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Messages - Brevoort

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Writers' Cafe / Re: The Canadian Authors Support Thread
« on: February 13, 2015, 08:14:58 am »
I'm wondering how you all are handling gst/hst ( . . . ) Don't want the taxman to come after me. Thoughts?

Speaking as someone who has had an ongoing and tumultuous relationship with those dear old souls in Canada Revenue my best advice would be for you to speak to an accountant. The advice won't cost much, perhaps nothing if you are doing other business with the firm, and you will sleep a lot better for it.

Guessing or winging it about tax matters always ends badly.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The Canadian Authors Support Thread
« on: February 12, 2015, 09:55:28 am »
I keep seeing the Aussies thread popping up and figured us Canucks could use a little sub-hangout for all things unique to our Northern perspectives.

Thanks for starting this. I had no idea there were so many of us and I am glad there are. I have learned a great deal reading this thread, especially those threads referencing U-S bank accounts.

By way of introduction: Was a long time CBC and BBC correspondent in the Canadian Arctic and internationally in war zones before starting up as an independent communications consultant. Still going to war zones but expanding into western Canada's energy sector. I have books in various stages and getting quite close to hitting publish (going wide) on one of them.

I'd be very interested if anyone has heard anything definitive from ACX about when they might start allowing Canadian audio productions. I've emailed them but received no reply.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ITIN
« on: February 11, 2015, 12:05:16 pm »
Canadians, and any other nationalities covered by the tax treaty with the United States, only need their domestic tax number. In the case of Canadians that would be your S.I.N. (Social Insurance Number)

Amazon and Createspace have on-line forms and the process is quite straight forward. I understand that Smashwords is coming out with an on-line system but I do not believe that it is in effect yet. You still have to mail them a physical copy of the W-8BEN with your SIN and that's it.

I do not know for sure about other distributors in the United States. This is a recent change.

This is the one time I have ever seen a national tax collection agency ever streamline anything. The IRS couldn't have made it easier than it is now. Kudos to them.

One thing you should be aware of; the IRS verifies the SIN and your identity with the Canada Revenue Agency. I've been living quite contentedly with Revenue Canada for quite a while. But a week after going through the process with CreateSpace I received a note from the dear darlings in the tax department saying that I still owed them for a tax return from some five years ago. The confirmation of the link between the two tax agencies is the fact that the name I used on CS comprises my shortened first name, (my diminutive,) and my last name, but no middle name.

And it was that shortened name, instead of the full legal version of my name, first, middle, and last all spelled out, that the Canadian agency used which proved to me that a couple of national tax computers had been comparing names and reviewing accounts. It was all quite Person of Interest like.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How big is Amazon CA?
« on: February 09, 2015, 05:12:06 pm »
This sort of BS is why people outside the US go to Kobo, Apple or Google Play. We have the same crap in Australia. If someone posts about a book I like, I go to the Amazon page link that the author offers, grab the details and buy the book at Kobo. If they're in Select, they lose.

Much the same for me. I refuse to put up with Amazon's DRM and proprietary format so if I can't get a book from Amazon without DRM I go to Kobo or elsewhere and get the clean epub. If it is in Select with DRM then I pull it into Calibre and let a third party plugin do its DRM vanishing magic. Calibre then converts it to epub and it drops off the Amazon radar screens for good.


Writers' Cafe / Re: How big is Amazon CA?
« on: February 09, 2015, 04:23:14 pm »
As I understand it, if you were buying through before started selling ebooks, then you can still buy through Once you switch the account to, you can't switch back.

However, they seem to impose all the same rules on and, so we're still blocked from buying many books that are available to Americans on

I think that over time there may have been different rules and policies for different people depending on .  . . oh I don't know, the phase of the moon or the state of the tide. It just seems like a lot of people in Canada have had different experiences with this.

To recap. I had a COM account from Amazon's earliest days, and then a CA account to go along with it. Both with the same Canadian credit card, and the same Canadian address. I could buy any ebook I wanted on either COM or CA.

About a year ago (I am hazy on just when) Amazon stopped me from buying ebooks on COM. Selecting the BUY button would fling me over to the CA site for processing. It also became clear to me that some books were not available on the CA site. I tried to find out how I could resume buying on the COM site but unhelpful suggestions such as; use a US credit card; use a phony US address, simply were not acceptable.

Then someone suggested going to Manage My Kindle Content (it may have been renamed slightly since) and making sure that the country I was ordering from was set to Canada.

That's all it took and now I can buy whatever ebook I want on the COM site without trouble. I have not run into the not available in your country message but I am willing to accept that that may just be the luck of the draw among the ebooks I have bought.

And yet, I have talked with others who had the same problem and they have not been able to set things so they can buy ebooks direct from COM. So, who knows?

Writers' Cafe / Re: How big is Amazon CA?
« on: February 09, 2015, 08:58:45 am »
The Kindle section of can be as bleak as a Saskatchewan prairie in January.

Reviews are sparse, even for large sellers. Quite well known ebooks used to sit on the site without a single review, but sometime in the past few months Amazon has started a beta-feature to include selected reviews from the .com site on .ca

Canadian reviews never get traded to the .com site and I think that lack of community conversation through a rich collection of reviews puts a lot of Canadian reviewers off. Who wants to post something in a place where no one will read it. (Sounds like Google+ doesn't it?)

But based on rigorously subjective evidence, (just me and and what I think), I have a feeling that a lot of Canadians still use the .com site. It wasn't all that long ago that the Canadian store opened. Before that, we all shopped on the U-S site and I think a lot of people still do. Certainly, I almost always buy my print books stateside because I get solid value from the reviews. And through some quirk of the Canadian publishing industry it can take the infamous, two to four weeks or more, to have some books shipped, whereas the same print title at .com I can get overnight.

For ebooks it can be a little problematic. Several months ago Amazon started intercepting Canadian kindle purchases on site and diverting shoppers to the .ca site. This was intensely irritating to me because of the extra steps needed to survey the reviews, switching sites, etc. There was, and perhaps still is, a problem with featured books on the likes of BookBub et al, not being available to Canadians, or not available at the sale price.

It's now possible to switch your Canadian ebook buying preferences to site through Manage My Kindle or some such, and avoid the problem. But it didn't be that way in the beginning and it was either impossible or highly obscure, to change your kindle store's location. I think that a lot of Canadians don't know how to switch and instead are stuck with an empty kindle review section on site.

And, as has been pointed out, Kobo is well supported in Canada.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Narrate Your Own Book for Audiobooks - ACX? Feedback?
« on: February 01, 2015, 03:15:41 pm »
My favorite bit about the Shure is the quote I found on the Guitar Center sales page: "The Shure SM58 has not only helped to define the sound of rock vocals on stage, it's also been used as a hammer to build stages and gone on to perform flawlessly later at the gig. " (emphasis mine)

As for the widget: I mean this guy Shure A85F Impedance Matching Transformer. And yeah, I have a little phone charging stand for the Sony, and use the remote to operate it when recording.

(And, oh crap, I just realized that's a quarter inch plug, not a mini plug.

You could also use a 1/4 to 1/8 step down adapter but going to a straight XLR to Mini 1/8 adapter does remove one potential noise causing connection.

As for the Shure being used as a hammer. Yes, I can vouch for that. Also the same for the Electro-Voice 635 which is probably the world's most widely used field news microphone. I have seen both used as hammers without ill effect. Including, one tipsy night in a far off land when a bunch of foreign correspondents decided to see which mike was in fact the toughest. It was a tie despite some well fueled hammer blows.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Narrate Your Own Book for Audiobooks - ACX? Feedback?
« on: February 01, 2015, 02:15:56 pm »

Okay, a little follow up on equipment ( . . . ) Anyway, after reading some things there, and also reading up more on my other equipment (especially the PCM-M10 recorder I have) I decided that I need to go with a stage mic, not a studio mic.  And the Shure SM58 fits my budget better, and all it takes is a little widget to use with my recorder.

That Sony - Shure combination is a good choice. The microphone you chose has been around for decades, perhaps half a century. I doubt that you could walk into a professional recording studio, or a broadcast studio, and fail to find one. It is probably one of the greatest voice microphones ever invented.

I presume by widget you mean an XLR to Mini adapter? That works just fine but be careful to not move the recorder/adapter/microphone assemblage when you are recording. Mini plugs sometimes don't fit as tightly as they should and movement can introduce noise on the recording. I often lash them down on the recording unit with gaffer tape when I use them just to prevent any stray movement.

And, I agree with your opinion of the Home Recording Forum

Writers' Cafe / Re: Grrrr: How to Scrivener Auto Chapter Numbers?
« on: January 30, 2015, 05:43:32 pm »

For me, the fix was really simple, I just had to uncheck "Compile As-Is" from the chapters and scenes (Scrivener help guy figured this out, I can provide his explanation if anyone wants it). . . thought I'd bump this in case someone else runs into the same problem.

Yes please, I'd like to read Scrivener's advice on this. I am having a somewhat similar problem and I'm not quite understanding the advice contained in this thread.

I just came across a Robert Ludlum novel on Amazon that is using a sales technique I've not seen before.

Robert Ludlum's (TM) The Janson Option - FREE PREVIEW (first 5 chapters) (Paul Janson)
[Kindle Edition]

It's a preview, or sample, with its own sales page and comprises some 60 pages of the 300 or so page full novel. The full version in the Kindle store provides the usual embedded sample.

Can one publish a novel extract as a stand alone product on Amazon and is it something to be considered?

Writers' Cafe / Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: January 13, 2015, 08:18:29 am »
I purchased the download of Dragon 13, so I needed a headset. I also purchased the Olympus recorder (WS-822) with dual analog ports and wanted a headset I could use for both PC and recorder.  I wanted something rated at Nuance's top score (six dragons) but affordable and compact with solid user reviews behind it. Ultimately, after a couple hours of research, I ordered this: It lands tomorrow. If you're curious, I'll post some initial impressions.

For the price that headset is quite good; much better than the Dragon supplied microphone which works acceptably but not by much. In my opinion, you've made a good choice.

Another good one, but at a slightly lower price point, is the Koss CS100. Again, much better than the Dragon one.

I live in the land of Uber and Fitbit, where Apple is king and Google Glass is normal. Where Elon Musk holds court and billionaires seek the next Youtube.

You had me right at the first sentence and if you ever decide to write a motivational self-help book I will happily buy it. Just brilliant.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: January 02, 2015, 10:13:00 am »
Interesting. This is a lapel / tie-clip mic. Do you find you can position it near enough to your mouth?

Yes. The ideal distance for these kind of things, (widely used in television news) is about a spread hand's breadth from the bottom of the chin and with the mic itself pointed directly at the mouth. Make sure that there is no clothing rubbing on or covering the microphone.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: January 02, 2015, 09:44:23 am »
So still looking for a hands free microphone.

Have a look at the Olympus ME-52W Clip On microphone. I use it while walking about, while driving, while hiking, and during slow runs. It has excellent noise-cancelling capabilities and is directional so you can arrange good voice pick-up. Costs  about 23$ on Amzn. Make sure to get one with the connecting cord so you can stuff your phone in your pocket and be handsfree. No earbuds needed.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: December 30, 2014, 09:35:42 am »
Thanks for the replies about the mics guys. I'm assuming most external headsets/mics are compatible with this, not just the one that comes in the box?

Also does anyone know (particularly with voice recorders/Dictaphones) whether you have to purchase separate software or a product including software for installation, or if they just work with dragon as they are?

Yes, any microphone that will connect to your computer will work with DNS. The one that comes with some versions of Dragon does work but its quality is pretty dire. Very likely the cheapest available at your local computer store would be better.

Any version of DNS with the transcribe feature (not Home edition) will work with sound files with a .WAV WMA, MP3, DSS, or DS2 format.

Either, copy your file out of the recorder and into the computer and have DNS transcribe it, or point Dragon to your recorder connected to your computer and press Transcribe on the file you want. You can even highlight a bunch of files and do them all at once but be aware that Dragon will not put a clear separation between transcribed files so the resulting text may look monolithic if not downright strange.

No special software is needed. If by some chance you have some odd recorder that puts out a format Dragon does not support there is no doubt a converter available somewhere on the web.

Also, voice recordings made on your phone will work. And, there is an Apple app that lets you use your ipad etc but I have no experience with it.

When you go to, after about three seconds a popup hits you and invites you to join my mailing list.

I mentioned this in a different thread but no one else seems to have noticed. In trawling websites such as yours to see best practices in action I am struck by how just about every one that has a pop-up for a sign-up, or a sign-up widget for a mailing list, is getting knee capped by various web filters.

Neither your pop up, nor the sign in form, shows up when I have Adblock Plus or Ghostery running. The same thing for many other author sites.

Given how popular ad-blockers and tracker stoppers are I can't help but think that a lot of people might not be seeing the signup offers at all.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Tablet with keyboard or laptop
« on: December 28, 2014, 01:05:57 pm »
Use tools that get out of the way and let you focus on your story.

True words indeed.

For Android I tend to use Evernote because it is simple, clear, and it syncs to the Cloud transparently. Google's Gmail is also useful for long writing stints because it does a nice quiet draft backup often enough that I don't worry losing anything. Evernote is also just great for writing on my Android phone with a folding Bluetooth keyboard, again -- clean simple and direct.

For long writing sessions, or when I am somewhere like an airliner or a coffee shop and I don't want shoulder readers, I use an AlphaSmart Neo and export the text files to Dropbox when I get a chance. The Neo is a pure-environment writing machine with a lovely keyboard touch. It can also be used in the full glare of bright sunlight without losing screen legibility.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Tablet with keyboard or laptop
« on: December 28, 2014, 10:00:47 am »
Do you, or anyone else, have a keyboard preference? Something that feels more like a regular keyboard for writers?

I think you would like the touch and feel of the Logitech Bluetooth keyboards. The keys have a nice travel and touch typing is effortless.

Logitech make several versions for Android, Apple, and Windows but in truth any Bluetooth enabled device will connect with any of them. The ones branded for use with a a particular operating system most often have things such as dedicated media player keys, or built in macros for calling a mail program etc. But as a straight keyboard they all work fine.

One thing to be aware of. There are no Function (F1-F12) keys on these so if any of them are important to you then you will have to use either a keyboard shortcut or tap the screen.

Battery life is seemingly endless. Prices range from about $30US.

The Logitech keyboards come with a hard shell case that unfolds for use as a tablet holder.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Tax interview time! (non-US authors)
« on: December 22, 2014, 06:49:21 pm »
So, I used my Canadian tax number (the S.I.N.) with CS and Amazon and all is fine. Kobo, being Canadian required no tax information. But what about Smashwords, D2D or the others? Smashwords says nothing about foreign tax identifiers and seems to insist on a paper based ITIN procedure.

Does anyone know whether the IRS simplifications (hah!) now also apply to other distributors?

Writers' Cafe / Re: 1 Week Training My Dragon
« on: December 18, 2014, 10:33:18 am »
I'm curious about people using digital recorders. Are you using headsets?

I use a lapel mike (Olympus ME-52) with a Sony PCM M10 recorder to good effect. It works nicely for quietish walks or hikes, normal highway driving, and any situation that does not have a lot of extraneous sound such as children, passing street traffic, dogs, other nearby speaking people. That said, the Sony has excellent and easily accessible manual controls and I can set the record levels to defeat most backgrounds.

With automatic level control, all recorders will try to adjust to the initial sound level and that can result in a few seconds of poor sound at the beginning. Automatic will also try to defeat suddenly higher ambient sound to the detriment of what you are trying to record.

The Sony in my opinion is the best hand portable recorder out there. I also use it for broadcast television and radio production. But lesser priced recorders work nicely as well. I particularly like the Olympus WS-822 and the older VN-702.

However, the Sony has a wired remote controller which allows the recorder's buttons to be locked, but still remotely operated. This protects against inadvertent pocket button presses.

For good audio quality with a decent lapel mike, make sure it is not touching any clothing, that it is pointed directly at your mouth and not much farther away than a spread hands breadth from your chin.

There is one odd thing about using a lapel mike. Other people don't see it, but they do see you talking to yourself and the odd looks can get distracting. To go cloaked while recording in public, just use the voice recorder as if it was a phone. Presto, instant invisibility.

Writers' Cafe / Re: DRAGON DICTATION, Get Thee A Dragon!
« on: December 06, 2014, 10:50:55 am »
I was curious to see what my mac would make of my funny accent and slurred speech.

There is a very funny aspect to how Dragon deals with accents. When you first set up a profile, one of the dialogs asks you to choose what kind of accent you have; British, Irish, 3 types of American, Indian and etc. But the very last choice is the most interesting because it has nothing to do with geography. It is "Teens".

I should set it up to decode my daughter's speech since most of the time I cannot understand her high speed rattling chatter.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What does your workflow look like?
« on: December 04, 2014, 11:13:22 am »
...what do you folks use (hardware and software) and how does your workflow look like? I conceded that hardware might be a moot point tho.

I can approach your questions from a non-fiction writer's point of view with just a touch of a fiction writing perspective so I am unsure how my observations will translate for you.

I come at this from a previous life as an international broadcast journalist in radio and television. In the minute by minute dog-fight of getting quality journalism to air, no matter what the conditions, my tribe learned immutable lessons about workflow.

The most important aspect of producing quality stuff, and indeed it does apply to any type of writing, is Focus.

Above all, you need to be able to define what you want to say, lock onto it with your mental Vice-Grips, write it without digression or delay, and deliver it to your audience as a complete polished whole.

Just about the most important part of the process is the Focus Statement. You must be able to state what you want to write in one declarative sentence. No subordinate clauses, no parentheses, no loop-de-loop elliptical sentence construction. Just a bald statement.

If you cannot do that then you are not ready to write.

In journalism, just about the first thing that a competent editor will ask is, "What's the story?" If the answer is a three minute explanation about the state of the tides and moon, the price of wheat, and what color the sky was that morning, you will not get the assignment. (Having been an editor on several occasions I have indeed heard such muddled messes of reporter spew far too often)

For a major piece such as a book or long short story you really need to apply a hard commitment on yourself to do only the writing.

Keep your Focus Statement at hand all the time, put your head down, and write.

Do not spell-check, edit, research, read KBoards, or do anything else other than write.

Then, you move into the editing phase and things can open up for you. Use either a paid editor or learn how to edit your own work. But for the love of the gods of the multiverse, hire at least an outside proof reader before flinging it out on the reading table.

Location, Tools

If you need one particular computer to write on, and nothing else will do, then you are not focused and you cannot be a serious writer.

Serious writers learn that the tools are not immutable, that tools do not produce the writing, that story telling is as old as human kind and what worked as story around the fire-pits of Olduvai Gorge a million years ago, works today just as well in Word, Scrivener, or the high speed presses of the Hachette Group. Story transcends technology so don't fuss about it, just use whatever is at hand and trust that your Focus Statement will carry you through.

Keep in mind that arguably the first great piece of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was written at least three thousand years ago with a pointed stick on wet clay. (It is still in print)

The same applies to location. If you really insist on a special place to write, with just the right amount of ambiance and lighting, with a door sealed off from the rest of the world, with your special precious fountain pen and your specially ordered Moleskine notebook, then you are not ready for serious writing.

You need to be able to write anywhere, under any conditions. Or more exactly, you need to believe that you can write anywhere. The belief that you can write anywhere, under any conditions, using any technology, even if it is just your own imagination and memory, will do wonders for self-confidence and will make writer's block impossible.

Have you ever considered why it is that war correspondents, day-to-day wire service reporters, even those woefully inept and untrained local television reporters in your town, never but never suffer from writer's block? It is because they have a clearly defined story to deal with (Focus) a commitment to telling it (a beast of a newsroom editor - a savage deadline - pride of purpose), and a burning, all consuming, desire to see their view of the world in front of the reader or viewer. If they ever slip from those principles they are out of the business and become the equivalent of those sad poseurs with hardly used laptops who take up table space in far too many coffee shops.

An earlier reply recommended you devise a workplan. That is an excellent idea and it will keep you focused. Put down all the stuff you need to do on a piece of paper in the order it occurs to you, sort it out later, and refer to it often. Use paper or one of the many computer aids out there, but do have a written plan.

Just don't fret the details. Work out your Focus Statement and write.

Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson (a genius of naval tactics) famously said, "Never mind the maneuvers, just go straight at them."

It really is that easy.


Thank you Sever, your reply was beyond my expectation.

You seem to have been able to separate the wheat from the chaff admirably, and as a result I have a much clearer idea of what is important, and what is just spinning my tires in the snow for no real purpose.

I very much appreciate your thoughtful response, and even more your insights.

Hello Sever,

With your background in music, and in particular with the Tribal Machine project, are you able to see any parallels between the marketing of independent label music and your efforts to market ebooks?

I've thought for quite a while that there must be things that writers can learn from musicians in this regard because musicians have been at it for years before the ebook change took hold.

Are there any practices and techniques that can transfer over to the world of books?

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