Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Monday, December 6, 2010

As I See It: Top Ten Reasons to Publish with a Small Press

10. Most accept unagented submissions, which cuts down the time element on submissions. Important for those like me who see time running out like the sands in an hourglass and hey I know that's a cliched phrase from a soap opera but it fits here!

9.  Direct relationship between writer and editor with no layers in between.

8.  You have a small but experienced support team-- editors, designers and marketers to guide you toward publication.

7. My publishing contract is only two pages, simple enough to figure out on my own.

6. Creative control, not feeling like you're at the mercy or whim of big business.

5. Willing to work with inexperienced and debut writers, giving voice to those who might not have a chance otherwise.

4. Time is cut from submission to release since there's not a zillion other titles ahead of you.

3. They are committed, dedicated and passionate about their work, doing it for love not money, and it's exciting to be part of that. 

2. It's still traditional publishing, only on a smaller scale and without an agent.

1. The personal feeling that you're working with real people who care about your book as much as you do.

Several of the arguments against the small press are becoming obsolete. Like-- they don't have the clout to get you into major bookstores. Well, if fewer and fewer people are even walking into bookstores to browse and discover the unknown novelist, what difference does it make?

And like-- the big publishers have the big marketing dollars. Don't get excited about that, it's reserved for celebrities with their tell-all books and proven best-selling authors.

And this one-- you need an agent to maneuver you through the contract. Maybe so, but...*see #7 above*

Or-- you don't have to market yourself with the big publishers. hahahahahahahahahahahaha

So clearly I'm a big fan of the small press. Not that everyone has to agree with me, of course, because this is how I see it not how you have to see it. Plus there are many paths that lead to publication. Good thing or we'd all be crowding on the same one and people could get hurt.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Worried Writers

While agents and editors can lay it all out in their blogs and say pretty much anything, writers have to think about getting readers and followers and fans who will buy their books-- thus we are nice and pleasant. As I wrote about here. After all, we're writers, we hate rejection. Our entire careers are based on avoiding it.

Have you ever wanted to post something but feared going too far? Do you ever hold back thinking, "Better not say that. People who matter might get upset. What if AN AGENT reads this"?

I used to read a book to my kids called Worried Walrus, and when anyone in our family got excessively worried about something, we'd say they were a worried walrus. I think sometimes we writers are worried walruses, afraid of saying, doing or writing the wrong thing to hurt our chances at publication, attracting readers, or achieving success in our careers.

Yesterday I read a post that was brutally honest in expressing what the industry has done to this writer's head since she began. I won't summarize but you can go here to read it yourself if you haven't already. Altho many have looked up to Natalie Whipple as having it all-- the dream agent *no longer in the business*, an editor at a dream publisher who loved her story *didn't work out*, and now still out on submission *where many would kill to be*-- still, the entire process put her through hell and back until she had to pour it all out on her blog.

And as she wrote it I'll bet you anything she worried about saying "too much"--about sounding whiny or ungrateful, about offending someone in the industry, perhaps alienating her blog readers. But she had to let it out, so she wrote the post and struck a chord, getting a zillion comments.

Let's pretend there'd be no repercussions if you wrote a post like Natalie's. What would be on it? What would you say about the industry? What's on your worried walrus writer list?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

PERILOUS by Tamara Hart Heiner

By now you've heard about an exciting new release, Perilous (WiDo Publishing) by Tamara Hart Heiner.

Tamara Hart Heiner takes 4 teenage girls with their ordinary lives, and turns it all upside down for them. Jaci, Callie, Sara and Amanda get trapped into a wild ride that takes them from an everyday trip to the mall to a fight for their lives through the Canadian wilderness. You have no idea how this will play out. It's unpredictable. Tamara Hart Heiner knows how to plot and to write action, how to keep you turning pages when you should be turning out the light and going to sleep.

The story is told from Jaci's viewpoint, and she works well as a main character, especially when something turns up about her own family that makes you wonder who is her dad and what connection does he have with The Hand? The Hand is the villain you love to hate. He doesn't show up a lot but his power is far-reaching, and the scenes with him are chilling. Then there's the two surprise characters thrown in half way through to spice up the mix.

A major character is the detective following the case. I really enjoyed getting his viewpoint. I liked how Heiner developed him, making Perilous more appealing to those of us who tend to grab a detective mystery before a YA novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed Perilous, even when my heart was racing at each new twist. It is only $4.99 on Kindle, here's the link to purchase the ebook:

For the print version, go here:,

And Tamara is offering a contest where some lucky winner will get a free Kindle! Here's the details:

Book giveaway: The winner of this contest will be randomly chosen. Every
person who comments on any post during the blog tour will be entered into
a random drawing for a book. Which I can autograph, if they want. The
contest begins on Nov. 16 and ends on Dec. 15.

Kindle giveaway: This contest is point-based and begins Oct. 15 and ends
Dec. 15. Whoever has the most points wins the Kindle. There will only be
one Kindle given away.

Here are the points:
1 point: blog comment (can comment on all the blogs, multiple times, on
the tour)
1 point: follow my blog (
1 point: retweet
2 points: blog about the blog tour
5 points: purchase the book (ebook or paperback, must email me the
confirmation email) if you actually buy the book in the store you can
mail me a copy of the receipt.

Add up all your points as well as your proof (links, etc) and
email it to Tamara at the end of the blog tour (tamara at tamarahartheiner dot

What are you waiting for? Buy a copy of Perilous and start reading, you will love this book! And maybe even win a Kindle!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

If you're a Writer or a Reader then I Want to Follow Your Blog!

It's official people, I just realized it. I don't follow enough blogs. It's the holiday season, stress is rampant and guess what I do when stressed?  I read and comment on blogs! I just went through my Dashboard today and yesterday and have run out of blogs to read and comment on. That just won't do. Yes, it would be nice if I cleaned out closets or mopped the floors or went to the gym when stressed out, but that's just not me.  My stress relief is reading and commenting on blog posts.

So help me out writers! If you are somewhere along the writing journey, and I don't follow you, or show up on your blog, then please leave a comment so I can find your blog, visit and follow. Because I've set a goal to find 50 new blogs to follow before Christmas. I'm getting desperate. The stress is building, and while many of you are cutting back on your posting, I'm needing more and more. And not getting it!

So if you want a new follower, leave a comment and I'll be there. Although here's the thing-- I'm not doing blogfests so if your title says blogfest and I haven't showed up, that's why. I can't take the added pressure of a blogfest right now, maybe later. Freewheelin' no pressure blog following, that's what I'm after. And if you already follow my blog & I don't follow back, please leave a comment to that effect, and I'll be sure to do so.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Learn to Market from the Indies

One of the self-published authors I follow and watch is Stephen Tremp. (And don't you like the word "indie" so much better than "self-published"?) Still, when I first started following his blog, before the "indie" phrase started taking hold, Steve proudly proclaimed himself a self-published author. His book, Breakthrough, was printed by iUniverse, but the marketing and  promotion lay squarely with him.

And now with changes in the market, even traditional publishers are putting more and more of the marketing and promotion on the author's shoulders. If you're with a small press, you can count on it--you're the one. If you want to see some real marketing expertise, watch writers like Stephen Tremp.

Here's some things I've learned about Stephen from following his blog the past six months.

He's a truly nice guy. Never mind that sci fi is not my genre, either to write or to read. I will buy his book because he's a nice guy, and I want to give him a chance. I have a daughter and several sons who love sci fi, so that makes it an ideal choice for Christmas. And the cover is awesome.

His blog, while designed to promote Breakthrough, is not just about him and his book. He posts about a variety of subjects, visits and follows other blogs, comments regularly. He's part of the community, not just posting about himself and his writing.

He does all kinds of things to market and works tirelessly on promotion. I have learned from him. I borrowed his sidebar buttons for ordering my novel as an ebook after noticing them on his sidebar. This is the second release of Breakthrough, newly edited, and now available as an ebook. Buy it here on Kindle.

He goes where the readers and book buyers are. He's done signings in bookstores, talks and presentations, and now he is doing more online while getting Breakthrough out there as an ebook. He has links on his sidebar for all the e publishing formats, and also shopping carts for purchasing print versions. Really, go visit his blog and just see everything he does, then copy it. You can't go wrong.

Summary of Breakthrough:

A scientific breakthrough in Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, is stolen by a group of misguided M.I.T. graduate students. They scheme to usher in a global science-based oligarchy. Greed, betrayal, murder, mayhem, spiritual contemplation, and unconditional love define the power-play struggle in this fast-paced suspense thriller. As the death toll mounts, will Chase Manhattan and a multi-faceted cast of characters escape their hit list and destroy the discovery which threatens life as we know it? On sale in bookstores late August, 2010.