May 042015
 
Signing with a publisherIt’s been about two weeks now since I signed with my first fiction book publishing contract, and now I am preparing to possibly sign with a publisher for one of my non-fiction books. It is an exciting time, and I want to bring up some considerations for others at this crossroads.

1. Freedom versus collaboration

When self-publishing, you take on a lot of the risk, but you also have freedom. You can do price promotions when you want, decide on your cover and all that jazz, but you have to be serious about the details. Plus, you can publish immediately! Small presses take anywhere from 3 months to 3 years to get your book out there.
When working with a publisher, there is a risk that they may do something you don’t like, but it’s also more likely that they have a better idea of what they are doing than you would if you were to do it yourself.

2. Marketing and cross-discoverability

 Having someone out there with a known name marketing your book will likely lead to enough sales to make up the difference in royalties you’ll be losing to your publisher. However, I have heard a lot of stories of small-press publishers NOT doing any real marketing – so make sure to know what you are getting into.
There’s a chance that, when publishing with a traditional publisher, someone may discover your book by clicking on another book by your publisher and going to their website.

3. You can always self-publish other books

 Just because you go with one publisher, it doesn’t mean you always have to go that route. But beware that a lot of contracts will have stipulations, such as the right to consider your next book. Some authors prefer to be self-published, others traditionally published. Some, as is the case with me, like the idea of being a “Hybrid Author,” both traditionally- and self-published. It’s like splitting in Blackjack (is it? I actually don’t understand the game that well, but you get the point).

4. Traditional publishing still carries more weight

 Some of us may not like to admit it, but traditional publishing still carries a certain level of prestige that self-publishing may not. Yes, most people just see your book on Amazon (Nook, etc.) and think it’s awesome you published a book, but if you meet someone at a writers conference or agent pitch fest or whatnot and they ask if you are self-published, you may see interest drop when you say yes. That used to be me (sorry!). My co-blogger here shared stories with me as well, where she met folks who said skeptically “Oh, you’re published?” and only showed real interest when they learned she wasn’t self-published. Unfortunately, a lot of people self-publish works full of issues, so you can’t totally blame the skeptics.
So if it’s the prestige you are after, considering going traditional with at least one of your books.
If you would like to follow my book publishing progress, you can find several of my self-published novels on Amazon, to include Teddy Bears in Monsterland and Back by Sunrise. My literary novel Mohira will be published when the publisher is ready!
Apr 202015
 

Choosing a website building platform How do you know what the best website building platform is best for your blog and author site?

For most of us traveling down the road less written, blogging and developing a website is a necessity. For many, choosing a website building platform—learning about them and figuring out which one is best—is grueling. The options overwhelm.

As you investigate various blogging and site-building platforms, you’re not looking for the “best” product available on the market. You’re looking for a best fit. Continue reading »

Apr 132015
 
Author Judith Fein

Author Judith Fein (Photocredit: Paul Ross)

If anyone personifies “The Road Less Written,” it’s travel-writer and author Judith Fein who “lives to leave.” You can find her articles in nearly 100 different publications, and she and her husband, photojournalist Paul Ross, share their travel adventures at GlobalAdventure.us. And, she’s a co-founder of the group travel blog, YourLifeIsATrip.com, the “#1 website for experiential storytelling and narrative travel writing.”

Judith is also the author of Life is a Trip: The Transformative Magic of Travel and a new memoir, The Spoon from Minkowitz: A Bittersweet Roots Journey to Ancestral Lands. I came to know Judith’s writing through the latter. Her voice and her ability to connect with the reader, her past, and well…everything else in her path, made me yearn to ask her a ton of questions. Being polite, I limited it to a few. Continue reading »

Mar 282015
 

Teddy Bears in Monsterland: An Urban Fantasy Novel: Teddy Defenders, Book 1 | [Justin Sloan]Why would you just sell your book in ebook or print, when you could sell it as an audiobook? Maybe your answer is that you have no idea how to get your book into audiobook format. If that’s the case, there are a couple of choices, but the one I like is ACX.com.

I recently released the audiobook for Teddy Bears in Monsterland, my preteen novel of a teddy bear that goes into the lands of monsters to save his boy who was taken in the night. And guess what? The process was easy. ACX is like a big brother program, pairing us up with amazing (potentially) narrators and holding our hand along the way.  Continue reading »

Mar 232015
 

The RedwoodsSociety will soon be TheRoadLessWritten.

Like the butterfly, we’re maturing and finding our wings. But the caterpillar is still crawling around in there. We’re staying with our original calling—promoting fellowship with other writers who, like us “attempt to enhance the varied experiences of life through writing.” We’re just refocusing a little. Maybe our wings will look a little prettier–which means we have a new logo.

The Redwoods Society grew out of a group of aspiring authors that met at the San Francisco Writers Conference in 2013. Since that time, we’ve supported each other as we’ve each moved from aspiring to finding our routes to publication. We’ve not only watched each other succeed; we’ve been a part of it.

In fact, we writers are lucky to work in a field where even our competitors can give us a boost. Spreading the love of another author doesn’t cost us a single reader. One good book can make them eager to buy another—by another author.

We are uniquely qualified to help each other to achieve new successes, improve our craft, and to find our voice. We help each other with tips and tricks on everything from fight scenes to social media. We encourage each other when we’re attacked by trolls or slighted by agents. We advise, cheer, challenge, console, and promote.

In short, as writers seeking to better our craft and to find our individual path, niche, and voice, we help each other along the Road Less Written, with all the rich metaphors that implies.

Your road less written probably won’t look like ours does. It might be curvier, less traveled, or more traveled. But wherever it goes, we hope you have companionship, sustenance, and someone to bounce ideas off of. And we hope it takes you to places you want to go, even if you don’t yet know where those places are yet.

Stay tuned. More good things are coming.

Mar 122015
 

“You don’t have to,” said Marci, with an affect that made it impossible for Davis to know whether it was being uttered out of sincerity, or more as a disclamation to have to reciprocate such favors some day in the future. Either way, it mattered not. It was a small price to pay to shake off any stodgy reservations that his newly appointed division support assistant might have had regarding her assignment to the company’s Topeka branch. Over lunch (she had had the chicken dumpling soup and a salad; he, a chicken cordon bleu sandwich, fries and Sierra Mist), Davis had detailed for her his own odyssey from mailroom clerk in the company’s Boston flagship office, to Administrative Assistant in Danbury, to Administrative Assistant Coordinator and later Client Relations Specialist in Charlotte, to Facility Manager and Administrative Assistant Manager at the Minneapolis branch, before finally landing the Division Supervisor gig in Topeka. Continue reading »

Feb 172015
 

Are you blogging or are you writing a book? Why not both!

This year marked another year at the San Francisco Writers Conference, and I had a great time. One topic that was raised in a conversation with some attendees was the idea of Amazon.com as a place to blog. What’s that, you ask? Amazon is a place for books! This is what I mean – I don’t mean posts blogs, but take your blog ideas, and expand them into books. Yes, but many of those books are Level 50 blogs (video game reference), as you will see especially in the $0.99 books.

Continue reading »

Jan 262015
 

The best way to irritate and alienate other authors is to brag about your accomplishments.

For most of us, however, that’s not a problem. We deplore the self-promotion aspect of marketing our books.

That’s one reason we should have tribes. We need writer cohorts, such as you’ll find here at this site, who don’t just cheer us on, but celebrate our achievements. Which is a ‘round-about way of introducing a fact that I want to scream from the proverbial rooftops of the blogosphere. Continue reading »

Jan 252015
 

TP“Snuffleupagus always kinda freaked me out,” Atkins said, looking out the restaurant window to the street where a cop had just pulled over a guy in a gray Nissan. “Not him, per se. I think it was his entrance music. That sort of dragging, swaying, shambling music that seemed to strike-up out of nowhere. Think about how unsettling it’d be to think that some shaggy, over-medicated, mastodon-ish creature could just appear out of nowhere and address you with this apparent, soul-tingling kind of disinterest. If you watch closely, you can almost guarantee that the other characters had the same oh shit kind of feeling about Snuffleupagus, too. They all kind of stand there for a second with these blank expressions and for just a moment, it’s like they feel some sort of mortal dread to see him standing there. Good old Gordon always had a way of seguing any awkward situation into something that seemed somehow relevant and all-inclusive. It seemed like he could defuse any situation.”

“Man, it was Tiny Tim, for me. Jesus, man. I mean, what the fuck…? That buzzing mosquito falsetto voice. Long, stringy sea-hag hair. There was just something about him that made me feel like I had been, I don’t know, victimized by him in some past life. Like I somehow knew what it felt like to have his hot, rancid breath panting on the back of my neck. Christ.”

“Tiptoe through the Tulips.”

“Nevermind Tiptoe through the Tulips. Ever hear his cover of The Doors’ People are Strange? Or that one song, “Little Girl”? Where he wants to know where some little girl is sleeping and then asks her if it’s in some trees or some shit?”

Each turned to watch the cop as he was walking back to his patrol car with the motorist’s license and vehicle paperwork in hand.

“That guy looks pissed,” Atkins remarked.

“The cop?”

“No, the driver.”

“I don’t know…Tiny Tim, man. And that Dating Game killer guy looked just like him. Some freaky dudes in this world, man.”

“Here’s one for ya: Edward Muscare. Ever heard of him?”

Roberts shook his head.

“Edward Muscare…Oh, Pretty Woman. Google it, you’ll see.”

When the cop returned to the Nissan, each tried to determine if the driver, based on his facial expression, was getting a ticket, but the cop was blocking their view of him.

Yet another one of those things they’d never know the answer to.

Jan 162015
 

Episode-39Justin-SloanWhen we think of post-military careers, “creative writing” isn’t always the first thing to come to mind. But that’s what writing is for our own Justin Sloan.

He was recently interviewed for a One Bold Move podcast (link below) that focused on his transition out of the military and into a life of creative writing. But for Justin, it’s not so much about choosing creative writing.  It’s about (1) How to discover your passion, and (2) How to follow your passion.

Continue reading »

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