Laura Haley-McNeil

4/9/17, Just Words

Hello, Everyone!

I hope all is going well with you, and that you’re enjoying some beautiful spring weather, or better yet are taking some vacation time. In our part of the world, the schools were closed for spring break. It seemed like a ghost town when I drove to work. Everyday, I drive past a high school and this week was amazed that there was no bottle neck of traffic in that area. I did envy those lucky people who could take some time off. I shouldn’t be too jealous. I’ve been sneaking in some ski time. With all the snow we’ve had lately and with the slopes scheduled to close this month, I have to take advantage of every opportunity to ski.

This week, I’ve been spending most of my time finishing Book 5 of the Crystal Creek series. I received the manuscript back from the proofreader, then my husband, who’s such a big help for me, and I read through the manuscript again. We still found things that needed to be changed. At some point, I’ll just have to declare the book finished and send it to the formatter. I keep telling myself I need to learn formatting, but now I need to focus on writing. Maybe someday I’ll have the courage to learn formatting. I’m just not a techie.

I also worked on my book blurb. After about 100 revisions, I’ve settled on a version that I like. It’s all about getting the words in the right places. There are companies and other writers who have blurb writing businesses, but I’m so particular about what I want my blurb to say that it’s better if I write the blurb. When I first started writing, I didn’t think blurbs were important, but now I realize that they’re very important and tricky. The writer wants to let the reader know why this book is interesting, but doesn’t want to include any spoilers. I’ve had my book cover for 6 months. I had thought I’d finish this book in January. I didn’t take any time to write the blurb because I wanted to solidify the characters and plot. After many rewrites and editorial reviews, the book finally tells the story I wanted and then it was time to write the blurb.

Another project I needed to complete was the letterhead for my newsletter. I had created one on a site called canva. I used the free version so the options were limited and I wasn’t very happy with the result. I was in charge of the newsletters at one of my day jobs. Of course, I had sophisticated software to use, but with that software I learned how to create designs and banners. The software is expensive so with canva I was trying to find an inexpensive way to create my newsletter letterhead and also some advertising. I finally gave up on my letterhead banner. There is a website called Fiverr where people who need a service can find help. The services generally start at $5. I asked for a service to create my letterhead banner. A couple of people responded who were in my price range, but the person I finally worked with was a young man who emailed me several times about the service he could offer. English was not his first language, but he worked very hard and sent me several renderings. What I learned from this experience was how people perceive different words. Of course, because he wasn’t a native English speaker, there were many things he didn’t understand. I had thought because he was a graphic designer that the words I used would be universal. Not so. There were many terms I used that he didn’t understand. Trying to explain these words took too much time, so I emailed him pictures of fonts and designs I wanted. That seemed to clarify things. Also, his time zone was about 12 hours ahead of mine, and because I couldn’t respond to him until I returned home from work, the delays between our communications were lengthy. We finally worked through it. He was patient and tried very hard. I’m very excited about the result. Because I didn’t email a March newsletter, I definitely wanted to email an April newsletter with information about the next Crystal Creek book. It looks like that will happen. And the newsletter will have the new banner. I hope you like it. And I hope you like my new book, too.

As we inch our way toward summer, I hope that you’re enjoying your spring and that it’s filled with nice weather, beautiful flowers and joy. Have a wonderful week!