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 the first installment in a series I have entitled the Writing 2.0 Changemaker Series. In each interview, I will bring you the trendsetters in the new age of publishing for both traditional and self-published authors. My goal is to bring you those who are paving the way to educate authors in all sectors of the writing process from blank page to marketing. Our focus today is on New York Times & USA Today bestselling & award-winning author, Melissa Foster.
I had the distinct pleasure of discussing a number of issues that fall on writers these days with Melissa Foster via email. She has somehow managed to keep her fiction writing up, form an incredible support group called World Literary Cafe (renowned and respected), written her non-fiction book Fostering Success and pulled together a cadre of trusted format experts, editors and designers. She is also a delight to know.
Here is her philosophy and moral compass underlying all her enterprises:
My goal is always to help as many authors as I am able–and I take no compensation from either of my businesses, this is my way of giving back to the literary world. We are so very lucky to have the opportunity to bring our books to readers, but if we don’t understand how to publish, or the layers and processes behind book marketing, the gift we’ve been given will be meaningless.
I am asked on a daily basis basic, as well as complex, questions about all aspects of the self-publishing and book marketing arena. While I’ve tried to help authors with one-on-one consulting, I found that my window of writing time was becoming smaller and smaller, and I wasn’t able to help as many authors as were requesting my time. Fostering Success offers effective, easy to understand, answers along with real life, immediately usable solutions for self-publishing newbies to experienced traditional and non-traditional authors through self-guided courses that are available 24/7 with downloadable transcripts and multitudes of bonus materials that can be used over and over again–to breathe new life into old titles and to launch new titles as well. What pleases me the most, is that authors no longer have to flounder about in the industry. Between Fostering Success and the World Literary Cafe, authors are guided from pre-publication down their marketing path, so they can find their book’s success
My take on formatting a book -both paperback and ebooks, is that while you can learn them, the ease of doing so depends entirely on how computer savvy you are, and how much you value your writing and marketing time vs spending time formatting. I know how to format ebooks and paperbacks, but I have my staff do that for me (and I pay the same rate as everyone else to do so), because for me, writing and running my businesses are essential, and I believe in letting experts do their jobs. I can rely on my formatter and my cover designers, therefore, they save me money, and surely save me headaches of both time and money from improperly formatted files. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, of course.
And please like her Fanpage on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter @Melissa_Foster.
As always, commenting is free on this site. Sign up for newsletters and follow me on Twitter @LeeJTyler.
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:
You are no doubt familiar with the database for movies and actors.
Now there is one for writers and authors as well! It is called, appropriately, AuthorsDB and was started by a man named Jason Matthews.
This is an award-winning site with an easy-to-use interface: And it’s free!
At AUTHORSdB, it is easy to sign up and get started right away. All you need to do is:
1. Create an account using your facebook, google or windows live account or sign up with your personal email.
2. Log in and add your bio, photos and book images
3. Add all your social media contact information
4. Add your ‘Buy Here’ links to Amazon, B&N, etc
5. Share Share Share
If you are not a writer but have a service for writers such as editing, and promotions, you may add your business to this site for a great way to get found! What a fantastic idea!
This site also covers all of the major formats:
Don’t wait as every minute counts to increase your visibility whether you are already published or are currently working on your novel.
Hint: see how fast this website loads the minute you hit the connection. With all that it provides, that shows you what a powerful website they have; reinforcing their search engine capabilities.
Head over to AuthorDB now to check out even more great ideas.
(Images courtesy of Hubspot.)
Metadata is data about data. Metadata describes how and when and by whom a particular set of data was collected, and how the data is formatted. Metadata is essential for understanding information stored in data warehouses and has become increasingly important in XML-based Web applications
Of course, the challenge of metadata if far more complex than that. There are best practices and “ONIX metadata” as well as certification programs. There is the matter of the “BISG Revised Best Practices”. Yeah, me neither. But if you truly want to learn more about this, there is a course offered by Digital Book World
An article, which strives to bring metadata in a better light, was published on Digital Book World’s site in an interview with Renee Register. She brings a better understanding of the practices to all of us.
Digital Book World has all manner of Best Practices for MetaData on a continuing basis taught by Renee Register, who has more than 20 years of experience. They also have a phone number for questions. Travel to their homesite and hit Customer Service to find out what upcoming class best fits with your schedule.
The tome of all tomes is the Metadata handbook. This finely detailed handbook is what you want if you would like to certify in the field. And an extensive collection of references and best practices.
Whether you know it or not, you create metadata each time you use your smartphone or log into your computer or tablet.. And this is how Google pulls up information so quickly. There will be a metadata trail created when I publish this article and when you share it. (Thank you; p)
However, it is the experienced use of metadata that will bring it to the eyes of your potential readers and impact your sales.In this way, it is similar to SEO. Imagine writing a book and no one seeing it. That is how important metadata is for you and your sales.
Metadata is all over my current book; not only as I create and research it but is part of the inciting incident. This was handily mirrored by certain organizations in the news recently and the cause of our President either answering or confusing the matter.
Either way you look at it, it’s all around us. Yes, “like the matrix”…;).
If you don’t have the money or time for a class,NISO.org offers a pdf on Metadata. It arises about the same time as ISBN’s in finding books through retailers and the library system. I think DublinCore is the best place to find out all initiatives in the matter.
If you wish to learn the basics of metadata, a terrific article came out on Freelance Switch, a site all freelancers will be familiar with, “Choosing Keywords and Categories for Your Kindle eBook” by David Masters. A good start to understanding what is to be an intricate subject for all people in the self-publishing field.
Smashwords has progressed from a publisher to a retailer. Read the interview with Mark Coker here.
Also, SpritAuthors comes in with a great article about making sure your book lands in the right categories in Amazon, which you can find here. I recommend you look at all areas of the site.
What are your experiences with metadata and how have you implemented it into your e-book? What have you learned about it? Please leave a comment below and share with others.
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!