Book Launch for Mosaic

a writing collaborative

a writing collaborative

 

 

I am very proud to announce the launch of Mosaic: A compilation of creative writing by The Cartel Collaborative. This has been in the works for more than half a year. Why so long? Our aim, among writing intriguing stories for our readers, was to publish the most polished piece of story collections along with expert design both in the cover art and interior formatting.

 

I will be discussing more about the people and the process later and how you can use this knowledge to help you. Here is the book blurb written by one of our group members:

Follow Leonardo as he learns what his inventions have inspired. Wyatt finds hope in a time of darkness. One man learns that even in death his loved ones aren’t really gone. Josephine learns about a mother she hardly knew. Jane attempts to heal from the loss of her father during 9-11. Griffin learns about life on his journey to become a leader. Tracy learns something about the past that leads her to the future. Daniel’s magic pencil makes his drawings come to life. A child is haunted by the thoughts in his head. Zac finds exactly what he needs during an afternoon at a theme park. Sprinkled throughout is a collection of poetry sure to stir up emotions.

Each and every member of this group brought their own skills that lifted the work several notches each day over an eight-month process. You may download the book here and I look forward to hearing what you think. I’ll let you find out which story I wrote. 🙂

 

I have been thinking of you and how I might help you every day. In fact, each day I have accumulated research and written articles and tutorials on tools, writing, publishing, marking, productivity and, of course, the “brain hacks” that either send our muse running or curling up beside us.

I will be around more now but I only send emails when they are worthy of your inbox. So please, download the book and write me back or review it. It’s a labor of love from a great group of writers and we’d all love to hear your opinion on the work.

Here is to your writing muse!

 

 

Changemaker 2.0 Series: CF Winn & SUKI

suki bookcover by davinci

I have recently read a book so beautifully written, so emotionally impactful that I sought out the author, Christine Winn, to discover more about her.

 

There was a lot to discover. Thus, I’ve included our interview and notes on SUKI in the Changemaker Series for reasons that will become quite clear.

For those of you who follow marketing tips on this website, you will want to discover the path that Chris has plowed through the web.

First, an introduction to SUKI

If you just glance at the five-star reviews on Amazon about SUKI, you will find reviews entitled:

“How is this book not on the NYTimes Best Seller list?”

“I only gave this book 5 stars because 10 stars was not an option”

“Like nothing I’ve ever read before”

The short introduction to the novella:

“Life offers one guarantee…death.

SUKI tells the story of Savannah, an independent go getter, who allows fear to keep her from being completely happy, and Dwayne, a softhearted ex-Marine with a talent for creativity. The couple is destined to find each other and carry out a preordained agreement made long before their human feet enter this Earthly plane. Their connection is tangible and their lives easy – until they are presented with one challenge that shakes them to their cores.

The couple’s subsequent struggle to make sense of their imploding world comes to a head in the epilogue, where a shocking secret is revealed in an overdue letter.

We all assume we know what love is, but think again. It comes in many shapes and sizes. If you knew ahead of time that you’d never see ”happily ever after“, would you choose to live at all for the sake of love?

CF Winn flexes her story telling muscle and shows us why she is an award winning author. SUKI will grab your heart and make you think about your place…and your purpose in this world.”

That in itself is intriguing, isn’t it? I concur mightily with the five-star reviews and all quotes above.

The writing in SUKI is so sublime, supremely smooth that you fall in love with the love story and never want it to end. But for those, including myself, who don’t read romance novels, this is far from the genre.

It is a love story though. Love has many faces. In reading SUKI, as I was already in love with the characters, there was a point, a very real moment in time when the story become something much more than what it started out to be

Here is a short bio on Chris as an introduction:

CF Winn is a freelance writer of articles and short stories when she’s not training others in the art of Market Research. Her day job has led her to places that few of us know exist. Worlds where eccentricity is the norm and even sometimes embraced. Her off kilter muses have graciously guided her into the awards arena, most notably, Wordsmitten Storycove for her flash fiction story, “SUNDAY DRIVES DONE MOJO STYLE”.

“THE COFFEE BREAK SERIES”, CF Winn’s collection of short stories, are wildly popular and available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Some of the titles include “KAFE CASTRO”, “MOORE THAN MEETS THE EYE”, “PGB”, and “DEJA DREW”.

In between promoting the hugely successful “SUKI”, she is editing several books by new authors and working on “TIME SLIP”. She lives in New York with her three brilliant children.

In true George Plimpton fashion, I have become the Interviewer.

Interviewer: Thanks for coming over to the Quill.SUKI is so beautifully written; you bring us into the great love affair Savannah and Dwayne like no other author I’ve read. I’d like to know what your writing process look like?

Chris: I don‘t have much of a process. I usually write the bare bones of the story first – just to get it out of me because once I have an idea I can barely contain myself. Then I let it sit and I don’t look at it for a few days, but I do think about it. While I drive to and from my day jobs or my kids’ activities, I fill in the scenes in my mind. I take notes and when I allow myself to go back, I reread, editing and adding details from my notes. After repeating the pattern of putting the work aside before coming back to add and edit many times, the story will tell me that it’s complete. I have a background in professional acting, so I consider it the most natural thing to put myself in the place of the characters, acting it out in order to create a story that readers can feel a part of.

Interviewer: I’m sure all of your fans of THE COFFEE BREAK SERIES will be happy to know that there are more to come in the series.I know many authors do not stay within a certain genre for their writing, but I don’t think that I’ve met an author with such a breadth of emotional content and expression as you.
Chris: The Coffee Break Series stories are embellished retellings of real life events that have either happened to me or people that I know. I used to work for the NYTimes, putting together the pieces of the Sunday papers that would be delivered to different businesses. For ten to twelve hours on Saturdays I’d have nothing to do but talk to the person across from me at my table and make papers. I developed a friendship with a girl named Christine, and every week she’d ask to hear a new story. Finally, she said, “You really should write these down and sell them. People would love to read these.” I started by submitting SUNDAY DRIVES DONE MOJOSTYLE to a flash fiction contest and won. That was all that I needed to hear. I immediately started creating The Coffee Break Series. They are quirky short shorts, meant to be read on a coffee or lunch break or while waiting to be seen by the doctor – any time that one might find themselves with enough time to get bored, but not enough time to read a whole book. Each story references the ones that came before it to illustrate the fact that we are all connected, and I offer a bit more of the previous ones, just to satisfy the urge most of us have to know what happened after the story ended. Right now, four are available in e-book form only, but a fifth – HAUNTED HOUSE or HAUNTED LIFE? – will be released in August. I plan on writing ten to twelve of them before compiling and offering a print book.

Interviewer: The narrator is a very intriguing choice, and one I haven’t read before. Can you think of another author that is similar to your writing style or use of narrators?

Chris: No, can you?

Interviewer: Not at all! I think that you, and by extension, SUKI have created a brand new genre! Since you have a wide range of tastes as an author, can you give us an idea of your favorite book, author or genre that you enjoy reading yourself?

Chris: That’s a tough question because I will read almost anything….except maybe Westerns. Sorry Zane Grey. I love anything quirky, thought provoking and smart – Titles and authors that stand out for me: Augusten Burroughs, Tama Janowitz (especially THE MALE CROSS DRESSER SUPPORT GROUP), Dan Brown and JK Rowling are CRAZY smart, and 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher

Interviewer: You write so beautifully. You bring us into the story and when we have already fallen in love, the heart breaks ever so deeply. I am curious as to how you mold such perfect left brain and right brain skills at such a high level. I’m also aware that you do editing for other authors. Where do you think your breadth of expression and the exactitude of an editor come from? Would it stem from your days as an actress or was it further back than your acting days?

Chris: Ha ha…I think my editing comes in part from an uncontrollable urge to have all forms of writing flow smoothly. In some circles they call that OCD. LOL I really don’t know where it comes from. I just like to create art – or in the case of editing, co-create. It does NOT come from acting…if you ever saw the music video I did in the nineties – hot pants and all – you’d be as sure as I am about that. Before that I was just a crazy college kid hoping to get a degree that would eventually pay the bills. Editor is something I morphed into as a result of beta reading for my fellow indies. I went above and beyond because I wanted them to succeed and eventually gained a rep as a know-it-all, but a lovable and talented know-it-all. My first paid gig (complete with credits!), TRAILER TRASH WITH A GIRL’S NAME by Stacey Roberts is tickling funny bones everywhere.

I want to thank Chris for coming by and talking to us. She is an amazing human being and SUKI is something that I feel is a life-lesson for all of us, young or old, male or female. You can get it now on Amazon. Just search SUKI in Kindle.

 An end note: As all hybrid or Indie authors wonder about quitting the day-job and writing full-time, I asked that of Chris and her answer is put together perfectly on her blog Simply Stick.

 

The Queen’s English and Proofreading Your Novel

proofreader, self-publish, books, editing

Cottage Garden in Tissington, Derbyshire

or:

How do I proofread my book for overseas?

 

This will be rather short today, but it follows along the lines that I have stressed, which are hiring a great copy editor, line editor and proofreader. In doing my research for the self-publishing posts, I sent an email to someone in the UK concerning the use of “while” vs. “whilst” and “curb” vs. “kerb”. I had happened to be reading a book at the time from a British author who used all of the above, but “curb”. She was not following any of my advise for her story structure which fell apart half of the way through the manuscript. Not only did she not hire a proofreader, she was  inconsistent. An absolute “no-no”!!!
In my research for the self-publishing series, I wondered what is to become of authors that send their books overseas. Whether we are sending it “from here over to there
or “there over to here”, the question still stands as to what to do about the difference in spelling. Particularly “while” and “whilst” and “kerb” and “curb”.

Skipping the “how-do-you-dos”,here is Matt Male from Future-Perfect and his response to my inquiry:

Future Perfect is an English grammar consultancy, specialising in vetting companies’ written communications. English is often the only element of a document’s production without a top expert’s input. The design, colour, font, stock and message are all scrutinised by experts, yet the final copy is often not vetted beyond the level of the copywriter/proofreader or layman specifically for grammar, spelling, syntax and consistency. Working at an advanced level (usually after agencies, copywriters, proofreaders and legal experts), Future Perfect ensures that written communications are afforded specific technical and structural expertise in English, to complement the huge team effort which goes into all other elements of their production. Vetting will apply structure, without altering the intended style of a text, to achieve quality and consistency, creating the right impression – first time.

Matt is the founder of Future Perfect. I was horrified to find out that double spacing went out in the sixties. I thought it was the eighties. But I still can’t stop doing it. Though you will notice I didn’t use it in the paragraph.   Let’s try the BBC website and specifically, an episode of “The Grammar Police/Ask Tom” to see exactly how much nearly everyone goofs up one way or another. We are all in this together.

 

While it seems that Future Perfect doesn’t proofread novels, they do pretty much everything else!. So what is the answer to our quest? In this increasingly small world, it seems the best way is to hire an editor who writes and proofreads in both languages. In the coming resource post, I have some that I will share with you and their work is spot-on.

And an emphatic addendum to Word Geek Monday from The Urban Dictionary : The phrase is “for all intents and purposes”, and is NOT “for all intensive purposes”. I will dial emergency on this one if it is not drilled into every head that wishes to use this phrase. If you are speaking of the Intensive Care Ward at the local hospital and you wish to give them a large sum of money, then yes, by all means, use the mangled phrase. No money to give, you say? Well then, use the correct phrasing.

PLEASE SEE THE ORANGE HIGHLIGHT TO UNDERSTAND HOW UPSIDE DOWN THIS PHRASING IS WITHIN GRAMMAR HISTORY.
de facto: The phrase is a corruption of “for all intents and purposes” by persons who have heard the phrase, but have not read it in it’s proper form. It means “for all intents, and for all purposes.”de jure: Taken literally, the phrase means “for purposes which are intense. All purposes which are not intense are not included.” This is almost completely opposite to what is meant by most people, and is why it is imperative that persons use the proper phrase.

The Wise Geek weighs in on the matter:

The phrase for all intents and purposes or to all intents and purposes is often used in a variety of circumstances. It tends to mean under most usual circumstances, in most practical situations, or for purposes that are practical. Another interpretation could be in practical situations.

The phrase originated in legal language in the 1500s, and it may have been first used in court cases in England. The initial wording may have been “to all intents, constructions and purposes.” Some point out that pluralizing “intent” is unnecessary since the word can be singular or plural without an “s” at the end, such as “his intent” or “their intent.”

In the modern sense, this phrase could be used in the following example. A person is interviewing for a job, and the boss wants to hire him. She might say, “We still need to check your references, but for all intents and purposes, the job is yours.” Provided the applicants references are fine, he has landed the job and, under practical considerations, he can consider himself employed.
 
Unfortunately, the phrase has gotten a little more complicated because of the numerous misquotes or malapropisms that are used in its place. One common substitution is “for all intensive purposes.” This is very commonly used, and it means something almost directly opposite to the original phrase’s meaning of “for practical purposes.”

Phrases.org puts it squarely in history:

Origin

When researching the development of a phrase it is usually the origin that is difficult to determine; the spelling and the meaning are generally pretty well established. With ‘for (or to) all intents and purposes’ it is the other way about. The origin is unambiguous, as the first recorded use was in an Act of Parliament under Henry VIII, in 1546:

“to all intents, constructions, and purposes

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! (Do know I’m only stern on Mondays 😉 I hope everyone is taking just a few minutes to write down a bit more in your outline and manuscript. Keep up the good work!

Image credit:  JR P via Compfight

APA Makes a Bold Move, One Format for All and Kittens, Too!!

Yes, would you like to buy a book? Fergus Ray Murray via Compfight

An entertaining overview…

I’ve had this article in my research database since it was published in TechCrunch. It is truly one of the best articles that I have come across on the entire process of self-publishing. There are many details I will be highlighting in this series. Adding to the editing, formatting & book design, marketing, audio and foreign rights but for now this article serves as an excellent aid in the series, which will be ongoing. I will be drilling down on the programs and processes, tips and referrals that you will need.

I just have to say I love James Altucher’s no-nonsense approach to everything in this Publishing 3.0 world we are in. The research and marketing points are amazing. Here is the article for your education and entertainment.

Okay, here are your kittens

And to show you the changes that have transpired within the last two years, I am linking two articles by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who runs a series called “The Business Rausch” detailing the changes in the industry and why she decided to go from traditional publishing to indie publishing. The first article was written just about two years ago, entitled Popcorn Kittens.The newest post was made at the advent of the “new” self-publishing era. And the follow up to that she published this week. The latest article shows how an author with a series yet to be written, a back-list to publish and audio and foreign rights to be handled, copes with such an onslaught of work. I am betting you will become just as addicted to reading her site, let alone her books, as I have become.

There is a treat in here that will be both symbolic and entertaining. You can find the article she wrote two years ago here and the one this past week here. Do you see why we are already in the  Publishing 3.0 era?

If only life was so easy…

And finally, though I doubt that Amazon and Kindle will jump on the bandwagon with this (think of cell phones and proprietary software.), there is a push by the American Publishers Association to move to EPub3 which would allow all e-books one format for cross-device reading. I am skeptical, but I would like to be proven wrong. This article is from one of my go-to favorites, Digital Book World, also known as DBW.

 

Skyrocket Awareness of Your Book with These Resources

book marketing

Please note: None of the books suggested are affiliate links as the state in which I live does not allow Amazon (or their affiliates/sellers) Affiliates operating within its borders.

I have received a number of requests for information regarding the methods of self-publishing; specifically as it applies to the editing, a compilation process, book-cover design and marketing of a self-published work. Even authors who have gone through the process have questions and doubts themselves.book marketing

Today, the publishing world looks very much like the Wild, Wild West. See Porter Anderson’s report at Ether for Authors and a list of articles on the heated publishing debates at Publishing Perspectives.  This is evidenced by The New York Times’ Best-Seller List (June 20th, 2013). Authors who are generally published through traditional publishers are now choosing to self-publish at will. Vanity Press is now an antiquated term.

Note that authors are pressed to do all of the online presence and social media through traditional publishing as well, but the rights are at issue here. Traditional publishers have the beneficial heft to push for additional rights for audio and oversees publishing. If that is what you see as important in your overall plan, you might want to take that into account

Susanne Lakin has a fantastic article at Live, Write, Thrive by guest author Dineen Miller, who writes about creative ways to market your book. If you are a longtime reader of this site, you will understand why I appreciate new ways of marketing for authors.  The article will get your creative juices flowing thinking of all of the articles you can write for various magazines or online before and after your book is published. That link again is at Live, Write, Thrive.

I have followed Jane Friedman since she was the editor of Writer’s Digest. She then went to teaching in Cincinnati and also for Writer’s Digest University as well as lecturing  out at writing seminars, starting her own blog in the process. A few years ago she was called up to the Virginia Quarterly Review though somehow she still writes for her website and teaches at Writer’s Digest webinars and conferences. Recently, she has compiled a Self-Publishing toolbox, of sorts, with everything a person could possibly hope for in one nifty package. This is basically a book itself, though she will drill about the ramifications of blogging your book.  Do not miss Jane’s massive compendium How to Publish an E-book.

Joel Friedlander, of The Book Designer , just guest posted for her. His whole webpage is amazing but the posts that shine for me are the following:

52 Great Blogs for Self-Publishers

5 Keys to Pain-Free Book Promotion

The greatest asset an author has to help them navigate the unknown waters of self-publishing is the accumulated wisdom of people who’ve been there before. I’ve always been impressed by how friendly the independent book publishing community is.

And BiblioCrunch has some great book designer; a direct quote from Joel himself. They also have some great article on their site:

Common Mistakes Indie and SelfPub Authors Make

Self-Publishing Costs; the Ultimate Guide

 Dan Blank We Grow Media has published a book that is all about marketing and building a writer’s platform A Writer’s Guide to Blogging.

He also has a great post on his blog about author Hugh Howey who is the now famous indie author of the Wool series. It is worth clicking over for a great read.

Please take note of Dan Blank’s static front page. This is the portal to his website, but I think it’s a great way to market your book. You will see when you click on the link. Study what he has done, as he is a leader in the media industry.

If you would like a more interactive approach to setting out your promotional plan, Writer’s Digest University is the place to go. Writer’s Digest University Self Publishing Tutorials You can get a monthly membership to review all of their tutorials for $25 per month. If you do not want to be charged for the next month, do be advised that you must cancel prior to the next billing cycle. This is a ticket to a wealth of information on all levels of Writer’s Digest University.

Laura Pepper-Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book.

Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she’s not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, “yoga-ing” or at a coffee shop in Seattle.

You might like:

Laura Pepper Wu’s 30 Day Books, taken from her ideal book marketing course. While the class is not in session now, you can get on the watch list by clicking here

What is more; there is a link to a WordPress theme designed especially for authors to promote their books. It’s priceless. Or nearly so compared to hiring a designer and paying a webmaster as well as hosting, security, e-commerce themes, et cetera. The theme is called Authorlicious.

I have several author friends who are in search of a good designer for their books and I have sent them most of this material and more (including tips from one author to another, which is why it is a good idea to get into a group of authors not only for support, but sound advise. That is what this website is about and all of what I am about

I just found a plethora of books for author platform building on Goodreads. A five starred book by Shelley Hitz at Self-PublishingCoach website is available for you at a single click.  Check out her site to see what else she has to offer.

 One of the books on the list is David Graughran’s Let’s Get Digital which I have lined up in my Kindle. This man knows what he is discussing as he’s been through the mill and understands all of the machinations.

In fact, if you are interested in what David has to say, you can register for a free webinar that ALLi is putting on through Shindigs right here. It is set for June 27, 2013 @ 9:00 pm – 10:30 pm and I’m sure will prove to be an informative and enjoyable 90 minutes. Sign up today and put it on your calendar. ALLi (Alliance for Independent Authors) includes founder Orna Ross and is advised by all of my favorite people in the world of books. Jane Freidman, Joel Friedlander Mark Coker (Smashwords), The ever alert Victoria Strauss (Writer Beware), Joanna Penn and Passive Guy, David Vandagriff, Karen Lotter, among others. If you are going to publish as an indie, I would suggest signing up for their newsletter. All very good advise as is evidenced above.

Topics for the blog are scheduled as follows:

Mon: Author-Publishing News   (Updates, Press Releases, ALLi News)Tue: Opinion   (On Publishing, Writing and the Indie Business)Wed: Member Showcase   (Our Members’ Latest Books and Events)Thu: Advice on Writing   (Productivity, Motivation, Craft)Fri: Advice on Publishing   (Editing, Formatting, Printing)Sat: Advice on Reaching Readers   (Marketing & Promotion)Sunday: How I Do It   (Self-Publishing Success Stories)

For instance, I found this article in my in-box just today; There will now be clickable and searchable hashtags on Facebook which woke me up as I am more of the Twitter and Google Plus Communities girl though I am on Facebook. You enter searchable and clickable hashtags into the mix, and I look up from my writing. That’s a game-changer for me.

And Alli has addressed many of the concerns I have for the new world of publishing; for instance, the overseas rights which are normally handled through long-standing relationships with publishers. How are indie authors to branch out? Jennifer Custer answers this here, here  and has an update for you here.

Orma Ross addresses branching out here and links to Members Pack information which archives all forums from IndieReCon and also breaks down Members benefits according to the membership level. (You can also sign up for articles alone free of cost if you are strapped for cash at the moment. This is what I have done.)

The phenom of self-publishing, Amanda Hocking has secured another deal with St. Martin’s Press. See this New York Times article for details.

Speaking of platforms, Michael Hyatt whom you all know as a wonderful advocate of helping to develop your platform has started the Platform University which will guide you through all of the necessary factors that need to be addressed to set up your own platform.

If you are lost in looking for good editing services, cover design or formatting, BiblioCrunch, mentioned earlier, has a whole  set of tools and resources for you to pick and choose from according to your needs.  They are there to guide you through the process  with advisors that are trusted and know the publishing business and all that is involved. You can set your budget for proofreading, editing, design based on your budget. It’s a phenomenal service and one I think you will find very user-friendly and useful.

Along those lines, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has a great list of editing, design and publishing services that are very helpful. With Board Members from Shelf Awareness to all sectors of the publishing and publishing news areas, there is a wealth of information on this site. Bookmark it and refer to it often.

Ann Hill, the Creative Content Coach has an article about creating Author Platforms that last.

And Bob Mayer, the Full-Time Author and former green beret and New York Times Best-Selling Author, has an information filled podcast detailing the “secret sauce” of book promotion. He has written over 50 books and just started the publishing company, Cool Gus Publishing, with author Jennifer Crusie. I had a hankering for writing a book on the incredible life of Bob Mayer. After reading about Jennifer Crusie, now I’ll have to write about both. Do you think Cool Gus Publishing would publish them?

Nick Thacker of LiveHacked has “The Official Self-Published Book Marketing Plan”. Yes, they wrote the book on it. 😉

And if you have written a memoir, in the non-fiction rubric, the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) has a great article helping indie authors to create a platform using YouTube. Video content is the next wave, so get ready for your close-up.

A note on breaking indie author news: Amazon World, which   has signed the famous Wool series indie author, Hugh Howie, to work within their Kindle World projects. See all of the news on this up and coming market for indie authors.

[Update: I just got the Writer’s Digest Conference sign-up form in my inbox. Please go here to see all of the details.]

Coincidentally, the next person I was going to write about is featured on the left side of  the IndieReCon page. This woman is as dynamic as she is kind. Melissa Foster. Watch for her in upcoming issues of this series. There are quite a few resources for your platform and articles and events (and explosions) that I still have left to write about. Some mentioned in this article will be discussed further in upcoming posts.

Sign up for much more in this series on self-publishing. Just add your email to the right top field and I will deliver it, sans spam, to your inbox.

Please leave a comment on any issues you are having as a self-published author and I would be more than happy to cover them.

This post is featured in Carol Tice’s Link Party. Check it out for great articles on writing, freelancing and productivity!

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