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Issue #8: October 15, 2002
Publisher: Mind Like Water, Inc.

Hi, and welcome to another issue of our newsletter. If you want to catch up on back issues, please visit http://www.mindlikewater.com/newsletter.html.

I don't know if it's just me, but I feel a buzz in the air about ebooks. I have noticed a renewed interest in the tools necessary to create, publish and market ebooks. I am also happy to say that our site is receiving approximately 1500 unique visitors per day. That's about 5 times the amount of visitors 6 months ago. Many of you continue to take advantage of our affordable advertising options. If you know of any aspiring ebook authors, be sure and send them to mindlikewater.com for a FREE directory listing in one of the most popular ebook directories on the Net. 

I believe our readers still enjoy the authors that we profile each month. I know our authors appreciate the effort that we spend on each interview.

As promised, we have officially released the first version of a revolutionary software product called Collection Creator. Collection Creator can be used to create and distribute your ebooks using one collection that contains all of your ebook formats, graphics, favorite website links, music and even video. Or take several of your ebooks and combine them to create a collection. With password protection and the capability to create self-executing files for download or even CDs that automatically install, it is quite unique. Kudos to our programmer, Greg Moore, and the team of reviewers.

To learn more, visit: http://www.mindlikewater.com/software/collection_creator.

Our feature article explores what I believe will really help jump start ebooks to the masses.

Best wishes,

Michael Williams

Table of Contents
1. Feature Article: Moving from Paper to CD
2. eBook Author Interview: Julie Donner Andersen, Past: Perfect! Present: Tense! Insights from One Woman's Journey as the Wife of a Widower
3. Tip of the Month
4. eBook Author Interview: Karen Wiesner, Reluctant Hearts

Feature Article: Moving from Paper to CD
I sometimes wish we could just magically jump from paper books to ebooks, but in the short term I know that's not going to happen. That's why I believe a temporary compromise is in order. Compact disks (CDs) just might be the compromise that we've been waiting for.

Compact disks offer a perfect medium for creating and distributing ebooks. Prices have fallen dramatically and CD burners are now a "dime a dozen." Visit your local office supply store and you'll see affordable CDs, jewel cases and even CD labeling stickers and software. On a price basis, it's now hard for books to compete with CDs.

For ebook authors, CDs just might be the best way to blend electronic media with physical products. Imagine now being able to visit your local independent bookstore with a CD in hand or even a catalogue of CDs. Ironically, the music industry has done you a favor by artificially keeping prices high. You can easily expect to charge in the range of $9.99 to $15.99, or possibly more if you've created a compelling compilation of more than one ebook. Why? Because the prices for CDs have been ingrained in our minds.

With the holiday season approaching, wouldn't it be nice to have a physical product to sell? Something that could be wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree, for example.

For readers, CDs are perfect for storing files so they don't get lost. CDs are easily transported from computer to computer. CDs also make great presents. 

I am really surprised that I don't see more ebooks for sale by CD. 

As always, if you ever wish to pick my brain (what's left of it), please send an email to geoguy@mindlikewater.com.

Until next time...

Sit back and enjoy a couple more fascinating ebook authors.

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eBook Author Interview: Julie Donner Andersen, Past: Perfect! Present: Tense! Insights from One Woman's Journey as the Wife of a Widower
Diane: You wrote the book Past: Perfect! Present: Tense! Insights from One Woman's Journey as the Wife of a Widower in order to offer support, advice and encouragement to fellow WOWs (wives of widowers). What is the most important thing that you would tell a WOW? And for those of us who aren't WOWs but may know of one, what is the most important thing you would tell us? 

Julie: The most important thing WOWs should know is that their feelings are absolutely, 100% NORMAL...and that they are not alone in them. I interviewed over 100 WOWs while doing research for this book, and found too many commonalities to dismiss their fears, insecurities, and doubts as abnormal. These feelings are shared by each and every WOW I have encountered, myself included! We may experience them to different degrees, but the bottom line is that we share a common experience and many of the same issues.

But it's also equally important for WOWs to understand that these negative emotional reactions to being a WOW will not last forever. They are part and parcel of a phase -- sort of like a stage in the journey of grief, as Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross formulated in her studies. Dr. Ross's book, On Death And Dying, was the first to offer insight to the grief journey and the 5 stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. I believe that every WOW will also experience several if not all of these stages within the context of her relationship with a widower. A WOW will recognize the last stage -- acceptance -- when she is comfortable with her husband's past and his memories, and is able to incorporate the late wife into her marriage within the boundaries and "comfort zones" that she and her husband set forth through intensive communication and grief education.

The most important thing I could tell a non-WOW is to withhold judgment and try to accept the WOW for the person she is. Don't view her as a mere replacement of the late wife. She may be an exact replica, or she may be a total opposite. Either way, she is a unique and special person all her own, and does not deserve to be treated unfairly by a society that just cannot seem to understand her feelings and has no patience for her negative emotions.

Try not to speak in platitudes, saying stupid things like, "Well, at least your poor husband won't be alone anymore!" Widowers do not remarry out of loneliness any more than a single man does. Widowers remarry because they like commitment and the institution of marriage.

Also, please try to avoid the prying questions like, "Do you think your husband still loves his late wife?" We WOWs try very hard to live in the present and look forward to the future. However, we are also aware that our men will ALWAYS love their late wives, and will ALWAYS grieve "her" loss to some degree. We WOWs cannot love our men enough to make them forget. Nor would we want them to, because we understand that the road to grief recovery includes encouraging our men to talk about their feelings, their grief, and their love for their late wives. 

Diane: What considerations were critical to you in choosing a publisher? Your book Past: Perfect! Present: Tense! is published by Weyant Press (http://www.weyantpress.com), which publishes books for blended families -- a good match for your book's subject matter. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages to being published by a niche-oriented publishing company versus a more generalized publishing company?

Julie: Actually, my story is unusual in that my publisher chose ME!

Nicole Weyant, president of Weyant Press, Inc., and I met in an online message forum for second wives, where I had been submitting articles regarding life as a WOW. I read one of Nicole's posts about her stepparenting books, and e-mailed her about where I could purchase them. Having read my articles, she in turn asked me if I had ever considered writing a book about being a WOW. Her market research showed that no such literature had ever been printed before, and she felt that the subject needed addressing. Weyant Press is well known in the industry for publishing quality books for blended families, so I knew I was in good hands. Six months later, Weyant Press accepted my manuscript and the rest, as they say, is history!

Looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way! Besides the fact that smaller presses offer larger royalties, they also give the author very personalized attention and superb advice regarding promotions. I am fortunate that Weyant Press has just signed on Rusty Fischer -- a multi-published author and expert on book promotions -- as their media relations/publicist, and he and I have been doing some exciting promotional work together. "Niche" publishers are wonderful because they are personally familiar with -- and have great reciprocal relationships with -- their genre's contacts. My book was sold out of pre sales before it even hit the distributors because of this!

Diane: Past: Perfect! Present: Tense is available in paperback as well as on disk and CD. How well do the electronic versions of your book sell compared to the print version? What is your opinion of the ebook industry's current state?

Julie: Actually, the ebook version of my book is selling quicker than the paperback, simply because my book is not available in bookstores just yet. But if I had to predict, I would say that within a year, the sale of ebooks compared to the sale of paperbacks will be about even. The technology exists to make ebooks a hot item, and the proof is in the puddin', so to speak, since ebooks have jumped in overall sales dramatically in the past few years. When the initial fear of this new technology wears off and people become more accustomed to it -- and they find out just how easy and convenient ebooks, hand-helds, and Palm Pilots are to use -- then I hope to be a major shareholder in the ebook industry! It will take off like a Lear jet!

Of course, people will always want a hardcover or paperback to collect. But ebooks definitely have found their niche in today's modern society. As an author, I am thrilled that it is a choice that can be accommodated by intelligent and insightful publishing companies like Weyant Press.

Diane: You were previously an Ohio state lobbyist, actively involved in children's rights issues when you established a non-profit organization in 1994 -- one which helped the U.S. Senate draft the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). Can you tell us more about that? What is your political life like these days? 

Julie: Becoming a lobbyist was an off-shoot to my being a freelancer. A non-profit organization once read an article I had written about the dangers to children of Internet chat rooms, and contacted me regarding my research. They hired me to write speeches and newsletters for their executive committees. Often, I would tag along to the Ohio state house and watch these committed men and women lobby senators. I was fascinated, and felt that I could do it, too! My first speech before the Ohio Senate resulted in a standing ovation --and I was hooked! I formed my own non-profit and established a network of other non-profits whom I felt represented my own organization's viewpoints.

Senator John McCain's (R-Arizona) advisories contacted my organization for information when the senator heard about our work and our victories in the Ohio senate, and invited us to meet with them in Washington, D.C. There, we put our heads together and my organization helped contribute to the formulation of COPA, which is where our work ended. COPA was later reviewed, reworded, added to, and deleted from the original bill and re-named COPPA (Child Online Privacy Protection Act). To my organization, COPPA paled in comparison to COPA. We felt COPPA was a watered down version of what we had originally hoped for, but it is still a vital piece of legislation that I hope will pass constitutional muster.

Politically, I am no longer a lobbyist per se, but I still write scathing letters to the editors of major newspapers! My organization is still very active in Ohio, but my moving from the USA to Canada put a damper on my personal political aspirations. Life and laws here are very different, and I am only well versed in the American political arena, not the Canadian one.

Diane: I understand you're working on a new book about life as a middle-aged woman. Tell us about this book, and why you chose to write about this subject matter.

Julie: I am collaborating with a wonderful fiction writer named Susan Law Corpany. Our book takes a humorous look at life as a middle aged woman, with a special view of how she deals with "baggage" from her past, the men in her life, and the physical ramifications of the onset of menopause. 

I chose to write about this subject matter because humor is therapeutic, and laughter is healing. If we as a gender can be honest about our lives, our fears, and our bodies -- and find humor in the aging process -- it will be easier to deal with the negative side of growing older. Of course, getting older and remaining healthy is serious business, but it doesn't have to be so serious that we stop enjoying our lives and sacrifice the quality quotient.

I enjoy the fact that my writings give a voice to those subjects that are risky to discuss, be they negative WOW emotions or the fear of aging. It is only when we unlock Pandora's box that we are enlightened and educated, and society becomes more accepting of what it initially avoided out of "fear of the unknown." Breaking these silences only serves to annihilate the walls of ignorance and intolerance, and I'm all for that!

-- Julie Donner Andersen, Author
PAST: Perfect! PRESENT: Tense! Insights From One Woman's Journey As The Wife Of A Widower  
(Copyright 2002 Julie Andersen. All rights reserved.)
To Order: http://www.weyantpress.com/andersen.htm 
Personal page: http://www.authorsden.com/juliedonnerandersen 

Tip of the Month
Turn off your computer and don't look at it for at least one day. Imagine and dream a little. Remember, we really did once live without these things.

eBook Author Interview: Karen Wiesner, Reluctant Hearts
Diane: You have written several book series, including Angelfire, Gypsy Road, and Dare to Love (romance); Falcon's Bend (mystery); and Making Good Choices (children's). Your newest book, Reluctant Hearts (http://www.hardshell.com), launches another -- The Wounded Warriors Series. What appeals to you about writing a book series, and how do you know when it's time to end one?

Karen: The first book and the evolution of subsequent books in the series almost always goes hand-in-hand for me. It's very rare that I would write a book and later decide to write an entire series around that one title. I know before I write the first book in the series, or while I'm working on that first book, that it will be part of a series. Therefore, ending a series is a simple matter of coming to the last book I'd planned to write. The only exception to this has been the Angelfire Trilogy. While I was writing the second book in the series, some of the secondary characters became so irresistible to me, I knew I couldn't leave their stories untold. But since I'd already begun marketing Angelfire as a trilogy, I couldn't tack on the next three books I had planned as an extension to this popular series. I'm planning Angelfire Trilogy II instead. (I don't plan to begin work on that until late 2007.) 

In most cases, I immediately know how many books will be in the series. The four core characters of the Gypsy Road Series each got their own book. Dare to Love (the first book is the only one available now) will have three -- whenever I get around to finishing that series. Falcon's Bend is open-ended. For the time being, seven titles are planned. Originally, The Agency Series was to be seven books, but as I was working on the first book recently, one of the secondary characters became irresistible to me, so I expanded his role and included a book of his own in the now eight-book series. I expect this series to spin out an unlimited number of titles. I don't see an end to it at this point.

I guess the best explanation for why I love to write a book series instead of a single title is because, with nearly every book I write, I create a world that I want to enter over and over. I can't help believing my readers want to enter that world with me as long as it's open with new places to explore. When it feels like there's nothing more to explore, as was the case in the Gypsy Road Series, it's time to close that series. But never say never! Something may emerge even there in the future.

Diane: What is the underlying theme of the Wounded Warriors Series, and how does Reluctant Hearts portray that theme? I saw that there are six books scheduled for release through 2007. When you are beginning a series, do you have a roadmap that takes you to the series' end, or do you later find that there were surprises and detours in the way the stories subsequently developed?

Karen: The next books in the Wounded Warriors Series are as follows:

  Waiting for an Eclipse (Book 2) -- Coming 2003
  Mirror Mirror (Book 3) -- Coming 2004
  Wayward Angels (Book 4) -- Coming 2005
  Until It's Gone (Book 5) -- Coming 2006
  White Rainbow (Book 6) -- Coming 2007.

This series focuses on a group of friends who basically grow up together. Although their lives take different paths, they're all bound together by their friendship. I'm not one to shy away from painful and/or controversial subjects, as my readers well know. The Wounded Warriors Series will push the envelope even further than I usually push it. It begins with Wendy and Paul's story, which deals with many harsh realities, one of which is trust and how fragile it is. Another is endometriosis, a medical condition faced by far too many women. Book 2 deals with divorce and re-building a life. Book 3 talks about finding love again after losing a spouse. Book 4 explores the realms of a manic-depressive and a multi-layered addict. Book 5 looks in-depth at infidelity. Book 6 is about second chances, even for those who may not seem to deserve them, and the lasting influence of childhood trauma.

Jane Bowers of Romance Reviews Today said of the first book in the series: "RELUCTANT HEARTS is an unusual romance -- definitely not one of the hearts-and- flowers sort. It's all about life and relationships among friends, lovers and families. You won't like all the people you meet, and you'll be taken into the depths by one of them... In answer to the question of whether the book is character-driven or plot-driven, I'd have to say it's life-driven. The author holds nothing back in depicting a sometimes-grim reality, and I often wondered as I read whether it was truly a romance. In the end, it is, and I strongly recommend it."

I have more than a roadmap for each book in the series. As I'm working toward each book, the story is brewing in my mind and I'm writing down specifics when necessary. Each title gets a full, scene-by-scene outline, derived from the notes I've set down previously, before I begin work on that particular story. Though the framework for each book is in existence as soon as the characters are created, every story I write is an adventure from glimmer to final draft. Surprises happen all along the way, but my basic framework almost never alters. It's what makes writing a novel so exciting for me. I never tire of the process.

Diane: Has it been your experience that it's easier to market subsequent books in a series, once book 1 is on the streets? Or does each title require a similar amount of marketing effort? In terms of ebook marketing, what gives you the best results for your time and money?

Karen: Unfortunately, marketing never gets any easier, even if you have something to capitalize on like a new release in a series. Each book requires as much marketing as I'm able to provide for it and even that isn't really enough, considering my jam-packed schedule. However, it's easier to sell to readers who have read a previous book in a series. My publisher has told me that if a reader buys one of my books, they'll almost always come back not long afterward and buy all of my books. 

I'm considered something of an expert in the field of book marketing, specifically ebook marketing, and I'd have to say that after close to four years of doing this the very best results I get for my time and money is sending out books for review. Reviews sell books in a way that can't be tracked. If you have a book that's followed with a huge list of excellent reviews, it has to stop a reader long enough to wonder if it's really that good. If this reader has heard other readers talk about the particular book and they also give it high marks, eventually the reader will have to find out whether or not it really is good. Reviews and word of mouth are a slow form of results, but they're the solid results that can't be ignored.

Diane: You have done a lot of thinking about electronic publishing. Electronic Publishing: The Definitive Guide (http://www.avidpress.com/wiesner.htm) is your best-selling writer's reference, which you update annually; and Electronic Publishing Q&A (coming soon at http://www.hardshell.com) is a compilation of your column (originally published by Inkspot) that was based on reader questions and hot topics in the electronic publishing medium. What do you think has changed the most in the epublishing industry since you first became involved with it?

Karen: Epublishing has been around since the early '40's. That's a considerable amount of time when you think about how little is known about epublishing among the general public. I would have to say that the thing that's most changed is that the majority of the general public now knows what ebooks are, whereas five years ago, I would have said almost no one knew about them. I think many e-authors can credit Stephen King for making ebooks so well-known, even though he certainly wasn't the first one to epublish a book. Ebooks are becoming common now despite the fact that respect for them hasn't followed alongside their emergence. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

Readers, please note that 2003 will mark yet another new publisher for Electronic Publishing: The Definitive Guide. The 2003 edition will be published by Hard Shell Word Factory (http://www.hardshell.com) in January and will be in two volumes:

  Electronic Publishing: The Definitive Guide (The most complete resource to non-subsidy  epublishing.) -- updated every year.
  Weave Your Web (The promotional companion to Electronic Publishing: The Definitive Guide.) -- updated every 5 years.

Diane: I read that you're beginning work on No Ordinary Love, the first in a new mainstream romantic suspense series. You described it as a cross between La Femme Nikita, Mission Impossible and James Bond. That sounds pretty irresistible to me. What can you tell us about this book?

Julie: I'm working on No Ordinary Love now, more than half done, and I definitely feel like this is a break-out book for me. Not perhaps in the traditional sense (all my books break out when it comes to convention), but in the sense that it feels to me like a book no one could turn down or *put* down. (The three people who are reading it for me have expressed this as well, in spades!) I've never considered writing a spy/action-adventure series, and I'm finding out just how exciting and hard it is to create.

At the heart, this series is pure romance, taken to the limit of what's generally acceptable in mainstream romance. This first book sets the stage for a covert organization that has branches all over the globe. They're invisible, unlike the FBI, CIA or DEA. The Agency doesn't have the world watching, monitoring and controlling their every move. Their directive is to bring down criminals and terrorists that other organizations can only deal with, not disable and destroy.

No Ordinary Love begins with a woman who has no memory of her life before she met Vincent Carson. He's all she remembers, all she knows. But he has the answers and can't or won't give them to her. Why he can't is where this series really begins. Until Death Do Us Part and Bounty on the Rebel's Heart (Books 2 and 3) establish that The Agency is going through changes that have to be resolved before it can continue its directive. Undercover Angel (Book 4) is the first book of the reformed organization that will have an "operative on a dangerous mission/bad time to fall in love" theme, and Hard to Handle (Book 5) will take us right inside The Agency for a close-up of how it works. Under the Spell, Renegade's Rose and Dance in Shadows -- only three books in what I plan to be a very long, on-going series -- will really set the tone for the "operative on a dangerous mission/bad time to fall in love" theme that is really what I plan for all other books in the series. As you can tell, I'm so excited about this series, I can't talk about it enough!

-- Karen Wiesner, named a "leading romance writer" by The Writer Magazine, has been nominated and won many awards for her mainstream, romantic, and paranormal fiction, writer's reference and poetry. She also writes straight mysteries with Christine Spindler (http:www.christinespindler.com), suspense, and children's books, and has no plans whatsoever to limit her work to these genres. To find out more about Karen, visit her website at http://www.karenwiesner.com.

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