Writing

Meet Max!: The Editing Process

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Elizabeth Rosso, author of “Meet Max”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Welcome back! Last time was all about how I came up with the idea for Max and got everything preserved in writing. The resulting smorgasbord of thoughts was far from a finished product, however; it needed work. Lots of work. As overwhelming as that might sound, it really boiled down to length and page content.
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First, length. I needed to keep my target audience in mind. A child’s attention span is shorter than an adult’s, and younger children will lose interest more quickly than older ones. But which parts to condense, or cut out altogether? At first I wasn’t sure, so I saved all the deleted language into another file so I could add it back in easily if needed. As I worked, I noticed that certain sections felt like they were dragging, or that some parts seemed to need more work than others. Those are the sections I cut out – after all, if it was my work and even I thought it was dragging, what child would stick around to hear what happens next? In the end it came down to keeping only those parts of the story that moved – they had action verbs or involved dialogue. And when the storyline reached a point where it was naturally ready to shift to another activity or another day, that’s when this particular story ended. The new day would be a new story!

Next it was time to decide what text went on which page and with which illustration (even though I didn’t have illustrations…yet). Since it’s a children’s book, my initial thought was to keep it very simple, with just one sentence on each page. But after I divided the manuscript that way, it became clear that this was a bit too simple, because the story seemed to drag on forever. So I moved towards keeping one idea or concept per page: Max’s size, his family, his home, etc. I still limited the text so it wouldn’t be overwhelming for my target audience, but even with two or three sentences per page it felt neither too wordy nor too slow.

After all that – along with a lot of internal back-and-forth over word choice – I finally had my manuscript. Now I needed to bring it to life. More questions: do I go the traditional route, paved with rejection letters from big publishing houses? Or do I publish it myself? You already know the answer, but more on how I got there next time!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.  

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Author Feature

Most Wanted Sheep by Jenna Harris

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Jenna Russell Harris, author of “Most Wanted Sheep.” For more on Jenna, visit her on Facebook and on her book page and on Twitter at her account and her book’s account. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired you to write it?

SKU-000989102Most Wanted Sheep is a fun and educational story parents can use to teach children counting 1-10 and colors. It’s about a counted sheep named Woolard, also known as Number 5. One day he decides that he doesn’t want to be counted anymore. He leaves his flock in search of greener pastures. Through self-exploration and his effort to find happiness, Woolard realizes that his number really counts and his happiness was in his very own backyard! The idea for Most Wanted Sheep was inspired by my son. He was chasing a ball through the house but couldn’t say ball so he was saying bah, bah, bah. I called him my little sheep and Most Wanted Sheep was born.

  1. What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?

I want children to know that exploring who you are is an important part of life and that it’s ok to be different. I want children to know that reading can be fun and creative. I hope to encourage and inspire children to dream, imagine, read and write. My goal is to positively influence children through my writing.

  1. What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?

I learned that self-publishing is not as easy as I thought it was. It takes a lot of preparation, communication, hard work and time. It allows you to be in control of your book. Archway Publishing offers different packages so that authors can choose how much money, time and effort they wish to put into their books. I was able to take an active role in deciding what type of illustrations I wanted, the layout of the book, the font style and more. Archway Publishing has a team of experts to guide you through each step in the process with recommendations, support and feedback. I discovered that marketing after self-publishing takes time, planning and much effort to get your book into the right hands and gain exposure necessary to be successful.  Archway also offers multiple marketing options and guidance in choosing the best marketing solution in order for you to reach your appropriate audience and attain your goals. Your work deserves careful editing multiple times to ensure that the contents of your book are accurate. I also learned that self-publishing is not a one man/woman job. It takes a whole team of people working together to bring your creation to life. If you choose the right company to walk you through each step and believe in your vision then the end result should be perfection! When you hold your book in your hand it is the most rewarding feeling!

  1. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

Archway Blog Pic 2I love the fact that I am in control of the book and involved in every step of the way. I was able to work closely with Archway’s art department and describe my vision to them one illustration at a time. If I didn’t like something and changes needed to be made the art department was accommodating and worked quickly to make those changes. I also liked the fact that the self-publishing package I chose provided me with everything I needed from the ISBN number to illustrations.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

When exploring your options for publishing, do your research and make sure you choose a company that provides you with multiple packages to choose from. I would also advise aspiring authors to have a marketing plan in place before their book goes live. Carefully consider what media outlets you will send press releases to in order to gain exposure for your book. Have a plan because when you self-publish, you decide how much money, time and effort goes into your book and that is directly correlated with how successful your book will be.

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page. 

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Author Feature

Meet Max!: The Writing Process

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Elizabeth Rosso, author of “Meet Max”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

“Will you be my baby’s godmother?”  That’s the question that I was asked twice in one year, and which ultimately brought Max to life – but naturally, it wasn’t quite that simple!  Of course I said yes, but that led to more internal questions: what would our relationships be like?  How would I interact with these children, and what could I offer by way of example?  Reading, of course!  And as I was flooded with memories of all my favorite childhood books, it occurred to me that maybe I could make up a few stories of my own.  But about what?

SKU-001051763I don’t think of myself as a particularly creative person.  Ask me to make up a story and suddenly I don’t have any ideas.  My mom always told me to write about what I know, though.  So, what did I know?  Well, I certainly told enough people about all the things my dogs got into over the years.  What if I wrote about that?  Where would I start?  The beginning seemed like a pretty good choice, so I sat down to brainstorm ideas for a story about a woman who gets a puppy… and Meet Max! was born.

Actually beginning the writing process was a little intimidating, but I decided to draw on my experience writing other things – mostly papers for various classes in school, and memos for work.  One of the most practical lessons I learned from those tasks was simply to put your ideas on paper – the writing style, word choice, organization, etc. aren’t important at first.  Just get everything down on paper so you don’t lose your ideas, and then you can edit later.

I did just that with Max: every little detail about how someone might choose a puppy and take him home went into writing.  Needless to say, that first version was not exactly what you’d be looking for in a children’s book!  But my ideas were preserved, and as I began to shape them into a manuscript, other ideas came to mind – so many that I realized there might be a whole series of stories I could write about Max.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!  How did I shape those initial ideas into a manuscript, anyway?  Stay tuned to find out!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.  

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Author Feature

The Little Bunny Rabbit by Jessica Hill

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Jessica Hill, author of “The Little Bunny Rabbit”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your book. What inspired you to write it?

In this book there is a faithful little bunny rabbit that is determined to reach his garden full of carrots that was promised to him and no matter what the spider tried to convince him of he was not having it! He didn’t know how long he had to travel the path or what was in store for him but he kept going anyway. Just like real life. We don’t know what is around every corner, how long our life will last, or the purpose of our existence but we keep going anyway. We all have to endure things in this life that we don’t understand but the truth is, it’s not our job to understand. It’s our job to learn each and every day. To study God’s word and do our best to apply it to our daily lives.

jessicaI was inspired to write this book by my children. Their faith in God alone is inspiring not only to me but others around them as well. They love to go to church to learn and talk about Jesus. No matter what happens they always say God will handle it. God will take care of it. To be honest sometimes I just need to hear those words and they will definitely remind me when needed. God has been so good to me and my family and I wanted to do something for him so I decided to write a children’s book. Our children are our future and they need to learn about God. They need to know that no matter how dark this life gets God will always be there if you lean on him. This life can be hard and let’s face it! It’s not getting any better. Our children need hope. They need to know there is a higher power on their side that will never leave them.

  1. What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?

I’d have to say the one message I hope anyone will learn from reading this book is to always have faith. A life without faith to me is like a life without food. Think about this for one minute. Think about all the people that have cancer. What would happen if they didn’t have any faith? What if the mother that found out her child was in a comma just gave up and threw in the towel? Then that child wouldn’t have a chance of waking up a month, year, or days from now. Faith is hope. Faith is love. Faith is patience. Faith is the most powerful blessing to all of us! Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith~ and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God~

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3. What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?

  • It’s really not that expensive. It is definitely worth every dime just to be a published author.
  • You have unlimited freedom and control over your project.
  • There is no one breathing down your neck every way you turn. They are very patient.
  • Publication is almost instant and after some research the royalty rates are pretty good.
  • Every decision is yours!

     4. What do you love most about self-publishing and would you recommend it to other authors?

I’d have to say what I love the most is the fact that you have total control over the decision making. A book that you have written is your baby and you definitely don’t want someone taking your baby and changing it and making into something totally different than you intended! Every single detail is explained and sent to YOU for the final decision. The freedom alone is worth it!

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t give up and never say never! I never thought I would be a published author. I have always loved writing since my teenage years and I dreamed about publishing a book one day. Key word: DREAMED! Now years later my dreams came true. The key to success is to never give up!

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page. 

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