Tag Archives: self-publishing

A Brave New World, by Pamela S. Wight

the-cobbe-portrait-of-william-shakespeare-570x732[1]O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!

O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–205

Dare I quote Shakespeare while in the same sentence mention Indie Publishing, e-publishing, independent authors, self-published writers, Kindles, Nooks, I-pads, and more?

Darn right I dare.

Shakespeare was a daring writer, pushing convention, taunting enemies and hypocrites, creating love poems between lovers who should never ever be together.

Aldous Huxley used Shakespeare’s quote for his famous 1932 novel A Brave New World. Huxley was inspired by the novels of H.G. Wells (believe it or not, my favorite author when I was in middle school!) and Wells’ imaginings of the future, which tended to be positively gleeful of what was to come. Remember The Time Machine? War of the Worlds? The Invisible Man? Fabulous books for a young girl with an immense imagination.

Okay, yes, somehow I’m connecting the dots between Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, and Pamela Wight, self-publisher.

See my rueful smile here?world_on_fire_600400[1]

But we are living in a Brave New World right now. A century from now, readers and writers and publishers (if there still are any) will cite the beginning of the 21st century as a landmark time of changes in the way we read. In the choices of how and who we read.

As of 3:03 the afternoon of Tuesday, January 8, 2013, I became a published writer.

I didn’t use an agent. Nor a publisher.

I created my own publishing company – Near. Perfect. Press. (The company is very NEAR, in my own computer; the idea of creating and sharing with the world in my own time and my own space is PERFECT). And when I PRESS the keyboard, I can create words and characters and worlds and then, press, send it out to you and you and you.

A Brave New World

That’s not to say it’s easy, self-publishing, pushing the boundaries of the way things always have been, always were ‘meant to be.’

I toiled for years on my just-published book, The Right Wrong Man. My main character Meredith developed over the page (printed and digital) through verbs and nouns and metaphors; through research on the police station in St. Thomas and the biting habits of the tarantula; through reading endless articles throughout the U.S. about drug cartels and the illegal trafficking of meth. Oh, and through draft 2 and draft 22.

And now I’m ready to share my novel, my work of inspiration and imagination, my years-long affair with Meredith and Parker and Gregory and the story of The Right Wrong Man.

Please join me in mythCAPA27HA

brave  

new  

world,

which has such wondrous and beauteous people in it.

***

pamela wight The Right Wrong Man coverThe Right Wrong Man, a novel of romantic suspense. The story follows Meredith Powers, who despite a sedate life in Boston, suddenly becomes entangled in drug trafficking, kidnappings, murder, and romance in the Caribbean. pamela wight

Pamela Wight is a published writer and editor.  Her writing transformed when she shifted from technical, medical articles to novels full of suspense and romance. She fulfills her need to write often and to write well by teaching creative writing classes in Boston as well as the San Francisco Bay area, and has written/edited/published a Zine of short stories and poems.  Belonging to the Women’s National Book Association/SF and the California Writers Club keeps her connected with other writers crazy for their craft. Her novels include The Right Wrong Man and (soon-to-be-published) Twin Desires, and in progress, Life After Kids and The Inn of No Regrets. Pamela highlights her passion for writing and living in her blog, Rough Wighting.

Connect with Pamela S. Wight on her blog, Rough Wighting, on Twitter, and on her Facebook page. See Pamela’s Poetry Week guest post, Snow Falls.

6 Comments

Filed under E-books & E-publishing, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Publishing

Kids’ Week – Author Jessica Messinger

Article by Jessica Messinger, author of Stinky Feet

Thank you, Karen, for asking me to guest blog about children’s books during Kids’ Week. I’m glad to be here.

I think every children’s book author has to deal with the question, “What makes you think you can be a writer of children’s books?”

I hear voices.

My writing began with my love for stories. My mother used to tell me stories about the mice that lived in my hair to get me to sit still while she combed the snarls out of my long, fine, blonde hair. My grandfather and my childhood babysitter read stories to me, and I can still hear their voices when I read those same stories. Stories are a huge part of our lives, and I suppose writing stories grew out of my love for hearing them, and then thinking, “Hey, I could write something like that.”

What did I do to research writing children’s books?

Though I have a BA in English, the research that helped me the most was reading to children. I learned what kinds of books they like, and I learned what I liked and didn’t like about children’s books.

I paid attention to how children looked at the world. Kids will spend hours looking at ants, bugs, worms and spiders. I got down on the ground and the floor with them and listened to what they had to say about the world.

I think it is imperative to spend time with children in the age group for your book, and it helps if you ask them questions or find out what they think about your book topic. With my book, I began to write it when my daughter was in second or third grade and she wouldn’t wear socks with her shoes. When she took off her shoes in the car it smelled like something had died. I knew this problem of stinky feet inside and out by the time I wrote the book.

What books, if any, did I use to help me?

I read Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing, parts of Ann Whitford Paul’s book Writing Picture Books, and many children’s books. I also like to read grammar, usage, and punctuation books.

What audience do I hope to attract with my book?

I hope children will enjoy my book, but I hope that the readers of my book will enjoy it as well. If my book becomes a favorite that is asked for over and over again that would be nice too. Some people have told me that my book is definitely a “read-to” book. I do not believe that just because my book is a children’s book, all the words should be simple! Though I like simply-written books to help early readers, when people read my book, I want the child to ask, “What does this word mean,” so their vocabulary expands.

As so many authors do now, I added some thought questions at the end of the story, to encourage discussion about the book between the reader and the listener. I believe this is an important aspect of reading together.

Since you’re self-published, what did you do for your beta-reading and editing?

I sent pdf files to a few friends and asked for their feedback. I tweaked it a little and then I printed five copies and handed them out at my book group for people to see. They looked at the books for a few minutes and loved it. It is a nice book to look at, the illustrations “read” very well, and the colors are fabulous! I learned that beta-reading even a simple children’s book should take time. Next time I’ll print out a few more copies, give them to people to read, and ask specific questions.

I paid to have my book edited (Thank you, Karen, you do fantastic work!) and I would encourage any writer to have their book professionally edited!

What is your writing schedule?

I don’t have one. Maybe that’s why it took me seven years to publish this book. With a toddler and two busy teenagers (our third teenager is currently on a two-year mission for our church) it’s hard to find time to write. Most books about writing say that writing isn’t so much working on your story as it is honing your writing skills, so I have a blog for my book, and a blog for my son, which give me specific writing deadlines.

I love to write letters too! I think we’re losing the art of letter-writing to the convenience of instant messages. Because our family can’t call our son while he’s on his mission, we take time to write letters and lengthy emails to him. Sometimes I get creative and email him a letter written from the perspective of the three-year old, the cat, or the dog. It’s fun to watch my daughter and the animals and to think about how their perspectives might sound. My son loves to get those letters!

What is it like working with your husband?

I’m not sure if most children’s books are written and illustrated the way we did it, but it worked for us. Todd is one of those rare, gifted, fine artists who can also illustrate. When I wrote the story I had ideas in my mind of what the illustrations would look like, so I described them and put them in the manuscript where I wanted them. Todd took those descriptions and worked his magic into the illustrations we have now – which are fabulous! For the last 20 years, I have seen his work on other projects and he still surprised me with these illustrations.

Do you have another project in the works?

Yes! StoryCub has done a video reading of my book, which will be available for free on iTunes and their web site soon. I have a notebook full of ideas and I can’t wait to see which project will jump out at me next.

***

Jessica Messinger

Jessica Messinger has a BA in English with a minor in French from Brigham Young University. She lives with her husband Todd and their four children in upstate New York. They live in a teeny house with a yellow lab, Bailey, and a black cat, Midnight. Stinky Feet is Jessica’s first children’s book. She has a lot of ideas for more children’s books and hopes to have enough time to write them all.

Check out Jessica’s children’s book Stinky Feet via CreateSpace, on Facebook, or on her blog.

You can buy Stinky Feet on Amazon here.

***

Interesting information about StoryCub

StoryCub produces videos of children’s books being read while the camera pans through a few illustrations from the book. If you click on the YouTube icon on StoryCub’s home page, you’ll go to their videos on YouTube. Jessica’s book will be there soon!

8 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Illustrators & Illustrations, Kid Stuff & Children's Books

Kids’ Week – Author and Illustrator, Harri Romney

Article by Harri Romney, author of Clunky Monkey

From a young age

I’d always had an ambition to write a book since I was around seven years old, which never seemed to fade. Even when I went through university years later, the ambition was in the forefront of my mind. I was told that I was like Peter Pan, refusing to grow up while remaining excited about the same things that children are enthusiastic about (and I still do). Sadly a few years ago my brother-in-law suddenly passed away (he was fairly young), so it was at that point that I decided I was going to achieve personal goals, which included writing that book.

Emotional achievement

After finishing my first story, I remember feeling emotional – a real sense of achievement (eureka moment), purely because of the little manuscript I’d created. Afterwards my head was buzzing with so many more ideas or quirky titles, that it was interfering with my sleeping, driving, studying and life generally; I had to start keeping a notepad nearby at all times.

First story and a series

That first story became part of the series Winston and Fairy’s Adventures, which has been dedicated especially to my brother-in-law. For this reason, when the first paperback from this series Winston and Fairy: A New Sleigh for Santa is published in 2012, some of the proceeds will go towards supporting the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society which researches the condition that he tragically died from.

Working with kids and being a mom

I don’t research stories before I write them; studying childcare, working with children (and being a mother) has partly helped me to understanding children’s likes, dislikes, or their thought processes and capabilities. However it’s the experiences that children and I share a love of in life such as celebrations, fairy tales, mythical characters, snowy scenery and nature and so on, that inspire me to write.

Countless picture books

It just happens too, that I adore narrative verse, so I choose to write most of my stories in this format.  Additionally, I’ve read countless picture books to my own children every day, since they were both only weeks old (because I read articles which informed parents and educators that it was beneficial to do so), so perhaps picture books are the genre that I’ve been the most exposed to, besides academic literature.

Rejection leads to self-publication

After sending off quite a few manuscripts to agents (and receiving just as many rejections back), I decided to publish my stories on Kindle instead – I would start with Lord Tarquinius Snout’s Adventures, then Winston and Fairy’s Never Ending Winter, and Fireworks and Aliens next, but I needed to get the illustrations done first. And I’d not drawn anything since my college days, 20 years prior.

Why not illustrate it myself?

After joining Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, Twitter and then some networking sites on Facebook, I had an unpleasant experience with one illustrator who tried to hard sell me his work after I’d complimented him on it. Anyway, following this incident, I decided that if I was ever going to get my work published, I’d need to have a go at illustrating myself … I’m glad I did. Examples of my work can be found on this gallery link.

Being a technophobe, I prefer to use good old pencils and paint pens rather than Wacom technology. My husband then enhances colours and removes smudging using a computer, before publishing the pictures.

Paperback and hardback

However, in conclusion, my personal experience (as a published author), has been that picture books which are only available on Kindle or iPad, don’t seem that popular among parents yet (I’ll be the first to admit that I’d not let my children free with these gadgets either). I believe that for this reason and other reasons, paperback or hardback books remain the preferred presentation for picture books; which is why earlier this year, I decided to publish my stories in paperback instead, using a micropublisher and the print on demand facility.

***

Harri Romney

Clunky Monkey, A Dog Called Dog, and more recently Lord Tarquinius Snout and the Vacuum of Doom are now available to purchase online in paperback through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Waterstones.

Details regarding publications can also be found on Harri’s website. Be sure to check out Harri’s gallery of illustrations here. Connect with Harri on Twitter.

Click on the link for more information on the U.K.’s National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.

13 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Illustrators & Illustrations, Kid Stuff & Children's Books

E-book Sales – Up and Up! By Vicki Lucas

Article by Vicki Lucas

It’s hard to give away something valuable. This is especially true when you are a self-published author. You believe you have created something out of sweat and tears that is going to bring you money. So, you boldly upload it to Kindle and wait for the whole world to buy.

But the book doesn’t “take off.” No one buys it. You’re happy for the $3.00 a month you’re making, but you need actual money to make a career out of it. You ask others for advice. The main thing people say is… “Give it away for free.” If you’re anything like me, you’ll resist the advice for several months. I have two words for you based on my experience.

Don’t resist.

Giving your book away for free goes against the grain. It’s difficult. There are all sorts of reasons not to give it away for free. Do any of these sound familiar? I spent two years working on Toxic. I deserve the money. It’s worth a whole more than I’m selling it for already. You’ve heard the excuses. You might have even made them.

On a whim, I decided to put it on Kindle for free for two days. Since it was a quick decision, I didn’t advertize it too much. I tweeted it. I put it on different places in Facebook. I contacted a handful of web pages that have sections for free e-books. That’s it. Looking back, I see so much more I could have done, but honestly I wasn’t expecting too much to happen with it. I thought I’d get about a thousand downloads and probably no sales.

Surprise!

No one was more surprised than I was when the tally rushed past 100 in the first hour! In fact, by the end of day two, I had 1,455 downloads! Yes, they are all free so that means I don’t get a penny (until they want the sequel, that is!). But something amazing happened after that. My sales have skyrocketed. I’ve gone from a very small trickle to a medium trickle. I am by no means rich, but I have enough earnings to buy a large pizza, and let me tell you, that pizza is going to taste awfully good. I’ve recently read that for every three you give away, you sell one. So be generous.

It’s been weeks since I offered Toxic for free, and the sales continue. They’ve slowed somewhat, but at least they are steady.

So, thank you so much to those who have supported Toxic and given it a try! I cannot say how much it means to me to see those numbers going up. God is good! I truly hope that you enjoy reading it. I’ll be watching the reviews to see what you have to say.

Oh, and another cool thing. I noticed that fifty-four of those copies went to people in the United Kingdom and four went to people in Germany. I am now an international author! And I’m dying to go for a book tour. If you’re interested in hosting me, email me and let’s chat!

Thanks again for the support. You guys are the best!

***

Have you given away an e-book? What was your experience with the give-away? How are sales now?

***

Vicki Lucas

I have always struggled with the question “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology…only to find myself with no desire to work in that field. I switched careers to Teaching English as a Second Language and obtained a Master’s from Seattle Pacific University. Thankfully, I found joy in the classroom. Teaching at universities and community colleges gave me eleven years of incredible experiences, remarkable coworkers, and unforgettable friends from many different countries. However, the distant mountains began to call, and I responded, not knowing where I was going or what my purpose was. After a year and a half of traveling through the quiet places that are left in the world, I settled in Montana with my husband and my dog. I have begun to write the stories I heard on the wind.

Connect with Vicki on her webpage, Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.

Opening photo by Murray Conrad.

13 Comments

Filed under E-books & E-publishing, Guest Writers & Bloggers, Publishing

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Blank Slates, by Vicki V. Lucas

It doesn’t surprise me that the United States of America is the place where self-publishing exploded for self-publishing contains the same ideals the founding fathers had on July 4th, 1776. On that momentous day, they created a place where people could change their destiny whether as individuals or corporately. All that is needed is motivation, creativity, and determination. Dr. Ed Feulner writes in The American Spirit,

“What really makes Americans fundamentally different is that for every American, life starts off as a blank slate.”

My great-grandparents seized their chance to fill the blank slate when they left all they had in Missouri to go west with their horses and wagons. Was it easy? Nope. In the middle of the prairies, they woke to find their horses gone. They had no one to stop by, no town to walk to, and no one to come rescue them. But a stranger rode up. Knowing the area, he led them to the horses. The people who had stolen the horses agreed to let my great-great grandparents have them if the horses came when they called. The horses came. By the way, the stranger’s name was Kit Carson. My great-grandparents didn’t make it rich in the west, but they filled their slate in their own way with amazing adventures, friends, and family.

My grandpa also rewrote his life. Always saddened at being born too late for the pioneer days, he retired early and settled in Alaska on a lake at the base of Mt. McKinley. He carried in the supplies, cut down trees, and built a log cabin. (Need I remind you he was in his fifties?) There were no roads. He could get there by walking, flying, or snowmobiling. After fifteen years, my grandpa suffered through several major heart attacks. He had to leave the wilderness and return to civilization. He entertained me for years by telling me of the adventures he had.

This pioneering, independent spirit of mine has been passed down from great-grandparents to me. They taught me that life isn’t about following the crowd. It’s about knowing what you want to do and seizing it, no matter what it costs or how long it takes. Walk two thousand miles to get there? Go hunting in negative thirty degree weather? Yes. But look at the joy from the obedience of the horses. The awe of Northern Lights filling the sky with vibrant colors. Life is only a grey shadow if it is not filled with great adventures.

While self-publishing seems a lot less tame than what my forefathers endured, I embrace it with all the American spirit handed down to me by previous generations. Self-publishing gives me the liberty to rewrite my life. I am not bound by restrictions as I once was. Each day, I am free to choose what needs to be done. And unlike many other authors, I have freedom of writing. I don’t have anyone who takes control of my stories. No one says to change the characters’ names or the theme of the book. No one says that people don’t buy certain kinds of books anymore, so write something different.

The American dream has given us the chance to chart our own lives, so does self-publishing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written for years or days – you can start where you are. If something doesn’t work for you, you can change your direction or try something completely different. Your life is yours.

It can be lonely, difficult, and overwhelming. Some days, I feel like I’m wandering in a giant prairie, never seeing the end, and then my horses are stolen. But I know I’ll overcome, just as my family did before me. I will succeed because I will persist.

Does your destiny need to be changed? Not feeling free? Are chains holding you down? Perhaps it’s time to ignite the American Spirit within you given so long ago on July 4th, 1776 and pursue your life, liberty and happiness. Wipe your slate clean and join me in the freedom of self-publishing. There’s plenty of room out here for you!

*** 

Vicki V. Lucas

I have always struggled with the question “What are you going to be when you grow up?” I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology…only to find myself with no desire to work in that field. I switched careers to Teaching English as a Second Language and obtained a Master’s from Seattle Pacific University. Thankfully, I found joy in the classroom. Teaching at universities and community colleges gave me eleven years of incredible experiences, remarkable coworkers, and unforgettable friends from many different countries. However, the distant mountains began to call, and I responded, not knowing where I was going or what my purpose was. After a year and a half of traveling through the quiet places that are left in the world, I settled in Montana with my husband and my dog. I have begun to write the stories I heard on the wind.

Connect with Vicki on her webpage, Facebook, Twitter, and on her blog.

9 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Publishing

“Dark Dealings” author, Karen Victoria Smith

Article by Karen Victoria Smith

Like most writers, I can tell you that I made up stories and lived in my imagination through much of my childhood. Then in sixth grade, I was marked as being an exceptional math student. From there it progressed to the sciences. Somewhere along the line, I fell into the trap that math-types cannot write. I tried my hand at it, but always convinced myself that what I had written was not anywhere near as good as what others were writing. I remained a voracious reader.

Shortly after college, I embarked on a career on Wall Street. A path that was to impact my writing and help create, Micaela O’Brien, the 29-year old investment banker who is main character of Dark Dealings. Investment banking is not as glamorous as many believe. I spent long hours in conference rooms pouring over documents and debating wording and punctuation. That was often followed by long hours of proofreading those documents before they became part of a public offering.  This training has helped my fiction writing by teaching me that every word is important and that subtle differences in word choice can change meaning.

And then life happened. You know what I mean. Marriage, children, full-time jobs, aging parents. Through all those years, I continued to read. I devoured books in many genres and revisited the classics. But my passion remained with the paranormal.

I had been raised in an Irish family and spent many years with my grandmother who had come to this country from Athlone. She instilled in me a love of the unknown through stories from her childhood and a mutual love of the old horror and suspense movies. We would even sit in the dark and listen to vintage radio shows like The Shadow that were being re-broadcast by a local station. I laughed at the story of my mother being hidden in a furnace (obviously off at the time) by my great-grandmother in an attempt to hide her from the invading Martians during Orson Wells’ famous broadcast.

And all along the way, I learned the power of a well-told story to transport you from the ordinary world.

So what was my first challenge in becoming a writer – getting out of my own way. I had to come to a place in my life where I could define myself by my passions and not what others told me they should be. There is an old expression that when the student is ready the teacher arrives. I experienced this personally and see it often in the writers who come to me now for help and guidance (some are more ready than others).

About four years ago, a good friend of mine wanted to take an online class, but she hesitated not knowing anyone. So in a gesture of moral support, I signed up with her. Well, you know how the story ends. We met an amazing group of supportive writers and the woman who has become a friend and mentor. I continued through her classes with Dark Dealings as my primary project throughout.

Two years ago, I began the traditional querying process. The Kindle explosion was still months away. I also joined the social media world on Facebook and Twitter. There I met another community of writers, including the generous and talented Karen Elliott. Through this group, I continued to learn, not just about writing but publishing and marketing.

The world of publishing was shifting under everyone’s feet. The tasks around publishing and marketing seemed at times overwhelming, but through the community I had found we could get answers or help each other find them.

Last year, my traditional dreams seemed about to come true. I received the first of several offers to publish through small houses and an offer of representation. Well, one thing after another happened and after one particular event, my agent and I parted company. During that time, I continued to review what the traditional world would do for me and what price I would pay for that. The world continued to change with some of the giants faltering or failing.

I have always been someone who values flexibility to change with the times. I decided that at this point in time I will self publish my work. I have had the help of many, including a cover artist and a copy editor. I have a long background in business. This is now my business and if you are serious about being a successful writer, whether traditional or self published, then you should invest in your business. Rise above the pack as a writer of quality. I am technically four years into this journey and I have only begun.

My best advice: This is a challenging calling. You must be creative and analytical, sometimes simultaneously. But build your community of writers and readers, hone your skills and stay with it. It is, as many will remind you, a marathon and not a sprint.

***

Karen Victoria Smith

Karen Victoria Smith grew up with an Irish grandmother who tried to teach her the old ways and watched horror movies with her in the dark. KV lives in New Jersey with her family who patiently allow her to believe that in a 24-hour world the monsters are real.

Dark Dealings – Wall Street has fangs. When international power brokers – creatures hiding in plain sight – threaten  Micaela and those she loves, will this heiress of a Druid legacy deny her power again and let others die? A thrill ride of money, magic and murder across the globe.

Connect with Karen: Facebook (personal page), author page, and Twitter.

Additional links:

Blog:  Storyteller’s Grove

Amazon Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Smashwords

CreateSpace eStore

6 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Special Events