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!
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: 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?
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.
This is going to be a quick post. First, I think if anyone has laid their eyes on the internet yesterday the hot item was the sales reporting Hugh Howey wrote for Author Earnings.There were so many people clamoring for the information that the site crashed so Joe Konrath re-posted it on his site.
This is what I posted on Google Plus early this morning:
What a day yesterday. If you were in a cave without wifi, this is what went down. Hugh Howey posted a bombshell report on Author Earnings. Such a bombshell that the site went down. Joe Konrath re-posted it on his site for those that didn’t get it before the crash. Theresa Ragan, whose site is linked in the article by Hugh, has a great Sales Ranking Chart on her site. As the algorithms changes every few months, she updates the parameters and links it to her navigation bar on her site. Go read this article if you haven’t yet! Author Earnings
And the gold in the metadata is a quote from Hugh:
This data provided one piece of a complex puzzle. The rest of the puzzle hit my inbox with a mighty thud last week. I received an email from an author with advanced coding skills who had created a software program that can crawl online bestseller lists and grab mountains of data. All of this data is public—it’s online for anyone to see—but until now it’s been extremely difficult to gather, aggregate, and organize. This program, however, is able to do in a day what would take hundreds of volunteers with web browsers and pencils a week to accomplish. The first run grabbed data on nearly 7,000 e-books from several bestselling genre categories on Amazon. Subsequent runs have looked at data for 50,000 titles across all genres.
I want you to hit all of the links but one link that Hugh included was this wonderful little sales ranking tool here.
Look at the feeds on Twitter and you will see what conversations are transpiring. Rapid fire and it’s exhilarating!
There is a great site you should visit called Indie Author Land. It is a wealth of information on self-published books. It also has the stories behind the books in the form of author interviews posted with the books. This is the crux of the story behind Penpals; a story you don’t want to miss about a book that is surely not to be missed.
It seems that the author, Dathan Auerbach visited the social page Reddit a great deal. In particular, the subreddit No Sleep. One night, he decided to post a story to the subreddit. He was a little nervous about it, but decided to dive in; he intitled that story Footsteps and hoped for a few votes and comments. It turned out to be a hit, so he posted more and everyone loved the stories. They were clamoring for them. This interview, conducted at the end of last year, is a bestseller again for this past week. There is talk of a movie, all because of reddit’s subreddit community NoSleep. This is what a fan base can do both for you as a novelist and your book through the self-publishing options available for you.
This interview talks first about story, which must be the pillar to all of our work and then discusses an ‘impromptu’ Kickstarter project, a publishing house, isbn and publishing outlets on Amazon, over several countries, iTunes, Nook, and beyond with talks with the movie industry; all a great surprise to the novelist, Dathan Auerbach.
Please see these links about this story and more about Dathan Auerbach:
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:
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
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.
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?
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.
This is a continuation of a series of articles on self-publishing which have and will encompass formatting, editing, sites to upload to (pros and cons), book cover designing, tools, social marketing and promotions, and resources for all of these subjects. I’ve done a lot of research in my life and I have to say that this one nearly felled me. I am neither for or against self-publishing-which I also refer to as indie- as I am neither for or against traditional publishing. There or pros and cons to each path. Both will be difficult. As writers we all know this. But we can’t help it; we were born this way.
I have over 60 docs in my drive on this series alone as well as emails, Evernote folders and files. Pardon my lack of crafty writing when it comes to this series. I just want to get the information to you as soon as possible. It will be in no particular order, and there are always new, breaking stories that will fit in various sub-files in the series. When switching from one subject to another, I will be using the hashtag with the subject name to denote the switch. This article is one of several under the marketing sub-folder.
So, on with the show…
My secret site for Self-Publishing is The Future of Ink. See their Top Ten Self-Publishing Websites. You can easily see how prestigious this contest is by the judges involved.
“The Future of Ink proudly presents the winners of the inaugural Top Ten Self-Publishing Blogs contest of 2012. Finalists were judged by Guy Kawasaki, Jim Edwards and Mark Coker of Smashwords.’
Though I’ve been a fan of The Future of ink for a long time, I never read this article until last night and boy am I glad I did. Sue Painter did a masterful job and you will be glad to have it in your arsenal.
Their article on how to sell more on Amazon is also one to read.
In my writing groups, people have asked me a handful of times about author groups that they may be a part of for marketing purposes. There are several that I am looking at with an open, judicial eye that includes The Story Cartel (of which I am a member) and ALLI; but one in particular is getting good ratings from various arenas: the Author Marketing Club.
The Author Marketing Club. it is free to enroll in (though the information for the free options is down the page near the bottom). There are also various packages and levels that they offer. Please note that I do not advise all of the points in the following piece of which will be fully spelled out later on in the series.
Jim Kukral, the founder of the Author Marketing Club has these suggestions for self-publishing:
Step 1: The very day when you have the idea of the book in your head, sit down, give the book a title, and write down who the book is for.
Step 2: The next step is to create a book cover. You can get that done on Fiverr.com for only $5.
Step 3: Place the image of your bookcover on your blog, on Facebook, or wherever you tend to hang out. You can say, ‘Hey, I’m writing this book,’ and build anticipation. It’s like the way big movies do it. You can see the trailer long before the film is ready for viewing.
Step 4: Create a short video or blog post about your book idea with an email signup form. Six months down the track when you’ve actually written the eBook, you’ll already have a group of customers waiting for it.
Jim Kukral is a top Internet entrepreneur, best-selling author and marketer. He teaches at the University of San Francisco for the Internet Marketing Certificate Programme. Check out his new venture, the Author Marketing Club.
Are you on Google Plus? Well their is a lot going on over there. Just a heads up for my writing friends.
A tip that I’m sure you all use so this is just a reminder. The Google Plus pages have exploded, now that they have Communities, with great resources for writers and one tip for you to do your research on this incredible social sharing site is to add your keyword to a hashtag and put it in the top search bar above the content. You’ll be amazed at the amount of information that is then at your fingertips.
For the record, when I write of ALLI, I am writing of The Alliance of Independent Authors. They have two websites: 1) is often linked to in my articles which is here and 2) their professional alliance webpage which you can find here.
The Alliance for Independent Authors is the site to be connected with as it has all of the contacts that you have heard about, plus the watchdog members and are fully committed to excellence and ethical practices. They have a full list of membership options that they will carefully consider when you apply. See specifically, this page.
Bob Mayer has a great post up at ALLi for top indie writers. Not only was he a Green Beret and has translated that experience into the writing life, which you can find at Write It Forward. he has over 50 books published (selling over 4 thousand units), is a New York Times Bestselling author and is co-creator of Cool Gus Publishing.
ALLI, by the way, publishes interviews with best-selling indie authors under the heading, “How I do it…” with great tips from C.J. Lyons and this one from Hugh Howey.
Reviews on top sites or anywhere, quite frankly, are the best way to get free marketing and awareness to you book. Google Top Reviewers and look at the parameters. Contact one and be prepared to send them your book in a pdl form (or whatever they require) as soon as you get done with your call or your email. They already have a backlog of work, and you need to be thinking about this before it is too late for your book launch. And remember, whatever they ask for within a sane parameter, agree to without argument. These people are swamped, and they need to be your friend until and after they have posted a review for you. They probably know a great number of other top reviewers, important webmasters, and many authors; you don’t want to get on their bad side.
Also, in this article, DBW lists great blogs with book loving readers (see below) along with a well thought-out article on book marketing:
Ereader News Today: http://www.ereadernewstoday.com/
Kindle Nation: http://kindlenationdaily.com/
Pixel of Ink: http://www.pixelofink.com
Inspired Reads: http://www.inspiredreads.com
Kindle Reader: http://kindlereader.blogspot.com/
To get you familiar with this site and to honor the site that brought it to my attention, the link is to ALLI and the interview is with Jessica Bennett of Compulsion Reads
Joe Bunting at the Story Cartel has a formative article on publishing your book and getting your first 1,000 reviews.
I used to think I had a cute answer when the word metadata was being first used for books. I said, well that’s just seo for your book. But it wasn’t very helpful for who understands seo either? Jane Friedman can help us out with her article on optimizing metadata.
And MediaBistro has information on selling your book through indie bookstores.
Bookbaby has the essential online book marketing tips right here.
And WinePress has an article entitled “Four Ways to Make Your Book Sell Itself”, which is, I think, an incredibly appealing idea.
Here’s an article from the folks at KOBO on the writing life. (A break from all of the marketing ;p)
And MediaBistro has a great slant on using Google Hangouts to sell books here.
I have been subscribing to Talia Newland of Awesome Indies for ages. She has a book review of indie authors that isn’t to be missed and will be featured in future posts. Check out her website in the meantime.
Another site that you should put on your digital radar is Mick Rooney’s site The Independent Publishing Magazine. It is part of the golden sites: Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers as well it should be. Take a look around, you will be a wiser bookseller for it.
Have you read some great article on marketing your book lately? Let us know in the comments. And thank you for sharing and signing up for the newsletter. More fun to come at the affordable price of…free!
I have been thinking recently about the twists and turns the music industry took when they had their great revolution; what we would now term, I imagine Music 2.0.
Back in the days of dial-up modems, the sound of the dial up modem wasn’t music to anyone’s ear, I don’t suppose, but I found the revolving triangle of the Netscape browser somewhat calming.
What wasn’t calming was the fear that the big music industry titans unleashed on music lovers when the lawsuits became frontpage news (when we bought the paper and got ink on our hands for reading it). There were more than several cases that were used to be an example for the Everyday Joe who ‘stole’ some billion dollar figure from music producers and performers every month and struck the fear into everyone on the world wide web. Yes, that’s what we called it in my day and we used all three words, as well.
Now, I wasn’t an offender, and I would swear this in a court of law, because being an artist and working in the industry myself, I had a special affinity for those that produced any art in any medium and didn’t get fair-recompense. I didn’t go all medieval on the friends that downloaded music, but I sympathized with the artists that were not getting the paychecks they would get otherwise.
A lot of the problem back then was one great behemoth of an organization that took over the music industry. It didn’t allow for free market competition and allow the markets to even themselves out in the economic climate. It was known as BMI. We’ve all seen the talk that Laurence Lessing gave at Ted with the overpowering support the courts give to new innovations.
Well we are going through another sort of revolution in the publishing industry with ebooks, and it’s been going on for some time. We don’t have a behemoth industry to compare to BMI though some would call Amazon that giant, but there are plenty of other corporations that have the capacity to overtake them. It’s been done before. People can argue, and win in their minds, both ways when it comes to the pros and cons of Amazon.
And yet, every minute the landscape changes. See what BitLit has to say in the latest salvo here.
I think this is a fantastic idea and would like to see how it works. now logistically the writers publisher if it is a trad pub would have to set up (and pay for) ISBNs for all version: print, digital, audio and of course there are the markets outside of your particular nation; these would have to be coordinated as well. And this is just off the cuff thinking; there is surely much more cost and arranging for this idea to work be feasible.
What do you think of what BitLit has to offer? Comment below.
This is part of a multi-part series on indie publications or self-publications is coming up this week. Sign up if you are interested.
This is a quick post for the multi-part series on Self-Publishing. An interesting take on the traditional vs. self-publishing option.
In their continuing efforts to support self-published authors, Digital Book World has spotlighted a service that brings the traditional publishing services to authors through Bowker.
If you buy your ISBN through Bowker, it will offer the promotional services of Smith Publicity.
As stated in the press release:
ProQuest affiliate Bowker® is expanding resources available to authors and small publishers on its MyIdentifiers.com website by teaming with Smith Publicity, widely recognized as one of the industry’s top book publicity agencies. Now, MyIdentifiers.com will include a link to Smith’s website where authors and publishers can take the first steps in exploring public relations programs that can effectively support their publishing efforts. The cooperation with Smith is part of Bowker’s larger program to help MyIdentifiers users succeed by connecting them to trusted providers of a range of essential services.