Saturday, December 3, 2011
Sorry for my recent absence, I had to go back to a "real" job for awhile! LOL!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Carol Denbow: Welcome Joy. Please start by telling us a little about your book.
Joy Shannon: I wrote this book originally as my thesis for my masters in American Studies at Cal State Fullerton. I am primarily an artist and musician but I have always been fascinated by cultural history and how the arts influence culture. I am especially interested in how the arts are often associated with countercultures that are ahead of their time and affect cultural shifts in the mainstream often years later. I chose Wilde’s 1882 tour as the subject for my thesis because Wilde was a perfect example of an artist who deeply influenced culture and was part of the Victorian countercultures which influenced the 20th century mainstream.
Carol Denbow: Statistically, most people who write “biographies” write them about themselves or a family member. Why Oscar?
Joy Shannon: Oscar Wilde wrote in the Picture of Dorian Gray that “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” This is very much true for my book. I chose to write about Oscar Wilde because he has so deeply inspired and influenced me in my development as an artist. I chose to write about his 1882 tour which was at the very beginning, devlopmental stage of his career when he was 27 years-old, because I am at that stage in my own career and I was 27 when I wrote the book. I really wanted to learn more about him and his humanity and learn from him in how he handled his career.
Carol Denbow: Oscar Wilde; what a character of his time! Why did you choose in particular, his North American Tour?
Joy Shannon: This tour has not been researched and written about as much as the rest of Wilde’s career, especially the sad end of his career. Additionally I chose to research the 1882 tour for practical reasons; it is a contained period of time with a contained amount of primary source evidence, so I could wrap my head around it. As a musician who has performed and worked on tours, I also found the idea of Wilde going on a tour of North America fascinating. When we think of tours, the general image that comes to mind are 1970s rock bands touring during the height of the area rock era, so thinking of Wilde going on a Victorian-era tour was so interesting!
Carol Denbow: Did you find it difficult to write an entire book about one celebrity?
Joy Shannon: May be it would have been a challenge if I wrote about anyone else, but Oscar Wilde just abundantly inspires and makes me laugh. Continually while I researched, I found hilarious moments that I just wanted to share with everyone I know! In the end, I could have written a book twice as long!
Carol Denbow: Your book is loaded with some amazing photos and trivial stories; where did you find all these?
Joy Shannon: Most of my research was from the interviews of Wilde during his 1882 tour and the letters he wrote that year. I started with those primary source materials and then would research people Wilde wrote to or mentioned in interviews and just expanded my research from there. As there is not a comprehensive book written solely about this tour, only articles and books about certain aspects of the tour, I found my research all over the place. I also found a great deal of information online, at university archives and the online historical archives of various cities that Wilde travelled to. The Oscar Wilde Society of America has a website that helped me a great deal too. They are continually working to compile a comprehensive archive of research about Wilde’s 1882 tour, so if I ever found references to Wilde doing something or going somewhere that I only found in one source, I double checked with OWSOA to see if they confirmed it. Some of the writing about Wilde in 1882 was like reading a gossip magazine, so I wanted to make sure I figured out what was really true. This tour had rumors and legends built up around it-- and I did not shy away from reporting on these legends-- but I wanted to make sure I did so in an historically responsible way. What this research taught me is that in the end, we might never know about certain moments of history. Like the much speculated-upon meeting between Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde in 1882-- we know it happened but we do not know much more about it! Oh to have been a fly on the wall!
Carol Denbow: This is a pretty extensive book; may I ask how long it took to write it?
Joy Shannon: I researched and wrote the book in one year between 2010 and 2011. I did most of my research in the first 6 months and then wrote for the next 6 months. I had loved Wilde since I was 13, so I already knew a lot about him and was not starting from scratch. The first chapter was the hardest to write and took me about two months, and then after that, I wrote about a chapter a month. Since I wrote this as my thesis, I had the additional help of a committee of three professors who read the first drafts of my chapters and gave me feedback. This book really owes a huge debt to my professors John Ibson, Michael Steiner and Joanna Roche at Cal State Fullerton. Ibson and Steiner are professors in the American Studies department and Roche is an art historian in the Visual Art department, and they each lent their unique expertise and questions to challenge me in my research and writing.
Carol Denbow: What can readers learn from this book?
Joy Shannon: Readers can learn an interesting way to look at history from this book. I applied my American Studies background, which focuses on tracing cultural trends and beliefs back to their historical sources, to Wilde’s counterculture attitudes and the mainstream reaction to him. In order for readers to fully understand why Oscar Wilde was so revolutionary, I detailed the mainstream fashions and gender- role ideals of the Victorian culture that Wilde was defying. I also traced where the counterculture beliefs, that Wilde was expounding upon in his 1882 interviews, were coming from and what they were reacting to in mainstream society.
Carol Denbow: Do you have any advice for writers who are writing a biography, either about their selves or someone else?
Joy Shannon: If I can give any advice to other writers, artists, musicians, or dreamers of all kinds, it is to go for it! If you have the desire to do something- whether it is writing a book or traveling the world- seriously do it! I believe we are given our desires like maps to our own fulfillment in life. The greatest fulfillment I have felt in my life is from dreaming up something, feeling intimidated or scared to take the risk to do it, and then actually doing it! I have learned my greatest lessons and grown most as a person this way. Researching Oscar Wilde reminded me to keep going on my path of doing my music and art, because I saw how human Wilde was and how the creation of his career was a choice he made to believe in himself and just go for it! I guess we are all most afraid of failing when we pursue our dreams, but Wilde is a great role-model in this, because he totally fails in lots of very human ways, and he still makes such an important mark on this world by being himself. I think we love him more because of his humanity and ultimately his “failures” are not necessarily failures at all. The only thing about Wilde I could criticize is his not writing more plays, poetry or novels in his lifetime. So my advice to all aspiring writers or dreamers of any kind, is go for it!
Carol Denbow: Joy, you are also a very talented musician. Does this tie in with the book in anyway? Including marketing your book?
Joy Shannon: Thank you! I think that everything I do ties back into my music, as it’s my main career. All I know is that researching and writing this book personally inspired me and thus inspired my music. I have received a lot of interest in this book from the fans of my music, which has been an interesting surprise! From that, I can deduce that my music attracts history nerds like me! Perhaps this means I need to market my music to the band “the Decemberists’ ” crowd?!
Carol Denbow: May we ask where we could find this book to purchase?
Joy Shannon: You can order the book in paperback or Kindle most readily online from amazon.com.
Carol Denbow: As long as I mentioned your music, where might our visitors learn more about that?
Joy Shannon: My band Joy Shannon and the Beauty Marks is on itunes.com, bandcamp.com and of course my official website: www.joyshannon.com. You can also see our music videos at our youtube channel: “http://www.youtube.com/user/joyshannon?feature=mhee” and find us on facebook here: “http://www.facebook.com/#!/JoyShannonandtheBeautyMarks”
Carol Denbow: Well Joy, all I have to add is “Happy Birthday Oscar!” Thanks for joining us!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Doreen has agreed to talk to us about the importance of researching for your book. I’ve heard fiction writers state they “don’t need to research anything” because their book is fiction; but that can be far from the truth. Let’s chat with Doreen and find out just why every writer may need to do some searching before they complete their book project.
Carol Denbow: Welcome Doreen! Thank you for taking the time to answer some important questions for us. But first, please tell us a little about your books.
Doreen Pendgracs: THANKS CAROL. I’VE CO-AUTHORED 2 TRAVEL-RELATED BOOKS: A FROMMER’S GUIDE, AS WELL AS THE MANITOBA BOOK OF EVERYTHING – WHICH IS A CANADIAN BESTSELLER. MY FIRST SOLO PROJECT WAS BEFORE YOU SAY YES … A BOOK DESIGNED TO HELP ANYONE WHO IS CURRENTLY VOLUNTEERING FOR OR CONSIDERING VOLUNTEERING FOR A NON-PROFIT GROUP OR ASSN. MY CURRENT PROJECT IS CHOCOLATOUR, A BOOK THAT COMBINES MY PASSIONS FOR CHOCOLATE, PEOPLE AND PLACES.
Carol Denbow: Okay, let’s get down to the basics. Please tell us what you needed to research to complete your book Before You Say Yes.
Doreen Pendgracs: THAT PROJECT WAS FAIRLY EASY FOR ME TO RESEARCH AND WRITE AS I WAS SPEAKING FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I DID INTERVIEW 20 UBER VOLUNTEERS AS WELL, TO AUGMENT THE INFO FROM MY OWN BOARD EXPERIENCES AND FOR INFO ON SITUATIONS I HAD NOT PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED.
Carol Denbow: Where did you find your information for the book?
Doreen Pendgracs: I’VE VOLUNTEERED FOR NUMEROUS ORGS OVER THE PAST 25+ YEARS AND SO I HAD EXTENSIVE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE TO DRAW FROM. BECAUSE OF MY MEMBERSHIPS IN VARIOUS ORGS AND EXTENSIVE NETWORK, I HAD ACCESS TO NUMEROUS INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE INVALUABLE INUT FOR MY BOOK. I ALWAYS ADVISE WRITERS TO LOOK WITHIN THEIR OWN NETWORKS FOR SOURCES AS THEY’RE OFTEN RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES.
Carol Denbow: How about your upcoming release Chocolatour? What kind of research did you need to do for that book? Was it more difficult to accomplish, and were your contacts different from your first book?
Doreen Pendgracs: RESEARCH FOR CHOCOLATOUR HAS BEEN EXTENSIVE AND IS ONGOING. I’VE BEEN TRAVELLING THE WORLD IN SEARCH OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE CHOCOLATE MAKERS AND BEST CHOCOLATE. I MUST SAY … IT’S QUITE THE FUN PROJECT, BUT IS A LITTLE TOUGH ON THE WAISTLINE. IT’S AMAZING THE KIND OF SACRIFICES WRITERS AND AUTHORS MUST MAKE FOR THEIR READERS.
Carol Denbow: I realize you have not written a fiction book (yet), but in your opinion, does a fiction writer need to research for their book? Any why?
Doreen Pendgracs: FICTION WRITERS DEFINITELY NEED TO CONDUCT RESEARCH FOR THEIR BOOKS IN ORDER TO MAKE THEM REAL AND BELIEVEABLE. I KNOW MANY AUTHORS WHO HAVE TRAVELLED THE WORLD TO GET HISTORICAL FACTS AND INTERESTING ANECDOTES TO PUT INTO THEIR NOVELS.
Carol Denbow: Doreen, I am so pleased you agreed to do this interview and your information is extremely important to other writers. Thank you for joining us and please close by reminding us where visitors can learn more about or purchase your books.
Doreen Pendgracs: THANKS CAROL. IT’S BEEN A PLEASURE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE AT http://www.wizardofwords.net/.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
So, you’ve written that book that’s been burning in your brain and you’ve actually published it. If you’re thinking that’s an end to your labor for this project, think again. Now, comes the real work…
Before you panic thinking that this part of the job is beyond you, relax—this can actually be the beginning of the fun. It takes some time, some research, some creativity, but it’s so worth it!
Thanks to the Internet, you can now place your name and the name of your book all over the globe. You just need two little words---Social Media!
Never before in the history of publishing has it been so easy to let everyone on the planet know of your accomplishments. You can start with the big names in social media—Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but there are many others you can utilize as well.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to concentrate on just one—LinkedIn. It’s not enough to just fill out a profile, then sit back and wait to be noticed. Proper utilization of this branch of social media is essential. You must interact with others of like mind and interests.
Find some groups that appeal to you and join them. Pay attention to the discussions going on and join in if possible. It’s okay to ask question; everyone is more than happy to answer and help you. And if you can answer someone else’s question or just want to put your two cents worth in, go for it. Introduce yourself, talk about your book, share interesting articles or events. Remember to be polite and respectful of others and keep in mind that no one likes a ‘know-it-all.’
Sometimes, an opportunity to promote your book suddenly appears serendipitously, as it did in my case. A very generous lady name Marilyn Meredith invited authors to do a guest post on her blog. I contacted her, and presto! I had stop #1 in my first virtual book tour! I made announcements everywhere I was a member, as well as to family, friends and colleagues. That announcement, made on one of my favorite forums, Boomerwomenspeak.com resulted in another invitation to guest post, on the blog of the new director, Anne Holmes. Thanks to a Q&A session of the group ‘Book Marketing Made Easy,’ founded by D’vorah Lansky and which I heartily recommend, I received yet another invitation from Lynnette Phillips to guest post on her blog.
Guest posting on other people’s blogs has turned out to be marvelous fun and a great marketing tool. Make the most of it! And the best part? Your posts are out there forever, constantly marketing for you and your book.
So, get out there, join some groups, make friends, and be helpful when and where you can. Talk about your book wherever it is appropriate and keep the title and your name where everyone can see it, all the time.
Alanna Parke Kvale is the author of Widowhood Is Not Funny. You can visit her blog at: http://widowhoodisnotfunny.blogspot.com and her Website at http://www.alannaparkekvale.weebly.com
Her book is available for all e-readers. Download & begin reading instantly at: Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Steffannie Roaché, author of Righteous Anger: Mad Enough to Make a Change.
A seasoned Christian Worker and Life Coach involved in lay ministries for more than 15 years, Steffannie is also currently working towards a Master’s degree in Counseling. Righteous Anger: Mad Enough to Make a Change is her first outpouring in a series of Christ-centered books created to address the modern needs of Christians and Seekers alike.
The topic of our interview today is how can we use our past and present experiences to compose a successful non-fiction book? Obviously, Steffannie has used her accumulated knowledge to compose such a book, but how did she decide to pursue this, how did she apply her experience, and what does the future hold for this new and inspiring author?
Carol Denbow: Greetings Steffannie, and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today. Can you please start by telling us a little about your new release Righteous Anger: Mad Enough to Make a Change?
Steffannie Roaché: Thank you Carol, I'm glad to share. This book focuses on a need for people to decidedly, purposefully, and with passionate intent, take back their freedom. It's specifically for Christians, but also other individuals that are seeking spiritual strength to overcome their worst obstacles. There are times we will place barriers in our own path, either by ignoring the empowerment of God’s own Spirit in our livers, or by lacking faith in our God given abilities. Righteous Anger: Mad Enough to Make a Change explores Biblical truths to tear down these barriers.
Carol Denbow: The book sounds wonderful. You have such a broad knowledge in your field. Does this come with education or simply mass experience?
Steffannie Roaché: Education and experience have both played a role in my work. I completed a bachelors in human development, and I'm currently working on a masters in counseling. My future plans are to finish my theological studies as well. Although these are important, its really about ministering to others. I believe many of us are drawn to help; whether it be in nursing, ministry and outreach, foster parenting, or volunteerism in some form. Our hearts seem to be compelled to reach out and help make a difference in the lives of others. Ultimately my work, education, and life's goals are a combination of these factors.
Carol Denbow: What made you decide it was time to share your experience in the form of a book?
Steffannie Roaché: The book was a natural consequence for me. After developing several Bible studies and working with people individually or in small groups, I realized a similar theme continually crept into our conversations. Even the most faithful Christians and good people struggled to overcome repeating patterns in their lives. It almost seemed as if they were systematically drawn back to issues that held them hostage. I found myself sharing the same Biblical truths and words of wisdom to encourage those searching for an answer, namely: How do I move from wanting change, to making a last change? This book is a culmination of these experiences and offers a humble answer to this question.
Carol Denbow: How long did it take you to complete your manuscript?
Steffannie Roaché: That's actually a difficult question to answer because I began writing Biblical studies and compiling notes on this topic many years ago. I had some portions in diaries and notebooks. When I finally purposed it in my heart to develop a complete manuscript it all came together in about 10months.
Carol Denbow: In the book, you are very passionate about your topic. Is there any past personal experience that may have driven you?
Steffannie Roaché: One event in particular did contribute to my work. Several years ago I had a personal experience with a time of depression and personal turmoil. I considered my self a faith filled believer and a strong person, so it seemed contradictory for me to have these issues. I couldn’t seem to shake it. Unfortunately I was too ashamed to seek professional counseling, not even help from my church. At that time, In the late 80's and early 90’s, there was a great stigma attached to 'needing help' for issues related to emotional or mental issues. Instead, I quietly hid my pain and began to search the Bible for answers. I also prayed and believed that God would help me to overcome the problems that faced me. Eventually I received victory in my life, and these experiences gave me a greater sensitivity for other Christians who know personal struggles.
Carol Denbow: Have you always been interested in writing, or is this book solely a goal to address the needs of your audience?
Steffannie Roaché: I have always enjoyed writing. It provides a form of expression as creative as a sculpture. Unlike other art forms, the message is delivered in tangible manner that can be clearly expressed to all who care to experience it. Although this particular work is non fiction, I have attempted to share some of my personality and creativity within the pages.
Carol Denbow: Where will you find your audience for this release?
Steffannie Roaché: My prayer is for Believers to use this book as one of their resources for personal and ministry related needs. I also hope individuals exploring spiritual truths will find many of the answers they seek in the pages. For these reasons I’ve written of an audience of Christian Believers and spiritual seekers in need of personal and spiritual growth.
Carol Denbow: Steffannie, you are amazing and inspirational to all of us. Can you please let us all know where we can see your Website and/or buy your new book?
Steffannie Roaché: My website is www.steffannieroache.com, the book can be purchased online through my website, Amazon.com, or at your local book sellers by request.
Carol Denbow: I hope this interview inspires some gifted writer out there to pursue an inspirational book they may have only previously dreamed of writing.
Steffannie, you are available and very open to online interviews should any of our blog visitors be looking for the perfect guest for their Website or Blog postings—correct? So where might they contact you to arrange this?
Steffannie Roaché: Yes, I welcome requests for online interviews. I also am available for appearances with large or small organizations. More information is available on my website as well. I can be contacted at www.steffsings.webs.com or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Denbow: Thank you so much for doing this informative interview and we all wish you great success with your new book.
Again, the title is Righteous Mind: Mad Enough to Make a Change, 162 pages of inspirational and helpful information. ISBN 13: 978-1463560270. Thanks Steffannie, any final words? Future books planned?
Steffannie Roaché: One final thought I would like to share is that in the near future I will share an upcoming dating and relationship book specifically geared towards the single Christian person. I’m also excited to share that I am finishing a manuscript on multiculturalism in the modern church. Readers can stay informed about on the progress by becoming a website member at www.steffannieroache.com Thank you Carol for this experience. I really appreciated the opportunity to share with you and your readers.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Greetings visitors! Thank you for dropping by my Blog. A Book Inside has tons of good information for you if you are writing and/or publishing a book in the near future.
If you're a visiting author and would like ot be entered in our contest to be interviewed on A Book Inside, here's what you need to do right now:
1) leave me a comment with your e-mail address
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All participants will be automatically entered and we will contact the winner within 3 days. A Book Inside is a PR5 site.
Scroll down to see all our posts including some new interviews with a few talented authors who have written and recently published some amazing books!
When you're done browsing my site, please "Follow" us, "Share" our page on Facebook, and "Twitter" us! Then click on over to Robin Murphy's site at http://robinmurphyauthor.com/robinmurphyauthor/ to see what's new with her and get the next link.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Ryan J. Cunningham is here with us today to talk about his new book, Gary’s Gray World, released just this month.
Carol Denbow: Greetings Ryan, thank you for joining us. Wow! Congratulations! You did it! I’m sure I speak for all visitors to this site when I say, good for you! So many only dream of what you have accomplished, and accomplished very well I might add.
Can you please start by telling us a little about Gary’s Gray World. What’s the book about?
Ryan J. Cunningham: When Gary's father is too busy to play, a scary moment at the baseball field brings his dad rushing to the park to rescue him. But instead the two discover that making time for each other is the most important thing in a father and son relationship.
Carol Denbow: That’s great. So there is a “lesson” inside this book. We all can become so wrapped up in our everyday business that we neglect our kids from time to time. Personally, I feel every children’s story should make a statement since our little ones absorb so much that generates what kind of person they will be as an adult before they are even six years old!
You have other published work, poems as well. Do you always try to make a positive statement when you write?
Ryan J. Cunningham: My other children’s stories and majority of my poems do portray inspirational, positive messages. However I have written some dark and depressing poems as well.
Carol Denbow: The artwork in your book is amazing; bright colors and incredible graphics. As talented a writer as you are, I do know you did not do the artwork yourself. How did you locate a professional artist for your book and how did you know they were the one that would work best for you?
Ryan J. Cunningham: I found the artist, Chrissy Fanslau, through a networking website for writers and illustrators called jacketflap.com. Chrissy’s artwork stood out from others I researched with her descriptive and life-like facial expressions in her characters.
Carol Denbow: Did you “buy” the images from the artist, or agree to “split” book proceeds with them?
Ryan J. Cunningham: Yes, I bought the images from Chrissy.
Carol Denbow: Were the images expensive and within your budget?
Ryan J. Cunningham: You pay for quality and her talented artwork just felt right for my story.
Carol Denbow: How did you determine how many images you would need for the story?
Ryan J. Cunningham: I e-mailed Chrissy the manuscript and with her expertise and knowledge in children’s books I let her decide on how many images were needed and what she wanted to draw.
Carol Denbow: How long did it take from the time you wrote this story until you actually were able to hold the physical book in your hand?
Ryan J. Cunningham: It’s been about twelve years from the time I first wrote this story and re-wrote this story to its final stage of being in print.
Carol Denbow: Wow, long time! Well Ryan, we’re very happy for you! I can honestly say, this book is PERFECT for working parents to read to their children (and themselves). It reinforces the importance of love and bonding between fathers and sons. Please tell our readers where they can buy your book?
Ryan J. Cunningham: Basically, the book is available anywhere fine books are sold—just ask. But these are the online links: Amazon.com. Even Kindle, and
B & N Nook Book.
You can read more about myself and Gary’s Gray World at my website Imagination—Inspiration.
Carol Denbow: What a pleasure to have you here for this interview. Thank you so much for joining us. Any final thoughts?
Ryan J. Cunningham: They say, “Timing is everything.” I don’t know who “they” are, but this is obviously the right time for my story, Gary’s Gray World to be told. I am grateful for meeting you and working on this book project together.
Carol Denbow: As always, comments are very welcomed. Please use the comment box below. If you have a question for Ryan, you can include that as well as he has generously offered to answer them for you.
Folks, in this day and age, this book may be perfect for your child or grandchild. A book with a message, good choice!
Gary's Gray World, ISBN 13: 978-1463670160
Friday, July 29, 2011
This initial interview is with first-time author, Andrew Fitzmorris. I chose this one to start because Andrew has published a “literary fiction” novel with a touch of Romance; a very common genre. In this interview I will be asking Andrew about the actual “writing” and editing process of his book, Love Beyond The City.
Carol Denbow: Welcome Andrew, and thank you for participating in our interview extravaganza!
Please start by telling us a little about your new release, Love Beyond The City. What’s it about?
Andrew Fitzmorris: Thank you for having me, Carol! I’m excited to be here today. Love Beyond the City is about Leopold Roman, an artist, who’s struggling journey to find purpose in life through a rollercoaster of emotions. He begins with an art block, detesting the town he lives in. He decides to leave behind Kennebunkport, Maine and his current unstable relationship with Sara Perkins to travel to where he used to live, New York City, for a spark of inspiration. While in the city, he gets together with old friends and meets the girl of his dreams. Leopold struggles for her love as well as making sense of life. Love Beyond the City touches upon emotional upheaval and one’s desperate plight to once again find peace and simplicity that lies within reach.
Carol Denbow: Did you always dream of writing a book, or was this written “on a whim” so to speak?
Andrew Fitzmorris: When I was in college, I figured writing a book would be a hobby, but it turned out to be a gift I wanted to re-open every single day. Like many writers, I had my up’s and down’s with writing in general. Some mornings I’d wake up feeling great, head filled with creative ideas, then lose them for no reason, not feeling it anymore. At the end of some days, I may have ended with five thousand or more words, other days, perhaps only a few hundred, maybe only a sentence. Those were the ones that I’d look at the following morning, see it differently, and write more on it. For this particular story, the dream or idea of writing it surfaced after visiting my friend in Jersey City. We had explored New York City for days and I was in awe. One day, in February 2010, the idea became a dream, one full of literary possibilities. I realized I could write something profound, deep, real, and honest.
Carol Denbow: What do you suggest new writers do to prepare before picking up the pen (or computer nowadays!)
Andrew Fitzmorris: I suggest writing what it is you’ve been yearning to write down your entire life, even if it’s not the greatest thing in the world, it’s something. And that something will give you more experience down the road. I’ve learned that I needed to fail over and over to get it right. Writing fiction takes patience. You have to be willing to give yourself time for the words you want. Best advice I received was from my father, who told me to keep writing. Don’t let your dream and passion be taken away from you. To this day, I am still learning and strive to be knowledgeable in the field of fiction.
Carol Denbow: Your book sounds like an interesting story. How many pages is your book?
Andrew Fitzmorris: 80,000 words, 274 pages.
Carol Denbow: Wow! That must have taken some time to compose. How long did it take for you to finish the book?
Andrew Fitzmorris: It took me about five months to write. I handled each sentence and each chapter with care. I wanted it to be perfect when it came to the overall book and the way I envisioned it.
Carol Denbow: How did you decide when and where to end one chapter and begin a new one?
Andrew Fitzmorris: Most of it was pieced together by fragments. I put them together like a puzzle. So with each fragment, some were designed for a beginning chapter, middle idea for a chapter, or an ending to a chapter. I’d run with that fragment and build off of it. The tricky part was finding a home for these fragments, but after that, composing the chapter was fairly easy for me.
Carol Denbow: How did attending writing classes and participating in writer’s groups help you?
Andrew Fitzmorris: They helped motivate and excite me about the idea of being a writer. My professors molded the structure and basics for writing. After college I did a lot of reading and studying techniques from the Beat Generation. I loved Jack Kerouac’s style and how beautifully he put sentences together. William S. Burroughs blew me away with his technique of the cut-up method, a literary technique in which a text is rearranged to form new sentences and circumstances. These two great American authors shaped my writing. I wanted to embody Kerouac’s style and rhythm of words. I wanted to add Burroughs’s cut-up method. In, Love Beyond the City, you’ll see glimpse’s of both.
Carol Denbow: Do you suggest (I know I do!) that writers have their work critiqued by other writers or anyone for that matter?
Andrew Fitzmorris: If writers are serious about having their work published, then I highly recommend joining a critique group. If you check out different literary magazines or do an extensive search online, you’ll come across many. It’s a lot of hard work and very tough. You have to have thick skin. I am part of two groups and I take their feedback and comments to heart, whether it’s positive or negative. I really like having a mix of both because they’re the readers and audience who one day may read my work; having another perspective helps. You may think it’s great, but they’ll see it differently. The tricky part is how much do you change. If three people read a current chapter and all three points out that they didn’t understand the main characters motive, then you have to go back and re-think what you’re trying to say. But if one person finds the flaw and the other two don’t, then that’s ultimately up to you whether your character’s motive works.
Carol Denbow: What was the editing process like for you?
Andrew Fitzmorris: The editing process was time consuming, but having a critique group helped. Just when you think it’s good, it’s not. On and off, I must have spent about six months editing, then I sent query letters to literary agents and publishers. I sent a total of eighty or so. Each one was a rejection. You can’t take it personal. It’s actually a good thing and will help you in the editing phase. You’ll want to go back and figure out why they didn’t like the first five to ten pages you submitted.
Carol Denbow: This is all good information Andrew and we really appreciate your taking the time to do this interview with us. Is there anything you would like to add?
Andrew Fitzmorris: I just want to thank you for the opportunity to showcase my novel. I really enjoyed our interview and hope my book goes over well with readers.
Carol Denbow: Thanks again Andrew. Folks, Andrew Fitzmorris’ new release Love Beyond The City can be seen (or bought) at the following links and is also available wherever fine books are sold:
Please drop by Andrews Website at http://www.andrewfitzmorris.com
As always, comments are welcome and I’m sure Andrew would be happy to respond to any questions left in the comment section. Thanks for dropping by the Blog.
Monday, July 18, 2011
What is it? Blog Jog Day is a one-day event where Bloggers are joining together for a pyramid effect promotional rally. We all post on the same day with each post leading the visitor to the next Blog, and so on full circle. That’s it! Visitors explore your Blog, and then click on to the next one bringing potentially thousands of unique visitors to your site. Nearly 2,000 joggers showed up last November! Do you have a Blog or Website and need more visitors?
How Blog Jog Day Can Benefit You:
*More unique visitors to your Blog
*More inbound links
*More exposure and sales
*Grow your daily hits
Learn more about this exciting event by visiting the Blog Jog Day Blog at http://blogjogday.blogspot.com
If you will, please Tweet this post for us or Share it on your Facebook page. We ALL win on Blog Jog Day!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Harper Collins just re-launched a pretty cool YA/Teen writing site at http://inkpop.com/.
I jumped over there to see what the buzz was all about and was pretty impressed with the site. It definitely has the potential to help with the writing and publishing needs of teens.
I hope they’re ready for the bombardment of a million young writers, because they’re out there looking for this kind of help!
Just wanted to share that with any interested visitors.
Have a great day!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Plain & Simple Books Publishing now accepts most genres. Visit their site to learn more about author assisted publishing (perfect for first-time authors). Plain & Simple Book Publishing is limited to U.S. authors.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Our friends shared this information with us and I thought it might be helpful to some of you.
Ever dreamed of publishing a book? The Self-Publishing Book
Expo can help turn that dream into a reality. The SPBE is an
annual conference that brings together all of the major players in
self-publishing, from authors who are realizing their dreams to the
companies helping them achieve their goals.
This year the SPBE will be held on Saturday, October 22nd at the
Sheraton NY Hotel. It will feature an impressive array of speakers
and panels designed to teach what you need to know to self-
publish your work and help you navigate the waters. Panels on
social networking, pricing, distribution, building websites, and e-
books, to name but a few, are all designed to teach you how to
successfully publish, whether you’ re still considering the idea of
self-publishing or have a book or two under your belt.
Also featured this year will be One-on-One Manuscript
Evaluations where professional editors will sit down with you to
review and assess your work, and What’s My Story, a forum where
you will have the opportunity to pitch your book idea to a stellar
list of agents, editors and publishers.
The Exhibit Hall is free and open to the public and will feature
companies promoting their services an authors exhibiting and
selling their books.
For more information on panels, ticket prices and exhibition fees,
please visit: www.selfpubbookexpo.com
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Kind of hard to believe, isn’t it? As readers, we often get so attached to our favorite characters that it can be difficult to remember they aren’t real beings but rather figments of an author’s wonderful imagination brought to life on the page. Indeed, I believe one of the most important aspects – if not the most important aspect – of a good story is its characters. The characters are the ones who bring the reader inside the story – and keep her turning the pages to the final sentence. Characters are the ones who make the reader feel like he has a stake in what happens.
How can you create interesting, memorable characters who feel like real people? Get to know them yourself! YA author Joan Bauer once told me she writes 30-page biographies of all her main characters before she even starts writing the book. Now, I’m not saying you need to write a 30-page biography, but you can at least spend a few minutes interviewing your character and getting to know him or her better.
Below are some possible questions to answer in the “voice” of your character. These are just to give you ideas – feel free to jump off into answering your own questions! See where the “voice” of your character takes you!
My name is …
I am ___ years old. My birthday is ____.
I live in …
I like to …
My favorite color is …
My favorite food is …
My favorite type of music is …
My favorite movie is …
My favorite animal is …
My best friend is …
My secret hideout is …
I dream about …
I am obsessed with…
My greatest fear is …
My greatest wish is …
If I had a super power, it would be …
I love …
Something that makes me really angry is …
I worry about …
One day, I hope …
As you get to know your character better, you might find a story developing. Some ideas to get you started:
My happiest memory is …
My saddest memory is …
My most embarrassing moment is…
My favorite holiday has always been…
Last summer, I …
I was terrified when …
My life changed forever when …
The last time I cried was …
One time, I lied about …
I couldn’t believe my eyes when …
I never, ever thought I would …
I knew I was in trouble when …
Do you have any other questions you ask your characters? Share them with other young writers! Email them to me at email@example.com and they might be posted on my blog, http://dallaswoodburn.blogspot.com.
Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing.
She has written more than 80 articles and essays for national publications including Family Circle, Writer’s Digest, The Los Angeles Times, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Creative Writing and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she also teaches undergraduate writing courses.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
1. You Need to Pick a Niche: It’s important to pick a well-defined niche for your book to guide you during the writing process and help determine your target audience. Niche books tend to do best, so it’s generally a good idea to write what about what you know and steer away from personal journals, emotional rants or niche topics that no one has heard of. Also, think about what your audience wants to read and what’s missing from your chosen niche. Once you determine this important information, you can better address the needs of your readers and niche market, as well as make a name for yourself.
2. Study Your Competition: Before you self-publish, it’s important to study, analyze and keep up with your competition. If you haven’t picked a niche for your book yet, but have a couple genres in mind, start your investigation by looking closely at these types of books and authors to compare and contrast. If you do your homework and stay on top of your competitors’ latest works, you’ll be able to bring something fresh and new to the table and hopefully stand out from the others.
3. You Are Your Own Editor: It’s important to remember that self-published authors are on their own for editing, unless you hire a professional editor, which can get expensive, fast. Proofreading and revising your own work is all part of the self-publishing process and is necessary to maintain full creative control of your book. If you’re taking the self-editing challenge, be sure to utilize the numerous editing resources available online, and try to get a second set of eyes to take a look.
4. Make Your Title Memorable: In order to stand out among the rest, you’ve got to make your book title unique and memorable. This is true for any book – self-published or not. A short, clever title is always preferable, but it should still be clear and relevant to your book.
5. Self-Publishing Includes Self-Promotion: If you don’t have a publishing company and literary agent to market your book for you, you’d better be ready to do it yourself. Self-published authors have to put themselves out there and take an aggressive approach to marketing if they actually want to sell their books. This includes promoting the book online, organizing book signings and sending complimentary review copies to newspapers and magazines. Essentially, you should eat, sleep and breathe your book so others will care about it as much as you.
6. Praise and Criticism Should Happen Naturally: As tempting as it is to ask friends and family to write positive reviews for you, whether they’ve read your book or not, authors should overcome this urge and let praise and criticism happen naturally. Fake or forced reviews are easy to spot, and it won’t help your image one bit. So, sit back and let unbiased readers praise your work or rip it to shreds. After all, isn’t criticism better than no attention at all?
7. A Literary Agent Isn’t Necessary: As much help as literary agents can be, they aren’t necessary for selling good books. If you’re dead set on self-publishing and reaping the benefits on your own, you probably don’t have much need or desire for a literary agent who works in mainstream publishing. Having an agent often defeats the purpose and personal benefits of self-publishing because you’ll no longer have 100 percent control over your work.
8. Self-Published Authors Can Still Win Awards: Forget what you’ve heard before – self-published authors can win awards too! Every year, there are several writing contests to enter and awards to be given for superb self-published work, including short stories, fiction, nonfiction, poetry and many other genres. Credibility, a strong readership and strategic marketing will help you achieve your goals and reach the award-winning level.
9. Know Your Audience: An essential part of writing and successful self-publishing is knowing your audience. Since self-published books generally cater to a smaller niche market, you have to consider your audience from the project’s conception, publication and marketing stages. One way of knowing your audience is to study the demographics, interests and needs of readers within your chosen niche. If you’ve self-published work in the past, get in touch with your readers and deeply consider their comments, concerns and questions when writing your new book.
10. Send Out Review Copies: One of the best ways to establish credibility and garner attention for your hard work is to send out review copies to as many people and publications as possible. If your budget allows it, you can snail mail printed complimentary review copies of your book to newspaper, magazine and journal reviewers, as well as publishing companies, bookstores and anyone who sparks an interest in your writing.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The first year we won this honor, I had sent out a million requests asking folks to nominate us for this award (desperate woman!). However, this time, I did nothing. In fact, I wasn’t even aware it was “that” time again. So I’m especially tickled about this (and grateful).
So here it is! The symbol that addresses to the world “we are a winner!”
Thank you everybody!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Today I am interviewing Robin Murphy, author of Sullivan’s Secret, a paranormal murder mystery just released this week. Robin has managed to publish her first book completely cost-free and is here to share how she did it, and her secret for success.
Carol Denbow: Greetings Robin, and thank you for joining us on A Book Inside Blog.
I would like to start by asking you to tell us a little about your new book, Sullivan’s Secret. I’ve read this book (and I don’t read many fiction books, LOL) and it kept my interest throughout—that’s REALLY unusual for me! What’s the story? And don’t give away that amazing plot!
Robin Murphy: Hello Carol, and thank you for allowing me to speak with you.
Dr. Marie Bartek’s life has been uneventful as the local veterinarian on Sullivan’s Island, SC, until her ability to see spirits returns after eighteen years. After confiding in her best friend and realizing their interests in the paranormal, they organize a paranormal investigation team called Sullivan’s Island Paranormal Society, SIPS. Marie learns to channel her ability through the help of one of the team members, but not before learning the spirits are trying to warn her about the murders taking place on Sullivan’s Island. Sullivan’s Secret captivates the reader with murder, suspense, and the world of the paranormal.
I believe a good story starts with great characters and having the ability to allow the reader feel as if they know them. Once I created those characters for Sullivan’s Secret, I placed them into a storyline filled with intrigue and mystery. I tried to keep the plot moving at a steady pace so as not to lose the reader. It may be a story of fiction, but you also need to remember to make it somewhat believable. I think Dr. Bartek and the SIPS team does just that.
Carol Denbow: So many authors write a book and never manage to get it published. Big publishing houses only seem to want to publish books by previously well-known writers. A lot of great manuscripts get passed over in the process. Not to mention, the frustrating “no thank you” responses to our submissions. How long did it take you after writing the book to find the right publishing option and what was that journey like?
Robin Murphy: This is an interesting scenario. I actually knew that to be the case when I began writing Sullivan’s Secret. I asked myself first, why am I writing this story; and second, what do I want to see happen when I’m finished? There is always that notion in the back of your mind of, “Wow, will this story hit number one on the New York Times best seller list? But I wrote this story for me first, and I basically wanted to have a publisher, a third unbiased party, tell me it was a great story for publishing. I did send it to a big publishing house first and never received a reply. That was disheartening, but I wouldn’t give up and believe it or not, the next publisher was Plain & Simple Books Publishing and they loved Sullivan’s Secret.
Carol Denbow: So you eventually choose “author assisted publishing”—correct? I know that is a new publishing method. How does that work?
Robin Murphy: Yes, that is correct. Well, to be honest, I wasn’t aware this was out there. I accidentally came upon their website through a link off of Writer’s Digest. I wanted to be sure I was dealing with a legitimate publishing company. There are so many scams out there that it’s important to do your research and make sure you don’t fall into a trap that many writers have fallen into. The best way to describe “author assisted publishing” is to say it sits in the middle of self-publishing and the traditional POD publishing. You get a one-on-one relationship, which is completely unheard of with big publishing houses. You don’t get lost in the shuffle. Plus, you are guided through the process to help you understand all of the details. There are no up-front costs, which is VERY important. And you get a very professional designed layout and cover. You don’t lose your copyright and you keep your re-publishing option. You also receive a commission from Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble nook book. This was so important to me because this was my first published book and it can be very daunting on knowing what to do and how to get your book published. Don’t be fooled into thinking just because you may publish with a big publisher that all of the marketing will be done for you. It’s a known fact that you need to help self-promote your book to get it recognized, and P&S Books Publishing gives you an amazing bit of information to help you do this.
Carol Denbow: It’s nice there is a new option for “good” writers. I know they do not publish every submission, but it’s a little better odds of acceptance than with other traditional publishers. What did you like best about your publisher, Plain & Simple Books Publishing?
Robin Murphy: The one thing I learned is just because it’s a little different than the traditional publishers doesn’t mean they aren’t professional and accept “any” submission. They have very high standards and will only publish a professionally edited manuscript. It’s hard to pinpoint what I liked best, but I have to go back to the personal one-on-one relationship that has developed.
Carol Denbow: Author assisted publishing is a totally new type of book publishing. What did you get out of this experience that you would not have got from a traditional publishing house or doing it all on your own?
Robin Murphy: I would have to say it has given me hope. I learned early on there are so very many writers out there and it’s easy to say, “I can write a book,” or “I can write better than that.” I said all of those things and learned it’s not so easy. Writing is a unique craft and when done right, it’s an amazing experience for the reader, as well as the writer. This process has allowed me to share my story in a very painless manner. It has inspired me to continue to write, because let’s face it, when those “big” publishing companies continue to say “no thank you,” or don’t even respond, it can break your spirit.
Carol Denbow: Is your book available at all the typical outlets? Or is your exposure limited?
Robin Murphy: Oh yes, it is available in libraries, through retailers (book stores), and of course, on-line. Basically everywhere.
Carol Denbow: Sounds like an interesting and “successful” venture. Even with this publishing method, it seems the book is “priced” right on. Can you give our blog visitors the links to your book in all those formats?
Robin Murphy: Sure:
Kindle Reader: http://www.amazon.com/Sullivans-Secret-ebook/dp/B004WP38XU/ref=sr_1_6_title_1_ke?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305032442&sr=1-6
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Sullivans-Secret/Robin-Murphy/e/2940012332547/?itm=1&USRI=sullivans+secret
You can also walk into any book seller and order the book or ask your local library to order it for you.
Carol Denbow: Robin, I’m excited for you as I’m sure our blog readers are as well! Your book looks really intriguing and I can say—it is!
Thank you for doing this interview and as always…any final comments?
Robin Murphy: Thank you Carol, it’s been a pleasure. I guess I would have to say to any new author out there trying to get their story published not to give up, and try author assisted publishing. It’s a wonderful experience and every bit as professional as the big publishing houses, and so much easier than trying to self-publish. Everything P&S Books Publishing stated they were going to do was done. I’m happy with my final product for Sullivan’s Secret and I just know it’s going to capture a lot of readers out there.
Carol Denbow: Okay friends, thank you so very much for stopping by to read this wonderful interview with Robin. Click over to her website at http://www.robinmurphyauthor.com/ to learn more about her. Leave a comment and Robin will respond to any questions.
Plain & Simple Books Website is at http://www.plainandsimplebooks.com.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
According to Google, more than fifty percent of all books are now sold over the Internet. Amazon.com sales accounted for 5.96 billion dollars of those sales last year; these numbers are expected to rise in the upcoming years. Although this may be bad news for the traditional brick and mortar book stores, it’s good news for online sellers. Knowing how to have your book found through search inquiries on sites such as Google and Yahoo has become crucial to selling books. Online visibility begins with your book’s title.
When a person is looking for specific information on the World Wide Web, they enter words related to their interests in the search box online. Each word they type in is called a “keyword” or “key phrase.” The Search Engines use these words or phrases to find the most relevant list of related Websites. These sites are then displayed for the user.
When deciding on your books title, one important thing to consider is the incorporation of good keywords. For instance, if you’re writing a book on golf tips for beginners, a title such as Golf Is Fun may not return as many Search Engine results for your book as the title Golf Tips for the Beginner.
Before you write your book title, make a list of all related keywords and perform a search on Google to see what comes up in the results. Also, when you do your search, the first page shown should have a short list of other suggested keywords or phrases (usually at the very top or bottom of the page). Incorporating as many of these words into your book title as is possible will help your book be seen better in the future.
Fiction books may not be as specifically searchable online as non-fiction, but fiction book writers can benefit from good keyword titles as well. One or two related words in a title can make a big improvement in Search Engine results. Again, what will end users be looking for when they search for a book like yours?
The Letter A
Once again, most books are sold online; making your online presence and visibility very important to selling your books. It’s likely, as a writer, you will be networking with others online.
As silly as it may sound, books with titles beginning with the letter “A” may be more visible than a book which begins with the letter “Z.” Many Websites and Blogs have sidebar lists of the books they enjoy or recommend to their Website visitors. Some of these create their lists in alphabetical order; placing your book which begins with the letter A at the top of the list. Top listings receive 17% more hits than lower placed listings.
These same Website and Blog editors often “swap” URL links with the editors of other related sites and list those links on their Web page. If and when you create your own Website and/or Blog, you might consider doing the same with your site’s title, that is, begin the title with the letter A. These link lists are also posted by Blogger automatically in alphabetical order as well.
Keep in mind; starting with the letter A is not mandatory for higher placements in listings online. For instance, starting with the letter D is good, C is better, B is great, but A is the best. Also, numbers generally precede letters in Web listings. 101 Ways to Learn the Game of Golf would be listed before An Easy Way to Learn the Game of Golf.
As always, I respect and appreciate reader’s comments to this post.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Robert Lynch, co-author of Daniel’s Dream. Robert has just released the book written by himself and Charles Riley as a team effort. Our discussion will include not only the ins and outs of two writers working jointly, but some details about this inspiring true story.
Carol Denbow: Greeting Robert, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Your book, Daniel’s Dream is an emotional detail of your son, his death, and you and your lovely wife Marian’s quest to establish a non-profit foundation in honor of your late son, Daniel.
Please start by telling us a little about your son Daniel.
Robert Lynch: To start to learn and understand Daniel, I must start at the beginning. My wife Marian and I had a complete and full family. Vicki our oldest daughter age 23, Mark our son age 21, and Bonnie the youngest age 19 when we learned another child was on the way. So, the fact that we were going to have another child at our age was more than shocking. It took some time and effort to accept the fact that another soul was joining the family.
Daniel was born on May 24th 1982. As with most babies, the first years can be challenging and demanding. But, I can say, that from Daniel's birth until his death he had a wonderful disposition and there was always a smile on his face! Rather than being a challenge in those early years, he added so much to everyone in the family that it's impossible to relate. The older children now had a young brother and they treated him with such love—they were all so happy. I could never imagine that this addition to our family could bring such meaning to our lives. By age two, it was very evident to me that Daniel possessed a superior personality and he learned things quickly and in detail. We were surprised at the things he was able to comprehend.
He was small as a youngster and always the smallest in his class. This bothered him because children can be mean and tend to keep the “runts” at arms length; not including them in activities. But he had an ability to excel in some way at every thing he applied himself to. If it was something he liked, he would really excel. If it was something he wasn't particularly fond of, he would meet the challenge and never give up. Athletics was one area that he didn't necessary like, but in school when he would have to participate in a sport, he would do his best and hold his own. It became very apparent he would keep this attitude through his life.
Carol Denbow: I got to know Daniel through reading the book—I think I would have really liked this young man. If you are able, please tell us how you lost Daniel.
Robert Lynch: While attending college in San Francisico, Daniel was working at the Triton Hotel in the same city to help with the cost of his education. He had just moved over to Oakland, California because rents were much cheaper there. One morning Daniel was on the way to the BART train station to go to school and he was attacked and shot to death. It was ruled as a “mistaken identity” case. The killer was in a gang and thought that Daniel was someone he had been in a fight with the previous week. It was a senseless loss of life of a beautiful person who lived just the opposite of the gang member.
Carol Denbow: Daniel was an amazing young man whose life clearly had purpose. I understand from reading the book that following Daniel’s tragic death, you and Marian set out to establish a non-profit art foundation to help other struggling art students achieve a degree by providing much needed supplies as well as college scholarship funds. Tell us how it made you feel once you accomplished this task.
Robert Lynch: We wanted something positive to come out of this terrible tragedy. In Daniel's honor and memory, we desired to set up a program that would help other art students achieve their dream to pursue an education in the field of art. The journey in establishing the Daniel Robert Lynch Art Education and Scholarship Program was quite an effort, but it has become a blessing in many ways. Within the past four years, six art students have received scholarships, giving them the opportunity for an education in the art field. In order to win the scholarship, these students had to meet certain requirements. All of these students were from low income families who could not have provided a higher education for their children. Each student had amazing scholastic achievements and art portfolios, and were very deserving of a scholarship.
The Cache Education Foundation accepted this program into their foundation as a non-profit entity. This foundation is outstanding in helping education through grants and donations to the school system. The DRL Art Program is a small entity, but specializes in strengthening art in the school program through grants to art teachers for programs and equipment. We are very proud of Daniel's art program and what it is doing to strengthen art education and provide scholarships.
Carol Denbow: Now that our readers know a little about your story, can you please tell us when you decided to write Daniel’s Dream and what that meant to you and your family?
Robert Lynch: We had recently moved to Coarsegold, California from Logan, Utah to be closer to our other children. I visited a coffee shop that co-author Charles Riley owned and we immediately became friends. During various visits, Charley and I talked about my son Daniel and his death. Charley is an author and I had the pleasure of reading the draft manuscript of a story he was writing, “The Boys From Arlin.” I was so impressed; it was such a gripping story. Charlie's book will be published this year and I predict the readers will find it very enjoyable. Charlie and I continued talking and discussing Daniel's life, the fact that Daniel is being referred to and remembered as “the student that got murdered in Oakland” really bothered me. He was so much more and deserved to be known and remembered for who he was. I'm told by people that it doesn't matter what other people think or say, it's how you remember him that counts. But people just can't imagine the hurt and failure you feel that such a talented and dedicated young person's life is over, and society will never know about this young man. Charlie was the person who suggested that I write a book about Daniel. The more we talked and the more he persuaded, I finally decided to ask about him writing the book with me. He's the writer, and a good one, so we made the decision to do it.
Carol Denbow: Robert, having lost a son myself, I know it is sometimes difficult to “re-live” the loss. Did publishing this book hurt or help heal your suffering?
Robert Lynch: It's almost been 5 years since Daniel's death, and I can’t honestly say that I had to relive the loss. I think of Daniel ALL the time, every day. I go to sleep at night thinking about him. I've had to start
taking sleeping pills to even get to sleep. Five years is a long time, and when I wake up in the morning Daniel is on my mind. So I haven't had to re-live it, it has always been there.
Carol Denbow: Your co-author is Charles Riley. How did you meet and decide to co-write the book rather than do it alone?
Robert Lynch: I touched on that before. I've never written a book and wouldn't try to do so myself. To have someone like Charlie offer to help write the book, I'd been very foolish not to take Charley up on it, since he was willing and available.
Carol Denbow: How did you and Charles work together on this project? In other words, you spoke, he wrote, or possibly you wrote and he re-wrote? Or is he an active part of the story?
Robert Lynch: I wrote the basic facts of the book, and turned it over to Charlie. He wrote the draft in his own writing style and gave it to me to read, then we discussed it. He took my comments and fine-tuned them until I was satisfied with what he had written.
Carol Denbow: After all is said and done, would you recommend to our readers who are considering this path to co-author a book rather than tackle the project on their own? Was it helpful to have a partner writer?
Robert Lynch: Yes. With my experience, I'd recommend a co-author, if available. But I feel writers should be cautious about it. As Charlie pointed out to me, most authors are individuals that have a strong conviction on their writing style. As he noted up front, if you give your book in draft form to ten people to read, you'd receive ten different suggestions on how to make it better. The one thing we agreed to up front was that this was to be MY story. He'd make suggestions but I had the final say. So the question about if I would recommend doing a book with a co-author or not? Yes, but it would depend upon the attitude of the author. Two people agreeing an anything is rare in today's society. So I think the ground rules should be set upfront, and if you don't like something, speak your mind, but remember your agreement.
Carol Denbow: The past few years have certainly been trying for you and your family. Please accept my condolences for your enormous loss and suffering. We all hope Daniel’s Dream is successful so students such as Daniel have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams in the future. Thank you for sharing your incredible story with us and for telling our writers “how it is” to co-author a book.
Daniel’s Dream is available through Amazon.com, the Lynch’s Website at http://www.danielsdream.webs.com, in Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook Book format, and wherever fine books are sold.
Please learn more about the Daniel Robert Lynch Art Education and Scholarship Program by visiting http://www.dansinspiration.com. All donations, no matter how small, are appreciated.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
In that previous post, I told you I had my books regularly listed at up to $4.99 and was selling about 20 books a month (some of my titles were actually only listed at $2.99). The experiment was to see if it would be better to list the books at .99 and sell more copies than at the higher price and sell less. So here’s what happened…
One noticeable conclusion came immediately when I saw the sales count for the month-long experiment. I sold 90 copies at .99; again, the previous month was only 20.
At $4.99 a book (actually, any price over $2.99), Kindle offers the author/publisher a 70 percent royalty. But if you lower your list price to under $2.99, they only give you a 30 percent royalty. So whereas I previously made an average of 2.44 a copy in royalties (all my titles with combined pricing), at the .99 listing price I was only making .30 per copy. So my profit before the experiment selling 20 books was $48.80, and during the month-long experiment I sold 90 copies at .99 each and profited only $27.00. But hold on, there’s more to know…
During the experimental period, I did not actively promote my books. So I sold 90 Kindle copies without effort. And… more than 40 of those were sold in the very last week of the experiment—why? I believe that happened because with more sales on record, my books ratings went up. The more you sell, the more popular the book becomes in “Amazons” eyes.
Even more interesting to this experiment was that my paperback copy sales increased as well and made up for the difference in profits for the Kindle version. Why did this happen? Likely because of the increased ratings. The more sales you have with Amazon, the higher they list your book in its category. So there just might be a real benefit to selling cheaper Kindle books, particularly if you have another format listed with them, i.e., paperback.
Here’s my conclusion. I’m satisfied that a lower list price may generate more sales. But more so, I believe the lower price attracted a few additional readers, who may not have otherwise purchased the Kindle book at the previously listed price of $4.99, and because they did, the books ratings went up, and because they went up, more people saw the book and purchased it. Therefore, I fully intend to continue this experiment for at least one more full month to see if sales continue to climb at a faster rate. What do I think I’ll confirm with extending the experiment? Higher ratings sell more books with Amazon.com. This might be old news, but the question may have always been, “How do I get my book listed higher in search results with Amazon.com if I haven’t sold any copies?” The answer may be Kindle bargains. I will keep you updated!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
The best time to start getting reviews is long before the book has gone to print. When you think about it, how else do authors get those nice snippets from reviewers on their back cover, front cover, inside pages, websites and promotional materials prior to the release of their book?
However, reviews are valuable at any time during the life of your book. In fact this should be an on-going process throughout the marketing plan. So pace yourself a little - you will want continued exposure for the long-term. Also, keep in mind that a publication will not likely include a blurb about your book if their direct competitors have just recently done the same thing. Your budget will determine how many copies you can afford to send out for review. So, again, pace your marketing plan.
How to Get Reviews
As always the most essential key is to research the publication you want to query and learn about their readers. The next essential key is to research their submission guidelines. Then you can query the reviewer with a nice letter that includes some basic ideas about the book. Be clear about why the book fits their magazine and their targeted audience at this time. If they feel it does not fit, do not argue. You can always try again, but let several months pass before you query the reviewer again with a new approach.
Always query with a professional informative letter. Books sent without prior communication will just result in yet another book in the trash bin, and that is hard on your budget, use of time and the environment. Queries ensure that they are interested and able to accept more work. It is also necessary to confirm the format they require. The query should relay why your book is going to be something they don't want to miss out on. What is so special about you or your book that will get them to sit up and take notice? THIS is what you need to say, but say it softly. No one likes a loud, pushy or bragging voice.
In addition, it is helpful to prospective reviewers if they know more about your book. Is it a children's book? A religious book? Do you consider the content as humorous or adventurous? Is it a book that will compel feelings of happiness or sadness? Do you have an informative website? What format is the book available to review in at this time -- galley, PDF manuscript or a published review copy? Are you in the manuscript, editing or publishing stage? Do you have an ISBN and a release date? Do you plan to provide other promotional materials (author bio, etc) for reviewers? Are you looking for review blurbs for the back cover or first inside pages of your book? Or are you looking for general reviews for promotion materials and online stores? Are you in a hurry for the review? Provide this information before reviewers are forced to ask. They will appreciate a considerate and prepared author and because of your foresight they will feel valued, respected and will not have to spend time searching for the information.
Most professional reviewers do not usually work with manuscripts. Typically, more than 80% of the books Lillian has reviewed to date were either published copies or Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs), which are manuscripts printed on paper and attached with spiral binding. Occasionally, the publisher will provide ARCs, however the author normally provides these. Some reviewers will work with electronic books; others do not. Be sure to clarify all of these things prior to sending your query letter.
Look at the books on your shelves and see how reviews are used. Through this simple analysis, you can glean information for your own promotional material development as well.
What Happens to the Review Copy?
Most reviewers are not paid for their work. Only a few hard working reviewers are privileged to land a paying position for a publication or online site. Therefore, the book is the payment. Some authors find this worrisome. They are concerned that the reviewer will sell or exchange the book at a used bookstore. It is our opinion that if someone has spent several evenings reading our book, then several more hours writing a review, publishing it, then giving it to us for free and sometimes posting it online for us… well, they can do what they like with our book! When you think about it, if your book is worth $20, they are “earning” less than $5 an hour.
We always include a letter along with review copies that gently reminds them of our conversation in the past and requests a notification of the book's arrival and their decision on it. We suggest that if the book is not destined for their own bookshelves, that they consider donating it to a library, school, mission for the poor or women's shelter. We even had responses where the contact was thrilled that we had considered this as they have been throwing rejected review copies (usually unsolicited) away in the past. Perhaps this small suggestion will help keep other authors' books out of their trash bin as well. However, the main goal is not waste reduction or community good will in this scenario - instead, the idea is to keep your book in circulation, continually building exposure and extending the value of your marketing budget.
Be very selective when querying reviewers. Make sure you have visited their website and are familiar with their style and preferences. We recommend reading the article: "How to spot a phony reviewer" at http://www.midwestbookreview.com which will help you avoid some pit falls.
If you are trying to get into a pre-publication magazine like Publisher's Weekly, you are looking at a three to four month lead-time. This means you need to submit the book to one of their reviewers about three or four months before the deadline date.
These kinds of publications often require ARCs or Galleys because they only review books prior to their publication. Unless your publisher provides these you will need to print out the manuscript and send it with the other promotion materials. These pre-publication magazines are published for wholesalers, larger bookstores, distributors and libraries. Some are targeted towards a specific audience, while others are more general.
…And one final tip we’d like to leave you with today is that being reviewed online (e-newsletters, review sites and e-zines) is often easier than getting printed reviews in newspapers, newsletters and magazines.
This post excerpted from Chapter 3 of the book: Purple Snowflake Marketing – How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd, by Dave & Lillian Brummet
~ Lillian Brummet: Award winning author, book marketing guru, owner of the award winning Brummet’s Conscious Blog, and both the host and executive producer of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show. (www.brummet.ca)
Thursday, March 24, 2011
1. Do you get many unsolicited enquires? And do you respond to them?
We receive many, many unsolicited inquiries every day. Our interns go through the mail and at least skim over anything we get, though if no SASE was included, they've been instructed not to even look at it. The interns send form rejection letters back to the vast majority of submitters unless they see anything of note, and then they direct to me or my staff.
2. Do you have busier months than others?
It's usually a pretty steady stream of work, though for whatever reason we may have busier months than others, usually around the times of certain projects coming to fruition or being published. It can get overwhelming, but it never hits a snail's pace.
3. When publishing houses say their “lists are full” what exactly does that mean?
Literally: we're not taking on any more works, authors, projects, etc. But really, we're just not going to add your work to the list.
4. What is a closed house?
A publishing house that only works with certain writers and is not currently looking to taking on more writers; one whose lists are actually, truly full.
5. How close do you work with writers?
Depends on the project but usually fairly closely, but only until after they've written a rough draft. Then it comes time to put in the real work and make some cuts and changes, which can lead to some tension. It's my job to make their work the best it can be but also the most accessible and engaging that it can be.
6. Who gets the final word in what goes in the novel (in editing terms) the editor or the writer?
Almost always the editor and the publisher. We're the ones putting up the money to get it published!
7. How do you get to become an editor? Any formal qualifications?
You have to be a very skilled writer and put in your work to know the publishing industry inside-out, and that only comes with time and experience.
8. How do you deal with overly-sensitive writers who question every edit you make, even when your edits are clearly within the specified corporate style?
Every writer is sensitive about changes being made to their works, some more so than others. Usually if you explain the reasoning behind their edits they'll understand and at the very least grudgingly accept your call. Otherwise, you deal with it if they're worth the time i.e. if their writing is that good. Otherwise, you don't work with them in the future.
9. Is the editor used to being the decision maker or used to deferring to the author's decision?
You have to be a decision maker; it's your job. To make the right calls for who you represent and to optimize the work presented by the writer to reach the widest audience and earn the most interest. That's the whole idea here.