Archive for the 'Writing' Category

How To Publish Your Own Book Online

In a previous post, I talked about how to start writing your own book or novel. For this post, I will post an article about a website that you can post your own books and/or stories online. The link to the article is

Here is the text:

“If you want to realise a dream by publishing your own book, there are lots of companies willing to extract upwards of $500 from you for the privilege. At the other end of the spectrum is Amazon’s digital text platform, which allows you to upload your pre-prepared files to its Kindle reader and then set your own price.

The catch? Amazon takes 65% of the income from sales. Ouch. Fortunately, there are lots of other options – of which more later – for budding authors. What you get out of them is subject only to the limits of your imagination.

It doesn’t have to be an embryonic bestseller because self-publishing is best suited to limited editions. Anything over 1,000 copies and you would be better off going to a traditional printer to take advantage of economies of scale. I know a lot people who are self-publishing a record of their own lives together with memories of their parents and grandparents as a bit of family history. That’s not vanity publishing, just a great way to preserve memories for future generations and add to the archive of local history. Self-publishing is ideal for that.

Others publish their blogs or photo albums. Every year I try to put the best photos of the past 12 months from a photo site ( in my case) so we have the equivalent of the traditional photo album which will last longer than my Flickr subscription and my hard disk. You could equally download an out-of-copyright book from the not-for-profit Gutenberg archive or from the millions of books Google has scanned (maybe for your book club) or extracts from the Wikipedia – and it’s all legal.

For years I have written poems as a relaxing pastime – rather like other people collect stamps. I couldn’t face the prospect of collecting rejection notes from agents and publishers so decided to self publish. The first book I did by paying for 1,000 copies to be printed in the traditional way (because it was only a little bit more expensive than printing 500). Expensive mistake.

By the time a second book was ready new technology came to the rescue. I used, which enables you to upload files and cover designs for nothing, and launched it in the virtual world Second Life (at no extra cost to a member). For marketing, I experimented with “product placement” by attaching poems to photos or paintings on Flickr and other sites thereby generating discussions that you wouldn’t get with traditional publishing where the author is remote from the reader.

Through a chance meeting on Facebook, the Glasgow indie group A Band Called Quinn is recording a number of the poems for a CD, including Truth which can be experienced here on YouTube. My new book I hope to publish on Lulu and an iPhone app, if I can find a decent one. The point about all this is that new technology offers new and cheap ways both to publish and promote your books and we are only at the start of the learning curve.

Which self-publishing site to choose? There has been a lot of change recently. This is partly because of Amazon entering the market (and now Apple as well) but also because the process is becoming simpler and the operation more vertically integrated. Amazon has bought Createspace and Lulu has purchased We Read, a social book club with a presence on Facebook and other social sites with a claimed 3 million readers. This could help it towards reaching the nirvana of self-publishing: to become the iTunes of books.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Lulu in recent years. In principle, it is a breath of fresh air being an open source site that claims to put the interests of authors above all else (unlike the increasingly proprietary Amazon). In practice, there have been problems – not least ludicrously high postage costs (sometimes more than the cost of the book) delays of weeks before delivery and issues about payments which readers have told me about.

They seem to be through these problems, however, and now print in the UK so delivery takes days rather than weeks and postage is down to more reasonable levels. The proof of my latest book arrived while writing this column, five days after pressing the final button.

If you use their template, publishing is remarkably easy – you upload your manuscript in PDF form, drag photos across for the front and back covers. It could all be over in 20 minutes (if you don’t make silly mistakes as I tend to). It doesn’t cost you anything until the first purchase and Lulu lets you keep 80% of the proceeds (after deduction of the printing cost of each book). Lulu expanded by 20% last year and publishes over 400,000 titles a year which it claims is “almost twice as many as by America’s entire traditional publishing industry”.


The digital revolution has turned the music industry upside down but it is moving at a more leisurely pace in books where self-publishing hasn’t yet taken off in a really big way.

The question this week is whether, once again, Apple will change the game by providing an easy way to publish and generate a conversation. There is still a vast market out there for the taking.”

Keegan, Victor. (January 28, 2010). How To Publish Your Own Book Online – and Make Money. The Guardian.  Retrieved from 

Published in:Writing |on December 13th, 2016 |No Comments »

Millennials and Reading

For this post, I will be discussing the information presented in the article “Millennials are Out-Reading Older Generations”, which can be found at .

I am a part of the millennial generation and I love to read, so I felt that this article would be interesting to read. The article mentions how younger generations are always receiving slack from the couple of generations above them because of the types of things they are into. But to many people’s surprise, millennials love to read. According to a poll they did in the article of six thousand people, eighty-eight percent of people under thirty  read a book within the last year. Seventy-nine percent of people above the age of thirty had read a book within the past year. So I think it is very interesting that younger people were reading more than the older generation.

Another interesting thing from the article is that it said that people are buying books more than borrowing them from the library. I personally have bought several books, but I tend to borrow them from libraries more often. Since I am in college, I do not really have a ton of extra money lying around to spend on books. Besides, free rental from the campus library is built into my tuition, so I might as well take advantage of that.

I would highly suggest that you read the article that this post is about. There are many interesting facts and points within this article! Have a great day!

Published in:Book Review, Writing |on December 13th, 2016 |No Comments »

Most Anticipated YA Books of November 2016

For this post, I will be posting a list of the most anticipated books of November 2016. I will be getting the list of books from . I will not be posting the whole list, but I will post some of it.

1.) Heartless by Marissa Meyer

This book is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland about the Queen of Hearts.

2.) Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

This book is about a princess who has an affinity for fire, which is quite dangerous.

3.) Timekeeper by Tara Sim

This book is about a Victorian world that is controlled by clock towers.

4.) Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys

This book is about a girl who is sick of being babied and looked down on. One day she receives a mysterious invitation to a secret society.

5.) Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

This book is about a group of four girls who can control the elements. These girls have to work together to save the world from evil.

6.) We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

This book is based in the 1980’s and is about two childhood friends.The book takes place after they’ve both graduated high school and are living their adult lives.

7.) This is Our Story by Ashley Elston

This book is about a group of five guys going on a hunting trip, but only four returned. The guys won’t say who shot their friend, so this is a mystery book.

There are ten more books on the list and if you are interested, you can go to the link I posted at the beginning of this post.

A lot of the books on the list sound very interesting and I will probably check out a few of them! I encourage you to read through the full list and find a book you are interested in and then check it out.



Published in:Book Review, Writing |on November 2nd, 2016 |No Comments »

Desire of the Soul

Welcome back to Books R Us! For this post, I’m going to do something a little different than my usual posts. I mentioned in a previous post that I am currently writing a book and I gave some advice on how to start your own writing. I am going to post my first chapter of my story, Desire of the Soul, on this post. It is an early version of it and I just wanted to share my writing with you and maybe help you think about your own writing. So here is the first chapter; it is still under work but I hope you enjoy it.

Full Summary:

Angela Ward was an ordinary teenage girl. Until the day she witnessed a murder. Now her life is spinning… in circles as she’s enters the Witness Protection Program. She gets stuck in the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin. But life isn’t all too bad…there is that cute jock at her new school that is interested in her. What about the cute, young cop that is protecting her? Will Angela’s life, and heart, ever be safe

This story is dedicated to my family and friends. I love you all.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Oh wait, it was yesterday when it all happened. Yesterday was my eighteenth birthday. My best friends took me to a club for people who are eighteen through twenty years of age. It’s the hottest place in Chicago to go to for people my age.

The music was blaring, my friends and I were dancing, and we were having a great time. I decided that it was time for a bathroom break, so I excused myself from my friends and walked to the bathroom. After I was done, I checked my cell phone and saw that I had one voice mail from my mother. I tried listening to it inside, but the noise was way too loud. I walked out of the back door of the club to find I was standing in an alley. I listened to my voice mail again and it was my mom reminding me to have a good time. I smiled down at my phone. Gosh, I love my mom so much. I thought.

When I looked up from my phone, I saw a guy down the alley. He was pacing back and forth and from what I could make out in the dim lighting, he was pretty cute. I started walking towards him to go talk to him when four men stepped out of the shadows and in front of the cute guy. I stopped in my tracks, and so had the guy. He was now facing the men, who were all in professional suits. I quickly, and quietly, ran over to the dumpsters near them so I could watch and listen to their conversation. I know it was eavesdropping, but I was curious!

“Did you get us what we had asked for?” asked man number one.

“I…I had a problem with the delivery…” said the cute guy. I named him Surfer in my head, because he had surfer hair.

“What do you mean you had a problem? I thought the purpose of the assignment was very clear.” said man number two. The third man cracked his fingers and it echoed through the dark alley.

“I want out. I don’t want to be in this business anymore. It’s too stressful and way too dangerous for me. I can’t handle it anymore. I quit.” Surfer said to the men.

“No one quits this business. You’re in it for life.” said man number four.

“Well, I quit.” Surfer turned around and started to walk away from them. Man number four pulled out a knife but man number one shook his head and pulled out a gun. I swiftly took out my cell phone and dialed 911.

“Hello, 911 emergency, how may we assist you?” asked the receptionist.

“Hi, my name is Angela Ward, and I’m behind the club, Nightlife, in the alley and there are four men here with another guy and there are guns and knives involved.” I frantically whispered. The gun fired at Surfer and he fell to the ground. Tears rolled down my cheek while blood started to stain Surfer’s clothes and the ground around him.

“Stay calm, ma’am. Police are on their way.” the receptionist said through the phone line. “Don’t hang up until the police get there.” she said to me. I whispered an “okay.” I looked at my hand and saw that it was shaking. I looked back towards the crime scene and I saw that the four men had vanished. I got up from behind the dumpsters and ran over to Surfer, while still on the phone with the receptionist.. I knelt down next to Surfer and started crying harder. I grabbed his wrist and felt for a pulse. Nothing. And then that’s when reality started to sink in. I just witnessed a murder…and I’m holding a dead person’s wrist. I dropped his wrist but stayed knelt down next to him.

“Hello there little lady.” said a deep voice from behind me. I knew that voice. I recognized it as man number four’s voice. He was the man with the knife.

“Put your phone on the ground and stand up.” ordered the man. I followed his orders and could feel my heart beating fast in anticipation. “Now turn around and face me.” I slowly turned around and faced him. He still had the knife in his hand and was ready to use it at any second.

“What’s your name?” he asked me while clenching his hands around the knife’s handle.

“Angela. Angela Ward.” I answered him quietly, hoping he wouldn’t cut me with the knife.

“Well, Angela, did you see everything that happened here?” he motioned to Surfer on the ground and the alley. I nodded a couple of times. “Then we’ll just have to get rid of you.” he grinned and closed the distance between us. He grabbed my wrist and pressed his knife against my neck.

“Please…no…” I begged, barely a whisper. The man continued to grin and put just a tad bit more pressure against my neck with his knife. I closed my eyes. This is it. I thought. I’m going to die. My friends are right inside of the club, having a good time, and have no idea what’s going on right now. Are they even wondering where I went? What a great way to die. I said a few prayers in my head as the man pressed a little bit more against my neck.

Just as it started to really hurt, police sirens and lights showed up at the end of the alley. The man took his knife off of my neck and said to me quickly, “Angela Ward, we will find you, and we will finish what was started here.” and then he took off running in the other direction as police officers ran down the alley towards him.

I sat down on the ground, found my phone, and then leaned up against the wall. The ambulance had arrived and started dealing with Surfer’s limp body on the ground and crime scene investigators were putting up yellow tape around the alley.

The rest of the night was a blur. The main things that had happened were my friends found me outside while I was leaning up against the wall and I called my mother and she came down to the club to take me home. But before I could go home, I had to answer a few questions down at the police station about what had happened. So I told them everything. Especially the part where the man told me he would come and kill me. After that, I was able to go home, but Officer Ernie Black told me that he would stop over at my house tomorrow to do more talking with me and decide what we were going to do. My mom took me home and I crashed right away. I didn’t even take my shoes off before I fell asleep.

The morning was also pretty hectic. I woke up at around nine-thirty and picked at my breakfast food for twenty minutes before I decided that there was no way I could possibly stomach any food right now. Officer Black came at ten o’clock and he asked me heaps of questions. I answered them to my best ability and then he asked to speak alone to my parents. So I went to my room and thought about everything that had happened. An hour later, I was called back downstairs and that’s when they broke the news to me. I was going into Witness Protection Program until they caught the men who had killed Surfer and threatened to kill me. I was leaving tonight. They were sending me off to a town called Peshtigo in northern Wisconsin. I had four hours to pack and say goodbye to my family. While I’m in Peshtigo, I’m not allowed to have contact with anybody from Chicago. This means I can’t talk to my parents or my best friends until this whole situation blows over. My parents were in charge of creating a story as to why I moved away. I went to my room and started packing my belongings.

I pulled out my pillow and leaned it against the plane window. I was sitting next to Officer Black on the plane ride up to Peshtigo. He was going to be one of the cops guarding me while I was there. It was going to be him and another police officer named Paul Barker. He was a younger police officer, just graduated from the police academy. They wanted a police officer that was a little bit closer to me in age so I would feel “more at ease.” Both officers would be staying in the house with me that the program had rented.

We landed a few hours later at an airport a few miles away from Peshtigo. When we got off of the plane, Officer Black loaded all of my things into a car that he rented for while we’re up here. I stayed silent while in the car ride to Peshtigo. I didn’t really have anything to say and was still exhausted from the chaotic day I’ve had. I was being torn away from my family and my friends. My life was gone. And they expected me to start a new life here and pretend nothing had happened…yeah right. That wasn’t going to happen. I did not want to be here but I also didn’t want to be in risk of being murdered down in Chicago.

As we drove into Peshtigo, I took in all of the sights here. It is definitely a lot different than Chicago, that’s for sure. The sign said that Peshtigo had a resident count of around 3,357 people. I was going to die here in this small town. The most exciting thing around is probably the Peshtigo River that runs through the town. I have to spend my senior year in a small town where I’m guessing everyone knows everything about everyone. How do the police expect my secret to stay hidden in this place?

Officer Black pulled up to an average sized house that had one story and a basement. Officer Black told me that Officer Barker would be here later tonight. It was 5:30 pm and tomorrow I had to go to school here. Its mid-February, so I’m a new student transferring half way through senior year. I have a feeling that I’m going to get a lot of attention because of that. After an hour of putting everything in its place inside of the house, it was time for bed. I said my goodnights to Officer Black, who insisted on me calling him Ernie, and crawled into bed. Just like last night, I passed out right away.

Published in:Writing |on October 8th, 2016 |No Comments »

Writing Your Own Story

Hello, welcome back to BooksRUs! For this post, I will be giving a few tips on how to start your own story. I wrote in my About Me page that I am currently writing my own story. My story is about an eighteen year old woman whose life was turned upside down when she witnessed a murder outside of a nightclub. She is sent into witness protection services and has to start her life over. She meets a couple of really nice people at her new high school and the two agents protecting her aren’t too bad either, especially the guy who isn’t too much older than her. My story is about how this young woman deals with the trauma of starting her life over and it’s about falling in love.

So now that I gave you  brief summary of my story, which is still a work in progress, I am going to give you a few tips on how to get started on writing your own story. So first of all, you have to think of a plot for your story, which is obviously the most important step of writing. If you are completely stuck on what to write, here is a website that generates random plots: .

After you decide on a plot, the next step is to develop characters. Here is another website that can help you develop character names and personalities and it even has a plot generator on it too: . I have personally used this site a lot for writing short stories and I recommend it!

After you have a plot and characters, it’s time to start writing! I usually set up a plan of how I want the story to go, but otherwise I just start writing and see what happens. Once you feel comfortable enough with your writing to post it, there are several sites online where you can post your stories.

I hope you found this helpful and good luck to any of you who are thinking about writing your own story!

Published in:Writing |on October 1st, 2016 |No Comments »