Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 12/19/14

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CHARACTERS VI

Tis’ the Friday before Christmas, and I’m thinking of all the people I’ve shared Christmases with over the years.  What a marvelous group of people to know and remember…AND…what great examples for Character Sketches.

One of my Great-Great-Great Granddads was an Indian Scout and married a Native American woman from a traveling clan of the Cherokee Tribe.  It is also told that he was “small-town” Sherriff who “held no account” with those who might discriminate or treat others unfairly.

Another Great-Granddad was a livestock buyer and “knew his horses.”  I’ve heard that one day—around 1905 or so in the big city of Denver, Colorado—he saw a freight-hauler standing beside a pair of horses hitched to a heavy overloaded wagon and someone whipping them unmercifully.  Great-Granddad jumped from his own horse, grabbed the whip from the hauler’s hand and whipped him “a bit.”

My Great-Grandmother, and Grand-Aunt raised Doberman Pinchers, lived in a small mountain community and owned and operated “the best bar & grille in town.”  When we visited with them, my treat was to help open the bar for lunch by “tasting” a vanilla-malted-shake made in the blender that normally mixed “other” beverages.

My Mother has been gone almost 20 years now, and yet I clearly hear her voice and recall her year-‘round example of love and faithfulness toward family and friends.  She also held the belief of excellence in work, giving quality effort for her pay.  She was an accountant/office manager by profession and a mentor to business owners and coworkers alike.  I remember one of our conversations when she wondered “where” I got my inclination to be a writer.  “No one on either side of the family has ever been a writer!”  And yet, my Family Tree is ripe with intriguing characters and potential storylines.

SO…maybe it’s time for you too to pause and collect your Christmas memories.  What were (are) the personality traits that have remained most solidly etched in your remembrances?  Was there someone who seemed so carefree—talking about God’s love so much that you wondered if they ever experienced any hardship and later learned that they’d been abandoned at birth and grew up in awful foster homes?  Did you sit across the table from an ancient ancestor who looked like her face was etched in stone only to discover that she’d been runner-up in the Miss America Pageant?  Were you a little frightened by the homeless family your Dad met outside the bakery and invited to dinner—then saddened as they shared their “story” of a fortune won and lost overnight? christmas tree

What stories of humanity—of human nature—would the Christmas Trees tell?  Would they reminisce about that first St. Nick (circa 315) who dropped coins into the shoes of the needy?  Would they speak of the German woman—the mother of a son about to be conscripted into Hitler’s army who fled the city, then befriended three American soldiers and three German soldiers leading them to discover the true meaning of courage and the true spirit of Christmas? (True story: starring Linda Hamilton, 2005).

OH SO MANY stories to write about!  Have you started planning your next writing project?  NOW is the time.  Write—Re-write—Publish!  And, may all your Christmases be BRIGHT!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Weekly Self-Published Book Review: 52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss

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Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

52 weeks

 52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss

Terri L. Cunkle

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN:9781432776244

A bit of joy in life isn’t something to be missed just because you’re too busy. “52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss: Activities Sure to Bring Joy Back into the Lives of the Super Busy” is an inspirational read from Terri L. Cunkle as she presents a schedule of 52 two weeks invented to put the joy back into our lives on many levels, with ideas for even more. For those who want to make sure they smile everyday, “52 Weeks of Non-Stop Bliss” is a read to embrace.

Christmas is Here Again | On Holidays and Happy Chaos (Part III)

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I have good news and bad news, and it’s the same news.  Should I ever face a film-worth scenario in which I have to choose, I will always choose to hear the good news first, so here it is:  Today is the 17th of December, which means Christmas is fast closing in––and I mean fast.  Christmas brings plenty of delectable morsels into our lives, as well as gifts and gift-giving, and––if we’re lucky––a blissful trip up and down memory lane with the people we love most in this world.  But here’s the bad news: Christmas is fast closing in.  You read that correctly!  As I mentioned, the good and bad news end up bearing more than a close kinship to each other. 

But how can Christmas ever be bad news?  Perhaps I’m overstating the fact, but here’s the truth of the matter: Christmas is crunch time for self-published authors, especially those hoping to launch successful holiday specials.  The holiday season is when authors are, along with the majority of small business owners, most likely to recoup or finish recouping their operational expenses for the year.  Maybe an author turned to a hybrid self-publishing company to design, print, bind, or help market her book.  Maybe an author burned a couple of tanks full of petrol in order to host his book signings, readings, and luncheons.  Whatever the case may be, even self-publishing has its attendant costs, and Black Friday is a magic day for everyone.  But the precious commodity constituted by the time left between Thanksgiving and Christmas is shrinking rapidly––so what can we do to make the most of it?

Thought #3:  Breathe.  Write.  Publish.  But mostly, breathe.  (Rinse & Repeat)

Most often, you’ll get tip lists around Christmas from self-publishing gurus, somewhere along the lines of “50 tips to launch your book this Christmas,” or “3 unexpected ways to promote your book over the holidays,” or even “10 steps to self-publishing success.”  I’m not here to tell you these tidbits of advice don’t work––some of them certainly will, and some of them are probably destined for failure.  I am here to offer you something a little more offbeat than a rote list of hit-or-miss ideas.

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to step away from the phone, from the bookstore, the library, and your Amazon book listing.  I’m here to tell you it’s okay not to push your book with some wild and crazy Christmas party, or by setting up a quiet reading at a classy booklover’s club.  But hang on one second––I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t promote your book (at all).  I’m telling you that there’s more than one way to break a glass ceiling.

Think about it for a second.  What’s the most effective way to promote a book?  Writing a book people love.  That one’s a no-brainer.  But what’s the second-most effective way?  Writing another book people love.  No matter how many readers you earn with your first book, you are practically guaranteed to win more with each book that follows.  Name and brand recognition play their parts in authorial success, as does the pleasurable possibility of the serial read.  Whether you write self-help books or genre literature or poetry or something else that is wonderful and wild and perfectly unique to you, your sales will improve as you publish more books.  You know how we all like to marathon whole seasons of Doctor Who or How I Met Your Mother, or drop by a sick friend’s place with Tylenol and the entire extended edition boxed set of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings?  Readers treat your books the same way.  Once they find an author or a series or a genre they like, they’re likely to read all the books that author has written (so long as they’re easily accessible).  And I’ll admit, I’m one of those readers who will wait in line for a signed copy of a new book, then hurry to the bookstore register to purchase all of the prequels, sequels, and tangentially related volumes I can find. 

So, maybe you’ve written just the one book.  Maybe that’s all you have in you right now.  That’s okay.  Don’t ever let anyone try and push you to conform to their expectations of what a writer’s life or method looks like.  As I’ve mentioned in past Wednesday blogs, there’s no one right or wrong way to go about this writing thing, or even this self-publishing thing.  It’s tough enough being a writer without feeling like you’re out of joint with someone else’s expectations.  This holiday season, take time to breathe.  Return to those ways and means that rejuvinate you.  Cherish the stories you’ve written, and the stories you have left to write, and live.

For the first blog in this series, navigate here.  For the second, here.  Look for my final holiday-themed self-promotional blog for the year next wednesday!  If you have a question about any of these tools for self promotion, would like to hear from me about something specific, or have other big news to share, please comment below!

 

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing Week in Review: 12/16/14

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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry. This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Tuesday to find out the hottest news.

 Hi! Can We Talk About Self-Publishing?

The author of this Huffington Post article shares why he thinks self-publishing is great. I love the humor and honesty of this article.

 The Indie Author’s Guide to Rights

Without the guidance of literary agents, indie authors have to take special care to protect their rights—including copyright—when negotiating with a self-publishing service. This informative article is a must read.

Former JPMorgan Banker Lands 6-Figure Book Deal For ‘Social Network’-Meets-‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Online Series

Michelle Miller, a former banker at JPMorgan, just landed a six-figure book deal based on her self-published online series “The Underwriting,” a 12-part weekly serial found on theunderwriting.com. This success story is an interesting read for writers and professionals considering adding the title author to their resume.

If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog at http://kellyschuknecht.com.

How to Find Time to Self-Publish During the Holidays

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The holidays can be a hectic time of year, and you might be considering putting your self-publishing project on hold until after the craziness of the season calms down. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the holidays more if you cut back on the chaos and make time for what you love. Here is how I recommend finding time to work on your self-publishing project during the holiday season.

1. Shop online.

Save time and money by shopping online. Instead of waiting in long lines, you can spend your extra time working on your project.

2. Create your wish list wisely.

When people ask what you want for the holidays, think about what will help you accomplish your self-publishing goals. Could you use a childfree day to finally finish editing your manuscript or a gift certificate towards your publishing package?

3. Don’t overbook.

The holiday season should be a time of joy and creating memories with family and friends, but most people end up stressed out because they overload their to-do list and calendar. To save your sanity and find time to write, don’t feel obligated to say yes to every social event and take a long look at your to-do list. Cross off what isn’t necessary or important to you.

I’d love to know, what are your tricks for finding time to work on your self-publishing projects during the holiday season?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 12/12/14

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CHARACTERS V

Professional choices—the jobs we take that lead us into careers—are also a valuable part of character development.  Have you seen the new TV series FOREVER?  My hubby and I are enjoying it as he critiques the acting and I critique the writing.  The multi-time-period-plot is intriguing as the main character was born in 1779, yet is a New York City medical examiner in 2014.  Thus the career choice that carries the storylines throughout centuries.  Another intriguing element of this television series is the similarity to a novel written in 2003 by author Pete Hamill, who is not currently named in the credits that scroll after each episode.  Ah…but that is a topic for a different blog.

Everyone is employed in a “career” whether they are earning a paycheck or not.  Really?  The definition of the word EMPLOYED is: to occupy or devote one’s energies—to keep busy and/or engage in service to others.  So, for the sake of this concept, my perspective is that everyone—from the newborn infant who is busily “employed” in growing and learning to the highest paid wage earners on earth—“fits” this premise.

Now…let’s return to the FOREVER TV series.  In 1814 Henry (the main character) was employed as a medical doctor on a slave ship.  By the 1880s he’s become a “medical doctor/investigator” with Sherlock Holms propensities and joins the investigation into Jack-the-Ripper cases.  By WWII (1938-1945) he’s in the British Army tending wounded warriors.  Then in 1956 a crisis occurred that turned him away from the medical doctor profession and nudged him into the Medical Examiner position he now holds.  What a fascinating timeline to demonstrate the insights of one person’s (one character’s) professional choices in life.  The decision-making thought-patterns of THIS CHARACTER could do nothing else but seek positions (so he could earn a living) within the medical profession cadre of careers.

So, to assist you with the development of your characters’ careers, here are several elements to consider—components that reside within the characters that makes it impossible to work (be employed) in any other field than the one you (the author) have selected for them.

  • What are their natural skills and abilities—and working style? The character who is a natural portrait artist might prefer a structured indoor environment vs the scenic artist who hikes Pikes Peak or the graphic artist who works alone—at home.
  • What is their level of social interaction? Would they do well in a 9-5 office setting or a flexible outdoor construction job where they work independently?
  • What is their motive for accepting a job? Do they have family to support and “hope” to work in a career they enjoy? Or are they “pay-it-forward” people who seek employment in service or non-profit organizations?
  • Introvert or Extrovert? Does this character have “politician” tendencies…or…are they the behind-the-scenes person who wants to make a difference in the world by working for charities or writing blogs to influence those who are “out front?”
  • What are their stressors? Would they be the fireman or military person who stays “cool” in the most stressful of situations? Or do they have psychological issues that cause them to be frightened by everything and everyone?
  • IF their chosen profession comes with salary, how important is their paycheck to them? If it does not “pay monthly,” what other benefits do they draw from it?

OH….I’m so blessed to be a writer and a ghostwriter!  Some level of each of these elements play a part in my work every day, whether I’m “the character” or not!  Plus, it is an amazing feeling to see my clients become published authors and reap multiple benefits!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Weekly Self-Published Book Review: The Job

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Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review by Midwest Book Review:

 the job

The Job

Cramer Louis Jackson

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN:9781432784584

Joe’s search for employment has turned into a frustrating full time job as he checks want ads, sends out resumes and shows up for announced vacancies, only to return to his walk up dumpy small apartment unemployed with his self-esteem dropping. After his latest humiliation, he opens the mail, which adds to his debasement with overdue bills.

However, the last letter is from a firm he never heard of, who offers him an interview. Instructions were sent to him by e-mail as this company provides no address or phone number. He goes on line, thankful he did not hock his computer, to obtain directions. Joe arrives for the interview and learns that if he takes the job, Joe Jamieson will no longer exist as he will have a new identity and compensation is one million dollars annually. He agrees to become Zann General Morgan. His position and new identity ties back to 1947 Roswell, and he soon finds another perk when he rescues the other selectee Layone from some nasty folks who have other plans for the pair.

There is plenty of action in this thought provoking science fiction romantic novella. The story line starts with a depressed everyman struggling to pay his bills and keep a dilapidated ceiling over his head before the plot moves into an exciting thriller with its Life Energy connection to Roswell. Encouraging people to take a radically fresh look at their options, the book reminds me of my husband’s reengineering teaching and mentoring position in which he destroyed a zillion paper cups claiming they were not half full or half empty; if you slice off the top, the cup is filled.

The Job is a quick engaging thriller.

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