Conversations: 9/22/2017 (on Dear Diary Day!)

SEPTEMBER HOLIDAYS CELEBRATE WRITERS!

Dear Diary Day

When looking through the list of Holidays for the month of September I could not believe what I discovered: the “Dear Diary Day?” How did that make it onto this list? Quickly, an image of my friend, Ruth, came to mind. She is an amazing librarian and friend who helps me locate the most obscure information. Many times she’s gone to the back room and brought a diary into a secluded reading room for me to read. Oh, yes. She would definitely approve of celebrating Diary Writers.

abigail scott duniway

If you’ve ever had the privilege of holding an “old” diary in your hands you’ll understand beauty of the moment and depth of real life story that it holds. The illustration I’ve added here is a page from a woman’s diary written as she traveled the Oregon Trail. Abigail Scott Duniway’s words convey every emotion, and offer us a way to imagine what that life was like.

 

Another, better-known diary is that written by Anne Frank. Her heart’s cry rings throughout history and speaks to the world today saying: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

When the movie “Glory” was made—from the book “Lay this Laurel” by Lincoln Kirstein and Richard Benson—researchers confirmed many of the author’s facts from letters, journals and diaries. Set during the American Civil War, and the first all-volunteer “colored regiment,” the authenticity and heart of those events were told through those handwritten “true stories” and brought to life by many superlative actors. During the filming the scene depicted one of the colored soldiers, portrayed by Denzel Washington, being flogged. At his direction he was “lashed at full contact with a special whip that would not cut his back, but still stung. For the final take of that scene Zwick (the director) called “Cut!” to signal the flogging to stop and the result was Washington’s spontaneous tear down his cheek.” (imdb.com/glory/trivia)

IT IS WHEN WE, AS WRITERS, develop our stories with these levels of authenticity, that we will discover the true joy of writing. The greatest novels ever written come from the heart.

an american pilot patricia ann beckRecently I discovered a more present-day true story titled: An American Pilot: Memoirs of Love and War by Patricia Ann Beck. Although this novel is fictionalized the events come right out of the author’s journals and memories. When the husband, a U.S. Air Force pilot is deployed to Turkey during the war in Cyprus, his family is transported with him on a life-changing journey. Even as they experience the culture-shock-syndrome—the fear and danger that surrounds them—they learn more about family relationships. Together they uncover the inside story of the Muslim culture—the Truth behind the veil as every experience transforms their Faith in God and His constant presence in the midst of every moment.

One reviewer of this book stated, “The author has a very sincere way with words. She made me feel like I was right beside her…actually seeing it for myself.”

Keyword for the day: AUTHENTIC. When we allow ourselves (as writers) to be as truthful in our books as we are in our personal journals and dairies, THAT is when Readers will appreciate those books, buy them as gifts for close friends and new friends, and read them again…and again.

NOW, CONSIDER giving yourself a vacation to read your favorite based-on-a-true-story novel (my current favorite is AD30 and AD33 by Ted Dekker). Soak in the settings (descriptions) and the character development (layer-by-layer). Yes, that may take a week or two, but then you’ll be ready to go back to your writing room, complete your novel, and get it published! ⚓︎

 


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Kelly Schuknecht: The Highlights Reel (part 2)

Today we continue the work began in last Wednesday post as we farewell our longtime contributor Kelly Schuknecht. Kelly is moving on from Self Publishing Advisor to take on new challenges and we wanted to revisit some of her best and most popular posts here. Here are three more posts that really went down in the record books with us and our readers!

self-publishing in december

Here’s a gem for the ages! After all, it’s an evergreen subject; every author needs constant reminders of just how easy it is to miss errors in one’s own work, and of the need for extra eyes on any unpublished manuscript before it goes to press. This post, first published in 2010, really connected with its audience–and that was before Kelly updated the post with further tips and tricks in 2016. This post, and its update, has been one of our top performers of all time, and for good reason: Kelly walks readers through how to utilize an editor, how to get those extra eyes on your work, how and when to leave the manuscript as finished, and several suggestions on how to read the material by your lonesome and still achieve excellent results (clue: the words “out loud” and “backwards” are both used, but not together). This post serves as great proof that good writing will always be good writing, and therefore suggestions on how to craft good words will also remain steady.

Have you even thought about Amazon’s BXGY lately? Chances are that you haven’t, since the program was phased out soon after Kelly’s original post in 2008 (one of her earliest!). It’s worth checking in on the original post just to see how far Amazon’s sales algorithms and promotions have come; back in 2008, this post was so popular it almost broke our analytics, but these days for obvious reasons it’s a quiet corner of the blog. If there’s a moral to be learned here, it’s that the only constant in the age of the internet is change, and Amazon is no exception–and one of our missions, as self-publishing authors tasked with marketing our own books, is to adapt to those changes and try to get ahead of the curve … if we can. That’s one of the reasons we write this blog!

Last but not least (for today, that is), we bring you one of the blog’s highest-performing posts of all time. As with her post on tips and tricks for finding errors in your writing, Kelly’s suggestions in using your first chapter to boost book sales has a serious and ongoing following–because the information is still useful and valid. And yes, Kelly did an update of this post too (in 2016), and it too is a high-performer (statistically speaking). In her original, Kelly walked us through how to use Amazon, email, and even Craigslist to host the first chapter of your book and gain those “preview purchasers,” browsers who are unwilling to commit to a purchase unless they have a chance to look inside first. In her update, she touches on using social media as well as the Kindle app, two of the most popular ways to discover new material these days. We have the feeling that this blog will have a very long-term following, indeed–and we definitely recommend that you check it out (old and new) and leave us your own feedback. This is a post that ought to constantly evolve to fit the times!


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

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Tuesday Book Review: “Reunited”

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:

reunited levi porter

Reunited: When You Open Yourself to Love, Love Will Find You

by Levi Porter

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478790778

Synopsis*:

You can survive change and be better for it! This book chronicles the journey of Dr. Kenneth Na’dar Reynolds emotional and spiritual exploration. In this journey he is reunited with his star-crossed lover, Anthony Marcus. Their journey leads them on a wild adventure, leaving no parts of their lives untouched. They negotiate their relationship and how they interact with the wider world and their creator.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review:

Reunited is not a book based on fears but rather bravery, loyalty, and commitment to a greater cause. Dr. Na’dar forces the the reader to journey with him as he challenges every societal protocol to retain the major relationships in his life. Once reunited with his soulmate Anthony Marcus, the pair become unstoppable. Together, they battle family issues as well as fight along side each other conquering gods who desire to destroy their world.

The reader is also privy to the softer side of the couple. The author is very detailed in his description of the couples relationship which helps to confirm that their love is true, pure, loving, and sensual.

Reunited is a must read as it teaches the reader that a love worth having is worth fighting for…I truly enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

–  Amazon Customer

 Another Reviewer Says …

I love the spot and the story line. Sometimes we need too look at love through another day or lens to appreciate true love. Love is already worth fighting for but that’s something each of us need to experience when we can overcome being cynical because pain hurts. Worth a read with an open mind.

– Amazon Reviewer deborahaporter

Book Trailer

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 9.18.2017 – New Releases!

september

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically new releases written by self-publishing authors and published by independent presses! Today we’ll be featuring brand-new releases in the Outskirts Press Bookstore!

Are you looking to kick off the school year with some current and relevant material on supporting diversity in the American education system? We are! Of course, we may be biased by the fact that we have personal connections to a number of students and educators who might benefit from Joseph T. Mayhew and Robert J. Hudak’s combined experience and expertise–but it would be the rare American who didn’t have some sort of tie to these issues. (The Six Degrees of Separation from Kevin Bacon thing works for a reason!) Suffice it to say, this is one of our top picks both for new releases and back-to-school reads. Disadvantaged children deserve a better future than the one they’re given, and special education–rightly and compassionately and thoughtfully administered–may help them find that future.

Not everyone’s looking for a five-alarm snot bomb of a book on the eve of Fall … but some people are, and here’s a fantastic new example of the form! This is the memoir of Peter Gordon, who was pulled out of his idyllic life (he’d been recently remarried, developed a thriving career, and lived in a beautiful mountain resort) by a case of leukemia. The only solution? A bone marrow transplant, an invasive and dangerous procedure under his specific conditions. The book copy calls this a “real-world healthcare saga for our times, offering insightful lessons for cancer patients, caregivers, and medical professionals,” and it’s not exaggerating the broad appeal of this fantastic book! Just make sure to bring tissues.

Some of us may not have run across a Gothic novel (NOT to be confused with ‘graphic novel’) since grade school, when we had to read The Castle of Otranto and Northanger Abbey and–oh? That was just us? Not you? Never mind. Still, Gothic novels aren’t what you would consider run-of-the-mill mainstream fiction in 2017. Enter Dwight Brooks and Salvage Optic, stage left. Here’s a novel to delight and confound your expectations, what with its embrasure of archaic diction (a la the Royal Society, circa 1674) and its ferocious, beautifully-plotted character arcs. Did we mention there are pirates? Our bad. There are LOTS of pirates. And that’s fantastic, really. This is a book packed with swash, buckle, and literary Easter eggs which will keep the discerning reader busy in front of a crackling fire this Fall. Really, you couldn’t ask for a stranger–or more appealing–hybrid of a book!

No list of new releases is complete without a seriously awesome picture book! Bertyl, by Sandra Dobozi, fits the bill perfectly. This sweetly rhyming book follows the adventures (not to be confused with the piratey adventures of Salvage Optic) of a turtle looking to nail down answers to some of life’s tough questions: Who am I? What am I here for? Why am I not like other turtles? (Seriously, we can relate.) Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and its picture book counterpart, We’re All Wonders) will appreciate Dobozi’s take on what it feels like to be “different,” and to want to know one’s place in the world. This is the uplifting, positive, inspiring kid’s book we all need to read in the doldrums of 2017.


spa-news

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.

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Conversations: 9/15/2017 (on Gratitude Day!)

SEPTEMBER HOLIDAYS CELEBRATE WRITERS!

Gratitude Day

This must be my month for cliché statements. They keep popping into my head, so I’ll share another one with you because it helps me keep focused and creative when I’m having a challenging writing day: “Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude.” At first I wanted to ignore that thought. Yup, I was having a sour-face day. My leisurely life as a writer—who rises in the morning to the enticing scent of a vanilla latte awaiting me—had turned into TOO MANY projects racing through my head. For quite a lengthy season I’d been able to organizing my writing time and play time and even nap time into a beautiful weekly pattern; but not recently. So with that cliché popped into my thoughts, I growled.

gratitude day thank you

Later that same day, I was waiting for my appointment time at the dentist and scrolling through some blogs. The second title to appear: “Why Writers Should Be Supremely Grateful” by Andrea Lundgren (#atozchallenge #writer). I almost growled out loud. But I loved her opening statements and her blog lifted my spirits and perspective. Andrea said: “We should definitely be the most grateful because we get to hang out with some of the coolest people in real life (other writers and readers), even if it’s only through the internet. [AND!] We get to be best friends and confidants of some of the most interesting and intriguing people in fiction that (hopefully) have ever existed [the characters we create].

Immediately my thoughts turned to two characters I’m developing—one for a sci-fi/mystery novel series and one for a modern-day, hometown, maybe Hallmark series. Both are women characters with hidden strengths they never realized they possessed until…. Oh, yes, indeed. I am grateful for their companionship! THEN, two books popped up on my books-you-need-to-read list

Because I’m also deep into research for a military background novel, the title: Vignettesvignettes from vietnam brice h barnes From Vietnam: Brief Moments of Sanity and Belated Notes of Gratitude, came up. The author, Brice H. Barnes shares the event of his personal miracle that he experienced during the Tet Counter-Offensive and compiled these true stories—which emphasize the value of teamwork—dedicating the book to a variety of men who were major contributors to the successes that Barnes experienced in Nam. He closes each vignette with an expression of his deep sense of gratitude. There is nothing like the Memoir/True Stories to remind us of the miracles of daily life.

The second book was The Upside of Down Times: Discovering The Power of Gratitude lisa ryan by Lisa Ryan. Because I had just experienced my own “down time,” this title became a must-have book. Ryan’s leading summary statement is so true: “Most of us tend to focus on the negative.” The UPSIDE is that we can learn to harness the power of gratefulness.”

Immediately I started thinking. What about the women characters in my two novel series? Will the ideas offered by author Lisa Ryan help me release their hidden strengths in their stories? Ryan is now only an author, but she’s has some movie experience. Maybe, just maybe, her ideas are just what I need to get these novels moving again.

So today I’m FILLED WITH GRATITUDE! Thankful that my gift is writing. Thankful that my writing friends are always willing to support me, encourage me, nudge me and occasionally yell at me.

Thankful that other writers have produced their books so that I can benefit from their experience and knowledge. And, thankful for the expertise of people connected to book publishing; the editors, coaches, marketing specialists and printers! Yes! Thank you Mr. Johannes Gutenberg for inventing the printing press! OH how the world has been blessed ever since! ⚓︎

 


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Kelly Schuknecht: The Highlights Reel

As our longtime contributor Kelly Schuknecht moves on from Self Publishing Advisor to take on new challenges–and let’s face it, perfecting the art of coffee in one of America’s most scenic mountain landscapes doesn’t sound so bad, eh?–we wanted to revisit some of her best and most popular posts here. Here are three that really went down in the record books with us and our readers!

open book formatting

Ah, yes–this was one for the record books! With 1,173 views (until today, presumably!) reached a large audience with its snazzy graphics and keen observations into consumer behavior. It was short and to the point, but that seems to be what readers have always wanted from us here. Concise, articulate expertise! And while it’s hard to believe that nothing much has changed since this post first went up in 2011, Amazon has stayed fairly regular in its setup and services. Kelly’s words still hold true!

This one wasn’t just for you, dear readers–this one was for us, too! Since many of us who work on Self-Publishing Advisor work in the industry in some capacity, we often need the information as much as you do. Learning from each other has been one of the greatest side-effects to working on the blog, and we will miss Kelly’s decades of insight! As an outgoing executive for a self-publishing company (Outskirts Press), she had seen both traditional and self-publishing industries from top to bottom, inside and out. She knew what she was talking about, and when she put together lists like this one, the top 5 customer service characteristics that denote quality in a publisher, we paid attention. And guess what? Fun story: we got better at our jobs. So yeah, 4,191 of you already appreciated Kelly’s words of wisdom and learned how to pick the right company out of a lineup of, what, hundreds now? There are a lot of self-publishing companies and a lot of choices to make. But I’m sure there are a few more of you who might be interested in what she has to say … we definitely still are, four years down the line, and we’re going to put on our “Active Listening” ears here in a moment and invite you to respond. What do you think of Kelly’s post? Any suggestions on what might be added, today, in 2017, if anything?

This little item isn’t going anywhere; it remains almost as popular today as when it first went online in 2011. With 3,486 views to date and a strong performance from its sequel, where Kelly updated her original post (see that additional little gem here), I think it’s safe to say we’re still asking this question today, in 2017. What exactly is the relationship between reader, reviewer, and author? What is the reviewer’s responsibility, and what is the author’s? Can we control how our books are received? Kelly took a bite out of this subject, and as the numbers show, you thought she might have something valuable to say. We happen to think she did, and we’re glad she had the chance to revisit and update the post before she moved on to greener pastures.

***

Don’t worry–there’s more! But that’s all the time we have for today. We’ll revisit some more of Kelly’s best and most popular posts as we move through September, awaiting the arrival of our newest contributor. See you back here in two weeks! Elizabeth will be back with her popular column, “In Your Corner,” next Wednesday in the meantime.


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

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Tuesday Book Review: “The Pigeon Prince”

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:

the pigeon prince mr warriner

The Pigeon Prince

by M.R. Warriner

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478788805

Synopsis*:

Paolo is a young pigeon in Venice who craves to become human. He gets his chance during the annual carnival when he disguises his identity with a magnificent costume that makes him look like a human. Walking among people, he concludes that they, in turn, really want to be birds! Paolo realizes that he is perfect just the way he is, and has always been what he desired most to be: someone special.

M.R. Warriner’s The Pigeon Prince richly illustrated by Italian artist Francesco Dibattista, is a great way to teach elementary school children that they can be happy in their own skin. Facts pages lend an educational component to this charming story of adventure and self-respect.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review:

Meet Paolo Piccione, one of the famous pigeons of St. Mark’s Square, in new book—a lyrical allegory in the form of a lavishly illustrated children’s story.

M.R. Warriner is a business executive turned author who advocates self-discovery as the path to individual and team fulfilment. His new juvenile fiction book, The Pigeon Prince, has been published by Outskirts Press—the fastest-growing full-service self-publishing and book marketing company.
Venice is a magnificent city, especially if you’re a pigeon. Not only do the people of Venice feed the birds, but tourists at St. Mark’s Square lay birdy banquets at their feet! But there is one bird, Paolo Piccione, who yearns to be more than a pigeon….
This beautifully illustrated, lyrical story tells the tale of Paolo, a prince among pigeons who wants to be human, and the grand adventure that leads him to realize it is silly to long to be something he is not. Both children and adults will enjoy this tale of a Venetian pigeon’s journey to self-discovery.
About the Author: M.R. Warriner traveled the world in search of lessons to develop the talents and shape the cultures of teams with dreams. As a people executive for both start-ups and legends like Disney, Gallup, and Marriott, he helped birth fifteen innovative enterprises. His senior quest is helping teams redefine and reshape the idea of great companies by grounding them in universal principles of faith. The Pigeon Prince is his debut book.

– Review on YAH GOTTA READ THIS

 Other Reviewers Are Saying …

The Pigeon Prince is a universal tale of longing to be different than one already is. The story is sweetly told, gorgeously illustrated, and has the timeless lesson of realizing that you are already the best “you” that can be. Bonuses include a glossary of terms, and fun facts on pigeons. This beautiful book makes a lovely gift for children and parents who encourage them to excel at being themselves.

– Amazon Reviewer Ann M. Peterson

A wonderful story with a great message along with beautiful illustrations. My daughter and I enjoyed it the first time and will many more times to come. The history and fun facts at the end were particularly enjoyable.

– Amazon Reviewer Shane Vaughn

Book Trailer

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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