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Lunch with Jeff = Change in Writing Plans

In my last post, I told you about my plans to write two new books next year.

Then I had lunch with Jeff, and now my plans have changed significantly.

Partners in Crime (Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission)

Partners in Crime (Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission)

Jeff Moriarty is one of the most creative people I know. He has a gift for developing and executing ideas. He is the founder of Ignite Phoenix and a co-founder of Improv AZ. I often refer to him as my partner in crime. (Note: We are partners in crime, not partners in life. I have no idea how his wife puts up with all of his puns.) Jeff is also a talented writer and has substantial knowledge about indie publishing. He and Evo Terra ran a company called ePublish Unum that helped indie authors (including me) write and release their books.

I told Jeff about my ideas to write two books next year, and he made the brilliant suggestion that instead of writing two comprehensive books, I could write several shorter ebooks where each one tackles a smaller subtopic within social media law. This would allow me to create and release more book-quality content throughout the year and delve into specialized topics for niche audiences. After releasing several of these short books, I could create a compilation of material from several books and release that as an ebook or in print (most likely print-on-demand).

This idea makes perfect sense for my ideas. I have been struggling with how I was going to fit so many different topics into two books – especially social media law for small businesses because there are so many different groups within that audience I want to help.

In listening to Jeff, my brain was already cranking out ideas – like using a similar cover design for each book, but in a different color, much like what ePublish Unum did with their books about indie publishing.

Originally, I thought I wanted a traditional publisher for my next books, but now I’m thinking of going back to my indie publishing roots. I will still have an editor and a graphic designer; and I may hire a company to format my books. But beyond that I can release my work myself, on a schedule that I set, with total autonomy regarding the topics I cover. And if I don’t have a traditional publisher, there will be no question or debate about who owns the copyright (me) and I can set my own prices. (Translation: I can charge less than what a traditional publisher would charge because I won’t have to share the profit with them.)

So now my next step is to decide what topics I want to cover in my next batch of work, and start figuring out how many e-books I will be writing next year as a result. I have a feeling this means I’m going to have a wall covered in sticky notes in the near future.

Undeniable Recap of 2012

Ruth Carter, ABA Legal Rebel

Photo by Don McPhee Photography

It’s been an incredible year! Looking back, so much has changed and so many wonderful things have happened for me this year – personally and professionally. I never could have predicted so many good things happening. Of course, I didn’t get here alone and I want to thank all the friends, family, and colleagues who helped make this year fan-fucking-tastic. It was hard to pick the top five events from this year, but here you go!

1.  Carter Law Firm Opened!  I opened my own law practice on January 4, 2012 and I’m happy to report that I’m still in business and haven’t been disbarred. It’s been an amazing year creating and building my own business with all the trials and tribulations that go along with that. I love my work and I’m so lucky that I get to build the professional life I’ve always wanted as the approachable geeky lawyer who wears t-shirts and does awesome work. I love that I’m building my niches in social media and flash mob law and being invited to do things like speak at major conferences.

ruthcover smaller2.  My First Book  I wrote and self-published The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. I’ve always wanted to write a book and all the pieces fell into place to make it happen. The book has been well received so far and appears to be opening the door for more books. Special hat tip to ePublish Unum for teaching me everything I know about self-publishing.

3.  ABA Legal Rebel  I’ve always looked up to the American Bar Association Legal Rebels, but in my wildest dreams I did not expect to be picked to join this illustrious group only months after becoming a lawyer. I’m tickled that they chose me because of my work in flash mob law.

Rosie!

Rosie!

4.  I Got A Dog!  Adopting Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue was probably the biggest life changing event of this year. It had been years since I had a pet and because of her we go walking every day and I’m on a more structured schedule. She can melt my heart with one look and it was so hard to leave her at the kennel for a few days. I love the way she looks when she runs and how she howls at the phone.

5.  Half Marathon Personal Record  This may seem petty, but it was a big deal to me to finish the race under two hours. I was blown away when I heard I finished the race in 1:52. I’d never run that hard for so long before. It was a great experience to do so well.

 

Celebrity Encounters in 2012

 

Firsts in 2012

  • handstand bean1st trip to Chicago where I leave the airport – included my 1st ride on the L Train and my 1st visit to Cloud Gate (The Bean)
  • 1st trip to the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Bought my 1st Powerball ticket
  • 1st time using Survey Monkey and Mail Chimp
  • 1st time at Phoenix Comicon
  • 1st time owning a pet that wasn’t formerly a family pet
  • 1st business trip to San Francisco
  • Sent my 1st DMCA Takedown Notice
  • Put up my 1st yarn bomb
  • 1st trip to the ABA TechShow
  • 1st YouTube channel

In Memorium

  • Peg Grucky
  • David Malcolm

This has been an incredible year. I’m excited for what’s to come next!

Breaking Into Digital Publishing

Evo Terra, (cc) sheiladeeisme on Flickr

I spent last Saturday at ePublish Unum’s first Digital Publishing Workshop for Authors. EPublish Unum is a new company started by Evo Terra and Jeff Moriarty to educate and assist digital authors in publishing their work. Between the two of them, they have a host of knowledge and experience in writing, marketing, social media, and podcasting.

I am at the beginning my writing career. I attended this workshop because I’m ready to take my blog writing to the next level and become an ebook author. This workshop taught me that writing a manuscript is just the beginning of being a successful digital author.

Jeff Moriarty, (cc) sheiladeeisme on Flickr

Being a digital author is completely different from using a traditional publisher. I co-authored a book chapter during law school. I wrote the manuscript and had to proofread the draft after it came back from the editor and that was basically it. As a digital author, you don’t have the burden of shopping your work around for a publishing house, but there are so many other things you have to do and consider.

  • A digital author is an author, publisher, and promoter.
  • An acceptable layout on paper may not translate well to an iPad or Kindle.
  • Your cover art has to look good as a thumbnail.
  • Ebooks are a lot cheaper than paper books, but they are outselling paper books.
  • You have to convert your book from a manuscript to an ebook and decide which service to use.
  • You have to proofread your work after conversion to catch any “gremlins” that were created.
  • You have to decide how you will promote your work and interact with your fans.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There was so much information, I felt like a sponge taking it all in. Despite the enormous amount of information that was being presented, Evo and Jeff always presented the material in a nonthreatening way. I walked away inspired and feeling like being a digital author was something I could do successfully as long as I was willing to do the work.

I currently have three ideas for ebooks:

  • The legal side of blogging,
  • The legal implications of being a flash mob organizer, and
  • The best thing I did in law school was take off my pants on the light rail (how I made law school work for me).

I am petrified and excited to begin working on these projects. I am grateful that there are successful digital authors I can look to for inspiration and the incredible people at ePublish Unum I can turn to for guidance when I need it.