Soul food...for lone wolves and wild women everywhere...


Arizona, USA
March 10
Cynthia Dagnal-Myron is an award-winning former reporter for both the Chicago Sun Times and Arizona Daily Star whose articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Salon, Working Mother, Orion and many others. During her Sun Times years, she traveled with and interviewed the top rockers, film stars and other celebrities of the 70’s and 80’s. And dated Arnold Schwarzenegger. Once. Her latest book, "The Keka Collection," is available at and Barnes and Noble--Kindle and Nook versions available. Her latest short story, Deadline, is a Kindle book availabled here:

FEBRUARY 7, 2013 9:08AM

The Keka Collection: The book that OS and I wrote

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 The Keka collection cover
 The book many of my OS soul sistahs and brothas asked me to write


Believe the hype this time. 

Today, anyone can publish a book.  A real book that people can buy online at the click of a mouse from or Barnes & Noble or…dozens of other places.

I just did it.

It’s called The Keka Collection, the paperback version is $12.99, and the eBook version will be available soon, too.   For now, you can get the paperback via the URL below—even if you don’t  want to buy it, stop by and leave me “shout out,” if you’ve a mind to:

End of commercial.  I'm on a dual mission today.

And the second part of that mission is to see if I can't convince some of my friends here on OS do what I just did.

Now, I have to admit that once I saw that picture of me that I’ve used as my “avatar” on OS for so long, smiling at me from the cover of my book on, I felt both thrilled…and terrified. 

And it wasn’t entirely my idea, this collection of blog posts.  My sweet but persistent friends, family and ex-in laws were the ones who said, “You should turn those stories into a book,” every time I alerted them to a new post.

And pretty soon...I began to think they were right.

I think we all have that thought at least once, those of us for whom writing is like breathing--and just as important as breathing to our souls and spirits.  Especially if we’re lucky enough to discover, via sites like OS, that others kinda like the little stories we once only told ourselves in our diaries and journals and those big spiral notebooks we used to hide away in some secret place to make sure they remained for our eyes only.

The terrifying part has to do with that. 

I felt it in my stomach and up my spine when I checked a few days ago to see if the book had finally officially gone up.

It had.  

And at that moment I realized that my “baby” was out there, all by itself, to be judged and analyzed…


It’s not my first book.  Back in the day I was asked to write three others, by major publishing companies.  But this one is all “me.”  Published by “me,” and packed with personal experiences I’ve shared with some of you. 

And now those person experiences are on sale to…the whole bloody world

Scary, yes.  But that…is what writers do.  Eventually.  If they're serious about being writers.

So that's the other reason I’m writing this today.

There are dozens of wonderful writers here.  Writers far more skillful and intriguing and fascinating than I will ever be, who have poured out their souls on this site, and who could, within a week or so, be offering their words to the whole world, too.

So let me tell you how just easy it is to do that.

Of the two ways of being published I chose to explore, the easiest and fastest and cheapest by far—it’s free, actually--is Createspace, the “subsidiary” ( ). 

Book Baby--son/daughter of CD Baby--will handle the eBook and handle its release for Kindle, Nook and everything else, all over the world on more sites than I knew existed.  But they’re expensive and have been a wee bit less efficient so far—I’ll use them again, though, because now I know how to keep them on task.

You can do just fine with Createspace.  And you don’t have to know anything about publishing.  Or…book design.  Or anything terribly technical.  

They offer templates and articles and forums full of very precise and practical information, and bossy little gizmos that check everything, and I mean everything, every step of the way.  It’s “by the numbers,” this process, and the gizmos won’t let you move from one step to another until they think you’re ready.

So…how do you start? 

The first step is to turn your blog posts into a Word document you can fiddle around with first.   Download a template in the book size of your choice and that’ll be simple. 

I actually copied and pasted my blog posts right off the Web page—there must be an easier way, but OS doesn’t  export to .pdf  like some of the other blog sites, so I did it manually.  And as long as I heeded the little “auto format” box which prompts you to paste it in the formatting of the “destination” file, all went well. 

Sometimes the templates are little cranky, but it’s usually just a matter of bossing the headers and footers around.  If you’re not sure what the problem is, just describe it in the proper forum, and someone will shoot you a note that puts everything right in seconds.  Incredible “community,” they’ve got there.  Very supportive and quick to come to the aid of a novice.

Photos can be a pain, but I managed to get mine through the gizmos after a few fits and starts.  At Createspace they want them to be at least 300 dpi, but I later learned from BookBaby that they could be as low as 175 dpi and still look pretty good.  

Color costs extra and may not be worth the trouble unless you’re doing a book of your art or photos, of course.   If you need guidance, again, just go to the forums.

Because the Microsoft and Windows photo programs I already had really didn’t work very well, I downloaded a free program someone suggested—it’s Irfanview, ( ) and it will resize your pics easily and beautifully.  But if you do all that and you still keep getting little yellow "!" signs...this is the one time you can ignore them. 

You’ll see what I mean when your first proof arrives—the photos will be fine.  I’m a little less than totally pleased with one or two, but mostly…I’m happy with what I see.   

And BTW--if I were doing this again, I would save the photos for last and do nothing but resize and insert them toward the very end when everything else was as perfect as possible.   They cause strange things to happen to the pages, and if you’re still doing revisions, it’s nerve wracking to see things jumping from one page to another.  So you stop revising to fix the photos...and breaks the "flow," and it's hard to get back to the words.

But once words and pictures are placed just so, it’s time to turn that Word document into a print-ready .pdf file.  Which…is actually as easy as saving it as a .pdf file.  It will seem like rocket science if you read the frantic forum posts from novices like you who just cannot get their .pdf files to work.  But it’s just not.

If you really decide to do this, I can PM you the one trick you might need to know to “embed” fonts into that .pdf  file, in case you decide to do an eBook, too.  If the fonts are embedded, they’ll be true to form no matter which eReader someone is using.  But if you only want to sell “print on demand” paperbacks…no need.  Though the gizmos will pester you to do it, anyway.

Another word about those gizmos.  Once you upload that .pdf, they check the formatting and tell you exactly what you need to fix.  You can ignore them, but they’re programmed to help you build a good book, so don’t.  They even have cover templates and gizmos to check them, too.  It took me one hour to create my cover.   Or…maybe less than an hour.  That’s how easy.

And…remember, this is all free.

I mean, you can use one of their paid services to do it for you, but…why?

Once the gizmos have deemed both cover and interior to be book worthy, and that can happen within hours after you upload, you will receive an email urging you to order a proof to of your book to read through for any last minute edits or revisions you want to make.

A paperback copy costs about $6.00 (with shipping), but you can read through the eBook version for free.  Remember, though, that almost everyone who has ever published a book would advise you to get a hard copy you can hold in your hand, even if it’s just to hug it and marvel that it’s really there, in your hot little hands, at last.

There are a few more “chores” along the way.   During the process you’ll be directed to write a brief bio—a short one and a longer one.  It’s your “review” that goes up when the book goes "live" on   I’m still thinking of tweaking mine, but…maybe not.  I’m trying not to second guess and fiddle with things once they’re out there—there’s always going to be something you didn’t catch or wish you’d done differently.

It’s out there now.  And as scary as that feels…I’m also delighted.

Now, it’s your turn.

Send me a message when you’ve done it.  And I’ll tell you all about virtual book tours—yes, they do exist, and I’m going to do one.

See you out there, my sweet soul sistahs and brothas. 

I'll be waiting for you on up ahead a piece...

Holla if you need me...






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Congratulations. I've used amazon digital text platform and CreateSpace, did not know about BookBaby. Will check it out.
Yay! Good for you. I'll bet you'll get plenty of word-of-mouth sales. I don't know why I am reluctant to follow suit. Like you, I've been encouraged to do so. I "gifted" my mother and son with bound copies of my blog posts via Blog2Print, which was really easy and created a nice product. That was a big hit, but hey, those are people who are going to pump me up.

This was very helpful, since I'm planning a similar project myself at the moment. Perfect timing!!

I'm amazed how easy it is to do this, honestly. So you should all really seriously consider it. Book Baby, by the way, Con, sorta still operates under the, "You pay us, we'll take it from there," system. But that was okay with me, because they do such amazing distribution. Createspace was a revelation, though--FREE stuff that works, and FAST! I want to see lots of OS people get out there and DO it!
Seer, that's exactly right! These days, musicians and such have YouTube, and they just put the stuff out there without worrying about being "good enough." Now that we writers have places that allow us to take charge of our writing, it's the most empowering thing I can think of, deciding to dive right in. I think that's the real learning experience--the minute I clicked that last "Submit" became "real" to me, and I had this moment of, "Oh, man...what if people don't like it?" And then I said, "If they don't like it, we do a better one next time and the time after that and the time after that." You have the power to make those decisions, and the incentive to improve and grow.

Feels wonderful--Leslie, do your thing, woman! You're ready! And it's easy and free's pretty much a "win-win," huh?
A very valuable public service. Best hopes for your book's high flight! HB
Congratulations Keka. I love your stories. last year I used Create Space to publish all my mother's poetry and I know I will do it for myself (one of these days). I heard about it from OS's Toritto, who's published two or three at this point. Thanks for the encouragement and looking forward to getting a copy of yours.
What a great post! Uplifting, inspiritng and helpful too! R
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Got the proof back from Book Baby and it's gorgeous! So I'll be able to advertise that, too, for Kindle and Nook readers. This is fun--and I have a little tiny royalty check comin' this month, already. Enough to put a down payment on a bottle of real good champagne, maybe...

Just teasin'. It was never really about money, this one. It's about learning how this works, and seeing how it feels...all that. And so far, it feels fantastic!
Thanks for this. I am not technical but would like to put some of my stuff out there....this gives me some encouragement!'ve gotta try it! It is the most amazing thing to go through this process and to open that package and see that first proof! I held it in my hands and said, softly, "Wow..." It was real then, and it felt just as exciting as the ones published "traditionally" back in the day. The world of publishing has changed, and I love how it feels to be in charge of my own writing in this way!
Received my copy in the mail today! It looks great and there are many pieces that I have not seen before. Exciting. Thank you for jumping in and doing this.
Kathy, thank you so much! I'm so delighted that you bought the book. I haven't started my full PR campaign yet because it's being handled by some wonderful women who do virtual tours for authors. But I've had some sales without it, and it's just so amazing to see how many places the book is being sold! I'm glad there are posts you hadn't read yet, too. That was one of the reasons I wanted to do it. Depending on when you began reading OS, you might have missed a few goodies. Have fun!