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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Author Feature, Publishing

Self-Publishing Children’s Books with Archway

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 Jan Gimlin, author of “The Adventures of Franz and Jethro: Ants in the Pants”. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.  

My storytelling days began with my own two children. I read a lot of stories too, but their favorites seemed to be the stories I just made up for them. They used to beg me to make up stories, the wilder and crazier the better. They were the perfect captive audience!

SKU-001060594Anyway, I love animals, and especially love how different their personalities can be, much like humans. So, with our two dogs, I always make up sayings/words based on what I THINK they would say if they could talk. My husband and I would tell our black lab (Jethro) that he had ants in his pants, because from the time we got him (adopted at about 5 months) he’d have a crazy burst of energy (OFTEN) and be ready to play fetch or catch; then just fizzle out.

So one day the story just came to me and I wrote it down on the computer. That was last summer. On a whim, I emailed the story to my daughter and asked for her impressions. She loved the story and told me I should try to get it published.

Next, I went to the library and checked out about a dozen children’s books, read them, and wrote down the publishers names. Then I researched the publishers of the books I liked best, looking for the self-publishing branch of each. I thought Archway sounded reasonable, contacted them and someone called me back.

Now, discussions began with my publishing consultant about the direction of my book. I had to make a decision: how to illustrate it. I am an artist, mostly a painter, but NOT a cartoonist. As a creative person, I kept thinking there must be something that I could do myself. So the consultant asked me if I’d thought about collage, or something else. Over the course of a weekend I decided to do a drawing, a collage, and a model magic figurine; then attached pictures of all three in an email to the consultant. This consultant was intrigued by the model magic figurine because he could think of no other children’s book on the market with this type of illustration for its characters. I liked the sound of having a unique book, bought more colors of model magic and began to create the characters in various poses.

As an art teacher my favorite modeling compound for elementary students was Model Magic, a crayola product, and I LOVED creating dogs or other animals with them. But with this product or even clay, one problem I had was creating a large dog with stick-thin legs. The weight of the main body collapsed the legs! So I had to create a “skeleton” for the walking poses with the black lab. For the dachshund, I just made squattier legs and left it at that. But I had to show the difference in proportion between the two dogs (100 lbs. vs. 12 lbs.), and realized it would just look weird for the lab to have thick squatty legs! So, my husband helped me make the skeleton out of wire and hot glue, which I then covered with pieces of model magic.JanGimlin

Next, the publishing consultant gave me the idea of a diorama for the background. After googling “diorama”, I came up with a few ideas. I used foam core as a base, and for the indoor scene I covered it with two types of shelf paper. For the outdoor scene, I used three different types of textured mediums that I use in painting: coarse pumice gel for the ant bed, coarse modeling paste to simulate sandy red dirt, and fiber paste to simulate grass. Then I painted over all of these. The outdoor background was painted on a 11×14 canvas board. The bushes were clumps of reindeer moss. The furniture and plant for the indoor scene were dollhouse furniture.

Next, my publishing consultant told me that the picture resolution had to be at least 300 DPI, so I tried taking pictures with my cellphone but when he checked the resolution, he said the pictures were blurry and just wouldn’t work. I already had a tripod, so used it along with our digital camera to take all my pictures.

Then when the story and pictures were finalized, I was transferred to a check-in coordinator, where my patience with technology was tested time after time! Next came the design team, where the cover and interior were planned. After several revisions with the layout, my project was done!

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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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 Fury of Angels” by Joy Cieslarski

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 Joy Cieslarski, author of “The Fury of Angels”. Connect with Joy on Twitter. 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? 

My book, “The Fury of Angels,” is about a young man’s struggle to come to terms with a legacy left to him by his parents. His destiny, is to lead so called “Angels Of Light” in the fight against good and evil. He is continually challenged by what he believes and the people he has met in his life. Messages become conflicted and as he matures, he is forced to make choices which could ultimately lead to the demise of people he loves.

The book just “came to me” one summer. I am not a religious person, but I was drawn to writing a story about the forces of good and evil, and what it would mean to be a “mortal” in a world of angels.SKU-000965000

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

This is a great novel. It makes the reader think about how things happen in life, that at times, events are unexplainable. They find themselves wondering if there are other forces involved. They will feel a real connection to the characters, and that’s what makes me happiest about the book. It is something everyone can relate to.

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

I love the freedom of owning the story and not having the message and vision compromised. I talked to an author who told me, he went with a traditional publisher and after they finished editing, he barely recognized the story. The main character had been completely changed, the concept was rearranged. I know where I will compromise and where I would not. I’m thankful I didn’t have to live with a story that ultimately, wasn’t mine anymore.IMG00024-20101128-1736

I would definitely recommend self-publishing to authors. There’s a power around putting out a product you’re proud to show to your friends and family. The most wonderful feeling is when you get book sales that are NOT from friends and family, or you get a review on Amazon or other outlets. Seeing that in print, let me know I had accomplished something I’ve always wanted to do.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

If your goal is immediate commercial success, you’ll be disappointed quickly. You need to remember why you started writing in the first place. It has to be your passion, and not your hobby. Looking at writing as something to do is the wrong point of view. You have to believe in your craft and want to “suffer for the art” so to speak.

The elation you feel once you hold a finished product in your hands, see your words in print and mostly, your name at the top of the novel is breathtaking.

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

Q&A with Nigel Leader, Author of Miami Stretch

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 Nigel Leader, author of “Miami Stretch”. 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?

My book is basically about my entire life from the day I was born, up until present time which was actually too long for one single book so I write the entire story in a two volume series. Miami Stretch covers the very interesting interactions that I have had over my more than two decade career experiences as a limousine chauffeur in South Florida with the four different limousine companies that I have worked for in that two decade expanse of time. I believe the many life stories that I share in my book are very interesting and worthy of telling as well as somewhat unbelievable. I am not a fiction writer however, my imagination is not that good although my memory is.

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My inspiration to write this book only came during the time of both during, as well as after my very bitter divorce and at a time when I could not afford an attorney to draw up a custody agreement for my three minor children. The family court had not issued a child custody agreement with the forced divorce decree and had also granted my ex-wife a baseless civil (non-criminal) restraining order. With these two court orders in place, I went about a year and a half without spending any time with my three children and only seeing them during the short time before they got on their school bus after school. During this time I spent the majority of my time and energy writing Miami Stretch because I knew I had to do something better for them as I had absolutely no intention of ever raising them like this when I had decided to get married some eleven years earlier. My stories and this book would be what I eventually figured out would give me the best shot for them to potentially have a better life with me fully involved in their day to day growth.

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

The one message that I would like to convey to readers is that ….God is always in control and will always have your best interest at heart if only you acknowledge him and have faith that he can and will do such great things for you. The stories that I share in Miami Stretch, time and time again prove that things are not over when you think they are. God has come through for me on multiple occasions and long after I thought the story was over. I am certainly glad that I have such a great memory to recall my life stories and how God had eventually come through for me and now I can certainly use those stories as a testimony…both the good and the bad.

author photo3. What are 5 things you’ve learned about self-publishing?

1) You have the freedom to say what you want. I believe in the power of free speech and self-publishing is the ultimate form of that expression without having a publisher with “special interests” breathing down your neck.

2) It’s really not that expensive. Looking back, for what I got out of that little investment to self-publish…the payoff is tenfold when I can actually say that I am now a published author! I also now have the business cards to prove it as well as my book being available to be purchased literally worldwide! Well worth it!!

3) It is a very easy process with everything being done from my laptop and my WiFi connection. No running around to downtown offices to do meetings and signings and the business end of book selling as I thought it would be. That freedom alone to me makes it all worth it.

4) Everything is done at your pace…no high pressure anything from self-publishing companies. I had a near two month delay in payment due to my financial situation and I never once heard anything about it except for “let us know when you have the remainder of the funds available.” I certainly thought I would have eventually received a chewing out for not fulfilling the signed contract in a timely manner but that never came and the book was finally released.

5) I have heard other well known authors praise the self-publishing route over the traditional publishing route and I have also heard one best selling author as she had sworn to always take the self publishing route simply because she has had more control in the putting out “her own product” and the simplicity of the self published pay scale versus the pay scale of a full publishing house. Miami Stretch has only recently been released and I am yet to receive pay from the proceeds but I soon hope that I can say the same thing.

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

What I love most about self-publishing is definitely the freedom that it brings, from freedom of speech, to freedom of time, and freedom of expression and choices in your very own product that you yourself are pushing out to the public. Your product is your product…every word, picture, or comma. I can honestly say that with the final release of Miami Stretch. I would highly recommend self-publishing to anyone who has a voice and wants to use that voice to ultimately exercise and express their God given freedoms.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

My advice to other potential authors would be to drop the excuses. Since my friends and family only recently found out about my writing skills (I mostly kept it a secret right up to the point of the actual book release) I have heard on numerous occasions… “I always wanted to write a book …BUT…” If you have to put a “but” behind that sentence you are not ready. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to write consistently (it took me three years to get out volume one) so if there are any excuses as to why you can’t write. Focus first on finishing up the “but” so you can commit to pushing out your final product. Your readers will appreciate the time you have spent to put your heart and soul into your writing and making reading your book an extreme pleasure and joy…they will surely know the difference.

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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