Self-Publishing News: 3.31.2020

Word MARCH. Vector decorative unusual object

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

Now this is a fascinating idea: According to this Accesswire repost to Yahoo! Finance, author J.B. Lion is launching a new series of five books, each of which comes as a “standard text-only version and a graphic novel that mixes illustrations alongside text.” The dual version, the article claims, is “meant to enhance the reading experience, reducing the chance that a reader stops reading halfway.” The series is the product of a decade and a half of labor, as well as the creative insights of Lion’s sons, creators of the world upon which THE SEVENTH SPARK is built. Given some of Lion’s other literary inspirations, it will come as no surprise that the series resonates with those readers who love other mammoth works of twisty and multifaceted fantasy fiction, and the graphic novel version is bound to attract a wide readership among those more attracted to visual forms than thick tomes. Whatever else happens in this series, it’s fascinating to see how indie authors like Lion are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in self-publishing. Now we’re curious about what other indie authors might be looking into dual-version publications like this one.

To balance out the day’s news release, we take a quick glance away from fantasy to catch a glimpse of another fun new thing in the world of science fiction, this time out of Fairbanks, Alaska. Ramzi Abou Ghalioum writes that “It would have been hard to tell, looking at his first two careers, how Craig Martelle would pivot at age 52 and begin writing science-fiction action novels.” But he did, moving first from the Marine Corps into law, working with Fortune 100 companies for a number of years before retiring from his second career and turning his attention to writing “that book I always wanted to write,” as he puts it. Drawing upon the kind of “streamlined approach” that his experience in the business world introduced him to, Martelle has applied the concept of process improvement to the act of writing–a concept that “involved examining a production process and figuring out how to streamline it for efficiency.”  Combining both his creative gifts and a lifetime of professional experience, he decided to self-publish. “The business part isn’t that hard,” he writes, so long as authors find the resources and guidance they need–another part of his mission.


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



Conversations : The Best of Royalene Doyle (part 5)

Celebrating the Best of Royalene Doyle

and her fantastic Conversations

farewell goodbye waving

This week we’re celebrating more of Royalene Doyle’s fantastic Conversations posts; it’s hard to believe that it’s already been more than a month since her last new piece for our blog here on Self Publishing Advisor, and we miss her terribly. Do you know what we miss most of all? Royalene is such a force for encouragement and inspiration! Whenever we find ourselves discouraged and looking for ways forward, we delve into her old posts or dig into our email inboxes for her latest email.

Royalene understood the practical applications of encouragement for the self-publishing author, and our first post today really underscores that. Do you need some ideas to shake off Writer’s Block? Do you need a couple of ideas to shake loose those thoughts in your head which are so difficult to capture on paper? Take a look at this conversations post from 2014, in which Royalene talks about how to “plant the seed” and cultivate a work-in-progress. This is an invaluable post and one we return to frequently when stuck!

If you still find yourself stuck after that first post, it’s time to bring out one of Royalene’s more weird and hilarious anecdotes: the time she borrowed a skeleton. You heard us right … a skeleton! It turns out that Royalene was just as profound and out-of-the-box of a thinker as a high schooler as she is now, and her research unfolded into a lifelong conversation about generating motion (and momentum) in her writing by way of plot and characterization, dialogue and balance. It might be a bit unusual of an anecdote, but it really works! A life in motion can only ever be truly captured on the page when the writing evokes that same sense of motion, and as always Royalene provides concrete tips and tricks in order to help you make that happen.

So much of what we manage to get on the page as writers is dependent on how we treat our bodies and the brains which house our minds. It’s difficult to concentrate and write sentences that flow, for example, if we are tired or haven’t eaten decent food in a couple of days. Our ability to write characters who make sense in context is affected by the health and dynamics of our own personal relationships with the people around us, as authors. Here, in our final reflection for the week, we wanted to highlight Royalene’s 2016 post in which she encourages us to “feed mind, body, and spirit”! She describes her own ideal setting (quiet background noise, people around but not invading her space) as well as one of her go-to ways for feeding her mind (reading nonfiction) and then goes on to describe some ways in which her readers (her fellow authors) can go about creating their own ideal settings … including the ideal bodily and emotional settings necessary for peak performance. As always, Royalene finds a way to remind us that what we do, both on and off of the page, matters … all while striking an encouraging, insightful note!


That’s all for this week! We’ll be back next Friday as we detail more of Royelene’s greatest hits, as determined by our blog’s analytics. You can follow Royalene’s further adventures by checking out her Twitter feed (her handle is @RoyaleneD) or her website at We miss you, 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. She developed 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, has received 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. December 2017 marked the end of Royalene’s tenure at Self Publishing Advisor. and we will be spending the next few weeks celebrating some of her all-time hits, her most well-received articles for our blog, in thanks for years of generous service.

In Your Corner: How Does One Stay Creative in the Midst of the Doldrums?

Have you ever struggled to figure out just how to keep generating good new material, as an author? Have you ever tangled with the doldrums when it comes to dredging up new ideas for marketing your self-publishing book?

Staying creative is hard.

Perhaps this is self-explanatory, or the sort of statement which prompts a “duh” reaction in some of our readers, but it’s worth saying nonetheless. Recognizing and honoring a difficulty like this is paramount in moving forward to address it. Denial is not a friend to productivity, on any level.

In all of my years working alongside self-publishing authors, one of the most common questions I receive is simply: “What else can I try?” The unspoken statement, uttered in the silences between words, is this: “I’ve run out of ideas, but I know I need to try something different since what I’m currently doing is not working or somehow not enough.” And perhaps that’s part of the difficulty; when authors go looking for just “enough,” they are hoping creativity will do what dogged persistence and dedication to craft won’t. They’re hoping creativity will level up their book’s success.

But that’s not strictly true. Creativity is a part of the whole, just as dogged persistence and dedication are. Creativity, however, differs greatly from those other two things, which can be counted on to produce measurable and reliable results. Generally speaking, if you put time and energy into something with persistence and dedication, you’ll be guaranteed to see results. Creativity, on the other hand, is fickle. It’s hard to qualify what it is, much less quantify what it does. I think of it as part of your navigation system; alone, it won’t get you anywhere, but it can certainly help you find your destination … but I don’t know, I think my metaphors tend to break down sooner than I can pin them down in pixels or on paper.

Instead of digging myself a deeper hole to step in, I thought I might shift gears a little bit, and talk about some of the tried-and-true methods to coax creativity out of hiding. What are some ways we can boost our creativity in at least a semi-reliable fashion?*

creativity listening

Ten Starter Tips to Summon Creativity

  1. Sleep (& walk to work) with a notebook and pen. The best ideas crop up when we least expect them, which is why it’s important to … well, expect them. Put yourself in the best possible position to jot down those nuggets of dream-time wisdom (at night) and kinetic inspiration (while you’re on the move) and contemplative excellence (when you’re at work, or eating dinner). And just as important as writing them down is the need to do something with them … so schedule a half hour or more every day to expand one of your jotspirations into something that later might fit into your larger project. Don’t put too much pressure on the individual pieces to become anything; they’ll assemble into something larger or inform your work as you go.
  2. Change your project. This is the scariest item on the list, perhaps. But it’s important to be open to changing directions mid-stream, no matter how far along in your project you are. I’ve known artists to destroy eight or nine of every ten artworks because they weren’t what they wanted, and I’ve known authors to strike one of every two pages during the editing stage, or delete entire drafts and start over from scratch. This might be a bit extreme for you, and there’s no need to go that far if it doesn’t fit your feeling for what’s right, but you should pay attention to your intuition. Is your current manuscript headed where you want it to? Has what you want changed? Should it?
  3. Steal like an artist. Beg, borrow, steal. You know how it goes: we are what we read, what we see, what we witness. Instead of feeling shame or repugnance at stealing from others whose work you admire, consider instead a system by which you acknowledge, pay homage to, honor, and celebrate these influences. I guarantee you that you already have a number of influences that are bleeding into your work; it’s simply a matter of recognizing them and working with them as a feature rather than a distraction.
  4. Get up earlier, don’t stay up later. Quite a few items on this list could have been taken up with “self-care” instructions, but use this item as the lynchpin of a body-friendly, healthy writing strategy. Studies show that getting up earlier (and going to bed earlier to account for the difference) and eating well, getting out and about, and seeking out friendly company are all significant physiological boosters for creativity and productivity both. You won’t be able to pin down your inspiration if you can’t even concentrate, so take the time and set a schedule which allows you to inhabit the best, healthiest possible body–and therefore create the best possible work you can.
  5. Read, read, read. Books are food for the soul, friends for the lonely, and so many other things. They’re also the raw material we chew up in our heads and turn into fuel for inspiration. Don’t shut down the assembly line which delivers this vital ingredient of your work! Spend as much time reading as you do watching television or scrolling through your Facebook timeline, and I guarantee your work will benefit.
  6. Diagram it. Not all brains work the same way, but many brains benefit from branching out and trying out some of the tried-and-true methods of people who might be gifted in other ways. Case in point? I am terrible at math. Or at least, I wasn’t a fond student of the subject. I’m a rather predictable writer in that I love words, words, always words–but once in a great while, when I get stuck, I find I really benefit from posing the question: “What would my friend A. do?” A. is an engineer and gifted mathematician. And what would she do? She’d diagram the thing. She’d figure out how to visually represent the component parts of an ongoing project: inputs, outputs, time and energy budgets, and the architecture of the piece itself. Seeing it laid out in this way helps me grasp where the holes are, and where to spend (or “budget”) my next writing session.
  7. Sing in the shower. No, seriously. Get up out of your chair if you’re struggling and go take a shower. Eat a piece of fruit. Pears are great for this, as are apples. Did you know a single apple contains more caffeine than a shot of espresso? True fact. I heard that one from my family doctor. Kick up your heels; put the radio on for a minute and go for a drive, just because. Belt out one of your favorite songs as if no one was listening. (If they are and don’t like it, well they can go lump it.) Get your blood moving, and vary your activities every fifteen or thirty minutes while writing.
  8. Clean your work space. Ha. Yeah, I know, I’m not doing too good on this front myself right now. But it’s a fact that most people operate best, focus best, when their work spaces are organized and cleared of clutter. Also, the act of cleaning often knocks out some of the cobwebs, maybe even knocks some new ideas loose. Don’t underestimate the power of those bubbling shower cleansers and elbow grease in prompting creativity to scuttle out of some dark corner.
  9. Finish something. And by this I mean: “If you can’t finish the big project, finish a little one.” It can be something related to your piece, as in, a chapter or a paragraph. And reward yourself for this! Or it can be something completely unrelated to your writing, like cleaning the bathroom or writing a thank-you letter to your niece for that lovely Christmas gift you forgot to mention earlier. (Oops.) Some people call this procrastination–but if you recognize the need to vary your tasks, and turn it into a productive deviation, one that you can reward yourself for finishing, your morale will spike. Just make sure you do get back around to writing again afterward.
  10. Count the ways. Count the ways you’re doing well. More than anything, struggling with creativity can sap your self-confidence, your morale, and your sense of your work’s value. But you’ve done so much good work already! Make a list, maybe, but no matter how you count the ways, make sure you celebrate each and every accomplishment!

*PLEASE NOTE: These tips are tricky, and the object elusive. If you’re struggling to make any one of them work (that is, you’re struggling to summon that spirit of creativity), there’s nothing at all wrong with you or with your methods, necessarily. There are no failures in the pursuit of creativity, merely delays. And as always, if you’re facing a daunting prospect, remember that we’re here for you, both to commiserate and offer up all of the expertise we collectively have on offer.

You are not alone. ♣︎


ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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.

In Your Corner : Super Bowl 50 Edition

Will you be watching the Denver Broncos go toe-to-toe with the Carolina Panthers this Sunday?  Super Bowl 50 promises to be quite the event, and not just for the teams on the field––or their fans far and wide, or the support teams, or the cities which are represented, or even the disappointed followers of teams that didn’t make it.  The Super Bowl, like many other big sporting events in America and abroad, has the power to bring people together.  And whenever people gather together, whether it’s for Super Bowl 50 or some other occasion, you as an author have a unique opportunity to gather something else: stories.


My favorite moment in many of the books I read and movies I watch is when a family gets together and the drama ends up spilling into the kitchen.  There’s something special about having all the generations represented, with their conflicting memories and versions of reality and worldviews.  These moments usually lay the foundation for some kind of resolution later in the story––resolution that smacks of reconciliation, and the importance of family (for better or worse).  The Swiss Family Robinson was among my favorite books as a child, and now as an adult I see the same thing happening in Isabel Allende, Kate Morton, Louise Erdrich, and Jonathan Franzen’s books––and the list goes on and on.  Some of my best storytelling memories––both as speaker and listener––revolve around my grandparent’s dinner table.  These are the moments we can’t afford to miss, as authors.

Am I recommending that you bring an exploitative reportorial mind to family gatherings?  No.  As writers we do have some obligation to report on reality––whether through the intimations of fiction or the facts of nonfiction––but we are not reporters.  (Unless, of course, that is your bread and butter profession.)  We do not inhabit those moments as objective observers, but rather intimate witnesses, and participants.  These stories have the potential to mean something to your readers (as inspiration for fiction, or the backbone of a memoir) precisely because you’re not objective.  They mean something to others only because they first mean something to you.

As an author, you have to strike the balance between participant and recorder.  It’s worth noting that some authors do not ask permission of family members and friends before writing about them (claiming that this allows more freedom of expression and less fear of even well-intentioned censorship), while others firmly advocate for asking permission out of respect.  I happen to be one of the latter, but I do recognize that it can be awkward to pull people aside to ask if it’s okay if I write down some of their stories.  A little awkwardness seems worth it to me, however, to know that I’m doing justice to the wishes as well as the words of the people who inspire me.

A couple of years back, when a relative of mine entered the hospital during her final days of struggling with cancer, my whole family came together––far flung cousins and aunts and nephews and great-grandchildren.  People had traveled from the far reaches of the country and in some cases, from abroad.  And something magical happened: the stories began to unspool themselves all around us.  I’ve never learned so much about my family’s history and legacy as I did in those days––and while it was magical, I wish it had been something other than suffering to have brought us together.  This isn’t exactly a recommendation to shout “Carpe Diem!” and add pressure to organize family reunions to all of the other responsibilities you face, but I do hope all of you find a whole host of precious shared moments that are rich with storytelling––whether this weekend watching the Super Bowl, or elsewhere––to enjoy in the coming years.

Always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, 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.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 02/20/15



The month of February is also the celebration of BLACK HISTORY—recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans from the foundation of America to this very day.  I felt it fitting to highlight this concept of LOVE as stated in the heading, not to dredge up painful events but to demonstrate that WRITERS throughout history can—and have—made a big difference in creating harmony in the lives of millions around the world.

Do you recognize the name Daisy Gatson Bates?  I would have said “no” just a few years ago.  However, this publisher, journalist and lecturer played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957 and is honored for her lifetime accomplishments in the state of Arkansas on February 19th (or the 3rd Monday of every year) right along with remembrances of George Washington’s birthday and Martin Luther King.  As a foster child, Daisy attended the city’s segregated public schools.  In her teens, she learned that her birth mother had been raped and murdered by three local white men. No one was ever arrested and hate festered in her.  Her father told her: “Hate can destroy you, Daisy.  Don’t hate white people just because they’re white.…hate the humiliations we are living under…hate the discrimination that eats away at the South…and at the soul of every black man and woman.…Then try to do something about it.”  And so she did.

As an adult, Daisy and her husband published a local newspaper, the Arkansas State Press, utilizing her writing talents in her chosen field of advocacy journalism.  Stories about Civil Rights ran on the front page as well as the violations of the Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings.  However, the main stories that filled the paper spotlighted achievements of the black community in Arkansas.  Daisy had turned the painful events of her life into actively supporting those who wanted to change the segregated school system and increase opportunities for everyone.  Her clear and organized writing skills and positive attitude eventually led her to a position in the administration of President Johnson, working on anti-poverty programs.

Daisy wrote a memoir in 1962—The Long Shadow of Little Rock—which was banned throughout the South.  However, in 1988 the University of Arkansas Press reprinted it, after which it won an American Book Award.  President Bill Clinton (then Governor) said Daisy Bates is “the most distinguished Arkansas citizen of all time.”  In her later years, Daisy moved back to rural Arkansas, to concentrate on improving the lives of her neighbors (anyone who needed help) by establishing self-help programs that were responsible for new sewer systems, paved streets, a water system and community center.

Highlighting this woman’s life and accomplishments—as a person, journalist, publisher, author and advocate—exemplifies the points made by author Francine Rivers in my blog last week.

  • Tell the TRUTH, no matter how messy it is and get the details right.
  • Bad things happen. Ugly things. Sad and malicious things. There is also the TRUTH that good people make a difference. Their concepts of love, Faith, values, and doing what is right because it is right will make a difference.

Who is the person (or people) in your life demonstrating this element of LOVE?  Can their examples be incorporated into what you’re writing?  Do you need to write a True Story/memoir about their lives?  What is holding you back?  The WORLD needs more examples like this!  Write it! Get it PUBLISHED!

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.