New WordStream eBooks Available!

After some months of delays and struggles with a new e-distributor, new eBook editions of Faith Breaks and Shattered Soul? are now available for Nook and Kindle … and many other reading devices!

You can always keep up to date on where to buy WordStream Publishing books by visiting


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Android eReaders and Tablets vs. the Big Apple

I am an avid Apple fan.

That is why many of my friends were alarmed when I bought an Android tablet instead of an iPad.  Several have asked me to explain why, so I thought I should post my answer for all to hear/read.  If you are trying to figure out what the differences are, and which one is right for you, it all depends on what you want to do with it.  And, you might want to consider if you even need one at all, because I have found that a lot of folks don’t realize that a tablet isn’t just like a lil laptop.

Anyhoooo, here are my thoughts:

I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1.  

First, think about this: what do you want to do with a tablet that you can’t already do with your laptop?  Many people don’t realize that a tablet doesn’t actually do everything a laptop can, but tablets ARE more mobile, smaller, and lighter in weight.  

I will oversimplify this, but here is my personal opinion if you do want a tablet:

Pros for Apple iPad tablets over Android tablets = it is more popular, it has more available apps, it has a bit longer battery life, more people around here use them, and it has more available accessories.  Apple is a marketing genius, so they have really made “iPad” synonymous with “tablet.”  In fact, many people don’t say “tablet,” they just say “iPad,” forgetting that not all tablets are iPads.  In many cases, people don’t really know that there is anything else out there because they haven’t researched it.  So many people use iPads, you will never lack for somebody to talk to about how to use it and what the latest gadget is.  Some of what I am about to say might not be true when the iPad 3 comes out later this year.

Pros for Android tablets over iPad tablets = technically better flexibility and quality, you can store some documents on the device (for an iPad, you have to store only in “the cloud”), they are more tech upgradable, the screen definition is a bit better, they weigh less, they are often much less expensive, they have USB connectors, they play well with others, and if you are a computer tech geek, you can do more app creation and have more technical flexibility. Many companies make Android tablets, which has produced some good competition.  You might sometimes feel like a second class citizen because not as many people have them, and you can’t as easily find accessories.  Check out this Asus tablet, which is probably my favorite on the market right now:  It has a keyboard and a full USB port, etc.  

I am an Apple fan in many ways.  I have Apple desktops, and couldn’t do the things I want to do on my desktop on a PC.  But, when it came to a tablet, I considered what I wanted to do with it.  I didn’t need hundreds of thousands of apps, and realized that the apps I needed were well covered in the tens of thousands of available Android apps.  I needed something that would help me manage email, browse, write and create some documents easily, and show powerpoint slides, and connect easily to my TV so I could watch Netflix since I got rid of cable at home.

If you ever had an iPod, you are familiar with iTunes, and know that music bought on iTunes can not be played on other mp3 devices.  They don’t play well with others in some ways.  The iPad is like that in many ways.

So, it kind of boils down to what you want your tablet for.  When I shopped for one, I listed out what I wanted it to be able to do, and realized that because so much of my mobile life has to do with Google, gmail, You Tube, and Google Voice, it made sense to have a Google based tablet, which the Android tablets are.  I simply couldn’t justify spending twice as much for something that didn’t actually do anything all that much better.  It is more popular, but not technically better.   Unless the Apple iPad 3 has Microsoft Office and a USB port, I will be sticking with my Samsung Galaxy for quite some time.  I love it.

Here are some articles that might help:

 Also know that when you look at Android tablets, they are not equal.  Kindle and Nook, for example, are Android based tablets, but they do not allow you to do the same kinds of things and do not have all of the same features and connectivity that a tablet like Samsung Galaxy or one from Asus would have.

Note: These are my personal opinions, and I am not a tech pro, so I could be wrong about some of the features, but this is what I have found.

Oh, and here is another article I found recently, after writing the above:

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Book Addresses Healing For Survivors Of Abuse

January 13, 2012
A local team of psychotherapists, who offer counseling in their offices at 412 S. Clay Ave. in Kirkwood, have a new book on the anguish of abuse and how to address it.

Read more:

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The Big Buy Button

I made a decision to use a buy button on the company website.

I have always thought it is best for publishers and authors to point as many sales as possible to book vendors.  In many cases, I have encouraged clients NOT to have buy buttons.  For one thing, it better ensures that a record of the sale gets recorded in the book rankings and sales figures (Nielsen Bookscan, etc).  It is also sometimes easier for publishers to let the vendors and wholesalers take care of all of the distribution, as long as the % cut the vendors and wholesalers take still leaves a little bit of the “pie” for the publisher and author.  And, for the author’s benefit, going through regular trade vendor channels ensures that they get royalties, which they often don’t if they buy copies from the publisher and then sell copies themselves.

With so many things changing about the book industry, I have come to the conclusion that maybe all of this needs relooking, like so many other parts of the equation.  Right now, I am doing something I thought WordStream Publishing would never do; there is a “buy button” on our website, where we are running a 30% special on one of the books as a pseudo experiment.  It will be interesting to see if this is seen as undercutting bookstores, if this is seen as helpful to consumers, and if the slices of the profit pie work out better by us doing so.

Iraq: Through the Eyes of an American Soldier is on the WordStream Publishing website right now at a special 30% new release discount.  We are tacking the sales and marketing of this book in a very nontraditional way, and so far, it seems to be the wise decision.  We are focusing on the niche, being very tight with the vendors we choose to give % points to, and working hard to make sure every sale is through nonreturnable channels.  Will it work?  Will it pay off?  I think so.

Here is the buy button link to the special:

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R.I.P. Cursive Writing

I need to rant . . .

Last week, I saw a news report that many school systems are doing away with required cursive writing courses.  I grabbed my laptop and browsed for more news about it.  [I typed into a search bar].

I quickly found that emotions are running high on this topic.  You would think that schools were deciding to take math out of the curriculum.  [I wonder if they format the curriculum in a nice Arial font].  Many people politicized the topic, and some said this was evidence of the great dumbing down of America.  [Most comments were in a Times New Roman font, I think].

While I agree that cursive writing was something I needed to learn when I was growing up and that I did use it to write term papers in the 80s, it has been a while since I used it last, except to write my name or to list things on my grocery list.  I admit that even my “thank you” notes tend to be fun Hallmark card videos featuring “Hoops and Yoyo” or a flowing mountain stream and sound effects.

No, I am not a total non-traditionalist; I do occasionally send cards and notes and letters.  I do treasure old handwritten letters I have saved through the years, and I think that personalized notes and communications are very valuable.  It is just that I don’t think that the skill of handwriting in cursive is nearly as high of a priority as many other things that are needed in the modern world, and I certainly don’t think THIS is the great evidence of the dumbing down of our Nation.  [Oh, by the way, you are currently reading approximately pt. 10 or 12 text, depending on how your computer view is set].  Cursive is a lost art, not a skill that will help grow our economy.

I have seen many kids “peck” on a keyboard, because they don’t know how to type, and I think that should bring more outrage from parents.  I think cursive writing could be a great elective for artistic students or those simply interested in the skill, and I am a little nostalgic and sad that things are changing so much from what I knew as a kid.  I also admire the few people I have ever known who are really good at writing in cursive.  But, I am realistic that if we want our children to be equipped for real jobs in the future, we should be teaching them to type more than “LOL” and “OMG,” and not worry quite as much about training them to use cursive.  We should teach them to communicate well, but cursive isn’t really the most effective way to communicate these days.

As a publisher, I have to admit, I won’t accept manuscripts sent to me in cursive.  And, no editor I work with hand writes their edits on a manuscript.  I have never been to a job interview where they ask me to show that I can write in cursive.  I have, however, been tested on my ability to articulate a thought.  I have been tested on my ability to use a computer and word processing programs.

It is sad when things change, and I get nostalgic too, but the reality is that the dumbing down of America is not about students not learning cursive anymore; dumbing down happens when people are not taught to focus on the important things, real life skills.  Learning cursive is not the same as learning grammar or math or science.

I am sadder when kids aren’t taught to build things, use computers, question, investigate, ponder, and create.  I know that many of my friends have no clue how to check the oil or tire pressure of their car.  We should be more upset that schools don’t require shop and home economics (for both genders, I might add).

For full disclosure, I made a “D” in third grade in cursive.

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Why the question mark?

There are tons of books with question marks in their titles. Are you there God? It’s Me Margaret and Who Moved My Cheese? are just a couple that come to mind.

Most of the time, as a word nerd, I would frown on using a question mark when it really doesn’t need to be there. In Publisher’s Weekly last year, Sloane Crosley wrote an article called “The Question of the Question Mark,” in which she explained why she left out the question mark of her book How Did You Get This Number. She simply doesn’t think adding the punctuation mark to a title is necessary. And, I will agree, it is pretty easy to understand the question without the mark in that case.

But, I have come to the decision there are some things that words alone can’t say well enough. The question mark can prevent a statement from becoming overly static, overly decisive, and … well … overly unquestionable.

So, why has WordStream Publishing made the decision to add a squiggly mark to a book title that turns the words into an interrogative phrase? The answer is found with the journey of readers whose lives will be changed by the content of one of our books releasing this fall.

Survivors of abuse often experience more than just wounds to their bodies and minds. Abuse and trauma can insert question marks in the most surprising of places deep within a person. The things that once seemed most sure, can seem shaky and unsteady. A person’s view of God and view of his or her own soul can become greatly distorted from a healthy perspective.

While working on the project Shattered Soul?: Five Pathways to Healing the Spirit After Abuse or Trauma, the authors and I — as well as Paula D’Arcy who contributed the foreword to the book — all had questions about making the title sound like it had a period at the end of it.

The truth, that those of us involved with this project believe, is that the soul itself is not shattered — ever — in a way that it can not be made whole again. It is a solid, found deep within a person, even if he or she is the survivor of the worst unimaginable experiences.

So, in the coming weeks, the cover of the book will change. The datafeeds will change. We are inserting a question mark where it might not seem to belong. We are inserting a question mark, to make absolutely sure that survivors never ever insert a decisive period where it doesn’t belong.

Shattered Soul? That is the question.

The answer: “No.”

Even though you question it and feel wounded, you can be made whole again. You can find the unshattered, unshakable core deep within yourself.

—Marti Williams, Publisher of WordStream Publishing

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Time to Take a Break . . . a Faith Break

Pause, take a break, and focus on what really matters: faith, hope, love, God, and family! WordStream Publishing is proud to announce a new release of Faith Breaks, which includes 150 insightful reflections of Dr. J. Howard Olds, heard over the radio in Lexington, Louisville, and Nashville for over two decades prior to his death in 2008. This revised edition of Faith Breaks includes a new foreword by Sandy Olds.

What an honor to be a part of publishing a new edition of this book!  (And, I can’t go without mentioning how grateful I am to Roger Waynick, who passed away suddenly earlier this year and whose vision it was to make this book available again … so that many more will read Howard’s inspiring words!).


Dr. J. Howard Olds served as senior pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee from 2000 to 2008. “Make it a good day” was a familiar phrase, repeated by Olds when he signed off from his popular Faith Breaks messages heard regularly on the radio airwaves in Nashville and beyond. Olds was the author of three books, Laughing and Crying Your Way Through CancerFaith Breaks, and Led to Follow, which he co-authored with Cal Turner, former CEO of Dollar General Stores. Olds received his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and his Doctorate of Ministry degree from Lexington Theological Seminary. During the three decades before moving to Tennessee, Olds served four United Methodist churches in Kentucky. During his long pastorate in Nashville, Olds battled cancer openly and boldly; he ministered out of his own struggles and experiences. Olds’ sermons and other writings are in the process of being published so that his unique voice will continue to challenge and encourage.

Sandy Olds, a retired elementary school teacher, served alongside her husband, Dr. J. Howard Olds, during his forty-plus years as a United Methodist pastor. One of Sandy Olds’ greatest passions is the work of Harvest Hands Christian Community Development Project in South Nashville, founded by her husband as a ministry which seeks to live out the vision of Christ and the church to “love one another radically, make disciples intentionally, serve the poor compassionately, and develop leaders humbly.” The library of the Harvest Hands after-school program has been named in honor of Sandy Olds, a lover of books and the power of the written word. Under her guidance, the sermons and other writings of Howard Olds are being made available in several forthcoming book projects. Sandy Olds lives in Nashville and is the proud grandmother of three.

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