dyslexia

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Formatting for dyslexic readers

About 15% of the North American population has been diagnosed with Dyslexia, however, there are many undiagnosed and even more with other disabilities that make reading harder. Depending on what statistic you read, we would end up somewhere in the 30%-40% range of people troubled by reading, to different degrees.

With some simple changes in a manuscript, special font and formatting we can make it easier for those people to access the world of books as we do.

Thanks to print on demand options we as indie authors can utilize this market by introducing a special edition for dyslexia affected people. Using special font’s, and formatting we can open up new worlds for those with dyslexia and at the same time serve a market niche big publishers don’t care about.

I offer to do that special formatting of you manuscript, so you don’t have to research and worry about it.

Fee

under 50.000             $15.00 Cad

50.000 – 75.000         $20.00 Cad

75.000 – 90.000         $25.00 Cad

90.000 – 120.000       $30.00 Cad

120.000 – 150.000     $35.00 Cad

150.00 and up price by negotiation

The formatting process will take me between 5 and 14 days

If you’re interested in this service, contact me at customdesign@nicolekiefer.com

Special weekend sale because of Newspaper article

I was in the newspaper today and that’s reason enough for me to put my paperback on sale for you. This weekend only, 20% off the paperback. Hurry up and order now, before the price goes up again. Use coupon Code 3UMNSRKP to save 20% https://www.createspace.com/5966979

newspaper clipping with cover

Don’t forget the good old paperbacks

I often forget to promote my paperbacks, simply because they show up on the Amazon page but if you order them on Createspace I actually make a little more money… so please if you can order from them….

Waiting in the Wings

https://www.createspace.com/5383770

My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit…

https://www.createspace.com/5966979

The Immortal Druid (available soon as Paperback as well)

https://www.createspace.com/6175418

So there they are, and I hope to see lot’s of sales soon…. would be so great and if you liked the book please leave a review. Here, on Amazon, Goodreads or anywhere you like.

My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… Free this weekend

http://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Dyslexia-other-Shit-ebook/dp/B01AOI4LO8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452921188&sr=1-2&keywords=My+Life+with+Dyslexia+and+other+Shit

book promotion free

Get it this weekend, any review will be highly apreciated.

Insight into a writers heart and soul… be brave have a peak

Those who read my autobiography (My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit…) know this, those who haven’t read it… get to it, it’s time you read it… you can simply click the link to your right-hand side and it’s yours.
However, some of you know that as a child I learned to put up a tough front, showing people a confident, cocky person who didn’t care about what other thoughts. When inside I was the furthest thing from it.
I didn’t believe I mattered, that I could archive anything or that I had any kind of worth. Live did that to me, and it wasn’t just one person’s fault, but a convergence of circumstances.
Over the years, I thought I had grown out of that, simply because in the right setting I have. With my family and close friends I am confident, know what I am capable of, and that I have worth and aren’t stupid. I even have the results of an IQ test I took years ago hung up. (Well actually it got lost in one of our moves, but I know it was there and hung on the wall, so I insist on pretending it’s still there)
Yet, when it comes to exploring new areas in life, trying out something new, I simply wear that mask again, while inside I am filled with doubt. Only I didn’t realize it until recently. (By the way, you can tuck this post on to my autobiography, it’s like an afterword I didn’t write)
When I wrote Waiting in the Wings I put a lot of myself in the plot and characters. Sure most of it were fiction, and yet still me. When I published it the first time, I was nervous, not just because I’m dyslexic and didn’t really have the money to get it edited, but for hundred more reasons. When the first reviews rolled in, telling me that they saw a good story that was unreadable by mistakes, it only chipped on the little confidence I had.
The person I am with my family and friends was nowhere to be seen as I tried to get Waiting in the Wings edited, even spent the money on a professional edit. The money I didn’t really have, but scraped together, because I didn’t believe I could do it.
The editor didn’t want to just fix the spelling but made lots of suggestions about plot and writing style. Something a good editor should do, don’t get me wrong there.
However, as the author, I should not have blindly listened and followed the whims of my editor, and the thing is I knew it. Much of what was suggested went against what I wanted, but because the editor thought so, I did as told. Falling back in the familiar pattern of not standing up for what I wanted, thought or believed in.
I did that until the editor liked it. One person, who didn’t know me, who had no idea about the parts of the story that were me. By the time, I was done the story had changed so much it wasn’t the same anymore, and I believed that was a good thing, because… well… I wasn’t good enough, didn’t know enough, was too inexperienced. The editor, on the other hand, was all those things, so she had to be right… right?
No!
When, after I republished it, started to promote Waiting in the Wings again, I also contacted the local newspaper and they asked for a book to read so they could write about it. (I know the lady I talked to from the newspaper reads my stuff from time to time, so she most likely will read this too) When she invited me she gave me her honest opinion (something you don’t get often) she informed of still existing spelling and grammar mistakes. But one thing she said and that I kind of ignored at that point was, that she felt like it wasn’t done. Like I hadn’t taken the time to finish it and bring it to its best.
Quite frankly, I thought she must be crazy, after all, the instructions I followed, all the rewriting I did, and the money I spent.
Since then some time has passed, I did some other projects, got my store going, my designer business up from the ground (not much from the ground, though, mind you).
During that time I also explored Facebook… yeah I know who hasn’t? What I found were several groups dedicated to dyslexia, fibromyalgia, and Nail-Patella-Syndrome. The dyslexia groups caught me off guard to tell the truth. When I join a group, I introduce myself. After all, my mom raised me to be polite to a T… even when I hated the person, I was polite, even when I smashed something over their head the next moment, or threw a chair after them.
The way I was welcomed was amazing and humbling. To hear from so many people who went through the same struggles were bullied and thought (that’s what baffled me) that I had made a success of myself, was overwhelming.
I look in the mirror and I see a 36-year-old woman who by only half fault of herself lost most of her teeth, who lives in pain every day. Someone who had no higher education, in Canada, not even a high school diploma, and no job at the moment or in any foreseeable future. I struggle on a daily basis with the housekeeping, because of the pain, depressions and continuously losing hope. I’m too sick to work and not sick enough to get disability. I’m a burden to my family financially and mentally, and that hurts. To know that your children suffer because of you. Yes they have the essentials, they have food a roof over their head and I’m always there for them even when they think I’m not. But because of me, we are in bad financials, and I look towards the future and cringe. Because I know I can’t afford to send them to college, or to help them out when they have problems financially. When I look into the mirror I see a mess.
Year of feeling inferior, ugly, unlovable leave their stain, and I was aware of that just not as much as I am now.
However, after joining those groups and being regarded like I accomplished something, I was also asked often about my story. Ten years ago I wrote it down and it was published. Only then I wrote it out of hatred and anger. Something I don’t feel anymore. Or not as much. I would be lying if I claimed it doesn’t hurt when someone tells me something bad about my writing or designs. It does, but I don’t get pissed about it anymore.
With their encouragement I decided to write my autobiography again, (remember My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… to your right-hand side to order it) this time more objective but no less emotional. For some reason the book I wrote ten years ago, quadrupled, and as the one ten years ago I didn’t let anyone edit it. To use the words my publisher used back then. I’m dyslexic, it is part of me, I should not be ashamed of who and what I am and spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and punctuation horrors are a part of me. In that spirit, I didn’t let anyone touch it, not even my family. All I did was ask some friends to read it and let me know if they were able to understand it. When they did, I published it.
I know you already endured a lot reading this, most likely you’re ready to hit that red x in the right-hand corner wondering if I ever come to the point.
Yes, I will.
As with Waiting in the Wings I contacted the local newspaper, but to be honest didn’t think they would be interested after the last debacle. When they were, I hurried to get the book to the journalist. I caught her in a fee minute and we talked, she actually had read the reading sample already.
And here is what struck me, but only later when I was already back home. She said, “This reads much better, I get drawn right in. This reads like you took your time and put more effort into it.”
I told her, but mostly out of fun, that I actually wrote it in about a week and then took another month to go over it often.
However, those words stuck in my mind, replaying at the weirdest moments. Until a couple of days ago, when I talked to my mom. I don’t know how we got there but she reminded me of my school time, not the early bad years, but the better ones much later. That, whenever I had to write something for school, and would hand in my first draft I would get an A, 100% or 1 for content and the worst grade for spelling and grammar. But when I asked for help or went over it again, my own doubt got the better of me and I messed my essays up, receiving only a poor grade for context and a worse one for spelling and grammar.
After that, I pulled up the first book I wrote after I began seriously writing again. The Immortal Druid was what I had planned as my debut novel, not Waiting in the Wings, but when I pitched it I got many replies telling me what was missing, or what wasn’t right. I doubted myself and tried to fix all those mistakes mentioned, blowing a novel with over 70K up to over 120K, trying to please everyone, but me.
I was doing it again, I put up a front of confidence while inside there was nothing but doubt. It was the reason I didn’t publish it, I was doubting it. Doubting myself and my abilities. I doubted I could make it a good story because some had given me nothing but constructive critique.
The thing about revising, editing and perfecting a story, isn’t to try to please everyone. It will only ruin what has the potential to be great.
It is about taking their critique and using the parts that will fit you, while discarding and ignoring what you isn’t. Writing is about being creative, about imagining, and becoming more then you are by giving some of you and taking the characters you create into you.
An author who claims that nothing of him is in a story and nothing of the story is in him is either a bad author not worth reading or a liar.
Now I sat down and rewrite MY The Immortal Druid, returning it to what it was supposed to be, ME, or rather part of me.
Lisa is my endurance, my fight for a better future, no matter how I have to archive it or what I have to sacrifice for it.
Condan is my love and dedication to those I love and call family and mine.
Alastair is the strength and wisdom I rely on every day.
Argos is my love and admiration for animals.
In every character is a part of me, and every character encourages me to keep on going to give them live and meaning by creating a world for them they can exist in.
In the end of the day, the story I publish has to be me, coming from my heart, imagination and heart. I’ve forgotten that, and instead followed someone else’s ideas and imaginings. I fell back into who I was as a child, tough exterior, trying to please everyone while suffering inside about the way I denied myself to be me.
You might be thinking that what I say next is avoidance, said out of fear, but it isn’t. It’s a revelation, one I strongly believe many should have.
I say in the beginning of my autobiography that spelling, grammar, and punctuation are important, that they are what norms our language and makes for easy communication. Yet since I came to North America I didn’t have any trouble to bring my point over, even with spelling or grammar mistakes.
From now on, I will put not let others mess with my head, but only take the advice that actually works with my story. Neither will I get it professionally edited again. My dyslexia is part of me, I work every day to better it, to find mistakes and correct them. There should be no reason that my readers can’t make the little bit of effort to endure some mistakes, as long as they don’t make it impossible to understand the meaning of what my story is about.
The Immortal Druid will be ready this summer, I will place a warning in the front of the book, letting people know that the book was written by a dyslexic and not edited by a professional. As I learned with Waiting in the Wings their not worth their money anyway.
But the story will be me, it will be honest to me and my thoughts, dreams, and hopes. Not to someone else’s. I don’t charge much to begin with, but a story coming from the heart that is well researched written and plotted should be worth the little I charge.
I’m tired of hiding behind a mask. Instead, I will endeavor to become the mask of confidence I wear so often.

POD publishing giving authors the opportunity to reach minorities

POD publishing giving authors the opportunity to reach minorities traditional publishing often can’t reach, or forgets.
As independent author / publisher, we have a prime opportunity thanks to Publishing on Demand options. One, I myself hadn’t noticed until recently, when learning more about my own disability. Those who know me, know that I’m dyslexic. What not many know is that only about a year ago, did I start to actively learn about the disability I have. Noticing that I was on the lower end of dyslexia, and that there are many out there, struggling so much harder.
That realization got me thinking, and then thinking some more, and then asking for input from those affected. There is a lot we, as authors can do to include minorities like dyslexic readers and reach out to them. Print on Demand being a great benefit in that.
I know that the larger part of our readership is the not affected kind, who had no trouble with reading, for any reason. However, considering that 15% – 20% of our population is dyslexic and that is only one out of many minorities we can reach, it’s worth considering to reach out to them. Don’t you?
The real question is the how to do that, and what minorities can be reached?
I started with those who are dyslexic like me, simply because I know where to go to ask and get information. The thing is most groups are focused on the support of children and their parents. Yet there are thousands of children’s books and young adult novel authors out there, publishing independently. The good thing is, what helps the kids and makes it easier for them, counts the same way for adults. So no matter if you write for pre-schoolers or adults the things we can do as author to make it easier and to include them in our readership is the same.
Of course it comes always down to cost, which is the reason I wouldn’t go any other way then through a POD service like Creatspace or Lulu. It takes the burden of publishing costs from us, and minimizes the risk if we don’t sell, or can’t reach that minority with our promotional efforts.
Considering my own two books I was surprised to find that with my second one I already implemented some of those things to make it easier. I guess it was the reason I liked the design of my paperback so much.
However my first book Waiting in the Wings would not accommodate a dyslexic reader any more than that from any other author, who has no clue on the how. I never knew how complex of a disability dyslexia is until I begun to dig deeper. To explain how dyslexia work, why people have it, and all that comes with it would be a book on its own. One I don’t want to write.
However, even without understanding the why’s we can implement changes or open up a separate line for those minorities. What I mean, and will do with my own books, is doing a special edition, with its own ISBN and eventually a different cover, for dyslexic readers.
It doesn’t cost me more than my time in the end, but opens up a new market, and if I don’t sell anything, I still haven’t lost more than the time invested.
Enough now of trying to convince you, I’m pretty sure you are all smart enough to see the opportunity. Let me tell you instead of what can be done.
• First paper, I always thought higher contrast was good for dyslexic, now I learned differently. Less contrast is better for most, meaning go with cream in your paper choice.
• Second the font. A serif font or dyslexic font (which can be downloaded for free here http://opendyslexic.org/) otherwise you can use Comic Sans for example.
• Spacing between lines should be 1.5 or double, double is better. In addition you have the option in word to widen the space between letters. Set it to Expand. (right mouse click, or modify normal, then go to Font, Advanced and chose it in character spacing.)
• Example for Normal spacing
• Example for Expanded spacing
• Example for Expanded spacing in 1.5
Those are the things we all can do, without going too much out of our way. Of course I understand, I’m after all as much business woman as author, that by doing so the production prices will go up. I roughly estimated that it will be most likely about 10% to 15% more, then for the average reader.
If you as author want to take those extra cost from your royalties and sell the book to the same price as your others, or charge accordingly more, is a decision each must do on their own.
In addition to those adjustments, those who can could make their book into an audiobook. This would not only reach dyslexic people, but any readers that have problems with their eyesight as well, including blind people. Regarding those I will look into ways to get my books offered to be printed in braille as well. However that will be at another time, and another article. For now I leave it at this, and let you think about it. Personally I only see a way of gaining readers, without great investment.

In order to see the exsamples you need to open the pdf file, sorry

POD publishing giving authors the opportunity to reach minorities traditional publishing often can

My technique to learn spelling as dyslexic

So… lately I have been asked how I deal with my Dyslexia, and how I teach myself to get better in spelling, grammar and such. So here it goes.
I say in my book, but if you haven’t read it you can’t know of course, that when I found out I was dyslexic with 18, I started to research it and tried several techniques I found in books. None of them worked for me. If that was because they were designed for children, or just not for me, I don’t know. After those first few tries I tried again from time to time, but just couldn’t find anything that would work for me. Maybe it was the German language that made it harder, I don’t know. Truth be told, I made my peace with being dyslexic a long time ago, and have stopped thinking of myself as stupid or incapable a long time ago. So basically for several years I didn’t try to better it, because it’s part of me and I don’t see why I have to change that part… well, I do know… but I didn’t care and in a way still don’t. I am me, and me is dyslexic… done.
However when it was evident that my Fibromyalgia would force me to stop working at some point in the future, my dyslexia became a problem again. Becoming unable to do physical labor, would mean I would need to take a job in an office, which in most cases includes writing, something not exactly easy for me. Well I can write, just not always right.
In Germany I was taught from the first day of school that words are spelled like they are spoken, and most therapies I could find were based on exactly that. With English that simply doesn’t work. The language has too many words that sound the same, but are written totally different, or slightly different. The way I had tried to improve my German spelling, was utterly useless now.
Yet at the same time I didn’t think that using anything I would find in books would help, so I tried to find out how to help myself.
Writing in Word and using the spellcheck I soon noticed that if I corrected wrong spelled words myself, instead of letting the computer do it, I started to remember how they are spelled right after a couple hundred times. So every time my spellcheck underlined something, I deleted it and wrote it again, until I got it right. That meant sometimes to write it five or ten times, and when I used that word again, I would repeat that procedure and at some point I started to write it right.
Yet spellcheck isn’t perfect, you can activate all its capabilities, but if you use the wrong word and spell it right, it won’t correct it. Or rather if you spell a word right, but it has a different meaning, but sounds like the word you were trying to use. For example… ruff and rough, it’s sounded out the same, but I would often write ruff when meaning rough. The same is with words like women and woman or men and man… Where and were….
This is where it gets often complicated for me. Because I actually need someone to point those out to me, in order to know I write or use them wrongly. Now sadly you don’t find many people who are nice enough to send you a PM saying… Hay, liked what you wrote, but did you know you used ruff on page soandso and it should be rough? Just wanted to let you know…. No sadly those are very rare…
However I figured out that using either Narrator or another app that will read my text to me, I sometimes can find some of those problem words. When I find them, and figure out how they are written right I put them down on a list I hang up beside my computer when writing. The list has all my word I have problems with on it, telling me their meaning… like this is plural, this is singular, or this is past tense… you get what I mean…
I know that I also make a lot of grammar mistakes and that my punctuation is horrible, but decided to work on those once I actually get along with the spelling. In most cases I will build my sentences the same way I speak or hear others speak. For punctuation I do the same as when searching for words spelled wrong, I use a narrator that read my text to me. That way I can often find where I need to place a comma or shorten or split a sentence.
If I look at texts written in the first two years after coming to Canada, and now, the difference is very obvious and easy to spot. If I had to put it in numbers I would say I improved by about 200%. My first tries wouldn’t even have matched a first grader.
I don’t know if what I do will help anyone out there, but if it does then I’m glad about it.

Pre-Order now My Live with Dyslexia and other Shit…

cover dyslexia and other shitNow available for Pre-Order on Smashwords final release date will be February 8th 2016 but if you order now you can use this coupon code EA47V and sve 25%. After that price will be 4.99

Watch the booktrailer here https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/604781

 

My Live with Dyslexia and other Shit… will also be available as paperback, sadly I can’t offer you Pre-Ordering. Price 17.99

 

 

eBook version ISBN: 9781310514913

Paperback ISBN 10: 1523219858

Paperback ISBN 13:978-1523219858

Words spelled right, but out of context don’t make a story, they make a dictionary.
Words assembled with sense, smarts and Imagination, but spelled wrong, still make a story.
I’m Nicole Kiefer, I’m the author of two publishing house bestsellers in Germany and Waiting in the Wings here in North America, and I’m dyslexic. And this is my story. From miracle child, to victim to becoming an author.
I was born with Nail-Patella-Syndrome, I’m dyslexic and I have Fibromyalgia, and this is my story.
When I was born my parents called me their miracle child, because medicine thought my mother wouldn’t be able to conceive.
When I began school my peers called me stupid, loser and worthless and for some time I believed them. My grades prove in my eyes that they were right.
I was told I would never amount to anything, that with my spelling and grammar I would never get a job that had to do with writing, and never get far in life.
I proved them all wrong when a publisher asked me if I would be willing to publish my work with him. That both my books where on the publishing house bestselling list for several month, was only more prove that I could be an author while being dyslexic. That one email changed my life, and how I saw myself, but it was only the beginning.
This book is the story of my life, and part of my life is being dyslexic, which is one of the reasons this book, is and never will be professionally edited. This book is a representation of dyslexic writing, a demonstration that the story matters more than the spelling.
So for this book, forget spelling, forget grammar and forget punctuation, leave all those rules behind and read the story. You might be surprised at what you find.

My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… to be published at February 8th 2016

My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… is now ready to go towards publishing and the date is decided on as well… February 8th 2016, family day in Canada. In my opinion there couldn’t be a better day to bring my story out.

For now you can get a reading sample either on my website, or here Reading sample

Pre-ordering will be available soon, so keep on checking in.

Coming Soon… My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit…

Ten years ago in Germany I was published twice, the old fashioned way, with a publisher. The first book I was discovered, and asked to get it published. The second, was written in anger and frustration after trying to promote my first one, finding mostly insults and disdain. However, the topic of the book was how a girl that had horrible grades, later discovered she was dyslexic, and had been told she would never do anything out of the ordinary, became an author.
Only recently I found the manuscripts to those books and because I had been asked for them over the years put them online. I also read over my second book and flinched. If it is because ten years have passed, or because I’m no longer angry and frustrated, I don’t know, but now I’m almost ashamed of that book. Not because what I wrote was terribly written, but because it wasn’t objectively written, or with a clear sight of the happenings. Even so my mom never said anything, I believe I might have hurt her with that book, a lot. Reading it now, it’s like I blamed every stumble, every hurdle I encounter, on one person or another. I decided that needed to be rectified.
The problem, my German has become so sketchy I wouldn’t even attempt to publish a single paragraph in it. I know my mom can’t actually read the new version of my story, unless I’m getting mega lucky and it gets picked up by one of the big five, and then translated in hundreds of languages. Which I will not hold my breath for. However, I will know that I made it right, not just to her but many others I blamed, when much of the blame lays on my own doorstep as well.
Failure, like success, is a combined effort. Rarely is only one person part of either.
My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… (Yes I have the word Shit in the title) tells my story. From when I was little, how my parents wanted to keep me close, while my grandma tried to place a rift between me and my parents, to the woman I am today. That’s 36 years to cover, and many small and big events that shaped me to become who I am today, and will influence the person I will be in 20 or 30 years, while more events get added.
The original work was edited only slightly, keeping most of the native mistakes any or most dyslexics would make. I struggled for a while but in the end decided to do the same with this one. Like the original, My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit… is not just my story, it’s a statement, an example and a message.
A story written with all words spelled right, but without heart, sense, smarts and soul, is nothing but a dictionary. While a story written with heart, sense, smarts and soul, but wrong spelled words, is still a story.
I have no quarrel with spelling, I understand its importance, how it regulates and norms our way to communicate. The same count’s for grammar or punctuation, they are important, and believe me if I had a magical pill to make not be dyslexic, I would take it. I guess most dyslexion’s would, if only to avoid the taunting, insults and bullying we sometimes encounter.
At the same time, I think many put too much weight into it, letting bad spelling distract them from the message and meaning of the words. Our brain is funny, if a sentence is missing a word, it will simply put it there for you, because your brain knows it should be there. It also often will simply made wood out of wuds, because it knows what is meant and how it should be done right. Yet many let themselves be irritated by just that, and instead of simply reading on, will fixate on finding out what seemed wrong for a moment.
Well, you will encounter that reading this book. But it will also show you the pain of a dyslexic, or simply someone who is different. You will get a look at how I grew up in Germany in the 80s and early 90s with dyslexia, and how it influences a lot in my life. This book will show you how even after feeling worthless and ugly, one can rise above it all and excel in something they were told they never, ever could do.
My story is not a story of hardship alone, but of growing with the pain, of rising above it and of finding a way to an inner freedom. When you read it, forget about spelling, forget about grammar, or where a comma should be, simply read.

Coming soon… My Life with Dyslexia and other Shit…

cover dyslexia and other shit