Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mandi Grace

Major changes are coming.

I've already mentioned in the past how I am going to be publishing with IngramSpark in the near future, when CreateSpace and KDP finally become one entity. When I change platforms, I will also be changing something else: my pseudonym.

It won't be a massive change; I'm simply going from Amanda Grace to Mandi Grace.

The reason for this change? When I originally chose to write under Amanda Grace I did so because I wanted to use my own name. I was not aware, at the time, that there are multiple Amanda Grace authors. This has caused a little confusion, but more than that, being one of many is hardly what any author wants. We want to be unique and stand out; to be remembered. Because of this, I have been toying with the idea of altering my pseudonym for a number of years. The move to IngramSpark simply gave me the opportunity I'd been waiting for. Mandi is still my name, which is what I originally wanted, and there aren't any Mandi Grace authors (yet) to be confused with.

My Robin Hood series and my Dystopian trilogy will remain under the name Amanda Grace and will still be available on Amazon through KDP. However, when I begin publishing new novels through IngramSpark they will all be under the name Mandi Grace.

Due to this change, my blog, my website, and the rest of my social media will soon be updated slightly.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Top 9 (ish) Favorite Novels

My Top 9--because Top 10 lists are over-rated--favorite books of all time:

I have read hundreds of books over the years and I have enjoyed almost every book I've read, with very few exceptions (*cough*Eragon*cough*). This tendency to enjoy every book I pick up does not lend itself to making a list of favorites. I have too many "favorites" for that word to be properly used in conjunction with my list. Therefore, though I have compiled a list of books that I love, it is by far not every book I would call a favorite and certainly not in any sort of hierarchical order.

Also, after compiling my list, I noticed a distinct pattern. There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but all things considered, I love Fantasy and Classics more than anything else.

So, without further ado, my Top 9 (ish) Favorite Novels:

#1 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: This is a book I have probably reread more than any other. I first read Jane Eyre around the age of 12 and fell in love, though at the time I didn't really understand half of it. And I reread it at least once a year, sometimes more. I love everything about it. The characters, the writing, the humor, the angst...everything.

#2 The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: These three--ahem, six--books will always be on my favorites list when it comes to books that I have loved. Tolkien's writing is by far my favorite and the one I look up to the most. He is the pinnacle of all things great, in my humble opinion, when it comes to writing. And everything about these books makes me fall in love every time I crack them open. It's a rich world, with remarkable characters, and it's fantasy--which is my favorite genre. Plus, it's Tolkien.

#3 Jane Austen: I couldn't name just one because I reread all of them annually--or even more often than that. I love every word she ever wrote. To be fair, I haven't completed reading all her unfinished works, but I'm sure I'll love those, too, when I get to them.

#4 North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I love historical fiction, but especially when it was written in that time period. Classics are so much richer than modern day historical fiction; probably because they didn't have to do research, they simply wrote about their lives. However that may be, I absolutely adored this book on the first read and I love it more every time I pick it up.

#5 The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: This series of books has to go on my list because they are probably the most worn out books in my entire collection. As a child/teenager, I reread them almost every month or so, and even in adulthood I still read them over and over again. The best way I could describe sitting down to read The Chronicles of Narnia is simply the feeling of coming home.

#6 The Princess by Lori Wick: My favorite work by this author, definitely, and the only one I reread consistently. A modern-day royally arranged marriage...what could possibly go wrong? Nothing. Because this book is amazing.

#7 Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I only very recently read these for the first time and I instantly fell in love. The characters, the writing, the whole deal. I love it all.

#8 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: and once again, what could compete with a classic? This is just one of those books that make me happy no matter when I read it, any time of the year.

#9 Everything Ted Dekker ever wrote: Actually, if I'm honest, I haven't read all of his books yet. But I have been working my way through his long list of titles and have not yet come across a book that I could put down. Ted Dekker is the modern-day author version of Tolkien to me--the pinnacle of all things great.

So there you have it. My Top 9--or 30--favorite books. Who's counting? Obviously not me.

Happy Writing--and Reading--, everybody!

Friday, September 7, 2018

CreateSpace, KDP, and What I Know So Far

CreateSpace and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) have merged and chaos has ensued!

Okay, that is not accurate. However, that is how it has felt over the last week.

CreateSpace and KDP are both owned by Amazon, and as I understand it, Amazon simply wanted all their self-publishing platforms under one roof.

I was unaware that this change was taking place. My CreateSpace account didn't send me any messages telling me big changes were coming--there were no giant orange signs saying "road closed"--and I rarely visit my KDP account because I only have one ebook published through them. I have not received any emails about this upcoming change (although I have been told that others have). I came across a post on Facebook on Monday morning asking how other authors were handling the move from CreateSpace to KDP because of the closure and I had a panic attack. What closure? Why? When? Why wasn't I informed???

I have spent the rest of this week doing research and also complaining loudly to anyone who would listen--and probably many who would rather have not heard what I had to say.

I was not the only one complaining either. I have been roaming through various support groups and forums on Facebook, CreateSpace, and KDP, and what I discovered is that people are not happy. Many people are concerned about the move itself, as they have been encountering many issues with covers, interior files, and such being lost along the way. Some people have been given the option to move but when they try to follow the "3 simple steps" they simply can't--CreateSpace/KDP send them on an endless loop of pushing the same buttons and getting zero results.  Thus, panic and chaos and lots of yelling people. Well, yelling via the internet at any rate. I have not yet attempted to make the move (or even been informed of it by either company) so I cannot attest to the accuracy of these reported issues.

What I can say is that I am not a fan of KDP, which is why I stopped publishing through them after one single ebook and why I rarely check that account. I try to pretend KDP doesn't exist. So when I discovered this merge was happening, I was not a happy camper. However, after doing more digging into the situation and into KDP itself, I can say it's not as terrible as I first assumed.

Some people have made the move without the issues that others are reporting, and KDP is not as horrendous a publishing platform as I had made up my mind to believe--though I still believe CreateSpace was better and more user-friendly. KDP's cover creator is not as good as CreateSpace's, and KDP's royalty system--both payment and also royalty reports--is frustrating for me personally.

As I stated above, some people have made the move without the hitches that others have encountered. Whether I am one of the lucky without any problems or one of the many with a headache in exchange for my futile efforts, remains to be seen. Whether I will get informed, by either company, about this change also remains to be seen. That, in itself, is a major cause of my current frustration.

I will let my currently published books move over to KDP--because I have no choice--and they will remain available on Amazon throughout the entire process. My readers should not be affected by this change at all. I, on the other hand, am re-evaluating my life choices.

Also, I am looking into IngramSpark--another self-publishing platform--, and as of now, I am planning on using that platform for any further books that I publish.

Happy Writing, everybody! And good luck to any Indie authors struggling through this CreateSpace/KDP fiasco.