Thursday, March 31, 2011


Thirty years ago Fred and I did something quite foolish - we ran off to Huerfano County and got hitched.

And we're still pulling!
This year we have come fool circle - started out in
Front Range Colorado, and we're back, having gone west then east.

We're still laughing, so it must be
a good joke.

The Cat in the Hat was known to say,
"It's fun to have fun but you have to know how."

Monday, March 28, 2011

DIY Publishing Lessons

Well, we either learn "in time" or "for next time" - in this case, the latter.
Ready to copyright your book? Have a name for your publishing company?
Before you do those things,
Buy the domain names!
Plenty of folks out there are ready to profit from obtaining your name then selling it to you.
Maybe you want to pay them, maybe you'd rather not.
So start by reserving those names. Once your entity name and book title are public records, you're too late - the sharks swim fast!

OK, so you have your domain name(s) - publishing company name, or book, or both. (I call mine Fool Court Press, home to all the titles I publish)

Copyright your book quickly and easily at where the site walks you through the steps in uploading your manuscript and registering your work electronically.

Buy an ISBN for your book if no one else is providing it. Smashwords for example, will provide one for my ebook edition, but I need a separate one for the print version. If you even remotely imagine you'll publish more than one title, buy a lot of ten: one costs $125, ten cost $250. Go to to do this. Do you need to buy a barcode too? Check with your cover designer, who may have the software to set this up.

It's a good idea to create an entity to track your expenses & income for publishing your book.
You can use your own name, but you should consider setting up a separate entity. I chose an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) because I can be the sole owner, and it's cheaper and less complicated than a full-blown or Chapter S corporation.
Start your registration at the state level, because the IRS needs to know where you're established. If you choose a state other than where you reside, you'll need an agent with an address there - an intermediary you'll have to pay.
So I set up my LLC in Colorado, where I reside. That cost me $50.

OK, ready to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS?
First I made the mistake of googling "IRS LLC". I got the usual gazillion results, the first multiple pages of which were NOT the IRS but private companies which will happily take your money to do for you what you can do yourself free of charge.
So just type in your browser window, or click here which will take you to the proper page. Less than 15 minutes later, your entity legally exists.

Now keep good records. Establish a bank account for your entity, so you can easily identify your expenses & income - this is not only cleaner than running everything through your personal account, it's also more professional. Be prepared to show the bank your IRS & state registration numbers. Once the account is set up, any expenses related to publishing and selling your work should go in here - registration costs, printing, website expenses, book tour, marketing... Until you start selling books, the money's just going out, but if you keep at it, you may break even!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring escape!

Yes, Fred and I, with Heinz and his girlfriend, went off to Steamboat Springs to ski and relax.
The first day we had fresh snow to ski on, and since I don't downhill ski, once I'd dropped them off at the mountain, I went to the middle of town where Howelson Hill boasts both a small but challenging downhill area (used in Olympic training) and Nordic trails.

I expected to pay a modest trail fee but the only person around was a guy running the trail grooming machine - he wasn't collecting. A flawlessly sunny day, fresh powder, the place to myself - what could be more rejuvenating? I watched a hawk in winter plumage (white underside, dark above) hunting over the snow.

Later I read that the day before I skied there, a young man had taken a fall headfirst into deep snow and suffocated. That's why we don't ski alone, the mommy in me remarks - except I did too. But I stayed on the trails - I may be a good skier but I'm no hot dog.

The next day Fred joined me at a different Nordic area - such a warm day, the snow was slush in the tracks by the time we stopped. The hot springs afterwards was the perfect antidote to stiffness - ah, hot water!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Trek to Publication
Fred and I like to say that we live in a Self-Service economy these days -
you pay someone else, for the privilege of doing the work yourself.
Whether you're pumping gas or publishing your book, it's a DIY world now.

Having thrown in the towel on the agent-publisher-bookstore rigmarole, I've had a fast education on how one produces a professional-looking book.
Doing my own formatting for an e-book was too easy - I was lulled into thinking I could publish on the cheap.
Maybe I could've, without a print version. But I love books - not only the words, but the physical objects - and I don't want to limit my audience to people with e-readers.

The woman who'll be doing my (interior) book design, and my cover designer, will help me set Karmafornia apart in the sea of new titles.

The argument goes like this: you worked X years to polish this story - are you now going to slap a homemade cover on a cramped layout and call it a day? Why bother? Doesn't your book deserve an outcome worthy of your effort?

I'm on my way now, and I have to admit it's exciting. (Now all I need is a personality transplant, to market this book effectively.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stunning Canyon

Took a hike today with Heinz and one of his friends, into a canyon I had never visited. It's not that far from my home base, but I didn't even know it was there - thank you Heinz!

Perhaps you can see the trees sprouting from the massive granite slabs that edge the river.

Every pool free of ice fairly cried out to me - this is fine fishing water -
have to come back in the summer with my flyrod!

Despite snow, ice and mud, it was actually a lovely day, and though the mountains are fairly overrun with hikers and mountain bikers, we were alone after the first mile.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Forth!

We all have favorite times of year.
At our house, April Fools Day is a touchstone.
But other days appeal too - I'm partial to March 4th, an exhortation.
Get up, Stand up, Do Something! Go Somewhere! March Forth!
Even the geese in City Park march around (flying must be a bother - mostly our feathered friends walk), parading in formation, the leader blatting time.

It's a day to March in 3/4 time
If you like that sort of thing.
Cadence and sentences might even blend
If you're up for composing a string -

Step out your front door, facing the street,
Make your presence known.
Look left and right, and whoever's there, greet -
It's better than being alone.

Take my advice - you could do worse than geese
With a stroll in the open air -
Across the grass, beneath the trees,
March on forth: end up somewhere.