This week in the world of self-publishing:

“Tammy Malinowski O’Reilly of Union Dale has loved crime stories since she was 6  years old,” writes Regge Episale for the Independent Weekender––a web-based newsletter that comes out of the Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania area––but her love of solving crimes continued into her adulthood, prompting her to pursue entry into the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. Despite having to leave the Academy to devote more time to other things, her passion for solving crimes stuck with her, and between 1989 to 1991, she published a series of stories in True Detective Magazine under the name “Tammy Mal.” “At the age of 47,” writes Episale, “40 years after she first fell in love with her genre, she self-published her first book, Little Girl Lost: The True Story of the Vandling Murder, a well-researched book about the murder of 9-year-old Mae Barrett in 1945.” And that was only the beginning.  After a number of successful true-crime novels and other works, O’Reilly turned her attention to the 1994 Katrinak murders in Catasauqua:

From more than 10,000 official documents including Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) reports, FBI Files, forensic lab results, and the 6,500-page trial transcript, four years of intensive research, countless interviews with those involved, and hundreds of letters, phone calls and personal visits with Patricia Rorrer, O’Reilly found details that didn’t add up, had never been made public, and that raised serious questions about the case and Patty’s guilt.

Her book, working title Reasonable Doubt, details the original story as presented in the press and the story as found in the files and reports.

Through her research, O’Reilly has been instrumental in getting the Philadelphia Innocence Project to take a closer look at the evidence and has gained the support and cooperation of Appeals Attorney Craig Neely.

How’s that for lasting impact?  While the case in question is still under appeal and therefore details in O’Reilly’s book can not yet be made public, one hopes that Reasonable Doubt will hit bookshelves in the not-so-distant future.  To read more about how this self-publishing author is making a real difference in the world, check out the full article here.

It’s official: self-publishing has reached the glamor market! As Ashley Coleman writes for Essence magazine on April 7th, “there used to be a time when aspiring authors were simply at the mercy of literary agents [… h]owever, with the growth of self-publishing platforms, so many more authors are able to get their work from the pages of their notebooks to the world.”  A self-publishing author herself and friend to other self-publishing authors, Coleman spends the rest of her article combining tips and advice for how to get started with tidbits of encouragement for those still wavering between pursuing indie or traditional modes of publication.  “Although in self-publishing you will have to put a lot of thought into not only creating the work but how to get it out there, the return on the investment may be well worth it,” she writes.  She advocates for outlines, deadlines, discipline, and professional editing.  She also weighs the benefits of designing a book cover or having it designed for you by a paid professional, as well as the pros and cons of Print on Demand (POD) options.  Her closing words hold a life lesson for us all: “Your book can literally go as far as you are ready to take it!”  For the rest of Coleman’s how-to (succeed in self-publishing) article, follow the link.

“It started with a routine procedure,” writes Valerie Bonk for Howard Magazine, syndicated through The Baltimore Sun on April 6th.  Connie Bowman’s path to self-publishing started with a procedure, and with tragedy–the death of her daughter due to a botched catheterization.  She self-published her book Back to Happy, through Amazon’s CreateSpace program, and says that she chose the self-publishing route “over a major publisher like Penguin Random House or HarperCollins to ‘get it done.'”  Another local author, Patty Sroka of Woodbine, chose a similar path after taking her Girl Scout troop on a trip along with a copy of Nora Roberts.  She now publishes under the pen name P.J. O’Dwyer, Bonk reveals. Says Sroka:

Back then, when I would run into authors and they said that they were self-published, I would kind of stick my nose in the air and say, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to be self-published. I want a major publisher.’ But then I realized that it doesn’t mean you have a poorly written book. It could be that publishers don’t have room on their lists that year or they already have reached their quota of books like yours.

But with the success of her Fallon Sisters Trilogy of romantic suspense novels, Sroka was struck by the idea that ought to share what she had learned in a more systematic way.  And so she approached Howard Community College “with an idea for teaching a course to help others in the area navigate the world of self-publishing. She now teaches a series of noncredit classes focusing on writing fiction, self-publishing and marketing fiction,” writes Bonk–and her students are already finding their own ways to success.  For the complete story, including snapshots of where Sroka’s students are now, check out the full article on The Baltimore Sun‘s website.


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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 Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT 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, kellyschuknecht.com.

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