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Dedicated to helping the ebook community.
Issue #11: January 21, 2003
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Hi ebook community, and welcome to another exciting year for ebooks! As usual, we have a number of initiatives going on. I guess we just can't help ourselves.

Mind Like Water recently kicked off its 2003 library initiative, and offered ebook authors and publishers the opportunity to participate. I am happy to say that 75 authors have taken us up on our offer so far, and will be featured in the ebook catalog we are creating to market to public libraries. The first edition of the catalog should be done this month, but for anyone still considering the offer it is never too late to sign up. We will be updating the catalog quarterly so that others can join and current participants can update their profiles.

Each month we will provide you with a progress report on our library marketing effort, in the Library Initiative Update section of our newsletter. Please see below for the latest update.

**For more information and to sign up, visit: https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or reply to this email for more information.**

As you may know, we recently released our Collection Creator software (http://www.collectioncreator.com), so that ebook authors or really anyone who manages electronic files can create compilations. Greg, our programmer, has done a fantastic job of creating and maintaining the software. If you have any questions on the software, feel free to contact Greg at mooretis@mindlikewater.com.

I am excited to announce that we have put together our first collection using this software, entitled Passion On Parade. This collection offers romantic reads from 17 contemporary authors and 6 classic authors. You'll find novels, poetry and short stories in Passion On Parade, as well as author biographies, cover art wallpaper, and more. Our thanks to the authors who contributed to this collection.

For more information or to purchase Passion On Parade, please visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/collections/romance.

Enjoy our feature article, "Froogle," and interviews with author Ruth Marlene Friesen and publisher Deron Douglas.

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Froogle
2. eBook Author Interview: Ruth Marlene Friesen, Ruthe's Secret Roses
3. Library Initiative Update
4. eBook Publisher Interview: Deron Douglas, Double Dragon Publishing

Feature Article: Froogle
Do you recognize that name? It sure sounds like Google, but with a cute play on the word "frugal." Well, Google has done it again. They've created a new shopping search engine that is free to both advertisers and shoppers.

What more could you ask for?

Ebook authors, here's how you can take advantage of a Froogle listing. First, Google crawls billions of web pages every month, so you may already be included. Be sure to visit http://froogle.google.com and check to see if your ebook is already listed.

If your ebook is not listed, you or your publisher may need to submit a data feed. Doing so will ensure that your entire product catalog is included in Froogle. It's also the best way to ensure accuracy in your listing.

Here are some instructions to submit a data feed:

Email Froogle at feeds-support@google.com. Include the following in the email: name, title, phone number, email address, name of store, URL of store's website, and a brief description of the types of products for sale. Froogle will send you instructions on how to submit the feed. The first step is to create, in Froogle's feed format, a tab-delimited text file, which can be updated daily, weekly, or monthly.

Froogle points users to sites where they can buy actual products from the merchants that sell them. Therefore, to be eligible to submit a feed, you must sell products through a website and ship them to the buyer. If you sell services or custom products that do not have fixed prices, are only promoting an offline business, or are an affiliate marketing site, you will not be qualified to use Froogle.

Finally, to submit a data feed you must allow Google to crawl your website by removing any robots.txt files that disallow the Googlebot spider.

** Don't Forget Valentine's Day **
Tired of giving your lover the same old boring gift? You need passion... Passion On Parade, that is.

Passion On Parade is a complete romance collection on CD Rom. Ignite your romance now: http://www.mindlikewater.com/collections/romance/index.html.

eBook Author Interview: Ruth Marlene Friesen, Ruthe's Secret Roses
Diane: You worked on your first novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses (http://www.booklocker.com/books/642.html), for 30 years, starting with an old Underwood typewriter and finishing with a new Pentium III computer. This is the story of a Mennonite girl on the Saskatchewan prairie in Canada who commutes to work in the city, where she has "a special mission to be intentional in her friendship, and to share her secret of how to have intimacy with God." The conflict that arises comes from Ruthe keeping her city friends a secret from her family. You were born into an evangelical Mennonite family living on this same prairie, and have been active in the church and children's ministries throughout your life. Would you share with us some of the history behind the writing of this novel? How much of who you are has been written into the character of Ruthe?

Ruth: Quite a lot! The first plot came from gazing at a postcard of the Rocky mountains when I was about 12. It involved a young girl coming out of an obscure life up the mountain side to work in the resort. Her very character began to influence people and made for the adventures. As I grew older I brought the setting closer to home, by placing it in Saskatoon, our nearest city. I looked forward to leaving our small town after graduation and working there, so I began to put my fantasies into the story. 

However, I was also reading a lot of books from the library on writing, and trying to follow every suggestion. That was my learning to write phase. When I finally thought the book was ready I sent it to publishers, only to get rejections and to be ignored.

I'd let the book rest a few months, and then by January 1 I was ready to look it over and see where it could be improved. Usually things would jump out at me, and I'd throw myself into a rigorous writing schedule -- but in secret, because I thought my family and friends would somehow convince me I couldn't pull it off. 

These annual cycles went on for 4 years in Saskatoon, and then when I moved to London, Ontario (Canada), another 12 years. Then I went home to care for my parents, and decided to hide the manuscript in a deacon's bench with a deep drawer, and not take it out until I just had to write again. I honestly thought it couldn't be improved any more.

For eight years I didn't touch it. But as I'd be washing floors for instance, I'd suddenly get vivid visions of how that book ought to be written if I were to enjoy it myself. Gradually I realized that I could dump all those formulas other writers used, and write the perfect book I would love to read.

It took eight years to actually work on it again because Mom got sicker and was dying, my Underwood couldn't type a straight line, and I had to pray for a year for funds to get a computer, and then I had to honor a promised translation job! Like Mom, I persevered against all odds.

Once I could write the book over again, I freely gave Ruthe, the main character, my personality, interests, and attitudes. The only difference is that she got to have the experiences I had fantasized about as a teen and young woman.

Diane: Ruthe's Secret Roses is described as Christian fiction. I've read that Christian readers want such things as renewal of faith, action without sex and profanity, or simply something they will feel safe in reading. What are you trying to provide to your target audience? Do you view your novel as a tool for ministry, or are you just telling a good story?

Ruth: I like all those things myself. We readers vicariously become what we read, and learn a lot from fiction, but I'd noticed that many Christian novels were on the shallow side. There wasn't a lot on the nitty-gritty part of living out our faith. I remember how I longed for someone to teach me to pray effectively when I was a teen, and how to discern the whispers of God in a crisis; what to do next. So my target audience are those lonely people, mostly girls and women, who also crave an intimate friend to show them by example, and to fulfill them in their spirits.

You know, years ago I tried to get into street ministry, but I quickly discovered that I didn't have much to offer them because I'd never been a street person, on drugs or in an ugly lifestyle. Then I discovered that I do have something valuable to say -- to the lonely, the spiritually starved people who wish God would answer them. I can also identify with responsible oldest sisters who end up raising their siblings, and with those who have creative energies that need outlets.

Yes, I trust Ruthe's story is a good story, but I confess to loading it with comfort and counsel to those who can find and accept it.

Diane: You have a page on your web site for Frequently Asked Questions about your novel (http://ruthes-secretroses.com). While some of the questions are about you as the writer, there are answers to such questions as "What is the main conflict or theme in this story?" and "What are the secret roses in the title?" Given the popularity of reading groups, have you ever considered offering a reading group guide for your novel? What do you think about this idea as a marketing strategy for ebooks?

Ruth: Tell me more! I haven't seen this done yet, and I've spent the last four years online teaching myself how to be a business woman marketing my book. That sounds great. 

I have expected that as my novel grows in popularity, I'll be able to go into schools and have fun analyzing all the sub-plots and imagery in the book with students. (I discovered some myself after it was done).

The main comment I hear from readers now is that they are surprised at how many people are in the book. I just shrug and tell them, "But I'm a people-person; what else could you expect?" To counteract and help them get acquainted with the novel's characters, I'm planning an interactive game on my web site with drawings of the characters, and clues that show only when you put your mouse over them.

Diane: Tell us about the one-of-a-kind children's books that you create and give as gifts. How did you get started doing this?

Ruth: This is where my playful imagination has so much fun. After my niece Jalise was born I sat at my reception desk and visualized having her on my lap and having a conversation with her about kisses. (I was projecting for when she'd be about two.) I picked up some water color markers and sketched gauzy donuts and stars, and cinnamon hearts flying between us. Suddenly I knew what to do. I added some lines of text to each page, and made a booklet. To keep her from chewing this booklet up too soon, I had the pages laminated and then sewed them together down the middle. I called it a Whimsical Textbook on Kisses.

Jalise is now going on 22, and has a one-year-old son of her own, but she still loves that book and wants to know when I'm going to get it published. Others have said the same thing, but I haven't had time to pursue a publisher willing to take on an unknown, and picture-books are a little expensive for self-publishing.

I did one for her brother Jasel too, who always loved to help me with washing dishes when they came to visit. That one is in an odd poem format where he goes around asking Auntie Ruth, Grandma, and Great-grandma about how they did dishes, going back to when pioneers had to rub dishes with sand and wash them in a brook. "The Song the Dishwasher Sings" has full-page charcoal sketches, and is laminated too, with a home-made hardcover.

Another one I did was for an elderly friend in her 80s, who had many friends, and had for years babysat almost all the kids of our town, but as her memory slipped, she kept complaining that she had no friends. Margaret had often told me stories of how she had polio at age 2, and her siblings had pushed her to school and around the village in a wicker carriage and included her in everything. So I did up a picture book for her of her own life story, proving that "Yes, Margaret, You have Friends!"

Meantime, Jalise has just asked for a Hobbs book for her son Calvin, who is named after that cartoon character. I've got an idea for the book but haven't started it yet.

Diane: I read that there will be a sequel to Ruthe's Secret Roses. Where will the sequel take Ruthe, and us, and when can we look forward to reading it? Do you have any other writing projects planned?

Ruth: [Giggle]. Oh yes! I have ideas for books almost the way some people drop dandruff. I really don't think I can write them all in my lifetime. But I decided a few years ago that starting a new book every time I have an idea buzz by my nose means I'd get none done. I resolved to make Ruthe's Secret Roses my main thrust until it began to sell itself almost, or at least I could afford to leave that in others' hands.

In my head, and in my older computer downstairs, are notes and outlines for several sequels to this novel. In the next one, Dew on the Roses, Ruthe finally has the romance of my dreams, but she will also have serious health problems and grapple with whether or not she may pray for and expect a complete healing. Instead of a whole book leading up to marriage, it will start with marriage, and go with them on their honeymoon, and as they settle at home, and learn to know and love and work together. People will accuse me of being too idealist (not for the first time!), but that's okay. I'm sick and tired of broken marriages and dysfunctional families. I bet other readers would love to live with a happily married couple for a while too, and watch how they solve problems creatively.

The one after that will be called something like, "A Great Big Wonderful Family," and will have an adventure in each chapter as this ideal couple vows to adopt and take in anyone who comes to their mansion and wants to be part of their family. Some of those characters have already made themselves so alive and interesting in my imagination that they'll call for spin-off books of their own! [Big Grin! Don't you wish you were me? I get to read all these fun books in my mind, and you can't get a peek yet.]

It's just that I have an agenda of goals or stages to pass through first.

I'm also trying to sneak in little blocks of time to update and re-publish my family history and genealogy books. I'm converting them to e-book format for easier sales at much less expense.

Teaching myself HTML and getting an e-book compiler means there's nothing to stop me from churning out books of all types, both fiction and non-fiction. This year I plan to turn the following on my computer into e-books, and set some up for sale, and some perhaps as free gifts to attract new friends:

  -- Spiritual Warfare (Bible study of Joshua)
  -- Speak, Lord (Bible study of Luke)
  -- Journal of God's Provision (out of my online journal, 1999-2000)
  -- A Godly Inheritance (family history publ. 1988)
  -- A Network of Neudorfs
  -- Our Friesens & Assorted Friesens

I also have the following plans for gift books:

  -- write Hobb's book for (gr.nephew) Calvin
  -- finish book on Uncle John, our Black Sheep
  -- compile Mom's & Grandma's recipes into cookbook.

Oh, and I also write an original short Christmas story every year and that small booklet is my card and gift to my friends. Some friends send me cards just to be sure they don't get dropped from my list. (It was 100 paper, and about 80-100+ as an ebook in 2002).

Tired yet? [grin] You probably are, and I'm just gettin' revved up! But I'll stop there so as not to overwhelm you.

Blessings & Thanks,


When you meet Ruthe and her Friend - You've got Friends!
P.S. Buy it and it's on its way to you within 48 hours!
Read it in daily 5-minute emails. Sign up for a 16-day serial.
P.P.S. Get Refreshing Dew in my RoseBouquet

** What You're Saying About Us **
Author Georgina Stath emailed us, "Your site is one of the best ebook directories I have come across. No. That's not entirely true. It is THE best."

Library Initiative Update
We are well underway with the construction of beautiful ebook catalog pages. Many of you have already been contacted to review your profile page, and the rest of you will be contacted soon.

For an example of an ebook catalog page, please visit this link: http://www.mindlikewater.com/library_catalog/profiles/abbott.html.

We have secured contact information for over 1200 libraries, and are finalizing our strategy for approaching them with our library initiative.

Michael spoke with the library directors of the two largest libraries in our metropolitan area, and both were very interested in what he had to say about our initiative. Michael and I will be meeting with both directors to learn more about their needs and how we can best work with them and other libraries to For more information and to get your ebooks in our catalog, visit https://www.mind-like-water.com/library_offer.html or email me at dino@mindlikewater.com.

Best wishes,

Diane Faile
Content Manager

eBook Publisher Interview: Deron Douglas, Double Dragon Publishing
Diane: You founded Double Dragon Publishing (http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com) in 2001 with "the goal of building a Canadian-based publishing venue for the growing number of good but unpublished fiction writers around the world." How did you arrive at this enterprise? What do you find exciting about epublishing?

Deron: I've been involved in the publishing industry in one form or another since 1978. I was a graphic artist at first, then photographer, sales representative, computer programmer, and then different levels of management. In addition, I've always been a voracious reader, someone that truly loves books. It seemed like a natural step for me to start DDP. It's a good mix of skills coupled with the love of the printed word.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about epublishing is its inherent flexibility; as a publisher I'm not restricted to specific forms and ideas. The Internet is like the Wild West of old, and I like to think of myself as a "gunslinger" or maybe a "samurai." 

In addition, this industry is determined by the technology that drives it...the reading devices and delivery systems. I'm something of a "techo-nut" myself, so this ever-changing technology excites me. In general publishers forget that an ebook is first and foremost "software" for a reading device and as such, the development (or lack of development) of this technology will determine the direction epublishing travels.

Diane: Double Dragon Publishing won a Best Performance by a Publisher in 2002 award from KnowBetter.com. In announcing the award, the following was stated: "With sales stacking up at Fictionwise, books available in five popular formats, a catalog of unbelievable talent and Deron Douglas at the helm, look for DDP to be a major literary force to be reckoned with in 2003. Note to other ebook pubs: you should probably be taking notes from these guys." What do you believe sets Double Dragon Publishing apart from the rest of the crowd? If we were taking notes, what would they read?

Deron: Frankly this statement surprised me. I didn't think that DDP was doing anything different from the other publishers. DDP follows traditional business practices, strongly promotes its authors, titles and itself; and we don't over extend ourselves. We're here for the long term and are just now building the foundation for a successful publishing business. This takes time, I understand this, and I have patience above all else. 

I also believe in treating people fairly and honestly. I try to treat them as I would want to be treated myself. I've been stepped on enough to know that it hurts <g>. I think that my authors and business partners appreciate this. Too many publishers put themselves above their authors, when in reality the publisher is working for the author.

Diane: I understand that Double Dragon Publishing makes a special effort to publish a specific number of works written by North American Aboriginal authors each year. What compelled you to focus on this group? Do you believe Aboriginal authors in general are underrepresented in literature?

Deron: It is true that they are underrepresented, but it is more of a personal thing for me. I am half Mohawk of the Iroquois Nation and I'd like to help these authors when I can. It's the way I was raised; you help your neighbor if you can. I get maybe 300 submissions per month. I'm lucky if I get one submission per year from a Native author. While these submissions excite me, I still evaluate their work fairly. If it were lacking, I would not publish them because they were Native. We still have our level of quality to maintain.

But it is my hope that the above statement will attract more Natives to our little publishing house.

Diane: I've read that reading groups have skyrocketed in popularity, and am aware that more and more reading group guides for print book titles are becoming available. As an epublisher, are you aware of any similar trend for ebooks? What is your opinion of using reading group guides as a marketing strategy for ebooks?

Deron: We haven't explored this possible ourselves. But reading group guides have the potential to reach the audience, i.e. readers. Too many publishers are "preaching to the choir." By this I mean advertising and promoting within the writing community rather then the "reading" community.

Diane: If you were giving a "State of the eBook Industry" address, what would your main speaking points be? In what areas do you envision Double Dragon Publishing moving forward/being innovative in 2003?

Deron: That's a difficult question.

The ebook industry is in its infancy; the technology is still developing and there are no industrial "standards" as a result. Many companies, big and small, are jostling for a position within the industry. It's very much like the 80's when Microsoft first appeared on the scene. These companies will be setting the rules and forming the basis for a new industry. And as publishers we are also determining the way people will communicate within this new medium.

The "Open eBook Forum" is trying to arrive at "standards" for the electronic publishing industry, but that will be determined in the end by technology. If someone can manufacturer a reading device that addresses all the needs of the market (price, size, reading comfort) and the public embraces it... THAT will be the standard.

Today the two popular formats are PDF and Palm Doc. Why? Adobe PDF files have great clarity and flexibility, while the Palm Doc can be viewed on any PDA device available today. And with the sale of 6,000 units per day around the world, you have a huge market for the epublisher to sink their teeth into. But Palm Docs and PDAs are not the answer in my opinion; there will still be a new level of technology that will emerge. I'm still hoping for the "Star Trek" style reading devices to hit the market!

As far as Double Dragon Publishing is concerned? We will continue to publish quality ebooks and paperbacks. Unlike the publishing mammoths, we're small enough to move  quickly when the technology changes. And roll with the punches depending on market temperament.

In 2003 we will sponsor an award for unpublished or self-published works in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. I call it "The Draco." All entries will be judged by 10 preliminary judges including myself, with three finalists from each genre being forwarded to the Finalist Judges. Each year we will invite renowned authors in the field to act as Finalist Judges. This year we were lucky enough to have Piers Anthony, Mike Resnick and Mike Arnzen. The winners within each genre will receive "The Draco Award," and a hard cover and ebook contract with DDP. In addition, all entries will have their score sheets returned to them. We feel that this is an important method of helping the writer improve their craft.

You can find more information about The Draco at: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/draco/draco2003.html.

We're also advertising in more magazines, addressing the "collectible book market," and expanding operations in ways I can't divulge at this time. In addition you'll also be seeing a lot more big names appearing under the DDP imprint in 2003 and 2004.

So far it's been a exciting ride, and it's going to get better!

Deron Douglas
Publisher, Double Dragon Publishing

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