Let me begin with an update. Following on from my last post, mentioning that I am testing the service offered by FeedARead, and a suggestion in the comments, from Nick Gerrard (thanks Nick!), I have now also commenced a test of Skoobebooks. Skoobebooks is another POD (Print on Demand) publishing service. Their services are rather different to FeedARead, with two free options and some paid ones. The free options also include the option to pay for extra services. I found that their process offers less assistance to the author in submitting their work. The section in which you input text for a short description, more book details, author bio, table of contents and sample chapter is buggy, with some weird effects when attempting to copy and paste text and then edit it. There is also no opportunity to preview your cover – so make sure you’re happy with it before you upload it! I chose to go for the most basic package and uploaded a Word DOC file, but I had to ensure that I had formatted it for the dimensions stated for the book size I chose. I also made sure that all new ‘chapters’ began on an odd numbered page, even if that meant leaving a blank page. I am now waiting to find out if I have to do any more work on the manuscript format. I’ll keep you posted!
Distraction Free Writing?
This is a subject that enjoys some very widely varying opinions! I’ll open by describing my own writing habits, and how they relate to this concept. I don’t have a study, den, office or whatever room can be assigned to one purpose – separation from the normal hubbub of Life. That said, there’s only two of us now, and Jenny works full time so isn’t home as often as I would like. I write, therefore, in the living room, sat on the sofa and working on my desktop computer, which is sort of beside me. Being the room it is, there’s a television in it, and it’s on virtually constantly (it only goes off if we both go out). Much of the time, I have it tuned to my favourite sports, when they’re available. The rest of the time, it tends to be tuned to channels showing stuff we’re almost word perfect on! On the rare occasion that we put on a movie or a new show, it’s hit or miss as to whether I actually watch it or not. Now add in Jenny coming and going, sometimes frequently passing between me and the PC as she fetches craft materials or makes meals and/or drinks, and the constant drone of traffic on the main road just outside – frequently punctuated by loud emergency vehicles or lunatic drivers speeding by. So it’s hardly a ‘distraction free’ environment! But, I grew up in a family of four kids, Jenny and I had three kids ourselves, so home was rarely quiet. Then, too, I worked in an open plan office of around thirty people for almost twenty years – each person having two telephones on their desk – a far from quiet environment. Now, confined to home by my health (or lack thereof) for very lengthy periods, to work in the idealised ‘silence of the ‘distraction free’ environment would drive me insane! I simply can’t stand silence any more. I need to know that I’m not alone in the world. Music doesn’t do it, even via radio. On its own, music is just sound, not the voices of people interacting. On radio, the all too often inane babble of presenters are more than I can take. SO there it is. I’m bound by need to an environment that is, in effect, the very opposite of ‘distraction free’.
The question, then, must be: what works for you? Are you one who demands the silence of a library, profound and unbreakable? Do you have to have your favourite music playing? Are you one who needs the minimal ‘there’s people out there’ of radio? Or are you like me, able to contend with all the distractions a home can throw at you? I would love to know!