Author Feature

Q&A with Betsy Sleath, Author of “Pelican Island Pharmacy”

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 Betsy Sleath, author of “Pelican Island Pharmacy”.  For more info, visit her blog.  Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

What inspired you to write Pelican Island Pharmacy?

I always wanted to write a book set in a pharmacy with a soda fountain that had characters that drew you into the story.  My mom worked in an independent pharmacy with a soda fountain when I was growing up in the small New England town of Durham, Connecticut.  I have always loved the feeling of community and belonging in small town pharmacies.

I go to Carolina Beach, North Carolina to relax and write.  I regularly walk down to the docks where the fishing charters come into with the pelicans following not far behind.  One day I had the idea to create a novel inspired by the town of Carolina Beach with one small change-I added a pharmacy on the canal where the fishing boats pull in.

I decided to make this a positive yet suspenseful story of a single mom leaving a domestic violence situation who finds friendship and support in a small beach town as she rebuilds her life.  Having been a victim of domestic violence and knowing many women who also have been, I wanted to create a compelling yet fun story focusing on an issue that is often difficult to talk about publically.

What research did you do before writing Pelican Island Pharmacy?

I have experience working as a pharmacist which helped when writing the book.  Since many of the scenes in the book occur at a soda fountain, I visited pharmacies that still have soda fountains when traveling.  I also went to the North Carolina Museum of History and the Museum of East Tennessee History to do research. Both have excellent displays of old-fashioned pharmacies with soda fountains.  I spent time in the exhibits imagining Norma behind the soda fountain being sassy to her customers. Hanging out in these places helped the story and characters come alive in my head.

When it came to creating a military romance, it helped that I live in North Carolina where there are several bases and that my partner was active military when I met him.  I have interacted with many of his colleagues and friends across the world.  I have visited several military bases and have even been to two military balls.  These experiences helped me create the character of Tom and the realistic intersection of soldiers visiting North Carolina beaches.  I learned about deep sea fishing by regularly watching the fishermen on the docks and by reading all of the pamphlets they had out at the docks.  Someday I want to go deep sea fishing myself!

What do you hope readers will get from reading Pelican Island Pharmacy?

I want people to enjoy reading the book.  I strove to create a good story about resilience and hope.  I have always been told, “Write a book like the ones you like to read.” So that is what I did.  There are many men and women functioning as single parents who are attempting to rebuild their lives after difficult divorces like Jessie.  As the novel unfolds, readers watch Jessie struggle with learning to love and trust again.  I love the saying “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.”  I tried to create characters that exhibited strength that resulted from challenging life situations.

Why did you choose to self-publish and why with Archway?

9781480821590_COVER.inddBefore I decided to self-publish, I did send out two query letters to agents.  One agent responded that Pelican Island Pharmacy was not a genre they were focusing on and the other nicely told me that the beginning of the book did not draw her in fast enough.  So I rewrote the beginning of the book to grab the reader’s attention immediately.  I have a very busy job as a professor and division chair at UNC-Chapel Hill so I decided to self-publish because I did not have a lot of time to write query letters.  When I do have free time, I like to focus it on writing.

I chose Archway because they had everything that I needed in the bookseller’s package–cover design, editing, Goodreads giveaways, and worldwide distribution through IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, and all the major book retailers.

What has been the most satisfying thing about publishing Pelican Island Pharmacy?

To be honest, I published under the pen name Betsy Hess Sleath because I thought I better separate my life as a professor from my life as a fiction writer. I was not sure how my university colleagues would react. However, I am amazed at how much those in my university life have enjoyed the book and have encouraged me to write more.  They can’t wait for the sequel. That has been the most satisfying part of writing and publishing Pelican Island Pharmacy. The UNC-Chapel Hill student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, even featured an article about the book.

What tips would you give to aspiring writers?

First, I would join your state or local writing organization.  The North Carolina Writer’s Network has been a huge support in my writing experience.  Second, take as many writing classes as you can.  I took fiction writing classes at UNC-Chapel Hill and learned tons.  In the advanced fiction writing class with Rich Krawiec, I wrote the first eighty pages of Pelican Island Pharmacy.  Rich is an amazing teacher and his encouragement kept me going even after the class was over.  Finally, figure out your writing pace. I strove to write five pages a week because that is all I had time to do each week.  The strategy worked because I finished the book in a year!

Betsy Hess Sleath (Betsy Sleath, Ph.D.) is a distinguished professor and chair of the division of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She lives in Chapel Hill and spends as much time as she can on Carolina Beach, North Carolina.  She has published over 127 scientific articles and this is her first work of fiction.  Her second book, Love at the Soda Fountain, which is set in Connecticut in the 1960s, will be completed by December 2016.

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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.   

Standard
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.

Standard
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.
SKU-001051763

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.  

Standard
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. 

Standard
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.  

Standard
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. 

Standard
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.  

Standard