Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Remains of the Day (haven't left much blog time)

How I Lost Seven Weeks in a Flash

Dear Friends and Followers,

I owe you an explanation for where I've been, and I think it's only right that here and there, a personal post makes its way into this blog ... not to garner sympathy or support, but just to share.

December 2011, before his recent slimdown
My dear, humorous, stubborn, adorable grandpa – my last treasured grandparent – had a series of strokes several weeks ago. He survived, thank God, and his mind (and war stories) were even miraculously left intact for which we are most grateful! The unfortunate part, however, was that the communication between his brain and his left leg didn't fare so well. He just couldn't get his leg to move no matter how hard he tried, leaving him to tell the doctors that he needed a "new brain" ... the previous one wasn't communicating properly (never mind the uncooperative leg).

Again, gratitude abounds for the sense of humor the strokes didn't touch.

He's been in rehab now for about a month ... getting some movement back and walking with his walker – yea!! There have been many trips to see him there, hence the juggling act between family and work, my investigation into an appropriate assisted living facility (if need be), my mom coming out for a visit from Santa Fe, New Mexico ... my blog falling by the wayside.

Lookin' handsome as ever in 2008

Oh! And on top of all that, the Old Classic turned 90! You might get a kick out of the milestone birthday party we managed for him "off campus" ...

Here's the chaotic breakdown:
  • Plan party two months ahead of time; mail custom invitations to family and friends
  • Grandpa goes into hospital
  • Hope held out for original party location (restaurant in San Pedro)
  • Grandpa transfers into rehab in Long Beach
  • Birthday approaches; Grandpa can't walk yet
  • Scramble, make phone calls, find new restaurant near rehab for party site
  • Procure wheelchair transportation (need two separate vans ... *see side note)
    • side note: Grandpa's brother Keith is also now in same rehab (can you believe it??) and needs wheelchair as well
  • Arrange to check Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum (a family endearment, not a slam) out of rehab for the party
  • Grandpa excited to get out of captivity; Uncle Keith excited, too
  • Day arrives; await arranged wheelchair taxis at 4:30
  • Guests – arrive at restaurant at 5:00; us – still awaiting taxis at 5:30
  • Eventually arrive at restaurant – after two trips – with both boys at 6:00; guests have been incredibly patient and understanding, ready to celebrate
  • Eat, sing, have cake
  • Wait for wheelchair taxis again
  • Check the boys back into rehab an hour past the time I was supposed to; no one said a word :-)
  • Grandpa gets changed, tucked in, claims to have had a great time, falls asleep with a smile (in my fantasy world)
  • We get home, collapse, wonder at the whirlwind of the last 5 hours ... and wish there was leftover cake
  • Feel very happy we pulled it off :-) 

Thanksgiving 2007 – Isn't he cute?

We are all holding out hope that he can go home again ... none of us knows what his future – and ours with him – will look like quite yet ... I'm just glad he's still here.

Until soon ...

Write from the heart,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sense and Sensibility (in Self-Publishing, That Is)

Ahhh ... the allure of Kindle, Nook, CreateSpace, Lightning Source, and myriad other portals toward publication. This new wave of options for writers is, in a word, fantastic. The years it can take to become traditionally published can be replaced with a much shorter time frame. But what does that time frame look like, and what should happen within it?

Lest you become swept away by the temptation to grab your languishing novel from the drawer and deem its Word file ready for upload, allow me to offer a few words of wisdom – from someone who works with authors every day to make their books come to polished fruition – to the potentially overeager:

Be smart. Have patience. Understand that it's a process.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gone with the Wind (or something like it ... )

Greetings All!

Blogging rule #1: Don't start a blog and then disappear.

So then where oh where have the posts been of late? Well, allow me to 'splain in as few words as possible ...

I just threw an enormous 80th birthday party for someone very dear to me. Kennedy-Center-Honors-caliber. It consumed my life completely. I'm just now recovering.

When I thought about the relation of the party to what I do for a living as a book doctor, I realized that editing and designing a book is a very similar experience (though the fancy favor boxes filled with chocolate are regrettably absent) ...

  1. Working on a client's book consumes my life for weeks, or often months, in a wonderful way.
  2. Attentiveness, thought, love, and caring is in every detail.
  3. The presentation has to be beautiful in all aspects.
  4. Words must be chosen carefully, certain to convey the intended message.
  5. The degree to which my heart is attached is immense.
  6. Most will never comprehend the extent of the small things that make the big thing look effortless.
  7. The happiness of the client/celebrated person is paramount. 

Who says I shouldn't have a favor box? I'm hereby putting one on my desk and periodically filling it with chocolate. I love what I do. I think it's worth celebrating. :-)

So whilst I run off to do that – and gather the hoards of self-publishing updates I've yet to sort through – I would like to post this video sent to me by my sweet friend, Pam. If you have a little time to sit and watch, you'll be delighted and enlightened by quite an entertaining expert on the subject of book design and the power of the printed narrative.

I highly recommend it for anyone thinking of self-publishing ... you'll appreciate your designer – and his or her task of creatively interpreting your text – with a bit more gusto afterward. :-)


Until soon!


Stacey Aaronson is a professional Book Doctor who takes self-publishing authors by the hand and transforms their manuscripts into the books they've dreamed of—from impeccable editing and proofreading to engaging, audience-targeted cover and interior design—rivaling or exceeding a traditional house publication.

Enter your name and email on any page of my site to receive my Top 10 Mistakes Self-Publishing Authors Make … And How YOU Can Avoid Them. I promise it's a super free gift from me to you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesdays with Stacey: A Desk Chair Chat

The Hitchhikers Guide to the (E-Books) Galaxy

You’re on the side of the road (with your manuscript in your backpack, of course), unsure of which passerby to trust. You have a destination (bestselling author), but there are several stops you must make before you arrive. There are various roads and highways you could take, but let’s face it, to save time you’d vote for the most direct route.

In pouring over today’s influx of self-publishing-related material, I came across an article written in the Sydney Morning Herald (yes, the Australia one) ... and whilst at times the articles in foreign newspapers don’t necessarily apply to us here in the U.S., this one was particularly relevant.

Within it is provided a 10-point guide to e-book success ... and I highly recommend it! It’s concise, direct, and gives some excellent tips to would-be or current authors who wish to take the e-route.

No need to stick out your thumb ... a click of the mouse oughta do it. :-)

Write from the heart,

Stacey Aaronson is a professional Book Doctor who takes self-publishing authors by the hand and transforms their manuscripts into the books they've dreamed of—from impeccable editing and proofreading to engaging, audience-targeted cover and interior design—rivaling or exceeding a traditional house publication.

Enter your name and email on any page of my site to receive my Top 10 Mistakes Self-Publishing Authors Make … And How YOU Can Avoid Them. I promise it's a super free gift from me to you!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesdays with Stacey: A Desk Chair Chat

Apple’s New Savory Treat: iBooks Author

Okay, so some of you won’t receive word of this post until Thursday (I’ve discovered there's a delay for my email subscribers) ... but let it be known that here I sit on Wednesday (hence the running title), with a tea and leftover homemade scone from our (at home) Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, typing in a British accent (just play along), and thinking how brilliant it would be to flip through a book on my iPad about the Royal Family (I can’t help it, I’m an anglophile), complete with photos, slideshows, and video content.

Lest you think I’m dreaming, the technology for such a book is actually here! (If you already knew that, pretend you just found out and are extremely excited, ok?)

You may not care a hound or a buck about the monarchy, but take a leap with me and imagine the possibilities ... they’re quite endless, actually. Non-fiction, children’s books, fiction, textbooks – and don’t even get me started on cookbooks or other guides or how-tos on myriad topics – all interactive ... all full color ... all incredibly brilliant!

“How, how?” The crowd chimes and sways with anticipation. Well, I’ll tell you ...

Friday, June 1, 2012

For Whom the Stigma Tolls

What’s the one big thing keeping writers from self-publishing? Besides some feelings of overwhelm about exactly how to do it ... let’s face it: It’s still the stigma of it all.

We would all love to have a big (or small) publishing house’s name on the spine and back cover of our books. Why? Credibility. Prestige. It means that someone respected in the industry thought our work was good enough to share with the masses. It signifies quality; after all, doesn’t that publisher’s stamp of approval mean that it belongs in bookstores with other great books, assuring there’s an audience who will love it?

Whilst all of the above may be true, we as writers know that traditional publishing does not a guarantee nor a bestseller make. In fact, most – if not all – marketing, book tours, and the like now fall to the author anyway, even with a big (or small) house contract. There’s no assurance of subsequent book deals; the royalties are low; even editors are growing sparse. And we won’t even talk about the fact that the writer typically has little to no say in the cover or interior design of their book ... hmmm.

Indie (or self-) publishing is looking better and better for writers ... and yet the stigma remains.

Well, perhaps hearing these words will help:

The stigma is fading.

Let me say it again, a bit louder in case impact is lacking.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are you there, writers? It's me, Stacey

For my opening post, I was going to jump right into the latest news in self-publishing (there’s so much exciting news to share!), but heck, you may not know me from Eve, so I’m thinking an introduction would be a much more appropriate foray into this blog venture.

That girl to the right is me (I know the term "girl" was a bit derisive in not-so-distant history, but I actually prefer it!). And yes, that profile below my name is an abbreviated version of this post (pay no attention to that just this once).

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I love words and language ... spelling, vocabulary, style, syntax ... all of it. I proudly admit I've been a grammar nerd ever since I was a reading-obsessed child.

I had three vocational aspirations growing up: Righting the wrongs of public language abuse as sheriff of the Grammar Police; becoming a physician; and, of course, being a writer.

As it turns out, the Grammar Police Force exists only in my head (and, apparently, in the heads of a couple of Jeopardy contestants who’ve admitted the same obsession) ... science wasn’t really my strong suit ... and writing, well, let’s just say that when I finally stop editing it (fellow authors, you know what I mean), my novel – and the subsequent ones brewing in my head – will actually be available one day.