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Check Out My Tabs Above - All about books and about people with a passion for reading and writing books in all their forms - old and new. Books as love affairs, memories, surprises, identification and physical entities are part of the passion.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Kindle, CreateSpace and Great People

Instead of celebrating Mother's Day I spent my weekend with some great  people - Anne, Erica, Eileen, Judith, Martin,Joy, Geri (and Hilary and Mary in mind if not in body) - working alongside my friends and colleagues the lovely Avril, the very wise Gillian  at our  Our Room toWrite Conference Weekend. For all of us it - writing tutors and students - it was a  steep learning curve.

Our ambition was to demystify  - for keen and talented writers - the disciplines and processes of producing high quality Kindle and hard copy versions of our novels and short stories. In other words, to publish our own work to the whole world, even into cyberspace.

The challenge for Avril, Gillian and I is that we didn't just want to tell people how to do it, we wanted to show them.

So. using a laptop, projector and a screen  we showed these writers how to make a Kindle book, right  from the process of editing a manuscript to the highly prepared level neccessy for these processes, onto how to design covers, and then - actually doing it there in public (!) - to publish the book there and then on Kindle.

New Cover for Lizza
 I used a new revised and edited edition of  my children's book LIZZA as an exemplar. There was a cheer when we hit 'Publish' and the novel went up and our there. It's up there now, although it still needs a few 'nips and tucks' so I will go in and refine it when I get my breath back. (Youcan do thyis with your Kindle, which is great...)

That Kindle process took one and a half hours.   That will be my standard time in future. (The fist time I did it, myself, it took a day...)

Next, Avril - there and then - showed the writers how - using -  great covers can be designed by amateurs. I described doing the same thing -as I did for LIZZA using  Microsoft Publisher but could not demonstrate it, as Publisher was not on the laptop we had there.

Then using the CreateSpace software Avril - quite brilliantly, I think - took a manuscript of her novella  When You Hear the Birds Sing  through to the point of Print on Demand publication,  the more complicated process of creating your own paperback book on Print On Demand. She made it seem very do-able and inspired us all.

Of course what we kept saying was - you need patience and the willingness to to do and redo until you get it right. You, need patience with the process and - most imprtantly - with yourself.

We were keen that this process-experience was supported with paperwork which people could go away and put into practice everything they had experienced at the conference. I called these the Room To Write Ladybird Guides to Kindling and creating a Print on Demand Book. This was writing exercise in itself for Avril and myself - to created directions stripped of the  sometimes esoteric repetitions and misdirections in the literature.

Our students really appreciated these documents, I think. Theye went off with these to support their Kindle and CreateSpace Adventure.

Wilting a little, we spent some time of the last afternoon discussing the function of writer's blog for a writer who wanted to use this medium both for developing their own writing and for supporting her or his publications out in cyberspace. Avril, Gillian and I talked about our own blogging experiences as well as Judith, a course member has a well establishe writer's blog as has Anne. Martin, Eileen and Geri - I think! - decided to have a building their own blog.

As a tutor it's always good to know that there are concrete outcomes from your work. I have a very good feeling that several of these writers will go on to produce high quality publications and develop interesting blogs which will reflect the multiplicity of talents of these dedicated writers. They are participating in the democratizing revolution which is transforming the international world of talented writers.

I came home - as I am sure did they - exhausted but satisfied that something really happened on our Kindling Weekend. I also came home to choclates and wine and handpicked daffodils and two wonderful cards from my lovely son and my very special son-in-law. I don't know whether it was the exhaustion of the great conference or the lovely words on the cards, but I ended up in  (very happy) tears.

I will post photos of the conference when they come from writer,Geri as she has evolved now as the Room To Write Official Photographer.

Comments sent by the lovely people:

It just gets better and better – nothing could have bettered the weekend. Thanks entirely to you and Avril and Gillian. Generous is the word to describe you with your time your know-how, your friendship – and we happy few are the lucky ones and we know how lucky we are. Rest of the week cancelled to get down to the nitty-gritty! Erica
I am definitely going to set up a blog very soon.  Thank you for all your hard work.  The three of you always put so much effort into the conferences that you set up for us and I found it really worthwhile and interesting’ Geri
Thanks for an excellent weekend. I feel tired, excited, inspired but also, more important, very keen to put some of the masses of ideas that you and Avril have given us into practise. Watch out for my forthcoming Blog. Now have a rest!!! Martin
What an amazing week-end! I have the confidence now to upload my work to Kindle and create my own hard copy book on  As ever Wendy Avril & Gillian have put in the hard work to save the rest of us time and money when learning and applying new skills. Many thanks to Room to Write.  Judith
To be in at the birth of a Kindle book was amazing. Wendy Robertson’s LIZZA emerged  red-faced yet beautiful into the Kindle World. Thanks to Avril for passing on her wealth of knowledge and expertise on creating a hard copy of our Kindled books and Gillian saw to everything else. The usual wonderful food, company and ambience at Whitworth. Fantastic Weekend, Thanks for everything. Anne O

 Many thanks for the exceptional weekend.  It was the best yet.  My thanks to you and Avril and Gillian, you worked so hard and now I'm hoping to go ahead with Kindle and also create a blog. Eileen


  1. I always look forward to the RoomToWrite conferences held at Whitworth Hall, in its beautiful and inspiring setting. This weekend was fantastic. Wendy, Avril and Gillian - you are truly inspirational. The course taught us so much about producing an e book and hard copy, how to set up a blog and produce covers for ourselves. I can't wait to try these things out for myself. Our course participants are all lovely, talented people, the food was delicious and plentiful and by Sunday tea-time, I left the hotel tired but happy and with the confidence to put the skills that we had been taught into practice. Thank you so much for your hard work, expertise, loving-kindness and encouragement.

  2. Any great teaching/learning experience depends on the chemistry and exchange between the teachers and the learners, This group, this experience, was a prime example of that, Thank you for your great response Geri. Wx

  3. This was a great weekend! As you say Wendy that was very much about the chemistry and the participants. I'm delighted to know that our writers are going away witht he intention of publishing and blogging too. Can't wait to download and read those stories, books and blog posts!

  4. It sounds brilliant - what a pity there aren't more workshops like this. Sounds like something we could promote on Authors Electric. Are you going to mention it when you blog next Avril? Lucky participants!