Writer’s Tools, So Much Change!

Writer’s Tools

cropped-computer-and-pencils.jpgA Writer’s Tools have changed
There has been so much gain
But a nagging hint of nostalgia remains

Cutting reeds and shaping quillscropped-blogbackground1.jpg
Pounded pigments, rainwater, ash-filled
Stretching animal hides
Leaving in the sun to dry

parchment with red
Crackling scratches on dried parchment

One slip, the writer’s lament

Start again, know not when

The price of dripping Indigo ink

Naught drying, naught sprinkling with sand

Naught scribing, brings one to the brink

… Of insanity

parchment with inking

New files, pixels, point sizes, layout

A better system, no doubt

Save, Open, Save As, Download

Copy without a camera or a copier reload

Cut without a knife; paste with no glue

The decision to see it through

Or delete and try again

It doesn’t matter when

Save or not to save?

In a hurry, Save and and go away…try another daycropped-cropped-my-writers-nook-e142126534230111.jpg

Creativity has not changed

Only the functions of the brain

More freedom for the laymen

More chances to begin again

Then, finally, the perfect words you trust

All gobbled up by a cyber virus.

No heart to try again

Perhaps a quill, ink, or pen?


Comparisons of the old and the new, pros and cons…




“You Can’t Always Tell a Book by its Cover” As Authors, We Need Our Covers to be As Professional As Our Writing!

We dream about seeing our first book in print after all the hard work is done, and that excitement never goes away, no matter how many books we pour our hearts and souls into: The writing, the rewriting, the editing, the changes, the errors, the proofreading, and hopefully, catching every minute detail before it goes to print! But what about the cover?
 Who Would Pick Up a Blank Book Cover to Read?
 Who would pick up a book with a blank cover to read?
Maybe you should be thinking about the cover while you’re writing?
Here are some tips on covers:
  • What looks good in hardcopy print, usually 6×9 inches, can be much more detailed than an eBook because it is seen full-size on glossy or equally professional cover stock, which a reader can touch, hold, caress. You have space for a beautiful photo, drawing, illustration, or in my example below an oil painting, which was done by my mother, a professional artist, specifically for this novel.
  • The full cover in print has three sections: The eye-catching front cover, a spine with the title and publisher, and a back cover; all in one piece to wrap around the book. You may notice on the example below, the graphic artist who did this cover for me matched the color of the sky in the oil painting to “bleed” to the edges of the cover and continue across the spine to the back of the book. Nice consistency. The deep shadow of the title, of course, carries the theme of the words themselves. The back cover in my case was used for a full synopsis written by my editor, not by me. I did put a personal quote of my own next to my picture in what I call poetic prose. I love the mystique of language, and it can capture a reader’s attention.
  • The back cover can also be  used for testimonials about the book by editors, news releases, promotional material, or in the case of nonfiction, a specialist in the same field of endeavor. I want to emphasize here that even though I am also an editor/cover designer/publisher, it’s best not to do your own editing, design, and most importantly, don’t do your own proofreading. If you wrote it, you’ll read right over the little typos and errors that somehow sneak into a book, almost as if a gremlin tucked them there after everything was perfect. Your mind sees what it expects to see, not necessarily what is there.
  • A picture of the author is a nice touch on the back cover. My publisher chose to put his logo on the bottom of the spine so there was room to include the author’s name on the spine as well. The information for the publisher is included in the black “ribbon” that wraps around the bottom of the book, which includes the bar-code, ISBN, as if it’s part of the design.
  • eBooks have only a front cover. All of the publisher’s information will be on the copyright page. The cover can have pictures, design, and color, but remember the image size on the website is only one to two inches in size. Text needs to be in large-point sizes, and wording must be kept to a minimum. [Title, Series/Subtitle, Author, and maybe a designation: novel, nonfiction, true story].  Remember, you do have a webpage for the synopsis and description of the book to entice readers.
  • And keywords? They are so essential when someone is searching for the genre of book they’d like to read.
  • Even the biggest name writers, who have been publishing for decades, have only one front cover on an eBook. Therefore, they may have two different covers: One for the print book and a separate scaled-down version for the eBook, but they usually correspond in some fashion, unless the writer decides to change the cover, which happens more frequently on eBooks than hard print.
  • Testimonials, news releases, editorial reviews can go either at the front or back of the eBook. The author’s bio is a separate page in the back of the book, and most eBook sites will allow a picture of the author without an additional charge, but not always. It’s best to read all the guidance on pictures before submitting. Pictures can get expensive in an eBook, which is a consideration because the charge for an eBook is significantly less than hardcopy. I know horror stories of pictures promised and paid for that never showed up in the online book or were poor quality and spaced/sized incorrectly. The use of pictures in eBooks is improving, however.
  • As far a cover design, you have to think big, bold, simple because fine detail is lost on a one-inch thumbnail-sized cover. Nice things can be done with different fonts, but not all fonts are recognized on all websites. Bold-face/italics/colored fonts can add interest and usually do carry over to different sites, but not always. I do design my own covers for my eBooks, especially a YA novella series which I have used as an example below. Future novellas in this series may lean more toward colored text over a transparency picture with bold colors, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Always do a preview and see if it can be read and gets the message across. If you attempt to do your own cover, you need to know the basics of printing: Inserting text and pictures, pixels, fonts (serif vs. sans serif), point sizes, leading/spacing, cropping, scaling, enhancing pictures or changing colors. Microsoft Publisher 2013 (the newest MS software and part of Office 365) is a good package if you are familiar with the printing terms mentioned above, pagination for eBooks, and formatting for eBooks. Be sure and “bleed” the background color to the edges. Make sure you’re not using any copyrighted or royalty images.
Stroke of Midnight Cover
Go to www.clasidconsultantspublishing.com and look at my slideshow of designs, middle of HOME page. Also, at the bottom of the ABOUT page I have web links for other authors that I have worked with either editing, proofreading, design, ghost writer, or all of the above.
Let me know if I can be of assistance.
Deborah A. Bowman

New Professional Bio for Deborah Bowman, CEO of Clasid Consultants Publishing, Inc.

Deb Bio Picture

 Author, writer-editor, ghost writer, visual information specialist, who specializes in manuscript/business-media formatting, image design, and final camera-ready print. She is a social media expert: Facebook.com/Bowmanbooks; www.bowmanauthor.com; LinkedIn, and twitter #Bowmanauthor. She is a literary/business advisor and speaker on Tricks-of-the-Trade in Writing, Editing, and Proofreading; Writing for Your Audience; The Art of Design.

She was certified as a Technical Writer/Editor at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Grad School and worked as Publications Authorization Officer for the Department of Defense and Editor-in-Chief for The Federal Women’s Program newspaper “News & Views” distributed continental Army-wide for over a decade. She has written articles and been Guest Editorialist for the “The Army Stars And Stripes.”

She worked as a reader for The Erie Literary Agency, learning how to overcome pitfalls that can plague even the most seasoned writer. She writes fiction in varied genres: Contemporary Women’s, Psychological Thrillers, Paranormal, Crime Investigation, and YA/teen suspense, fantasy, astral projection and time-travel.

Bowman helped launch ebookstand.com (rated no. 3 in printing-on-demand by Oprah Winfrey) as writer, editor, formatter, and quality control expert, publishing one novel and one anthology of her own.

She has been certified as an Advanced Certified Psychological Hypnotherapist (ACPH) by the National Guild of Hypnotists, running her own hypnotherapy business. She specialized in ADHD teenagers and was featured in “The Washington Post” Parenting Magazine. She has written a monthly column on hypnotherapy in “The Medical News” for many years. She is also available to speak on Hypnotherapy in Trending Society and Businesses.   Her novel, LIVING IN A SHADOW (amazon.com/dp/B00AP68CUO), is a psychological suspense/dramatic romance dealing with the emotional, physiological, and neurological side effects of date-rape drugs. Taken from current news media, victims can be any age, any gender, and from all walks of life. What do you do when you can’t remember what has been done to you and the consequences could be death?

The Denny Ryder Paranormal Crime Series, STROKE OF FEAR (B00CFWYAX4), STROKE OF MIDNIGHT (B00F8Z2KAK), STROKE OF SILENCE! (B00JH78VOE) are novellas for young readers and adults alike on amazon.com. Deborah feels it is extremely important to raise awareness on missing children cases. We must teach our children how to recognize potential psychopathic personalities and predators.

Deborah is a firm believer in doing book reviews and assisting other writers to hone their craft, learning from every person she meets as we share our life experiences through printed media and the personal touch.


“Let me help you make a lasting impression in Words and Images!”

Book Reviews

Book Reviews, two small words . . . one BIG subject!

We all write because we have to . . . keeping the feelings and descriptions within us would be detrimental to our health, and I am being serious, not “flip” or comical.

Of course, once you write, you want someone, anyone, to read your words. You want to share. You write because you care . . . about humanity, about life, about others in your chosen craft. We write because we are readers first! We are not competing–we are giving. Only life experiences have brought me to this comfortable place.

So how do you get others to read what you write? How do you get Book Reviews? This seems to be the question I hear most from authors of all genres–fiction and nonfiction.

I can’t speak for anyone else. I can only tell you what I choose to do. I review at least one book a week. Please bear with me, just a few more moments, a few more sentences so I can share . . .  this time.

I’m retired, though slightly younger than retirement age–not much–and my mobility is somewhat restricted, not as bad as it once was. Yet, I’m not slowing down–I’m speeding up–busier than I’ve ever been when I worked full-time.

In retirement, all I wanted to do was write fiction–the one form of writing that eluded me during my entire working career. I wrote for others and made their words and images look nice, made them accurate, took pride in them, regardless of the subject matter. So now I thought I had time to write my own words and I have. I felt true freedom for the first time since I wrote poetry as a child, wrote songs and lyrics as a young performer, and wrote silly notes to my friends to make them laugh. But that was a long time ago.

Then, somehow, just recently I returned to my roots. My fiction writing was temporarily halted as I began ghost writing for someone else, using “his” voice–not mine–laying out the pages, making “his” words and the images I selected to enhance “his” words look nice, made them accurate, took pride in them . . . I’m not quite finished with this project, but I’m pleased with it. Upon completion, it will be camera-ready, published as an eBook by myself as a gift to my client, and ready for him to use for his own personal crusade–and it is a very noble one.

Even though my time is scarce, and my personal writing is crying out to me for attention, I still review one book a week. I hope to be able to do more in the future. After all, I’m going to be reading anyway. I still write fiction in little “snippets.” It’s progress.

There is so much to learn, so much to share, so much to give. I want to “learn” something from every book I read.

There is a massive amount of writing out there to be read. It was different when I first started writing. Fiction was hard to publish, finishing a book of any genre was a massive accomplishment, many people started books and never finished them, myself included.

I started my first novel on a $99.00 Montgomery Wards portable typewriter, then I paid someone to put it on a word processor. I rewrote it five times. Then I helped launch an eBook site in the late 1990’s, a little premature for eBooks. But, I began learning how to use my skills in editing, writing, layout, format, etc.,  on a computer with other people’s books. It allowed me to list my own. I introduced one novel and one anthology of short stories that no longer exist, but still live inside me.

Book Reviews . . . two small words . . . one BIG subject!

The Genius Of Walt Whitman allows writers to wordsmith their own work to death, but it could lead to marital problems!

The Genius Of Walt Whitman allows writers to wordsmith their own work to death, but it could lead to marital problems!

1 – “Writers are readers, and readers are writers …”

2 – “All writers are readers, but not all readers are writers—many readers ‘could be’ but prefer the mystique of the story and the beauty of words!”

3 – “Writers need readers, and readers need writers. One without the other is a blank page in a dark world.”

Mmmmm . . . In my youthful dream-state today. Who knows why? Maybe because its Sunday and the sun is shining? Maybe because I always have one foot in the dream world? No matter.
Which caption do you prefer?
None of the above
Fill in the blank: ___________________________________________
(my personal favorite vote) Depends on the audience
I don’t really care!

I feel justified by Walt Whitman’s endless revisions: “… I am a part of every person I have ever met . . . and what I assume, you assume . . . [yet] … I separate myself and I sing myself … and we are but Leaves Of Grass.” Walt’s quotes are like the wind, forever changing, so he can never be misquoted. I think he let us choose the version we identify with, so nice of him!

Whitman’s words tell me that we’re all the same, but we’re also vastly different. Even what I was ten minutes ago is not what I am now or what I will become ten minutes from now. We grow and change and evolve with every word we speak and every word we see.

Every word being perceived as perfect only in my eyes (“wordsmithing”) drives my mate crazy (just finish it, already!) but it’s what I live for (why write it, if IT isn’t perfect?). The joy of words is breath for the soul!