Northants Authors had a great time at Weston Favell library, Northampton (England), last week. We will return 12-15 December so if you’re in the area then do put that in your diary and come and meet us, and buy your Christmas presents! To find out more about us, click the blue link above (which will take you to our website) or here.
Category Archives: self-publishing
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Fellow Northants Authors member and children’s author John Scotcher runs the YouTube channel Chatterbooks and is running various episodes introducing his audience to a series of independent authors. I’m delighted to say I am episode four… see the video below…
And you can find out more about my novel via this blog’s The Serial Dater’s Shopping List (novel) page.
Welcome to the seven hundred and eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is contemporary and historical mystery author Joyce T Strand. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further… but not before you check out the giveaway that Joyce has kindly offered – details after the interview. My thanks go to Della of Dellagate for arranging this interview…
Morgen: Hello, Joyce. It’s great to have you back.
Joyce: Thanks for having me on your blog. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my contemporary and historical mysteries that I write to entertain the whodunit fans.
Morgen: I love whodunits, although I rarely get them right. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Joyce: I currently live in Southern California near San Diego, although I lived most of my working life in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is why many of my mysteries are set there. Before writing fiction, for more than 25 years, I spent most of my career writing by-lined articles, whitepapers, press releases, and fact sheets. When I lost my job in 2008, I had difficulty finding a new one and decided to write fiction. It was an interesting transition!
Morgen: San Francisco’s certainly a popular location for writers. A few of them have visited this blog. You write contemporary and historical mysteries, have you considered other genres?
Joyce: With The Reporter’s Story, I have now written and published two historical mysteries and five contemporary ones. Not only do I write mysteries, but I also really enjoy reading all kinds: cozy, thrillers, historical, and procedural. If I were to change genres, I would probably write historical novels. Clavell’s Shogun is my favorite novel, and to be able to write like that would be incredible. I felt like I was actually in medieval Japan and was drawn into the chess-playing plot of intrigue.
Morgen: History was one of my worst subjects at school; trying to remember all those dates. 1066, 1665, 1666 and the twentieth-century wars is about as good as I get. You’ve self-published, what led to you going your own way?
Joyce: I have self-published. Three circumstances led me to that route. (1) I am impatient. The traditional process just takes too much time. (2) My background and career in public relations exposed me to publishing and marketing, giving me just enough background to make me think I knew something. (3) The ability to produce e-books at low-cost and publish them on Kindle and Nook at no up-front charge. Eventually the proliferation of social media added to the marketing quiver. However, I believe that the clout of a big publisher still carries considerable punch to the widespread success of an author.
Morgen: I’d agree and so I’ve self-published but am also planning to submit to publishers… the best of both worlds.🙂 You mentioned eBooks (Kindle and Nook), how involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Joyce: I confess that I took to the e-book tablet very quickly. I am not one who needs printed-paper pages to enjoy reading. I find the e-book format convenient and alluring. I carry my Kindle with me everywhere and seldom mind waiting in doctor’s offices or in lines because I can pull it out and read. Of course, I have at least fifty books loaded and beckoning me. At the same time, I get very excited when I receive the print copies of my own books—the cover is so enhancing, and flipping through the pages seeing my words in print is exciting. OK, so maybe I still do enjoy the printed pages a little!
Morgen: Me too. I prefer eBooks to read, especially when Mrs Kindle reads to me (very useful when checking my own writing). Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
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Today’s book review of an author’s three self-publishing guides is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
John Monyjok Maluth’s three self-publishing guides
The Marketing Guide: The negative concept about the traditional book marketing is that, a certain company must publish your book. This concept is now past. It is not modern even though some authors are relying on this concept even today. Getting into public is the main issue. The quality of your book matters the most.
The Publisher’s Guide: With the help of today’s technology, you can do the impossible things yourself. You can write, edit, proofread, design, format, convert, publish and market your books online. Would you believe this to be true? Whether you believe it or not, it is happening daily. People are writing and publishing their own book daily. The book publishing concept is already changing from time to time.
The Author’s Guide: In the Author’s Guide, I have discussed about the writing concepts, types, history, and finally, the independent publishing in the modern world. Today, you cannot only write books, you can also publish your own online. It’s time to get started!
Review (of the eBooks)
I came across Kenyan John Monyjok Maluth’s three self-publishing guides while recommending Smashwords to an editing client.
I started with the marketing guide where the first half talked about where to self publish and the associated outlets available so not really marketing as such. Section 5 entitled social network book marketing was the most useful although talked about the mainstream sites of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
It was at 88% that we get marketing tips so up to then it felt more like the where to get books available guide.
There was a fair amount of repetition throughout the book and the message was to use social media, tell friends et cetera so, for me, sadly nothing new but a good refresher, especially when it came to utilising email contacts. I have never set up a newsletter and had started the process on mail chimp – which isn’t mentioned in John’s books – and must see that through.
John’s publishing guide is similar but – as you would expect – shows you how to self publish and skims over marketing.
I then went on to the author’s experience which does what it says on the tin; how John came to writing and self-publishing then talks again about how to market.
In all three books, he reiterates that we should write because we love it, not for the money, although both is ideal. I concur.
I did spot a couple of typing errors in the marketing guide: ‘tranditionally’ and ‘its’ marketing success’ (where they shouldn’t be an apostrophe after its – an easy mistake to make). And another easy mistake to make – in the publisher’s guide – is ‘both you and me will be paid $25’. Drop the ‘both you and’ and the rest doesn’t make sense so the best way to remember when you’re trying to decide whether to use ‘you and me’ or ‘you and I’.
For beginners they are excellent guide, especially as they are all given away free on Smashwords, and a useful reminder for more seasoned writers.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.
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‘The Parcel’ is an eighteen-chapter 26,000-word collaborative novella (free) eBook written by attendees of the 2015 winter-term ‘Creative Writing – Intermediate’ ten-week class hosted by co-contributor Morgen Bailey.
The authors wrote their chapters while knowing only the size, weight and destination address of the parcel, together with the chapters’ starting and ending locations – chosen by the authors themselves (some of whom have other books available on Smashwords). They could choose their own characters – the lead of which entitle each chapter – and plot.
Morgen then collated the stories and made minor edits to turn each chapter into a cohesive novella before designing the cover and upload the finished package today, Monday 30th November, hours ahead of the tenth and final session of the course so all the contributing attendees left the course as published authors!
It is available (free!) on Smashwords and will soon be available on iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, Oyster, OverDrive (which Smashwords describes as the world’s largest library ebook platform serving 20,000+ libraries), Baker & Taylor, Gardners Books, and Inktera (formerly called Page Foundry).
It is available for free, and all the authors hope that you enjoy reading this novella and that it feels seamless to you.
We would love to know what you think and invite you to email Morgen at firstname.lastname@example.org who will pass your comments on to the relevant authors. We would also be very grateful if you left a review as an encouragement for others to read the novella. Further details (inc. a list of the contributing authors) on this blog’s The Parcel Project 2015 page.
Please do leave a comment (below or on the PP2015 page), especially after you’ve read the novella and hopefully before too long you’ll be able to read those left by other visitors. Thank you for those of you who will go off and download this eBook – your support is much appreciated. Oh, I did I mention that it’s free?🙂
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Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and fourth, is of middle-grade writer Kathleen Andrews Davis. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Kathleen Andrews Davis lives in the mountains of central Pennsylvania, USA, with her husband and a horde of white-tail deer who insist on annihilating any attempts at gardening. She and her husband are empty-nesters with two grown daughters and two beautiful grandchildren.
During her varied working career, Kathleen did business writing with everything from press releases to policy and procedure manuals. She served a year as managing editor of an in-house newspaper where she enjoyed every aspect of production including writing, photography, and dummy layout. From there, she moved into marketing pieces and business plans.
Kathleen tells me her favorite venture was fourteen years in the Bed & Breakfast industry of which seven years were spent managing properties for other owners and seven years owning their own B&B in Wildwood Crest, NJ. “When we left our lovely, old Victorian it left a hole in my heart, and I found myself with an indistinguishable yearning to be more and do more. The little wheels in my head started turning and it dawned on me, if I liked commercial writing, why wouldn’t I like creative writing?”
Becoming a grandmother was the fuel that fed the fire, and Kathleen decided to leave her grandchildren a legacy of words that would outlast any other inheritance she could give. “My goal was to write an entertaining novel entwined with family history. I also wanted to emphasize common sense and moral integrity. If my work encourages youngsters to read more, that’s the icing on the cake.”
Many readers have likened the Emerson’s Attic series to historical fiction because of the geography, vocabulary, and period objects Kathleen researches in depth. “I’m a firm believer history is more fun when it can be taught in an entertaining way,” says Kathleen.
Emerson’s Attic, The Blue Velvet, the first in her self-published series for middle-grade readers was published in July 2013. Smoke and Mirrors, the second in the series, was published in July 2014. The third, Quiet Heart, is expected to be ready for publication by the fall of 2015.
Kathleen has also finished an adult novel that is currently making the rounds in search of an agent. “I love stories about smart, mature women, and the characters in this novel simply had to come out. Much different from the Emerson’s Attic series, it was unexpected and completely different genre which has given me great satisfaction. I have finally found what I want to be when I grow up…an author.”
Kathleen admits there are not enough hours in the day, but when she gets any free time she spends it reading, doing needlework, walking, snow skiing, and fly-fishing. Gardening has fallen to minimal maintenance only, at least until the deer find better feeding grounds.
And now from the author herself:
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Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and second, is of children’s author Gigi Sedlmayer. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born in May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany, following where her dad got work. That meant she had to change schools nine times. In the end, she never had friends again, for fear she will lose them again.
Finally they settled in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.
Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.
In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handcraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots in several sizes of which she sold thousands in a few years.
In 1988, she and Albert decided to adopt and became parents two twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.
Two years later, Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, ‘Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life’.
She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English improved so she pressed on to develop her creative writing.
Albert taught her how to use a computer and Gigi wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often received very good reports, which gave her the confidence to go on writing.
One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and characters to life.
She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4×4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossicking), and enjoys good adventure DVDs or going to the movies.
And now from the author herself:
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