Category Archives: Guest Post

Blogiversary | Guest Post by Amanda Gale – The Publishing Experience

THE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

GUEST POST BY AMANDA GALE

Self-publishing is more than its name suggests. It’s also about self-teaching, self-branding, self-motivating, and self-growth. Being responsible for every decision is simultaneously the greatest reward and heaviest burden. It’s been one of the hardest, most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t change one moment of it.

I began writing to satisfy a need within myself; I had no intention of publishing, and in fact I didn’t even believe I’d finish. I was surprised when the writing happened in a flurry. I wrote all four books in five months, staying up all night, sleeping for only a couple of hours when I put the baby back to bed. A little idea had turned into something real, and I considered publication.

When the first drafts were complete, the editing process began. I cleaned up the manuscripts and researched agents and small publishers. I sent out query letters and excerpts, but I think deep down I always knew it wasn’t meant to be and that I was only going through the motions. My series has never fit into a convenient niche because it is not easily classified into any one genre. In addition, I learned that it was unlikely that, as a new author, I would sell a series; rather, I would need to make the first book stand on its own, sell it by itself, and then hope the others in the series were picked up.

I reached a turning point when I received lengthy constructive criticism from an editor at a small publisher. After reading the first three chapters, she wrote me a detailed explanation of what didn’t work and how I could improve my writing. It was difficult to read! However, I took her advice seriously and solicited feedback from friends. When I continued to hear the same concerns over and over, I almost completely rewrote the first book and mercilessly revised the others. Those weeks were painful; I struggled to discard so much of what I had written, and I was working harder than I had when I was writing the first draft. But the result was miraculous. I had something I truly believed in. I will never forget the kindness of this editor who took the time to help me. She was under no obligation to do so.

With my scrappy new draft, I was invigorated, and I sent it out for feedback to whoever would read it. So many generous people took the time to share their responses, and their responses were fascinating! Each individual offered a different perspective and different advice. I sifted through this feedback and entered a new stage of editing—this time, revising was more about filling in gaps and tweaking dialogue than fixing structural issues. It was like chiseling away at a rock to slowly turn it into a sculpture, and I watched it grow closer and closer to completion.

By now I knew I would self-publish the books. I had worked harder than I had ever thought I could, and I wanted to take them all the way on my own. After much soul-searching, I decided I didn’t want to change the fact that they were cliffhangers or force them into one genre; while I was eager to execute revisions that would improve the books, I made the personal decision to stick to my original vision rather than pursue a book deal. In the meantime, I was hearing that the books were resonating with readers. These were real readers, real people, the people I was writing for, and that was most important to me.

I began researching self-publishing and realized quickly that my hard work was only beginning. Like anything, self-publishing can be accomplished in many different ways, and no one path is the “right” path. There are endless details and variables, and every author has to create his or her own individual plan. The fact that I did not find two consenting opinions on anything only made the process more difficult. I educated myself as best I could and made decisions I felt were right for me. This stage was difficult and tedious for me, as I am not business-minded. However, I feel good about having accomplished it on my own. It offered me the opportunity for growth, and I am grateful for that.

Though a writer can self-publish without making any monetary investments at all, I decided to invest in ISBNs, copyrights, and original cover art. I always had imagined that I’d have original cover art; I had put so much of myself into the books, and I felt they needed something all their own to represent them. I found the illustrator who created my covers through social media. Her work is raw, elegant, sexy, and beautiful, and she succeeded in capturing the mood of each book.

I decided, for the time being, to publish only through Amazon (as a paperback and an eBook for Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (as an eBook for Nook), and I set up my accounts while I worked on the final editing. I also began building a social media presence and networking. Once the editing was complete, I prepared the files of all four books for my three vendors—no small feat considering every vendor required a different format and cover size. Receiving the proof copies of the paperbacks was a moment I will remember forever. Seeing them in print for the first time, knowing I had accomplished this dream and that I had learned so much in doing so, made me realize that no matter what else happened, I already had succeeded.

I read through the proof copies and made the final changes to the manuscripts, then uploaded the final files and hit the “publish” button. It’s such an odd and wonderful feeling, knowing the characters are blowing around in the wind when they existed only in my mind for so many years. Now I’m working on marketing, which has proven more difficult for me—but I’m becoming more comfortable with it. I know it will only continue to grow easier: having managed to put the books out into the world, I know now that I can do this, too.

THE MEREDITH SERIES BUY LINKS:

AMAZON | B&N

ABOUT AMANDA

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WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

A graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, Amanda Gale taught high school English before she began writing women’s fiction. She loves history, classic literature, and quiet nights at home. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family. (Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography)

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with my review of Meredith Out of Darkness.

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Blogiversary | Guest Post by Carrie Cross – The Publishing Experience

THE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

GUEST POST BY CARRIE CROSS

My experience getting published has been a long, winding, bumpy road. I had been writing for many years when I finally submitted my first manuscript, an adult novel called The Dark File, to several agents. While many had positive things to say, or provided constructive criticism and an invitation to resubmit, none of them ever offered to represent me.

I’ve always loved to read Middle Grade and Young Adult, so while The Dark File was being shopped (it takes months for agents to reply) I started to write my first draft of a Skylar Robbins MG mystery. This early version of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills was called Magic Summer, and while I tried patiently to land an agent, I started writing the sequel, entitled Skylar Robbins: Secret Agent. Magic Summer never got a bite, but Secret Agent landed me…an agent.

I was picked up by Writers House, and had high hopes of getting a deal with a traditional publisher. However, after months of shopping my manuscript, all I had was a pile of apologetic rejection letters. Some were complimentary but said their house had another teen detective series which was too similar, and didn’t want to bring in a competing novel. Others contained excellent constructive criticism, which I implemented in my revision. This novel ultimately became The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels.

Most agents specify that authors should not “simultaneously submit” to more than one agent. They don’t want to waste their time reading a manuscript that might get snapped up by a competitor. It was my experience that agents typically take three months to read a submission and respond. So I did the math. If I wanted to try to get another agent, and then wait for that agent to submit my manuscript to various publishers (who also take months to reply) it could take many, many years before my books were ever in print. So I decided to self-publish.

My experience with Amazon’s Createspace has been excellent. Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills and The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels are now in print, and have gotten excellent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I would heartily recommend aspiring authors to self-publish, as long as they are willing to do their own marketing. Traditional publishing houses no longer have the budget to spend on advertising, so authors will end up doing their own publicity anyway. I offer more Advice for Aspiring Writers on my blog: http://www.skylarrobbins.com/

Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk about my experience as an author. I hope this helps fellow writers complete their journey to publication.

THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON

THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON

ABOUT CARRIE CROSS

WEBSITE | TWITTER

51sdogQFl5L._UX250_Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie’s influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.

CARRIE CROSS GIVEAWAY

Carrie Cross has generously provided (1) e-book copy of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills. Tomorrow is the last day to enter this giveaway.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Carrie Cross week continues tomorrow with the announcement of the giveaway winner.

Blogiversary | Guest Post by Jacqueline Smith – The Publishing Experience

THE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE

GUEST POST BY JACQUELINE SMITH

When I first decided I wanted to publish Cemetery Tours, I had no idea how I planned to go about doing so.  First, I thought about pursuing the traditional route: query agents, sign contracts with the big publishing houses, etc.  For a while, that sounded like the way to go.  After all, I knew nothing about copyright, barcodes, ISBN, or how I could turn my piddly little manuscript into, you know, a real BOOK.  The whole idea was actually really overwhelming.

But then I did a little research. I went to the library and read every book I could find on publishing.  I met up with a friend who had independently published his own novel and who also happens to be a lawyer.  He gave me a run down of all the pros and cons of independent publishing.  The cons being, of course, less publicity, less resources, and you had to do all the work yourself.  But the benefits, I realized, were substantial.  For one thing, I would be in total control over my books.  Not only that, all the legal rights would remain with me.  I wouldn’t be bound to any contracts or any bottom lines.  I would be free to do with my books whatever I wanted.

As it turned out, making the decision to independently publish was the easy part.  I didn’t realize that there would be a hundred more decisions to be made.  For example, did I want to purchase my ISBN in bulk or did I want to buy them one at a time?  Did I want to design my own book cover or did I want to hire an artist?  I will spare you the gory details of every decisions I made and how I made them because, to be honest, it will probably bore you.  Also, I’m a firm believer in what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person (however, I did buy in bulk and I did hire a designer).

The biggest piece of advice I can offer to any aspiring author is to go for it.  Make your dreams come true.  We’ve all heard that old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” That is 100% true.  You can do anything you set your mind to.  Fear and self-doubt are incredibly powerful, and they will try to get you down.  Don’t let them.  Persevere.  Work hard.  And most importantly, believe in yourself and in your abilities.  Most of us are capable of so much more than we attempt.

I’d like to thank you, Danielle for this week and for everything you do for the literary and blogging community.  I can’t wait to see what life has in store for you next!  I’m sure it will be great!  Happy Blogiversary!

CEMETERY TOURS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON | B&N

BETWEEN WORLDS BUY LINKS:

AMAZON | B&N

ABOUT JACQUELINE

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Smith_Jackie-1732

Jacqueline E. Smith was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Dallas, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Performance in 2010. Two years later, she earned her Master’s Degree in Humanities.

Along with writing and publishing, Jacqueline loves photography, traveling, and nature.  (Photo Credit: Kaylynn Krieg)

 

JACQUELINE SMITH GIVEAWAY

Jacqueline has generously provided (3) e-book copies of Cemetery Tours and (3) e-book copies of it’s sequel, Between Worlds.  There will be (3) Winners who will receive one copy of each book.  This giveaway will run until March 7th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jacqueline Smith week continues tomorrow with my book review of Cemetery Tours and the announcement of the giveaway winner.

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