Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Eleanor Parker Sapia, author of 'A Decent Woman'

Book Title A DECENT WOMAN
Genre:  Historical fiction
Publisher:  Booktrope Books
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: In 2000, after ten years of working as an exhibiting artist, I was given the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, as a gift. A year later, I invited eight creative women friends to join me in a creativity group at my home. After facilitating four The Artist’s Way groups, my friends encouraged me to add writing to my creative life, and I agreed—it was time. But what would I write about?
Well, both my grandmothers were wonderful oral storytellers, and as a kid, I sat at their knees, hanging on their every word about stories of Puerto Rico and Poland. When my maternal grandmother turned ninety-years old, I wrote a tribute to her, and included all her wonderful stories. After my now ex-husband read the tribute, he asked me to write an outline of my grandmother’s life, and he said I had a story to write. I realized I hadn’t read any books about Caribbean midwives, so I decided to introduce my Puerto Rican grandmother’s midwife, Doña Ana, to the world in a story about the complex lives of women in male-dominated, colonial Puerto Rico.
Is this your first book?
Author: Yes, this is my debut novel, and I’m currently writing my second book.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  When I completed my manuscript and had it edited, I joined CreateSpace and made an account for my novel, A DECENT WOMAN, thinking that I’d self-publish. But I couldn’t upload my manuscript; something kept telling me to wait a bit longer. After two years of querying agents and getting nowhere, I had no issue with going the self-publishing route, but I submitted to Booktrope, an Indie publishing company based in Seattle, Washington and six months later, I had a publishing contract. I’ve been with them a year and it has been great experience.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  Booktrope authors form their publishing team from talented people within Booktrope—an editor, proofreader, cover designer, project manager, and a book manager. It took me a few months to get the perfect team together because of schedule conflicts with potential team members, but it worked out as it should. I call my team members—my dream team. Every person on the publishing team receives a certain percentage of books sales after the book is published, so it behooves every member of the team to work hard and to be professional. We work very well together, and I hope to work with my team again on my second book project.

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: When writer friends congratulated me on my publishing contract, and when I finished my manuscript and uploaded it for layout a month ago, many of those same friends said, “Now the real work begins.” I couldn’t imagine what they meant because I’d spent nearly five years researching and writing my novel! Now that A DECENT WOMAN is published, I understand what they were saying—book marketing and publicity is not for the faint of heart. It’s an every day, never-get-away-from-it process that an author cannot get away from, or should ignore. I’ve learned how important social media is to an author, and how important it is to build a platform early in one’s writing career. I blogged for seven years before I made the leap into writing full time, and I’m glad I did.
I’ve also learned how stubborn, tenacious, brave, and nuts I must be because despite the long and lonely hours at the keyboard, I still can’t imagine doing anything else.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: Yes, I whole heartedly recommend going the Indie publishing route. I’ve had a great experience with Booktrope, and I love working with my ultra-talented publishing Team.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Read, read, and then read some more. I’m a huge advocate of writing in a daily journal, which for me has become a valuable tool and writing practice, so I highly recommend jotting down feelings, impressions, overheard dialogue, and thoughts. This exercise has helped me get in touch with myself, and the great thing about journaling is that it encourages us to access the deep, dark corners of ourselves. We don’t lie when we journal.
And as I’ve mentioned before, if you’re a budding writer, build your writer platform now. Join and engage in social media now; don’t wait for your book to be published.
Thanks so much for having me!
Eleanor Parker Sapia



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Anne K. Edwards, author of 'This and That – Collection of Light and Dark Tales'

Name:  Anne K. Edwards
Book Title:  This and That – Collection of Light and Dark Tales
Genre:  Various Genres
Publisher:  First Realm Publishing
Purchase book 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?
Anne:  I have been writing for several years and have several books published. The collection of short stories began as a for-fun activity for myself. I love new ideas that wouldn’t work out as full books, but I will follow what story they offer to the conclusion.  It’s like following a new trail you’ve never walked before to see where it leads. I enjoy writing tales with old ideas and giving them new twists. So, between books or while I’m suffering writer’s block on a present project, I will write a short tale as a change of pace. It is a remarkable way to conquer writer’s block and refresh one’s mind.
Is this your first book?
Anne:  No, I have written several others in different genres and was given credit for helping write a nonfiction book on reviewing also.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anne: Small Press. I chose this method because I prefer to work with a publisher instead of undertaking all the responsibility myself and I’ve always liked Internet publishing. In other words, when it comes to self-publishing, one might say I’m a bit reluctant to undertake the heavier duties it entails, like choosing the outlet for a finished work, editing, formatting of an ebook, looking for the right cover artist, and so on. Rather than make repeated mistakes in these areas, it is much better for me to rely on the experienced publisher and use their expertise.  However, on my single venture into self-publishing, I must thank a dear friend, Mayra Calvani, for her guidance and efforts to get it done. She saved me a lot of time and grief.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Anne:  There are few publishers that publish collections of short stories.  I was fortunate to find First Realm Publishing and got permission to submit my book to them. Luckily, they were interested even though the stories are not of the same genre, length and vary widely in subject matter.  For instance, there’s a tale about a pet chicken, one about the devil outsmarting himself, and a series of tales about a detective hired by Death to solve various problems he runs into. It wasn’t a complicated journey and the reward at the end is that the book is out in ebook form which I find very satisfying.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anne:  I learned to keep looking when you have a book that needs a home. I found the publishing industry is alive and growing, looking for new, adventuresome writers whose creative gifts are seeking homes. Such a trip is a reward in itself and should be undertaken with a positive outlook.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anne:  Yes. The small press offers a wonderful place for authors to learn about the world of publishing and to meet the readers. It gives us a place to hone our craft and make the next book better.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anne:  Keep writing. Keep reading, Keep learning. Never give up.



Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Irene S. Roth, Author of 'Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls'

Book Title: Seasons of Empowerment for Adolescent Girls
Genre: Nonfiction Adolescent
Publisher: Halo Publishing
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 decided to write this book because I had a passion to help teen girls become more empowered than they are currently. The culture and media feeds them negative messages about themselves all day and night and encourages them to be anything but who they were truly meant to be.  I believe that this is a tragedy and I hope that this book remedies this difficulty for teen girls after they read my book.
Is this your first book?
Author: No it isn’t.  This is my tenth book.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: I Indie published this book. I just wanted to have the book out so that adolescents can read it. And already I have a large readership through my community.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  I really enjoyed my published journey. Halo Publishing makes it very easy to publish your book. They are there for the author every step of the way and it is painless.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author:  I learned how good it feels to have a book that you are passionate about out there for the public. Although I have published 9 other books, I was absolutely thrilled when this book came out because I felt that I would be helping adolescent girls to be their best.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author:  Yes, I certainly would!J
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Never give up on your dream of being a writer—and keep writing every day.



ABOUT THE BOOK

In this book, Ms. Roth argues that there are four seasons of empowerment for adolescent girls. Sadly no adolescent girl can simply wake up one day, snap her fingers, and be empowered to tackle the world and all the forces that exist inside and outside. Becoming empowered to be who we are can be truly difficult. This book consists of a step-by-step guide to help adolescent girls achieve self-improvement. 

Purchase at Amazon



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Nicole Weaver, author of 'Not All Americans Are Racist'

Nicole weaver is an award-winning author. Her first trilingual book Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle was published in 2009. Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in publishing the award-winning book, My Sister Is My Best Friend which was published in 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing and has won numerous awards.
My Brother Is My Best Friend, published by Guardian Angel Publishing, January 2014, earned the 2014 Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval, and the 2014 Children’s Literary Classics Gold Award. The book also earned a bronze medal in 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.
About the book:
In Not All Americans Are Racist, Nicole Weaver recounts her experiences with racial discrimination and the non-racist white individuals who made it possible for her to attend and finish college. As an immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she is thankful for the opportunities America has offered her.
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?
Nicole:  I have written mostly trilingual children’s picture books. After the killings of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, I was inspired to write my first nonfiction book about my own experiences with racism.
Is this your first book?
Nicole: No, but this is my first nonfiction book.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Nicole: I self-published, because I believe this topic is too important to wait to publish. Going with a traditional publisher could take years.  The United States is going through hard times with racial issues right now; I am convinced my well-balanced book can be an inspiration to both the young and old.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Nicole:  I self-published my first children’s trilingual book, I would definitely not go that road again, because it is very expensive.  However, it is much easier to self-publish other genre.  I will continue to self-publish nonfiction books because it is much easier.  It is wise to write on topics that are current because it will garner a lot of interest.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Nicole: Be very aware of con artists.  Do your research and always hire someone that has a good reputation and perhaps recommendations from friends.  Many people are looking to make a small fortune off the backs of eager writers.  I have been burned badly when it came to getting my book professionally edited, so my advice only hires someone that a friend recommends. I feel very lucky to have found a great individual who is very good at the craft of editing.  I also have a great individual that does a great job formatting my book. Lastly, you also need a book cover designer.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Nicole: Yes, I would! Just be sure to hire someone you can trust.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Nicole: Write about things you are passionate about.  Make time to write every day.  Even though I teach high school, I make time to write at least one to two hours each day.  Writing daily helps me avoid writer’s block.  I used to only write during vacation, but it would take me too long to overcome writer’s block.  Writing can be very therapeutic too.  I use it as a form of stress release. Some people grab a glass of wine to relax.  I grab my laptop.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Robert Lane, author of COOLER THAN BLOOD

Sharing his publishing secrets today is Florida-based suspense author Robert Lane. His latest novel is Cooler Than BloodHe is also the author of The Second Letter. Connect with Robert on the web:

Greetings, Robert! 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?
Robert: I wrote short stories in college and always felt as if I returned to writing, not as if I just started. I enjoy the creative process, and, like most writers, write compulsively. I don’t dwell on the root of those compulsions; I enjoy what I do and am thoroughly challenged by it. That’s enough for me.
Is this your first book?
Robert: No. The Second Letter came out last year. That’s not counting the two in the drawer.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Robert: I set up Mason Alley Publishing, LLC to publish all my work. It allows me to own, control, and to profit from my work. I believe the short-term disadvantages are greatly outweighed by the long-term benefits. One thing that digital and on-demand publishing has done is to immortalize all books. Time horizons have grown exponentially.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Robert: The con is the myth of self-publishing. Great, I’m self-published; I outsource social media, traditional media, copy-editing, cover design, web design and maintenance; nearly everything other than writing and marketing dollar allocation. It is a steep learning curve and I’m still climbing. The pros? I own this baby, good or bad, forever.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Robert: Keep in mind that there is more money being made telling you how to write, publish, and market than you are likely to ever make writing. With that inside your head, choose your weapons carefully. How best to market yourself? Who to listen to? Where to spend those precious dollars? Do not let the publishing industry decide those, or other issues, for you. No one will match the passion you have for your work. That’s not cynicism; it’s the simple truth. Embrace it and move on.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Robert: Certainly, but bear in mind, with any publishing venue, you need to vigorously engage your business side. Segregate your time and energy—for you need to approach the business end with the same madness in which you write.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Robert: Read about the lives and journeys of other authors. I have a list I continually update of authors’ struggles, work habits, lessons, and victories and defeats. Take console in those who have gone before you as well as those who travel with you. If you think you’re alone, remember Harry Truman’s words; “The only think new in the world is the history you don’t know.”



Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with John Herrick, Author of 'Between these Walls'

A self-described "broken Christian," John Herrick battled depression since childhood. In that context, however, he developed intuition for themes of spiritual journey and the human heart.

Herrick graduated from the University of Missouri—Columbia. Rejected for every writing position he sought, he turned to information technology and fund development, where he cultivated analytical and project management skills that helped shape his novel-writing process. He seized unpaid opportunities writing radio commercial copy and ghostwriting for two nationally syndicated radio preachers.

The Akron Beacon Journal hailed Herrick's From the Dead as "a solid debut novel." Published in 2010, it became an Amazon bestseller. The Landing, a semifinalist in the inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, followed.

Herrick's nonfiction book 8 Reasons Your Life Matters introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free e-book surpassed 100,000 downloads and hit #1 on Amazon's Motivational Self-Help and Christian Inspiration bestseller lists. Reader response prompted a trade paperback.

His latest novel, Between These Walls, returns readers to Hudson, Ohio, to which he introduced them in From the Dead.

Herrick admits his journey felt disconnected. "It was a challenge but also a growth process," he acknowledges. "But in retrospect, I can see God's fingerprints all over it."

Visit John Herrick at www.JohnHerrick.net or at his blog, johnherricknet.blogspot.com. Connect with him on Facebook or @JohnHerrick. 

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?
John:
I love people, and characters give me the opportunity to explore them in a way that encourages readers. I fell in love with writing as a kid, and at 10 years old, I decided I wanted to become a novelist. It took another 25 years of practice, tangents, experimentation and endurance before I saw my first book on the shelf!
Regarding why I penned Between These Walls, we tend to see a gay man’s experience at the surface. We seldom hear about the emotional, spiritual or social aspects that churn inside him. Between These Walls offers readers a rare glimpse into the internal, psychological struggle of Hunter Carlisle, a gay main character, from his youth to adulthood, and walks with him as he reconciles his feelings in light of his faith.
The book includes an Author’s Note, which tells the story behind the novel. I’ve also posted it at my website here:  http://www.JohnHerrick.net/betweenthesewalls/authornote.htm
Is this your first book?
John:
It’s my third novel to hit the shelves. My nonfiction book, 8 Reasons Your Life Matters, is also available. Meanwhile, a fourth novel is in the revision phase—I’ve relegated that poor victim to the back burner so many times over the last decade!
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
John:                                                                          
It’s a small indie press and was the avenue that opened to me. It’s proven a perfect fit for the early stage in my career. It offers the flexibility to take risks and explore characters in less conventional ways, which has helped me learn what resonates with readers.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
John:
Every writer’s journey is different. I consider myself one of the least-qualified writers out there. I never took a creative writing course. Nowadays, I read reference books on writing to improve my skills, but when I sat down to create my first novel, I hadn’t researched how to do it. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you read the first-draft pages of the first novel I attempted, The Landing, which are posted on my website, you’ll find a sample of that raw content and my first attempt to fix it. But it gave me the chance to test my creative instincts. As I reached the end of that first draft, I studied facets of how to construct a novel, then built them into my revision processes, one by one, as I acquired each skill.
I held on to my dream for a couple of decades. The key factor that enabled me to complete a novel was the years I spent doing IT work—computer programming, project management, analysis. My biggest obstacles to completing a long-term project, such as a novel, were my lack of self-discipline and my aversion to creative planning. IT work knocked that out of me, because you’re thrown into a situation where you can’t give up until the computer program works. And computers don’t compromise! Since my passions don’t reside with computer work, I wouldn’t want to repeat the experience, but I also wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned so much during those years. And the lessons I learned—the specific lessons I needed for my journey—wouldn’t have occurred in a creative writing course. Obviously, God is much smarter than I am!
Regarding pros and cons, I’ll start with the con, because it leads up to the pro. The biggest downside is the abundance of rejection you’ll face. Some will think you’re not a strong writer, but most will reject you for subjective reasons—they have a limited number of “yes” cards they can use. Rejection hurts, and early on, it hurts badly. But once you grow accustomed to it, it becomes part of the background noise and doesn’t disturb you like it used to. So if you see an author with a book on the shelf, chances are they’ve developed thick skin and had to fight for years to see that book on the shelf. It’s critical to decide in advance that you refuse to give up, because you’ll feel like giving up often! Remember those multiple-choice tests in school, where it was a no-brainer to eliminate Choice D, because you knew it was the wrong answer? I considered quitting my Choice D, eliminated it outright.
That leads to the biggest pro along the journey: You have the opportunity to overcome rejection and grow stronger. You’ll discover you can endure things that would have knocked you out 10 years ago. And that strength will spill over into other areas of your life. Because you’ll understand rejection, you’ll have the opportunity to encourage others.
Listen to your heart. I’m convinced you’ll end up in the right place at the right time if you’re in tune with the true, honest desires of your heart.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
John:
I treasure my situation much more than I would have 10 years ago. Every time a book hits the shelf, I value that accomplishment because I know the time investment it required, and I recall the years waiting to see that happen. I treasure the relationships God has brought into my life—readers I’ve talked to, industry people who offered words of encouragement at the right times, bloggers I’ve had the privilege to know, friends who have cheered me on. In the end, the final book and the process behind it boils down to the people you encounter along the way. For every book you see, you can find relationships behind it.
As a writer, you don’t always fit in. You’re an artist—and let’s face it, artists are just odd! Novel writing is an unconventional career choice and an uphill climb. Companies post a lot of job openings, but I’ve never seen one that said, “Wanted: Novel Writer”. So you’re on your own. You don’t think the way others do or perceive your workday the same way. While the people around you find fulfillment and a career track at their day jobs, getting paid to build their career step by step, you’re still sacrificing your leisure time, walking by faith, betting everything on an unseen reality. That leaves you feeling isolated and foolish. But as early breakthroughs unfold, you start to surround yourself with more people who think along similar lines, and you realize you’re not alone; you’re simply in a very small minority.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
John:
Absolutely. Every author harbors stories, motivations and goals in his/her heart. Some avenues in publishing are better suited than others for your particular vision and level of preparation. It’s a matter of finding the best fit for you, keeping an eye on both the present and the future, with a willingness to adapt and be patient along the way. You can always grow, so don’t despise the day of small things.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
John:
“Never give up!” It’s the advice I’d give to anyone who has a dream. Decide in advance that quitting isn’t an option for you.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Marija Bulatovic, author of Fantastical: Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophilia

Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country.  An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.


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?
Marija: While I didn’t set out to pursue career as an author, I was moved to do so after the birth of my son.  FANTASTICAL is a legacy to my son, as his birth was the catalyst for the book. 

These stories were born with my son.  Uncertain upon entering a wholly new phase of life, I sought wisdom and enlightenment – and a break from the daily routine of feedings, lack of sleep, and disorientation.  I was in search of something that would lift my spirit, make me laugh, and transport me, if only for a moment, to another, less tangible, place and time. 

While the world in which these stories unfold no longer exists, I still cling to the many lessons it taught me.  Because of my fantastical childhood, I know in my heart that life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities.  I know that it’s fluid, magical, brimming with love and connection. 

This book was indeed the respite I needed.  It freed my mind to roam the wild landscape of a bygone era and lifted me on the wings of Balkan stardust.  I hope it will do the same for my readers.  My hope is that stories amuse and transport my readers, sustaining them on their journey as they have me on mine. 

Is this your first book?
Marija: Yes, it is.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Marija: I chose to self-publish.  FANTASTICAL is a work of passion and a very personal and dear project to me.  As such, I was interested to personally and deeply become involved in all aspects of publishing, from identifying the right experts to edit, illustrate, layout, and print the book to working with a tremendously talented publicist to bring it to light. 
At the same time, we are experiencing an explosion in tools and services suited for first time and self-publishing authors. 
I was curious about this process and it gave me an excellent opportunity to be personally engaged throughout the journey and understands all aspects of publishing. It’s been a great learning experience!
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Marija: Self-publishing is tremendously labor and time intensive, but also very rewarding and profitable, assuming one is able to make investments to get the book to the finish line.
The pros are that you, as an author are 100% in control of your book and the every aspect of it.  You are the final decision maker and owner of the outcomes-good and bad. It’s a wonderful opportunity to merge one’s creative talents with flawless execution.  It does require much self-discipline and hard work, but it’s also a rewarding process.  While the world of self-publishing tools and services can feel like a maze, once the author understands them, they are generally easy and efficient to you.
The cons are that you have to invest money, time and energy to personally research and identify everything that shapes the book: editors, publicists, designers, printers, distributors, etc.  This is no easy task and authors can feel discouraged by it and by the long road ahead.  The self-publish path also requires that you make personal investments or raise money to fund your book project-which done right, is not an inexpensive proposition. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Marija: The publishing industry overall is at an inflection point, destabilized by the explosion of self-published books and outlets offering self-publishing services.  Self-publishing houses such as CreateSpace, Lightning Source or Bookbaby offer quality services at an approachable price-point.  However, the learning curve is steep for a single author to learn, discern differences in offerings and advantages among these services, along with their complementary or duplicative nature.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Marija: Yes, most definitely.  If you feel ready and passionate about your book, you will enjoy the leanrings and the process that goes with self-publishing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Marija: Just do it! Write your book, engage deeply with your project, commit to your work of passion and see what happens.  Most likely, more good things will happen than if you don’t embark on the journey.  And most importantly, Good Luck!