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About Theresa Nichols Schuster

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Theresa Nichols Schuster is author of "Brittle Silver" and "We Are the Warriors" a 2015 USA Regional Excellence Book Award Finalist. She currently lives in southwest Montana where she appreciates the wonders of nature, family, friends, a bit of pottery.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The E-book Upload

The E-book Upload

After a long 800-mile round trip to western Montana - the snow beautiful and roads fairly good for winter, I sit down before my computer, newly completed book cover in hand.

With excitement and trepidation I begin the long awaited process of uploading my 6,000-word book/article to Smashwords. Two years of gathering and digesting research articles and over a full year since I began writing the piece, the time has come. The proofing, reproofing and reproofing as well as multiple edits from a variety of sources are behind me. My other writing on my novel and newspaper articles has taken the back seat for a while.

Although I am not techno-savvy, I do get by. Over the past month, I managed to follow the Smashwords "Style Guide" , stripping out all the formatting in my article to create a flowable text that will read on different devices. (We'll talk more specifically about that later.)

Filled with nervous energy I carefully follow all the leads and prompts on the screen to upload my book, the cover, author profile and other information. As I write the author profile, I can't help but wonder, "How much does one really want to share about themselves for the entire world to see?"

As I get ready to click the "Submit" button (or was it an "Upload" button?) I hope my book/article is well done, professionally acceptable and will be a benefit to those who read it. With some faith in the computer-gods, I plunge ahead, submitting my materials to the Smashwords "Meatgrinder" hoping to pass without any AutoVetting errors.

File uploaded, cover uploaded, author profile complete, I intently watch my computer screen as it flashes, "You are number 26 in the queue to upload at Smashwords." The tiny circle spins as I await confirmation.

Suddenly words pop up on the screen, "You have lost Internet connection." What?! No! All the time spent carefully uploading! I frantically check all my connections, then call the phone company. The phone line crackles painfully as I explain the problem. The service tech responds, "It will be 24 to 48 hours to correct the problem."

With deep frustration, I turn back to my computer and attempt to reload Internet. There, miraculously, pops up the message, "You have successfully uploaded your book to Smashwords, there are no AutoVetter errors." Yay!

Out from my email spits a three-page document about how to get an ISBN number, how to check for compatibility with epub and html files and how to get into the daunting task of marketing your work.

Shortly after completing a few more tasks, my phone lines and Internet go totally dead for nearly 24 hours, interspersed with numerous cell phone calls to the phone company. My carefully planned e-book upload is narrowly accomplished. Hard to believe how dependant we have become on the Internet!

Now the challenge of letting people know what my e-book/article is about and how it can be useful is the next step. What is your next challenge to writing and publishing? Do you have a plan to move forward?

Theresa Nichols Schuster's Smashwords Author Profile:
Book page to sample or purchase Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Excessive Mast Cells? Research Summary:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Introduction to "Bridging: Writing the Journey"

For those of us who write - and I don't mean just writing for publication - our writing encompasses the ebb and flow of our lives. It is not only a means of self-expression, it is an avenue of self-discovery, processing and clarifying, that at times reveals more than we ever knowingly intended.

Currently I write, type and muse from the hinterlands of extreme rural northeastern Montana, just south of the Canadian border and not far from the Bakken oil fields.

I invite us on this blog site to share our writing journeys - whether that be from our own journaling or poetic creativity...or the more gritty process of writing to effect change, to publish, to be heard or to entertain.

Recently I stumbled upon the tiny tattered pages of a spiral notebook roughly stapled together. Scrawled diagonally across the first page was the word "Diary". Concealed in the pages was the world of an 11-year old. What was it like to be that 11-year old girl? How did she see, understand, act? Was that really me?

As I read, most of the pages were taken up by the birth and growth of a batch of kittens, multi-colored, black, gray and white; obviously an important event. The frequent words that Dad wasn't home from Miles City yet were scattered in different entries. Why was he in Miles City? A hernia operation at the VA? Finally, after a week and a half, there is the notation that Dad is home. No mention of why he was gone, how he was doing or if it was surgery. Hard to believe that's how I thought then - as now my curiosity and interest in things medical and health-oriented is almost insatiable.

A few pages later, the wonder of finding an inflatable canoe, although flattened, on the banks of the Yellowstone River, brought to mind my yearning to cross to the mysterious islands in the middle of the river. I could almost taste the disappointment, when the entry a few days later noted that the young girl had inflated the canoe and realized only baby could fit in it.

The words reminded me of the desire to explore the islands of the Yellowstone that regularly tugged at me throughout my childhood and teen years. I did swim to an island once; I wouldn't recommend it. And a few hairy crossings as the strong currents swirled around my knees and thighs and my feet slid over moss-covered rocks also were a little nervy. The impatience of waiting for the flood waters to recede each year added to the appeal of the isolated, darkened cottonwood forests, meadows and stands of willows far across the turbulent river.

Writing is our opportunity to explore, learn, express and create. The reading is the remembering, reliving, feeling and discovering.

You are invited on this blog to join me in exploring the literary field of writing and publishing from a stance of openness, playfulness and self-reflection.           Theresa Nichols Schuster