Tuesday Book Review: “Touchstone”

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:

touchstone linda eatmon-hones

Touchstone

by Linda Eatmon-Jones

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478773092

Synopsis*:

TOUCHSTONE by Linda Eatmon-Jones is an inspirational biography of her husband, Earle F. Jones’ life and the incredible family legacy he was born into. The devastation of a Ku Klux Klan raid, burning down all of his family’s property in the early 1920s, created a determination in his grandfather not to let that traumatic event define the family’s future. The resiliency, strength and courage his grandfather used to create a new future for their family started a legacy of success that contributed to the successful man Earle is today. The lessons taught to each generation of letting education guide your destiny is Earle’s road map to being a life student, compassionate friend, accomplished professional and caring citizen of the world. The essays, written by family, friends and colleagues bear out how Earle embodies those lessons created by a family legacy.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

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Touchstone is an open love note of appreciation from a loving and devoted wife to a husband who has shouldered the many burdens of the world and amazingly found a way to remain steadfast in such a way that will inspire generations beyond his family unit.

Jennifer M. Stewart, Ph.D., President, Stewart Strategies & Solutions, LL

Linda did an absolutely outstanding job bringing Earle’s family to life on paper. The book captures all his phases in life, and makes them come together as, “the slices of a whole pie” and they fit nicely together. As his sister-in-law, I have an advantage that most don’t have in seeing him up close and personal. His logical thinking makes you do an “aha” sometimes. His advice is mostly never off course and the book conveys his character to a tee.

– Reverend Jennifer Gatling-Sharpe

Reading the book makes you think about your own legacy. Motivational and inspiring!

Helen Latten, Retired Administrator, Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools

The book is about “Love” and strong family ties that show how the author’s husband is destined to help others live a better life. I use it as a teaching tool to some of the kids in our sports tennis club. It lets them know there is nothing you cannot overcome if you put your mind & heart into it.

Carroll Spyke Henry, President, Smart Activities for Fitness and Education (S.A.F.E.)

A very warm and touching demonstration of how the life of one man can have an everlasting positive effect on so many people in seemingly wide-spread and unrelated worlds.

Sylvia Turrell, Ph.D., Retired Professor Emeritus, University of Lille, France

Author Website:

Touchstones for Impact


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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: 11.20.2017 – These Cookbooks are Prime for Thanksgiving!

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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!

Look, it’s the week of Thanksgiving, so we’re going to spend a little time loving on a few of our favorite cookbooks this week as we ready our mixing bowls and our stomachs for what’s ahead: a week full of food, fun, and family–not to mention a whole lot of patriotism! Yes, it’s true, there’s no more timely and suitable cookbook to add to your collection this week than Uma Aggarwal’s America’s Favorite Recipes, the first volume of which was published by Outskirts Press! Aggarwal, an experienced cook and author of several other cookbooks, sets out to prove a point in this particular volume: that American cuisine is, in fact, that “melting pot” it has often been described to be, and that it combines the best of all worlds and elements from the various cultures who have been brought to our shores. Here is a beautifully designed and elegantly presented set of traditional as well as innovative recipes gathered by Aggarwal from throughout the country and throughout the history of America–from Colonial times to modern ethnic fusion cuisines–and a whole lot of great ideas to try as you dive into your Thanksgiving preparations!

Some chefs are just a national treasure, don’t you think? We happen to think so, and we happen to also think that Chef Jesse Jones counts among that exalted crowd of creative, masterful, and also accessible chefs who don’t just inspire us to do better in the kitchen–they also provide concrete steps of how to get from point A (the raw ingredients) to point C (the plated dish). Here, in POW! My Life in 40 Feasts, Chef Jones provides his readers with a brand-new set of tried and true recipes from his own private collection, all of them beautifully printed in this gorgeous cookbook. But there’s more here than just recipes, as wonderful and worthy as they are by themselves! This is not just a cookbook, it’s a memoir too, and it follows Chef Jones’ story from troubled times in New Jersey and North Carolina, throughout his training in the great kitchens of France, to his eventual return and success as a restaurant owner and five-star chef! This book provides plenty to get new and cautious cooks started, as well as lots to challenge the experienced chef. Dip into his French and Southern-influenced cuisine with this great set of fantastic feasts!

If it were easy, we’d all be doing it, right? And while we can’t all be Angela Mulloy, we can learn from her life story in this fascinating book, which combines memoir and recipes in an altogether new and fresh way! Mulloy’s life took an unexpected turn when she moved from a successful career in publishing to purchasing and renovating an Eighteenth-Century plantation, where she opened a restaurant and inn and launched herself down a wholly different path to what might be called … a renaissance of Southern cooking, hospitality, and tradition! With more than 25 years of experience in running the inn and restaurant to wide acclaim, Mulloy now brings us this fantastic book, chronicling her life and journey from childhood through the various kitchens and homes which sharpened her creative culinary instincts. Her life hasn’t exactly been easy–there’s tragedy and loss sprinkled in among the everyday hardships which make up an ordinary life–she has risen above it all with her sparkling wit and her tasty recipes, sure to please a crowd this holiday season. We can’t recommend her book enough!


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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.

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Is It Time to Relaunch Your Book?

book launch

Publishing a book for the first time can be an exciting proposition. Dreams of hitting it big can fill your eyes with stars and the world with hope.  Sometimes those dreams come true immediately, but more often than not, reality has a way of stifling even the most optimistic writer.  Success rarely comes immediately, even for those “overnight successes” you hear about in the news. What the news often fails to tell you is how many months and years that “overnight success” toiled tirelessly to reach that brass ring.  Often, the only difference between success and failure is not giving up.

If the bloom has fallen from your publication in the absence of overnight success, now is the time to dust off the dust and get excited again.  Your book is still published!  You are still a published author! And things in the marketplace may have changed in your favor since you’ve put the book on the back burner.  Bring it back to the front and let’s relaunch your book with all new zest and zeal!

1. Re-announce your book
Repeat all the steps you took when you published the first time. Does it matter that your book isn’t brand “new”?  No.  It’s new to anyone who is hearing about it for the first time, so that’s more than enough reason to widen your net.

  • Notify close family and friends in person and by phone or text
  • Notify an even wider circle of friends and associates via email and social media
  • Mail promotional announcements or postcards to everyone you know

2. Use social media
Depending upon how long ago you initially published your book, things may look quite a bit different in social media, and those differences can represent an opportunity for your book that may not have existed before.  Was Facebook the behemoth it is today?  Were videos on YouTube as popular as they are today?  If you were marketing a book even as recently as two or three years ago, the landscape is completely different now.  You may find more success with a book video trailer, more success with a Facebook page, and more success with author readings or events.   The world of independent writers is still growing, which means the community is becoming more vibrant and active in all circles of life.  That activity can translate to awareness, which can translate to word-of-mouth advertising, which can translate to increased book sales.

3. Update your author platform
If your attention on your book has waned over the past several months or years, chances are your author platform is in need of some loving care, also.  Check in on all the social media profiles you set-up when you were initially published.  Is your profile picture still a good representation of you? Do any of your other graphics or images need an update?  Has it been a while since you’ve posted anything on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Linked-In accounts?  Refocusing on book marketing means refocusing on all the elements involving your writing career.  You may discover that as you get more excited about your book, so, too, will readers.

4. It’s never too late to START marketing
Perhaps your attention waned shortly after publication because reverence and riches didn’t follow publication as soon as you had hoped.  Perhaps you didn’t put as much effort into marketing as you could have when your book was first published.  That is very good news!  Why?  Because that means all the opportunities you had when your book was first released are still available to you.   People rarely pay attention to when a book was written or published.  All they care about is whether it will solve their problem, or entertain them, or help them prepare something delicious to eat, or help their children fall asleep peacefully.  No matter how “old” your book may seem to you, it’s brand new to everyone out there in the world who hasn’t heard of it yet.   Start marketing your book TODAY and help those people find your book.  


brent sampson
In 2002, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Semi-Finalist Brent Sampson founded Outskirts Press, a custom book publishing solution that provides a cost-effective, fast, and powerful way to help authors publish, distribute, and market their books worldwide while leaving 100% of the rights and 100% of the profits with the author. Outskirts Press was incorporated in Colorado in October, 2003.

In his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, Brent is an expert in the field of book publishing and book marketing. He is also the author of several books on both subjects, including the bestseller Sell Your Book on Amazon, which debuted at #29 on Amazon’s bestseller list. 

Tuesday Book Review: “The Vicissitudes of Fortune”

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 vicissitudes of fortune bob siqveland

cipa evvy award

a CIPA EVVY Award Winner for 2017!

 

The Vicissitudes of Fortune

by Bob Siqveland

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478785897

Synopsis*:

Five teenagers from diverse backgrounds are brought together by a war. A Japanese, a Jew, a Native American, an African American, and a white kid from middle-class America form an interdependent relationship in the jungles of Vietnam. They become the most highly decorated squad in a war they don’t understand, but their relationships transcend the social structures of racism formed through historical injustices, and they remain best friends for decades. Their iconic leader, Billy Stone, one day finds himself entangled with a Medicare scam dreamed up by his sister’s husband. For his sister’s sake, he must find a solution. The livelihoods of the others form within the law enforcement communities in their individual and collective quest for justice as they grow from boys to men of great character.

Even the strongest of character has its flaws, but these men are the best of the best, and there is only one adversity they cannot overcome. From the Selma-to-Montgomery march, the internment camps of WWII, the poverty and desolation of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; to the estrangement of a father and son and a suicide of great consequence, this team of five becomes one. At the same time, there are “takers” like Billy’s brother-in-law who infect the American system. They need to be brought to justice, but the price will be high. On the smallest of scales, this is an epic tale of how the dream of a world community can become a reality.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

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This cinematographic novel examines dreams for a better America against a callous political system.

Bob Siqveland’s The Vicissitudes of Fortune is an epic tale of five racially and socially diverse young men thrust into the sweltering jungles of Vietnam to fight a new kind of war for a reason they do not understand. With their lives in each other’s hands, they band together to become the war’s most decorated squad, bound by one of the strongest and most enduring of human bonds: the brotherhood of soldiers who have borne the hell of war together.

Weaving fictional narrative with historical information, Siqveland traces the lives of these five soldiers––a Native American, a Jew, an African American, one of Japanese descent, and a middle-class white kid—placing them in the midst of the tumult of twentieth century America with its racism, greed, social inequity, and class distinctions.

The overarching story is that of squad leader Billy Stone, whose beloved younger sister is endangered by her husband’s involvement in a massive Medicare scam. When the scam is revealed with tragic results, the bond between these courageous and honorable men is all that holds them and their families together.

Siqveland provides startling facts and behind-the-scenes information on some of the pivotal events and personages of the past century, vibrantly bringing to life everything from World War II and the Japanese internment camps, to the wars and broken treaties that marked US relations with Native American tribes, to Haight-Ashbury and the “Summer of Love.” Justice, or the lack thereof, is another strong theme, and Siqveland’s five protagonists all come to work in the legal system, the FBI, the CIA, tribal leadership, or law enforcement.

Siqveland writes with fire and passion, but his characters are also convincing in scenes of quiet reflection, love, and tenderness. Some descriptions are necessarily graphic and disturbing. At their beginnings, historical sections tend to be long, slowing the narrative flow.

As events draw to a climax, the pacing picks up; almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, impelling forward movement. Descriptions are vivid and colorful, and emotions ranging from rage to the sweetness of love are handled with subtlety and skill.

Dialogue is authentic in feel and tone, and settings are colorfully drawn. Characters are fully developed, both believable and sympathetic. Along with their strength, courage, and high ethical standards, their flaws are also revealed, making it easy to relate to their struggles and care about them. A final scene proves disappointing, as two characters escape the consequences of their crime.

Cinematographic in scope, Bob Siqveland’s The Vicissitudes of Fortune pits hopes and dreams for a better America and a safer, saner world against the egomaniacal quest for power and money that infects the political system at all levels. Conspiracies, cover-ups, and secrets abound, while against this dark backdrop, the character, dignity, and love of five young soldiers shine like a beacon that spans decades, giving hope for future generations.

–  Reviewed by Kristine Morris of ForeWord Reviews

What Other Reviewers Are Saying …

Drawing on his background as an Army Captain commanding a field artillery battery, Bob created this riveting tale of five men from diverse backgrounds who served together and bonded during the Vietnam war. Their story is interwoven with a modern-day journey through character, greed and corruption relevant to today’s political landscape.

Engaging characters and crisp dialogue provide enlightening background on subjects as diverse as native American history, Medicare scams, treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II, politics, social inequity and race relations.

Bob’s often stream-of-consciousness writing includes philosophical thoughts and anecdotes which highlight the theme of justice / injustice in all forms. ultimately it’s a reminder of how dignity and character can make a difference in our world.

– Amazon Reviewer Avid Reader

Siqveland truly is a master storyteller! And, this book is a real page turner. The plot is well conceived, and the characters are interesting and come from such varied backgrounds. It is those varied backgrounds that allow Siqveland to incorporate a number of historically important events of the time. The history buffs will find the facts well-researched and accurate, and all of us will enjoy being reminded of those important events. Another fun characteristic of Siqveland’s work is the inclusion of several proverbs and famous quotes everything from Confucius to Churchill.

– Amazon Reviewer T.K. Campbell

Book Trailer:

Author Interview:

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Bob Siqveland: I’m now 73 but am happy to say that friends and relatives still tell me to “grow up.” I tell them, “I know a bunch of grown-ups and they’re not much fun.” I tell those that will listen to find their passion. I have five or six passions, all on the right side of my brain. These include painting, wood carving and music (as a recording artist and songwriter). I once considered getting an MRI just to see if I even had a left brain. But, among the ironies of life, I have been involved in left brain businesses most of my life, primarily as a venture capitalist and manager. I have to credit my time as a Commander in the Army for nurturing certain leadership qualities that I have carried forward in my career. I have started a number of companies in the past 50 years and currently work in the gaming industry. I don’t think I will ever retire. I love the motion and energy of being productive, plus to re-tire, you must have been tired in the first place…which I never was.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Bob Siqveland: I have been involved in written communications most of my life, but in 2003 I decided to write a novel. It was a response to the disclosures from a John Jay College of Criminal Justice study about pedophilia in the Catholic Church. As a Catholic, I was angry and titled the book accordingly. The story ended up being about growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, not unlike Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Bob Siqveland: The Vicissitudes of Fortune

Click here to get your copy!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Bob Siqveland: In a nutshell, the creativity. Like a painting, or a wood sculpture, creating art from nothing and have people say, “loved it. I laughed, I cried, and almost everything in between.” That is the reward.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Bob Siqveland: Almost everything after having finished my manuscript. The fun is over, now I need editing, publishing quotes, marketing gurus, etc. and, the least fun requirement—$$Moolah.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Bob Siqveland: Something someone said, a verse from a song, a personal reaction, I write it down, then add a sentence which turns into a paragraph which becomes a chapter. After that, my metaphorical creative horses break out of the corral and run to the four winds. I lose control and at some point, stop to catch my breath, recruit some help (like an editor) to go round up the mustangs. Almost seems that I’m not steering the story, it’s pulling me along. That probably sounds weird, but segues to your next question.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Bob Siqveland: Most unconventional I’d have to say. Jack Kerouac’s On the Roadmight have been the best example of “stream of consciousness” writing. I understand. I have no outline or structure. Something strange happens. Where I find myself searching for a word or a name in conversation, when I write, there is uninterrupted flow…like magic. I keep forging ahead until the bell rings, then I bring in the reserves to clean up the mess. Kind of strange, huh?

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Bob Siqveland: With my characters, I sometimes feel a conflict of interest. Playing God with these people’s lives is emotional as well as creative. I gave birth to an iconic character who became my friend, developed him and then killed him to make the story work. I felt sad; a strong sense of loss. I didn’t write for two days. Some of my readers were mad at me for doing that, but it made the story work.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Bob Siqveland: In The Vicissitudes of Fortune, Billy Stone, a Vietnam vet goes to Mexico to put his life in perspective. My sentient radar is on overload as he purges his demons. His time there is special to me as the author. He sits down to watch and absorb a sunset.

Only once did his mind get caught up in thoughts about Nam, that being when a flock of pelicans did their dive bomb thing, not far off shore, snapping up the surface fish as they submerged and took off again with gunny sack chins full of wriggling appetizers. They would circle and come back for more, the first batch probably still wriggling in undigested stomachs. In any event, it sparked the vision of diving Douglas A-4 Skyhawk’s strafing the jungles with napalm, and in the heat of the day, he shivered.

And so tomorrow became today while certain events that happened yesterday lost their clarity and faded into a bigger and more generic timeframe called the past, slipping away like grade school best friends forever, whose names and faces become harder to remember, while strangely, one might recall the faces of the parents. Time has been called a thief, but for the dispassionate, it’s but a pickpocket; for those who lust from the very depths of their spiritual marrow for connection to every grain of life’s essentia, time is a mugger, and Billy had always been a person of passion.

If there were dog days of summer in Mexico, they were different than the northern hemisphere intensity, and for Billy they were metaphorically, puppy days; soft and warm and fuzzy, with eyebrows that said a hundred things, and nights when sweet pup breath and a pink tongue seemed to lick the wounds of a survivor in a loving effort to bring solace. A little at a time, it did. Still, like puppy tails, Billy’s mind was in constant motion. The only truth Billy knew for sure was that he had lived, others not.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Bob Siqveland: I’m just not sure. This story took a lot out of me. I’m not sure I can do any better. We’ll see.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Bob Siqveland: http://bobsiqveland.com/

http://amzn.to/2vhgDPM

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Bob Siqveland: Thanks for reading this interview and I truly wish all you writers much success and great reward.

– review on Authors Talk About It


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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: 11.13.2017 – The Interviews!

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And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically interviews with or articles written by self-publishing authors and experts!

For many self-publishing authors, regionality is a powerful thread woven throughout their works, tying their books to the cities and sceneries which surround them in day-to-day life. For newly self-published author Alexandra Speck, her first book has deep roots in the culture and community of Cape Cod, which she herself calls home. Says Steven Withrow of The Falmouth Enterprise in this early November interview, Ms. Speck honed early drafts of Honor Girl “in workshops with fellow writers at the Cape Cod Writers Center in Hyannis,” and has solid plans to promote and sell her book throughout the area using her experience in event planning as a development associate for the Community Health Center of Cape Cod. She has a lot to say in encouraging others thinking about self-publishing, too: “There are so many success stories with self-published authors, and publishing companies are really paying attention to books that have already found an audience,” she says. Withrow notes the decline in stigma associated with skipping traditional publishing in favor of the speed, flexibility, and affordability of self-publishing options. The rest of Withrow’s interview with Speck is well worth checking out on The Falmouth Enterprise‘s website!

Not every breakthrough for self-publishing authors comes in the form of a book, as Ivan Thomas’ article for Lee Bailey’s EurWeb Electronic Urban Report reveals. It’s here that Thomas describes the latest project by author, publisher, and indie publishing guru LaDonna Smith–a magazine, specifically designed to spread the word about self-published works and amplify the voices of minority authors and creators. The magazine in question is Writer’s Life Magazine, first started by Smith as a way of promoting her own book, The Money Tree but now an indie darling with both up-and-coming and high-profile names attached, such as NBA champion Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), who has released several well-received children’s books.

And look, we get excited about a lot of things on Self Publishing Advisor, but this magazine sounds really special, even by our standards. After all, it’s not every day that someone like Smith comes along with the know-how and the generosity to first craft a magazine and then open it up to promote the works of others. Writes Thomas, “Each issue of Writer’s Life Magazine provides professional advice and insider tips on writing and self-publishing books. These resources assist not only independent authors, but screen-writers, song-writers, literary organizations and rising illustrators. There is even a small-business spotlight that highlights bloggers and individuals who provide services to authors.” Smith’s hope is to provide a boost to the works of others who, like her, struggled to find a home for books and other artistic projects which celebrate people of color and for authors who are looking for more artistic control. The rest of this interview can be read at the link!

This isn’t your typical interview, but that’s fitting, because there’s very little that’s typical about Houston’s annual Zine Fest this year. In this brief interview with Connor Clifton, member of the absurdist comedy collective MicroSatan (which also publishes the zine Dragon Trainer High School), reporter Texas Cook takes a look at the underground culture of zines which is about to converge on the city. Those of you who’ve followed us here at Self Publishing Advisor for a while will know that zines are a favorite topic of ours here; although we don’t get too many opportunities to talk about them, we have written about them and their importance in the past, and would encourage you to not just catch up on Cook’s full interview but also on some of the many ways in which you can make zines work in your favor. (Interested? Read this article. And this one, too. And don’t worry, we’ll revisit the subject in more detail at some future date.) Check out Texas Cook’s article and the happy chaos that is the Houston Zine Fest 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: 11/10/2017

‘TIS THE SEASON TO READ and IMAGINE

I love to listen to and read with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren! With just a few words on the pages of their favorite books (re-read multiple times), their imaginations take flight—and carry me along with them. So it is that my first book selection for writers to READ this week is the short story titled: A HOLIDAY FROM TIME by John Mero.

a holiday from time john mero

Imagine what it would be like in our everyday lives if “time” jumped around. Author John Mero has created delightful characters—Turtle, Frog and Professor Hare—who explore such a scenario. Turtle has been carrying the world’s clock on his back for a long time and he’s tired. He wants a vacation, so Frog offers to carry it for a while. What happens when Frog catches a cold and starts sneezing? OH WHAT ADVENTURES we might conjure, and this beautifully illustrated story will definitely unlock everyone’s imagination to do so—and just might break through any of our own writer’s block.

For those of us who prefer to dive into a more serious exploration of current events, I discovered the book titled, GOD and COUNTRY: United god and country joseph bylinskiWe Stand! Divided We Fall by Joseph Bylinski.

Bylinski has sought answers to many questions about what is happening in the USA today. His research into Politics and Biblical mysteries has given him valuable insights, taking him (and his readers) on a journey of discovery that explores the intersection of the two. “Our country was founded on the Bible,” Bylinski tells us. “Our laws are based on the Bible…[but] our country has wandered away from its founding ideals and strayed too far.”

Many of the best minds in the world would agree with this author, and many would disagree. However, as authors, it is useful for us to read a variety of opinions because our characters must have different (and often opposing) beliefs.

These two books may seem like polar opposites to consider as tools to enhance our imaginations and writing skills. However, as the concept of imagination is defined, it is the ability (that only humans possess) to form ideas, images, sensation IN our minds without any immediate input of our senses. Each of these authors (Mero and Bylinski) have used their imagining abilities to offer interesting solutions to the problems they’ve presented. Quoting from Wikipedia’s site, imagination is fundamental to integrate knowledge, experience and learning. It is “a basic training for imagination to [create] storytelling (narrative) in which the exactness of the chosen words is the fundamental factor to “evoke worlds.”

What if the peoples of the world were devoid of imagination. Would science progress—or even exist? Would music, or poetry, or art, or novels exist? Would teachers be able to connect with their students and find creative ways to teach them? Without imagination, there would be no need to build museums, or libraries or zoos; or investigate archeological digs; or walk through National, State and Local parks; or look out our windows…and wonder.

So, today my writer/author friends, I applaud YOU! I thank you for being uniquely inspired and imaginative as you develop your manuscripts! And I encourage to you READ at least one of the above books—making notes about how you might have written it differently, or what research might provide more information on the topics. This is how we become better—and better—writers. ⚓︎


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.

In Your Corner: Nixing the Social Media

I know, I know, who cuts social media marketing in the modern era?

Well, consider the question. It is entirely possible in the age of social media saturation that many people are at or past a tipping point into social media exhaustion. After all, we’ve been exploiting the digital sphere in every possible way we can imagine ever since it was invented, practically speaking, and people are growing weary of quite a few “overdone” mainstream marketing moves, including holiday sales. Consider REI’s “opt outside” program, a push-back and against Black Friday insanity.

(Incidentally, this is nothing new. The Puritans banned Christmas/Yuletide carols back in 1600s, claiming that to sing them was a political act and an embrace of a “‘popish’ and wasteful tradition […] with no biblical justification” and we all know how far, literally, they were willing to go to enact their beliefs … so, you know, there’s nothing new under the sun.)

Back to book marketing. One of the very good reasons why some authors are pulling away from social media is that they’re over-extended. That is, they’re trying to do too much with too little (time, energy, money) and need to refocus on areas where they see good traction and meaningful engagement. Spending lots of time on maintaining a Twitter account with a following of 25 is a waste if one has truly tried all of the tips and tricks of the trade, particularly if one has, say, a robust following on Facebook.

Growing up, my father always told me time is money. He wasn’t wrong.

time is money

As author and blogger Delilah Dawson writes on WhimsyDark:

We are glutted with information, and yet our answer to “How do I get people to buy my book?” is social media marketing, which is basically throwing more information out into the void.

She’s got a point, too. More information isn’t always what’s needed; meaning and value are what’s needed, and most appreciated, by readers and book-buyers today. Just tweeting or blogging is not enough … each tweet and blog post must provide something the reader can’t get anywhere else, and which adds in some measurable or immeasurable way, to the book-buyer’s life.

Otherwise it’s just white noise. And as Nancy Peacock writes, there are a lot of small ways in which social media can eat away at our happiness and our productivity as authors:

Something was going on in my brain and I knew it. I knew I was in trouble because I could not focus on the book I was trying to write. There’s always self doubt with writing, but this was different. This was more than the question of whether or not I’d be up to the task. I couldn’t concentrate long enough to even enter the flow. My mind was fractured and splintered, my spirit in constant agitation. I felt like I was failing at everything.

I think we’ve all been there, and we may even be there more often than ever now that our computers have become hubs for all manner of distractions, including (as Peacock details later in her piece) social media in all of its forms.

Srinivas Rao, in an excellent piece for The Mission, writes that quitting social media can actually improve quite a few aspects of the author’s life in addition to providing more meaningful content. Says Rao, the benefits include “less anxiety and more happiness,” “presence,” “increased focus,” and “improved productivity.” I don’t know about you, but this month those benefits are sounding preeeetty fantastic.

So, this November, take a moment to consider the possibility of nixing social media. If your immediate knee-jerk reaction is “but I have such great followers!” and it feels like shutting down something vital and important to your creative recharge process, then maybe this isn’t a move you need to make. But if your response is more along the lines of “well, I don’t see much engagement there anyway” or “I probably won’t miss it” … then maybe it’s time to take a step back from marketing your book on social media, or at the very least refocus your efforts on platforms where you have a good toehold.

I know this isn’t a terribly popular sentiment, especially to the companies (like Twitter and Facebook) who monetize your access to social media and turn a profit off of the free content you’re posting on them, but not everyone needs to use every tool in the toolbox. It’s always, always about picking the right tool for the job. Let the other tools wait for authors who will find them better suited to their work, and focus on being “you” and the “best you” possible, in branding as well as other efforts. And as always, we’re here to help support you in your decision!

You are not alone. ♣︎


Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process 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, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.