To Publish or Not To Publish…

To publish or not to publish…

That’s a good question!

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer. Making the decision to publish a book is very personal, and many factors need to be taken into consideration.

Publish_bookYou spend months, maybe even years working on writing a book. You slave and bleed over every word, every detailed description, every conversation and interaction between characters until you finally type the last word. But the journey isn’t over yet.  It has only just begun.

Once the final word is put on paper, the arduous process of revising and editing begins. However time consuming, stressful, or mind-numbingly mundane the editing process can be, it is a necessity in the writing process. Afterall, you want your book to be the best it can be, right? So you sit for hours on end rereading, rechecking, and correcting, over and over again, errors, inconsistencies, and word choices to make your book “perfect” (for lack of a better word). You instill the help of others and ask for a second set of eyes to read through the manuscript you’ve put your whole heart into. They will criticize. They will correct. They will cut and shred and rip apart every aspect of your work. That is their job. You will tear this manuscript to shreds and read it over so many times that you are tired of looking at it. It’s all part of the the creative process.

Ok. So now that you have the perfect story, what are the next steps? Do you take the plunge and publish it, or do you sit on it and never show another living soul as long as you live?

Before you make that decision, there are many things to think about. First off, how open are you to criticism? How well do you take feedback? Do you have the time and patience to contact agents and publishing companies? Do you have thick enough skin to handle rejection? Are you willing to change your book’s content or sell off the rights to someone else? Do you have the resources available to seek alternative publication options? Have you researched these options? Have you considered every option and not limited yourself to just one path? Do you have the funds available, should you choose the self-publishing route, to cover the formatting, editing, and marketing costs of publication? All of these are important questions to ask. Publishing a book involves many things. Things I had no clue about when I first began this process.

Over the last five years (Has it really been five years?), I have learned many things about the publishing world. First and foremost, book publishing is an extremely competitive environment. There are millions and millions of books out there, and in the scheme of things, the author is merely a tiny minnow just trying to survive in a much larger ocean of bigger fish. Unless you stand out in the crowd, no one will even know you exist.

Many writers are under the misconception that they can publish a book and the sales will come. This is a load of BS. Sales don’t just come. Marketing involves a whole other layer to book writing that I knew nothing about when I began this process.

The whole “sell your book” process begins well before publication even happens. Marketing must be on the back of your mind from the minute you begin writing. Who is your target audience? How will you reach this audience? Where will you find people who might potentially buy your book, and how do you get them interested without constantly shoving your book in their face? (That is a huge turn off, by the way).

Content is your main selling point. What is your book about? Is it unique with content no one has written before? Can you summarize it in 30 seconds or less and make it interesting enough that people will want to buy it? Is the title catchy? The book blurb on the back is probably one of the most important things you will write. It can either make or break sale potential. Choose your words carefully.

Although people say you should never judge a book by its cover, they do. Does your cover look professional? Does it match other books in the genre and have “eye-catching” appeal? Is it colorful, but not cluttered? Does it pop and make people want to pick it up?  These are all factors to consider. And if you don’t have the skills to do this sort of thing, where can you find someone who does? Do you have the funds available to pay for their services, because they will not and should not do it for free. To me, this is an art, and a skill I don’t possess.

The outside of the book must look great, but formatting the inside is just as important. Different book formats require different formatting and file types, something I know next to nothing about. Kindle versions require one file type with specific formatting requirements, whereas paperback books require a completely different type of formatting. It’s confusing, and unless you are an expert on this and know precisely how to do it, your book could end up in the Kindle store with the spacing all messed up. If not done correctly, the margins in your paperback could be off or words and paragraphs could be cut off or sized incorrectly. I hired someone to do this, which goes back to my previous statement of having available funds. Hiring out for these services is costly.

You now have solid content, an eye-catching cover, and proper formatting. Now what? Selling! How do you sell this book that you’ve slaved over for months? Pricing your book is definitely something to seriously consider. Remember that the publishing world is highly competitive, and in all honesty, who wants to purchase a $20 book from a no-name author? Most people don’t. If you want to compete in this world, you have to offer something no one else has. You have to give people a deal and make the price they pay worthwhile. This has limitations. It costs publishers money to print out copies of your book.  The price you/they charge has to be enough to make a profit. And unless you are Stephen King, JK Rowling, or James Patterson, there is absolutely no guarantee that your book will sell enough copies for that to happen. You are a writer no one has ever heard of. Buying a book written by you is risky. Consider your cost carefully. Lower is better; there is less risk involved.

How comfortable are you with social media? These days, you can’t get attention (although I HATE being the center of attention) without being active on social media. Everyone uses social media in one form or another: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and a handful of others that seem to be popular today. You might be able to reach some potential readers through social media, but don’t count on it. Most people don’t use social media to look for books to read or discover new authors. They use it to socialize, in a sense. If you don’t have the time, energy, or patience to manage multiple social media accounts, no one will even know you exist as an author. I would strongly advise you NOT to constantly post your book online. Quite frankly, no one cares, and you will lose engagement and followers if you are constantly shoving your product in their faces. Think about it. Do you like it when people push products on you? Do you like the presence of ads constantly flashing in front of your face? Well, your followers and people you interact with on social media don’t like it either. Use the internet to make connections, not as an advertising agent.

Are you comfortable speaking or reading excerpts in front of an audience? Are you able to set up an appealing author table and talk about yourself and your work at events? How do you sell yourself at book signings? What “brand” do you have? (Yes, that’s a thing). Do you have the support, resources, and connections needed to sell books at events? Joining local writing groups can sometimes help with this. They tend to have an “in” with local agencies and know about upcoming events. Some even work together to set up booths and tables as a group to sell books. You can also research events through media sources and find upcoming events through local agencies and news articles or speak with other authors, if they are willing to share that information. Making your presence known and getting yourself out there is a full time job in itself.

Then, once you sell your first book and find your first reader, you face the fear and uncertainty of whether or not they like your work. What kind of review will they give you? Will readers spread the word about your writing? Will you sell more books? Will the months you dedicated to this offer any sort of financial compensation? Will others enjoy your work? They might. They might not. As writers, we live in this world of constant judgement. Our writing lives hang on the opinions of others.

While you’re debating and contemplating all of this, you are probably working on writing your next book, where the process begins all over again. But by this stage in the game, you are feeling so overwhelmed and have so much self-doubt, not only in yourself but with the entire process, that lifting a pen can sometimes be a challenge. Yet you keep at it, and one way or another, you find the energy to write.

So the question remains, should you publish that book you’ve written? That depends on you. Are you willing to dedicate the time, money, and energy needed to do so? Are you willing to face criticism, rejection, and judgement? Are you willing to do the necessary research and find the proper resources needed to publish and sell your work? Are you willing to make your presence known to the world without any promise of results? If you are, then go ahead and publish.

I’ve published five books over the last five years. Would I do it all over again? Yes, I would. I have no regrets. In fact, I’ve gained much knowledge over the years and learned many hard lessons about the publication process. That alone has been worth the ride. As a result of all this, I have changed a few things with every book I’ve published. I’ve used the knowledge I’ve gained about the process, taken advice from others, and changed my thinking to make the experience easier and less stressful for myself.

To publish or not to publish…you decide.

 

 

New Beginnings

Well, here we are. After the last 9 months of craziness, we are finally moving into our home. This has been a long anticipated adventure with many ups and downs. We had the wonderful privilege of watching our home being built from the ground up. We chose interior layout, color schemes, etc… and will FINALLY get to enjoy the benefits of living in our newly-built home.

It all started with a basic frame.

Which gradually built up and began to take shape.

Details were added.

Concrete poured and fences were built.

It wasn’t long before the interior began to take shape.

Landscaping was added, which makes me happy. 😁

And details were added inside.

Over time, our new house began to feel like home. Finally, after a very long wait, we are ready to move in.

It feels good to be back home in the Pacific Northwest. 🏠🌲❤

Update

It has been ages since I’ve posted anything on here. Although I’m not trying to make excuses, I do have legitimate reasons.

1. I quit my teaching job in December and have been looking for work on a slightly different career path.

2. I found that path as a director of a school age program in Seattle.

3. Therefore, we are now downsizing, packing, and purging everything we own and stuffing it into a POD in preparation for a move across the country.

4. We are selling our house in Texas while purchasing a new one in Washington.

5. I spent 4 days driving from Texas to Washington, where I now reside.

6. Since our house in Washington isn’t ready yet, I’m staying at an Extended Stay with bare minimum until our POD arrives in October when our house is finished.

7. Sadly, within this timeframe, I have been suffering from severe writer’s block, which I’m hoping will be cured when my life settles down from all these changes.

All these changes are good though. I’m starting a new job, which I’m hoping to make a career of, I’m moving into a brand new house, and I’m back home in the Pacific Northwest where I belong. Within the next few months, my life should once again maintain some kind of normalcy. I am hopeful that my writing hiatus will come to an end as well.

Author Spotlight – JL Madore

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

JennyWelcome back to Author Spotlight! Today, I’d like to introduce you to JL Madore.

JL is a full-time, multi-genre romance novelist giving life to fantasy, paranormal, time-slip historical, and contemporary love stories. She loves to twist Alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines into chaotic, hilarious, magical situations and make them really work for their Happily Ever After.

The Scourge Survivor Series

Scourge

The Scourge Survivor Series by JL Madore, joins the great fantasy romance traditions of Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lora Leigh, and Karen Marie Moning.
BLAZE IGNITES blends strong, clever women and tough, sexy men in a fast-paced, volatile cocktail of action, seduction, and wicked humor.

“Destiny my ass.” Jade Glaster refuses to believe the Fates rule her life. Orphaned after anblaze attack by Scourge soldiers, a young Jade vows never to be powerless again. Once grown, wielding the affinities of fire and healing, Jade protects innocents as an enforcer for her world’s elite policing agency—The Talon.

When an emissary mission to reinstate a race of exiled Elves brings Galan into her life, Jade finds herself overwhelmed by new passions, some welcome, some not. Although Galan’s antiquated views on women offend her to her heated core, when the Scourge attack his family, she helps him navigate the outside worlds he knows nothing about—the magical Realm of the Fair and, stranger still—the modern streets of Toronto.

Through their sensually charged pursuit of justice, Jade discovers that when dealing with the Fates—destiny is never random.

Readers love BLAZE IGNITES:
“This fantasy romp has it all: swords, magic, elves, shifters, evil queens and drag queens.”
“What a jewel of a book!”
“Fiery, Fantastical Fun!”

Book 5, the final book in the series, Fate’s Journey, launched July 24th –  Free on Kindle Unlimited

Watchers of the Gray, Dark Angels Series

Watcher Untethered – Book 1 of the Watchers of the Gray, Dark Angels SeriesWatcher

To be immortal, but still feel pain and bleed like a sieve sucks ass. Part of this world, but not. Alive, but not. There are the Darkworld feeding quotas we police, the humans we protect, and then us—Nephilim—living in the shadows of cities that know nothing about us. And if we do our job right, never will.

Wounded in battle, Zander wakes in a daemon feeding ground, bound to a human female. The origins of the restraints are unknown, the woman – Austin – a risk for Otherworld exposure. In the midst of human corpses, and with relationships punishable by death, Austin tempts a part of him he’s locked down his entire existence. His beast, however, the part of him that consumes every dark soul he’s ever dispatched, pulls at its tether, fighting to claim what can never be.

“WOW!! If you like JR Ward style of writing you will love this story. The characters are well developed and interesting. The whole angel warrior, demon killer is really hot.” – Amazon Reviewer

In The Shadow: Vesuvius Episode 1: A Roman Time-Slip Romance

Danika Glass grew up feeling more connected to the past than to real life. With her gift ofin the shadow Psychometry, touching antiques allows her to witness glimpses of history unfolding first hand. A successful relic hunter and thief, when Danika touches a rare Roman coin, she is suddenly not seeing history but living it.

Hurled back in time to Rome, 79 AD, Danika realizes that the coin’s energy is gone and she is trapped. Catapulted into the intrigues of politics, soldiers, and spies, she walks the dangerous line between convincing her captors of the coming danger and making herself a target. With time ticking, these violent men of the past threaten to not only claim her body and her life . . . but also her heart. For here, Quintus Porcius Magnus, the Praetorian guard tasked to discover her truths, shows her a level of loyalty so foreign to her that when faced with a choice, Danika is torn between two vastly different paths—one of safety and the other of desire.

In The Shadow is an episodic adventure which joins the great historical romances of Diana Gabaldon and Susanna Kearsley.

 

All JL Madore’s books are Amazon exclusive and free on Kindle Unlimited.

For more information or to connect with JL, visit her Facebook Page,  website, Twitter, or Amazon Author Page

Author Spotlight – David Taylor II

AuthorSpotlight

Author Spotlight

This week’s spotlight shines on David Taylor II. David  is an author, songwriter, producer, educator, playwright, and poet. He writes sci fi, fantasy, children’s literature, and comic books. He is the author of the new children’s favorite, Diary of a Smart Black Kid and is also adding to his Dear God children’s series.

His latest novel, Lucifer: Soldiers, Serpents and Sin is an internationally bestselling book. He has created an entire story world called The Realm from that first book and continues to expand it with coloring books, comic books, and audiobooks.

He is a co-composer for the smash hit theater production, Eye of the Storm: The Bayard Rustin Musical, nominated for 3 Black Theater Alliance awards. In 2015 his book Wayward Pines: Survival, from the hit Fox TV show of the same name, broke top 10 in the Amazon bestseller list and is currently still in the Top 100 of Kindle Worlds sci fi.

He is the writer of the independent comics The Nephilim Wars, The Order of Orali, and the Kryo-Karuto.

He is also the founder of Authors At Last™, an online site for Masterclass training for authors.

He is the proud father of two, as well as a lover of football, pizza, and a good glass of lemonade.

Diary of a Smart Black Kid: Sixth Grade

Baron Winters is an 11-year-old African-American boy. He’s smart, black, and a Geek. That means bullies, bullets, and beaches. And girls. Can he survive the challenges of going into sixth grade? Can he decipher the mixed messages of adults? And are his struggles unique, or are they our own?

smart

Here’s an Excerpt

So I almost got shot today – End of Summer Part 1
AUGUST
Friday

So I almost got shot today. But I’ll get to the gun thing in a minute. See, I love summer bike riding in my hometown. It’s homey! Also. I might be using cycle therapy (see what I did there?) to casually ignore the fact that it’s almost here.

“It” meaning, the test that will change my life.

Well ‘almost’ actually meaning springtime next year. Still. WOO HOO! Yeah, only geeks count days until tests. So color me count-y. There’s something happening in my life even sooner, however. That would be the Blessed Advent of Junior High School. And by ‘Blessed Advent’ I mean ‘yeah I’m scared brainless.’ Sixth grade is just a few days away. Sixth grade. In a few days. I need to do really well this year in school to even qualify for the test in the spring.

But in the meantime, I need to graze in every boy’s natural habitat: sweat! According to my mother every time I take a shower I’m wasting water and running up the electric bill. Haven’t figured that one out yet. But what I do know is that It’s August and that means bike riding ‘til it’s dark. Till dark, I tells ya! Also. Adults and kids have different definitions of ‘dark.’

Speaking of my hometown, it’s right outside Chicago. Lots of bike paths. Although I prefer riding in the streets. I probably shouldn’t tell my parents that I played chicken with a bus one time. Yeah maybe I’ll leave that out of our next dinner ‘So how was your day?’ discussion.

August is a funny month. I’m pretty sure it’s named after Augustus. Who was like, the first Roman emperor. And I know that more babies are born in August. My mind’s kind of buzzy like that, all funny factoid n’ thangs. Maybe that’s not one hundred percent true because my big sister Christina (she’s eighteen) was born in May and my big brother Zeke (he’s twenty-one, SO old) was born in December. But that was with dad’s first wife and not my mom so does that make the August thing totally bogue? Anyway. August is still like the last dance with summer, so it has all these really hot days. Maybe so you can like soak up some extra sunshine or heat or something because winter will make you forget all of this.

Then there’s Friday, which has to be, like, the best day of the week ever. It’s the only day of the week where’s there no downside. Like if candy were turned into a day. Because:

-No work the next day

-Allowance money comes

-Cartoons and pancakes all morning

-You can sleep until the sun stops talking

Also. Every single sleepover in the history of people has happened on a Friday night. Then there’s pizza, which has to be like, celestial in origin. Greek gods ate ambrosia and nectar. American gods eat pizza. I’m sure there’s a god law that says so. Pizza was invented for Fridays. Pizza is the king of food.

So I think that makes Friday like, the king of days. Or it would be if there was a contest for such things. Like Friday would beat up Thursday and take Wednesday’s girlfriend and exile Monday. Because who loves Mondays? Nobody, that’s who.

Tuesday is clearly like that kid that nobody notices except when they do something crazy. Like for example when it follows a three-day weekend. Then Tuesday feels like Monday part deux and ugh. Three day weekends are always fun though because they’re like extra ketchup on a burger. I have noticed that my big brother and sister seem to be able to pack more fun into their weekends than I can. I guess that’s part of the benefits of being older. I’m not even fully a teenager and already it seems like being a non-teenager is the coolest thing ever. Except for maybe Minecraft. I can’t imagine anything out-cooling that. Hey wait wouldn’t it be awesometacular if Friday got in a fight with Minecraft to see which one was cooler? I’m pretty much figuring there is a magical place where all this stuff that kids imagine actually happens, or else why would we be able to imagine it? Well. Anyway. Friday wins all battles and sometimes I wish it could be forty-eight hours long because that would rock like Ben Grimm in a mudslide. Friday is life.

Except for the fact that this particular Friday there was that gun thing with the cop. I was downtown in my second favorite bookstore, Kirst & Dorsten. This cop followed me out of the store. Then he watched me unchain my bike from the rack. Like he didn’t believe it was mine. I wanted to get out of there in a hurry so I started moving faster (because what kid likes being stared down by law enforcementicals?) Then he totally pulled his gun on me. I had to drop my bike and my lock, and faceplant myself.

Running down my leg, my sweat shook hands with my pee and said in unison “we’re in trouble.” I just never pictured dying before my first year of junior high school. Fortunately, after he saw my highly trembly demeanor Officer Not-So-Friendly seemed to no longer think I was a thief.

I think.

So I left. (note to self: put an I.D. tag on your bike when you get home. Oh and change your pants.) Maybe I should get a tattoo on my bike that says “Property of Baron Winters.” Because I could never get like, a real tattoo. My mother would look at me like I grew a second face. Then she’d break the one I have.

So I pretty much decided I wasn’t gonna let Captain Overanxious back there suck the joy out of my day. Even though he almost Rodney King’d me. Yeah, I watched those videos. History Maaaaan! Plus if I qualify to take that test at all, nothing’s gonna stop me from doing well on it. That’s just not gonna happen. But I’ve got a whole school year to get through before I’m there. And I’m gonna live in Comic Book World until then. Oh um along with studying of course. Hashtag not a slacker. #NotaSlacker

I had gone into Kirst & Dorsten because I didn’t have time to ride all the way across town to the Comic Shop. Sometimes K & D has some comic books. Although lately, my allowance was on life support after a trip to buy some comics. Comics are like, five dollars per book. I love love LOVE the Comic Shop tho. They have everything. Comic books, RPGS, action figures (They. Are. Not. Dolls.), game nights, DVDs, posters. I could just live there. I would if I could afford it. Jeezum Lord a’Mercy I could just see the drama if I asked my dad for more allowance money. I wouldn’t recommend that to my worst enemy.

…Well actually, I would because I can’t stand that evil Derek Kilroy. But. Anyway. I haven’t figured out yet why the stuff you hate the most takes up so much brain space. But then again I guess the stuff you love the most does too. Life’s kind of funny that way but when I grow up, I’m gonna invent some kind of brain filter memory device.

Like…like…totally awesome Forgetto Glasses!

Holy mother of haggis they will be the best-selling thing ever. Know why? Because what people wouldn’t give to be able to have selective memory. Know how I know that? Because all parents in the League of Adultage have selective memory. They can’t seem to remember all the stuff you’ve done right when they’re yelling at you. Just the things you do wrong. I’d like to perfect that and then flip the switch so I could only remember the good things.

…Then again, what would happen if you didn’t know how to classify a memory? Yikes, I sense a bug in the software. Oh well, I’d figure out a way to classify memories for targeted removal. Because I totally could.

If I wasn’t already such a genius I would invent patented Genius Pills and turn myself into a genius.

Eeeyup I have solved all problems.

Get your copy at Amazon

There’s also an All Ages Coloring Book, also available on Amazon.

coloring book

Special Bulk Discounts are given to Schools (public or private)

or Book Clubs that want to use the book as a part of a study unit

Buy 10, get one free (book and/or coloring book)

Buy 20, get two free (book and/or coloring book)

Buy 30, get three free (book and/or coloring book)

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