A year ago I wrote the closing segment to a story circle featured on Cameron D. Garriepy’s blog. The story, called “The Reunion,” can be found here:
If you have ever found yourself in an awkward or embarrassing situation, you will identify with this story. It’s a quick read–perfect to go with that morning cup of coffee.
A year later, I am ending another storytelling experience. I am wrapping up my first novel. I met with Acorn Book Services Friday. An editorial review of the manuscript is imminent. That is the last step before publication.
In the June 24, 2013 issue of The Journal, Juliet Lauderdale interviewed Yawatta Hosby, an author and founder of The Procrastinators, a writers group in Charles Town, WV, about her career as a self-published author. Here is an excerpt from that interview:
Though the traditional method for becoming known in literary markets is via an MFA program according to William Miller, Ph.D., director professor of George Mason University’s MFA program. He said self-publishing has gained enormous popularity in recent years among writers who desire to maintain control over their project.
Hosby said for her this means determining the pace at which she will complete a project, the edits she will accept or decline, a book’s cover design and her product’s pricing.
Additionally, not wanting to spend the average $30,000 it would cost to complete a typical MFA program, Hosby, who is a 2000 Jefferson High School graduate and a 2004 graduate of West Virginia University, said she was confident she could obtain essential writing experience and training on her own, and she utilizes social media to gain exposure.
The self-starter said her research revealed that she would need to build a platform early to build an audience, so Hosby created a writer’s blog, which so far has received 16,000 hits.
She also created pages on Facebook and Twitter. She connects with other writers via Goodreads, and she added that The Absolute Write Forum is the best website she has found to network with publishing industry professionals to gain marketing and promoting tips.
The article contains more information for those who wish to self-publish a book. To read the entire article, click here: http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/595927/Aspiring-authors-talk-self-publishing–creativity.html?nav=5006
Excepted from “Top Ten Things I’ve Learned as an Indie Author” by R. S. Guthrie
I, Fay Moore, am an Indie Author. The easiest writing project I participated in was the Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology (e-book on Amazon & Barnes & Noble).
a. it’s success wasn’t all riding on me
b. its failure wasn’t all riding on me
c. the work was shared with others
d. I could write as little or as much as I wished (or as the group would allow)
The experience was like Nirvana–not based in reality.
Now I am working on my first murder mystery. Everything is riding on me!
So when I stumbled upon the “Molly Greene: Writer” blog with R. S. Guthrie’s article, I flew to it like a hummingbird to a bee balm patch. It was realistic information to help me adjust my expectations. Helpful? Yes!
Here is a partial excerpt:
4. You won’t succeed. Not at first. That’s a near absolute guarantee. It takes time, as do all good things. Patience in the book market is not a virtue, it’s a RAW NECESSITY.
3. You will question yourself again. Patience is tough. We are a society that needs instant gratification. Don’t. Need it, that is.
2. Sales do not equal success. Watched pots never boil. (Actually, they do, but by the time it happens you’ve already driven yourself insane and you’ll never know it.) Don’t watch your sales and rankings obsessively. Your success is not measured in such ways, no more than the worth of a castle is measured by the number of bricks you hold in your hand at one time.
1. You will succeed. You must believe in yourself, and that you’ll succeed; believe despite all other scary facts, poor advice, failures, faux successes, more failures, naysayers, friends who disappoint, talentless writers who miraculously succeed—focus on yourself and your own journey. If you have talent, and you work hard, and most importantly you persevere, you will succeed. No one knows when, least of all you.
Just do the work. Write, and write well.
About Rob Guthrie: R. S. Guthrie has been writing fiction for several years. Black Beast is the first in the series of Clan of MacAulay books featuring Denver detective Bobby Mac. L O S T is the second book in the popular Paranormal Mystery-Detective series and Guthrie is writing a third book that will close out the Clan of MacAulay trilogy (though it is not the final Detective Bobby Mac book).
The author finished his magnum opus—a Mystery/Thriller novel set against the backdrop of the contemporary West, entitled Dark Prairies. The story takes place in a fictional town in his home state of Wyoming and was published in 2012. A prerelease excerpt was featured in the June 2011 issue of New West magazine.
R.S. Guthrie currently lives in Colorado with his beautiful wife, Amy, three Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she is a forty-pound Aussie. It is a widely known fact that the canines rule the Guthrie household.
My publisher Lauren Carr is also an author. In the past six months, she has released two books. Her birthday is coming up. Do you know what she is doing to celebrate? She is spending the day writing on her next novel. My bet is, that by summer, she releases another book. That means she will have written three books within a year.
Several successful authors are prolific–meaning they write more than the traditional one book per year. If the authors are managed by a traditional publishing house, they have to use pen names to put out the extra works.
The luxury of self-publishing or independent publishing is no one restricts your output under your own name except you.
Remember, the statistics say that momentum in book sales doesn’t kick in until the author has three to five titles published.
Do you want to wait three to five years to get that momentum going? I don’t know about you, but I’d like to speed that process along by writing and releasing more than one book per year.
Of course, I am not one to talk, given I have plodded along on my first novel for two years. I hope that my history of writing at a snail’s pace is about to change.
Just got a tweet from author and graphic designer M. S. Fowle, owner of Melchelle Designs. She will help you solve your book cover design problems. (She also is doing a guest post for me in the near future.) Her contact information is below. Prices start at $35.
Guest Blog by Lauren Carr
Ten Advantages to Having a Mystery Author for a Friend (in person or on Facebook).
- If you’re ever locked out of your home, your mystery author friend will know best how to break in.
- Who better to show you where best to conceal a weapon?
- At Pampered Chef’s parties, they are very handy in detailing what kitchen utensils make the best weapons for use in self-defense … just in case your family launches a coup after serving them your world infamous tuna casserole once too often.
- Mystery authors are less sappy at conferences than Romance authors. We don’t hug as much. That isn’t because we’re standoffish. It’s because we don’t want you to detect our concealed weapons. Since we don’t hug as much, this means we don’t spread as many germs and you’re less likely to catch a cold when you get home.
- Mystery authors are more exciting. They are the only friends able to plot out your murder and list your friends and family as suspects in order of interest when you’re fifteen minutes late for lunch. (If your friend reveals that the babysitter did it, you may want to take a closer look at the sitter’s text messages.)
- During those paranoid moments when you think your next door neighbor is a mob assassin because he has been acting suspicious, your mystery writing buddy is the one friend you can count on to not only support your belief, but break into his house to illegally search it for proof. Of course, you can depend on your friend to bring the lock pick kit and know how to use it. (Don’t ask her how she knows how to use it.)
- If your spouse leaves you for another woman, your mystery author friend can advise you on how to fake your death and make it look like he killed you so that he will spend the rest of his life in jail for what he did.
- Your mystery author friend is more than happy to run a background check on that new mate you met online.
- On that first date, you can count on your mystery writing friend to tail you and your date all evening to make sure you don’t end up in a plot for their latest book … whether you want her to or not.
- We know what countries don’t have extradition.
So make a Mystery Writing friend today! I’d love to make your acquaintances at any of my sites:
Blog: Literary Wealth:
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT LAUREN CARR’S NEW BOOK BLAST FROM THE PAST: Blast from the Past Press Release
a little about
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lauren Carr
The Past Comes Back with a Blast
In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.
After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!
Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.
In this fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers learn more about Archie Monday’s past in a flash—as in a gun fight when the syndicate comes to town. “Readers love to be surprised,” mystery author Lauren Carr says. “In Blast from the Past, they are going to be surprised to discover the secret of Archie Monday’s past, which threatens her and Mac’s future.”
Blast from the Past also takes the Mac Faraday Mysteries to a new level as his relationship with Archie Monday moves onto a whole new level. “I do listen to readers,” Carr explains. “They have been clamoring for Mac and Archie to get together for three books.”
What about Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s canine inheritance—the only German shepherd to be dishonorably discharged from the United States Army? “It’s not a Mac Faraday Mystery without Gnarly,” Carr promises. “Let’s just say Gnarly kicks things up a notch in his own way.”
Available through: CreateSpace, Ingram, Baker & Taylor,
Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and Everywhere Fine Books are Sold
About the Author
Lauren Carr is the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 1012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second book in this series, Real Murder will be released Spring 2013.
ISBN: 0985726776 • ISBN-13: 9780985726775 Pub. Date: January 11, 2013 • Trade Paperback/Kindle • $13.99 (Print)/$0.99 (EBook)
One of our Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe members started the ball rolling on marketing. He used an inside contact to connect me to the head librarian in charge of programming. That conversation led me to volunteer our writers for library programs. The librarian offered to refer news of the release of Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe, An Anthology to her press contact at the local newspaper. Consequently, a reporter from the Lifestyles section called me to schedule an interview.
I invited our publisher Acorn Book Services to attend the interview. This turned out to be a good move for many reasons that I’ll share in a minute. My thought when inviting the publisher was as a thank you for helping us and sharing a bit of the limelight.
During the course of an hour-long interview, I learned that the reporter attended the same seminar at the library where I first collected names to form Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe. That coincidence warmed him to us because he had first hand knowledge of our origins. That piqued his curiosity about how we moved from a start-up organization to a published entity in a relatively short period.
Further, the reporter was on a first-name basis with our publisher. The publisher offered to place an advertisement on the same page as the article in the newspaper. That financial incentive is apt to generate a better place on the page and a longer article than our group would get on its own. The reporter also proposed sending a photographer to the next meeting to snap a some candid photographs of the working group to go with his article. Photos are eye-catching and will draw attention to the article.
Finally, our most organized member and I took the publisher to lunch after the interview to discuss costs for producing print versions of the book. That led to conversation about select members appearing at a writing seminar as members of a panel during a teaching segment. Mr. Organization will not let that opportunity fall through the cracks. He’ll stay on top of it to be sure the writers group seizes every chance to promote our endeavors.
Do you see how that works? Chances are if I cold-called either the library or the reporter directly, the response would have been less successful. But by networking through personal connections and utilizing the special talents within the group, Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe will get free publicity both through the news story and through the local speaking circuit.
Commercial success for writers is like success for politicians. It all starts locally. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the exposure translates to sales!
It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.
Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.
Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.
However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.
I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.
I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .
Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.
Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?
Dates don’t stick in my brain. That’s why I always disliked history classes. The tests seemed to focus on memorization of lots of dates. I was at an instant disadvantage. I would have preferred that the instructors focused on the lessons we can learn from history. If that had been the case, I likely would have majored in history. I love to learn. I hate memorization.
But I digress.
I was saying dates don’t stick in my brain. I can’t remember when I first decided that I would start a writers group. If I were to guess, I would say it was two years ago. About that time, I started attending writing workshops by mystery author Lauren Carr, hosted by different local libraries. In fact, it happened after the first Carr workshop, but before the second. At the second workshop is where I asked for anyone interested to give me his or her contact information.
It took a bit of time to find a meeting place. I had a list of 25 names. I had no idea how many would actually show up. Rose Harris, owner of a local coffee-house in historic Williamsport, MD, was willing to let the group use her back room free of charge two times per month. The local library also had a meeting room, but it was in high demand. The writers group may have to compete for meeting dates. That was no good. Plus, the library felt sterile. The vibe at the Desert Rose Cafe was nurturing, creative, friendly. As an added bonus, “the eats” were good and inexpensive.
It was the vibe that made the decision for me.
Over time the group whittled down to a dozen, then ten regulars. The group was very diverse, from writing styles to personalities to topical interests. Yet we jelled. We shared work by reading aloud. We criticized (in a constructive way) and guided each other in developing our craft. We encouraged and inspired each other.
The restaurant hosted a writing contest, posting short works from the group in the dining room, asking diners to read and vote on a winner.
We all were winners, because, after the contest, we decided to put together the Anthology. We had faith we could create a collection of short works, edit them, compile them, then publish them in a period of about six months.
With the professional assistance and coaching of Acorn Book Services in Harpers Ferry, WV, by December, 2012, the humble writers group–Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe–released its first e-book. The members range in age from 30 to 80-plus and live in a three state area.
One member with Asperger’s Syndrome remarked that the release date of the e-book was one of the greatest days in his life. During the course of writing for the Anthology, he made a decision to move out of his parents’ home and into his own apartment, so he could enroll in college. He is currently working on a solo writing project.
An administrator in the local library system called me a couple of days ago to express her surprise and joy that Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe had achieved its goal. She offered to help arrange publicity for the book through the local newspaper. In turn, I offered to promote the library workshops as wellsprings of creativity. Without the library’s workshop, the Anthology would never have been written.
An idea led to a call to action and resulted in the creation and e-printing of a publication. A young man’s life changed. Others came to see that setting a goal and working on it faithfully yielded results. Several are working on new solo projects.
Dreams do come true.