Books, eBooks and Links

Here are some interesting book links I found recently. I haven’t checked them out thoroughly so make up your own mind on their value!

New York Times – Jacketcopy Blog

It has an interesting survey of ebook readers and Kobo was ahead of Kindle. Way to go Canada!


BookGlutton – share your opinions with other book readers

Writer’s Digest – always a popular favourite

Auxilary Memory – a blog entry about online bookclubs and cataloguing your own library.

… and, of course …

Goodreads – an Amazon affiliate where you can vote on our books!

I needed more editing time … just get on with it!

Republished from our old blog but still time appropriate:

Yes, the manuscript achieved its first deadline and went to the printer (Friesens in Canada). I mean, we don’t play around, these books are printed for real not POD (print on demand … translated aka one-at-a-time). We tried that with our first book and it wasn’t worth the money etc. We also tried a small POD print run a couple years ago (for our galley copies) and weren’t happy with the quality … a year later when we ran into them and complained, they told us they were having trouble with their printing press. In fairness, they did reprint the copies we had left but their effort was too little too late. POD has come a long way, but we’re not ready for it just yet.

We have always given our readers the best bang for their buck and that’s one reason they are repeat customers. This requires a bit of extra effort and expense. It also means that if you don’t get it right the first time it can add hundreds, perhaps thousands of extra $ onto your next printing costs. That doesn’t count the lost sales due to poor quality and perhaps most important … bad critique from readers. Believe me, that kind of news travels fast these days.

But I digress, the subject is my editing. Actually, the issue was my lack of (time to do the) editing. This is something like the TV show I love to watch … Flip This House … a husband and wife team take a product and under a tight time schedule turn an old house (read unfinished book) into a dream house (read money-making novel)! Hey I like that analogy and, yes, I often get ideas from watching TV!!

Race For A Treasure – our latest (2008) stand-alone co-written novel was planned to arrive for an early November deadline to begin our Christmas Craft Show season – well our plans began going awry as soon as we sent it to the printer. One of those unforeseeable problems arose and after some extra work with the printer, it is finally on track but will be 1-2 weeks late! I have to hand it to Friesen’s thought, they have done their darndest to keep me on track!

So, the lesson for this issue … you must get it right the first time!! Time wasn’t on my side this year and it’s hard to admit to my husband and our eagerly waiting fans that I am not Super Woman after all!!

During the editing process there is so much to deal with that time can easily get away from you. Your brain can only work so quickly (especially when you’re in that ‘senior’ category). You simply do your best, BUT make sure it produces a book you are proud to put your name on and it hasn’t cost you your last $.

The editing process is so complicated and I have so much to share while it’s still fresh in my mind … let’s make it a separate issue … so until next time.

Happy editing and publishing.

I love WordPress!

What a great invention!  Anyone in business knows that an impressive website is a must these days and I have been working on webpages for over 20 years (from the beginning of the internet). Finally our 2 websites are once again getting organized and I couldn’t be happier. They have certainly evolved since my first Netscape page so many years ago!

Today I’m also using the WordPress widgets from iThemes (and I’m learning Builder as well) which makes it a lot faster as they do so much of the setup for you. iThemes is a great help considering I am getting so slow at this. I hope you enjoy your visit … stop by often or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with my additional tips for authors and self-publishers.

Take a look at our main website … if you’ve visited before, it is now so much easier to find things and use the shopping cart. I have so much more I want to add, including photos and a video, I wonder how long it will take me to figure it all out (including finding the time)!!

Thanks for visiting.

Tips for Self-Publishing

I loved the original title of my blog … Books, Marketing & Self-Promotion (which was moved to this location in Nov. 2011). I wanted to continue to use it here but it was simply too long. So, henceforth, this will be know as “Tips for Self-Publishing.” I’ve moved many of my original blog pages here as the content remains virtually the same in the book publishing industry, however, I have updated them where necessary. There will be more to come and I will try to keep my posts short, but hey, I’m a fiction writer and detail is my specialty that’s why my husband and I work so well together!!

If you’ve arrived here and this is the first page you have read … this website is a series of blogs by moi, author, Joyce Sandilands, a Canadian-born author from the lovely Pacific Northwest and Victoria, British Columbia. This website/blog is all about my own SELF-PUBLISHING experience with my husband, Robert (Bob) Whittle.

Robert (he will be 80 in 2013) and I began our book writing journey in Aug. 1998 when I decided I simply had to publish the 3rd novel he had written during a 3 1/2 year health crisis. The book was titled, Lizzie : Lethal Innocence. Suddenly thrust into the unknown world of (self) publishing, I grasped all the experience I could muster from a collection of  jobs over the years and, life experience of my past 50+ years, then set out to introduce what I thought was an amazing work of literature to a local audience. With me editing, as well as organizing the publishing and marketing of  Lizzie on a shoestring, I set Robert loose on his early morning Timmy’s coffee mates armed with a supply of our newly published book and eagerly waited to see what would happen. We also got accepted into local bookstores, something many self-published authors soon found difficult to achieve.

Incidentally, writer Robert was now known as author* J. Robert Whittle  (J stands for John).

Within 2 weeks, with the help of the books he had sold and comments from our first readers, he gained a lot more confidence in his new talent and began to talk to anyone he came near. It did not take long for word to spread. I should point out that ‘confidence’ had been Robert’s middle name since a youngster but writing had never been in his vocabulary prior to this! Four weeks later at Christmas, we were pretty sure we had a winner (whatever that meant) and by March, having sold 500 copies, we printed another 2000 copies. That summer we began selling this book from our market table at James Bay Farmer’s Market, never having heard of any writer/author of a novel having done this anywhere before and many international visitors told us so!

*  we were aware of the controversy that self-published authors were not ‘real’ authors in the eyes of ‘professional’ publishers and discerning readers, so at first we never referred to Robert as an author even though his name was on the cover. Today that situation re using the term ‘author’ has changed, even though the controversy is still present in some circles.

Surprisingly, sales continued miraculously and slowly, one customer at a time … in person! Once we realized how much readers love to meet authors (and especially my husband, judging by the women purchasing his book), we simply gave them what they wanted! He had quickly become a new author  and was soon known by readers in many corners of the world thanks to our city’s tourist appeal! Within two years, we had begun selling at other craft venues as well and Lizzie was Robert’s first of 3 Canadian Bestsellers. I should add that his name became larger on the book cover when it was reprinted!


So, this blog is firstly about me and how I persuaded my husband to write a book, and how my husband, even while fighting for his life, began this new hobby of writing.  And how we turned our labour of love for Lizzie into a successful mini-publishing business over 13 years (so far). We now have 12 novels, 3 bestsellers, 2 IPPY Gold winners, and several self-narrated audio products. We began as raw amateurs with no knowledge, but lots of enthusiasm … and we believed in that little book (at least I did)!

I hope, through this blog, to be able to make your journey of manoeuvering through the complicated world of self-publishing or indie-publishing, as it is now trying to be called (in an effort to give it some class!), a bit easier for YOU.  If I can do this with my limited experience, lack of confidence and advancing age, you can too!!