Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Lynn Steward, author of 'April Snow'

Name: Lynn Steward
Book Title:  April Snow
Genre:  Literary Fiction/Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Lynn Steward Publishing
Lynn Steward loves to reinvent herself and her journey has taken her not just from New York City to Chicago, but from businesswoman to author. Her career in New York City was spent in New York’s fashion industry in marketing and merchandising, including the buying team that developed the woman’s department at Brooks Brothers.  Inspired by an intimate knowledge of the period and extensive research, Steward created the characters and stories for a series of five authentic and heartwarming novels about New York in the seventies featuring Dana McGarry. A Very Good LifeSteward’s debut novel and first in the series, was published in March 2014.  April Snowvolume two, was just released.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author:
I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business. It is a time and world that I know very well.
After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry,  needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot into a novel.  A Very Good Life, inspired by the pilot and first season, was published last year. My new novel, April Snow, is based on season two.
Is this your first book?
Author : No. This is the second novel in a five book series featuring Dana McGarry. A Very Good Life was published last year.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  I self-published April Snow, as I did A Very Good Life. I  spent three years researching, developing and writing before volume one was completed,  so by then, I was ready to publish. I knew it could take years to find an agent, and more time to be picked-up by a traditional publisher.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: There were no cons. I did extensive research, and found bloggers tremendously helpful. I also hired a good team: a graphic designer, a formatting company, two editors, a proofreader, and a lawyer to vet the manuscript. The Amazon community was great and responsive, and the whole process went smoothly.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: I am grateful for the opportunity to self-publish, and I appreciate the opportunity to be discovered by a traditional publisher if I am successful on-line. In the meantime, I am happy to be published, selling books, and ready to start book three of a five book series featuring Dana McGarry, who is enjoying a nice following!!
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes. Do your homework; all the information you need is on-line. It is a relatively easy process with the right support team.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Write about what you know and enjoy, and keep writing. Don’t worry about elements of style and grammar, that’s why we have editors. The more they edit, the better you’ll get.






Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Liane Brouillette, author of 'Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System'

Name: Liane Brouillette
Book Title: Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System
Genre:  Non-Fiction, Parenting, Education
Publisher:  Balboa Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Liane: Actually, I am a university professor. This is not my first book. However, I wanted to write a non-academic book that would be both helpful to parents and accessible to the general public. I also wanted it to be enjoyable to read.
Is this your first book?
Liane:  Although this is not my first book, it is my first self-published book. My other books were published by traditional academic publishers.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Liane: After writing two academic books about public schools, I recognized there was a need for a book that would explain these same issues to a broader audience. This book would 1) help parents to understand the problems faced by school-age children and 2) show parents how to support their children in meeting these challenges.
My academic books were full of citations and academic terminology. Written primarily for professionals and graduate students, these books were sold primarily in university bookstores. To reach the general public, I would have to find another route.
The book I had in mind would inspire parents with the confidence to effectively intervene when needed—without having to spend every evening tutoring their child. The focus would be on building resilience, confidence and strong family ties.  For parents to want to spend time reading it, the book also needed to be enjoyable.
To accomplish this, I would have to experiment a bit. So, I chose to self-publish the book. This allowed me to take as long as I wished and to change direction as needed.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Liane: I enjoyed working with State University of New York Press and Lawrence Erlbaum Associates on my first two books. However, such publishers quite reasonably wish to have a detailed roadmap of where an author plans to go with a book. 
The “pro” of going with an established publisher is the expertise of their staff as well as their established marketing network. The “con” is that this publishing route may not fit well if an author is working on work outside the established genres.
The “pro” of self-publishing is the freedom that it allows the author. The “con” is the lack of organizational support, which puts the burden of marketing on the author.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Liane: What I learned was that the publishing industry is fragmented, with each publisher focusing on specific genres. The industry is also under considerable financial pressure due to new technologies. Therefore publishers are reluctant to risk putting resources into a book that does not fit with their business model.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Liane: Yes, if the author is trying to develop an idea in a manner that allows for maximum freedom. However, an author taking this route should understand that there is no guarantee of a financial return. Self-publishing should be seen as a way of expanding your own intellectual horizons and getting an important message out.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Liane: In a world where day-to-day communication can be superficial, writing allows us to get to a deeper level and to thoughtfully engage with important issues. Because of the hustle and bustle of daily life, this sort of communication can be difficult to undertake face-to-face. But we can write when we find the time and inspiration. We can read when we feel motivated to do so. This communication can be vivid and real.

My advice to aspiring authors: Write in a way that feeds your soul and gives you ah-ha moments that you want to share with others. This is where the joy of writing lies.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Joan Schweighardt, author of 'The Accidental Art Thief'

Name: Joan Schweighardt
Book Title: The Accidental Art Thief
Genre: Fiction, with a touch of magical realism
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Find The Accidental Thief on Amazon.
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Joan:  The Accidental Art Thief is actually my fifth novel, so I caught the writing bug quite some time ago. Regarding this book though, years back I misspelled my friend’s email address and my email went to a stranger and we became good friends. I always knew that bit of serendipity was something I would fictionalize one day. It doesn’t have everything to do with the plot of the book, but it is the event at its core.
Is this your first book?
Joan:  My other novels are Island, Homebodies and Virtual Silence, all published by The Permanent Press, and Gudrun’s Tapestry, a historical novel published by Beagle Bay Books. And, I have just finished a new novel, which I hope to have with an agent very soon.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Joan:  We would all be lying if we said that we went with small presses because we preferred small presses with small budgets to top presses with big budgets and connections to TV and other media. But that is not to say the quality of a book is determined by the size of the press. Big presses have their own agenda for choosing books. I know something about this because I was a publisher for a while and I have also done some agenting for various writers. Big presses for the most part want to see numbers. A writer who did super well with sales of a previous book can walk into a big
house and call the shots, no matter how bad the second book is. That’s what book doctors are for. On the other hand, if you’ve had a string of books published and none of them broke out, your doomed, unless you’re willing to change your name and turn your back on your “baggage.” All that said, Twilight Times is a good small press. I’m pleased with how many edits they’re willing to provide and how far they’re willing to go to ensure their writers are happy with their covers, etc.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Joan:  Collectively, my five books have been published by three publishers that range from small to medium. All my publishing experiences have been good.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joan:  My first novel was published in the mid 90s. Back then if the book didn’t come out in hardcover, there was no way Publishers Weekly or the other trades would consider a review. And if you didn’t get reviewed in the trades, there was no way chains like Barnes and Noble would order your book from your publisher’s distributor. And if you didn’t get into BN…. You get the picture. The top publishers and the top chains and the top trades ran the show. If you couldn’t play by their rules, you didn’t play. Today we have democracy in the book world. Anyone can get published because if you can’t find a publisher or you want more control, you can affordably self publish. You can get books on demand, as you need them. (In the old days it was too expensive to do a print run of less than 3000 books, which could cost as much as $25,000.) And of course now we have e books. The industry is totally changed. The problem now is that there are so many writers out there competing for a piece of the pie, and the pie is shrinking all the time. There’s no good reason to get into this fray unless you are totally addicted to writing.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Joan:  I would recommend that all people who love to write write. It’s good for the head and for the soul too. You might be one of the lucky ones to go to the head of the class.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joan: Marketing is everything. If you don’t have mega bucks to pay a PR team, learn as much as you can about how to do your own PR. And start your marketing campaign before the book comes out, not after. Books have the shelf life of a house fly.





Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Dr. Jim Bailey, author of 'The End of Healing'

Name: Jim Bailey
Book Title: The End of Healing
Genre: Medical fiction
Publisher: The Healthy City
Find out more on Amazon
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: I’ve always wanted to write a novel. After college I enrolled in a graduate writing program but realized I didn’t have a story to tell at that point in my life. I changed course, went to medical school, got my master’s in public health, and became a physician and health services researcher. Over the past two decades, I’ve published many scientific papers on how our health system impacts patients. There’s a wealth of these papers about the problems in healthcare, but the general public doesn’t read them and most people have no idea of the causes or the extent of these problems. People learn best through stories, so I decided to write a novel that would allow the reader to journey into the medical world and see it through the eyes of a young doctor.
Is this your first book?
Author: yes
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: Indie press. It took ten years to write The End of Healing. I decided to publish through The Healthy City, a small business I started several years ago for health education, study tours, and consulting. By the time I found an interested publisher we
were ready to publish through The Healthy City using print-on-demand. The interested publisher told me that if they took the book, publication would take at least two more years. We were ready, and the book was timely, so we decided not to wait.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: Pros: I was able to publish my book as soon as it was ready, and I enjoyed making decisions about the content, title, and cover. Cons: it’s a huge amount of work, a steep learning curve, and it will cost money. You’re responsible for the book design, formats, price, distribution, marketing, PR, and more. I hired professionals (editor, typesetter, book designer, lawyer, accountant, PR people, etc.) to get the job done.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: The biggest challenge with publishing through an Indie press is marketing. You have to be prepared to put a lot of time and effort into selling your book if you want to have any chance of getting readers. And marketing fiction is an art unto itself. My advice, find the best agent, marketing consultant, and publicist you can find, and find ones with proven track records who really believe in your book.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes, without hesitation. But go in with your eyes open. Indie publishing offers the author unparalleled creative license, but you must be ready to learn and take on all the jobs of a savvy publisher as well as an author, and that is no easy task.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Don’t give up. If you have a story to tell, perfect it, make sure you have done your story justice, and when it is ready, shout it from the rooftops without apology, fear or shame.




Book Publishing Secrets with Susie Kinslow Adams, author of 'My Mother My Child'

Name: Susie Kinslow Adams
Book Title: My Mother My Child
Genre: Non-Fiction Self Help
Publisher: Write By The Sea Press
Purchase on Amazon
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Susie: My Mother My Child is an personal account of caregiving and so much more. I unexpectedly found myself as Mother's full-time caregiver for eight years and began journaling my feelings from the first day. I definitely felt God asked me to write the book; it was not something I sought to do. Often I felt as if I were the only person going through the trauma of caring for an aging loved one and there was no help available. Therefore, my journaling became more of an encouraging, how-to account than simply my experiences.
Is this your first book?
Susie: This is the second edition of my first book. The first edition did not include any form of study guide. Encouragement from readers as well as from medical health professionals led me to add a discussion guide at the end of each chapter. The guide is designed for both individual and group participation.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Susie: The first edition was published by a traditional publisher. As this was my first book, I did not know what to expect. If I were to go with a traditional publisher again, I would feel more confident in stating my expectations. I chose a particular traditional publisher because they were a Christian-based new company and I had confidence in the owners. While I feel I invested more financially into the publication than I had planned, it did not diminish the overwhelming joy of opening the first box of books with my name as author. I took photos of the delivery truck, driver, and first book. I also got excited with each royalty check, no matter how small.

I was new to the world of writers and authors and I did not understand the difference between vanity press, traditional publishers, and other publishing choices. I did, however, realize the need to choose a different route for my second edition.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Susie: Let's focus on the second edition of My Mother My Child. This time I chose to go with CreateSpace through Amazon. Not being real tech savvy, I did not want to invest much time in learning the how-to of CreateSpace. I needed help in designing a new cover, formatting the book, and in following through with the publishing end of it. I chose Write By The Sea Press to publish the book through CreateSpace. I was extremely pleased with the way each step in the process was handled in a timely manner. I was able to feel in control of the end product without doing all the work. The actual investment was about 1/3 of my first edition cost with a much nicer end result.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Susie: #1 Stay involved in the process, regardless of who is doing the publishing. It is your book and you need to be pleased with the end result.
#2 Learn what you can about the publisher or program you are using before you sign a contract.
#3 Determine what, if any, editing will be done. Although I had several teachers read my first manuscript, it still lacked some good editing for publishing.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Susie: Yes, I would, especially for those wanting a few books quickly with little investment and purchasing small quantities and a low price.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Susie:  Make sure your work is well-written before seeking a publisher. Do research, compare prices and check their track record. Your work represents you and should be your very best. Above all, enjoy the great gift of writing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Chris Karlsen, author of 'Silk'

Book Title:  Silk
Genre:  Suspense/thriller
PublisherBooks to Go Now
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published, Chris.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author: From the time I was a teenager I rewrote scenes and story endings in my mind. After I retired, I decided to stop imagining and write my own stories. As a retired detective, I enjoy a good mystery. I'd written and had published 5 other books, historical romances and romantic thrillers. I thought it was time to try a suspense thriller that wasn't a romance.  I like to write in different time periods and had a detective protagonist in mind and chose Victorian London as the perfect setting for him.
Is this your first book?
Author: No. This is my sixth. This is book one of a new series though.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  Books to Go Now is a small, indie publisher. I got tired of trying to break into the NY publishers. I knew the owner of Books to Go Now and knew I'd have a lot of input in getting my story out  and I trusted her with all aspects of the book.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  The pros have been working with a publisher that was enormously patient with all my questions and who made good suggestions. I love working with the cover designer. She's done 5 of my 6 books. I have a certain vision for what I want with each and she understands my aesthetic. It's a lot of work but I like making the trailers for each. I have a PA that put the last two together with the soundtrack and stock images I sent her. She's another with a good understanding of what I am going for.
The cons have been trying to get noticed by NY agents and editors. It can get you down when you go to a conference and pitch your story to 30 agents and editors and 2/3 ask for a partial and then you never hear back. You don't even get a standard reject letter with many. Some you know haven't even read the first chapter. You email the manuscript and the reject comes within a day. A lot of times you're told they aren't interested in the storyline or genre or this and that. Part of you just has to wonder why they asked for the partial. Another con is when you pitch your story and the editor/agent listens and then totally ignores the pitch and asks if you can write a completely different story. For example: Many years ago I pitched my paranormal ghost romance. After I went through the whole pitch the editor blinked and asked if I could write a mermaid story, they didn't have any of those. I politely turned her down. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author:  You need a tough skin. You will likely get rejected many times. You have to learn to deal with bad reviews. Everyone gets them even the biggest authors.  Readers will like and dislike the same story for a variety of reasons. Some of the bad reviews won't make sense to you and other readers simply don't like your plot or your characters or your style. Read reviews or don't, but resist letting the negative ones affect you too much.
Once you're published you must, must be ready to commit a great amount of time to promotion. There are hundreds of thousands of books out. You can't get noticed if you don't promote. I also feel the days of only going through NY and the big publishing houses are diminishing. I find a lot of self-pubbed and indie pubbed authors are doing very well. The small houses like mine are growing and becoming strong contenders in publishing.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author:  Absolutely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Don't write a story in a genre that has no interest for you just because it's a popular genre. You have to love what you write or it will show in the story.
////////////////////////
Purchase on Amazon

SUMMARY
London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Joel Fox, author of 'The Mark on Eve'

Name: Joel Fox
Book Title: The Mark on Eve
Genre: Paranormal suspense
Publisher: Bronze Circle Press
Link to Amazon
Author website
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Joel: Thank you for the opportunity to talk to you. This particular book comes out of a combination of my love for history and a desire to answer the Great Writer’s Question: What if? This book is actually drawn from a Cape Cod legend in which a woman in colonial New England was suspected of witchcraft in drawing her pirate lover’s ship into a storm and the ship sank in 1717. The pirate ship was real and it was discovered and salvaged in 1984.  I simply took some of the persons in the old legend and changed the story by asking: What if the woman was not a witch but was be-witched to live forever? It allowed me to explore how she would manage through different periods in American history. All the while suspense builds in the modern day story in which she tries to keep her secret while giving meaning to her long existence by helping a female governor run for president of the United States.
Is this your first book?
Joel: How to answer that question? I wrote a draft of this book a dozen years ago. However, I subsequently went on to publish two other books in a mystery series. I created a character, Zane Rigby, a senior FBI agent, who finds himself against his wishes assigned to Cases of Historical Significance in which he has to solve a puzzle from a president’s past history in order to unravel a modern day murder mystery. I have written two books in the series, Lincoln’s Hand and FDR’s Treasure. I went back to The Mark on Eve and completed it because I always liked the story and my wife said she thought it was different and her favorite.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Joel: I self-published this book. My first published book was with a small press. However, I felt the small press gave me few advantages whereas self- publication would give me more control.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Joel: As I noted above, I went from a small press to self-publication. While the small press gave me confidence that my writing was acceptable and gave hints on how to help market the book, most of the marketing work falls to the author. While the work falls to the author, the rewards are limited. My feeling was that if I were going to do the marketing work necessary to sell the book without very little help from the small press then I could continue the same work ethic but reap greater rewards. It seems to be working that way. Of course, with a small press, you more easily can get into distribution networks and you have a group of other writers, also members of the press, with whom you can team up with ideas on selling the book. But with no money for a marketing campaign from the press, you are basically on your own.
Another advantage to the small press is they will provide an editor and create a book cover. When you self-publish you have to create a cover, usually by hiring an appropriate artist. You should also hire a professional editor to look at your story and your writing. Especially with self-publishing you must be as professional as possible.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Joel: As we all know, the publishing industry is constantly changing. You have to do your best keeping up with the technological changes and the effects of those changes on the business. The major lesson I learned is that you have to be engaged in the business side of publishing. Authors must understand, unless they produce a major hit with a major publisher, they are the marketer-in-chief for their book. They must engage.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Joel: I don’t mean to cop-out with this answer but I would say, “It depends.” If you don’t mind taking risks and sailing out on a sea alone and are willing to do the work, self-publishing is a respectable avenue to take and one that can be more rewarding compared to some other publishing experiences. If you want the security and reputation of a recognizable house behind you, then an author should get an agent and attempt to go that route.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Joel: Publishing a work can be intimidating but first you need a work to publish. That means you have to write the work, finish it, and have a professional editor work with you. And the best way to move your writing along is to ask the Great Writer’s Question: What if?