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Discovery’s Official Launch!

Official Launch

WHEN: Saturday, July 23, 2016

WHERE: 5132 Deer Ridge Ct, Fort Wort, TX 76137

Sally Singletary’s Discovery is now available to the public! Come and join us in a celebration of food, fun, and even a bit of learning. We are featuring Q&A sessions with the author as well as answering questions regarding the writing business at all levels. So even if you’re a teen ready to grab your copy of Sally Singletary or you’re a writer, young or mature, we welcome you to an event that everyone will leave with something.
You do not need to RSVP for this event, but it is helpful so we can judge how many people are coming. You can do so on our Event Facebook Page.

We have a special Guest Speaker: April Gerard, A.L. Deleon Agency  & Co-Owner of Author Sensei. She will be sharing some great resources for writers looking to break into the market.

The pool is available. Bring your swim trunks or just put your feet in! Children are welcome, but please be responsible and make sure they are supervised. Above 10 preferred.

Dinner and adult beverages will be served around 6.

SCHEDULE:

12-3 Author Writing Information/ Q&A

3-6 Meet & Greet/ Games / Fun

6-? Party in the Pool/ Food & Fun

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Booktrope: The Situation So Far…

closed-door-sign-closedAs some of you may know, my publisher has decided to close its doors as of May 31, 2016. I was completely heartbroken when I received the news and have been trying to figure out how best to move forward. Of course, in all situations such as this, there were legal questions involved with whether or not our books would be allowed to move forward at all. I was happy to see that at least they had the forethought and the decency to close up shop without leaving all its authors out in the rain. That being said, there were still many logistical questions that needed to be answered as well. It seems I faired the weather better than some given that I own the rights to my cover. I had to pay out my creative team, but that’s the cost of publishing.

My biggest concern was my creative team. Laura Goodwin and Jenna Roundy have done such amazing work as my editors. I didn’t want to lose them. Fortunately, they both agreed to continue forward on the projects. I say all of this to say, I’m not bitter or angry—a bit emotional still—but I’ve realized this may have solidified my original decision to do this work on my own. I am still not sure how this will affect others on my team. April Gerard was definitely a huge supporter and great Book Manager.

My experiences with Booktrope have not been the best. Whenever a publisher is involved, decisions are made that you don’t always feel are in your best interest. Yes, the road forward will be difficult. A lot of places still don’t welcome indie authors, but my goal was never to be a rock star of the book world. I just wanted to write books people will enjoy.

So my decision is this: I’m moving forward and not looking back. SALLY SINGLETARY’S CURIOSITY will be re-published (once again) on June 1st with a new cover based on MY specifications and design. Also, on June 1st, SALLY SINGLETARY’S DISCOVERY will also be released for the first time. I really think you’ll like this book. My editor raved about it each time she did another pass. And I’m also happy to announce that SNATCHED will be released later this summer.

Just to whet your appetite and get you excited, I’m releasing all three covers right now!

Sally Singletary - Book           Sally Singletary's Discovery - Book            Snatched - Book

Aren’t they beautiful? I’m so happy with these designs! They take the best of the originals and still give it the look and feel they need.

Be looking for CONTEST information soon. For everyone you share posts with and  encourage to sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get an opportunity to win not one, but TWO signed books, a bundled set of CURIOSITY and DISCOVERY. Don’t forget to tag me in posts you share so I know how many times you’ve shared and can keep track of how many times to put your name in the drawing.

You can sign up for our email list here.

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More Thoughts on Self-Publishing

As I move forward with my plans for my writing, I continue to contemplate about the virtues of self-publishing and what it means to me. In the past, self-publshing has always been looked at with negativity, as if those who self-publish are impatient and unwilling to follow through with the prescribed process. I challenge this position and give the following thoughts:

 

Self-Publishing is Lazy!

It has been said on many occasions that self-publishing is for those who are too lazy to go through the process of querying, that they somehow lack the drive and ambition required to go through the vetting process of traditional publishing. In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only have I engaged in the querying process for nearly 6 years, I have been told by numerous agents and publishing professionals that my work is noteworthy, but they are increasingly limiting their selections due to market response. So to say that I chose Self-Publishing because I was lazy is both wrong and offensive. In fact, I find that self-publishing requires a new level of discipline that I had not experienced previously. I have had to go through the process of finding an editor, cover designer, beta readers, and other supports to ensure that the product I am putting out would appeal to readers. These are all services offered through traditional publishing and are generally included when you are contracted. In addition to this, however, is the much more difficult task of marketing, social networking, building a platform, and gaining an audience. This is the core issue that I would like to expand on in a moment. It is also something that authors are finding that they are responsible more and more even if they follow the traditional path.

The purpose of this post isn’t to argue that one path is better than the other, only to point out the misleading fallacies that some would have you believe.

Self-Published Authors are Impatient!

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Granted, some self-published authors are impatient and have released inferior products that are not fit for the paper they are printed on (assuming they are actually printed at all). Ebooks have created a unique market where anyone can publish a book. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that literally anyone can and will publish something into ebook format. Is this to say that every book released by the big publishers are pillars of perfection? Far from it. I can’t tell you how many published books that I’ve read were far worse than the random John Smith novel on Amazon. The point is that a book is a book. It’s only as good as the amount of time the author puts into it, and even then audiences will choose what they like to read. What may be a treasure trove of literary goodness to one person, may be a litany of tragic musings to another. People will judge your work based on what they like to read and their own opinions before they will care who published it. It takes an enormous amount of time to build a following whether you’re traditionally published or not. The difference is that you don’t have the resources of a big publisher to help you. You’re on your own, which means it will take longer for you to see success with your work. So to say self-publishers are impatient is an unfortunate untruth that many believe.

Self-Published Books are Crap!

I will refer to my previous statements on this one. A book is only as good as the amount of time put into it. If an author rushes a manuscript to print days after it’s been written, chances are it’s not going to be a very good novel. I’ve been working on my books for 10 years, honing my writing skills, researching my audience, finding the right fit for releases, and making sure that what I’ve written is what people want. All of this takes time. If you’re unwilling to put the time into it, then perhaps self-publishing is not the right path for you. Putting out works that are rushed and incomplete only hurts the community as a whole. Put your book aside, write another one, talk to some people, find an editor, find some beta readers who are not friends, find a cover artist, take the time necessary to make sure your book is as good as it can be before making the decision to publish.

Self-Published Authors are Defiant!

This statement amuses me the most, as though the decision to self-publish is somehow driven in vanity, that authors just simply would rather shut down the big publishers and take over the industry. Are there some who believe this? Sure. There are also people who believed that the world would end last December. Personally, my decision to self-publish was rooted in much research. The publishing industry is changing. Accept this or don’t. But if you choose to ignore the inevitable, you’re likely to get left behind. Publishers are hesitant to buy books from unknown authors because they want to hold onto as much of their profits as they can. Some would say this is unethical or an excuse for them to control the industry. They might be right, but it’s what businesses do. They’re entire purpose for being is to make money, so of course they are going to do whatever it takes to ensure their bottom line. Over and over I hear that publishers are looking for authors with a platform, writers with a following, a reason to invest in new talent. How can you prove that you have these things if you have nothing out there with which to accomplish these things. Amanda Hocking didn’t write a book and the next day became famous. She put a lot of time into her work and even then was criticized for not putting in enough. But the outcome was clear. She wasn’t chosen because she was an amazing writer, or because she had more talent than anyone else; she was chosen because she had a product that came with a following. She used her resources to prove to a publisher that she was worth the risk (even if this wasn’t a conscious decision at the time).

In Conclusion

If you’re even considering becoming a true writer, you have to understand this new market. Publishers don’t want the next J.K. Rowling; they don’t want an unknown author whose books no one cared for, at first. Her story was a fluke and one not likely to be repeated in today’s market. If you want publishers to pay attention, you’ve got to prove that you’re worth the risk. Sure, some people will still get lucky because of who they know or who reads their work. But it still boils down to the same thing it always has, you won’t get noticed if you have nothing for people to read.

That’s the bottom line of why I chose self-publishing. How can I prove to publishers and agents that I’m worth a damn if I have nothing to show for it? I need to build an audience, find a following, foster some fans; but I can’t do that if I have nothing with which to fan the flames.

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The Self Publishing Conundrum Continued

Some people ask why I chose to self-publish. Well, here’s the scoop!

I’ve been actively seeking agents for my books for the past five years and in that time the industry has had a huge shift. When I first began to take a wary step into the world of being an author, I did so with great trepidation. At the time, I had only written one book and like most first time writers I thought that I’d become the next J.K. Rowlings on my first attempt. Once realism settled in and I attended my first writer’s conference I realized that reworking my first book for the 400th time was not the answer. I needed to move forward. I needed to learn more.

Since then I’ve written four more books (that was two years ago) and I have to say I’ve learned quite a bit. I’ve continued the disappointing task of querying agents and following the “prescribed” plan for a new author. I got a lot of positive feedback and lot of empty rejections. What I took from that experience was, however, the comments I kept hearing over and over again. “We love your work, but with the shift in the publishing industry we’re having to be more selective of the titles we take on.” On several occasions I received words to that effect, including one rejection that encouraged me to self-publish my title. What I’ve taken from this is that in order for me to have my dream of my books being in the hands of readers, I would just have to take the initiative and put it there. I hired an editor and spent due time on polishing my work. I have since taken the plunge into self-publishing.

Sally Singletary's Curiosity Book Cover

Is it going to be easy? Will my book become a bestseller? Of course not, I don’t expect either of these things to be true. I’m not naive. I know that the road to success is filled with many hurdles, but for me, success isn’t measured in how many books I sell. It’s measured in how happy my readers are. If my book makes it into the hands of a small number of readers who really enjoy my work, then that’s worth it for me. Sure, I’d love to make writing my full time career, but I also know that the odds of that happening are slim to none. Still, would I rather spend what little time I have writing or begging agents to take my work. I chose to write. I chose to take advantage of the unique opportunity modern technology affords us. Sometimes it isn’t about being a millionaire. Even the best authors who are traditionally published don’t make millions. They too have to write and write and write some more. And even then some of them fail to stay on top.

My advice to you, if you’re considering self-publishing, is to carefully consider what it is you hope to accomplish with your work. If you’re looking for an easy way to get your books out there, then take a step back. Whatever you do, don’t just throw your books to the masses and hope they’ll stick. Take the time to research, have your books read by many beta readers, hire an editor and spend the time and money necessary to make it the best you can. If after all that, you still feel like your book is ready for the world, then I encourage you to put it out there. Just be prepared for the time it takes to market and sell your book. It can be both challenging and rewarding. For me, the rewards come in fans who give my work praise.

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The Self-Publishing Conundrum

Being a teacher and a writer is often difficult. Finding the time to write is a chore, especially during the school year. During the summer, however, I have more time to revel in the world of the written word. My goal this summer is to get some revisions done on my first set of books and finish Sally Singletary. I’m really excited about Sally Singletary and I hope that it will find a place on a bookshelf somewhere.

It was interesting being a part of the DFW Writer’s Convention this year. Where last year the word e-books or self-publishing were looked at as taboos, it seems that things are changing with regards to self publishing. One of the observations that I’ve made is how many more people are trying. Are they being successful? I suppose that depends on your definition of success. I think plenty of self-pubbers are doing quite well with their works and have the benefit of others reading them, even if they aren’t raking in the millions.

What is the goal of an author? Of course we all want to be able to make enough money on it to live on, but what is our true goal? I think many writers would agree they just want to see others enjoying their books. The world of publishing is a difficult place, more difficult than almost any other. Perhaps self-publishing can open a few new doors for authors. I’ve considered it. I’m not convinced of the best outlet for my work yet, but it is definitely something I’m considering more than ever before.

It takes a lot of resources to self-publish and don’t think you can do it without them. I’ve seen many books go up on E-bay that lack the polish of a published novel, riddled with errors that only frustrate your readers. Take the time to carefully consider self-publishing and invest the money into your product. Editing is a MUST. Cover designers are a MUST. If you think you can make it without those things, you’ll find your work sinking to the depths of the Amazon charts. This much I know for certain.

At the same time, don’t be afraid of a challenge. The market is ripe for self-publishing if you have the time and energy to do it. More and more, big publishers are putting off marketing on you. If you’re going to be putting the time into it anyway, why not benefit from the royalties. More and more people will be reading e-books in the coming years.

Just make sure yours is one they want to read.

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To Be or Not To Be

That is the question. I’ve really been struggling with the decision on publishing, traditional or self-published. I’ve read so much on the subject the past few days I fell like I’m developing a split personality, but before Mr. Hyde takes over I had to reflect on an article I read most recently.  Kristen Lamb is the author of the best-selling books We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. She wrote an article that really inspired me. Her words seemed to ring true to the desires within. I’ve examined the reasons for my struggle and have boiled it down to this. It’s my book and I like it that way. I know that sounds selfish and a bit conceited, but the truth of the matter is that I have a story to tell and I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of other people involved in that. I know that my chances of “making it big” are probably not as high, but my real goal for writing this project wasn’t to be the next J.K. Rowling. I mean who wouldn’t want to be one of the richest writers in the world, but still, my dreams for this project is to see it in the hands of my readers. I’m not saying that I think my work is the best and doesn’t need any help. I’m far from perfect. But I’d like the chance to see it take off, the way I designed it, the way I envisioned it. Not the way someone thinks it should be just because there’s a chance it will make more money. I hope that readers enjoy it and will pass it on to friends and family and I hope that it will one day be a book that people will talk about, but for now I’m content with the knowledge that I’ve put a lot of hard work and a lot of years into this project and I think my decision has been made. Look for more updates soon on the status of this project and if you think it’s something you’re interested in, please share it. Let’s make this thing a huge success!!!

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