Find Indie writers FAST on Amazon and

You’ll want to read them for life!
Find an Indie/self-pubbed works and find yourself a fresh new voice.

With kind permission from Michael James who has allowed me to copy and paste his grouped lists of Indie authors’ books, painstakingly put together, so readers don’t have to wade through book after book to find their desired read.


Add your book, find a book to read, write a review, blog/tweet about it and someone may do the same for you.

  


Action/Adventure @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx38TES6Q3FJN5X

Apocalyptic @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=TxQ3RAMIYS1O9P

Autobiography/Memoir @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx2UNIRDLX089JH

Children’s Books @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=TxK4GE3KYOC5DC

Christian @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx3UDXHIZE1B8SG

Contemporary Romance @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2GWUTUJY3CAQS&cdMsgID=Mx7WJMT1W1GOXG#Mx7WJMT1W1GOXG

Cozy Mystery @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx38WPN4Q8ALI0N&cdMsgID=Mx3440X2V7QG6TC#Mx3440X2V7QG6TC

Dystopia @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx1OBC6KJZB0IIM

Fantasy @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxG0CTZ5QQDTF8&cdMsgID=Mx20WSMRHNOLLCF#Mx20WSMRHNOLLCF

Ghost @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx1ATXBDLDLALZ3&cdMsgID=Mx9TR93HIVSDZI#Mx9TR93HIVSDZI

Graphic Novel/Comic @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx14FSMWWO8QPNH&cdMsgID=Mx3FO2GF0N0W65G#Mx3FO2GF0N0W65G

Halloween @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxSHXA0PDT2PD3&cdMsgID=Mx1YNZ5VTRORCNG#Mx1YNZ5VTRORCNG

Historical Fiction @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx3APP0UUA9Y96O&cdMsgID=Mx64G8PX55JRJ2#Mx64G8PX55JRJ2

Historical Romance @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2ALCG0W1XWBY2&cdMsgID=Mx32RC25WGW2QDK#Mx32RC25WGW2QDK

Horror @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx3N5MWXQNLD8GI&cdMsgID=MxMEDBER2HWWSD#MxMEDBER2HWWSD

Humorous Fiction @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxY9YK1H4XDO5X&cdMsgID=Mx1C2B9VJISOJHB#Mx1C2B9VJISOJHB

Literary Fiction @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2QUPHM00ZN9NS&cdMsgID=MxG7RHX5XVHAKF#MxG7RHX5XVHAKF

Mystery/Hardboiled/Procedural @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx32QOBHER7D0RX&cdMsgID=Mx1K73GYJYJ962Y#Mx1K73GYJYJ962Y

Paranormal Romance @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx3OPNG2YFNLH4T&cdMsgID=MxSPSRTITZT594#MxSPSRTITZT594

Paranormal @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2LI6SSDHSSOX6&cdMsgID=Mx3LGLM8P8O1BPI#Mx3LGLM8P8O1BPI

Poetry @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=TxPEGXSRXSVYSH

Post-Apocalyptic @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx36ESB1ZVMIZMN

Science Fiction @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx1F00JO8AMTU25&cdMsgID=Mx106R0RMX1TXIL#Mx106R0RMX1TXIL

Short Stories @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxQ0G9EAI2KDGA&cdMsgID=Mx280BARWR84BO5#Mx280BARWR84BO5

Suspense @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx21M4A40YT7GY6&cdMsgID=Mx39RCVGFFPQNG5#Mx39RCVGFFPQNG5

Thriller @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx29NG9AICHZ0SU&cdMsgID=Mx2C4ISRFACLPFH#Mx2C4ISRFACLPFH

Time Travel @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2R5F3XZ3WLE4N&cdMsgID=Mx3D4YTF4FHNN7Y#Mx3D4YTF4FHNN7Y

Vampire Romance @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2R5F3XZ3WLE4N&cdMsgID=Mx3D4YTF4FHNN7Y#Mx3D4YTF4FHNN7Y

Western Romance @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2WP8RJIFC34TK&cdMsgID=Mx36LA6R9BEWMXT#Mx36LA6R9BEWMXT

Westerns @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_search_res_ti?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdMsgNo=1&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxXO5XG8MR6GV7&cdMsgID=Mx1UY0L6XE6APP8#Mx1UY0L6XE6APP8

Young Adult @ http://www.amazon.com/forum/meet%20our%20authors/ref=cm_cd_tfp_ef_tft_tp?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2UYC1FC06SU8S&cdThread=Tx31AV7IW1I8KHU

The difference between formatting an e-Book and a "real" book.

E.S Lark guest-posted an article here last month and glutton for punishment she’s back!

Self-Publisher’s Diary –


Formatting the Interior of Your Book 


As a self-publisher, I’m responsible for
writing, finding an editor, purchasing cover art, marketing and laying out the
interior of my books. Even though interior book formatting isn’t as crucial
when it comes to ebooks, it’s an art form for any author looking to get their
books printed.

There are a few key items a print book has
that ebooks do not, and they are:
 
  • Headers and footers. The header of the document generally includes the author’s name or title of the novel along with the page number, unless it’s added in the footer. 
  • Chapter breaks are another piece of formatting most ebooks don’t use. The reason for this is because every ereader will look at your book differently. Your chapter break might happen in the middle of a page instead of at the end of one.  
  • Fancy fonts. Because readers can change the font type and size of their ebooks with the touch of a button, fancy fonts aren’t necessary. That’s why most ebooks come in a standard font such as Times New Roman.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—how do you
format the interior files for a book you plan to print through services such as
Lulu or Createspace?


One of the best pieces of software you can
buy for interior formatting is Adobe Indesign. While I could format my interior
files in Microsoft Word, it’s a hassle. Adobe Indesign or another piece of
formatting software’s built to make our lives easier. Instead of putting the
headers (author name, book title and page number) in by hand on each page, you
can create what’s called a ‘Master Page’ so the program does it for you. 


But the biggest thing you need to worry
about when formatting your book are those widows and orphans. Widows and
orphans are  single lines of text from a
paragraph that appear on the very bottom of a page or at the very top.


This also includes those lines at the end
of one paragraph that are one word long. One word takes up an entire line on
the page. This is a waste of valuable printing space. To fix this, you’ll
either need to tighten the sentence or change what’s called the
tracking—spacing between words, so the hanging word gets bumped up to join its
friends.


Open up any book you have in your home and
look at the text. Notice how the text’s in blocks? Each line of text lines up
with the one before it. That’s accomplished through good formatting. Adobe
Indesign allows you to work on blocks of text by changing the spacing between
letters, words or even by hyphenating longer words, just so everyone lines up
correctly.


I admit, this isn’t something I generally
look at as a reader. However, a book that has an interior that’s formatted
incorrectly screams ‘self-published’. And even though self-publishing’s become
more popular over the years, there’s still a sigma about it. Take your time
when formatting the interior files of your book. The cover might be what draws
your readers in, but the inside text is what keeps them there.
E. S. Lark is the author of fantasy fiction
such as The Waking Grove and Trueblood’s Plight. You can learn more about her
and the worlds she creates by visiting her website at: http://www.eslark.com




Pros and Cons of self-publishing

Self-Publishing Snobbery

 

There’s a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It’s the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn’t it?

 

Many think so, sadly.

 

I’ve read a few SP books and loads of traditionally placed books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

 

I suppose I’m biased having written and POD-published my last two books. I regret not finding a decent designer for the Eden but I discovered Jane Dixon for A Proper Charlie who supplies fantastic covers to your design at a great price.

 

Self-publishing, POD, vanity, Indie, whatever you call it is second best but only because you are editor, promoter, and writer all rolled into one neat ball, and being all of those is a lonely and time-consuming business (especially when all you want to do is write!).

 

The real downside is the confidence thing. You always wonder if, because you’re ON YOUR OWN, you’re good enough. It’s always there at the back of your mind.

 

I have made a list of the pros and cons of self-publishing to help you make up your mind.

 

Pros (the Latin word for “for”) 

  1. The author keeps the majority of the profit. 
  2. If you pay for an ISBN number you’ll automatically be on Amazon and other on-line shops. 
  3. No-one can demand you change this or that before publication. 
  4. An excuse to use social networks because you’re promoting your book. 
  5. There’s no deadline to work to. 
  6. Print on demand (POD) is cheap nowadays. No need to use an expensive vanity press.
  7. POD is easy and straightforward with sites like Lulu or YouWriteOn.com 
  8. No more rejections.
Cons (Con is an abbreviation for the Latin word “contra” that means against.)

  1. There is a lot of prejudice about being a POD/Indie/self-publisher. In the end this may get you down.
  2. You may find the entire process daunting. From the outside it does look difficult.
  3. You’re totally on your own. No-one cares about your book other than you.
  4. Marketing on social networks is one thing, but how are you at giving talks, book signings and getting shops like Waterstones interested in stocking your book?
  5. You risk having your book out in the big wild world with all its faults if you have not properly edited.
  6. Once you’ve self-published landing an agent or publisher with that particular book is very unlikely.
  7. Having a garden shed full of books (if you’ve chose vanity publishing).
  8. Lacking time. You want to write, not chase publicity.

 

Vanity Publishing – a campaign for truth and honesty

Vanity Publishing – Advice and Warning
Vanity Publishing explored by The acknowledged expert
Johnathon Clifford:

In 1959/60 when two American companies were advertising widely throughout the UK offering to publish individual poems in anthologies at £9 and £12 each respectively, I coined the phrase “vanity publishing”. Since 1991 I have campaigned unceasingly for truth and honesty in the vanity publishing world and have become recognised as the authority on the subject.

See my feature article in the Writers’ & Artists’ Year Book

My work has been featured in both national and regional radio and tv programmes which have exposed the business practices of various vanity publishers and by many responsible newspapers and magazines (many of whom now refuse to take ‘publishing’ advertisements). In 1999 I was invited to the House of Lords to speak to members from both houses about the need to change the law to stop the “rogue traders” in the publishing world. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that the law was changed, enabling the authorities to better curb the excesses of rogue vanity publishers.”

My advice pack for authors seeking a publisher, or seeking to self-publish, or who have experienced problems with a publisher, is available as a download from this website – see

FREE ADVICE PACK
Should you need further assistance you may email me at info@vanitypublishing.info

Many unwary authors are encouraged by a vanity publisher’s initial promotional material which usually praises the work submitted – whatever its quality. Such publishers often misleadingly refer to themselves as ‘partnership’, ‘self-‘, ‘joint venture’, or ‘subsidy’ publishers. But however they may refer to themselves and however much they may deny that they are – if they charge you to publish your book – they are a vanity publisher.

A dishonest vanity publisher makes money not by selling copies of a book, but by charging clients as much as possible to print an unspecified number of copies of that book. Some vanity publishers will print as few copies as they feel they can get away with. Most will claim to market their publications. However, major bookbuyers have gone on record recently stating that they “do not buy copies of books centrally from vanity publishers,” but only “as a result of the effort of the author in that author’s local area.” Which speaks for itself.

It does not follow that all vanity publishers are underhand, and those who tell you there is never a need for an author to pay to have a book published or that all vanity publishers are ‘bad’, simply display a lack of knowledge and understanding of the publishing world.

So how do you tell the difference? See “A Good Vanity Publisher . . .”

I cannot stress too strongly . . .

If you cannot find a mainstream publisher to publish your work at their expense, you must look on the whole process of publishing not as money invested to make you a return, but as money spent on a pleasurable hobby which you have enjoyed and which has provided you with well-manufactured copies of your book. If you do also manage to make a small profit, then that should be looked upon as an unforeseen and unexpected bonus!

Examples of authors seeing a return of more than an extremely small part of their outlay through a vanity publisher are extremely rare.

My advice is that you do not answer advertisements in newspapers or magazines which offer to publish books. Mainstream publishers NEVER advertise for authors – they have no need to do so.

Please click on the links to be taken to Johnathon’s website.

PODs, E-books, Nuts and Bolts

Guest blog by Paul Collins and Jo Thompson

The world of publishing has been marching inexorably toward a New Frontier for quite some time, now. Palm readers seemed to take off in the US, although struggled to have an impact elsewhere. The E-book revolution has been a rocky road, although recent sales figures from Amazon allude to figures competing with those of print books.

From an author’s perspective, I wonder even now whether print-on-demand – PODs – and e-books are as viable as some would like us to believe. The main problem is in promoting them. Who knows the books are available? Certainly anyone can go online and view all the available books, but there are millions of them. Compare this with looking at books on a shelf in a traditional bookstore and you will see the difference.

I’ve personally had abysmal results from PODs. My Stalking Midnight was a POD, published by Cosmos. To date, despite knowing copies are Out There, I’ve not received a cent in royatlies. Nor can I contact the publisher, Sean Wallace. Cyberskin was also a POD from New Concept, but from memory I received one statement saying I’d sold one copy..

If you want to publish your own book, then there are people like iUniverse. They’ll do the lot for you, but again I question the promotional side of things. Will iUniverse promote your book? Will you sell copies to readers other than your closest friends and family? By all means check them out.
There are others, of course, like http://www.lulu.com/
If this particular trend gains momentum, writers will segue into the lifestyle of poets, writing for the love of it. That is, self-publishers, selling very few copies of their books, and hoping to sell via open readings in venues such as pubs and festivals. Naturally there will be some mega-sellers, as there are already, but these will be superlatives, that for whatever reason have the X-factor.

Promoting your PODs/e-books via social media is fine. There’s Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, blogs, etc. But having experimented with all of these forms of promotion, I am still open to debate as to how effective this forum is in selling books.

I’m currently attempting to upload Ford Street’s books as e-books. Amazon’s Kindle is the friendliest system I’ve discovered. Try uploading to Apple and others and it’s a whole new ballgame. For a start, they want files converted to e-pub. They also require publishers to have US tax files numbers. Obtaining one of these is a nightmare – and that’s only part of the paperwork that’s involved (there can be 26-page agreements to be signed!). Add to this the cost of converting pdfs to Kindle and e-pub formats and you’ll see it’s no easy road. Without significant sales a publisher will never recoup the outlay associated with reaching the digital marketplace.

But one thing we need to consider is that e-books have reached a point where the number of titles available as iPhone apps now exceed the number of games with approximately 28,000 books now online compared with 26,000 games. That’s quite a staggering statistic.

One innovation is that Amazon has made its reading format available to Apple so iPad and iPhone users can download the Kindle Reader software and still use their Apple devices. This might negate some of the problems I’ve mentioned here.

There are aggregators, of course. These are people who will upload the files to many other online stores for you. But there are inherent problems here, too. Lesser known aggregators may not have credibility with the major stores like Apple, Google, Sony, Baker & Taylor, etc. You can stick with the larger aggregators like Overdrive and Ingrams (large digital warehouse operators), but the fees for this can be high, too. Everything costs!!!! And all of this involves a certain amount of trust. A print publisher can furbish print records. Take away the stock the publisher has in the warehouse and you can determine the sales, give or take. It’s not that easy with PODs or e-books. I uploaded an e-book to DNAML a while ago, and despite what appeared to be a 1000 downloads, Ford Street received not one cent. ‘Readers downloaded the sample chapters but didn’t buy the book’, claimed the online store. Hmmm . . .

An option I’ve discovered is to deal with local online stores such as Mercury Retail, Emporium, Booktopia, etc. Being a global market, in theory, the same books will be available to the international market. But again, the main problem is highlighting the fact that these books are available. How do you reach your target audience?

Right now Ford Street is uploading its entire list to Lightning Source. The benefit I see here is that our books, although PODs, will feature on the world’s major online stores. Lighting Source of course is reputable, and I think that despite the effort and cost of providing our books in this way will eventually prove beneficial. I’d not want to compare PODs with e-books – both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Last but not least, a prediction. Within a decade there won’t be “best-sellers” available in traditional bookshops. No publisher can survive alone on the back of their A-list authors. The advances are too high and the returns too little. Independent stores are going under – right now it’s often cheaper for indie booksellers to purchase their big ticket stock from chain stores such as K-Mart, Big W, Target, etc, than it is to get them direct from the publishers. The chain stores sell their stock as loss leaders, using the books solely to get people into their store. Too, some distributors have a surcharge if an order doesn’t reach a certain dollar price, say $300 per order. If you just want five copies of Paul Collins’s The Glasshouse, for example, the indie bookseller would be better off purchasing them from the local supermarket than the publisher, to avoid the surcharge. The author only gets net receipts; the distributor gets less because they’re offering the books at roughly 70% discount; the independent store misses out because they’re actually competing against the store they’re buying the books from! See how ridiculous all this gets?

To cite a local phenomenon: Lothian was Australia’s old independent publisher. They were taken over by TimeWarner, who within two or three weeks were bought out by Hachette. Three publishers are now one within three weeks. This will keep happening. Their staff will be axed, and young authors who might have ordinarily become best-sellers will only find publication with small presses, who don’t have the distribution or funds to market their authors.

Now you might think this is great news for the small presses. They’ll be publishing the potentially great authors that the majors are no longer taking a punt on, right? But hang on. There won’t be any independent booksellers left to sell those books! They’ll have all gone under due to the monopoly of the chain stores, who in turn won’t be taking chances on unknown authors. Trouble is, the major publishers won’t be publishing great authors because the current crop won’t be around, and the publishers won’t have anyone to replace them because they’ve not been taking chances on new authors, who might have become tomorrow’s best-sellers . . .

Interesting times ahead!

Paul Collins
Melbourne Oct 2010

For more on Paul Collins and his writing visit http://www.paulcollins.com.au/
 For more on Ford Street Publishing visit http://www.fordstreetpublishing.com/

Clara lives in her balanced world where everything is perfect. Her glasshouse is free of bugs, her prized pumpkins free of blemishes. But then one day a boy walks into her life and slowly Clara realises that her world is not perfect at all. Her paranoia spreads and she loses all her customers. Finally, she must face up to the realisation that her world is not perfect, and she must make allowances and compromise if she is to survive.

Black Pyramid by Anita Stewart and her thoughts on Author House

Black Pyramid: Ancient Breeds Series
by
Anita Stewart

Black Pyramid: Ancient Breeds SeriesEgypt. A beautiful land enriched with a history of mythical Gods and power hungry Pharaohs. The ONE who walks among us, who knows the truth of the Ancient Egyptians…. He hides the reality of an era long erased from the Temples and Obelisks, in order to keep the world safe. For there lurks an evil, waiting to regain control of Egypt and destroy the rest of the world!

Melissa Ambers, decides to take the once in a lifetime offer, to excavate a pyramid. Only this one isn’t just any pyramid. It’s the mysterious Black Pyramid! She soon finds out there is more than meets the eye to the stone monument. And within hours of stepping inside the dark tomb, she finds herself on the war path with Siaak. An ancient being, who will stop at nothing, to keep the BloodSeeker imprisoned. Even if it means killing Melissa and all who seek the knowledge of the Ancient Breeds!

Anita Stewart is a mother of three. Part Navajo, born and raised in North Carolina she is currently residing in England. I asked her a few questions on the writing process for Black Pyramid:

What is the genre of Black Pyramid?
Its a romance, fantasy, paranormal book.

Tell us a little bit about the story?
It is based on the Ancient Egyptians. More to the point, the original sand dwellers that predates the mighty Sphinx! I wanted to tell a story that explained who was the real creators of that amazing structure! And to go along with it, I decided to give the world a nasty, vile enemy, the BloodSeekers. A vampire race that ran riot around the world. Destroying everything in their path, including the humans. In order to fight them, the Egyptians, Atlantians, Myans, Aztecs, Amazons, Greeks, Romans and a few other Breeds decided to send their best warriors, in a last attempt at salvation! Black Pyramid, is the first in the series.

Is this your debut novel?
Yes, it is. And it was released July 5th, 2010.

How does Black Pyramid compare with other vampire novels and what makes it different?
My vampires, the BloodSeekers are very unique. They don’t disintegrate in sunlight, nor do they cower underground, or other dark, dank places. They think for themselves and are extremely power hungry, blood thirsty creatures, hell bent on world domination! The BloodSeekers feast on human blood which turns them into BloodSlaves.

What audience is the book intended?
Black Pyramid has one sex scene. Not that my characters didn’t try it on more than once. (laughs) There is violence and language of an adult nature. So it’s not recommended for a young audience.

How long did it take you to write it, and how many drafts?
It took close to a year to write. I have a very young family with health issues and writing has to take a back seat at times. As for how many drafts, I lost count after ten. LOL. But seriously, I don’t think any one author is ever completely happy with their first book. You work your socks off. Putting all your heart into it, and then when it comes to the finish line, you think to yourself, “I could have changed that part, or tweaked that scene.” I had to make myself stop. And tell myself, enough is enough. But I’m very proud of myself and I believe it’s a great story!

How many books are there going to be in the Ancient Breeds Series?
That depends on how well the series is received by the general public, but I’ve planned fifteen.

Can they be stand-alone reads, or will I have to read all to understand the story?
Each story continues on with the next book. Originally I wanted to make them stand alone reads, but there’s just too much to try and shove into one particular book. But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t understand the story by reading them out of order or at random.

Do you have a favourite scene in the book? Can we have a snippet?
(Smiling) Yes I do. I have a few favourite scenes and I’m open to sharing with anyone remotely interested. I’ve included a small scene. The main characters, Melissa and Siaak, have escaped after a confrontation with a hired assassin and this scene takes place after. I hope you enjoy it.

She took the last drag of her cigarette before flicking it on the sandy ground. She blew the smoke up into the air as she stamped the fire out. With a grunt of annoyance, she pushed off the large granite statue and flew at him. “I can’t believe you’d sink so low as to blame all this on Jonathon. He’s a decent man. Okay, sure, he gets on my nerves. He’s a man, he can’t help it.” She shook her head in denial. She refused to believe what he was telling her. “Jonathon isn’t trying to kill me, don’t be so stupid, I’ve known him since I was nineteen. You, on the other hand, mentioned it a time or two.”
He charged at her, ramming her body into the weathered Obelisk.
“OW!” Her head hit the hard stone making her vision blur. Instinctively, she pulled her fist back to punch him, as she strained to bite him with her teeth.
Siaak blocked her attacks. His hand clamped around her wrist forcing her arm behind her back with a rough jerk.
She sucked air in between her teeth at the sudden burning, cramping pain running along her shoulder blade. Was he trying to pull her arm out of its socket? She gave him a black look as she refused to give in.
The more she struggled, the harder he squeezed.
“I am not playing games Melissa. Open your eyes woman! The man wants you dead. Does that not upset you? I mean, if my friends hired assassins to kill me, I would be a little pissed off!”
“You want me dead, too!” She shouted back as she stood on her toes trying to relieve the burning spasm. His fingers squeezed harder at her accusation.
The sound of steel rang in her ears as he pulled his sword free and held it to her neck, just below her chin. “I can do it here and now if that is what you want?” His stance told her, all he had to do was push. The sharp blade would cut right through her neck, tendons, muscle and bone.
“I will be honest with you. My original plans were to kill you both. If you knew what is locked inside that tomb, you would understand my reasons for keeping it that way. I am honour bound to protect you and everyone else on this miserable planet!”
“Let me guess! It is alien and you have a pair of blue tights on under your clothes?” Her voice dripped with sarcasm.
His features hardened instantly. His dark eyes narrowed to mere slits as he felt the sudden urge to shake some sense into her. The square of his jaw, now sprinkled with black hair, ticked with anger as he clenched his teeth together. “You mock me now, but when the time comes, you will need me at your back.”

Are Mellissa and Siaak your main characters, and will they be in all of the series?
Each book will feature a particular Breed and their HEA. Melissa and Siaak will be in other books, along side other characters. So their story isn’t finished with this book.

Do you have any writing experience? Ie have you worked as a journalist, completed a university writing degree?
(Hangs head) No. I have no prior experience. I just love to write! I decided to publish Black Pyramid, only after enough people encouraged me to go through with it.

What are you working on now?  How many in the series?
I’m currently working on book 2 and 3. Sands of Time: Book 2, and Serpent’s Revenge: Book 3, Ancient Breeds. And like I said earlier, 15 in the series, but that depends on so many factors i.e. readers. And at the moment, I’m a quarter of the way through on each novel.

Have you many unfinished novels/short stories tucked away under the bed?

I have a few short stories completed and unfinished. Same with novels. The Guardians, is a five hundred page manuscript, that I plan to re-write. It’s an open/ending series called, Amirus. I also have three other series I’m currently working on. I tend to take a break from Ancient Breeds to work on the others. It’s a nice change, until the characters start moaning.

You self-published with AuthorHouse. Have you tried to get an agent prior to this?
To be honest, I never bothered with getting an agent. I just assumed that with my life/family/health, that writing would be just a dream. Something I would do for myself, a hobby. So, no…it never crossed my mind to get an agent for my work.

What made you chose AuthorHouse? Can you tell us how much it cost?
AuthorHouse (originally called Traffords) was the first name that came up when I typed in my browser: Publishing a book. I filled in a form with all my details and received a booklet outlining book packages, marketing packages and so forth. Three years later, a few manuscripts completed, I decided to go with the feedback from my beta readers and self publish Black Pyramid. As for the costs of my package, I think it was just over a grand.
As a matter of fact, I just wrote on my web-blog about my experience with AuthorHouse. Titled: Self Publishing Do’s and Don’t’s. It’s under Blog/News

What’s your experience with them?
I have to say, I found it hard. I didn’t know what I was doing. (Self publishing was a whole new world for me.) I knew I should have a hundred questions, but I didn’t know where to start. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the people that worked with me, were great. It’s just that I think they should offer first timers a little more support. Give guidelines instead of shoving a website at you and telling you to visit it. That doesn’t tell me, or anyone else what to do, or where to start. Okay, so you might know more about the process than I do, that’s great! But, for people that are ‘not in the know’ give us more to work on!

Did they help with the editing?
Nope! Not unless I paid for the service. And I have to say, at the price of so many pence/cents per word, ($0.029) with a manuscript of 127,634 words, I’ll let you work the math. But I can tell you, it wasn’t happening for me! The same applies for the marketing side. Everything AuthorHouse and most other self publishing companies that I looked into, offer loads of extras, with a extra price tag. All I can suggest, is that you do a little research and go with the publisher that meets your needs.

Tell us about your marketing experience.

My marketing experience.. (taps chin in thought) has been a real testament of patience. My first idea was a website. I would really recommend a website. If you can afford to pay for one, great. If not, there are loads of Free websites! Then I spent hours at the computer, scouring the internet to find Free sites to advertise. Facebook, Myspace and Bookbuzzr to name a few.

Do you have a critique partner?
Yes, I have several beta readers, or critique partners. More now with the publication of Black Pyramid. It’s amazing how many people want to read your ‘next’ book.

Now your book is “out there” is there anything you’d do differently if you could go back and do it again?
There are a few things I would change. Like, not using a laptop that had seen better days! And I might have looked into a agent.

Any last words?
I would have to say that no matter what, I’ve enjoyed the journey of self publication. Would I do it again? I’m not a 100% certain I would. I think the best advice I could give any writer interested in self publishing…look around for the best deal that suits you, or go with E-books. Use Adobe Acrobat Pro, or Adobe Acrobat to turn your completed manuscript into a PDF file. If you live in the states, go with Kindle. https://dtp.amazon.com/mn/signin You can make a bigger profit margin with ebooks. http://www.e-junkie.com/ E-Junkies is a great service to distribute your ebooks without having to sit by your computer, waiting for buyers, with endless emails of how to and where is my download link? And last but not least, believe in yourself. If you want to write, than do it!

To contact Anita and find out more about her and her writing visit her website: http://www.ancientbreeds.co.uk/
 
Join her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AncientBreeds
Become friends with her on Facebook.
Order her book straight from the publisher or from Amazon UK.
American buyers can grab a book from Amazon.com

Black Pyramid: Ancient Breeds Series

Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas

Kate Salidas on Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is often thrown around like a dirty word, but really it shouldn’t be. It’s hard work putting a book together and getting out there to sell it. There are two basic flavors of self publishing. You can go with a service based publisher like IUniverse, Trafford, or Lulu. They will help you with all the tedious parts of putting the book together. With this method you give up a little creative control. You might use templates and have limited choices in cover art, but it will make the process easier.
Or you can do it 100% yourself. If you chose to do it this way, you have quite a list of things to do in order to put your book together, but you get the freedom to really make it yours. If you choose to go this route, stop into your local library and pick up a few books on how to do it. I believe Dan Poynter’s The Self-Publishing Manual is considered the “bible” for all people choosing this route. I have a copy myself and found it to be extremely helpful.

To start, you will want to make your “to do” list. Each step in the process has one major goal with many minor ones to consider. Take your time with each step because the final outcome depends on it. Here is the short list.



1) Write the book and get it critiqued.
Make sure it is 100% ready before you send it off to an editor. Use critique groups to help you make the story as good as it can be. If there are no local crit groups in your area, check out some of the online sites. There are plenty of them out there, just make sure that your work is protected when you post it. Look through the rules and FAQ’s for the site and make sure your work is not searchable via sites like google. You don’t want your book all over the internet before you publish it. One of my favorite sites to work with is: http://www.critiquecircle.com/


2) Have a Pro edit the book.
Your book may have been several rounds with a critique group and you may have a masters in English, but don’t send out a book that hasn’t had a pro look at it. Self-Publishing is already looked down on, don’t give reviewers another reason to put a nail in your coffin. To find info on editors, check out Predators and Editors:
http://pred-ed.com/peesla.htm. Think of it like the “Consumer Reports” page on Writing and Publishing. It’s a great wealth of information.


3) Printing and Distribution.
Unless you plan on going door to door with a stack of books, you want a printer who can distribute to the big guys like Amazon.com. You can use Amazon’s Create Space/Book Surge to have your books put together and distributed. Check with them on what services they offer too. https://www.createspace.com/
No matter who you choose, you want to have your printer selected before you move on to further steps in the book process.


4) Book Layout.
This can be done in word, but it is quite a frustrating process. The layout is how you book will look when printed; all of those fun little details like: headers and footers, font, page breaks, page size, margins, etc…
You can hire out for this, or you can look for programs that help you do it yourself. I found one on Self-pub.net that was quite helpful. http://www.self-pub.net/wizard.html


5) Book Cover Design.
Finding a reasonably priced designer can be a fun venture. Do your research and ask around to find your designers. Social networking sites like Facebook are wonderful for this, there are lots of groups out there with aspiring novelist, they are a wealth of information and leads. I found both my print and ebook cover artist via networking on Facebook. Check out: http://stellaprice.deviantart.com/gallery/


One note to remember here, your designer will want to know some things before they make your cover. I learned this the hard way. Know what your book dimensions will be before this step. Know the page count, know the size of the book, paper or Hb. Do your book layout first.


6) ISBN.
Every book has one so you will have to purchase these. Check out: http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp




7) PCN or LCCN.
If you want your book able to be on library shelves, you will need one of these numbers:
http://pcn.loc.gov/pcn001.html
Please note, you will have to send them a copy of the final product after publication.


8) Copyright.
File online! Yay! http://www.copyright.gov/


So there you have it, the short list. If you’re still considering self-publishing, don’t feel overwhelmed. It is do-able. You just have to take your time with it.

Kate Salidas, author of Immortalis Carpe Noctem, on self-publishing.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0984419608&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrBleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity.
As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her “turning”, did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander.

Only by accepting her newfound immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.

The book has fetched a mixture of Reviews, mainly excellent, but why not grab a copy for yourself and see if they are right?”

HOUSE OF IMMORTAL PLEASURES
Blindfolded and kidnapped, Daphne is whisked away to the famed, House of Immortal Pleasures, a Vampire-run Brothel in Pahrump, Nevada.
Sometimes the only way to mend a broken heart is to get back in the saddle. At least that is how Daphne’s friends see it. And since Daphne isn’t showing any signs of letting that happen, they take it into their own hands. With a few shots of liquid courage, a pat on the ass, and a donated gold card, Daphne is unwillingly sent into fantasy room 123 to meet her creature of the night, Connor.
It’s Connor’s job to seduce and entice Daphne to try all the expensive, sexual services on the menu. And he is prepared to do just that, until he peers into her mind and sees the damage done by her broken heart. After learning of her past pain, Connor’s plans change. No more is this a game of seduction to pad the pockets of the brothel owner. Connor decides to lavish Daphne with real attention and affection. Something she desperately needs. He will heal her heart the only way he can, by showing her she is beautiful, desirable, and sexy.

David Fingerman on the Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

David Fingerman would like to introduce two novels:
EDGING PAST REALITY and
SILENT KILL



http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wise044-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1935097075&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrGet ready to expect the unexpected when you read this collection of chilling short stories by David Fingerman. The short stories of Edging Past Reality will take you to the precipice of reason and then push you over the edge. If you think you can always believe your eyes, and you’re sure that what you believe is true, it’s time to check your certainties at the door … and start Edging Past Reality.


Imagine an inviting, lush meadow that turns shockingly deadly. A mirror that holds more than mere reflections. A trial where your life hangs by a call-in vote.

David Fingerman, a master of the unforeseen and unpredictable, will take you on a number of seemingly ordinary journeys and then smoothly veer off course, surprising you with twists and turns that propel you toward destinations that are not only unexpected, but often terrifying.

Edging Past Reality has received rave reviews so far, so if you like your stories short, sharp and terrifiying then why not give the book a go?

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=wiswor0a-21&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1603182306&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrComing soon is Fingerman’s next novel, a suspense/thriller titled Silent Kill. Keep checking his website for its release date. Out now!
Louise Miller is a Minneapolis Police Officer whose friend and fellow officer is found murdered. Being gay, Louise has is plagued by homophobic comments from her fellow colleges, and being only a regular street cop she’s not privy to inside information. She and her brother Andrew, a deputy sheriff, team up to track down the killer. As the body count rises, they’re led into a maze of violence and killing where all the clues seem to revolve around a rottweiler.

David Fingerman on self-publishing:

Although Silent Kill is my first novel, Edging Past Reality is my first book. I was under no illusions, or at least became very quickly aware, that a traditional publisher would never have any interest in a book of short stories. That’s not to say that I didn’t try. Along with the form letter rejects, I got some very nice and complimentary personal rejects.

It’s then that I started researching self-publishing. My plan was that self-publishing would get my name out to the masses, and then I would try the traditional route with my novels. I was stunned at how many companies wanted to publish my book. The price ranges I found went from $0 to over ten thousand dollars. I quickly decided free was not the way to go for me. After days of turning my brain to mush, I opted for a local company and chose a package I could afford. What I liked about going local was I actually drove down to their office and got to meet the people face-to-face. That’s certainly not a necessity, but it made me feel better about my choice. About five months later, Edging Past Reality came out, and I must say that it looked every bit professional as any traditionally published book

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages I found with self-publishing.
Advantages: (again, do your research – not all of these will apply with every company)
(1) You retain total control of your book.
(2) You set the price of your book.
(3) You keep a much higher percentage of royalties.
(4) Your book will be out much faster than with a traditional publisher.

Disadvantages:
(1) Good luck getting your book into major bookstores. (I got “EPR” into some wonderful indi bookstores, but B&N and Borders wouldn’t even talk to me.)
(2) There’s still the stigma that self-publishing = crap. It’s not as bad as it used to be and getting better, but the label still there.
(3) It’s very possible that the money you invest will not be made up in sales (welcome to the world of marketing, but that’s another blog for another day).
Self-publishing is a great viable option. I don’t know if I’ll go that route again, but my over-all experience was good. I’ve also read some excellent self-published books that, if traditional publishers rejected them, it’s their loss.
Anyway, as far as my plan, I have no idea if it worked. It doesn’t really matter. Silent Kill found a fantastic home with L & L Dreamspell, a non-traditional, but not a self-publishing company. I don’t think they had ever heard of me before, so in that respect I guess my plan failed. In another respect – so what?



Before anyone heads down the self-publishing route check out these sites first: Writer Beware and  Predators and Editors. They are invaluable websites to assist in research.

Self-Publishing Snobbery

There’s a lot of snobbery in the air when someone mentions self-publishing. A lot of pursed lips and tut-tutting. It’s the last resort of a poor writer having been rejected by countless agents and publishers, isn’t it?

Many think so, sadly.

I’ve read a few SP books and loads of “ordinary” books and have found errors in both. Funny, they are called spelling errors in SP books, but printing errors in books with a publishing house behind them.

I suppose I’m biased having written and POD-published my book. I regret not finding a decent designer for the book cover, but other than that it’s my debut book and I’m proud of it, God dammit!

So, would I do it again?

Yep, is my answer. Self-publishing, podding, whatever you call it is second best but only because you are editor, promoter, and writer all rolled into one neat ball, and being all of those is a lonely and time-consuming business (especially when all you want to do is write!). But I’d still do it again. I’ve learned so much along the way, and met so many wonderful people.

The Pros and Cons of self-publishing can be found in the links highlighted. But, at all costs, make sure your book is the best it can be if you follow the SP route (by any route, really). Pay for a detailed edit/proof-read. Pay an artist for a good cover: these don’t have to be expensive. Shop around.

Thanks to Lulu.com, youwriteon.com etc self-publishing (POD – print on demand) isn’t expensive anymore, so don’t get suckered into paying more than you can afford.

Vanity publishing is not to be confused with self-publishing. These are companies out to get as much money from authors as they can. You’ll end up with a garage full of books and an empty bank account, so be aware.

But be prepared to sell yourself; pimping on Twitter, Facebook etc. You’ll make a lot of friends from all over the world, as I have found, but you’ll also encounter a lot of snobbery.

Have you self-published? Thinking about it? I’d love to hear from you.