Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, January 27, 2014

Time to Sign Up for the A to Z Challenge!

Every year I just can't resist the lure of the A to Z Challenge. The challenge of posting daily through the month of April. The lure of the alphabet. What writer can resist the alphabet? It's the tools of our trade after all.

I'm not yet sure what my theme will be, but I can bet it'll have something to do with an expat writer living her dream in Guatemala.

Want to sign up? Head on over to Arlee Bird's blog right here.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Those Who Help Us Produce the Books (and a marketing message)

A small press like WiDo Publishing doesn't pay salaries, we pay freelancers. Our freelancers work in editing, typesetting, cover design, ebook formatting. We couldn't function without these amazing people.

Today, as part of an indie blogfest sponsored by author Jordan McCullum, I want to give a shout out to those extremely talented people who step in once the book is written, and who work so hard to make WiDo books amazing.

(And since I also signed up at the last minute for the What Works and What Doesn't blogfest sponsored by Arlee Bird, I have something to say about marketing as well at the end of this post.)

Facebook Cover by Steven Novak
If you're a self-published author, you also run a publishing business that most likely uses freelancers. You may even use several of the same ones we employ. Or you may be seeking recommendations.

Website Photography by Erin Gowen

If so, let me help. Each of these individuals is an ultimate professional at what they do. Looking for people to get you and your book ready for the big time? Here's WiDo's list:


Summer Ross and Amie McCracken

Cover Designers:

Steven Novak
Amie McCracken
Tracy Jo Blowers and Lisa Olson


Marny K. Parkin

Ebook Coding:

Marny K. Parkin
Karlene Browning


Erin Gowen

Website Design and Maintenance:

Bill Justesen
Karlene Browning

And a special thank you to Karlene Browning who told me about this blogfest. It's an opportunity to mention and endorse a few special folks who are extremely important, and who make our job at WiDo so much easier!

And now for my contribution to the What Works blogfest, which is very brief, and which honors someone who's extremely special to me: the initial investor of WiDo Publishing-- without this person, who has always asked to be anonymous, there would be no company-- or at least not one that has had the longevity and overall success that WiDo has enjoyed.

WiDo was begun during a time of great transition in the industry and was able to stick it out and even thrive when other small publishers were going under with the close of bookstores and the rise of Amazon and ebooks. This is due to the wisdom and good judgement of our investor, who said something about marketing I want to share here:

"You will try one thing and it won't work. Then you'll try another thing that won't work. And eventually you will find what does work. But you won't find it if you don't keep trying."

And that's the crux of successful marketing. You just have to keep trying and experimenting and discovering what works for you and your company. It's not static, it's definitely not foolproof or guaranteed. Marketing must be ongoing and flexible and continuous.

Those who are participating in the What Works and What Doesn't blogfest are posting their own experiences with marketing. Should be fascinating! Go here for the list of participants.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Downsizing Like a Rock Star

Years ago I read an article about a couple who, after the kids had grown and moved out, downsized from the large family home in the suburbs to a one bedroom apartment in the city. They gave away or sold nearly everything they owned, including their car. When they wanted to travel, they took a taxi to the airport.

I remember feeling so envious of the unknown couple and deep inside, my desire to downsize like this took root. When the opportunity came for us to move to Guatemala and embrace the expat life, it didn’t take long to say YES!  (read more here)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Disappearing Bloggers, please don't go!

First of all, thank you dear blogging friends for so many visits and positive comments to my previous post about our Big Move. I look forward to sharing with you very soon the adventures of an expat writer/editor living in the Guatemala high country.

My husband and I are busy emptying out our home, not an easy task! 5 bedrooms, double garage and full basement-- gah! We've sold a lot, given away treasures to our children, donated to charity, filled our trash barrels every week to overflowing. And we are nearly done!

With a few minutes to scroll down my blog roll, I just can't get over how much shorter it is than a few years ago. People just aren't posting like before, many disappearing altogether from bloggerland....and it makes me sad!

There's just something about blog posts that you don't get from Facebook and Twitter. Athough FB and Twitter are fun and useful for their own purposes, I love blogging and really hope it doesn't disappear as the fading fad that some have predicted.

It came on the scene like a fad, seemed like everyone was starting a blog-- and many have since dropped out--but people who enjoy blogging, and have something to say, will always have an audience.

In fact, social media is a definite way of life now for both individuals and businesses. As all forms of social media enter our experience, we learn to utilize it for our own needs and goals. And this is the beauty of it-- we can try out different methods of online communication, but after learning and experimenting, in the end people will stay with whatever suits them best.

I doubt that blogging as a form of expression will disappear, because one cannot get the same experience of it through other, shorter forms of social media. Blogging is one of a kind. So dear blogging friends, if you're feeling tired of it or burned out, take a break or switch it up, but don't give it up entirely, unless you truly feel it is not for you.