Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Writer Resources

Self-Publishing from A Drug Store?

Readers not from the U. S. A. might misunderstand the title of this post—a “drug store” is a place with books, food, magazines, personal hygiene items, makeup, greeting cards, school supplies, electronics, a photo shop, and, way in the back, a counter to get prescription drugs.

Regular readers of this blog know I’ve covered Self-Publishing from many angles

Two of the more unique posts were:

Libraries Weathering The Storm In Publishing


Should We All Self-Publish A Book?

They stand out because they both feature the Book Publishing Machine Espresso—take your flash drive to a store 6256317164_b132e2154c-300x199with the machine and walk out with a printed copy; or, have them print any of millions of other books in the machine’s memory, in just a few minutes (see the video below).

GeekWire recently had an article called, Bartell Drugs to bring print-on-demand book publishing machine to Seattle store—“Bartell Drugs is partnering with Kodak Alaris to put a new kiosk in its University Village store that will allow users to print books on demand in addition to printing photos. The new machine combines the functionality of Kodak photo kiosks as well as the Espresso Book Machine

Take a look at the locations of the Espresso Book Machine

The machine is even in book stores (locations with Espresso at Books-A-Million).

If you want to print your own book, you need PDF files of the book and it’s cover.

Depending on the location, a book made by Espresso can range in cost from about $6.00 to more than $30.00

Want to watch it work? :-)

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Writing Software or Writing Apps ~~ Or, Both?

I’ve done a number of posts on writing software. Here are just a few:

No money: Free Software for Writers . . .

Some money: The Best Writing Software *Ever* ?

Do you really need it?: Writers’ Software ~ Is It Necessary?

My Best Friend sent me a heads-up on a new WebApp to help writers—DRAFT.

I took a look at it and found these features:

Version Control


Compare Old Work

Cloud Sync



Transcription Tools

MarkDown Todos



Image Hosting

Character Count

Keyboard Shortcuts

Rest API

I even looked at the Terms of Service and Privacy page—seems they have it all covered

They even give you a chance to try out some of the features.


If you don’t have a friend or colleague available to help edit your document, Draft has a college educated group of writers on staff to look at your work for as little as $5. Just look for the ‘Ask a Pro’ buttons in your documents.

Plus, here’s an interview with the creator :-)

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A Very Unique Take On Writer’s Block

I have an online friend from Lithuania.

Tomas Karkalas. Tomas

He’s an excellent photographic artist.

English is not his first language and some may find his writing hard to understand but I find it particularly Poetic—his use of English is not “wrong”—it’s Unique

I encourage your visiting his blogs:

Modus Vivendi

Art of Butterfly in Plaster

Art by Tomasportrait of my street by Tomas Karkalas from Klaipeda, Lithuania

But I want to reproduce, with his permission, the article, How to overcome the writer’s block:

“How to overcome the writer’s block puzzles many. So I dared to share my experience with you. When the world’s events look unpredictable and force us to dive into the guessing for the future I did not give in but look for my dictionary. I start writing in a foreign language.

“The difference between the phrases ‘I did not’ and ‘I do not’, for example, becomes just the healing experience then. Becomes something I am able to discover and claim for sure. The lack of self-confidence vanish from sight, the credibility gab disappears from view. My Lithuanian-English dictionary thus puts me into the gratitude. I know nothing more fruitful than the hearty Thank you.”

I would love to hear some of your interpretations of his unique view :-)

Don’t be shy—you can’t be “wrong”—do, please, share in the Commentsespecially if Tomas’ words give you a unique insight into breaking out of the cramp of writer’s block.
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Further Considerations On Traditional Publishers

traditional publishing Yes, the publishing world is getting as mad as the Hatter.

Yes, there are major risks and opportunities out there.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the changes, check out a few topics in the Subject Index Links in the left side-bar

Also, reading an article from Kristine Kathryn Rusch can help. She’s also published under a number of different pen names.

The article I’ll be referencing says some clearly harsh things about traditional publishers yet they seem to have earned the comments.

I originally used a Publishing Aid company, FastPencil, for my novel. You can get a feel for my reasons for using this company in the post, Writer, Agent, Publisher ~ Changing Hats…

I really don’t think I’d ever sign a contract with a traditional publisher and Kristine Kathryn Rusch gives amply reasons in her article, The Business Rusch: Competition.

Knowing that many blog readers don’t click through on links, I’ll give a few excerpts from the article:

“Just a few years ago, traditional publishers had a monopoly. They controlled the distribution of books. This meant that the publishers dictated terms to booksellers and they dictated terms to writers. What resulted was what happens whenever anyone controls a marketplace: lots of nasty business practices, lots of unfairness, and lots of take-it-or-leave-it ultimatums.”

She goes on to detail many of the worst business practices, then, mid-way through the article, she says:

“I’m a realist. I know that most writers will never go indie, even if it is in the writer’s best interest. Writers rarely make the hard choices for their best interest. Writers—established or not—are desperate to be published, and will probably sell their grandmother (for one-one-thousandth her worth) just to get their novel published by a regional press….if I had my druthers, I would indie publish and traditionally publish. I don’t like having all of my eggs in one basket, even if I own the basket myself.”

Later, she says two things she feels all writers should agree on:

“We should be willing to walk away when a traditional publisher offers us terms we don’t like.”

We should never ever ever ever sign a blanket non-compete clause.”

She goes on to explain, in detail, the dangers of that kind of contract clause.

I’ve wanted to reference one of this woman’s posts for quite awhile—she’s been there, she knows the pitfalls…


Do you feel traditional is the Only way to go?

Do you know a writer who feels that?

Are you an Indie only person?

Are you completely confused about what to do?

If you have no other resources you trust, you might want to read posts on publishing here.  Don’t forget to notice the “older posts” link at the end of each page :-)
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Writing Resources & Advice ~ Tread Carefully…

There’s so much writing advice swirling around now that anyone trying to read it all would never write anything.

Plus, trying to do what everyone says would drive you bonkers :-)

So, I’d suggest you limit the time you spend on advice or resources, say two hours on the weekend , then use the rest of your free time to WRITE.

I’ve done a number of posts in these areas and one called, Yet More Writing Resources . . ., has a link to another post called, Writing Resources, Revisited…, that links to three more posts, “…some with writing tips and some with writing warnings…”.

I recently found a post by J. J. Hebert that has many recommendations for reading about writing, links to videos and articles by writers, plus a link to even more resources. Check out 20 Valuable Writing Resources.

But, before you Tread Carefully  through all that, try some of the videos Hebert has in his lists:

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