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Posts Tagged ‘small press’

Vonnie at Carroll County Farmer's Market When I started the writing journey, I thought I had a clear picture of the book publishing world. Wrong!

I slid into book publishing via my work as an illustrator. I was lucky enough to stand next to an indie author in aerobics class who’d lost her illustrator suddenly. She was telling me about her plight, and I mentioned I was an illustrator. Many hours and illos later, her book (with my illos) was picked up by a major publisher, and I ended up illustrating her 8 books with Prima Publishing.

When it came to my 1st book, Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales, again I slid into book publishing. This time, I was set to design, typeset, and layout a book for the Vegetarian Resource Group (an Indie Press). The author bowed out at the last moment, and my book project slipped into her publishing slot.

Nowadays, I slog along with the rest of the small press authors. A couple of things I’ve learned: few people know your books (even if you’ve sold thousands) and even fewer know your name. You can’t convince someone to like your book, and it’s difficult to convince them to buy your book unless they already read the type of book you’re writing.

A few more lessons learned about book publishing: Friends of friends or family members will ask you to read and critique their book (for free) on a regular basis. You need to find a nice way to say, “No.” Your writing time is valuable (and limited), so you need to focus on your own writing. I often suggest a writers’ group or class for peer input.

Countless people will talk to you at an author’s event or signing about the idea they have for a great book, then ask if you’d like to write it for them. Again, the answer is “No.” If the idea is worth writing about, they need to write their own book. They’re the person with the passion about the idea – not you.

Also, people want to learn the secret to getting their book published. To which I always answer: “Hard work, persistence, and a little luck.” I wish there was a secret I could share which would quickly get their book on a fast track to publication, but there isn’t one.

And remember, free candy will always attract potential customers to your book display at an event. 🙂

Lastly, librarians and Indie bookstore clerks are a small press author’s friends. These are people who care about books and readers.

An interesting article on the subject, 24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing, adds to my ideas and is well worth the read.

Find my books on Amazon and elsewhere. Happy reading!

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Even as I typed the title of this blog post I cringed. It’s extremely difficult to promote and sell a book published (as mine have been) by a small press, much less self-published. And remember, self-published is not a dirty word as long as the book is well written, edited, and produced. Professional presentation and quality is the key.

Readers, do you really care who published a book as long as it’s a good read?

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Skean copy The book world has changed enormously since my children’s book, Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales, was published. Yes, I had to do school visits and storytellings, but most of the promoting was done by my small press publisher. The Vegetarian Resource Group secured reviews and in-person interviews, placed ads in print publications, and listed the book in their printed catalog. Brick and mortar stores, both independents and chains, carried the paperback and royalty checks were issued when sales were good.

Nowadays, authors with small press publishers are often responsible for securing their own interviews and reviews. And those interviews are usually done via the internet, whether later published on a blog or offered as a podcast. Advertisements in print publications have been replaced by book trailers on YouTube, online ads, and excerpts read on a computer screen. Online book stores have grabbed a huge share of the book market, and if profits are realized, an online deposit is made in an author’s electronic account.

So what’s an author to do? I say, “Embrace the changes and learn the new world of books!” And that’s what I’m trying to do with The Enchanted Skean, my just-released fantasy novel from Mockingbird Lane Press. For better or worse, the book world is changing, and this writer is trying her best to take advantage of the new technologies and the wide support network offered by the internet.

So please check out the following, and let me know what you think.

Alesha Escobar’s Blog Interview of Vonnie: http://www.aleshaescobar.com/feature-friday-the-enchanted-skean/

Larry Matthew’s Podcast Interview of Vonnie: https://soundcloud.com/larry-matthews/vonnie-winslow-crist-talks

Book Trailer for The Enchanted Skean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-8C9OkyJCU

Online 3-chapter excerpt of The Enchanted Skean: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/books/the_enchanted_skean_excerpt

And giving credit where credit is do, thanks to Alesha and Larry for doing the interviews, Jamie at Mockingbird Lane Press for the book trailer, and the readers who’ve bought the book. It takes lots of support to become a successful author, and I appreciate all the support I’ve received.

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 After a long wait, I finally have in hand my copy of While The Morning Stars Sing – An Anthology of Spiritually Infused Speculative Fiction. Congratulations to editor Lyndon Perry for this big (over 250 pages), beautiful book. The cover art, Transcendence, by Lance Red is even more powerful in-person than on-line. I can’t wait to sit quietly tonight and begin to read the stories and poems that others have written.

But wait — isn’t the 1st thing I should do is re-read my story, Blood of the Swan? Actually, no! I’ve already spent hours writing the dark fantasy story, then hours editing it after in-put from my writing group’s comments (thanks Katie & Michelle). I re-read it, scanning for typos, before I sent Blood of the Swan to the Writers of the Future Contest where it earned an Honorable Mention. Next, I made a few more revisions before sending it out to prospective publishers. ResAliens Press was the 2nd place I sent the tale to, and upon seeing this anthology — I know it is where the story was meant to find a home.

And isn’t finding the right publication for your story the trick? First, you need to find that editor who connects with your characters, recognizes the merit in the tale, and has the space for your 5,000 words or so. Then, the book or magazine has to make it through the publication process. Sadly, many wonderful small presses fall by the wayside, their projects incomplete and unpublished. And finally, you hope that readers will not only enjoy your story, but remember it once they’ve closed the book.

For memorable stories that stir an emotional response, stay with the reader, and maybe even cause him or her to think about their views on a part of life are the goal of most writers. Not an early bird, I suspect as I stay up late this evening reading the work of my co-contributors in While The Morning Stars Sing, I might witness the song of morning stars and summer moon as the bats wing, the owls call, and the grandfather clock chimes midnight.

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