book and getting it ready for publishing.

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