Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ready to Publish-- Which Steps to Take?

It's the most exciting time for a writer when she/he gets ready to publish a book. Given that most of us  belong to the self-pub'd variety, the fun and glory besides the work is loaded on our own shoulders.
How many years do we spend on writing it on average? How many years do we go through numerous if not countless revisions? Whether you are a fast writer and keep writing to get the story out of your mind onto paper (computer) or whether you belong to the meticulous type, like me, who corrects every sentence as soon as you see it written down: n'importe quoi! It always seems to take forever until we can launch our baby into the big old world.Ask a big, traditional author how long it took him! Also years, sometimes. Unless you are so well established that their publisher makes them write a book a year.
And a launch is not merely a publication date anymore. While having the book revised and formatted so that it is ready for print, some of us play around with title covers, asking fellow writers and beta readers which cover image they prefer, which font, which sub-title etc. After all, we want to get it just right. At least for our own critical eye if not ideally for all the potential readers. So hours are spent scouting through the allegedly free websites that advertise free pictures ...and always get their hands in your purse and charge. Find a talented cover designer who puts your ideas into print. And I must say, I'm very happy with mine, Tayyaba Bano. Not just creative but also reliable and affordable!
With a little tweaking here and there you soon make it to the launch pad and announce the title cover reveal with much aplomb, send press releases out and maybe organize a launch party; a virtual fest on Facebook. Lucky you if you have a publisher of your choice. For first timers calculate in some days of comparing self-publishing houses to each other. I have my experience with 2 of the big names and could now decide quickly which one to go for. The publisher of my choice at least gives you the illusion that he can get you into bookstore by nature of being on the Ingram distribution list. But buyer beware-- it doesn't often happen, definitely not automatically. So another difficult choice has to be made: Do I spend the extra $60 for my high hopes of making it this time for my paperback version?
First title around I learned how to buy a cheap ISBN and how to register it. Formatting an e-Book is child's play.Well, Amazon converts your manuscript almost automatically. Uploading is simple and it will go live within 24 hours. The learning curve for me this time round is figuring out how to offer the option of pre-publication orders. I wish...!
Still waiting for endorsements and reviews here which should go on the back cover or inside. I guess that could be added later.
Since there is practically no holiday between now that St. Patrick's Day is over and Bloomsday (16 June), I could really go public any day. (Bank holidays don't count!) Who knows about Mr. Blooms Day anyway? Nobody I know ever really read Ulysses. And what has that got to do with an organic Irish farm and its farming life anyway?
So without further ado I now give you my latest baby.

I ONCE HAD A FARM IN IRELAND: LIVING THE ORGANIC LIFESTYLE

If you'd like to review it, contact me and I'll send you a free copy!
Siggy Buckley, the Ex Farmer's Wife
On Facebook
On Twitter

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ready to Publish--Which Steps to Take?

It's the most exciting time for a writer when she/he gets ready to publish a book. Given that most of us  belong to the self-pub'd variety, the fun and glory besides the work is loaded on our own shoulders.
How many years do we spend on writing it on average? How many years do we go through numerous if not countless revisions? Whether you are a fast writer and keep writing to get the story out of your mind onto paper (computer) or whether you belong to the meticulous type, like me, who corrects every sentence as soon as you see it written down: n'importe quoi! It always seems to take forever until we can launch our baby into the big old world.Ask a big, traditional author how long it took him! Also years, sometimes. Unless you are so well established that their publisher makes them write a book a year.
And a launch is not merely a publication date anymore. While having the book revised and formatted so that it is ready for print, some of us play around with title covers, asking fellow writers and beta readers which cover image they prefer, which font, which sub-title etc. After all, we want to get it just right. At least for our own critical eye if not ideally for all the potential readers. So hours are spent scouting through the allegedly free websites that advertise free pictures ...and always get their hands in your purse and charge. Find a talented cover designer who puts your ideas into print. And I must say, I'm very happy with mine, Tayyaba Bano. Not just creative but also reliable and affordable!
With a little tweaking here and there you soon make it to the launch pad and announce the title cover reveal with much aplomb, send press releases out and maybe organize a launch party; a virtual fest on Facebook. Lucky you if you have a publisher of your choice. For first timers calculate in some days of comparing self-publishing houses to each other. I have my experience with 2 of the big names and could now decide quickly which one to go for. The publisher of my choice at least gives you the illusion that he can get you into bookstore by nature of being on the Ingram distribution list. But buyer beware-- it doesn't often happen, definitely not automatically. So another difficult choice has to be made: Do I spend the extra $60 for my high hopes of making it this time for my paperback version?
First title around I learned how to buy a cheap ISBN and how to register it. Formatting an e-Book is child's play.Well, Amazon converts your manuscript almost automatically. Uploading is simple and it will go live within 24 hours. The learning curve for me this time round is figuring out how to offer the option of pre-publication orders. I wish...!
Still waiting for endorsements and reviews here which should go on the back cover or inside. I guess that could be added later.
Since there is practically no holiday between now that St. Patrick's Day is over and Bloomsday (16 June), I could really go public any day. (Bank holidays don't count!) Who knows about Mr. Blooms Day anyway? Nobody I know ever really read Ulysses. And what has that got to do with an organic Irish farm and its farming life anyway?
So without further ado I now give you my latest baby.

I ONCE HAD A FARM IN IRELAND: LIVING THE ORGANIC LIFESTYLE

If you'd like to review it, contact me and I'll send you a free copy!
Siggy Buckley, the Ex Farmer's Wife
On Facebook
On Twitter

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plays within Plays, Books within Books



“Write about what you know.”  Do playwrights stage plays within plays, and novelists write about the writing life or embed layers of fictional books within books because that’s all we know?   Maybe, but it can also be an extremely useful tool for creating drama (sorry for the pun), and addressing deep themes.  One of the advantages of made-up stories over exposition is that the author can address big questions of relationships, philosophy, history, human nature, spirituality--all the “deep thoughts” that separate us from the beasts-- through characters and a story the reader cares about.  Nobody wants to be clubbed in the head with Enlightenment 101 lessons, but build a theme into the plot, and you’ve got good writing.  Layering fiction or scripts with internal creative works creates infinite opportunities, like the optical illusion of two facing mirrors.  A writer can explore various themes without having to stick to “realism.”

I have to mention Hamlet right up front as the most famous play within a play, at least in English.  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, commissions a group of players to perform a script of his father’s murder to “out” the murderer, his stepfather.   Was this all Hamlet was about, producing a play?  No, but the play within the play allowed Shakespeare to expose human nature at its foulest. 

In some scripts, the internal play production does occupy center state (can’t help myself!). 1983’s To Be or Not to Be by Mel Brooks takes place in Nazi Poland with actors as Resistance fighters, and somehow, it’s hilarious.  The Last Metro, a Fran├žois Truffaut classic starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, beautifully realizes the anguish and danger of Nazi occupied Paris through the characters of a stage actress and her Jewish husband.  In the novel Atonement, Ian McEwan manipulates the line between his authorial voice and the voice of his author-heroine, tricking the reader (spoiler alert) with alternatives to the “reality” of his own fictional plot. 

Okay, backgrounding of the already famous of plots within plots over, now to the mechanics of plays within plays.   Up front, decide whether you are going to write the internal play or are you going to use a famous one, say, of Shakespeare.  Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet, sure they’ve been spoofed but there’s always a fresh take of Coriolanus waiting to be written, isn’t there?  Comedic possibilities abound when bumbling troupes try to stage elaborate productions.  Modernizations of Shakespeare are especially sought after by school theatre groups. The good news is Shakespeare, dead more than 70 years, is in public domain. 

Or, you can write your own internal drama, giving you freedom to experiment.  Romance or jealousy can bloom between actors, murder and mayhem can ravage a theatre company, the show must go on true grit can triumph over adversity (see above World War II movies).  You don’t even actually have to write the internal play, it can all take place “off-stage” if your main action takes behind the scenes.  Crossing the third wall is a neat trick, too.  Go for it, after all, all the world’s a stage. 


Treanor Baring
NLAPW, Inc
Pen Woman Magazine Poetry Editor
Website Editor


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Germany is big on traditions around its holidays. Easter egg hunts and traditional decorations make it feel like Easter to me. Customs in Ireland are different as we found out when we moved there.
Here's an Excerpt from my upcoming book I once had a Farm in Ireland:


Happy Easter Bunnies
We had just missed it the first year, but from year two onward we adhered to an old German custom of an Easter egg hunt. Our neighbors’ kids were flummoxed that there was an Easter Bunny who visited German children and brought them sweets and colored eggs — even to those living abroad. When we set out on our hunt, we could see them peeping through their front windows. It wasn’t customary in Ireland at the time to have an egg hunt. So we invited them to join us, but since they had to attend Mass in the morning, they never took up the offer.
As the weather was often dreadful and our offspring couldn’t be relied on to always find what had been left for them, we came up with a clever strategy. On Easter Sunday, Mac would take us through the gardens pretending to look for hidden eggs. He had all the goodies in his big overcoat and dispensed them furtively as he went along. Amy and Patrick hung back with me, thoroughly inspecting each shrub and little tree for possible hiding places. The garden was big enough for him to forge ahead without them noticing. This maneuver had a double benefit: neither did the chocolates or colored and decorated eggs get soaked, nor did we find rotten surprises when gardening later in the year."

And in Germany, there are two holidays for Easter, Easter Monday is a full holiday where shops are closed and people don't have to go to work. Just like for Christmas and Whitsun. Other countries like Italy and Spain have the same tradition. 
Siggy Buckley
.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Crowdfunding for Books Only: Pubslush Reinvented


Crowdfunding has become a financial beacon of hope for entrepreneurs of all walks of life—from performing arts to technology. Stories like the potato salad campaign on Kickstarter, which raised more than $55k (far exceeding its modest $10 goal), make it seem as though crowdfunding is an Internet bank vault, opened with magic fairy dust, raining money down upon any idea with heart, spirit or imagination.
The reality, however, is that most campaigns fail. Kickstarter campaigns, for example, succeed about 41% of the time. This number is even lower for publishing campaigns, which are successfully funded about 31% of the time.
Enter Pubslush, a fundraising platform that has shifted focus from publishing to pure crowdfunding.
Pubslush: In the Beginning
In the beginning, Pubslush offered a new kind of publishing venture. Authors would sign up with Pubslush and backers, instead of pledging dollars, would pledge to buy books, a model similar to Unbound.
In 2012, Pubslush was described in Mashable as “the publishing lovechild of American Idol and TOMS Shoes,” a place where authors could sidestep the infamous slush pile of publishing houses worldwide and prove their work was worthy of publication by proving an audience was there and waiting. Once an author reached 1,000 supporters, Pubslush would fire up its presses and publish the book.
So, it was a publisher with, perhaps what one could consider, the largest editorial board of all time—the wide and varied audience that could only be delivered via social media.
Being a publisher, however, had its limitations.
“We chose to reevaluate our model when we realized that being a publisher prevented us from working with a lot of people in the industry, including self-publishing authors, publishers and industry professionals,” Pubslush Development Director Justine Schofield explained. “Our belief was that by opening our doors to work with everyone, we would have a bigger impact on the industry as a whole.”
So, Pubslush evolved, moving away from publishing and focusing its efforts on crowdfunding.
Pubslush: Crowdfunding for Books
In August 2012, Pubslush relaunched under the leadership of mother-daughter duo, Hellen and Amanda L. Barbara, determined to serve the unique needs of authors, literary agents, small presses and publishers.
Gone are the publishing contracts. “We now work closely with publishers and continue to roll out progressive programs and platform options that will benefit all in the industry,” explained Schofield. “We feel more of a need to be a friend to publishers in the industry than to be a publisher ourselves. Today, we do not publish any books and are not a publisher.”
Pubslush seems to understand that there are two things authors enjoy very little of: money and support. The road to publication is often paved with rejection and even success is more a thin slice of cake rather than a three-tiered masterpiece of profit. With the introduction of new technology, self-publishing is possible and authors—at last—may command their destiny. But the road to success isn’t less rocky. Different bumps, perhaps.
Books getting lost in a collection of flashy tech and glittery film campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter was one bump in the road Pubslush thought it could do something about.
“A niche literary platform provides direct access to the audience of book projects, connecting writers and publishers with readers,” said Schofield. “Pubslush is based on community and, through our author-centric features, focuses on helping authors to publish more successfully.”
The Pubslush community runs the gamut. Industry professionals are invited to host specialty pages on Pubslush. Publishers may run pre-order campaigns and collect market research through the site. Book marketers and printers, are encouraged to create partner pages, from which they can build their professional network and even invite authors to crowdfund through their page. Readers can set up pages too and join groups of similar literary interests.   For the rest of the article go to:
http://sarisonproductions.com/crowdfunding-for-books-pubslush-reinvented/
 .Pubslush platform features 
S.E.Whelan: YOu can contact her at sewhelan@gmail.com
 
Bio: 
After obtaining a degree in creative writing and working in the nonprofit sector, S.E. Whelan left the US to live in work abroad. For five years, she traveled the globe—from South America to Turkey—living and working with people of other nations and cultures. In 2010, she returned to the U.S., where she worked in nonprofit and defense in Washington D.C. She’s now working with her sister creating Children’s Books at Sarison Productions and is the Director of Content at Meson Media.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Must Do Marketing: Phase Two



There are three primary reasons you must market your writing. Promotions are free, offers name recognition, and helps to sell your books. After the basics of having a blurb, email, web page, and business cards, comes Phase Two of marketing your work.

1.  Start a portfolio. This can simply be a binder with page protectors. Whenever your name or your book appears in print, date it and the source and put it in the binder. You can display this binder at your writer events and presentations.

2.  Take photos. Always have a camera with you to capture you in action. Photos of you with other authors is also a good idea. Take the photo showing the signage of the event or your table display. You want to remember that book fair, book launch, or the meet-and-greet at a writers' conference. How about when someone wins that gift basket you donated?

3.  Write book reviews.  Ask other writers to trade books and both of you agree to read and do a book review on line. If someone mentions they have read and enjoyed your book, ask them if  they would write a review. There are also online author sites where you can request a review and repost reviews.

4.  Make presentations. Offer to speak at libraries, school career day, church groups, book clubs, senior centers, or community organizations.  This is especially worthwhile if your book fits into a season, social need, or community concern or event.

5.  Teach a class.  This can be done informally at a life-long learning organization or a parks/recreation community program. If you have the educational credentials and experience, you can teach a college course or create a short seminar or discussion group.

6.  Offer to speak at local book clubs. You can generate interest in your book by talking about your experiences writing or publishing your work. You can compare your work to similar books. You can discuss what makes your book the same or different from other writing styles.

7.  Make book baskets. Give these as prizes and gifts for all occasions. Put your book, business card, and related items in a basket and keep it on hand for birthdays, house warmings, teacher gifts, hospital visits, charitable events, and so on.

8.  Display your books at out-of-town events. Many conferences and book fairs offer a Display Book Only option for a small fee. This is a great way to reach bigger markets and gain exposure beyond your family, friends, and local community. Some will return your book if you enclose a SASE.

9.  Write a media release. Send this out each time you launch a new book, speak at a library or conference, participate in a book fair, or win a prize. If you win an award, or have a promotional opportunity, unrelated to your writing, be sure to include the fact that you are an author and mention the title of your book(s).

10..Participate in book fairs. These tend to be more intimate learning and selling opportunities. You may begin to meet some of the same writers and form friendships. This can lead to an exchange of editing and critiques of each other's work. Typically authors sell books and related items to attendees and give out and exchange business cards for future contact.

 ~ ~ ~

~ Valerie Allen ~

VAllenWriter@cs.com                                          ValerieAllenWriter.com
Amazon.com/Author/ValerieAllen
Psychologist, author, and speaker writes, fiction, non-fiction, short stories, and children's books. She is a popular presenter at writer conferences and the author of, “Write, Publish, Sell! 2nd Editon.”
 Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony
Write Publish Sell!
Summer School for Smarties
Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends
Amazing Grace
Sins of the Father
Suffer the Little Children
'Tis Herself: Short Story Collection, Vol 1


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happiness and Perception of Reality







       
GO DIRECTLY TO

We are Souls in Human bodies.
On a Universal level, we are called Human Beings.
Being in human bodies, we enclosed ourselves in a box delimitated by our five senses. The borders that separate our limited reality from the bigger picture, sometimes makes us even forget that there are some borders out there. We believe in the Infinite but somehow we tend to believe that the infinite is also closed in our box.
In this box we have needs; we have desires. And our greatest desire is to reach Happiness.
Yes, WE SEEK HAPPINESS without even having all the details about what the Greatest Happiness is. But we have this encrypted in our DNA.

Who am I to tell you about finding Happiness? Well, like you, I am also a Soul. A Soul that also received a human body Here and Now…
A Soul with its own box and having its own borders, inside which… I may have found Happiness, or may not. But… I am here. And I am here to share my experience on this planet. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something inside it for YOU.
I don’t intend to give you the Ultimate Recipe for HAPPINESS.
But I will make you wonder and question yourself.
I definitely believe that the answer lays in the question. Instead of focusing on the answer, maybe it’s better to concentrate on the question. And one day the answer will find you. And from this answer you will extract the personal Recipe for a better life. YOUR RECIPE FOR PERCEIVING HAPPINESS.
Because… in the world where our human bodies live… everything is subjective and relative… and ultimately… everything is a matter of PERCEPTION OF REALITY.

WHAT’S INSIDE IT FOR YOU?




 GO TO:
 SEEKING HAPPINESS