Writers, Readers & Self Publishing

Our community of self-published authors is generous with the knowledge they have gained on their writing journey. Here at Writers, Readers & Self Publishing, we will share with you their advice, their experiences and their ideas for writing and promoting award-winning books.  We will also share incites from our readers and others in the field of self-publishing such as editors, designers and successful best-selling authors who graciously share their thoughts and experiences. Our readers and writers have also contributed some fun and interesting stories that we hope you will enjoy!

IndieBRAG Cover Crush: Displacement by Anne Stormont

By Colleen Turner with A Literary Vacation Synopsis From the Scottish Hebrides to the Middle-East, Displacement is a soul-searching journey from grief to reclamation of self, and a love-story where romance and realism meet head-on. Divorce, the death of her soldier son and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost. Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction for his life. When Rachel meets Jack in dramatic circumstances on a wild winter’s night on the island of Skye, a friendship develops, despite very different personalities. Gradually their feelings for each other go beyond friendship. Something neither of them feels able to admit. And it seems unlikely they’ll get the chance to because Rachel is due to leave for several months to visit family in Israel – where she aims to re-root and reroute her life. Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of life-affirming courage and love. Thoughts on the cover My thoughts on the cover keep circling around to adventure, danger, and upheaval. With the compass so prominent my first assumption…

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Writing Across Genres: How Boldly Following Your Inspiration Can Change Your Destiny

By Sheri Fink A few years ago, a reporter asked me what I’m working on next and I revealed for the first time that I was writing a draft of a romance novel. Seeing that was known only as a children’s author, she followed up with, “Have you ever seen anyone successfully transition beyond the children’s box into women’s fiction?” I paused for a moment and then responded that I didn’t understand the question because I didn’t believe in her “box.” I guess I’ve never believed in the “box.” Instead, I’m something of a free spirit when it comes to writing. I believe in writing from the heart. That means being willing to join your characters on wild and unpredictable adventures. I’m a “pantser” when it comes to writing and I’m often amazed at where they take me, especially when my latest characters took me into the world of romance. I guess readers might have been wondering, “What does a children’s author know about romance?” What does anyone know about romance? I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’m a hopeful romantic with a vivid imagination for writing a fictional romance. It would be easier to choose the comfort…

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indieBRAG Cover Crush: Men of the Cross by Charlene Newcomb

I’ve said this before and I will say it again. I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of  books and gladly admit I judge a book by its cover. This cover really stands out to me. Two knights on horses obviously riding towards what looks to be some sort of battle field or it could be a town? Not completely sure but nonetheless, it’s cool and says a lot about the premise. I love it! Synopsis War, political intrigue and passion… heroes… friends and lovers… and the seeds for a new Robin Hood legend await you… Two young knights’ journey to war at Richard the Lionheart’s side sweeps them from England to the Holy Land in this historical adventure set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade. Henry de Grey leaves Southampton in high spirits, strong in his faith and passionate about the mission to take Jerusalem back from Saladin’s army. Stephan l’Aigle’s prowess on the battlefield is well known, as are his exploits in the arms of other men. He prizes duty, honour and loyalty to his king above all else. But God and the…

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Scribbler on the Roof…my journey as an Indie-author.

I don’t need a time machine, a tarot reading or a Pan American flight manifest to map out how I came to be an Indie author. When asked to share a few thoughts on what I learned about writing, publishing and marketing, I was raring to go and happy to take this opportunity to do what authors like to do best- ‘Kvel’ and ‘Kvetch’. Kvelling, a quintessential Yiddish word, conjures up images of beaming parents, proudly boasting about their offspring. While I do my fair share of maternal boasting, today I’m kvelling about another sort of offspring- my books! I wrote a Creative Non-fiction in August 2012 entitled, ‘With Love, The Argentina Family- Memories of Tango and Kugel, Mate with Knishes.’ A Spanish-speaking, blue-eyed, Jewish girl named Mirta who outgrew five passports by the time she was twenty-one and survived a whirlwind romance during one of Argentina’s darkest periods had plenty of writing material! This first book was written to honor my parents, my heritage and my rather unique upbringing as a ‘Pan Am brat.’ More recently, I published a Historical Fiction/Fantasy that incorporated my love of period drama with Judaica. Talk about fantasy… ‘Becoming Malka’ literally came to me…

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IndieBRAG Cover Crush: Grindstone by Donna Walsh Inglehart

Cover Crush by Colleen Turner  Synopsis “New to that country, caught up in my own survival, I did not understand the scope or nature of the War of the Rebellion, only that it was not ours, my brother’s and mine, to fight. I could not have imagined that the war would come to the very shores of Grindstone, with such treachery and brutality that I still wake at night with a pounding heart.” Leaving Ireland in the devastating aftermath of the Famine, Anya McGregor finds refuge in an island realm far from the violence of the Civil War, only to discover that she cannot escape its dark undercurrents. For Jonathon Douglas, a Confederate spy, the islands also provide temporary sanctuary, but soon become as dangerous as the battlefront.  Believing him a traitor, his compatriots have vowed to follow him to the ends of the earth.  Irresistibly drawn to each other, Anya and Jonathon are pulled into a web of espionage that threatens to destroy them both. Lyrical and profoundly moving, Grindstone is historical fiction at its best, a haunting story that inspires even as it shapes one’s understanding of the most violent period in American history.   Thoughts on the…

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The Life—and Art—of Writing: Justine Avery Interviews Film Director Devon Avery

I eagerly snatched up the opportunity (excuse?) to interview my husband about his view of and feelings toward my writing career.  Don't we all wonder what those close to us really think about our uncanny attraction to language, our mysterious-seeming mood swings stemming from that writing we go off to do all alone, how we eye everything as if it's a potential story or character or bit of dialogue, or what they think it means to "be a writer?" Counting on brutal honesty and hoping for extra encouragement and insight from the perspective of a fellow creative working in a different medium, I proceeded to prod my film director and voracious reader husband, Devon Avery, for what it's really like to be in a relationship with a writer—witnessing the ups and downs of a writing career firsthand—for any advice he has to share for the creative process and its challenges, and his view of the role we writers serve for all of humanity.  (As his wife, I get to ask heavily loaded questions!) When we first met, I was a "writer" who didn't write.  I said I was a writer—I'd had a few stories and articles published in the past—but…

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Picnic With My Dreamboat by Anna Belfrage

The barley dips and bows in the wind, ripe and golden it extends every which way. Man-high, the ears brush my cheek, and as I balance along the narrow pathway that divides one field from the next, I suspect I’m almost invisible. Not so Matthew Graham. My favourite 17th century man, my very own personal dream-boat, comes walking through the barley, careful measured steps so as not to damage his crops. I stop to properly absorb the pleasure of seeing him move, all the way from how his worn shirt strains over his broad shoulders, to how lightly he plants his feet, long legs striding effortlessly over the uneven ground. Now and then he pauses, crumbling an ear or two between his fingers. To judge from his smile, the crop looks good – as does he. “A picnic?” He tilts his head to the side, using his hat to fan some much needed air his way. I point at the basket. “Weighs a ton.” “Ah.” He points at a distant grove. “Over there?” Seeing as he’s a gentleman, he offers to carry the basket. “Have you ever had a picnic before?” I ask him as we spread out the tartan…

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Audiobook in Your Future?

I opened my email inbox recently and discovered a surprise – a company called Tantor Media wanted to buy the global audio rights to my novel The Witch of Napoli. Was I interested? I was instantly suspicious. Everybody’s trying to sell services to indie authors these days (agenting, publishing, marketing, etc.); many are expensive scams. You pay them an outrageous fee, or you “share” the cost. I fired back a snarky, warning salvo: “I'm only interested in a sale of audio rights to a company which will pay all production fees. If you're looking for a co-investor, I'm not interested. I can easily produce an audiobook myself via Amazon's ACX or similar platforms. It's been on my to-do list for some time.” Then I googled Tantor and gulped. The company was more than legit – Tantor is the largest independent audio book publisher in the U.S. Tantor Audio titles include National Book Award winners, Man Booker Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners and New York Times Best Sellers. OMG! Had I turned them off before we even started talking? It’s not that I couldn’t produce my own audiobook – Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) tool http://www.acx.com/ is surprisingly easy to navigate;…

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Inspiration’s Mysterious Power

Martha Kennedy Author of BRAG Medallion Honorees, Martin of Gfenn and Savior Ancient Greek poets didn’t believe that they, themselves, came up with their stories. They believed that they, as poets, were simply an instrument of the Muses, well-disposed goddesses who quickened the poets’ minds with inspiration. My high school art teacher didn’t believe in inspiration. He believed in hard work. “If you wait for inspiration to hit, you’ll wait forever. Just paint.” I’ve written a lot in my life without being inspired, sort of the equivalent of my high school art teacher’s “Just paint.” I wrote because I am a writer, and a writer is an observer. I’ve always seen the world, the people around me, and my life as interesting, so I transcribed it. Even my mom said, ‘You’re a good writer. You just don’t have anything to write about.” Then… In 1997, during a particularly interesting point in my life, I went to Switzerland. My friends took me to see a little 13th century church in a small village north of Zürich, the chapel of the Knights of St. Lazarus in the village of Gfenn. Lepers had lived there; not just lepers, but leper knights. The moment…

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And then, there is the Research…

Imagine we have no computers, no Internet access, no search engines. Yes, imagine it was like the good old days. And just imagine how much paper we would be wasting using the old method - remember them? Typewriters! Painstakingly typing word after word using our well-practiced, two finger method. And sheet after sheet of perfectly good paper ending up in the writer’s waste bin. Would the writing revolution ever have happened? Writing is no longer for the privileged few. Yes, even I have taken pen to paper, well, metaphorically speaking. A new found freedom being taken up by an army of hopefuls. Some with astonishing results. The new era - indie publishing. Literally, hundreds of thousands of new novels are published each year. Even this little fact I had looked up on the internet. And we found a new way helping to protect our cherished rain forest - the e-book. After a slow beginning, (Amazon’s first Kindle appeared in 2007), there has been an explosion of e-books. But was it a ´Chicken or Egg´ situation? Did the e-book appear before the e-reader, surely not? I discovered that the Rocket e-book and Soft-book Reader was launched in 1998. There you have…

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