Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Refreshed and Ready to Move Forward

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post. Our trip to see my husband's parents was wonderful and I enjoyed ten days away from home. And the Internet. I think I checked my email twice and that was it.

But it was wonderful to share it with my husband's parents, who were thrilled with our visit:

We didn't do much, but that was fine with me. Went out to eat, went to downtown Little Rock and rode the Trolley, went for some walks, went to a movie. And, we went to see the Big Dam Bridge:

It's one of the largest footbridges in America and it goes across the Big Dam - thus, the name! And we did walk all the way across and back.

And no road trip that passes through Memphis would be complete without a shot of the defunct Pyramid, a really bad idea for an arena. (Too small to be of any use - what was the owner thinking?) I remember a weekend trip to Memphis over twenty years ago and seeing it in the process of being built...

All in all, it was a wonderful time. I so appreciate my husband's parents. Now that my mother is gone, they are my only family. The trip put some things in perspective, too. Going to make some changes next month and make 2012 a better and less jam-packed year.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn't lose an eyebrow during the Black Friday sales. I have a special guest this Thursday and then the Weekend Sillies return!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding Your Own Publishing Path

Today Stephen Tremp talks about publishing and why he chose his current path.

Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by. And thanks Diane for hosting me! Today I’m discussing why I’ve gone the self-published road rather than hooking on with a publisher.

Of course, I want one of the New York Big Six (Hatchette Book Groups, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin Group, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) to publish my books, or at least one of their subsidiaries.

But I feel that with publishing, it’s all or nothing. Perhaps I’m missing the point. But I’m not sure what a mid-level publisher can do for me. After querying hundreds of agents and publishers for my novel BREAKTHROUGH, I received interest from a number of mid-level publishers. At first, I was very excited. However, after listening to their pitch, I realized signing on would not be a win-win situation.

Example: First, I would have to do most if not all the marketing and promoting. Isn’t that what self-published authors do? Second, I would have to sign on with them for three to five years (depending on the mid-level publisher). I don’t want to give up that control, unless it’s with one of the New York Big Six. Third, why give someone else a chunk of my money when I’m doing all the work?

I admit I made the terrible, horrendous, bone-headed mistake of originally paying over a thousand dollars to have iUniverse publish BREAKTHROUGH. The problem here is iUniverse makes their money by selling services rather than selling books, and selling books is the name f the game. And their services, from the initial sign-on, to editing packages, to marketing packages (that can cost $7,000 to place your book on a shelf with hundreds of other books at a book fair) are an outrageous rip-off.

I finally woke up and smelled the coffee and left iUniverse for CreateSpace, which was free and gives me a far larger profit than iUniverse could ever do for me. I’m too embarrassed to state what I made off each sale with iUniverse. Needless to say, my commission is far higher with CreateSpace.

Okay, so I’m still querying agents and subsidiaries of the Big Six in hopes someone will pick up OPENING. But I’m under no false illusions. I’m doing just fine self-publishing with CreateSpace, thank you very much. The market has shifted so much the past few years. Little guppies like me swimming in a vast ocean of published and self-published books and ebooks can actually be somewhat successful.

Example: I can buy books directly from CreateSpace for less than $6.00 (including shipping) and sell them for $10.00 - $12.95.  Out of the back of my SUV, to local books stores, and through family and friends across the country and around the world. I’m even working with scores of hotels up and down the southern California coast to carry my book on consignment. And I’m working with the vendors who place books in grocery stores, airports, and pharmacies like Ralph’s (Krogers) and Walgreens. So there is a lot I can do on my own to sell my books at a very mice profit.

How about you. Are you with one of the New York Big Six or their subsidiaries? How about a mid-level publisher? Or are you self-published? I’d like to hear your story and how you got to that place. Again, thanks for stopping by!

Thanks, Stephen! I learned the hard way about subsidy presses such as iUniverse, too. We learn and move on!

Visit him at his blog, Facebook, and Twitter Purchase Breakthrough at Amazon and Smashwords

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seizing Opportunities!

My very special guest today is fellow Dancing Lemur Press author, Charlette Denise Sutton. I’ve known Denise for many years and she’s an accomplished author and songwriter. Her Ebook, Seizing Opportunities That Propel You Forward, officially comes out Tuesday. I asked Denise what led to the creation of this book. (And it’s a wonderful read if you’re in need of some inspiration!)

My first love has always been poetry because I have always believed that something introduced in rhyme is more memorable.  However, after publishing two books of poetry and going to workshops and book signings with other writers, I found that I was the only one that wrote just poetry. I soon found that most writers concentrate on different genres of writing to increase their exposure.  So I decided to expand the type of writing that I would promote in order to reach a larger audience. I briefly considered fiction but soon found out that coming up with plots and endings did not interest me. I did remember, though, that I had a great love for empowering and motivating others and thus came up with the ideas behind Seizing Opportunities That Propel You Forward.

Every day, I meet people who seem to be frustrated because they do not know what their talent or "calling" is, or in other scenarios, know what their talent is, but don't know how to use it to get the most potential out of it.  That is when I decided to write a book to encourage people to stop just looking for big events that may take years to occur and search for small things that could make their dreams explode into reality over time. As I began gathering material, I became more aware of how often even I have passed up small opportunities that could have been a large breakthrough in disguise.  I often remember the words of wisdom that tell us to not look down on humble beginnings, for they often lead to great things. Constantly putting in place the principles that I teach has led me to "think outside of the box" and grow in my own creativity and I feel that it could do the same for others.  Sharing this knowledge is truly an exciting  and rewarding experience.

About Denise:
Author, Speaker, Songwriter
Writing poetry since grade school, she discovered at an early age how comforting words can be in lifting people out of despair and pushing them towards achievement. Each word she writes is carefully chosen to bring meaning and relevance to others. Denise often compares herself to the greeting card magnate, Helen Steiner Rice, as she strives to capture the feeling one gets when they find the right phrase for the right occasion! She has published two books of inspirational poetry, My Words and Me and Do You Know Him? and one motivational book, Seizing Opportunities That Propel You Forward. She has also co-produced several CD's, one titled "Words Can't Tell." She loves to share her words of inspiration and prides herself in being a musician, songwriter, and inspirational speaker.

And Blogger is being fussy, so could not insert hyperlinks to her sites, but they are:

Seizing Opportunities That Propel You Forward
By Charlette Denise Sutton
Self-help/inspirational (SEL021000)
$2.99 eBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-7-6
Available in all eBook formats on November 15, 2011

Seizing Opportunities That Propel You Forward, stresses the importance of finding powerful opportunities to make a difference in everyday living.  Instead of becoming discouraged from not encountering those envisioned "big breaks", readers are encouraged to watch for those "little instances" that could profoundly affect their lives and forever change their destiny. Many people overlook the challenge of finding creative and almost hidden ways to make their skills, knowledge, and connections work for them. This book focuses on preparing yourself daily to take full advantage of every situation that comes your way! One of her favorite excerpts from the book include:

“Looking high, looking low…
How much farther do I need to go?
It took a while, but now I understand
The ‘opportunity’ I was searching for was right in my hand!”

Available now at Amazon, Smashwords, and Dancing Lemur Press. Ready for some inspiration?

What led you on your chosen writing path?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Create Visibility Before Getting Published

I'd like to welcome Karen Cioffi today with some marketing tips!

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Basic Platform Building

The road to publication can be long and winding ... and filled with rejection. So, what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscript and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless.

That’s easy. And, it’s very important: create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs, I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform.

There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility.

First step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website; either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing.

Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name.

But wait a minute, let me backtrack. For those of you who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. You need to let your target market know who you are, what you have to offer, why you’re qualified to offer it, and where they can find you.

Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise, but this is how you create it.

The next step in your journey is to create visibility and build your platform. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking—you will be creating your area of expertise.

Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site, and go viral.

The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to:

  1. Have and online presence (website or blog)
  2. Have a platform
  3. Have a following
  4. Have the potential to increase that following
  5. Have a marketing strategy
  6. Have a saleable book

Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. Don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.

For more on writing and marketing visit Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing and sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World. You’ll get TWO free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more free e-books just for stopping by.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I will be offline for the next week. My mother passed away Thursday morning and I've a lot to deal with right now.. I had a special Weekend Sillies planned but have postponed it until the 12th. I hope to be back online soon and have a guest, Karen Cioffi, visiting on the 10th.

Thanks everyone for understanding. I will be checking email and responding when necessary.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Insecure Writer's Support Group

I am posting for Alex J. Cavanaugh’s The Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

My insecurity today might be all over the map, but I’ll try to focus.

Sometimes I think I’ve diversified myself too much. I’ve got so many projects in the works and going a million miles an hour with speaking and book formatting and consulting and numerous other ventures. Does anyone still remember that I am an author, too?

I see others continue to put out books. (I do have one in the works for next year.) I see authors networking and still marketing themselves and their older books. I see authors having great success with ebooks. And I wonder, did I miss the boat somehow? Did all of these other ventures drop me off the author radar completely?

Does anyone still remember a series called The Circle of Friends? Or my book based on two seminars I teach, Overcoming Obstacles with SPUNK? Will people continue to find these books and enjoy them?

Or is Spunky just the crazy redhead who posts LOL Cats every weekend?