Writing, Publishing, Literacy!


FINALLY! My book is ready and I’ve submitted it to Smashwords  and hopefully all will go smoothly from here. I’m also working to get this small collection of flash fiction, short stories and poetry on Amazon KDP.  This process has been a little challenging for me. I thought I would be able to read the Smashwords guidelines and figure it all out myself but that didn’t happen. Then, I thought I could do the cover myself but that didn’t happen either. So, I hired a formatter and someone to do the artwork for me and now, finally, it is done. I’m in awe of you authors who do the entire process yourselves. My brain is simply not wired for formatting. I write. I submit. That’s it. I don’t format. I don’t draw. I can barely take a picture without cutting off someone’s head in the photo. I write. That’s what I do.  I’m leaving the technical stuff to the technical people. I’m including the cover art to my book in this post. It’s simple and kind of funky and I like it.


I will let you in on the meaning behind the title and the image of the letter ‘X’ on the front. I came up with “Marked: Collected Ramblings” for one main reason:  all the countless people in this world who are illiterate. People used to ‘make their mark’ on documents if they were unable to sign their names. Today, there is still a large population of functionally illiterate people who may be able to sign their names but they are unable to read a book for their own pleasure or to their children. They are unable to read the correct medication dosage on a bottle of medicine for themselves or those they care for. I encourage you, dear reader, if given the opportunity to teach an adult to read, take it! You will never regret that choice and the rewards are incalculable to yourself and the person you teach. Your life and theirs is forever changed. For information for literacy programs in your area, check out America’s Literacy Directory.

I have many more stories to tell, many waiting for me to re-write and submit for editing. Speaking of editing, I’d like to thank Scott Morgan at WriteHook for editing my stories. He is straightforward, professional and gives me a swift kick when I need it. Check Scott out if you’re in need of editing services. Yes, it is important, even for short stories to be edited professionally.

I realized once I submitted the book to Smashwords that I left some things out – like a real acknowledgements page and a follow-up at the end providing information on where to contact me and to see other work. We live and we learn. I’m learning a lot on this one.  Also, I am really grateful for all the support I’ve received from each of you, for reading the bits of things I put on this blog and providing me with feedback. It is so important for me to have that interaction and exchange of ideas with every one of you.

Do I dare call myself an author now?

If this works the way I think it will, here is the link to my book  “Marked: Collected Ramblings”

43 responses »

  1. Congratulations! It’s a good feeling to see something that you made like that. I’ll take a look. I can do formatting, but it is definitely the longest, most frustrating part of the process. I wrote a book on learning Korean and did all the formatting myself, which took probably three times longer than the actual writing.

  2. How exciting, Sheila! I’m so happy for you. And I think you were smart to hire others for the areas you needed assistance. Poor formatting in a book can be frustrating to read.

    Great cover, too. I’ll check out the link later when I get off this tiny phone and onto my laptop. 🙂

    • It’s a strange feeling, but a good one 🙂 You know, until you said ‘platform’ I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing, but you’re absolutely right – I think it is my platform. It’s something I’m passionate about and I can’t stand knowing there are adults out there who can’t enjoy the escape of a great book.Thanks for your kind words Anne!

  3. Congratulations on reaching this very important landmark in the process. I really got tuned into your thoughts on the artwork and it’s relation to adult literacy and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

    • Thanks! The characters in the stories are a mess, broken, do terrible things and deal with the consequences. There is one very sweet spot in Steak and Potatoes. The poems are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it 🙂 The adult literacy theme in the artwork is so important to me. I can’t imagine my life without words and it breaks my heart for those who can’t read.

    • You’ve made a huge difference for me Scott – you’ve provided constructive criticism, given me compliments using the F bomb, and told me when I wrote less than stellar work. You’ve been a great encourager. Your own books have been helps to me, as well! Thank you!

  4. Congratulations, Sheila! Your stories, poems and flash fiction are so fun to read. I hope it’s a runaway bestseller! I’m going to let my Facebook friends and fans know.

  5. Congratulations to you Sheila on getting this out there. I like the cover also.

    Myself I like some of the technical stuff from time to time. In fact, writing fiction I have trouble with not making sure everything is too clear / happens for a reason. I like the details see, and the “everything is connected”. I have trouble with when something can be glossed over as I’m always thinking “why is this happening”. I would probably enjoy some of the formatting stuff. Well for a short while. Anyhoo, congrats once again.

    • Thanks! Being detail oriented then, you will do well with the novel, keeping track of everything and making the outlines and such. I’m thinking I might like to attempt a novella 🙂

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