Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with D.W. Raleigh, author of Shiloh’s True Nature

D.W. Raleigh was born in the Delaware Valley and has spent most of his life in that region. He has attended multiple colleges and universities collecting several degrees, including an M.A. in Philosophy. After toiling away for many years in various unfulfilling jobs, he began to realize that what he really wanted to do was write. Scribbling down ideas and little short stories he eventually came up with something he wanted to share with the world. Thus, Shiloh’s True Nature was born. D.W. currently resides in Newark, Delaware with his longtime love, Judy, and their two cats, Lovie and Cheepie.
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?
D.W. Raleigh:  I had always intended to become an author, just not of fiction.  I had planned on getting my PhD in Philosophy to teach and publish related works.  However, after getting my M.A., life pushed me in another direction.  As far as the reasoning behind this book, it was a culmination of many things. The short version is; I wanted to create something unique that people would enjoy.
Is this your first book?
D.W. Raleigh: First published, yes…first written, no.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
D.W. Raleigh: Small Press.  I don’t have an exciting answer as to why I choose this method.  It just seemed like the right fit.  Everyone at Hobbes End made me feel like they were the right publisher for my work.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
D.W. Raleigh:  Well, I went the agent route first.  I sent dozens and dozens of emails to prospective agents and nothing ever came of it.  It was when I started contacting publishers directly that I had more success.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
D.W. Raleigh:  Strictly from a writer’s perspective, the journey can be frustrating, because the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace.  I remember receiving a rejection letter from a publisher, a year after I had already signed on with my current publisher.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
D.W. Raleigh:  Absolutely.  I’d suggest researching and compiling a list of publishers that print your genre and then submitting your work directly to them.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

D.W. Raleigh:  Be tenacious and have thick skin.
*****************
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Shiloh’s True Nature
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Author: D.W. Raleigh
Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing
When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Cheryl C. Malandrinos, Author of 'A Christmas Kindness'

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, Cheryl began her career focusing on article writing. She specializes in time management and organization, but has also written about everyday life in the 1800s, gardening, parenting, and women’s health issues. In 2008, she changed her focus to fiction writing for children. Her first picture book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP). Cheryl has two other books under contract with GAP.
Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. The first chapter reader, A Christmas Kindness, was released by 4RV Publishing in 2012, with a digital version following in 2013.
Ms. Malandrinos has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and ghostwritten a Christian chapter book. Cheryl has been a panelist at the WriteAngles Conference that takes place each fall at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, and offers writing workshops in her local school district. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Cheryl lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

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 A Christmas Kindness?

Cheryl: I’m a huge Christmas fanatic. I love everything about the season: decorating, baking, entertaining, etc. But the most important aspect of the holiday is giving to others. It’s something I try to teach my girls every day. With A Christmas Kindness, I hope to get across the message that even though it’s wonderful to receive a gift, it’s just as thrilling to give something special to someone else.

Is this your first book?

Cheryl: No. My first book, Little Shepherd, was released in 2010. A Christmas Kindness is my second book, written under my pen name, C.C. Gevry as a printed book and under my actual name in a digital version. Eventually, the printed version will be reformatted and released under my actual name too. (The story of the pen name is a long and boring one.)

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?

Cheryl: I pitched A Christmas Kindness to a small independent publisher during an online writers conference. Both my books have been released by small independent publishers, and I enjoy working with them. I feel I have more control over the final product, while I also have the ability to work with editors and artists with years of experience.


Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?

Cheryl: Though I have been writing since I was a teenager, it wasn’t a career choice until after I became a stay-at-home mom. I signed up for the “Breaking into Print” program from Long Ridge Writers Group and focused on article writing. I wrote for Writer2Writer, an online magazine dedicated to helping writers generate income from their writing for several years. I also blogged for many years to create an online presence for myself before my books came out.

I’m not the most disciplined writer, which definitely impedes my progress. A major reason for that is I feel my first job is mother and wife. My writing must come after that.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?

Cheryl: I’m excited about the world of publishing. There are so many more avenues for writers than there used to be. I never really considered self-publishing in the beginning, but I’m not adverse to it now. I could see myself becoming a hybrid author who releases books in a multitude of ways.

Patience and perseverance are traits all writers need regardless of how they decide to publish. It’s also good to know when you should depend on others for help. Editors, cover artists, and critique partners can make a huge difference.

Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

Cheryl:  I feel every author has to decide what will work for her. Each person has their own idea of what success looks like.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Cheryl: Keep writing and continue learning all you can about your craft. A great book is the first step to publication. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Sharon van Ivan, Author of 'Juggle and Hide'

Sharon van Ivan lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her two cats, The Duke and Earl.  She was born in Brooklyn New York and couldn’t wait to move back to New York when she grew up.  Her parents divorced when she was a baby and she lived with her mother in Akron, Ohio, until she returned to New York in her early 20s.  There she studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was a working actress for many years.  But she was always writing.  Her debut as a playwright was when she was 10 years old and living in Sacramento, California.  She wrote about the hardships of a young girl in Mexico.  The play was so good, it was presented to the whole school.  Sharon was mortified and did not write again until high school.  Then when she had a writing assignment, she would dream about it the night before, and write it just before class.  She was an A student in English.  Not the most popular person in school, however.

Growing up with an alcoholic and, therefore, mentally ill mother and a mostly-absent father (plus a slew of stepfathers) was a challenge that Sharon met head-on – as she had no choice. Later in life when she did have a choice, the patterns had already been set and she followed a similarly disastrous road until she found show business, a great psychiatrist and the love of her life, the renowned realist painter, Charles Pfahl.
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 Juggle and Hide?
Sharon: I had to get rid of the childhood demons that had been plaguing me most of my adult life.  I wanted to share my struggle with others who might have gone through some of the same horrors I experienced.
Is this your first book?
Sharon: Yes, it is.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Sharon: I went with a small independent publishing company: Cygnet Press.  Timothy B. Anderson, the publisher, was terrific.  Aside from being very knowledgeable, he agreed to use my late husband’s painting – also entitled Juggle and Hide – as the cover.  (My husband was Charles Pfahl, a well-respected realist artist.) Other publishers would not give me that kind of consideration. They wanted final approval on the cover, and I couldn’t deal with that.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Sharon: When I first finished the memoir, my friend, Joan Schweighardt – a very good writer who had also had her own publishing company for many years – sent my book around to a few people she knew.  Although I got good responses, no one asked to publish
it.  They thought it was too intense, relentless.  They couldn’t grasp the dark humor in it. So I put the book away for a few years.  Now here we are.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Sharon: Oh, it’s changed so much over the past few years.  It’s changing right this minute. I think independent publishing, self-publishing or going with large publishers are all fine ways to go.  It just depends on where your book lands first. And I prefer the personal contact and attention of working with an independent publisher, someone I can actually meet with in person and discuss problems that come up during the publishing process.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sharon: I think it depends on the author. If s/he were willing to give up all control and depend on someone else entirely, I’d say go with a big company.  Otherwise, publish independently or with a small press.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Sharon: Write.  Don’t worry about the rest.



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Anita Banks, Author of 'Tanner Builds a Block Tower'

AnitaBanks harbored her secret of writing since she was in junior high school where the desire took seed in a creative writing class. She still journaling, reading, running and traveling, but nothing compares to playing with her grandchildren.

She debuts the literary world with Tanner Builds a Block Tower, a charming children's picture book published by Wee Creek 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?
Anita:   Probably like so many others, I fell in love with writing when I was in junior high school, in a creative writing class. I still have some of those stories tucked away. But life took over and I didn't pursue it other than journaling, until a few years ago. I took some writing classes and made a decision to go after the dream.
Is this your first book?
Anita: Yes, this is my first published book, and I am just so happy about that.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anita:  Savvy Authors was having a pitch contest, so I entered my pitch to Wee Creek Press editor, Melanie Billings. She read the pitch, then asked to see the manuscript and then she made the offer to publish it. They are a small traditional press. 
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Anita:  Pitching opportunities bypasses the slush piles and gets your work in front of an agent or editor. So I still look for those contests. The publishing side takes a long time, so be patient. I certainly will continue to try to get additional work published. I am so new at this and still learning.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anita:  I have entered some pitch contests and have gotten feedback that was helpful. I'm still submitting the old fashioned way, too. I am a newbie, so I'm still learning. 
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anita: Absolutely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anita:  Write, Read and Learn. Don't stop with any of those. Enjoy the journey.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets: C.H. MacLean, author of YA fantasy 'One is Come'



To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.
But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.
His latest book is One is Come.

Visit his website at www.chmaclean.com.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions, C. H..  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to write a book?

I’ve always loved to write and just decided to sit down one day to see if I could do it. The stories and images came flooding into my head and haven’t stopped since. Remembering
how important books were to me when I was growing up, and still are to me now, I realized I had a really great story. With time and effort, I could write it down and give back to those great stories I loved. Writing is a way to add my stores and share them with the world.

Is this your first book?

Yes, it is. But it is the first in a series so only the first part of the complete story.

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

After the standard lackluster response from traditional publishing, I did a lot of research on traditional publishing and self-publishing. It really crushed my previous biases and opened a lot of avenues for me. With what it could offer, I decided to go the indie route.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking self-publishing is easy or cheap. There is a lot of work do be done and people to hire to help you make your book the best it can be. But I feel it’s worth it for the control and flexibility I have over my work.

If you had the chance to change something regarding how you got published, what would you change?

I don’t think I’d change anything at this point. If something changes in the future, I’ll let you know.

Did you credit any person or organization with helping you get published?

When I decided to go indie, I asked my wife if she’d be willing to apply her skills to my project. She agreed (thank you sweetie) and has been working night and day as my manager. She’s great, and I couldn’t have done it without her.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

I don’t know if it’s advice, but I keep reminding myself of two things. One, reading as much as you can reminds yourself what makes a story enjoyable from a readers’ perspective. And two, just keep writing. Find the time however you can, and pour your heart and soul into it. They both help me remember, especially in the tough times, that readers deserve the best.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Faye Rapoport DesPres, author of 'Message From A Blue Jay'

Faye Rapoport DesPres is the author of the new memoir-in-essays, Message from a Blue Jay. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. Her essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have appeared in Ascent, International Gymnast Magazine, Platte Valley Review, Superstition Review, In the Arts, Fourth Genre, The Whistling Fire, the Writer’s Chronicle, and other journals and magazines. Faye was born in New York City and has lived in England, Israel, and Colorado. She currently lives in the Boston area with her husband, Jean-Paul Des Pres, and their cats. www.fayerapoportdespres.com

Purchase her book on Amazon and B&N

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?
Faye: I have been a writer all my life – first as an amateur poet, then as a journalist and business/non-profit writer, and finally as a creative nonfiction writer. Writing a book has been my life-long goal.
Is this your first book?
Faye: Yes
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Faye: I was offered several options, but I published Message From a Blue Jay with the small, independent press that was the most passionate about my project and promised the most support in every aspect of the publication process, including marketing.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Faye: Like most writers, the journey toward publication was not easy for me. After earning my MFA degree, I started submitting individual personal essays to literary journals. That process involved the usual rejections much more than the less usual acceptances. When the acceptances did start happening, I began to work toward combining the essays into a book-length manuscript. An agent sent the manuscript to a variety of presses of all sizes, and got some interest, including two acceptances. In the end, however, I chose a
publisher whom I happened to connect with on Twitter. The publisher asked to see the manuscript, and after the usual submission and waiting process, I was thrilled to get an acceptance.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Faye: Persistence, believing in yourself, and not taking rejection personally are all part of the process. I went in knowing that I had to expect a significant amount of rejection. Essay collections are difficult to publish because they don’t tend to be huge sellers, and when you’re a new writer without a “name” with a manuscript of personal essays, you’re facing an uphill battle. Some publishers liked the work but felt they wouldn’t have the market for it. I learned that it’s a tough industry, but if you are committed to making the work the best it can be, accepting suggestions for revisions (such as re-organizing and editing the essays into a book that can be read as more of a narrative, even if it’s an unusual kind of narrative), and submitting until you find just the right publisher, it can be very rewarding.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Faye: I followed pretty much the usual method of publishing, so yes, I’d recommend it. Of course there are other options, and every writer has to find his or her own way.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Faye: Don’t let your ego get in the way of improving your work. Listen to early readers, accept suggestions, consider options, and be open to revision. These things don’t have to mean giving up on your own artistic vision. Certainly fight for the things you really believe in and want to keep, but be open to the experience of hearing other opinions and perhaps getting better. Then, be persistent and just keep trying.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Publishing Secrets with Silvio Sirias, author of 'The Saint of Santa Fe'

Silvio Sirias’s most recent novel is The Saint of Santa Fe (Anaphora Literary Press). He is also the author of Bernardo and the Virgin (2005) and Meet Me under the Ceiba (2009), winner of the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize for Best Novel. In addition, he is the author of a collection of essays titled Love Made Visible: Reflections on Writing, Teaching, and Other DistractionsThe Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature lists him among the handful of authors who are introducing Central American themes into the U.S. literary landscape.

Purchase The Saint of Santa Fe 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 have wanted to be a writer since adolescence, but I was afraid to commit to such a gargantuan task. I did, however, study literature in earnest, eventually obtaining a doctorate in Spanish.  After publishing several academic books, dealing with literary criticism, I decided to try my hand at fiction. It is the best decision I’ve ever made. The reason I wrote The Saint of Santa Fe is because the story of Father Hector Gallego’s life and sacrifice in a remote area of Panama hijacked my imagination and wouldn’t let go.
Is this your first book?
Author: The Saint of Santa Fe is the seventh book I’ve published, third novel.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: All my books have been with university presses, except The Saint of Santa Fe. I chose to go with Anaphora Literary Press, a small, independent publisher with a university press feel.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author: It has been quite a learning experience. My novels have a niche among those who enjoy U.S. Latino literature, but they yet to make agents salivate at the prospect of earning large commissions. Because of this, I’ve had to learn to do everything on my own—including being very active on the promotional end. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: That I am solely responsible for spreading the word about my work. Publishers can only be accountable for keeping the work in print. The rest is up to the writer.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: If their work fits the criteria of university presses, indeed I do.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Becoming a published author all boils down to one question: “Am I willing to pay the price?” That price is to commit one self’s to the long path of learning the craft.  If the answer is yes, then get to work at once and don’t look back.