Writing Workspace

I've just realized I have a problem. It's very much a first-world problem, but still.

I do all of my writing on my personal computer. My desktop personal computer, although it's actually a tower and it's under my desk. But you get the picture. I don't have a laptop. It's on my list of things I need to buy, but for now it's not there yet.

So, this means that I'm pretty much confined to writing when I'm at home. Which would not be a problem if I had a good “home office” workspace set up. But I don't. Which means that whenever someone else is in my house they pretty much are able to look onto my computer screen. From the couch in front of the TV it's too far to actually read anything or see details of pictures, but the problem is more in my mind. The feeling of someone looking over my shoulder while I try to write makes it impossible to concentrate and actually put words down on the screen.

My living arrangements are such that about 40 to 50 percent of the time there's someone else in my house. They're family, but still, it's become increasingly obvious to me that this situation is interfering with my writing time.

So, I've decided I need to fix this. What's the first step? Rearrange my computer setup so that I can “shut the door” and afford myself some privacy when I want to write. This is not too hard to do, but I need to rearrange some furniture, and maybe buy some drapes or something (I have an alcove with sliding doors, but these have windows in them).

Next, maybe rethink the priority of that laptop so that I'm more mobile and can decide to just hide out in a corner of some coffee shop and write some dirty smut there. With a nice cappuccino at my elbow of course. Maybe even a muffin or some cake. Hhmmm, sounds good…

So, fellow writers, what are your writing environments like? Have any good tips, or comments? I'd love to hear from you.

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Support Indie Authors

From Tessie L'Amour comes this very simple but effective way you can support your favourite indie author that won't cost you any money.

Like I try to tell people elsewhere on this site, there are tons of ways you can help out us indie authors. From a simple tweet, to a blog post, or buying our books.

But recently Tessie came up with this simple way you can help us with actual money, while not having to part with one (extra) cent of your cash.


When you're about to buy something from Amazon, go through this page at Tessie's website and click through one of the links there. Choose your favourite author, or just randomly pick one, whatever floats your boat.

And then go on your merry way and buy Amazon stuff until you're blue in the face. You don't have to spend an extra cent beyond what you were going to spend on your purchases anyway, but your chosen author gets some money for each purchase you make, because you ended up at Amazon through their link. Great, huh? I actually do this already with the links on this site that take you to Amazon. This way I already made a little extra money, and from purchases that had nothing to do with my ebooks either.

So, head over to Tessie's website and bookmark that page. Next time you're feeling a shopping spree coming on, keep us indie authors in mind…

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Automated Ebook Conversion and Smashwords

A week ago I finally uploaded new revisions of my two ebooks, (removed) and (removed). I had reread them a couple of weeks ago and to my horror found a few small errors and typos. I fixed those right away in my master documents, but put off re-uploading them because I didn't want to do the whole conversion thing manually like I had been doing.

So I made a system to convert my master documents into the various formats that I need to upload to Amazon, my website here, and Smashwords. Those are currently the three places that I use to distribute my ebooks. Smashwords of course distributes to other venues, such as Barnes & Noble and Kobo. At the moment these are actually outselling Amazon, so I really want my books up there through Smashwords.

Big kudos for Smashwords for that.

But on the conversion front? Kudos, not so much. In fact, Smashwords is a plain bitch on that front.

Look at the stats

Time to generate one mobi document for Amazon, and three versions for my website (pdf, mobi, and epub), ready to be uploaded with zero extra work? All with the press of one button? Well, okay, a bit more: it takes me all of one mouse click and about 5 key presses to run the conversion system. But that generates all of the above formats, for all (well, okay, all two) of my ebooks.

10 seconds. I timed it. From the last key press to all done.

Oh, and that incidentally also generates an rtf file for me that I can use as a basis for my Smashwords upload. But for Smashwords I need to do stuff with it before I can upload. Copy the text over into OpenOffice and then manually reset all the styles on the different text parts. And manually build up any links I had in there. All stuff that was already in there. I'm doing stuff I've already done! Well, automated, but still… all of this was already there! Looking great in xhtml, epub and mobi. But no, Smashwords wants me to upload in a file format that has literally been obsolete for years.

So how long does it take me to reformat and prepare that rtf file so I can upload it to Smashwords? 15 minutes. That's two or three pages I could have been writing on my next story. And bear in mind, this test was done on a short story, less than 6000 words long. For a novel length ebook this would take quite a bit longer.

So, yeah, Smashwords really sucks when it comes to its submission requirements.

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I am Cecilia Lansing.

Writer of erotica.


Find links to my ebooks here.


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