This is my new best friend. It’s the Echo smart pen. Thanks to the literary grant I won last November, I was able to purchase this marvel and the accessories that go with it.
Let me give you a short history of my writings. I write all my books and short stories by hand. I am more creative this way then sitting in front of my computer. The times I have tried to do it via computer from the get go proved futile with nothing being written. As someone who has fibromyalgia where repetitive motion or action activates a fibro attack, this can wreak havoc on one’s body and one’s writings. I was introduced to the Dragon program. This little nifty item allows one to speak into a microphone as the computer types out what you are saying.
Well it would be awesome if it worked for me. Getting the program, I was so excited to give it a try to save my arms, shoulders and neck from the pain. It didn’t work. Either I spoke to fast or my accent was getting in the way. It didn’t help that my husband and son gave it a whirl and they had no problem being understood. Lovely.
It was not until recent that I came across smart pens as I prepped the proposal and proper forms as I applied for a literary grant in 2013. According to the reviews and information gathered online this was the way to go for me. For you see in theory you would use the pen to write your stories, notes or what have you on paper designed for this pen. The software program that one uses for the pen would translate it into text for you. Which would eliminate me having to type up my stories. It also had a recording function to where you could speak into the microphone and again the software would translate it into text. I was weary of this but used some of the grant money to purchase the pen.
Trying it out for the first time this week, I’m happy to report it works amazingly well. In fact it works better than the Dragon program. It understood every word I wrote or spoke and translate it with ease.
This is a wonderful piece of equipment that will save me time and pain as I translate my manuscripts into text. If you are in the same situation that I was you might want to check this out. My new best friend is named Jake and may he and I have lots and lots of fun together.
The literary grant I received gave me the ability to join the SCWBI and the North Carolina Writers Network. With that comes opportunities. On March 3rd the NCWN gave me on their site two shout outs. One for my book, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure and the other was for my winning a literary grant last November. These were free and part of being a member.
Even if I get no sales from this, so what? Seriously, so what? My name got shout out to the huge memberships of this organization. We as authors got to take advantage of any free publicity that is out there, regardless how small it is. Every bit helps.
In December of last year, the writing group I formed released an anthology. We are very proud of it. But it doesn’t end there. A local library will be hosting us on March 25th to talk about our book. But not only that. We will read excerpt from it and discuss topics on writing. I will be talking about traditional publishing versus self publishing. At the end of meeting, we will have an opportunity to sell our wares and any other books we may have written. I get to show off all my writings and all that is required is a few hours of my time. SCORE.
Again every bit helps. I am constantly trying to come up with ways to get my name and brand out. I don’t turn down an idea. I will mull it over in my head a million difference ways to see if it is doable. This is our lives as authors. If not, it should be. Baby steps lead to wonderful things. It is all about perspective.
If we let go of the small steps that can help us, the leap from one big thing to another may result in us falling between the steps. I don’t like to fall, so I will go with baby steps.
I purchased a few books recently simply on the title or the book cover that was presented before me. I didn’t read the back, I just talked to the author and asked about it. I can’t believe that I was so easily parted with my money with books I had little knowledge of. It just goes to show how important one’s title and book cover are for our own books. Do we take the time and care that is needed for these two concepts? Or do we slap a title, a cover and move on to what we consider more important, writing?
My sequel to my children’s book has no title. I haven’t taken the time needed to come up with one. I’m not one to spend time on this. Majority of my titles have been offered to me: Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, Squirrel Mafia and Dragons in the Attic. Though in fairness I did come up with these. The manuscripts practically named themselves. These include Moe’s Cafe, A Woman of Color and Lost Faith.
I guess for me it is a crap shoot if I can come up with one and how much importance I place on it. Sometimes the MS names itself and sometimes it needs a little bit of help. It’s in the editor’s hands now as I am midway through volume three of this series. A few people have offered titles to volume two. The ones mentioned have been Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Rainforest Friends, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: Rainforest Friends and Family and Jasper:The Next Adventure.
I like them all to be honest. It sure beats me saying Jasper 2 which is all I had. A title in a way solidifies your work as you present it to publishers or literary agents. If nothing else, at least I have a working title until further notice.
The cover is another story. The one for my first volume I had a lot of input and final say in the final version. I sent endless pictures of Jasper, at the illustrator’s request, so she could get a feeling of who he was. It took a bit of work on both of our parts as we made suggestions to each other of what we liked and didn’t like. For while I feel a cover is important, I feel it is very important when it comes to children, one of our worse critics of all time. If we don’t make either pleasing to the eye, the books may soon gather dust as the ones around them get picked up.
So again I ask, how much time do you spend on your title and cover? And how important is it to you?