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!

Misadventures in self-publishing

  SL Dwyer Author of award winning Dirt and The Fantasmagorical Forest trilogy   You’ve completed your book. Written the final word. Take a deep breath, do a jig and pop the cork on some bubbly. Give yourself a big pat on the back. You have just accomplished what so many have said they wished they could do. Congratulations. Great, next you distribute your manuscript to every family member who enjoys reading, along with friends and members of your writing group. You’ve made the suggested revisions and investigated every source available to upload and publish your eBook. Your finger hesitates and finally pushes the “upload” button and your book becomes one of thousands waiting for readers. You’ve done it all, right? Wrong. If you have not done the last two steps your book will languish on the pages of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the other sites where it sits for sale. You scratch your head and wonder what the problem may be. Most likely it is one of those last two steps. Below, I’ll list those steps and add some information that may help. Of course you story and how it is written is the number one factor…

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Launching your new book!

Florence Osmund  When it comes to marketing your book, one thing is fairly certain—people won’t buy it if they don't know it exists. A successful book launch will make people aware of your book so they will buy it and even help you promote it. You can do many things to launch your new book so that it gets into the hands of as many readers as possible. I’ve created the checklist that follows to guide you through the process, but I don’t recommend that you attempt to do everything. Pick out the ones that make sense for your book and ones you’re comfortable doing. Without promotion, something terrible happens...nothing!                                             P. T. Barnum What You Can Do Long Before Your Book Is Released □  Create your elevator speech. □  Develop an author website. □  Start a blog. □  Establish yourself in discussion groups on social media sites. □  Start building an e-mail subscriber list comprised of people who are interested in your work. □  Create your profile on Amazon’s Author Central page and Goodreads. □  Create a list of book promotion and book listing sites. □  Have business cards made. □  Draft promotional handout materials (post cards, book marks, posters, etc). □  Determine your target market…

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CAN GREAT WRITING BE TAUGHT?

The simple answer is no. Does that mean writing courses are a waste of time? Or that getting an MA or a PhD in creative writing is a fool’s errand? Of course not. Classes can teach good writers to become better, but classes will not turn a good writer into a Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. Great writing requires a certain native ability, which is rare. However, that does not mean aspiring indie authors should give up. While truly great writers are few, there is ample room in the world for really good writing, the pursuit of which should be the goal of every self-published author. How then does a new writer judge the value of a writing course?  Well, to begin with they need to understand what their objective is. If it is to become fluent with the basics of style, syntax and word usage and, thereby, feel more comfortable integrating these into a clear and cohesive story, then do it. Or, if it is to enjoy the sense of camaraderie of classmates and gain the constructive criticism of a good teacher, then proceed. But if it is to short circuit the hard…

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Advice from Steena Holmes “Branding with Intent”

Writers: Don’t Give In To The Pressure By Steena Holmes on Apr 05, 2018 02:23 pm If you are a writer, raise your hand if you feel the pressure to rush your process and just get those books out. (my hand is raised and I know yours are too!) There are so many factors to this rush: bills are piling up so many of your writing friends are releasing books in quick succession you keep hearing this is the only way to get noticed (ie. 90 day window) any other number of reasons to feel like you’re missing out Can I say something that might be against the norm? Stop. Slow down. Don’t panic. I know, I know, easy enough to say, but hard to accomplish, right? I’ve been there, in your shoes when I saw my income going down and my bills piling up. When I would hear of others talk about their numbers and stepped back so no one would notice me and ask how I was doing. When I would visit different FB writing groups and the advice was to write/publish/repeat as fast as you can in order to increase your visibility. Every time I would hear…

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Civil War Mystery nourished with a Civil War favorite – Fried Apples!

Time Expo Time Exposure by Lynne Kennedy In Time Exposure, Lynne Kennedy makes Civil War photography the lens of her novel. “Photography hugely impacted the way society viewed the war….I combine my love of history and science with my penchant for mysteries!” Lynne does a superb job—an intriguing mystery, wonderful characters and exciting history.  All make this a fabulous read. Lynne Kennedy's Time Exposure.     Buttery Fried Nutmeg Apples During the Civil War, favorite sweet side or dessert was Fried Apples. In the field, it was typically made in a cast iron pan over a fire and worked well with tart apples. A variety of sweeteners could be used from honey or brown sugar, more available than white at the time. The Gibbs Museum in Charleston, South Carolina mounted an exhibit of Civil War photographs, which I went to see a few years ago. The black and white photographs were clear and surprisingly modern. There was the heroic; there were also the photographs that were brutal, unnerving and full of war’s agony. There was the view of Robert E. Lee’s home, with Union soldiers on the porch, his property made into the now national cemetery at Arlington. Lynne Kennedy’s Civil War historical novel, Time…

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Step by Step: Writing to Self-Publishing

More help from editor Chara White at WordsAPlenty: I would not presume to know every step for publishing, but the following is a good rule of thumb to follow beginning the moment you settle down to write. Create an idea for a book. Easier said than done!  For some, it is far more difficult to jump in feet first and begin to write hoping an idea will worm its way from your brain to your fingertips to the key board.  This method can be very stifling to those who need a starting point.  One point to begin is the title … ok, so this can be even harder to come up with than an awesome storyline.  Don’t fret!  There are resources out there for you … here are a few that help you with titles, themes, sayings, content ideas, character names, and more: http://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/book-title-generator.php#.WhMrbkpKuUk http://www.mcoorlim.com/random.html http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=56 http://www.generatorland.com/glgenerator.aspx?id=141 https://www.name-generator.org.uk/nickname/ Once you’ve come up with an idea, research is next. You need to make sure that what you are going to write about is a full-length book.  The last thing you want is to set your sites on a 75,000 word book only to discover there is only a 30,000 story in…

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What’s in a Media Kit?

A Media Kit can be a useful way to gather all the info about you, as an author, and your book.  We asked Marisa to share her terrific MK with us- I’m a self-published debut author and a proud owner of an indieBRAG Medallion Award. My book, GOODBYE To Italia, is a family story, and was published in 2016 but only a year later have I created a Media Kit (MK). An MK is defined as containing information about your business, product or an event. I did have a one-pager that in loose terms met this criteria. But in such a competitive world and a global market, it really is necessary to have a more professional approach. Thanks to my publishing and marketing mentor, Ocean Reeve, he provided me with a couple of examples of what an MK should look like. He also gave me a kind but strong talking to. Duly subdued, I reviewed the relevant documents and sat down one weekend to create my own. Not for me was a 15-page MK although if that’s what you want to do that’s your choice. Instead, I wanted to relay the messages as effectively and succinctly as possible. Not wanting…

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Let’s begin a Jolabokaflod!

The small country (329,000 people) of Iceland boasts it has more writers, books published and books read than anywhere else in the world. Can you imagine that? To those of us who are “Book People”, this is astonishing! A tradition we can all be envious of is Jolabokaflod – the “Christmas Book Flood”. Christmas Eve is a time of giving books and stores are sold out long before the special night.  Each person receives at least one print books (not ebooks) along with chocolate to enjoy for the rest of the evening when it is tradition to spend the night reading. It wasn’t long ago that all TV stations in Iceland stopped broadcasting from 6pm-10pm because everyone was reading! The book season kicks off in September when each family receives Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to every Icelandic home.  By early December book stores are sold out. Because of this amazing tradition, Reyckavik has been named by the United Nations as a “city of Literature” and it host the international children’s literature festival and the international Literary Festival. Icelanders have a grand history of storytelling.  The Icelandic Sagas written around the 13th century…

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Award winning author, Laurie Boris, shares thoughts on Storytelling

Laurie Boris Thank you for inviting me to participate in Ingredients in Storytelling! What are the steps in creating a setting for your story? For me, setting comes from the characters and their conflict. When I get enough clues, I can see the setting in my head. Boston was ideal for A Sudden Gust of Gravity. Artsy and traditional, a melting pot of cultures, a mixture of old and new, young and not-so-young, struggling students and well-to-do folks who live in swanky condos on the waterfront. And I’d spent a lot of time there. Whenever possible, I prefer to let the details of the setting build organically. I let the characters just be there—let Christina practice her juggling in a park next to the Charles River, let Devon chaperone his five-year-old nephew through Faneuil Hall—and I describe the setting as I need to. There is a fine line between creating a visible backstory and a hidden backstory of your characters. What are the steps in balancing it out? What should you not do? It’s a really delicate balancing act. I think what you choose to leave out is as important, sometimes even more so, than what you leave in. If…

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All you need to know about Beta Readers!

Charla White Beta Readers A Beta reader, also known as a pre-reader, is an essential component that all authors should consider utilizing.  Beta readers are defined as non-professional.  They are readers who enjoy reading and who want to help writers be successful.  (In truth, we want to read the book first and watch the creative process in action and feel like we helped.)  Beta readers will look over written materials for plot errors, grammar and spelling errors, issues with character development and suggestions to improve the book.  Included in their services, they can also be fact checkers; however, if you need to designate one as a fact checker communicate that to the person.  They are a wonderful resource that is gaining in popularity due to the ease of finding and communicating with folks who are truly interested in seeing a writer succeed. But why should anyone use beta readers?  Beta readers don’t have to be nice to you, they do not have a close or personal relationship with you like family members, spouse or even good friends.  They will give you honest feedback that you must evaluate and either take their suggestions seriously or not. Let’s be honest here, as…

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