Author Feature, Writing

Characters and Setting with Author Linda Maria Frank

The following are the words of Linda Maria Frank, Archway Publishing author of “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” Learn more about Linda on her author website, YouTube, or Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Where to Begin?

One of the most common questions when writing fiction is the question of creating characters.

My choice in writing was to create a mystery series for kids. My background teaching forensic science provided a whole world of possibilities for plots. I thought of just the thing to grab my young readers’ attention: the main character of my series, Annie Tillery.

Many of my readers ask if Annie is me. My answer is that Annie is the teen I would have loved to have been. I enjoyed creating a fantasy world and putting Annie into it to see what she would do. You know, sometimes the characters make the decisions. That being said, I manufactured my girl sleuth protagonist.

Building Your Character

The process of creating Annie was like dressing a paper doll. Let’s see what the basic body type is. This is important! Your readers want to visualize what she looks like. I decided to address this issue by adding a description somewhere early in each book. Next, I tried on – not different clothing – but different characteristics. Some of the choices for a junior sleuth were: brave vs. reckless, smart vs. nerdy, enthusiastic vs. low key, sneaky vs. inventive, and feisty vs. passive aggressive.

It’s also important to give the protagonist a personal life, family, relationships and such; not a perfect family, but one that presents them with challenges and brings out characteristics that will endear them to a reader.  Or, make them angry at her.

The books you’ve read that feature characters you’ve fallen in love with let you into that character’s head. Even better is if the author lets you into a character’s heart. That is what I have attempted in my teen mystery books.

Whatever the genre or plot, the reader wants to know what the main characters think and feel. What’s the best way to do that? THIS WAS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE TO ME WHEN I FIRST STARTED TO WRITE.

Placing the Character

The final element of a book is setting. The first two books of my series take place in settings I knew and loved. Because of this, the story could sometimes just flow on the back of descriptive passages and historical accounts. The development of characters became easier, because the setting helped me to capitalize on specific personality traits that were evoked by the surroundings.

Setting the third book of my series, Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, in Turkey was not easy. Although I visited Turkey to research the book, the fabulous settings I found there were not a part of my soul. I had to really work hard to achieve a credible air of intimacy with the settings of Turkey.

In an archaeological journal I came upon a description of a dig in a real place: Catalhoyuk, in what is modern day Turkey. I was fascinated by the fact that Catalhoyuk was the oldest known town ever found (9,000 years old). The area where it exists is Cappadocia, rich with ancient history from the Hittites to the “cave people”of the present. “Fairy chimneys” is the name given to striking and weird geological formations that exist there.

My Inspiration

My tour of Turkey included much time in Cappadocia, allowing me to take many pictures and absorb the atmosphere of the place. I took notes and wrote passages of the book, adjusting the chapter outline to make it fit what I saw. My photos were invaluable. I had a super guide book that helped me with words and phrases. I took note of peoples’ names so that I could use authentic Turkish names in the book. Cappadocia almost became one of the characters in the book with its dry vegetation, dust, and of course, fairy chimneys.

Istanbul, once Constantinople, was captivating. The city setting can still be conjured up just by closing my eyes. The bazaar exceeded my expectations. It was a total assault on the senses

As a writer, the lesson I took from Turkey is to really research your setting. If you can’t go there, study maps, view travelogues, and learn the history of the place. Google maps and images are a great help too.

There needs to be a balance between setting, character, and plot. Setting for me can be one of your characters; one that provides your main characters with endless possibilities.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

Concierge Service Explained with Author Yashalina Blair

The following are the words of Yashalina Blair, Archway Publishing author of “Dr. Romy’s Dance.” Learn more about Yashalina by visiting her author website, twitter, or Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services

Publishing Dr. Romy

My name is Yashalina Blair. I have recently published my first book with Archway titled, Dr. Romy’s Dance. The novel is a romance about Jerome, a young man attending school for medicine. When Jerome’s father suddenly dies leaving the family in financial hardship his mother makes a life altering request: quit school, come home, and take a job with the degree he has. Determined to become a doctor, Jerome decides to stay in school and moonlight as a male exotic dancer.

Working with Archway has been a great pleasure. I chose to work with Archway because I loved the feeling of closeness I got when speaking with the crew. They made me feel as though I was a priority through the entire process and that was priceless. I secondarily chose Archway due to their variety of publishing packages. There were many packages to choose from, depending on your need and budget. I chose a package in the middle but in retrospect, I should have chosen one with marketing included. Marketing is part of two premium packages, which is much needed for a new author unknown to the world.

Concierge Services

The best part of my Archway experience was having a personal concierge. She was definitely worth her weight in gold! Her focus was on submitting forms and paperwork – being a liaison. Her role is far more concentrated, but this is my best summary. An Archway concierge sets up ISBN’s, submits forms, and deals with copyrighting. This allows authors to focus on their manuscripts and forgo the politics. My concierge always knew exactly what needed to be done next, and usually gave me a time frame to expect its completion. As a sidebar, I’d like to note, it was usually completed sooner than estimated.

I believe I will publish with Archway once again, and definitely with the wonderful assistance of a concierge!

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

My Archway Experience – with Angela Adley

The following are the words of Angela Adley, Archway Publishing author of “Growing Up without My Daddy” Learn more about Angela on her author website or Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

Why I Write

In 2014, I set out to publish Growing Up without My Daddy. I wrote this book to share insights from own childhood experience in the hopes of helping those who are going through what I did. With my book, I wanted to teach young girls how to move beyond their hurt through trusting in God’s gift of love. Ultimately, Growing Up without My Daddy is a book which seeks to help parents begin a conversation with their children. My book is a reminder to fatherless girls that they are loved and lovable by their mere existence.

Selecting a Publisher

Upon beginning my self-publishing journey I had no previous experience in the field. However, I knew there were many publishing options. Personally, I wanted to select a self-publisher that was partnered with a traditional publishing company. I spent many weeks researching various self-publishing companies, reading tons of articles and even books to gain insight on how to select the perfect publisher for my book.

Choosing Archway

When researching Archway Publishing I noticed their affiliation with Simon & Schuster, which was impressive.  Reviewing Archway’s publishing packages was exciting because I realized they accommodated a variety of publishing needs from standard to elite services. I loved that Archway provided professional illustrators for authors requiring illustrations for their books. Finally, I looked at Archway’s pricing. Let’s be honest, there’s a financial cost to creating almost anything – this is even more so when creating a product with the help of experts, professionals, and leaders in an industry. So yes, self-publishing is pricey, but it’s affordable with a bit of financial planning. Honestly, I don’t regret any of the money I spent publishing Growing Up without My Daddy. The product Archway delivered was beyond my imagination!

VIP Experience

I really enjoyed the publishing package I selected through Archway because it provided me with access to premium concierge services. The entire system for creating my book was fairly straightforward. Archway guided me through the process and provided detailed information during each step. They estimated a time frame for every stage, which helped me stay updated. Throughout publishing, I corresponded with Archway by email. I loved that Archway used email because it made communication easy and efficient. My own personal representative assisted me through the entire publishing journey from start to finish.

Working Together

Another detail I would like to note is that Archway is not a company who charges surprise fees. Working with Archway, I was notified of any fees not included in the initial packaging. Additional fees would be charged specifically for revisions outside of the allotted number, or changes once I passed a particular phase in the publishing process. I felt like Archway was very transparent in additional fees and there were never any surprises.

The most challenging part of my experience would have to be the illustration phase/s. Archway matches you with an illustrator, and you only correspond with them through writing. Despite my worry, this step of the production ended up going very smoothly! My book is truly a masterpiece, and I am so glad that I chose Archway to help create and publish it. In fact, I get many compliments on my book; buyers especially love the illustrations.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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self-publishing tips

Six Self-Publishing Lessons with Christine R. Andola

The following are the words of Christine R. Andola, Archway Publishing author of “Who Knew?” Learn more about Christine on her author Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Six LessonsChristineAndola

My first book is finally out on the virtual shelves and I’m exhausted! As a skilled writer, teacher, and observer of human behavior (especially my own), I thought it a good idea to write a book about the things I’ve learned in life on my way to becoming forty. Now, I am well on my way to becoming fifty and the adventure continues.

In the spirit of Who Knew? Lessons From My First 40 Years, let me share with you some book writing and self-publishing lessons I’ve learned.

1. Good writing is a given but doesn’t mean a thing.

There are millions of ghostwriters out there making functionally illiterate people look smart. For the same as the price of a good pair of shoes, you can hire an editor to clean up your work. If you have something to say, write a book. The actual writing is the least of it.

2. Clean copy matters. 

While it is not important that you take a stance on the Oxford comma, it is extremely important that it is used correctly in your manuscript. Errors make it difficult for people to read your book . Most of us take the easy way out, therefor your book will not be read if it is full of commas splices and fragmented sentences. Typos are extremely distracting to a reader.

3. What happens after the writing is crucial.

To many, writing a book is an enormous undertaking. Actually, writing a book is the easiest part of the self-publishing process. Getting through the tasks between writing and seeing your book on the shelf is the hard part. Regardless, these are the necessary steps in order to call yourself a published author.

4. Creative control is a lot harder than it looks.

One of the benefits of self-publishing, or assisted publishing, is that you maintain control of your creative work. You get to make all the decisions about how your book is produced and what it looks like. Rather, I should say, you HAVE to make all the decisions. Before going through this process, I had no idea that interior book design was a thing – it is. There are many design elements you will be asked to decide on: color scheme, cover graphics, key words, and a bunch of other things you are probably not familiar with.

ChristineAndola25. It’s a good idea to choose favorites.

When it is time to get into the publishing part of the project, survey the market and choose your favorite books. Pick as examples books and authors you would like to emulate who sell well in your genre. These books are examples of what people are buying. Use them as references for everything from interior layout to front matter. Every time I had to make a decision, I pulled a book off my shelf to see how someone else did it. Sometimes I compared three examples and created my own hybrid, but at least I had some concrete reference.

6. Ask the experts.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Archway Publishing has a whole staff ready to help you move through the publishing process. They can explain ISBN, page trim, and everything else that comes up. Reach out to other authors in their network who have already been through this process at least once. I found that when you reach out, people are more than happy to help a beginner down the bumpy publishing road.

The post-release adventure is just beginning for me. Marketing my book, planning and starring in book signing events is my new challenge. It is frightening and exhilarating to be a published author, Who Knew?

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

Translating Complex Science for a General Audience

The following are the words of Neeti Sinha, Archway Publishing author of “Physical Laws of the Mathematical Universe: Who Are We?”  Learn more about about Neeti on her blog The Magnified Universe. To keep up with Neeti’s latest work, like and follow her on Twitter or Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Discovering a Passion

Neeti2I have always found science fascinating. My passion for the pursuit of knowledge started very early in life. During elementary school I began considering the complexities of our existence. I would wonder how we remained tethered to the earth while it zipped constantly in the sky. An insistence on communicating advancements to all audiences is a new aspect of scientific research and development that wasn’t part of the curriculum when I was in graduate school. Society is far more scientifically aware and curious than it was only a few decades ago. Thus, researchers can no longer huddle up in cozy alcoves sequestered from rest of the world. Rather, we scientists have a duty to spread our findings to the public in meaningful ways.

Writing for the General Audience

A scientist can unknowingly carry the same potential as a journalist. This was a revelation which dawned on me as I contemplated writing a book focusing on the intricacies of physics and mathematics. A couple years later, I had in my hands an initial manuscript of my book. Eagerly, I sent out copies for review. Given its general scientific content, I was curious about what readers from non-science backgrounds would feel.

This is where I found myself confounded. The theories and concepts I find utterly beautiful didn’t seem to strike a chord with general readers. This is in no way their own shortcoming. Though from different backgrounds, many readers are eager to understand the ways of the universe and find joy in doing so. I imagine this is somewhat the same as how I relish the fineness of music, yet know nothing of how it is constructed. Non-industry readers weren’t able to fully enjoy the message of my book because the science didn’t translate.

Translating Complex Science

To explain what I mean by “the science didn’t translate”, see the following statement:

All non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part one-half.

Researchers and educators within the field find this mathematical phrase alluring. Known as the Riemann hypothesis, the expression itself has become a cliché. As trendy as it is, the hypothesis is quite complex in how it arrives and what it implies. For a reader from a different field, the statement is nothing but jargon. Not only is the hypothesis confusing for a general reader, but it’s quite far from aesthetically pleasing.

The explanation of this hypothesis requires dissection and sub-dissection of all the elements, followed by a sewing of multiple ideas into one smooth story line. Only after careful treatment can any beauty emerge from the Riemann hypothesis in the general reader’s view, an entire book could easily be dedicated to the process.

Learning on the Go

Neeti3After receiving the first round of feedback, I became dedicated to reconstructing my book with a more understandable tone. Following the most helpful suggestions: I cut large sentences into smaller ones and trimmed down on ultra-technical wording. I scaled down the scientific concepts I was hurling, even though it was difficult. The book got better, but it still wan’t “there” yet.

Based on reader’s comments, the key struggle my book seems to face is intelligibility of the writing. The concepts read confusingly because they are complex and abstract, but I love it that way. Therefore, simplifying the content is easier said than done. Watering the science down beyond a point seems like dampening the beauty of it all. This is why I’m still working out exactly how I intend to depict more clearly the reflections of our universe.

It is a struggle, but I am trying.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

 

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Writing

Creative Exercises to Keep You Going

Whitney Eklof is currently an offline marketing specialist for Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She has a master’s degree in telecommunications from Indiana University, focusing specifically on storytelling across a range of mediums and storyworld creation.  While at IU, she also served as an associate instructor, educating students about writing, storytelling, and other telecommunications-related subjects, and worked as a writer for Indiana University’s Media Team.

Creativity can be hard to come by. Some days we’re just worn out, or we feel we’ve exhausted our creative juices. Writing, an inherently creative process, is no different. There are days we’re just dog-gone out of the dose of creativity we need to keep pushing our story forward. However, we don’t have to languish in our creative void – there are a whole host of creative exercises we can try to get our writing juices flowing again. Below are just a few suggestions, from the obvious to the obscure.

The obvious

Free write: You are probably familiar with this technique. Simply set aside what you’re working on and write. Write whatever comes to mind; write in full on stream-of-consciousness. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes or that the paragraphs don’t flow together. Just write. Free what’s in your heart and mind and put it on a page – you never know where it’ll take you.

writing-1209121_960_720Read: We are often inspired by others. In fact, that may be the reason you started writing in the first place. Maybe you read a story that sucked you in completely and charged you up to write something of your own. Take some time to go back to those roots. Read something you really enjoy; even better if it’s in the same genre you’re writing in. See how someone else spins a sentence or brings a character to life. Let someone else inspire you instead of trying to will creativity into existence.

Utilize writing prompts: There are hundreds of books and websites full of writing prompts. Whether or not they relate to your book’s subject-matter, taking on a prompt can let your mind roam free. Don’t be afraid to embrace a genre you don’t normally write in either! Writing prompts give you just enough direction to send you down the path to creativity.

The not so obvious

Exercise: When we think about trying to jog our writing creativity, we often focus on writing-related exercises (the obvious ones mentioned above), but exercises unrelated to writing can also help us find the creativity we need to finish that next chapter. In comes the most straightforward exercise of all: exercise. It gets your heart pumping, gets you out of that hunched-over-your-laptop position, and just flat-out increases creativity. Scientific study even supports it!

Meditate: Mindfulness meditation has exploded in popularity over recent years. Mindfulness is about slowing down, taking in your surroundings (and your body), and simply being. It’s a practice about being present, and not letting the distractions of life in. The process of mindfulness can boost creativity as it helps us focus and frees us from worry or tangential rabbit holes.

The obscure

Play: That’s right, play. Sit down with your children, nieces, nephews, pets, or even by yourself and play. Free your mind from stress and worries and just imagine yourself as a princess, a powerful wizard, or simply be your dog’s favorite ball thrower. Play not only incorporates exercise; it helps expand our thinking in new directions. Instead of thinking linearly all the time, we open ourselves to more lateral thinking and associations. You might be surprised at how creative kids can be, they may end up providing the inspiration you needed. Beyond that, play is simply important, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Restrict yourself: This one probably seems counter-intuitive. You probably imagine creativity is a product of freedom, and sometimes that’s true. However, there is power in restricting yourself, as the story behind the creation of Dr. Seuss’ classic, “Green Eggs and Ham,” demonstrates. By reigning in your boundaries, you’re forcing your brain to work within confines it may not be used to – giving it a new challenge, and forcing you outside of your comfort zone.

Creativity is something we can find in the most unexpected of places, and it’s something essential to writing – no matter if we’re writing a sci-fi saga or a how-to helper. When our creativity wanes, it can bring our writing to a halt, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of our story. There are thousands of creative exercises out there and the ones listed here are but a few. So, please, take some of the ideas listed above and give them a whirl, or share some of your own creative exercises to help a fellow writer out of their creative void.

Write on, fellow writers!

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

Words with a Young Writer

The following are the words of Karina Williams, author of “Live, Laugh, Love Like a Teenager.” Learn more about Karina on her author website kwilliamsbooks. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

It Began with a Poem

In my freshman year of high school, I won an Karina WilliamsHonorable Mention in a poetry contest for my school’s literary magazine. Back then, it was terrifying to meet the fiercely intelligent AP Literature teacher assigned to help me edit my first poem to be published. I was only fourteen. Three years later, I found myself sitting in her class getting ready to graduate from high school. That day she asked us all to reflect on one thing: What do you want? I answered her with the first and only thing I could think of…“I want to be a writer.”

Months before publishing my poetry anthology and taking what I believed was the first step to everything I was reaching for, she replied with the one answer I needed to hear. “You already are.”

What “Writer” Means to Me

Being a writer is like being on a journey that never ends. Once a chapter is finished, the next one begins. We live our lives through the worlds we create on paper, all the while hoping that someone else finds as much life in them as we do. Creativity is beautiful thing; I believe it’s a way to create something so honest that you write the words someone else needs to read in that particular moment. That is what writing is about.

Dreams New and Old

Now I’m a freshman in collegeLive, Laugh, Love Like a Teenager pursuing my science degree. Things have have certainly changed a lot since high school graduation. Yet, if someone asked me today what I wanted to be my answer remains the same- I want to be a writer. As demanding as the study schedule is here at Cal Poly, I am still finding ways to chase my dreams. Soon enough, I will be adding an English minor to my degree plans while keeping up with a blog I started as an effort to publicize my book.

Over the publishing process for my book, a friend asked me how I could put so much time and effort into something that might not work out in the end. But I don’t write for things to “work out in the end” … I write because it is everything I am. From the months it took to compile my manuscript, to the day I held the first printed copy in my hands, it was all worth it. It is indescribable to hold a book with my name on the cover in my hands.

What Comes Next

I became a published author as a freshly graduated high school student, and Live, Laugh, Love Like a Teenager is just the beginning. From the hardship of friendship to the adversity of growing up, each poem in the compilation has been inspired by experiences that make me who I am. My book tells the story of youth, vibrancy, and life. I hope to continue telling the story within my next book focusing on the experience of being a young-adult.

In the end, it is all about the story— either telling the truth or the sweetest kind of fiction— and this is everything my heart reaches for in the future. No matter where I end up in the next ten years, if you ask me who I am, I will only have one answer; for it will never change. I am a writer.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Writing

Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Regan Platt is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She is currently a senior at Indiana University where she studies English. Regan is in Indiana University’s Liberal Arts Management Program, an honors level interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education. 

Don’t stop reading.Don't stop reading.

William Faulkner: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Meaning: Faulkner emphasizes the importance of immersion. If you constantly surround yourself with writing, then you can start to observe both valuable techniques and common pitfalls. As you put to practice what you’ve observed, your own writing will become all the better for it.

Write the book you can’t find.

Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”               

Meaning: This quote can be read as a call to arms for dreamers and “creatives.” The world would have so much less to read and dream if those with great stories never shared them.

Follow your instincts.

Saul Bellow: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”                                    

Meaning: Bellow comforts and encourages fellow writers who work in bursts of passion. Inspiration may come at the strangest and least convenient of times, yet when the muse calls it is best to answer.

Beware the predictable.Robert Frost Quote

Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Meaning: Frost suggests that strong writing occasionally necessitates a stream-of-consciousness technique that leaves only feelings and ideas. This emotional work results in literary moments of ingenuity.

Show, don’t tell.

Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Meaning: Our final quote by Chekhov reverberates the traditional writing advice “show, don’t tell.”  Engaging writing leaves a reader to do some of the “visualizing” work themselves. Rather than dully listing the circumstances, great writing will reveal what’s happening in an innovative way.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

Tammy Brown on her Children’s Book and Self-Marketing

The following are the words of Tammy (Seebecker) Brown, Archway Publishing author. Tammy’s book Herman the Mouse is dedicated to her first grandchild, Charlie. She is expecting a second grandson in March and a sequel is already in the works; “I’m Glad It’s Just Me!” – “Herman Gets a Baby Brother.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Deciding to Write a Children’s Book

IMG_7013I have always loved the “magic” of books. The stories that create whole new worlds, stories so descriptive whole scenes unfold before your eyes, if only in my mind. My love for children’s books never left me. My favorite books are the ones with plenty of detail in the pictures. I fell in love with the thought of writing and illustrating my own book someday from a very young age. My dream was to see a book in the library, in the children’s section of course, with my name on the side and a card in the back to check it out. I was probably one of the only kids who played “library” when I was a little girl instead of “house!”

Self -Marketing

Recently I have been traveling to schools and libraries to promote my book. Once, I read it eighteen times in three days! I hand out bookmarks and have drawings for free books and e-books. One of my favorite things to observe at readings are the children’s faces. Some of the younger ones start out restless but then grow quiet as church mice (pun intended); by page two or three they start to watch intently, pointing out the hidden spider on each page. When I reach the climax of the story, when Herman hears a loud “SNAP,” I see their mouths drop open wide. Their faces worried, they wait anxiously for the page to turn so they can see what Herman will do.

The end of the book is always met with cheers, a round of applause, and “will there be another story about Herman?” “Will you come read that one to us too?” If only I could get all the ideas and images down on paper as fast as they are swirling around in my head! Once, there was even a young preteen boy at a reading. He obviously would rather have been anywhere else but at the library with his little brother. Yet after I was finished, he responded with surprise; “That was actually pretty good. You’re a really good artist too!”

A Book that TeachesTammy Brown

My book is one that can be read at home or in an academic setting. Teachers may develop lesson plans from my story that apply to multiple disciplines. As an art lesson they could draw a detailed picture of what they think a mouse house would look like. In English they could write their own story to speculate why Lloyd has only one ear. For science they could draw up their own plans for getting the cheese out of the giant mousetrap; several of Herman’s ideas look like Roux Goldberg machines. The story teaches not to judge by appearances, and suggests that help can come from some of the most unlikely places. Most importantly, it reveals that anyone can be a friend.

After reading to an Elementary school, the principal told me the next day a student brought in a book she made out of construction paper, stapled together. It was a story she wrote and illustrated. The girl said she wanted to be an Author/Illustrator just like me when she grew up. Her whole class gave her undivided attention while she sat in front of them and shared her story. I can’t think of a better compliment than that.

 

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 or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

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Author Feature

Illustration Transformation; from Original to Digital

The following are the words of Tammy (Seebecker) Brown, Archway Publishing author. Tammy’s book Herman the Mouse is dedicated to her first grandchild, Charlie. She is expecting a second grandson in March and a sequel is already in the works; “I’m Glad It’s Just Me!” – “Herman Gets a Baby Brother.” For more about Tammy and her book check out her website and her Facebook page. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Illustration with Archway

My first piece of advice to someone looking into self-publish is to research! Google, read, ask questions, and take notes. I referred to my notes throughout the search of different publishers. I didn’t choose Archway because they were the least expensive and I didn’t choose Archway because they were the most expensive. Rather, I chose Archway because they were the publisher that fit my needs. More importantly, they impressed me the most. Archway Publishing were the most accommodating with what I wanted as an artist and writer. They adjusted the Illustration Package I chose using my own drawings and accommodated accordingly since my writing had already been edited. Through my concierge, I was involved with word placement, the Art Department, cover design, and printing of my book.

cmyk-illustrationOriginal to Digital

What I loved most about creating Herman the Mouse wasn’t just writing the story, but drawing the illustrations. As an artist, I gained an entirely new perspective on what was involved using your own illustrations for a book. When an original artwork is scanned, some of the color and detail is lost. The fewer times you scan the closer to the originals the art will stay. When your original is scanned onto a computer it becomes broken up into what our eye sees as RGB or Red, Green, and Blue. The image needs to be transferred or printed onto paper with inks that are CMYK or Ceyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key Black. A publisher needs the image in CMYK to print your images. It is impossible to get a 100% color match to RGB. Set yourself up to prepare for the change and adjust as best you can.

The Process and ProductIMG_8777

After more than a year’s worth of work, it is hard to part with your original artwork. But with computers and digital scanning, I was able to keep my precious originals in my portfolio, scan them RGB or SRGB, and Archway had the capability to turn them into CMYK for me.

When I am creating my book illustrations, my favorite part is the detail on every page and the bold colors. I want the reader to look at the book two, three, maybe four times and see things they did not see the first time through. I am working on another book for Herman, but I would love to illustrate for other authors as well.

 

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