My Website

Visit my website at and learn more about me and my books.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Publishing Cheap

If you've ever wanted to publish your memoirs, a family history, or maybe that novel you've been thinking about for the last half-century—and you're not up to querying agents, attending writing conferences, etc.—you might consider self-publishing.

Keep in mind that there are "publishing services" (vanity publishers) that will be delighted to charge you $$$$ to "publish" your work. I regret that I used one to publish four books over a decade ago. Since last October, I've been trying to get this vanity "publisher" to take my books off online retailers. But they don't return voice messages, etc.  All they're interested in is the money I paid them long ago.

Probably the best deal for someone wanting to self-publish in paperback is CreateSpace. I've used them three times and have been satisfied with their service. The service itself is free, but CreateSpace offers various services, such as editing, formatting, or cover design if yu don't want to completely do it yurself. However, you might want to pay for an editor or cover designer on your own.

In 2013, I decided to republish my 2001 self-published novel, Patches on the Same Quilt. I used a template I'd downloaded and filled in the information. I found the process a bit tedious, but doable.

Front cover
Back cover
 Talented friends helped me with the cover. Members of my writers group had helped with editing when the original edition was published in 2001.

It was easier doing the second novel, Them That Go. Again, I had some help from my friends.

For My third CreateSpace project, I recycled and repackaged some stories I'd vanity-published under a different title in 2003 to produce Miracle of the Concrete Jesus and Other Stories. (Yep. More help from my friends!)

I've also done Kindle ebooks of all three of the above books, but that's another story for another blog-post.

If you're interested in in learning more about CreateSpace, here's some info I handed out at a recent author presentation I did:

Becky Mushko 

CreateSpace is an inexpensive way to self-publish. Unless you are buying some of CreateSpace’s add-on services, it is free. Some suggestions before you decide to publish with CreateSpace:

Do some research:
Go to and click the “Learn More” button to read about what CreateSpace is. Check out each of the tabs: Overview, Cover, Interior, Printing Options, Distribution, Royalties, Buying Copies.

Read some online articles. These are helpful:

Watch videos. There are also a lot of helpful You-Tube videos. Google “How to publish with CreateSpace you tube video” and look at some of the more recent ones.

Get your manuscript as clean as you can get it. Eliminate any extra spaces after end punctuation. (only one spaces goes after a period.) Run spellcheck. Justify your margins instead of leaving them ragged right. Have a few Beta readers read your manuscript, then go back and fix any problems, revise, etc. (It really helps to be in a writers group!) Consider changing your text/font to single-spaced Garamond 11 (what the CreateSpace formatted template uses).

Decide on what size you want your book and download a formatted template from here:
            Fill in the template with your title, etc. Paste in your chapters one at a time. The template only gives you ten chapters, but you can add more. After your chapters are all pasted in, fill in the table of contents. OR—You can hire someone to format your manuscript if you do not want to do it yourself for free.

Set up a CreateSpace account. If you don’t have a tax number, you will have to give them your social security number. You will also have to give them the number of a bank account to deposit your royalties. (Hint: Set up a separate account just for your books. It makes record keeping much easier.)
CreateSpace will assign you ISBN numbers. You will put those in the front matter of your book. Then you can upload your manuscript.
You can choose if you want your manuscript printed on white or cream paper. I recommend cream because it’s a bit heavier. Besides fiction is usually printed on cream; non-fiction on white.)

Design your book cover. If you’re talented with Photoshop, you might do it yourself. If not, you might hire someone to do it for you, or you can use CreateSpace’s free Cover Creator. After you’ve uploaded your manuscript, you’ll know how big your cover should be. You will have to choose whether you want a glossy cover or a matte cover.

When CreateSpace has approved your uploads, you may review your book on their online reviewer (allow some time for this!). If you made some mistakes, correct your manuscript and upload again, etc. Then order a proof copy (less than $10) and go through it page by page after it comes in. Make corrections an upload again.
* *  * 
It never hurts to look at some CreateSpace books before you decide to publish your own. (Warning: Blatant plug: You can get my books from Amazon. Click the links on my book titles above or visit my Amazon author page:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saving Buttons

I posted this on my Peevish Pen blog back in January, but it's worth posting here. I originally titled it "Button Clutter," but it has to do with saving stuff that might be useful, so I figured I'd repost here. Besides, you never know when you might lose a button and don't want to have to go out and buy a whole card of buttons. It's eaasier to dip into your stash.

Whenever a garment wears out, I recycle it to rags. (My mother used to recycle old clothes—ones that were too worn to hand down or remake—by tearing them into strips and crocheting rag rugs. But I never learned how to crochet.)

Decluttering is apparently the current fad—at least in magazine articles and online stories I've seen. Apparently, at least according to the stories, I would be much happier if I stripped my life down to as few possessions as possible, but I don't think that's going to happen. I kind of enjoy burrowing into my clutter. And I like being around stuff I've inherited that I'll never use—stuff that generations before me touched and used.

I come from a line of women who saved stuff. My mother and grandmother lived through the depression, so they saved anything that might be useful again. My great-grandmother was born just after the Civil War, so I imagine her family saved anythig that might possibly be used again. Among the things they saved were buttons.

Many of the decluttering lists say to get rid of buttons. On this list,  #1 is "Spare buttons from clothes that you are keeping 'just in case.'" On the Embracing Homemaking list of "200+ Things to Throw Away," #66 is " buttons   

I can recognize a few buttons that Mama sewed on my clothes when I was little. She made most of my clothes until I was 10 or 11. But I don't know which buttons belonged to my grandmother and which belonged to my great-grandmother. I do know that the canning jars which contain the buttons belonged to my great-grandmother

I don't can, but I have no intention of getting rid of these jars, either. Seeing them and the buttons they contain—and knowing when I touch them I touch my past—makes me much happier than getting rid of them would do. 

"Waste not, want not."