Tag Archives: Book media

A Story of Midnight Madness

Dr. Nancy Nichols has worked in education for over thirty years. She is experienced in teaching preschool through high school and college. She has also served as a juvenile facility administrator and director of therapy.

Dr. Nichols has authored original research related to reading, confidentiality in schools, academic underachievement, and bilingual issues. She holds multiple lifelong certifications in education, administration, and the helping professions. Dr. Nichols is a highly qualified and motivated counselor and educator, and a gadfly for educational causes.

Dr. Nichols has authored many educational resource materials, including the Elements Curriculum, a high school curriculum for seriously at-risk students who are reading at a second grade level. She is also the author of over 60 educational quick-reference “wheels,” including the RTI Modifications and Accommodations Wheel, the Intervention Strategies Wheel, and the Learning Styles/Multisensory Wheel.

When not working with children in the classroom or presenting educational seminars throughout the U.S., Nancy can be found tending her farm in East Texas and enjoying the fruits of her labors. Along with being the mother of seven and grandmother of nine, she enjoys spending time with her greatest supporter, her husband Michael Nichols.

Learning is a lifetime adventure! Dr. Nancy Nichols

nancy_photo_for_rti_bk_USE_ME_(Medium)

RARA: Why did you decide to publish?

Nancy: This is a story of midnight madness!

It was a dark and lonely night . . . in the wee hours one winter morning I found myself writing recommendations for a teacher to use with her struggling student. This was the umpteenth time I had written modifications over the years. Suddenly, I went berserk! I found myself climbing in the kitchen cupboards searching for a 10″ plate, and then typing like a maniac. Just before dawn, I woke my husband with, “Mike, oh Mike, are you awake??? I need help!” With Mike’s ingenuity, we had a finished prototype by noon. The Modifications Wheel is a simple tool, a spinning wheel (hence the need for the plate) with hundreds of strategies that address challenging behaviors and academic hiccups.

We showed the Mod Wheel to a group of educators, and they literally jumped out of their chairs to grab the wheel! No more thick books to read to figure out what to do with a problem situation. Here was success at their fingertips!

Within a year, the Mod Wheel and its companion, the Intervention Wheel, generated more than $1.5 million in sales. That was quite a beginning, right?

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Nancy:

  • The Elements Curriculum, which is high school curriculum written at a grade 2—4 level. That’s 13 books + practice books, tests, and projects for each subject.
  • The EduREALM Math and EduREALM Reading Language Arts books, which are for grades K—8. That’s 16 books + the tests. These are now on Interactive CDs too.
  • RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION: WHAT ABOUT BEHAVIOR?  A Teacher’s Guide is an easy-to-read book for teachers and parents. It explains how behavior affects success in school, how to address challenges, and the formal intervention process.

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Nancy: Firelight Books markets all of my books. Firelight Books has sales representatives in almost every state. Catalog drops, website and email blasts, and conference exposure are marketing strategies.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Nancy: Not really.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Nancy: Proofing, proofing, proofing.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Nancy:

  • Expect the proofing process to take 10 times longer than the composition.
  • Expect the overall cost to be more than expected!
  • Take time to pat yourself on the back when the book is completed. It’s an accomplishment to be proud of!

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

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Children Are Precious – Angel Violet to the Rescue

I am pleased to introduce Bonnie Snyder to our group of authors.  Bonnie has a background in counseling and coaching. Currently she is a life coach who, through her business, Diamond Pathways, helps people develop the tools to create a more balanced lifestyle. She often works with women striving to manage family, work and personal issues. In her book, Angel Violet’s Magic Wings, Bonnie has created a safe place where children and their caregivers can identify the patterns and beliefs that keep them stuck in unhappy, unhealthy situations; tap into their self-healing abilities; and move forward. Bonnie is based in Tampa, Florida.

With the New year upon us, this is the perfect time to create the space and energy for your heart’s desires. Step into “dreaming your dreams and bridging the gap” to live your dreams by drawing on your heart and Soul’s guidance: Trusting Your Dreams into Reality (telegathering) 

Contact Bonnie Snyder at www.AngelVioletsMagicWings.com.

Her book is available on Amazon: Tinyurl.com/AmazonAngelViolet

Bonnie Snyder

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Bonnie: I believe our Children Are Our Legacy for a Different and Better Planet. I had a deep desire to use my gifts in a way that allowed parents and children to cope in an often stressful and scary world.  I created a children’s book and parent guide to support both children and parents in being able to communicate their feelings while respecting others and yet preserving their own “sparkles” (gifts and strengths) in the process.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Bonnie: This is the first book I have written as a solo author and my first children’s book. I am a contributing author in an anthology titled Live Every Day Motivated, Successful and Happy.

Bonnie Snyder Cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Bonnie: I am just beginning to market but the best results have come from using social media and my network. I reached out to everyone I know telling them about the book while it was in development and now since it has been published. I had “tester” families read the book and give me feedback. These were not all people I knew, so the families became ambassadors for the book.  Those families have shared the book with the schools their children attend thus expanding my circle of influence.  I am also connecting with blogs and organizations that are my target audience asking them to review the book or if I can be a guest author on a blog.  I have set up a small advisory board of my target market parents on a private Facebook group.  These women make suggestions of sites and organizations that they believe would be interested in the book. This is a win/win as the resources are also beneficial to them.  I talk to everyone about my book because you never know who may be interested or could connect me to group that might find my book beneficial.  Interest may be sparked when I least expect it.  I am connecting with other authors of children’s books and we are sharing and promoting the others’ books, as well.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Bonnie:  Yes, one of the most helpful books is Real Authors, Real Answers by Jill Mettendorf because the authors have tried the strategies they share.  I also like BookBaby.com, MIRA Digital Publishing, and Ebookhttp://ebookarchitects.com.  I found everyone to be very helpful at these three sites.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Bonnie: The digital part was the most challenging because the book is a fully illustrated color children’s book.  I wish I had known previously the process of what happens to the images when converted to digital and the nuances required for the different digital readers.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Bonnie:  It is important to understand the digital formats if you are publishing in that realm. Children’s books or books with a lot of illustrations are going to look different on each reader.  I found the best way for my digital products to show up the way they were designed was using ebooksarchitects.com so they could individualize the book to fit the Kindle and MOBI files as well as do a fixed layout for iBook. Trust your heart that what you are doing is important if you love doing it then share it.

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

Some of my next blogs will be about getting your book into the library system and marketing your book through Amazon.  Click the follow button to be notified as soon as these are posted.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

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Get the Inside Scoop from a Publisher: Steve Carlson

Steve Carlson is publisher of Upper Access, a small traditional book publishing company located in Hinesburg, Vermont, a position he has held since 1986. He publishes, on average, just two or three new titles per year, so that he can be personally involved in every aspect of publishing and promotion. He also publishes business software, “Publishers’ Assistant,” used by more than a thousand other publishers. He is an active member of several publishing organization, including Independent Book Publishers Association (former board member) and Independent Publishers of New England (current board member, former president).  He has several Web sites; the main one is www.upperaccess.com . He can be reached at steve@upperaccess.com

Welcome Steve,

Author Steve Carlson

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Steve: Back in 1986, my wife and I were getting weary of our nice middle-class jobs and decided to start a small publishing company. We would start with books we had written, then expand to publish other books–a standard publishing model, like the big guys, except smaller. It was a foolish decision, because it turned out much harder than we ever thought it would be. But with a lot of work, we developed it into a business that could support our family, while producing books we were proud of. My wife has branched out to other professional pursuits, but I have stuck with it, serving as publisher, ever since.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Steve: I have published over 50 titles to date, of which 17 are currently still in print. The current best-sellers are:

1. Final Rights: Reclaiming the American way of death, by Joshua Slocum and Lisa Carlson. This is the definitive resource for consumers to take charge of funeral arrangements without being taken hostage by the funeral industry. It is the third version of the book, expanded and updated over the years from a version originally written by my wife back in 1987.

2. Editing Made Easy: Simple rules for effective writing, by Bruce Kaplan. The author is an Australian who had written a similar book that was popular throughout the English-speaking world except for the U.S. Because U.S. grammar and usage are so different, it was useless in the U.S., so I collaborated with Bruce to create an American edition. It took off immediately, selling well. It’s a quick read, aimed a people who want to write well without getting bogged down with complex rules of grammar and style. As I had guessed, that is a pretty large demographic.

Steve Carlson Cover

3. About the House with Henri de Marne: How to maintain, repair, upgrade, and enjoy your house. This has been out for several years but continues as a strong seller, partly because of the author’s following as a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. I have also taken on the role of publishing his blog site with the same name, and have sold advertisements to help support that effort. As a result, a great deal of new material has been developed, which I am working to translate into e-book formats. 

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Steve:  I market every way I reasonably can. I am fortunate that most of my authors have platforms that keep them in the public eye. For example, the co-authors of Final Rights are frequently featured in national media, including, within the last year, 60 Minutes and Dear Abby. I promote rather heavily to libraries, particularly when I am successful in getting favorable reviews in Library Journal or other key publications. (The last two books got great reviews in LJ, which I quoted in repeated mailings with IBPA, and small ads in publications that are read by librarians. With this kind of follow-through, each of the books has sold several thousand copies apiece to libraries.) I also concentrate on special sales, selling substantial numbers of books at discounts to various organizations.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Steve:  It goes without saying that it is important that Amazon listings be as good as possible, as that is the most common place people go to learn more about a book, regardless of whether they buy it there. My own site, www.upperaccess.com , is also crucial, as people are directed to it in most of the book publicity, and it is the source of many sales. There are separate sites for some of the specific books, with varying degrees of effectiveness. The most important is Henri de Marne’s blog site, which I publish, at www.henridemarne.com . Aside from that, it’s good to be listed on as many sites as possible, particularly if they link to yours, as that helps build your own traffic. (The only caveat is that the sites should be legitimate with content related to your book–artificial link-building schemes will hurt rather than help.)

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Steve:  I mostly publish other people’s writing, but have a lot in common with self-publishers. One of my earliest books was one I wrote–“Your Low-Tax Dream House,” which sold very well and was bought up by a major publisher, which brought it out under a different title. The major publisher sold fewer books than the Upper Access version, which led me to understand that if I put in the time and effort, I can do as good a job at publishing as a big company can. That said, there are disadvantages to smallness, which I have to scramble to overcome. Here are a few:

–When you publish two or three books a year, you are not as well known as the big publishers, and have a harder time making your books stand out among the thousands of books every major reviewer receives every week. Getting good reviews is an important part of my marketing, particularly for library sales. I’ve had to do a lot of networking through organizations and events–something I am not good at because I am introverted–and that has helped.

–Although bookstores sales are declining, they are still an important part of the mix for my assortment of titles. I used to deal directly with Ingram and B&T and do a lot of direct marketing to bookstores, but that has become harder and harder for a publishing company as small as mine. I now go through an exclusive trade distributor, Midpoint, for trade sales. Midpoint does a great job–it’s one of the best–but the steep discounts have a major effect on what I can publish and how. I need to take an average discount in the 65 percent range, get paid 4 months after sales (minus returns from last month), absorb huge percentages of returns, many with coffee stains, etc., etc. etc. Yet I have to hold down prices to become competitive as a bookstore book. That prevents me from making much use of the miracles of digital printing–I need the economies of larger offset print runs.  I know many small publishers have given up on trying for serious sales to the trade, and for many of them, it is absolutely the right decision. In my case, it is still worthwhile, but it is a struggle.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Steve: If you are considering self-publishing, you must take the time to become educated in the field of publishing. Many new publishers fail miserably because they don’t learn the business. Like people who start restaurants because they know how to cook, they become publishers because they are good at writing. Publishing is a business–a fun one I think–but don’t expect to learn all the aspects of it overnight.

Understand that there is a huge difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing. The big vanity publishers call themselves “self-publishing companies,” but that is deceptive. The average book sold by one of the big “self-publishing” companies sells 65 copies, and most of those are to friends and relatives of the author. If you are going to self publish, you need to set up your own little publishing company, one with the mission of publishing your works. And you will end up spending much more time wearing your “publisher” hat than your “author” hat. If you can’t do that, you can contract out much or (hypothetically) most of the aspects such as design, editing, typesetting, distribution, fulfillment, and publicity. But this will be expensive, and you will need to understand publishing in order to hire and supervise the right people. (There are lots of charlatans out there, who are far more interested in taking your money than in helping you produce and sell books.)

Therefore, you must buy and read every book you can find on publishing, or at least the ones that have good reviews from your peers. (If you are not willing to acquire and read a bunch of books, you should ask yourself why you would even want to be a writer, let alone a publisher.) Join the excellent organizations for publishers. I am partial to IBPA, the largest; I’ve been an active member for over 25 years, and served on the board for four. My publishing company would not have survived without the constant continuing education I received through IBPA. I am also active with its New England affiliate, IPNE. Many small publishers seeking specific expertise in areas such as special sales also benefit from more specialized organizations such as AAPPS (formerly SPAN). These groups have low dues, affordable educational opportunities, marketing and networking opportunities, and numerous other benefits that help you every step of the way in producing and marketing books.

Every publisher is different, and every book is different. For some books, almost all sales are the result of a blog and social networking by the author. For others, bookstore sales are crucial. Others will sell mainly to libraries, or to special-sales markets. There are many other variations and combinations, but each market will require a big commitment of time, and perhaps other resources as well. By becoming knowledgeable about the business of publishing, you will be able to figure out how to best direct your own time and resources, to reach your audience as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Thanks for taking a break and reading about one of our authors.  If you would like to be included in the series, please contact me at jill@mirabooksmart.com.

Some of my next blogs will be about getting your book into the library system and marketing your book through Amazon.  Click the follow button to be notified as soon as these are posted.

And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening and good night.

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Famed Author and Freelance Writer: Sibylla Nash

A New Jersey native, Sibylla has written hundreds of articles that have appeared in a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites including Vibe, Essence, The Chicago Tribune and on Launch.com.  She is the author of Baby Modeling & Beyond: From The Stroller To The Red Carpet – a how to guide for parents, a novel, DreamCity, and she co-authored The Fan Survival Guide: 50 Ways To Meet Your Favorite Celebrity.

As a freelance writer, she has written about subjects ranging from entertainment to parenting issues to topical matters.  As an entertainment writer, she has interviewed celebrities such as Academy Award winning actors Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Academy Award nominee Will Smith; comedians/actors Dave Chappelle, Jamie Foxx and Kim Coles; CEO/film director Chris Stokes; and actress Constance Marie. (…see more about the author below)

Take advantage of the current promotions on Sibylla’s books:  Bumped is $.99 and  Baby Modeling & Beyond: From the Stroller to the Red Carpet is $4.99.

Thank you for joining us, Sibylla,

Sibylla Nash image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Sibylla:  I started self-publishing back in the 90s. My first book was a guide book for independent filmmakers. I chose to self-publish that particular book because I had access to that market (and used direct mail to reach them) and the information I had was timely in terms of deadlines for contests and grants.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Sibylla:  To date I have published four titles, one was co-written under a pen name – DreamCity, Little Black Book of Filmmaking (out of print), Fan Survival Guide: 50 Ways to Meet Your Favorite Celebrity, and Bumped.

Sibylla Nash cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Sibylla:  I read somewhere that marketing your book is like a marathon and that is certainly the case! I haven’t found a magic bullet. It takes a consistent effort across all platforms, your blog, social media, other blogs, advertising. You can’t create a buzz through just one channel. I’ll tweet about my books daily because your tweet has such a short shelf life. I did the Amazon free promotion and it was ok but didn’t give me the great bump in sales I was hoping for but I heard that if you have a series, you are more likely to see an increase in sales with the free promotion than stand alone books.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Sibylla: I love reading Galley Cat on Mediabistro.com, PW Daily (Publisher’s Weekly), Where Writer’s Win (writerswin.com), doing giveaways on Goodreads has been great, there are also a bunch of promo sites (free and low cost) that promote ebooks to their lists (Galley Cat has a list of them).  Also, in terms of finding editors and graphic artists, I’ve had pretty good luck on sites like guru.com.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Sibylla:  Continuing to write! It’s so easy to get caught up in the marketing end of things and not continue to produce new work. I’m so far behind on my sequel to Bumped, it’s not even funny. Oh and the second hardest thing, self-promotion in the real world (vs. online). Some people are great at it, me? Not so much. If you self-publish though, it’s part and parcel of the game, you have to let people know about your book(s).

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Sibylla:  Keep writing, keep reading and keep learning. The marketing aspect is always evolving thanks to technology, you’ll want to stay on top of things as well as see what works for others. Most importantly though (after you’ve written that fabulous best-seller of course!) make sure you do research about the best vehicle for YOU in order to get your book out into the world. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, everything you need to know about being traditionally published or independently published, there’s a blog, conference, Yahoo or Facebook group about it somewhere. So do your due diligence before you put your work out there [steps down from soapbox]. 

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in print journalism, Sibylla has also worked in the entertainment industry at film production companies as well as for major talent agencies.  She lends this experience to give authenticity to the pages of her debut novel DreamCity.

DreamCity entices readers to delve into the intimate musings of Adrianna Whittaker’s personal diary. It pulls you into the Hollywood drama of drugs, betrayal, relationship dilemmas and growing pains that Adrianna experiences as she comes of age.

“I’ve been keeping a journal most of my life,” says Sibylla. “So I guess it’s only natural that my first novel would be written in a diary format.” A big believer in journaling, she facilitates a workshop, “Journaling Your Way to Success.”

Sibylla balances her writing life with the varied demands of parenthood.  Many of her experiences as a single mother raising her daughter Kortney weaves its way into her work. She was recognized by the WB11 News as an Unsung Hero for her parenting newsletter, In The Corner.

Sibylla currently lives in Los Angeles and is currently working on several other fiction and non-fiction projects.  Sibylla and Kortney have appeared on TLC’s Ballroom Bootcamp and recently filmed a Rice Krispies commercial.

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Author Rick Brambrink: a Victorian Lover and Publisher

Rick Brambrink started his self-publishing career in 2010 and already has seven books with more on the way.  He has a passion for touring Victorian style homes and meeting with the owners.  Rick is currently the president of the James J. Hill Society and will be holding a presentation at the Princeton Depot on November 13.

Another event coming up is ‘The Titanic’s of the Great Lakes’.  It is about the two passenger ships that James J. Hill had on the great lakes. There will be one model ship on display along with all of the photos and blue prints of the ships.  James built two passenger ships that sailed only on the great lakes, North West and North Land. They were sister ships and they were the largest and fastest ships on the great lakes at the time they were built and many years later.  Please comment if interested in more info on event.

Let’s welcome Rick Brambrink,

Rick Brambrink image

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Rick:  I decided to publish because I think that it is important to record history. The first book that we published was in architectural style. We wanted to record historic fences and gates of historic mansions. Then we went into coloring books but also kept that on the historic side. Recording history is very important no matter what form it is in.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Rick:  Grand Fences and Gates of the James J. Hill House, Summit Avenue Coloring Book, Cathedral of Saint Paul Coloring Book, Glensheen  the Historic Congdon Estate Coloring Book, Minnesota North Shore Coloring Book, Twin Cities Coloring Book and Summit Avenue Mansions. 

Rick Brambrink cover 2Rick Brambrink cover 4Rick Brambrink cover 5

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Rick:  We do books on locations that have a good customer base. We make sure that before we do a book that they are willing to sell it. I have a good relationship with all of my customers so that they are willing to keep selling them.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Rick: I know that having a good website is very useful. But I have did not research publishing books before I got into the business. My business partner already had some background experience with publishing a book, I just had to be the front guy and make things happen. I have not read any books on publishing.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Rick:  Getting the word out on a new book.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Rick:  Don’t think that all you have to do is publish a book and watch the money roll in, you have to work long and hard at it to get your book to sell. You have to stay in contact with the book stores at all times and make sure they don’t run out of your book. It’s not easy.

 

Check out my previous author interviews and blogs on prelaunch marketing, cover/manuscript setup and working with a printer.  If you are not following, just click the follow button on the right hand side to be emailed when new blogs are posted.   If you would like to be included in the author interview series and get some (free) book exposure – just email me at jill@mirabooksmart.com

As always, I appreciate any comments, suggestions or feedback. If you have a blog topic you want me to cover – send it over.

…and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

 

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Author Mary Young: Retired Kindergarten Teacher self-publishes 3 books.

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Mary Young is a retired Kindergarten and Special Education Teacher. She enjoys volunteering at elementary schools where she can share her stories and encourage children to become writers. She lives with her musician husband Rusty Young of the band POCO and their dog named Zog. Mary finds much of the inspiration for her stories through nature and the surroundings of their log cabin which overlooks a river deep within the Mark Twain National Forest in rural Missouri.

Welcome Mary Young,

Mary Young pic

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Mary:  I chose to publish my children’s books mainly because it’s fun! Also, it opens doors for my team of illustrators who share in the profit from book sales. I have another ten stories still waiting to be illustrated and make their way from my computer to printed books and then into the hands of children. Actually, as a retired Kindergarten and Special Education Teacher, my style seems to lend itself to books that entertain the adult reader as well as the children listening to the story. When a child says, “Read it again!”. I think it’s important that the reader enjoys the story too.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Mary:  I recently launched my own self-publishing company this past spring 2013, so to date I only have two books in print. My first title is ‘DREW DROP’ about a water droplet’s adventures through the water cycle. I have since written a sequel titled ‘SARA SNOWFLAKE’. The other book in print is titled   ‘ZOG THE DOG’ – it’s the rescue story of how we found our dog. My third children’s book which is ready for the printer, is titled ‘BIG SHOT’ it’s a bully story, but I used fish instead of kids.

Mary Young cover 1Mary Young cover 2Mary Young cover 3

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Mary:  Currently, I am marketing my books through my own website: www.puckyhuddlebooks.com and my books are also available on my husband’s band website: www.poconut.org . I’m in charge of merchandising for my husband’s band ‘POCO’ and many of his fans are friends and grandparents, so they are my biggest customers so far! In addition, I am hoping to have good results by scheduling readings through school librarians where I will visit schools and donate a book to their library. The students bring home a special bookmark which has the ordering information.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Mary:  Before I made the decision to begin my own publishing company, I researched dozens of self-publishing websites. I purchased and read several ‘how to’ books including ‘The Fine Print of Self-Publishing’ by Mark Levine. What I found was — there are many options right at our fingertips. With the internet and social networking, authors like myself can learn to pick up these tools and build our own success with the books we write.

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Mary:  Definitely, the most challenging issue for me has been preparing files to be PDF ready for printing. The good news is; with the right programs and a little practice, I can learn how to do this myself. However, if formatting files would be a deterrent for aspiring authors, it’s good to know that nearly all printing companies including Mirabooksmart offer this service for a fee.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Mary:  The best suggestion I can share with aspiring authors is the same advice I follow, and that is to ‘Write What You Know’. It’s the stories that just flow from your own imagination or life experiences that write themselves. It’s like a new song that just comes to a musician. There’s nothing like the feeling of smiling while all alone in front of your keyboard and whispering to yourself, “This is really good!”

 

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Word on the Street with Rosemary Van Deuren

Through my years in publishing, I have worked with some really great authors.  All of these authors approach self publishing with their own agenda and expertise.   Since the whole point of my blog and book is to look at the reality of self-publishing, I thought it would be nice to do a series of author interviews.  Welcome to ‘Word on the Street’.

My author interviews will consist of 6 questions about them, their book and their experience.  You will get the good, the bad and the ugly.  It is interesting to read the varying responses from each unique author.

Tell us about it, Rosemary Van Deuren,

rosemary_van_deuren_bio_int

Real Answer Real Authors: Why did you decide to publish?

Rosemary:  Because I hoped there was an audience out there for the story I wanted to tell.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Rosemary:  My young adult fantasy novel, Basajaun. I began with a short, print-on-demand experimental run, to gauge reader response. When the response was positive, I fortified the book as much as possible and went back to press for an offset-printing edition — a more fully-realized version of the book.

Rosemary Van Deuren book cover

RARA: How are you currently marketing your book and what has given you the best results?

Rosemary:  Positive words from legitimate, established review outlets are helpful. Grassroots marketing dictates that, on average, people need to hear about your book from around seven or eight different sources before they’ll make the jump to purchase or pursue your work. Word-of-mouth is the most elusive, yet the best marketing you can get. Low-risk merchandising can also help pique the curiosity of potential readers. It’s understandably difficult for anyone to commit to buy a novel by an unestablished author, so attractive, creative tie-in merch sold alongside your book helps supplement interest in the early stages.

RARA: Are there any books or websites that you have found the most useful?

Rosemary:  The AbsoluteWrite.com “Water Cooler” forum is a good resource. Whoever writes the tips and how-to’s on AgentQuery.com does an excellent job.  Learning to edit your own work is a huge asset, and Stephen King’s On Writing book offers some great examples of how writers can become better self-editors. Also, pretty much everything on author Philip Pullman’s Q & A archive is pure gold: http://www.philip-pullman.com/q_a.asp

RARA: What has been your greatest challenge in self publishing?

Rosemary:  Letting go of control. When you self-publish you become accustomed to doing everything yourself. It’s important to know when you need to step back and hire-out for the tasks that you, yourself, are not equipped to fulfill. For me, that meant hiring two amazing people — my editor Shawna Gore, and my cover painter Bernadette Carstensen.

RARA: What is the best advice or tip you can give a new and aspiring author?

Rosemary:  You have to want it enough to push yourself forward, because nobody else can do that for you. Even when you are fortunate enough to have loving, meaningful support around you, you are ultimately creating your work in a vacuum, alone. You have to be okay with that, especially in the face of rejection letters and long hours of isolation in front of a manuscript. You have to keep writing. Because the more you write, the more you prove to the world — and more importantly, to yourself — that you are not going to give up.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosemary Van Deuren was the arts and entertainment interviewer for idlermag.com when the website chosen by the Writer’s Guild of America West for The Hotlist: A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content. She has interviewed author Peter S. Beagle, artist and author Wayne Barlowe, actors Neil Jackson and Mark Indelicato, and many more.

She was also the press release writer for Quarry Bridge, an art show featuring the works of film concept artist and effects art director TyRuben Ellingson, and environmental ceramicist Stephen Plantenberg. Van Deuren is author of the young adult fantasy, Basajaun. In spring of 2013, she signed with Mariposa Press for the American edition of Basajaun to be marketed and sold in France.

Basajaun can be purchased on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Basajaun-Rosemary-Van-Deuren/dp/0985852100

 

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