Tag Archives: self-publish

Self-Publishing Author, Sally Cochran

Sally Cochran, author of Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual For Instructors, owns and operates Equine Kingdom Riding Academy in Greensboro, NC. Along with her husband Matt, she serves over 100 people each week through various opportunities – lessons, camp, boarding, leasing, parties, and more. She holds a Level 2 Certification through the American Riding Instructor’s Association (ARIA) in Recreational Riding and Hunt Seat on the Flat, and is also certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) for teaching riders with disabilities. Equine Kingdom has become one of the most popular riding instruction schools in the area in just a few short years, and Sally decided to write about her success to share with other horse professionals.

Sally holds degrees in Business Administration and Global Logistics. She teaches many different styles of riding and enjoys reading, working on her farm, and writing, as well as one of her favorite pastimes, martial arts – she holds a 1st degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is testing for her 3rd Degree black belt in San Shin Kai in November 2013. She is currently working on publishing her next book, 501 Riding Lesson Ideas, which should be out in late 2013 available for purchase, and she will be introducing many more books for the riding instruction field.

Her books can be reviewed and purchased on Amazon.com and on the website at www.equinekingdom.com.

Thanks for joining us Sally,

Sally Cochran image

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

Sally:  Publishing my book was a decision made born out of a desire to provide the equestrian world with a great book on riding instruction – a book that fills a need for riding instructors everywhere. There are a lot of books on the market for riding lessons and instructors, but Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons is a niche all its own – it is a book for instructors that are just starting out, or those that want to break into the market of riding lessons but don’t know where to begin. Having been an instructor that had a difficult time starting out due to a lack of guidance and assistance, I wanted to publish a book that would help other instructors in ways that I never received.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Sally:  I recently published my first title, Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors, in September 2012. We have two other books coming out soon – 501 Riding Lesson Ideas and 52 Weeks of Lesson Plans for Beginning Riders.

Sally Cochran book cover

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

Sally:  My main method of marketing thus far has been through contacting farms and riding instructors with information about the book and how it can help them, as well as sending article excerpts to magazines and online publishing venues. We have advertised in several places as well. Due to working around the clock running my business teaching riding lessons to able-bodied and riders with disabilities, I have not had the time to market the book as much as I would like.

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

Sally:  My favorite resource thus far has been “The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing” by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier. It has been wonderful, packed full of ideas for marketing, writing, and promoting your own self-published book.

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

Sally:  The biggest challenge in self publishing is marketing my book – if I don’t spend time promoting it, it doesn’t sell well. I notice a huge difference in when I actually have time to promote it, versus when I am so busy running the rest of my business that marketing falls to the wayside. 

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

Sally:  Don’t let anything hold you back! If you had the inspiration and drive to write the book, then you must believe in why it’s important that the world get to have a part of it. Get it out there, do the best you can, and then BELIEVE IN IT. Believe that the world NEEDS your book, and promote it that way!!

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.

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Fashionista Writes to Motivate Women

My name is Latonya Thompson, born and raised in Florida. I am a fashionista girly, girl who likes to help embrace other women; whether it’s by providing good advice, give a listening ear, up lift someone’s spirit (being motivational).  I started writing as a hobby but never looked into publishing or becoming an author. I would always keep a journal and write down thoughts and short stories/poems. I enjoyed writing letters which turned into a mini quick read (2 full pages easy).  One day I got this haunch to write and produce books for the public, along the side of my 14 year career and mother of four. I decided I want to do something for me and reach out to the public.  My books are dedicated to women and are based on inspiring and helping to motivate others. I have also created my own website (4evertruebooks.vpweb.com) that also speaks to the selling of my books, advertising, inspirational quotes and information about giving back to the community. My books are also featured and sold on amazon.com. Thus far I have created my own Journal for women titled Beautiful Me, autobiography which includes the topics of relationships, forgiveness, faith etc.  This next book is titled “All about Me”. I am currently working on my third book and it is titled “Converting to the other Side.”

Welcome Latonya,

Latonya Howard Image

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

Latonya:  I decided to publish to be of an inspiration and to help motivate other readers through my books. 

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Latonya:  I have published my own inspirational journal titled “Beautiful Me” and I am currently working on releasing my next book, which is an autobiography titled “All About Me” (You can find peace in starting over) published by Mirabooksmart.

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

Latonya:  I am currently marketing my book/s through my website 4evertruebooks.vpweb.com and amazon. I had a book release party to also help market my first book. I have written a Play to my second book to be released in December 2013.  The Play will have excerpts from my book “All About Me”.  I will be having a launch party with select vendors on site that will help me promote my book. I am teaming up with a local boutique that will sell a couple of my books in their store with a special promotion. (First 10 customers to purchase my book will also receive a free gift card valued at $10 to use at the boutique)

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

Latonya:  Jill I have been on your website and I do find it to be very useful. I like the information you have given on how to get a press release on new and upcoming book releases. 

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

Latonya:  My greatest challenge with self publishing has been publicizing/exposure.

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

Latonya:  The best advise that I can give to an aspiring author… Writing and publishing your book is a great accomplishment.  You see all of your hard work flourish right before your eyes and others can appreciate your talent as well. Even if you do not receive much exposure or have high sales; Author will still be your title. Take pleasure in your works!

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.

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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.

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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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Author Interview: Ghost Hunter Tells All

Just in time for Halloween – I have the pleasure of introducing Dan Terry, ‘Spookstalker’.   Dan has had a passion for ghost hunting since 1979.  He wrote articles in Haunted Times Magazine and has since written four books on haunted places: Beyond the Shadows, Missouri Shadows, Hermann Shadows, and River Shadows.

If you are in the MO area, check out his two lectures – one in Pacific, Mo. at the library on the 23rd at 6:30, and one on the 30th in Owensville, Mo. also at 6:30.  Only 2 more lectures of the season, don’t miss it!

Dan Terry Photo

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

Dan:  I had a publisher for the first three books.  The relationship was good, and the publisher treated me well. Over time, though, we had some creational differences. The publisher was a former small town newspaper editor, so we also disagreed on the subject of being offensive.  She was against it, as someone may not buy the book. I, on the other hand, believed that The Da Vinci Code would not have been as big a hit if the Church had not argued against it.  We even once discussed use of the word “Mandrake” because she was afraid the term would upset parents because the plant is shaped like a male sex organ.  I had to convince her it was used liberally in the Harry Potter series!

When she developed cancer, she wanted out of publishing to concentrate on healing. At that time, she offered to help me find a new publisher, but having seen how much money we were missing out on, my wife and I decided to try it ourselves. The first book we did ourselves she worked for a flat fee to lay out and proofread. After that, I had a High School English teacher proofread them.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Dan:  Spookstalker Press has three titles, one true crime “Nothing Ever Happens in New Haven”, is about small town police. The other two are ghost related, “River Shadows” about ghosts in river towns, and “Too Ornery To Die”, about ghosts of criminals.

Missouri-Shadows-Book-cover-002Too Ornery to DieBeyond the Shadows

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

Dan:  I’ve used a lot of social media, along with word of mouth and ghost lectures all over the mid-west, which also included name recognition. Radio interviews also help. Getting the books distributed and strategically placed in the book stores during the October ghost season helps as well. All books but the last one is now available through Barnes and Noble.  But the best sales come from the lecture circuit, which I attribute to my ability to talk well and share the excitement, including the use of a PowerPoint presentation.

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

Dan:  I haven’t really used any books or websites, but instead go to professionals and ask their advice. And, most importantly, listen to them. In some of my first magazine articles, a good friend would read them and mark them up, splashing red ink on the paper like he had sacrificed a chicken over the desk! But when he explained where I was getting too wordy, or over explaining something that wasn’t really relevant to the story, I understood and complied.

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

Dan:  Distribution is the biggest problem, as small book stores will not go with someone new very often. I have sent notes and copies explaining that I would personally deliver the books, but yet never heard anything back.  Getting the idea of the layout from my mind to the graphic designer is also been a problem. I can say that the publishing company I use has the best designers for covers I’ve ever seen, and they always make an attractive, attention-getting cover for me. That also helps with sales.

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

Dan:  READ!  I have met authors who say they don’t read others work because they don’t want to be influenced or some nonsense. I say read anything, be critical, but learn from other folks styles. I have been lucky that other authors will speak with me, and give me advice. They’ve helped me turn a phrase, or write in a way that keeps people turning the pages.  A new author in the next town, who I met at a “meet local authors” day at a local library, calls just to ask questions about police or ghost hunting for his second novel.  I have asked his advice on other matters.  I have read his book, and enjoy his style.  I based my true crime book on a mix of styles from Mickey Spillane to James Ellroy.  Their style caught my attention, and I used a similar style for my cop book. The ghost books are first person with a lot of history, but written in an action-adventure style over a documentary style.  I have read newspapers from the mid-1800’s, when they had to use words and allegories because they didn’t have TV.  Those men could WRITE!  They capture your attention in a way today’s sanitized, homogenized, Formica styled “don’t offend anyone” newspapers can’t. You Were There! And that’s the style I use, where other ghost hunters write more like a documentary.  Very “Just the Facts, Ma’am.”   I want to place the reader at my elbow, seeing things, hearing things just as I did.  So my advice to new writers is to Read and to Write.  Find a style you like and make it your own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Terry is a native Missourian, a Coast Guard veteran, and he has been a police officer for 26 years.

He began ghost hunting shortly after getting his license to drive in 1979, inspired by the TV adventures of Carl Kolchack in the early 70s television show Kolchack: The Night Stalker. Once he joined the service, it became quickly apparent that he had to hide his interest in the paranormal and continued hiding it as he became a police officer in 1986.  While he continued to read and even look into the subject, including taking tours of reportedly haunted places, Dan did not resume his own hunting until TV’s “Ghost Hunters” brought the subject into the mainstream.

After learning the new methods from Greg Myers of the Missouri Paranormal Task Force, then called Missouri Paranormal Research, he took the name “Spookstalker” and began investigating haunted places once again. After writing a newspaper article on the subject, he was convinced to write books on the topic. He wrote articles in Haunted Times Magazine and has since written four books on haunted places: Beyond the Shadows, Missouri Shadows, Hermann Shadows, and River Shadows. In addition, Dan has written one book in the true crime genre, Nothing Ever Happens in New Haven.

He is currently working on a novel about an incident involving the murder of soldiers which took place during the Civil War in the local area. He makes his home with his wife Sherri in New Haven, Missouri.

 

 

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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,

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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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A Misanthropes Interview

If you have been reading my author interviews, then you understand that authors come from all sorts of backgrounds and approach self-publishing in their own way.   This particular author credits himself on being a ‘Misanthrope’.  I like people to read every side and this one happens to be very honest, to the point and kind of mean.  I actually find the honesty refreshing.

Bruce “The Misanthrope” Gary

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

Bruce:  I had no choice; I can’t not write and I think I have something to say.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Bruce:  Exoplanet Observing for Amateurs, First and Second editions, The Making of a Misanthrope, A Misanthrope’s Holiday, Quotes for Misanthropes,  Essays From Another Paradigm

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

Bruce:  Word of mouth. It worked for my astronomy book, but not the others.

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

Bruce:  None.

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

Bruce:  Getting the money to pay for printing.

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

Bruce:  Don’t, unless you can’t not!

FROM THE AUTHOR

Sorry, but I can’t varnish the truth. Life is too short for pretending to be nice.  Your last Q reminds me of something Richard Feynman wrote: “Teaching is a funny proposition. You can’t teach the dumb ones, and the smart ones don’t need to be taught.” I have the same thoughts about advice for would-be writers: Don’t! There are already 1/3 million new books published every year, and the median level of their intelligence is sinking along with everything else in America. The writer with something to say will ignore that advice, and maybe someone with nothing to say will heed it.
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Word on the Street with Cory Harris

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. Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Cory Harris:

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

Cory: To help parents protect their children, its always been a goal of mine.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Cory: Zipper LE Series One: Outlook on Leadership and Liability in the Criminal Justice System and The Child/Adult Safety Bible.

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

Cory: The internet is how I market and has yielded the best results so far.

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

Cory: Amazon is usually pretty useful in searching for books I have found.

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

Cory: Marketing is very difficult and expensive.

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

Cory: Take your time and give the reader your best output.

AUTHOR INFO
Cory B. Harris was born in Camden, Arkansas, and has over eighteen years of combined military and law-enforcement experience. He has served with the United States Air Force, Little Rock Police Department, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Marshals Service. He has training and experience in field training, crime prevention, criminal and fugitive investigation and apprehension, operations, firearms instruction, threat investigations, and judicial and dignitary protection, just to name a few areas. He is also a recipient of the Medal of Merit (LRPD) and has a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Doctorate Degree (DBA) in Business with an emphasis in Healthcare Management.

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Word on the Street with G.P.A.

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.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Greatest Poet Alive (G.A.P.):

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

G.P.A.:  I had written enough poems for other people that I felt it was time to put them all together.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

G.P.A.:  The Confessional Heart of a Man, The Book of 24 Orgasms, The Mind of a Poetic Unsub, and Revenge of the Orgasm. Plus, I have appeared in many anthologies.

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

G.P.A.:  I am a guerrilla marketer. Whatever methods will help spotlight my books, I use them.  Similarly, it is great to perform Poetry where it is. But the outstanding thing is to perform Poetry where it might not be.  And that is same with my books.

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

G.P.A.:  Facebook is a wonderful tool if used correctly. Otherwise, I just surf for opportunities.

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

G.P.A.:  The greatest challenge in self publishing has been doing it as an author of Poetry. I say this because some regard Poetry as a “dead art”. Also, with the advent and movement of spoken word, the written art is looked over, unless you provide some sizzle to it. This may come with the personality of the individual Poet, title and/or cover of the book, or material that invites attention.

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

G.P.A.:  Write the way you want to and do what makes you feel good. If it touches many people and makes money, it is even better.

AUTHOR INFO

G.P.A hails from the south side of Chicago, IL. He has written four books of Poetry, participated in several anthologies, released one cd G.P.A. Experience, and has another on the way, GPApocalypse Forever.   G.P.A. has recently added acting to his repertoire of talents with stints in independent films “Persian Version” and “Animals” and tv shows “Chicago Fire” and “Crisis”.  Also, he won the Moth Storytelling Championship on two occasions, won all medals in the Poetry Pentathlon, and was a semifinalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards.

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Word on the Street with Larry Flinchpaugh

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.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Larry Flinchpaugh:

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

Larry:  Nearly my entire life, I had serious questions about my religious beliefs, political ideology, our country’s banking system and even our educational system but never had the time to serious search for answers until I retired in 2005.  I had a sense that there was something seriously wrong with our country and with some effort; I could discover the truth that would improve the lives of not only myself and family but also the lives of all American citizens.  As it turned out, I discovered the secret to improving the lives of nearly everyone on the planet.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Larry:  The books I have published to date are: “My Family History Book, “Growing  Up  In  A  Zoo, “Secrets of Our Hidden Controllers Revealed, “Letters Home From Civil War Soldier Charles Gamble, “Against All Odds-President Paul Ronan,” “Billions For The Bankers-Debts For The People” and “Should I Start My own Business.”

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

Larry:  My books are marketed through our local book store called “Hastings Books,” amazon.com books, local museums and the tourist bureau in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Also my books are available on my own personal web site and promotion through Facebook.  The local libraries also have my books available.  Actually our local book store, Hastings does slightly better than amazon.

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

Larry:  My own web site promotion is new and I haven’t seen any results here even though I am having 200-300 visits per day

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

Larry:  My greatest challenge was learning to use Microsoft word in writing books.  It’s really not designed for book writing but other book writing programs are fairly expensive.   Huge files on word are hard to manage and I still haven’t mastered how to have separate page numbering for the index and the body of the book.  Trying to get an ISBN number and communicating with Bowker was nearly impossible.  Amazon did fix that problem.

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

Larry:  I always explain to people that few self publishes ever make any money; you will be lucky to at least cover your costs.  I personally did not write my books to make money but rather to inform the people how we can increase the living standard of everyone plus eliminate nearly all wars.  I have discovered the secret but few will listen.  I even had one representative state in private, “Larry, I agree with almost everything you have written, but if my constituents knew I believed that way, I would never get re-elected.  This is my biggest hurdle.  The masses of the people are asleep or suffer severe cases of apathy and our political leaders no longer represent the electorate; only the big money lobbyist, bankers and the military industrial complex companies.

I still encourage people to write because most will not be writing about so controversial subjects as I.

AUTHOR INFO

John Larry Flinchpaugh

J L Flinchpaugh Publishing Company

5500 Cape Court

St. Joseph, Missouri 64503

816-676-2565 cell 816-351-3107

Email: lflinch@stjoelive.com

Web Page: http://www.larryflinchpaugh.com

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Word on the Street with Kristina Blank Makansi

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.  Not all real self publishing stories are full of rainbows and butterflies – it can suck sometimes too.

Tell us about it, Kristina Blank Makansi:

Kristina Blank Makansi

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

Kristina:  I co-founded a publishing company, Blank Slate Press, in 2010 and we’ve published 6 books—5 fiction and one memoir. I am also a partner in Treehouse Publishing Group, an author services company that works with both traditionally and self-published authors. For my own work, I queried and had some interest in my historical fiction, ORACLES OF DELPHI, and have one traditional publisher that would like to see a revised version. But because of my experience with Blank Slate Press and Treehouse, I asked myself why I should have someone else publish my book when I can do it myself. So when my daughters and I co-wrote THE SOWING, the first book in our YA/New Adult sci-fi trilogy, we decided to publish it ourselves. We are a family of do-it-yourselfers and self-employed types, and the lessons learned from each project I’ve worked on over the years for other authors—from editor to title consultant to interior layout designer to cover designer to event coordinator to chief cook and bottle washer—can all be applied to publishing and marketing THE SOWING. So self-publishing makes sense for us.

RARA: What titles have you published to date?

Kristina:  Books I’ve published through Blank Slate Press include: THE SAMARITAN (which will be republished by Picador in 2014), DANCING WITH GRAVITY, SLANT OF LIGHT, OFF THE LEASH, NEVER HUG A NUN, DRIVING ALONE, and the upcoming COUNTERFEIT. Through Treehouse, we’ve put out ROBOT+BIKE=KITTEN and DRAFTED is coming soon. Plus we’ve worked on a bevy of books that are being self-published by the authors. THE SOWING is the only title of my (our) own that we’ve published to date. We started by experimenting with serialization, but because many of our readers said they couldn’t wait to read the whole book, we gave that up. If we’d been traditionally published, we wouldn’t have had the flexibility to try something new. Now, we’re issuing the whole book and we’re excited about that process. The e-book is out now (or will be soon) and the print book will come out in September

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

Kristina:  We love social media, of course, but we also love meeting readers face-to-face. I have wonderful relationships with the local independent booksellers and enjoy working with them to host author events. You may not always sell a gazillion copies, but you always have a good time. And as much as independent authors depend upon Amazon and online e-books, I believe in supporting other small business owners as well. Attending conferences and meeting other authors—who are usually voracious readers—is important, too.

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

Kristina:  Building an audience as an author is difficult whether you’re traditionally or self-published, but I think Facebook and even LinkedIn are good places to connect with other authors. There are all sorts of genre-specific groups to join on those sites. A lot of people are using Google + as well, but I’m not nearly as active there. As far as blogs/websites go, I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace, Publishers Weekly,  and the The Shatzkin Files, and I read Publishing Perspectives, Jane Friedman’s Writing on the Ether, and David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible religiously. I’m also a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

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

Kristina:  Getting readers to buy our book, of course! Seriously, it is tough out there for debut authors whether you go the traditional route or the independent route. And just because you have a publisher—even a big five publisher—behind you, it’s still tough. The biggest challenge is marketing your book without being annoying. The number of people on twitter who simply tweet “Buy my book!” all day long makes my head hurt.

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

Kristina:  Be professional. If you want to be considered a professional author, if you want people to shell out their hard-earned money for your book and then precious time out of their busy lives actually reading it and then recommending it to others, you need to approach the writing, the editing, the interior layout, the cover, the marketing and promotions just like you would if you were opening a shop down the street. As we say at Treehouse, writing is an art, but publishing is a business. And running a business takes investments in both time and money. Hire an editor. Even if you’re planning to query and hoping to get an agent or editor to publish traditionally, you should hire an editor to get your manuscript in the best shape possible. Agents and small press editors get hundreds if not thousands of queries, and if your work doesn’t stand out, you won’t have a chance. If you’re self-publishing, hire a proofreader. Hire a cover designer. Be professional. If we all, as independent authors approach publishing professionally, the old stigma around self-publishing will disappear.

AUTHOR BIO

Kristy co-founded Blank Slate Press in 2010 to discover, nurture, publish and promote new voices from the greater Saint Louis area and beyond, and in 2013, she co-founded Treehouse Publishing Group to provide author services to both traditionally and self-published authors. She has worked as a copywriter, marketing coordinator, web and collateral designer, and editor. She has a B.A. in Government from University of Texas at Austin and a M.A.T. from the College of New Jersey and an opinion on everything. Currently, she is hard at work revising her historical fiction, ORACLES OF DELPHI, set in ancient Greece and is publishing THE SOWING, the first book in THE SEEDS TRILOGY, a YA/New Adult sci-fi series co-written with her two daughters.

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