Writing

Using Research to Craft a Better Book

Research is a must for self-published authors because it shows that you are informed and knowledgeable on a topic, and it gives you instant credibility with potential readers. Don’t think that research is only necessary for nonfiction authors; fiction writers can benefit from doing their homework, too!Magnifying glass

The good news is that when you are writing about a subject that you’re passionate about, researching can be fun and rewarding. Today we present a six-step guide to getting that research done!

1. Read

It’s a cliché that good readers make good writers, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Immersing yourself in your topic (or genre) will inspire you to write your own book. Plus, surveying what books are out there can help you write a book that fills (not falls into) the gaps in the marketplace. Continue reading

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Writing

Four Ways to Manage Your Writing Schedule

Rumor has it J.K. Rowling worked for five years, building the world of Harry Potter and plotting all seven books before she began writing anything. Jack Kerouac reportedly wrote the draft of On the Road in less than a month. How long will it take you to write or finish your book?

The right answer is up to you.

The one thing you will absolutely need is some kind of plan. It doesn’t matter whether your writing plan is a month long or a year long. The time is less important than the plan.

In the post-Four Ways to Manage Your Writing Schedule, Archway Publishing offers 4 easy tips you can use to help you keep to your writing plan, whatever it is.

Click here to read more >>

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Author Feature

Q&A with Moustafa El-Guindy, Author of “Beyond Love”

This blog is by Archway authors for fellow authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Dr Moustafa El-Guindy , author of “Beyond Love“. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

  1. What inspired you to write your book?

Many facts and many people inspired the story and it wasn’t all at the same time and they weren’t all linked with each other. Things happen or you meet people and the writer stores it in his memory, then the creativity join the facts, creates others, recovers the characters, crafts others and builds the story that will take you to new places, some of them are happy, others are devastatingly sad, but all of them stretch their bounds in our dreams and fantasies. That was the story with Beyond Love.

  1. You have published books in multiple languages and in a variety of genres, tell what prompted you to write this book.

9781480822832_COVER.inddMy passion always had been writing, romances, short stories, poems, my real passion is writing, but I can’t deny that I love to write long and very emotional stories of love. The romance that gains its strength from its bounds with the reality, then grows with the imagination navigating in a new world build by our creativity and inventiveness, just like a tree its roots go deep in the soil and its branches go everywhere in the sky.

  1. What do you hope readers will get from reading the book?

I wish the reader learns that the great meaning of life is loving. Loving is the bird flying, the music playing and the little child smiling. Love is the river cutting its way through the rocks, the drop of the water touching the sky and coming back to the earth. Love is the dream of living, the pleasure of giving, and the happiness to be able to do that. Love is the hands extending, the smile shining, and the deep desire to have the lover in the heart forever.

  1. Why did you chose to self-publish and why with Archway?

I searched many companies, I was looking for quality. The effort and hard work employed in the production of the manuscript deserve a qualified publisher to produce the book, of course with an affordable price. That is why Archway Publishing.

  1. What has been the most satisfying thing about publishing a book?

Two moments are very special for me. First, when I received the first copy in  my hand. It was like listening to the first scream of  a newborn. The second moment was when someone approached and asked me something about the book. The moment when I felt that somebody shared the same feeling and my passion.

  1. What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, be persistent, go forward, don’t be intimidated by rebuffs or rejections. Keep writing, and publish, don’t keep your writing for yourself. Writing is only alive when you share with others, so the great tips are keep writing and publish.

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

Self-Publishing My Children’s Book

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 Caryn Umetsu, author of “Little Liar”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

my mom sis and II was 4-years-old when I left my birth country of Japan, my parents divorced and that’s how I came to live with my new father in Hawaii. My mom often played a song about a little blue-eyed blond doll made of celluloid who was leaving America to go to Japan.  The doll was homesick and wondered if she would make friends. By the tone of the latter half of the song, we know that although she left her home country, she made fast friends in her new country. That is how I felt, I was sad for the divorce but thankful for my new life and the new me. I renamed myself Caryn which means “one of the seven stars of the constellation Orion.”

I don’t remember much of Japan but I do remember saying good bye to my aunt and uncle as we pulled out of the train station.  Nothing is more romantic and forlorn, the way a train leaves ever so slowly then faster and faster leaving behind your loved ones who grow smaller and smaller like figurines in a dollhouse. My aunt and uncle gave me a book to remember them by, a Chinese folktale called “The Magic Brush”.

For most of my life, books have always played a significant role in shaping who I am. First grade was the first time that I ever set foot in school.  I didn’t know how to speak, read, or write English in my new country; my mom said I cried every day for two weeks. My dad was the one who patiently sat with me under the lamp on the edge of the couch on a nightly basis to read with me “A Pig Can Jig.”

julian and nicholasEvery Saturday, my dad took my sister and I to the library where we could borrow as many books as we wanted, we felt like Hansel and Gretel at the Gingerbread House.  In no time, I was out of the ELL class and devouring whatever I could get my hands on, I moved beyond the picture books to the chapter books.  I moved up quickly in reading level from the very bottom to the very top; my teachers were amazed and so proud of me.  Later in college years, my sister and I said that we would become sister writers, I would be Emily and she would be Charlotte Bronte.

My latest children’s book “Little Liar” is based on my oldest son “Bobby”. When he was four and my middle son “Mitch” was two, we wrote the “Little Liar” book together and after many nights, we finally finished and stapled it together with pride. Although we went to the library twice a week, that was their favorite book. Even with all the dinosaur and construction books we borrowed and reborrowed, it continued to be their favorite bedtime story. I still have the purple tattered and torn copy of the original  book which I used to create “Little Liar.”

The most powerful tool about self-publishing that I have come to find out is that we are able to, as authors, be in full command of how the book turns out. For me, the illustrations were truly important. I liked the cartoonish style of illustrating, similar to a “Peanuts” comic book. It was beyond words, the feeling that we three experienced, bringing our once beloved and nearly forgotten book that we had created so long ago when I was a housewife, to life.  “Bobby” and “Mitch” are now 23 and 21, a fireman and a marine. My youngest son who is introduced on the last page of the book is 14.3 sons

I have so many books that I am currently working on and I hope to continue publishing.  It has been so amazing working with Archway Publishing. I feel that every day brings me closer to my dream. Just like Marie Lelay  in the movie “Hereafter,” I will one day become an author proudly sitting at a book signing.

Thank you Archway, I believe what you do is phenomenal. Check out my new website carynyumetsu.com. I am also making a plushie of Bobby by Budsies and another Bobby doll by Ginta from ParisJavaDoll from Etsy. What I have in mind is that eventually my book will be popular enough and in demand so I can order many plushies to sell with my book.  I am also preparing for a book launch with SCBWI. If you want to email me, I am at carynyayoi@yahoo.com. I am a high school 11th grade English teacher so I have summers and many holidays off to work on my books. Let’s network and help each other make our dreams a reality. I would love to hear and learn from you!

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!: Finding an Illustrator

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. 

If you’re just joining me, my first two posts were about how I came up with the idea for Meet Max!, and how I turned that idea into a manuscript.  At that point came the big question: now what?  How do I turn this into a real book?img1

Initially I thought traditional publishing was my only option.  I knew it would take time and that I’d likely collect a lot of rejection letters before finally succeeding…if I succeeded.  Nonetheless, I began to mull over the things I’d need to learn, like how to pitch my idea, whether I needed to hire an agent, et cetera.  As I began the process of learning just how much I didn’t know, I happened upon a story on the radio about self-publishing.  Interesting.  No need to get a publishing house to buy into my idea.  Retain creative control over the final product.  Keep more of the royalties.  And, if the book sells well, maybe attract the attention of a traditional publisher anyway.

That all sounded good, but I still felt like I didn’t know which choice was best.  So, I turned to the one place I know I can always find answers, or at least pass a pleasant afternoon: the bookstore!  Off I went, and lo and behold, there was a book that set out the basics of not only traditional publishing and self-publishing, but also of starting your own publishing company.  I bought it.  I devoured it.  It gave me so much to think about!  In the end, though, (and as you’ve probably already guessed), I went with self-publishing.  It seemed like the best way to get the end product I wanted, on my timeline, without having to prove beforehand that my idea was a good one.  Plus if I decided to go the more traditional route later, I’d already have a prototype, so to speak, of what I had in mind, and hopefully the sales data to back it up.img2

I still had the problem of illustrations, though.  My book definitely needed them, and I definitely do not have that kind of artistic skill.  What’s more, most of the self-publishing companies I identified were geared towards more traditional, black-and-white chapter books, not short children’s stories heavy on artwork.  It seemed like there were three options.  I could learn to draw, I could hire an artist, or I could keep shopping for companies that could help me get the illustrations so crucial to my concept.

Learning to draw was almost certainly out of the question.  Even my stick figures need a little help.  Could I hire an artist?  Where would I look?  How would I communicate what I wanted?  And how would I know if I was getting a good rate?  As luck would have it, I have some friends who are either artists themselves, or who routinely hire artists as part of their work.  They were able to give me some great guidance and point me towards some fantastic resources, but I still felt like I was in over my head.  And then I discovered Archway.img3

Archway was one of only two self-publishing companies I identified that had artists on staff.  What’s more, it’s the only company I found that provided enough information on its web site for me to educate myself and focus my questions prior to contacting them.  Then, when I did make contact, they answered my questions and provided even more information without using a “hard sell” approach or making me feel pressure to make a decision right away.  They were able to explain the self-publishing process to me and go into detail about how the illustrations portion of the process would work.  And they were willing to answer any additional questions I might have along the way.  It was just what I needed!  At last I felt like I had to the tools to finally bring Max to life.  The only thing left would be getting the rest of the world to love Max as much as I do (i.e., buy the book) – more on that 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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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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Publishing

Why I Self Published by Virginia Stringer

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 Virginia Stringer, author of “Just Maagy”.  Connect with Virginia on Facebook and her website. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

My book is “Just Maagy“. It started out as a fifty-minute children’s play but then turned into a short story that wasn’t so short. It was ignored for a few years and then it found its way to my face again and took on a life of its own spawning a six-book chapter book series over the course of eleven years. Then it became my fourth child!

In fact, the main character, Princess Melania Abigail Alice Grace, are my daughters and granddaughters in a manner of speaking.

SKU-000932177Maagy, as her father calls her, is a spoiled little brat who readers meet on her thirteenth birthday, when she throws a tantrum because there is no more spumoni ice cream for breakfast. Like I said, my daughters and granddaughters.

Maagy is strong willed, exceedingly smart, cunning and perceptive. She is also stubborn leading her father to give in and allow her to attend school outside the palace, where she begins to understand the meaning of true friendship. However, life is always full of twists and turns and Maagy is not spared.

When I decided to share Maagy with the world, it was a huge leap of faith and a gut wrenching choice, thinking of her out there on her own. I began considering my publishing options. I spent a considerable time researching literary agents, but found their websites and their entire business to be unfriendly and not at all encouraging to new writers. The overall theme was, “If you want to get published, you’ll have to go through me and hope your book parts the Red Sea, because that’s the only way you’re getting to a publisher’s desk! Oh, and we’ll rewrite it to suit us and you can kiss our grits!”

That attitude did not go over well with me! I was not about to put my life’s artistic accomplishment in the hands of literary agents to chop and “commercialize” it into their dream!

I spent a weekend, crying, uttering a few choice words and almost hit “delete”! My husband talked me off the ledge and said, “Why don’t you self publish? You’ll have all the control and no one will mess with your art.”

Writing is an art form…

So giving over my work to someone else to cut and edit, in my opinion, is like a museum curator saying to a painter, “I’ll put blue in place of red, change the man to a woman, remove the mountains and then hang it in my gallery!” I couldn’t live with that.

However, no one can ever edit his or her own work, effectively!

Just MaagyI have a group of “readers” who function as editors. They give me content feedback, ask questions and point out typos and mistakes. They are all well educated except for the children who read for me and come from different backgrounds and professions. All are avid readers and will give me honest critique, without telling me I have to change this or that if I want it published. They do not interfere with my artistic process, but do speak to me from an outside perspective, which is vital to knowing how my work will be received. They are teachers, financial advisers, actors, poets, scientists, friends and family members about ten to fifteen, in all.

The big difference is I have the final say, as to whether I heed the advice. In most cases, I take the suggestions to heart and make revisions… some minor and some major!

Every new and old writer needs readers!

So… I looked up “self-publishing” and Archway was first on the list. Simon and Schuster Publishing is the parent company, lending credibility, before I even went further and spoke to a human, which, by the way, the literary agencies did NOT offer.

Having expressed interest through email, a real person called in less than 24 hours! The conversation was informative, enlightening and friendly!! All of my misgivings were put to rest and I asked for a week or so to mull it over. I was not pressured, “sold” a product or made to feel unimportant. A week or so later, the very friendly voice was back and I asked a few more questions and mulled some more.

Overall, I am pleased with my decision to go the self-publishing route and Archway has been fabulous to work with at every step of the way. The support services and staff have been exceedingly helpful, though, not inexpensive. However, I consider it money well spent!

In fact, I am publishing the entire Maagy series at present count, six books  through Archway Publishing!

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

Self-Publishing Children’s Books with Archway Publishing

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 Dr. Amelia Rose, author of “The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Backpack”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

StrawThe Straw that Broke the Camel’s Backpack is a lighthearted children’s story of giving, but perhaps giving of yourself a little too much. Its message relates the dilemma of trying to help others, but knowing your own limits at the same time. It illustrates how one’s self-esteem can be compromised by wanting to “fit in” by pleasing others. In essence, it is also a story about bullying in a different form, since others may ask you to do things that they may be able to do themselves, but it is simply easier to ask someone else to do their work.

This story and characters are based on my son’s dilemma that he faces to this very day by wanting to say “yes” and please everyone, even if the consequences of doing so may hurt him.

ameliaThe story began one day when I spoke to Christian (my Charley) about his broken bookbag, “That is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” I exclaimed when he told me he was holding all his friends’ hard-covered books back to the library when the bag broke. He replied, “Mom, I didn’t want to break a camel’s back!” It was then that I realized I had to explain the anecdote to him, and that he needed to stop doing everything for everyone all the time, even when it hurt himself.

I hope the book impacts all children who feel compelled to be “in” with the crowd or group of “friends” who may use them and therefore may not truly be their friends at all.  True friends will understand and try to help you.  So far, I have been extremely successful in having those who read the book appreciate, love, and understand Charley’s dilemma.  TSTB1You have no idea how young some children are who have the book read to them by their parents or friends, and understand the message – don’t be bullied into doing what you cannot do for others – and yourself – true friends will always be there for you.  I am also passionate about the message of the book because I lived it with my son, and I am so happy that I did finally write the book (as promised to Christian) so that the message will be heard by so many others who are bullied today, either overtly or surreptitiously.

TSTB2I have been at book signings and events in many areas hoping to get my message across to everyone – young and old.  It is so surprising, heartwarming,  and humorous to hear mothers tell me they wish they had this book when they were children because they are still doing too much to others to this very day – at 30+ years old they still succumb to bullying!  Mothers and fathers (and children in schools where I have read the book) absolutely love, love Charley!  They ask for stuffed animals of him so that they can hug Charley every night in order to get the confidence they need to stand up to the stress of schools and the bullying that occurs there every day.  They write letters to Charley telling him how much the book helped them.

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

My Side of the Story by Jessica Stafford

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 Stafford, author of “My Side of the Story”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.

blog picMy name is Jessica Stafford and I am a twenty-one year old brain tumor survivor. At seven years old I was diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumor that could have easily ended my life. At age sixteen, my doctors found two more tumors, this time it wasn’t only in my brain. It’s been a long, hard road leading up to this point in my life, but Gods been with me through it all. His healing powers have brought me safely out of the storm, but daily I face the remains that cancer and its harsh treatments have left with me.

SKU-000985928I knew that God had spared my life for a reason; I just had to figure out what that reason was. My purpose in life, I decided was to share my story with others so that they could understand that God can help them fight their daily battles too. No matter how big or small the battle, nothing is too big for my God.

I wrote my story into a book, taking memories from old diary entries and spiritual versus from the Bible. I searched for a publishing company and found Archway Publishing, I was excited to self publish my book titled “My Side of the Story”. Something I found really exciting was the fact that I will always own the copyright to my book. Self-publishing my book was an amazing experience. From the beginning point of submitting and editing information until the end when my book finally went onto the market, the staff of Archway Publishing were extremely helpful and friendly.  I even got to design the cover of my book. The most exciting part of the self publishing experience was actually being able to hold my book in my hands for the first time. Just knowing that you are a published author is a truly amazing feeling.

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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Writing

4 Words to Unleash Your Creativity

Creativity is a very interesting and often debated topic. Is it something you are born with or something you can develop? Is it something that only happens when limitations are removed or is there a process you can follow to foster creative ideas?

Keith Ogorek, senior vice president of marketing for Author Solutions – which operates Archway Publishing for Simon & Schuster, shares 4 words that will help you unleash your creativity in his Indie Book Writers blog. In the post, Ogorek explains how 4 simple words can fuel your creativity.

Click here to read more >>

 

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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