Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Sam Newsome , author of 'Joe Peas'

Book Title: Joe Peas
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lulu 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?
Sam:  First and foremost, I’m a family doctor.  The writing thing came in recent years my practice and I have matured.  As a physician, I meet a lot of people.  People who have led interesting lives and have wonderful stories.  Their lives are my first inspiration.  I frequently tell stories to my patients as a tool for motivation.  They, in turn, will share part of their life stories that are sometimes fantastic narratives.  While I would never unbidden betray a patient confidence, I certainly get ideas and motivation for fictional fare.
Is this your first book?
Sam:  My first book, Jackie, was published in the fall of 2013.  It chronicles the life and adventures of a young man who was abused, bullied and judged uneducable in the third grade.  He was assigned to homebound education that didn’t work for him.  But Jackie develops a very special, almost supernatural talent that when discovered, leads him to an historic destiny.    
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Sam:  My current book, Joe Peas, is self-published by Lulu Publishing Service.  I used them for my only other book, so I have no means of comparison.  They explained the costs ahead of time produced a product I can be happy with.   
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Sam:  I spend my days recording clinical notes into an electronic medical record.  These are required by law, but likely will rarely be read.  No interpretation is used in these notes.   As Joe Friday of Dragnet asks. “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.”  Writing is different. The ability to shape a narrative and influence the outcome for a character is powerful.  The struggle is having the work acknowledged and read.  Marketing is every bit as challenging as writing.  

What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Sam:  The publishing industry is changing so quickly that it is full of chaos.  My impression is that the traditional paths to publication are largely closed.  I suppose that beginning my quest for publication at a rather advanced age makes me more impatient.  I’ve finished a project and I want acclaim.  I want a band to play and fireworks to celebrate my accomplishment.  Instead I have a stack of over one hundred rejection slips from agents and publishers who have yet to request a sample or a synopsis before judging it “Not for us”.  I understand the frustration beginning writers feel and the little nagging feeling that even the crappiest novel on the bottom shelf of the major stores is a better read than mine because they found a publisher.  
But then…  But then remember that writing is an art as well as an occupation.  We create our projects like any other artist, to evoke emotion and desire along with a little knowledge and understanding of our world sprinkled in.  When someone tells me they enjoyed my book or were emotionally moved, I don’t ask if they paid a retail price or borrowed a friend’s.  I still consider that a win.  My self-published book has the same text it would have if it had been traditionally created.  
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Sam:  Everyone must weigh the options and make that judgment on their own.  I made what I considered to be a credible effort and failed to get either an agent or a publisher.  I could have rewritten yet again and resubmitted, but that seemed pointless since professionally written query letters failed to get a nibble.  Since I may be more aware of father time than some of my colleagues, I went the self-published route.  Would I do it again?  I think I received a polished product with my first novel, Jackie, and my new effort, Joe Peas, is every bit as good.
Regarding income from the effort, I’m probably not the one to ask.  My only respite is that when my wife complains about the money I spend on my book I can compare it to what I might otherwise be spending on golf.  

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Sam:  I may not the best person to ask.  I’m still more into taking advice than giving it.  I would say to continually assess why you write, and who is your audience.
That decision will not only affect what you write, but also how and to whom you present it.  If your story is time-sensitive and you don’t have an on-going relationship with an agent, self-publishing may be the best bet.
If the story is not time-sensitive and you have youth, time and energy enough to solicit an agent through conferences and other venues, seeking an agent and/or publisher could work.
And remember, advice is like a convenience store carton of milk.  It has a very short expiration date.  





Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets of John Sibley Williams



John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Controlled Hallucinations (2013) and Disinheritance (2016). A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors' Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, december, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, Nimrod International Journal, Hotel Amerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon. 

For More Information

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’m lucky to have been passionate about books since childhood. Perhaps it’s in part due to my mother reading novel after novel over her pregnant belly every day. Perhaps it’s in part due to my own restlessness, my need to make things, and my love of words. But I began writing short stories in middle school, and I continued in that genre until my early twenties. A handful of those stories found publication in literary magazines, which was eye-opening and oddly humbling.

I was 21 when I wrote my first poem. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading poetry and had certainly never considered writing one. It was summer in New York and I was sitting by a lake with my feet dragging through the current caused by small boats when suddenly, without my knowing what I was doing, I began writing something that obviously wasn’t a story. What was it? Impressions. Colors. Emotions. Strange images. I didn’t have any paper, so I used a marker to write a series of
phrases on my arm. Then they poured onto my leg. Then I realized I needed paper. I ran back to the car, took out a little notebook, and spent hours emptying myself of visions and fears and joys I don’t think I even knew I had. That was 17 years ago. Since that surreal and confusing moment by that little city lake, I’ve written poetry almost every day.

Is this your first book?
John:
This is actually my second full-length poetry collection, and I’ve had seven chapbooks published through various small presses before that. Each book has its own tone and its own unique themes, so, in a way, each published book feels a lot like ‘the first time’ again.

With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
John:
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of big poetry publishers, so mid-size and small presses are really the best fit for poets who are not seeking self-publishing. Although plenty of great work comes out of self-publishing companies, that particular road is not for me. My previous chapbooks and my debut full length collection were all published by small presses staffed by passionate editors. I feel very lucky to have worked with them. For this new collection, Disinheritance, I sought a slightly more prominent press, and I was honored to be accepted pretty quickly by Apprentice House Press, a great publisher run by Loyola University.

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

John:
Apart from the uncertainty of acceptance and the holding of one’s breath while awaiting a reply from the publishers you’ve queried, I don’t know if there are any other real cons to publishing traditionally. Admittedly, if that acceptance never comes, that one con becomes hugely significant. But traditional publishing has so many positive aspects: no publishing costs, better distribution, stronger reputation, better chance at being stocked in bookstores and libraries, marketing and publicity assistance (usually), easier booking of events, and, perhaps most importantly, being recognized as a serious author whose work was strong enough for a publisher to invest in it. The royalty percentage is lower than self-publishing, and you don’t have full control over design, but otherwise traditional publishing is, in my opinion, the best way of introducing your work to the world.

My own publishing journey has been a long one, spanning almost two decades. I have over 1,000 individual poems published in various magazines and anthologies, and I have previous books and chapbooks out from small presses. I usually spend about 50% of my time on writing and 50% on researching, submitting, and other publishing aspects. This may sound tedious, and perhaps it is, but there are so many magazines and book publishers out there that I’d be doing myself a disservice to not familiarize myself with them all. Each editor has her own tastes, so knowing a bit about each one’s preferences allows for a greater understanding of the publishing industry as a whole and a far greater chance of successfully navigating my manuscript toward publication.


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

John:
Every success and every failure is a lesson. After decades of submitting and publishing, I am still learning. The subjectivity of literature makes each lesson a bit unique. For example, how to tell if your manuscript simply isn’t strong enough for publication or if the right editor just hasn’t seen it yet? I have had individual poems rejected dozens of times, leading me to question their quality, before they are suddenly accepted by a big magazine. Strangely, I have won two awards with significant cash prizes for poems that had been rejected too many times to count. So it’s important to keep subjectivity in mind. Rejection does not necessarily equate to a poor manuscript. That is why I simultaneously submit to journals and presses, and it is why I never give up on a piece that I truly believe in. However, it’s equally important to revisit one’s work with an eye for revising after so many rejections. Yes, maybe the poem hasn’t found the right editor yet. But it may not be as strong as you originally thought either. So, overall, I’d say every author should balance her own integrity, her own personal vision, with the feedback she receives. Know when to revise and when to hold your ground. Put ego to the side and realize writing is a craft. There are always others who know more than you and whose ideas it would be wise to adopt. But whatever you choose to do, always listen carefully to everyone’s advice. Within every critique and every rejection is a lesson, as long as you’re open-minded enough to listen.


Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?

John:
Absolutely. Small, independent, and university presses really are where most of the best poetry and fiction are being published these days. Apart from their more open-minded approach to an author’s voice and vision, they are not as burdened by the need to sell thousands of copies of each title. They tend to put more passion and effort into each author, which is a breath of fresh air. Also, in terms of author effort, most presses of this size and scope don’t require painstaking and time-consuming attempts to connect with a literary agent.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
John:
There’s a reason “keep writing, keep reading” has become clich├ęd advice for emerging writers; it’s absolutely true. You need to study as many books as possible from authors of various genres and from various countries. Listen to their voices. Watch how they manipulate and celebrate language. Delve deep into their themes and characters and take notes on the stylistic, structural, and linguistic tools they employ. And never, ever stop writing. Write every free moment you have. Bring a notebook and pen everywhere you go (and I mean everywhere). It’s okay if you’re only taking notes. Notes are critical. It’s okay if that first book doesn’t find a publisher. There will be more books to come. And it’s okay if those first poems aren’t all that great. You have a lifetime to grow as a writer.

Do we write to be cool, to be popular, to make money? We write because we have to, because we love crafting stories and poems, because stringing words together into meaning is one of life’s true joys. So rejections are par for the course. Writing poems or stories that just aren’t as strong as they could be is par for the course. But we must all retain that burning passion for language and storytelling. That flame is what keeps us maturing as writers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Publishing 101: Interview with New Adult Author Deborah Ann Davis



DEBORAH ANN DAVIS has been writing since she was assigned to keep a Journal in her 5th grade English class. She began to look around for writing inspiration. Lo and behold, she found her world was full of funny stories just waiting to be told. As she grew older, occasionally she could manipulate one into some school assignment, but it never occurred to her to pursue writing, not even when she discovered her flare for telling stories at college parties.

After a string of college majors, she realized she could have a captive audience EVERY DAY in the public school system. As it turns out, teenagers love to laugh, and what could be more entertaining than Biology, Earth Science, and Environmental Science? Then there's the added bonus that once kids know you like to laugh, they want to make you laugh.

Go figure.

In addition to Writing, she is also an Educational Speaker and a Certified Personal Trainer. She taught for 25+ years, although somewhere in the middle of all that educating, she stepped out of teaching for 6 years to do the Mommy Thing, and run the office for their family construction company.

Even though they had followed separate paths, Deborah reunited with, and married her childhood sweetheart, twelve years after their first kiss.  Together they coached their daughter’s AAU Basketball Team, which swept States two years in a row. (Yay!) Then, for several years their daughter and their money went to college.

They currently reside on a lovely lake in Connecticut. She enjoys dabbling with living a sustainable life, writing novels for her Love of Fairs series, dancing, playing outside, and laughing really hard every day. She promotes increasing the amount of movement throughout your day via Wiggle Writer posts on Merry Meddling, her blog at www.DeborahAnnDavis.com. Follow her @DeborahAnnDavis.

Remember, you can do anything if you set your mind to it— including becoming an author at any age— but it’s way more fun if you are grinning back when the Universe smiles down on you.
For More Information
About the Book:


Title: FAIRLY SAFE
Author: Deborah Ann Davis
Publisher: D&D Universe
Pages: 356
Genre: New Adult

When Mistaken Identity collides with Secret Identity, who wins?

JACOB HAS COME A LONG WAY FOR AN ORPHANED FOSTER KID. He has a mentor, a great job, and has finally fallen in love. Granted, she mistook him for a stalker when they met, but every relationship has its little problems. Unfortunately, for the past few years, as the object of his affection pops in and out of his life, she has refused to share any personal info, like where she’s from, or her real name. Regardless, Jacob is ready to take their relationship to the next level. Now, if only he can locate her so he can tell her.

CASEY’S FAMILY IS IN THE WITNESS PROTECTION PROGRAM. Safety has to be their only priority. Their cover has been blown before, so Casey knows at any given time they could be forced to disappear again. Obviously, a shy young man with hopeful eyes cannot possibly be added to the mix. You cannot build a relationship like that. Now, if only she can stop thinking about him.

JACOB’S AND CASEY’S WORLDS UNEXPECTEDLY COLLIDE when Jacob inadvertently helps hide her family. Exposed to their 24-7 vigilance, Jacob realizes he must come up with a plan to keep them out of harm’s way, because this time if Casey disappears, she will be taking with her Jacob’s heart, and his hopes of finally having a family of his own.

For More Information

  • Fairly Safe is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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?
Deborah:  I didn’t actually decide to become an author until I realized I had almost 2 books written. I initially started composing stories in my head when I was recovering from Lyme disease and had to stop teaching. As I grew stronger, I started typing one of them up, Fairly Safe. After I returned to teaching, I decided to write during the summer is just for fun.
Is this your first book?
Deborah: Ummm, Fairly Safe is the first book I wrote, but it is not the first book I had published. Its progress was interrupted when I fell in love with my first Renaissance Faire, and Fairly Certain sprang out of me. After that book was published, I finished editing Fairly Safe.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Deborah: I Indie Published because the members of my writing groups were always sharing stories about problems in the traditional publishing world. Plus, my books didn’t fit comfortably enough into a category for a traditional publisher.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Deborah: I have met some amazing and supportive people along this journey. I find it so interesting that when I ask other Indie Pubbers about their experience, none of us have the same one because there are so many ways to do this. This whole thing has morphed into me speaking to different groups about the Indie Publishing process. That’s especially fun for me because I miss being in the classroom so much.
That brings me to the biggest con. Initially when I left teaching, almost an entire year passed before I found time to write anything new. Instead of jumping into my career as a full-time writer, I found myself learning how to be a full-time publisher, promoter, social media-ite, marketer, distributor, and traveling salesman.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Deborah: Publishing is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. And it’s not for the faint of heart. It is time-consuming and ego-smashing but—just like that first time your baby smiles at you, and it all feels worth it—the first time a reader tells you how much they love your book, that moment makes it all worthwhile.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Deborah: If you have the time and the money, definitely. Look, you are either going to spend your time trying to find an agent or publisher, or you are going to spend your time finding an editor, cover artist and printer. If you can foot the bill up front, the great royalties will last as long as you have books to sell.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Deborah: Save all your work, even the wonky stuff from middle school. All of it is the testament to your growth at your craft. If you toss the old stuff, there will be no evidence of your journey, of how far you’ve come.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Romantic Suspense Author Anna del Mar

Book Title: The Stranger
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Carina 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?
Anna: I became an author because I didn’t really have any other choice. I’ve been a life-long writer and I had all these stories worked out in my mind. I wasn’t so sure about the publishing adventure. But I just had to write my stories down.

As to The Stranger, I started to travel to Alaska a few years ago. The place inspired me. The people intrigued me. It was the perfect setting for a kickass adventure centered on a hot, sexy romance, an opposites attract scenario that featured the clash of ice and fire.

I was rattling in the sky, flying in a single-engine over the Alaskan tundra when the story was born. In The Stranger, ex-military pilot, Seth Erickson is fighting his own demons, but when he finds Summer Silva, a beautiful, warmth-loving, Miami woman stranded in the frozen wilderness, he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe from murder, treason, and the ruthless Alaskan winter.

Is this your first book?
Anna: The Stranger, is actually my third release with Carina Press and the second novel of my romantic suspense Wounded Warrior Series. It follows on the heels of my Amazon bestseller, The Asset and the first novel of my erotic romance series At the Brink. One cool fact about all of my novels is that even though they’re interrelated, they are each a standalone journey. You can read them in whichever order you wish!
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Anna: I’m very lucky that my novels found a home with Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin. I chose to go with Carina Press because they have an amazingly talented team and they are all about romance. To me, they’re the place to be if you’re writing anything romance.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? 
Anna: My publishing journey began when my husband kicked me in the rear and convinced me to go for it. I found a romance editor, Nancy Cassidy, from the Red Pen Coach, and asked her if there was any merit to my story. Nancy was a joy to work with and so very positive and encouraging. She knows the industry inside and out. She led me through the intimidating process of putting my work out there and recommended a few houses she thought would be a good fit for me, delivering me with very little pain to Carina Press’s doors.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Anna: I’ve learned patience, perseverance and grit. Patience is a big one. The publishing industry moves at its own pace. It’s very competitive out there, with lots of great authors presenting polished manuscripts and amazing serial concepts. It’s about more than one book. Publishers today are looking for productive authors capable of enduring the rigor of professional writing, willing to create a brand and deliver a steady stream of high quality novels. It’s all about depth and endurance.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Anna: You mean would I recommend Carina Press to other authors considering publication? Heck, yes! Absolutely.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Anna: Write, write a lot, often and continuously. As a newbie, without a completed novel, you’re dead in the water. Find a top of the line editor that knows your genre and listen carefully. If your editor doesn’t get it, neither will your reader. Work hard to polish your manuscript and don’t let rejection kill your writing.

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ABOUT THE BOOK
When her sister runs away with a guy she met on the internet, a warmth-loving Miami architect chases her reckless sibling to Alaska and finds her life in danger from more than the elements. Only a stranger, a wounded warrior who is also Alaskan tycoon with a quarreling family as complicated as her own and no time for a lady in distress—let alone one who walks on her sleep—can save her from disaster. Together, two strangers from different worlds and opposite spectrums of the thermometer must unravel the intrigues that threaten their lives to chase after a new dream, together, in majestic Alaska. 

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