My Blog
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Libby's Blog

This past week a print copy of my novel, Lydia, arrived for me to proof. There’s nothing quite like holding your book in your hands for the first time.

While waiting for its arrival, I finished the computer program with CreateSpace. Chose the price for my book, etc. When I’m finished proofing and approve the publication of Lydia, it will go up on Amazon. I’ll pay Amazon $79 and choose the option for CreateSpace to format it for them (part of my contract with them, no extra charge). That will take a few days to process, but then everything will be available.

I’m going to give away free ebooks of  Promises to Keep, Book One of the Haverford Trilogy on December 19, 20, 21 for those who have not already read it. This is a good marketing idea (those who like Book One hopefully will want to buy Book Two). Also, although Lydia can “stand alone,” readers will enjoy it more if they have already met most of the characters from the previous book. This is why people like to read sequels and series, to find out what happens next in the lives of the characters. At least, that’s how I feel.

Now that I’m almost finished working with CreateSpace, I want to address one more thing for those who are reading this blog. Someone recently said to me, “You make it sound so easy to self-publish.” That bothered me a bit, because I don’t want to mislead anyone.

If you are computer literate, it is easy. And, if you are like me, relatively computer-literate, it’s not that hard. Maybe a little nerve-wracking off and on, because you want to make sure you did everything right, but not really hard. However, if you aren’t computer literate at all, I recommend you ask someone who is to go through the process with you.

I also recommend patience. Computers are computers and sometimes do strange things. Don’t yell at the nice people at CreateSpace when you make a change or correction, and it may not show up when you proof it a second time. Just give them a call, and they will do what is necessary. If it’s their problem, there’s no charge.

Don’t rush the process and miss mistakes you might have made in the original manuscript. If I find something I missed when I proof my final proof copy, I’ll pay for the correction and fix it before approving it for publication.

So there you have it. Hope this had helped writers who are contemplating self-publishing. I’m going to add copies of these blogs on my website after the first of the year. There may be writers who want to refresh their memory about what I wrote when they are ready to consider self-publishing.

I hope sharing my publishing journey has been helpful. One of my goals in life is for people to say, “If Libby can do it, I can do it!”

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to



Posted by libbygrandy at 1:19 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2014 1:31 PM EST
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Libby's Blog

Two happy events to report in my blog this week. I received the final draft of my cover for my novel, Lydia, front and back, and approved it. I also received the interior design for proofing. I downloaded the PDF to my computer and then printed it out, as I can find small mistakes (missing commas, etc.) better when I’m looking at a paper copy. Other writers may find it easier to read and proof on the computer screen.

I began the rather tedious job of reading every word on every page. Two days later I requested a few changes and corrections. A few days after that, I was sent another proof copy to make sure the changes showed up. All but one did, a spacing problem. When I called to talk to CreateSpace about it, I found out that I had “goofed” (technical writing term) about one thing. I was supposed to add the following pages to the manuscript file: Dedication, Acknowledgements, About the Author, and a final page with a short synopsis of Book Three of the trilogy that will be out in 2015. They sent me another interior design to revise. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I had all the additional pages ready to go, so all I had to do was copy and paste. The first list of changes were free. These cost $35.00, but it was my own fault. I’ll remember to include these pages in my manuscript file next year when I publish True Abundance, Book Three of the trilogy.

I got the proof back showing the additions and the one correction. All looked good, so I took a deep breath and hit the “approved” button. Whew!

Waiting for a print copy in the mail. Will proof it, hopefully find no problems, and hit the final “approved” button.

Almost there.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to

Posted by libbygrandy at 2:34 PM EST
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Libby's Blog

Okay, things are moving right along with my novel, Lydia. As I noted in my previous two blogs, I uploaded my manuscript and a week later talked to a member of CreateSpace’s design team. I told her what I wanted for the interior formatting (same as last two books) and uploaded the picture I wanted for the cover. We talked about how I preferred the cover to look (color, etc.), and she said a draft of the cover would arrive the next week.

It did. And I love it! 

I did suggest a slight change in spacing. I could have made additional changes. The first set of changes are free. If a writer wants more after that, there is a small charge.

CreateSpace also requested information for the back of the book. I had several blurbs from writer friends but am only allowed 150 words. Since I needed a synopsis at the top of the page for Lydia and a synopsis of Promises to Keep at the bottom (for those who may not have read Book One), I could only use one blurb.

Bummer. (See how articulate I am.)

Anyway, two days later I received the revised cover. It looked great, but I noticed that I had a lot more space available on the back. I called CreateSpace, and they agreed that I could add 100 more words. No charge. I uploaded another file, reinserting the two blurbs I’d deleted earlier. They will edit the back and send me a new draft to approve.

I called CreateSpace again the same day to make sure they received my revised file. No one said, “For heaven sakes, we just talked to you. What the heck do you want now?” No, another lovely young woman talked to me and assured me that all was well. Their calm voices, and, sometimes southern drawl, always calms my nerves.

Now I’m waiting for the first draft of my manuscript. This is where patience comes in. Some writers want to just quickly review the draft, approve it and see it up on Amazon.

I want to carefully proof every page.

One step at a time. See you next week.

Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to


Posted by libbygrandy at 12:25 PM EST
Friday, 28 November 2014
Libby's Blog

First I want to say Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a wonderful day.

I’m now going to continue blogging about self-publishing. If you missed my previous blogs on the subject, go back and catch up, so that the necessary steps are clear. Last week I explained that when the manuscript is uploaded and submitted, a message appears stating that it’s been received, will be reviewed and that there will be an email in 3-5 business days as to the next step.

Two days later, I received an email telling me to check the messages on my account. The message stated that the design team would be calling me the following week. I agreed to the date then realized I might not be available on that day, so I went back into my account and used the message center to email them a change. A day later, there was a message in my account, changing it to the new date.

When they called on that day, the design team member asked what I had in mind for the cover and the formatting for the interior. Again, my conversation was relatively short, as I only had to tell her that I wanted the same formatting as my last two books. New clients will spend more time with their design team. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions or call back later, if you need clarification. This is your “baby” that you’re sending out into the cold world, and you want it to be as perfect as possible.

As for the cover, I uploaded the picture I had purchased from—a country scene. CreateSpace will provide a cover, but I prefer to find my own. As the design team member and I looked at the picture, I told her my preferences for color, etc. She said that, within ten days, I would be receiving a draft of the cover, as well as a digital copy of my manuscript to proof. You can request a print copy, but I like to proof a digital copy first, as a final print copy is always sent before publication. You should also proof that carefully before clicking on the “approved” button. Because what you see is what you get.

You can begin to understand why it takes 4-6 weeks to have a book published. Much of the time has to do with proofreading. Even when everything is sent in as perfect as possible, there can be computer glitches. The good news is they can be fixed. The first time doing all this may be a bit frustrating, as we all want our books available as quickly as possible. But don’t be impatient. Trust that your book will be published when it’s ready, meaning that everything has been carefully proofed. Trust me, it’s worth the extra time.

Will let you know what comes next—after recuperating from eating Thanksgiving leftovers.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to

Posted by libbygrandy at 11:22 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 28 November 2014 11:32 AM EST
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Libby's Blog

I have begun the process to self-publish Lydia, Book Two of The Haverford Trilogy. I’m going to post the various steps in my weekly blogs, so that those who are debating whether or not to self-publish understand how it works. I discussed my reasons for self-publishing in my last blog, so please read that one first if you missed it last week. This is a very personal decision for writers and should be carefully considered.

I made my phone call to CreateSpace and spoke to a friendly, personable woman. This has been my experience with the company, talking to really nice people—maybe because they’re located in the South (just saying). My conversation was relatively short, as I have published two novels with them and only had to explain that I wanted exactly the same service, same formatting, etc. New clients will have an account set up and ID numbers assigned, and the consultant will have a lot of questions and information for them. My consultant double-checked a few items with me then processed my payment. As soon as I hung up, I received a receipt and email from her with detailed instructions, phone numbers, etc. Shortly after that, I received an email from the CreateSpace team saying, “Your action is required to move forward with your project,” and telling me to go into my account.

If a writer can follow clear instructions, the next steps are easy. The title of your book appears on the home page (Member Dashboard), and all you have to do is click on it. Now you are in “Project Homepage.” First there is a questionnaire. I already knew what I wanted for my cover and had a synopsis ready, so that was filled out quickly. As you continue through the instructions, a checkmark is placed beside that item. If you’ve missed anything, it will continue to say “attention required,” directing you back to complete the information.

The last item on the list for the day was “file upload.” You click on the “choose” button, choose your manuscript file, which must be on just one file, and click on “upload.” Watching the upload happen is a little nerve-wracking the first time, as you hope you’ve done everything right. If you haven’t, the computer will tell you what’s missing. If that isn’t clear, you have a free phone number on the email from your consultant, and someone will walk you through it. That is what I like about CreateSpace, everyone is kind and patient if you need guidance or clarification. At least that has been my experience.

When the manuscript is submitted, a message appears stating that it’s been received, will be reviewed and that there will be an email in 3-5 business days as to the next step.

Everyone is nervous the first time they go through the process. That is perfectly normal, as this is a very important goal for a writer. However, if a writer has diligently prepared his or her manuscript, had it critiqued, edited and proofed, and readied the necessary information needed by the subsidy publishing company, all should turn out well. Writers shouldn’t hesitate to call CreateSpace and ask questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question. Well, maybe there is, but no one will make a writer feel that way.

Under CreateSpace on my computer, I have the following files: double-spaced Microsoft Word manuscript, a synopsis, a Dedication, Acknowledgements, About the Author, and the information for the back of the book (blurbs, etc.). As I go through the different steps, I only have to copy and paste or upload the files. A writer should have all this carefully proofed, as whatever is sent to CreateSpace is exactly what will be published. If there is a misspelled word, guess what?

I suggest that writers go to a bookstore or library and look at the layouts of the different books. Everyone has a personal preference. Some writers like to have Acknowledgements at the front of the book. I like mine at the back. Or maybe you don’t want to thank anyone (just kidding).

If the above sounds a bit intimidating, it really isn’t. CreateSpace has made the process as customer friendly as possible. And hired patient, personable people to help writers achieve their dreams.

Will let you know next week what comes next.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to

Posted by libbygrandy at 11:53 AM EST
Thursday, 13 November 2014
Libby's Blog

I’m about to self-publish my third book with CreateSpace, Lydia, Book Two of The Haverford Trilogy. I plan to share this journey each week until it is available on Amazon—to help other writers understand the process and make their own decision about self-publishing.

People have talked to me about having a small traditional company publish the rest of my books. One may even be interested. But I don’t want to do that. Why? Three words: money, control, longevity.

Let’s start with money. People assume that self-publishing is very expensive. It can be if you go with the wrong subsidy company who bilks you for thousands of dollars for editing and promises to help promote your book, which usually doesn’t happen. (You can go on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Goodreads yourself.) It isn’t that expensive for someone like myself, who is fortunate enough to have a great critique group and friends who are excellent writers who read my manuscripts. Because of that, I don’t need editing services. I just need the basic publishing tools for a print book and ebook. I only have to sell 200 books to cover my costs. This is because CreateSpace has such good royalties—35% for print books and 70% for ebooks priced over $3.00. People are always surprised to hear that authors with traditional companies may only receive $1-$2 per book, before giving agents their 15%.

I do recommend that writers research all the subsidy companies. Mark Levine’s book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing is an education unto itself.

Now all this doesn’t matter to some people. They have the necessary money, and they prefer for others to do the legwork. 

However, there’s also the next word: control. Take the choice of cover for a book. I’ve read some wonderful stories with awful covers. I always feel sorry for the author, because traditional companies (except for some small publishers) have control of the cover and the formatting. When you self-publish, it’s your choice. I found the cover for my mystery, Desert Soliloquy, in Google Images by a photographer in Canada. Bought it for $50.00 and CreateSpace designed the rest for me. I love it.  I found the photograph of the Victorian house on the cover of my ghost story, Promises to Keep, on ($17).  It is a replica of the house in my mind. The photographer contacted me recently and said that she was thrilled to see her photograph on my book. I found the photograph for my next book, Lydia, at ($15).  I can’t wait to see what the designers at CreateSpace do with it. I also have control over the formatting of my novels. I’m visual, so the look of the pages inside is important to me. I could go on, but I assume you get the picture (pun intended).

Finally, longevity. Books published by traditional companies do not have a long shelf life, unless they are bestsellers. And, if they don’t sell well, eventually will go out of print. Self-published books are on Amazon for the long run. So when I’m old and gray (which, of course, is eons from now), you can still buy my books.

So there you have it. My reasons for self-publishing. As I walk through the process over the next few weeks, it will be clear that it takes a certain amount of work and a lot of patience.

For me, it is so worth it. Others can make up their own minds.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 12:38 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 13 November 2014 12:42 PM EST
Friday, 7 November 2014
Libby's Blog

I took one day to myself this past week to savor the moment and review positive events from the past. Modern life moves so fast, that I need a day like this once in a while. Fortunately, I’m a journal writer, so, if I want to go back a few years and remember something, it’s usually chronicled in one of my journals.

I opened a journal written twelve years ago when I retired. I had entitled it “A New Beginning,” and it certainly was. For the first time in almost forty years, I had whole days to myself. It felt like a miracle. Of course, those days filled up quickly with new activities, but the difference was that I had few strict deadlines. If I didn’t feel like doing something one day, I knew I had time to do it the next. I still love that about my retired life.

On the first page of that journal, I wrote words that I’m not sure were my own or something that I read. Regardless, I believe in them.

The words were: Stay in the moment. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey.

Those are my goals.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 11:33 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 7 November 2014 11:36 AM EST
Wednesday, 29 October 2014
Libby's Blog

There clearly is a conspiracy this month to test my courage where spiders, vampires, werewolves and the such are concerned. Don’t panic. This isn’t another spider blog. This week I’m going to address the subject of vampires.

I have to confess that I don’t read novels or watch movies about vampires. (I know. There’s definitely something wrong with me.) I do, however, critique novels about this interesting species. Why? Because a member of my critique group, Jim Grayson, writes in this genre.

Jim may have converted me, however. I’ve been copy editing his latest manuscript, and it’s really good. I’m “getting into it” as they say. I care about the protagonist and his friends, even though they happen to be vampires (and werewolves). Trust me, you have to be a very good writer and have a really good plot to make me want to read these kinds of stories. My writer friend has achieved this goal.

The reason I’m talking about this is to point out how a critique group should work. Members should always critique one another within the context of the genre. In other words, Jim will never demand that one of my characters bite someone, and I will never insist that his characters offer their antagonists a cup of tea.

I’ll let you know when Jim publishes his latest book. In the meantime, it’s Halloween week, so watch the vampire movies and read the werewolf novels.

I’ll just have a cup of tea.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 11:02 PM EDT
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
Libby's Blog

In the “old days,” or, as our six-year-old Jesse says, “back in the day,” women often dreamed about being a muse for a writer or artist. It sounded romantic. I have never particularly aspired to that, either now or “back in the day.” Apparently, however, I inadvertently became a muse for my writer friend, Tim Chizmar.

Before you allow yourself to be impressed, I should mention that the story that I inspired is in a horror book, Hell Comes to Hollywood II. The short story is entitled “Libby” (of course), and has a horrific plot involving an older woman and a resident spider. I had mentioned in our critique group that I was afraid of spiders, using basically the same verbiage as in my last blog. Tim was fascinated and, being the creative writer he is, went home and wrote the story.  It became Tim’s first published piece, and I became a muse. Tim has since signed a contract for three published books. Not surprising, the genre he writes in is horror. And, unfortunately for me, he’s very good at it.

I attended a Halloween party over the weekend hosted by the president of The California Writers Club. It was great fun. Judy had asked us to bring something to read, so I downloaded the aforementioned book with Tim’s story in it, read an excerpt, and scared myself silly.

I’m visual. I once read that only 20% of the human race is visual, so, if you’re not, you probably aren’t quite as sensitive to dreadful scenes as I am. If you describe an accident to me, I see it in my mind. If you say blood is running down someone’s face, I see a face with blood running down it.

So if a giant spider with long, hairy legs is ambling toward the main character, I see it clearly. Need I say more?

For those of you who are aren’t visual or love being scared to death, here is the link to the book:   You will find the short story, “Libby,” in it.

It’s a well-written story by a very good writer.

You’re welcome, Tim.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to




Posted by libbygrandy at 12:09 PM EDT
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Libby's Blog

I have a confession to make. I don’t really like Halloween. Undoubtedly, there are those who are shocked by this, especially people in California. Halloween is a big deal in California. However, I don’t like being scared. What scares me? Spiders. And they are everywhere this time of the year. Not real, but everywhere.

Having said all that, our six-year-old Jesse and I went shopping over the weekend and bought a giant spider and two bags of spider webs with little spiders in them. We also bought a skeleton. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any eyeballs. Anyone have an extra eyeball? Jesse assured me that nothing was real, and that I should touch the spiders to see that they were plastic. Jesse always has solutions to any problems I might have.

My spider problem comes from several things: the huge spiders that I occasionally encountered in Virginia when picking corn, and the Tarzan movie I saw as a child that had a giant spider who crawled over people and ate them. I’m visual and can picture that horrendous sight to this day. We also had big black spiders in our damp basement where the washing machine was. I found I could kill them if I screamed the whole time I was smashing them. When that happened, my daughters would ignore the screams, shrug and explain to any friends who might be visiting, “Mother’s killing a spider.”

I doubt that you all are that fascinated by this sad confession, so I’ll end this blog with these words.

In a few weeks, Halloween will be over, and—this, too, will pass.


Link to Promises to Keep and Desert Soliloquy on Amazon:

If you would like to read the articles on my website, go to



Posted by libbygrandy at 11:34 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 October 2014 11:38 AM EDT

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