Monday 28 April 2014

Self Publishing and Life

By Colin Dunbar
Writing and self publishing with a 9 to 5 job, and a family can be challenging, but it is possible. Sometimes, when life's priorities come your way, writing usually takes a back seat (or, more accurately, dealines). The thing to remember is not to give up. That's what happened with my posting to my self publishing diary. Although I missed my weekly scheduled posting, I am able to post now.

On the plus side, work on my books didn't slip by the way side. The past 2 weeks I was still able to work on my books, and the new web project my son and I are busy with.

On to what I did...

Writing and Reading

FBIW. The next post at went up on time.

Invest in Yourself. Apart from, this is where most of my time was spent. I was able to write a few hundred words on this book.

Web project. This is progressing well, and we have received the first WIP version of the application. Soon we'll be getting the first draft and my son and I will be able to start testing.

I didn't do anything on TCRW, but that wasn't a problem as this book is low on my priority list at present.

I made a start on a free report that will be available at, and I will post about it here as well.

As I said in my last post, I can now share the title of the book I'm presently reading: Training Your Brain for Dummies. If you're interested in learning the basics of how the brain functions, this is a good book. I'm not that far yet, but there are also exercises to help keep the brain alert, and to help improve memory.

I also had the privilege of reviewing this e-course: Pick up Your Memoir Again... And Finish it! If you're writing your memoir, but haven't worked on it in a while, this e-course may be just the thing you need to get going again, and actually finish it (the link for the e-course is below).

Cyber Surfing

Children Say The Best Things in Bookshops

New AAP Stats Show that the US eBook Market Saw Excellent Growth in 2013

Pick Up Your Memoir Again…and Finish It!

This is from a newsletter I received a while ago... I thought it was really neat.

What Do You See?

When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.
What my kids see are flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away.
What my kids see is someone smiling at them and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune, so I sit self-consciously and listen.
What my kids hear is the beat and move to it. They sing the words and if they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
What my kids feel is they close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this, give me that.
What my kids pray is "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends."
When I see a mud puddle I step around it. I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
What my kids see are dams to build, rivers to cross, and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from?

~ Author Unknown ~

Remember, have a great writing week, and ALWAYS believe in yourself.

Sunday 13 April 2014

You CAN Self Publish Your Book

By Colin Dunbar


Sunday morning. The weather is overcast, with small patches of blue sky here and there. It's still a great day to be alive, and there's a lot to be grateful for.

I received a mail from someone last week, and he said he didn't think I should include personal things here, like snippets about friend's babies. He suggested I keep the focus on self publishing and writing, as this is what this blog is about. What do you think? Should I follow his advice?

It's awesome that I've crushed writer's block - ever since my writing about it here, a few weeks ago. I've had absolutely no problem writing, and am actually writing more than I've done in a long time. I hope to share my successes with you, and in so doing, encourage you to write more and self publish your own material.

I did finish the second draft of my client's ebook, and I'm now waiting for her feedback. Then it'll be the final copy and the project will be wrapped up.

My focus now is going to be on the following, and these are what I'll be reporting on in my self publishing diary...

Writing and Reading

FBIW. This is my blogged book at, and it's priority #1. So far I've kept to my schedule of posting every week. The next post goes up on Monday again, and the one following that is already written.

SPD. This self publishing diary is priority #2, and also, since starting to write again, I have no problem writing these posts. Every Sunday morning I sit outside, with a cup of tea, and I'm able to write these. Life is great!

IIY2. Some months ago, I briefly mentioned this book, but I didn't give a lot of detail. If you're considering writing a memoir, this section may be of interest to you.

In 2004 I wrote and self published my memoir, Invest In Yourself, which is the story of my home business endeavors (both successes and failures). As it's 10 years later, I decided to update this to the 2nd edition, and again share what I did over the past decade. Geez, it's amazing how time flies when you're having fun. This book is my third priority.

TCRW. This is a book I've been threatening to write for the past 5 or so years. I have now eventually put ito n my priority list, and actually made a start.

TCRW is also a memoir (although would say it should be a autobiography), and is the story of my 35 years in the technical writing field. It is a challenge going back so many years, but by doing it systematically and step-by-step, I'm able to piece together the history. I can tell you, sometimes I chuckle when I think back on how we did things before computers were so common, especially in the technical writing field.

This project is priority #4, and is a book that will not get my full attention all the time.

And there you have my writing priorities. I hope by sharing my progress with these, I'll be able to offer you some encouragement with your writing efforts. Nothing would please me more than helping you to write and self publish your own book. I can assure you, having that published book in your hands is an awesome feeling! And it is possible, even if you have a 9-to-5 job, and between life's other responsibilities.

I finished reading Writing Fiction for Dummies, and again, I can only say this book is one of the best investments I've made. If you're interested in writing fiction, this is a great book to get.

I've started reading my next book, but I want to get a little further into it before I say anything about it.

Cyber Surfing

As usual I also did a lot of reading on the web, and would like to share some interesting links with you.

Press Release: Ebook Development Training And Certification for All Skill Levels, An Industry First

The Guardian Announces Self-Publishing Award

Just Look Around

And here is something to laugh about...

What does a style of writing LOOK like?

That's it for another week. Remember, have a great writing week, and ALWAYS believe in yourself.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Writing and reading... and other news

By Colin Dunbar

It's Sunday morning, and it's a beautiful day sunny day. The blue sky has bundles of white puffy clouds. A great day to be alive and to be grateful for.

Writing was minimal last week, as I was busy with my one client's ebook. I should be able to wrap it up next week and then my writing will take center stage again. I did manage to do a bit of work on the 2nd edition of my memoir, and wrote my daughter a letter. We're looking forward to her coming home for a holiday the end of April. And I also finished the next post for my blog book at

The new web project is progressing and Bronson has been busy with the coding. Our planned launch for this is July.

There was a load of interesting material that landed in my inbox, and I should finish Fiction Writing for Dummies next week.

My long time friend shared the news that their baby son has started eating solid foods, and they're excited about that. He must enjoy every minute of his son, because before he knows it, that baby's going to be going to school, and then the years zip by.

Something else I've been looking at, although at this stage it's low on my priority list: the redesign and restructure of my personal site (; I want to change this into my author site.

Going through my archives I found a few things that may be of interest to you... Hope you enjoy.

Not Selling Books? Did you do the Math?

Publishing Scams and How they Work

Indie Ebook Author Community to Earn More than Traditional Ebook Authors

9 Reasons Why I’m Choosing to Self-Publish

Self-Publishing Has Arrived: Now What?

I hope you have a great week, keep writing, and ALWAYS believe in yourself.

Monday 31 March 2014

Productivity and the Self Published Author

By Colin Dunbar

Another productive week!

I was mainly tied up with two book design projects. These are 2 PDF ebooks, one is a web site that was turned into an ebook, and the other is an original ebook. I also designed the e-covers.

On the writing side, I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. Mainly outlining and planning. On the plus side, I feel a lot more motivated to write again. This is actually something that intrigues me: ever since I posted about having writer's block, I've not once had a problem with writing (including posting here in my self publishing diary).

I have a new site planned, and have been wrestling with the site concept. I turned to a good friend of mine and asked for his help. His feedback put a new light on my ideas, and I'll be finalizing the site idea - it should go live soon. Thanks Ian.

Overall, it was a good week... until Saturday night, that is. We received one of "those" phone calls, you know, the kind that you don't ever want to get. My in-laws were attacked and robbed on Saturday. Even though they're traumatized (tied, kicked, jumped on, cut, burnt with a clothes iron), we are VERY grateful that they're alive. We now have to trust that the barbarians won't return.

Last week there was not a shortage of reading. I'm still busy with Writing Fiction for Dummies. Enjoying every word, and learning a lot! And, as usual, I read a load of articles.

Here's something I hope you'll like...

More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.

The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter of the alphabet.

The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language...try it!

No word in the English language rhymes with month.

Shakespeare invented the words 'assassination' and 'bump'.

"Stewardesses" is the longest word typed with only the left hand, "lollipop" with your right.

The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.

The words 'racecar' and 'kayak' are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters from only one row of the keyboard.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."

There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs five times: "indivisibility."

The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is "uncopyrightable".

A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

If you have anything you'd like to share, or maybe a question you have, let me know in the comments.

Monday 24 March 2014

This is my Self Publishing Diary. Right?

By Colin Dunbar

I'm really excited.

I made a decision, and I hope it's something you'll find interesting, valuable, and hopefully sometimes useful. This is my self publishing diary, and I decided to treat it as a "diary". Instead of just posting about my self publishing efforts (which can be far and few between), I'm going to share a bit more about me: what I'm reading, what I write, and also when I come across something that I think is useful, I'll share it here (if I find something that really excites me, I'll post or write a post about just that - ummm, maybe that's a bit of a cop out).

I got some of my mojo back. A week ago I was booked off for the whole week (nothing life-threatening), and I ended up writing a lot: outlined a long article, wrote a section of my memoir (2nd revised edition), wrote a short article, wrote three posts for my blog,, PLUS I wrote draft Press releases and pages for a new web project my son and I are working on.

Not bad for someone who was hit hard with writer's block.

What I'm Reading

I'm presently reading Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson. It's been (too) many years since I wrote fiction (short stories), and that's the reason I got this book. And wow, am I glad I did? Writing Fiction for Dummies is ideal for someone like me: it takes me from the very basics, all the way to writing a query letter. One of my good investments, this was.

I read every single day of my life, and in addition to the Dummies book, I read a heap of articles on a variety of subjects.

Snippets on the Web

Last week I went through my archives, and thought it'll be useful to sahre the following with you...

Great News from Lulu

Lulu have expanded their ebook services. This is an extract from the news article:

Great news! has opened up Kindle, Kobo and many more eBook retailer sites to you, so readers on all devices can buy your eBooks.

And there's even more good news: Our print book distribution service is free.

With, you have a single, free and simple method for getting all of your books into as many distribution channels as possible. No more need to publish your books in multiple places. Now, you can sell what you love everywhere.

I'd really like to hear what you think of my decision: good, ok, bad. Drop me a line in the comments.

Have a great writing week, and ALWAYS believe in yourself.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

My first encounter with writer's block

By Colin Dunbar

For many years I heard and read about writer's block, but I couldn't relate to it.

And that changed...

Writer's block was something "out there" - something that I passed off as a lack of focus, or procrastination, or even laziness.

Sheesh, did that change when I encountered writer's block in a big way!

There was never a shortage of ideas (and writing) in my life: articles, short stories, outlines, non-fiction books, etc. I cannot recall a time that I was not writing (as my wife will attest too).

And now?

All gone. I have several books at various levels of completion. I've regularly tried to revive my writing, but no luck. One thing I did manage to get going is my new blog:, and I'm going to try and focus on just this one project (and hopefully my self publishing diary).

Friends have said I have a valid reason for this block in that I have been focusing on my daughter, wife, and granddaughter - to be honest I have no regrets about my change of focus, but it still doesn't reduce the feeling of frustration in not being able to write.

The question I have for myself: Will I get through writer's block? And how will I do it?

The answer to the first question is a categorically YES! The answer to the second question is not exactly clear right now (but I do have some ideas).

In trying to find a solution for my writer's block, I read a few articles, and watched some videos, and found this one to be quite good.

If you are experiencing it, or have had writer's block I would love to hear from you.

Friday 1 November 2013

Why My Self Publishing Diary is on Hold

By Colin Dunbar

I thought I would share why I've very quiet here, and why you also won't be seeing anything posted here for the foreseeable future (and I'm also asking for your help).

To be honest, my last post was very cryptic. It was done in haste, and I apologize for that.

Yes, this is my self publishing diary, and you do want to know things about self publishing; well in a way you are getting a look into the life of a self published author.

I'm about to share a part of my life with you, and trust that you find it interesting, and maybe a little enlightening...

As is my nature, I'm always reading and learning new things, and with my interest in writing, I have tended to read a lot on psychology, habits, etc. The reason is that I wanted to use this knowledge when I create characters for my stories.

In order to create interesting characters, I have done an enormous amount of reading on psychological disorders (bipolar, depression, narcissism, schizophrenia, etc.). But over the past 30+ years, I never came across Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

And it's actually no surprise because it is not a common disorder. When I think of the 10 years of suffering that our daughter went through, it's no wonder...

In the Foreword of the book, The Essential Family Guide To Borderline Personality Disorder, the following is offered:

For almost a century, borderline disorder has been referred to as a "wastebasket diagnosis," reserved for those patients whose presenting symptoms are often so complex that they do not fall cleanly into a single diagnosis, thereby frustrating the clinician, the patient, and the family.

As this is not a "mainstream" disorder, we were ignorant for many years - actually, even the school counselors, psychologists, and GP's were in the dark. What was wrong with our daughter? Was she just being a teenage rebel? Was she craving attention? It was a living nightmare on all of us: me, my wife, and her brother. And for my daughter it was hell.

Also in The Essential Family Guide To Borderline Personality Disorder, author Randi Kreger shares this: "If you could snap your fingers and, by magic, experience what a BP feels, you would be overwhelmed by self-loathing, an intense fear of being abandoned, and a relentless sense of emptiness. Irritability and depression would be there, too, a steady drumbeat blocking out feelings of joy and even simple satisfaction. "BPD is a cancer that eats away at my body, mind, and soul," says one woman with the illness."

The biggest strain was the feeling of hopelessness. It is our daughter, and we cannot find out what is wrong - it took its toll on the entire family, and no wonder, as we learned in the book, The Essential Family Guide To Borderline Personality Disorder, many years later:

"Loving someone with BPD is a full-time job. Family members describe it as living on an emotional roller coaster or walking on eggshells. They feel alternately pursued and rejected, as if they're constantly being tested for something, but unsure of what it could be. Over time, people who are close to someone with BPD become so accustomed to living with abusive behavior they start to think it's normal. Family members frequently experience feelings of guilt, shame, depression, exhaustion, isolation, and helplessness."

We read something and it tends to have a certain effect on us: joy, excitement, fear, despair... but when we LIVE the things that we read, it is a whole different ball game. According to the American Psychiatric Association individual only needs to meet five of these nine criteria to qualify for a borderline diagnosis:

  1. strong reactions to fear of abandonment, whether real or imagined
  2. a history of troubled relationships with extremes in behavior and attitude
  3. poor sense of self
  4. impulsive and self-destructive behavior by at least two means (for example, substance abuse, self-mutilation, eating disorder)
  5. repeated suicidal tendencies
  6. intense and frequent moodiness and irritability
  7. an ongoing feeling of emptiness
  8. intense and uncontrollable anger
  9. persistent feelings of detachment
We "lived" BPD for 10 years, and then there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

After a consultation with the psychologist and psychiatrist, they both advised that Abigail be admitted for long-term treatment. This was to be the 1-year program at Healing Wings Rehab and Behavior Treatment Center, where BPD and drug abuse treatment is available.

The power of your gift will give Abigail freedom from the emotional pain that has had her trapped in the hell she has been living the past 10 years.

Give what you can today. We thank you for your generous support, from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.