Archive for ‘Publishing’

June 17, 2016

Big World Network: Quan and Thompson work to save it, offer hope to ‘People and Dreams’

Meeting Jared Quan and James Thompson for the first time was a quietly impressive experience. Both are soft-spoken, and it wasn’t until five minutes into my conversations with them that I realized they are some of the most dynamic people I’ve ever met.

Besides being a successful marketer, Quan serves on several community boards, building partnerships between local cities and the League of Utah Writers. As president-elect of the League, he planned and facilitated this year’s spring conference. The partnerships he brought to the table resulted in one of the best spring conferences the League has seen.

That’s where I met Thompson. I was looking for a stylus, and he had one.

Several, in fact. As we sat behind the registration table, he told me the styluses he brought were part of his marketing plan, advertising his book. I learned he helped other authors with a company called Big World Network learn how to market their books. I learned that Big World Network published serialized books, and that both he and Quan had published with this company.

“Big World Network is unique,” Quan said later. “It’s serialized, so your content is available immediately to the public. I’ve always loved that. Since it’s a serial, it runs like a television series. You’ve got ‘seasons’ dividing up the book, and your chapters are called episodes.”

The conference itself was wonderful, but of everything I learned that day, I was most impressed with Big World Network and the friends who published there. In my mind, they found a solution that most indie authors seek: an interesting way to release their books, a close-knit community of other authors who helped promote each other, and the potential to sell their work through a publishing house.

It seemed like a buffet of hope.

A few days after the conference, I e-mailed Amanda Meuwissen, a media contact at Big World Network. She answered some of my questions, but said the company was undergoing some changes. I worried that the company was shutting down, and I mourned the loss of such a remarkable idea.

Imagine my surprise when, a few weeks later, I learned that Quan and Thompson were trying to help the company transition to a non-profit group. The end goal is the same: to help authors reach their publishing goals.

“What makes me truly passionate about Big World Network is the people who I get to work with,” Thompson said. “Truly a talented bunch! My editors are amazing. Amanda Meuwissen and Willow Wood have been the best at keeping me grounded, pointing out where I’ve gotten off track, and letting me know what does and doesn’t work. My narrators have been excellent. Matt Bowerman, Heather Johns and Charles Eades are amazing vocalists who have kept up with the French, Japanese, Gaelic and smatterings of other languages I’ve thrown at them. Our layout and graphic artist, Mario Hernandez, designed my magnificent cover and did a great job laying out my book and ebook.”

As part of the the transition process, Quan and Thompson set up a GoFundMe account to help finance legal, licensing, accounting and server fees. It’s expensive. The two friends say it’s worth the time and effort they’re putting into it.

“The problem for-profit companies have is they have to be particular,” Quan said. “ You can present traditional publishers with the best written story, but if it isn’t in their genre or isn’t trendy, they have to figure out what will make them money, and there is a chance they will turn it away. A non-profit company can look past the dollar signs, see the potential and make judgment calls on the merit of the work in front of them. I have met so many authors who have amazing stories that are so well written who are frustrated because no one is picking them up. Self-publishing is a respectable option, but we want to offer something else.”

“We do have an immediate business plan and a five year plan that we are working on finalizing,” Thompson said. “I can’t say too much about either yet. I can tell you that Big World Network relied upon quality writing from writer all over the world, and we plan on continuing in that vein.”

Thompson said over 60 authors have published with Big World Network, some from as far away as Romania. Most authors wrote science fiction or fantasy, but other genres were well represented.

“Our best sellers are definitely clean romance, and our sci-fi/fantasy, as well as young adult, though we don’t specifically request any genre,” Meuwissen wrote when answering my questions. “We have published even non-fiction.”

So far, feedback has been positive.

“My favorite feedback comes in the form of questions,” Quan said, “Like, how does that work?”

Another of his favorite questions: What will keep the lights on?

“We will look to be as author-friendly as we can when it comes to contracts, and make a little on those, but the bulk of our income will be grants, sponsorships and donations,” he said.

And one more: What will your focus be?

“People and dreams,” Quan said. “We want to help you achieve your dreams.”

That’s the reason the company started in the first place. Thompson said Big World Network was founded by Jim McGovern in 2011.

“Jim loved the idea of a ‘Netflix for books’ where the author could have more say, where readers could communicate with the writers about the story, and where readers could have a preference for their format, including paperback, e-book and audio,” Thompson said.

Meuwissen said even as a for-profit company, there were no paid positions. Volunteers for marketing and publicity, editors, narrators for audio books and cover design were always welcome.

“Everything is done pro-bono currently, as volunteers, but again, we are always looking for additional help,” she said.

The company had options for revamping previously published work and had even published a few novels from minors.

As Big World Network shifts from a for-profit company to a non-profit entity, it still seems to be about hope. It’s a shared vision for authors who like the idea of serializing their work, of having another publishing option, and of a built-in marketing support from everyone involved.

“I am very passionate about Big World Network because it gave me my first real shot and entrance into the industry,” Quan said. “I am really blessed, and I want the opportunity to help people succeed and reach their dreams.”

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June 9, 2016

Something Big Is Coming

Something Big is Coming--be a part of it!

Something Big is Coming–be a part of it!

I’m intrigued by the idea of serialized publishing.

Two men are trying to rescue Big World Network, an indie serialized publishing business, by turning it into a non-profit organization, and I’m just as intrigued by that.

They’ve agreed to allow me to write a post about them and what they’re doing. Be on the lookout for it sometime this weekend or early next week–and if you like the idea of keeping Big World Network alive, please take a look at their GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/27dxeth7

 

 

September 24, 2014

Impostor syndrome, writers and self-publishing our fiction

visit http://jewelallen.blogspot.com to learn more about this talented writer and her new book

visit http://jewelallen.blogspot.com to learn more about this talented writer and her new book

Last night my husband and I discussed Impostor Syndrome. I’m afraid I’ve got a case of it. I can never read my published work and not feel like somehow, some way, I could have done better.

Imagine my delight when I came across this paragraph in the blog post of one of my local writing friends, the talented Jewel Allen:

Having taken a leave of absence from the Tooele Transcript Bulletin, I’d missed writing articles. I also felt a little rusty. My confidence was shaky as I started with a blank page. Could I do this again?  But, like other deadline-driven times, I typed in my byline, and threw down the words like clay on a pottery wheel, shaped and molded them, shaped and molded them some more, threw out a chunk, put it back in, threw out more chunks, until I was satisfied. Even after I hit send and the editor complimented me on a “terrific and well-written story,” the perfectionist in me came up with a couple more ways to switch the paragraphs around.

Me! That’s me! I do that all the time!

It’s why I have a hard time promoting my own work. I can hardly stand to look at it once it’s actually published. I think I might be my own worst critic, and I’m working hard to develop a thicker skin where I’m concerned.

Here’s an example: During the free promo of The Night Ones last week, 237 copies were downloaded. My book shot up to the top ten in one Amazon category for free books and to the top 100 in another. Even now (two days after the promo ended), my book is still in the top 100 for its category for paid books, which isn’t something I expected. I’m delighted to see that, but I still wonder–why? Do people really like my book that much?

I’m pleased, but it makes me feel shy. What if, now that they have my book, they decide they don’t like it? Was it really ready to be re-released?

Deep down, I know the only answer is yes.  Whether I really agree with myself or not, I have to cut my teeth sometime, and the sooner I do, the sooner I can start working on all the other projects that spin around so happily in my mind.

Jewel Allen currently has three upcoming booksBlemish, The Spanish Exile, and Ghost Moon Night. Guess what she has to say about this subject as she prepares for the October launch of Ghost Moon Night?

Maybe I have the mentality of a journalist and memoir publisher, but sometimes, your work isn’t the best it can be no matter how much you’ve edited it. I’ve submitted pieces before where I flubbed majorly on details, or left out information, and, guess what? Life still goes on. You will always find something wrong with your story, or have a better way of phrasing.

I’m not saying I shouldn’t get GHOST MOON NIGHT to the best shape it can possibly be. And novels do have a bit more shelf life than a news article. But, there has to be a balance.

It’s a comfort to read words like this–especially now, when I’m writing the sequel to The Night Ones. I’ve discovered I struggle more with myself than I do with the details of writing. Sometime I’ve just got to get over myself and let my books fly or fall on their own.

That means not worrying about whether my writing is good or not while I’m working on the first draft. It also means not concerning myself so much about what other people think of my fiction when I self-publish it or send a query off to a traditional publisher.

Meanwhile, there’s still journalism to fret over–and I’m so glad I’m  not the only one who rethinks her entire articles every time she submits one. Thanks, Jewel Allen, for making me smile today! I’m looking forward to Ghost Moon Night!

Oh! One more thing before I publish this post–this is the last week to e-mail me to let me know you’ve reviewed The Night Ones on Amazon if you want to be entered in the $25 Amazon gift card drawing/contest thing.

 

 

 

September 15, 2014

The evolution of a book cover: why I will always hire a visual artist now

I think of my self-publishing experience with The Night Ones as a learning exercise and, right now, as a demonstration of why self-publishing writers most often should hire someone else to do the artwork for their book covers.

Here’s the first book cover I tried to make, on my own.

book cover possibility three point seven five

Here’s the second book cover, also made on my own.

Second book cover

Second book cover

Here’s the third, also on my own, that I made for the re-release while I waited for a final book cover. (More on that another time–the artist I hired works fast. I was waiting on other things.)

green ebook cover red print cropped resized

And, finally, here’s what artist LaRae Monroe can do.

The Night Ones has a new look!

The Night Ones has a new look!

LaRae and I had a great chat about what separates writers and visual artists. Both she and I keep notebooks. The biggest difference is what we keep in our notebooks. Mine is full of words, describing my ideas in detail. Her ideas are mapped out with pictures, more like story boards.

I’ve gained a new respect for all visual artists because of LaRae. In some ways, she can see what I write about better than I can.

If you’re intrigued by the beautiful new book cover, check out the e-book! It’ll be free on Amazon from Sepember 18-22. Also–check out the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Wishing you all the best!

September 14, 2014

Beautiful new book cover for #thenightones

The Night Ones: Book One of the Legacy of the Night Ones finally has a new cover.

The Night Ones has a new look!

The Night Ones has a new look!

It’s been uploaded to Amazon. I expect it to go live sometime early Sunday morning.

Just a quick note about the artist, LaRae Monroe–she did an excellent job of seeing what I couldn’t see and pulling this book cover together in just about a day. It’s a beautiful thing.

Check out LaRae’s blog page here: http://laraelxdesigns.blogspot.com/ She is one talented lady!

Meanwhile, don’t forget about the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway. Book two is on track for a December release. LaRae will be doing the cover for that book, too.

August 30, 2014

Re-release of The Night Ones

The Night Ones is a re-release of The Night Ones Legacy (see picture below)

The Night Ones is a re-release of The Night Ones Legacy (see the picture below this post). This book cover will hold the place of the final book cover, which is coming soon.

Early this summer I finally began working hard on a sequel to The Night Ones Legacy and decided I really needed to re-release the first book to prepare for the release of the sequel in December. I used the month of August to gather feedback and re-edit the book. Yesterday I re-released it as The Night Ones  with another place-holder cover.

I finally bit the bullet and hired a designer for the book cover, but it wasn’t ready yesterday and I didn’t want to wait on the re-release. I’m thinking about hosting an official launch party when the book cover is finally finished. For now, I’m sending the new version out quietly into the world. If you feel like it’s worth passing on, please share it!

Someday soon, when the final book cover is in place, I’ll post about the evolution of this book, why I’m doing things in small steps  and why I’m finally moving on.

Wishing everyone a great day!

April 18, 2013

An update on Author Darrell Pitt

Darrell Pitt, author of Diary of a Teenage Superhero

Darrell Pitt, author of Diary of a Teenage Superhero

A little more than a month ago, I interviewed Darrell Pitt, author of Diary of a Teenage Superhero and The Steampunk Detective Series. One of the things we discussed briefly was that he was signing an eight-book contract with a publisher that he couldn’t name at the time.

The details are finally available. Earlier this week, a press release was sent from the University he attends. I’ve included most of the text here:

RMIT University student and self-published speculative fiction author Darrell Pitt
has signed an unprecedented eight-book deal with Text Publishing.

The third-year Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) student and Brunswick West
resident has written two series and a stand-alone novel.

Text Publishing will re-edit his self-published e-books and release them in
bookshops from 2014, as well as releasing new books from the two series.

The three-book Steampunk Detective series tells the story of Jack Mason, a young
orphan who is apprenticed to Ignatius Doyle, the world’s most famous consulting
detective.

The second series of four books, Diary of a Teenage Superhero, is about a
teenager who discovers he has superpowers.

Mr Pitt’s eighth book, A Toaster on Mars, is a science fiction humour work in the
vein of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

He attributes his success to his love of comic books and his mentor and RMIT
teacher Toni Jordan, an award-winning novelist and lecturer in the creative writing
program in the School of Media and Communication.

Mr Pitt said he only became serious about his writing after starting as a mature age
student at RMIT in 2012, when he also started to make use of self-publishing
technology to put out his work as digital e-books.

“I’ve long been a fan of speculative fiction and comic books – I suppose I’m a geek
at heart!” he said.

“I had the good fortune to have Toni Jordan as a teacher in the first semester and
she offered to look at one of my unpublished manuscripts. It was her suggestion
that I submit the manuscript to Text Publishing.

“This whole experience has been amazing. I can’t emphasise how important it is to
have a mentor. Not only is Toni Jordan a wonderful writer, but she’s a fantastic
writing teacher – I think that’s a rare package.”

Ms Jordan said: “One of the best things about our course is the way our students
can connect with publishing professionals, other writers, and most importantly,
readers.

“Darrell is wonderfully talented and dedicated and I can’t wait to see his books in
print. There’s never been a more exciting time to be an emerging writer.”

This is something worth celebrating! 🙂

April 18, 2013

An interview with author Gabe Berman

I always want to be better, and I deeply want to enjoy the process of getting better. I suspect this is a big deal for the majority of the other writers and bloggers and life-livers that I know. For that reason alone, Gabe Berman‘s Live Like a Fruit Fly: The Secret You Already Know completely appeals to me.

So does his second book, The Complete Bullshit-Free and Totally Tested Writing Guide: How to Make Publishers, Agents, Editors and Readers Love Your Work.

I’ll be reviewing that one next week, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Meanwhile, Gabe Berman agreed to an interview (with a very fast turn-around, I might add). And here it is:

What led you to write Live Like a Fruit Fly? (Readers, an exciting note here: this book was reviewed by Deepak Chopra)

For years I’d walk the aisles of the bookstore, looking for the perfect book to inspire me to live an extraordinary life. I knew it was possible and life being as short as it is, I didn’t want to wait. I was sick of all the preachy, otherworldly books, so I wrote the book I could never find.

Same question for The Complete Bullshit-Free and Totally Tested Writing Guide: How To Make Publishers, Agents, Editors & Readers Fall In Love With Your Work.

And the same answer. I wrote the book I wish was given to me long ago.  My book whispers in your ear, “Keep going. It’s going to be ok.” It will keep you from writing crap and remind you, because you deep down already know, how to make readers fall in love with your work.

Why did you self-publish at first? And why the second time around?

After writing for the Miami Herald for eight years, I thought everyone would be interested in my radically different self-help book. I was ridiculously wrong and rejected by everyone. Twice.

But since I decided my ordinary days were over, I knew the extraordinary move would be to keep moving forward. To kick doors open that appeared to be sealed shut.

I self-published and proved the gatekeepers in the publishing industry didn’t know everything because people fell in love with Live Like A Fruit Fly.

Through a string of miraculous events, HCI, the original publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, found me and offered me a contract.

I decided to once again turn to self-publishing for my new book The Complete Bullshit-Free and Totally Tested Writing Guide: How To Make Publishers, Agents, Editors & Readers Fall In Love With Your Work. This writing guide is unlike any other ever written and I wanted to have complete control of it. For example, the kindle edition is just $1.99.  It’s certainly worth the $9.99 a traditional publisher would charge but I wanted to make it accessible for everyone right away.

How did you get picked up by HCI, and what was your initial reaction?

It’s your typical story: guy meets girl in a bookstore. Girl’s friend is the acquisitions editor at a publishing company. The rest is history (I’m oversimplifying it but you get the gist).

How did I react? I was more relieved than anything else. Destiny finally fulfilled.

How in the world did you get to have your book reviewed by Deepak Chopra?

It’s your typical story: famous person finds my self-published book on Amazon. Famous person is friends with Deepak Chopra. I force myself to find the guts to ask famous person to ask Deepak to read my book. Deepak digs it and says, “In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful, worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.”

Did you ever have a chance to meet him or talk with him about your book?

Not as of yet. All in due time.

What are you doing when you’re not writing?

Procrastinating at Starbucks.

What writing project are you working on now?

The sequel to Live Like A Fruit Fly and a couple of top secret projects (I’d tell you but then I’d have to…)

What marketing strategies work best for you?

I seem to sell more books when I stop worrying about marketing so much. The Universe is a sly one.

What is the best part of being a writer?

It allows me to add a little goodness to the world.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

My dad always said: stupid rules are made to be broken.

And the best advice you’ve ever given someone?

Follow your gut, not the tornado of thoughts in your head.

And–just for fun–your favorite kind of ice cream.

Are you kidding me? Chocolate of course.

by Gabe Berman

by Gabe Berman

Thanks, Gabe Berman, for a chance to get to know you and to learn about your books! I’m looking forward to reading them soon. 🙂

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